January 10, 2024

Jan 9 - Belize

The alarm is set for 6:30, breakfast will be delivered to the cabin between 6:30 and 7:00. At 8 we need to meet our tour group in the theater.

By 6:30 we are  anchored several miles from shore along with three other ships. The Radiance, the Celebrity Edge, and a Holland America ship. The winds are still brisk at 20 knots, but the  temperatures are supposed to be in the low 80's all day with 100% sunshine and no rain. A perfect tourist day. Despite the distance from shore, I have good cell service.

We are using two tenders today, one forward and the other midship. Tender boarding is slow. There are many elderly passengers, many that move much slower than I. It takes almost an hour to load and be transported to the dock. After another 45 minute wait we board our tour bus.

I must say the planning was horrible. Four ships and probably 8,000 passengers descending on the port at the same time for shore excursions, and only capable of only loading 2 buses at the same time. The process was painfully slow and disorganized.

I hadn't remembeed a lot of my last visit to Belize. There are several new casinos and several partially completed new developements. Much of the city still looks very poor. Few homes have air conditioning. There are few automobiles, not surprising since gasoline cost $7.50 per gallon. Belize has oil, but no refinery, so the oil is exported and finished products imported.  None of the homes have heat. A few weeks ago the temperature dipped to below 50.

A cruise port with docks for cruise ships is in the process of being developed on a nearby island. I heard no estimate of its intended completition and also got the feeling that many locals were not in favor of its developement.

Our tour guide was good, and I think everyone heard her despite the fact that the microphone did not work.

By shortly after noon we were waiting for the return tender to the ship. 

Back on the ship, surprisingly security isn't even collecting alcohol bought on shore. If passengers only knew this earlier. 

The pool grill is not busy so it is a good place for lunch. If you ask they will put your plate in a small oven and then everything is served nice and hot.

No cashews or other tidbits at the Ensemble Lounge again tonight. Yesterday we were told the bartender forgot to order them from provisioning. Today the first waiter tells us they are all gone. A second waiter an hour later tells us she will go check. When she returns she says they were all transferred to another ship. Take your pick, the end result is the same.  The ship has also run out of Pinot Grigio wine. A pretty basic wine staple, and this is not a heavy drinking crowd. Oh well.

Just before heading to the dining room for dinner the captain makes an announcemnt that there is a suspected outbreak of norovirus. A very common GI ailment that easily spreads in congested environments like schools, sporting events and cruise ships.  Several protocols change, the most notable being that servers will be serving all food in the buffet instead of passengers being able to help themselves.

Tonight is lobster night. A limit of one per guest has been imposed by most cruise lines. Lynn gets mine. I have beef tenderloin which is excellent.

The entertainment in the theater is two brothers from Urkraine performing on a ship for the first time. They are excellent acrobats in superb physical condition working with rings and hoops. Unfortunately they need to fill time to get the show to 45 minutes, and it was done with monotonous pounding on drums which detracted from thier true abilities.

Tomorrow we start heading North and will spend the day in Costa Maya.