Killarney, Ireland & Hot Springs, Arkansas

What does Killarney, Ireland and Hot Springs, Arkansas have in common?  More than you would expect!  Back on July 4, 2017 we were in Killarney, Ireland not expecting to be able to celebrate our countries Independence day but Oh my gosh! IMG_2442

We arrived at Killarney and checked into our hotel to find all types of celebrations starting up.  The hotel staff were so excited that we were from the States and would be there for the parade.  Parade? Yes, the city was putting on a parade!

I must say they did a pretty good job too!  Even had President Trump! Some how I can’t seem to find the pictures of the 50 state Flags that were paraded past, but I can assure you that when Arkansas past by they were aware there were a few Arkansans in Ireland!  So is it not fair that The First Ever 15th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held in Hot Springs, Arkansas? I should say so! So here is our “Thanks Back To Ya Ireland!”  “We Loved Our Time There”



242200_10150291677863082_4609966_oWhen someone says they are going to Honduras different images appear in my mind.  First and foremost images of Mission trips pop up.  Where church groups went to Honduras and helped build churches or homes,5074995_1435284524.3162  or taught vacation bible school to young children or even brought reading glasses and medical supplies. Unknown

But when we went to Honduras lately it was a magical place that was built by Carnival Cruise Lines for their customers.

IMG_5439Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Honduras 

Let me explain.  Roatán is an island in the Caribbean off the northern coast of Honduras. It is the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras.


Mahogany Bay was built by Carnival Corporation, so there is plenty to do right at the port. How does the saying go? “Build It – They Will Come”  Carnival needed a place to dock so they built it and while they were at it they added a few stores and then a couple more and then how about a restaurant, oh let’s add chair lifts so no one has to walk, hey but if they want to walk, let’s make a really pretty nature walk with lots of flowers and plants.  And that folks is just what they did. There is a man-made beach within walking distance. There are a few bars and restaurants at the beach, but only one closer to the ships: Fat Tuesdays.

There are all the standard shops at the port, including Diamonds International (or Tanzanite International), Harley Davidson, a pharmacy, and several smaller local gift shops and specialty stalls. There is a zipline canopy tour at the port, as well as an ATV tour.

Once you disembark at Mahogany Bay, you will walk along the pier, through the Dufry Store, and uphill to the main shopping area. There is a local marketplace to the far left, while the chairlift and path to the beach and restaurants are to the far right. Diagonally to the left from the central fountain is a red-roofed building – that is your exit point from the port.IMG_5440

If you take a shore excursion or arrange for your own taxi transportation through the sanctioned taxi association at the port, you will exit through that building. To meet any other tours or transportation pick-ups, you will exit that building, walk to the left uphill, and at the bottom on the other side you will find all other tour options. These are tour companies or individuals who do not have contracts with the cruise lines, so they are not allowed onto the pier. Most SCUBA divers will be picked up from this area, as well as island tour companies that work with smaller groups.  I normally use Carnival to book my excursions so everything is covered, but there has been the rare occasions that I have ventured off course and used different sources.  In these instances I recommend researching the company throughly before booking.  Ask all the “what if” questions and be satisfied with the answers.


New Orleans Parking

New Orleans is a popular port for most of my clients.  Due to it being a 6-8 hour driving trip from Arkansas.  But there is always the “where to leave your car” question.  We have used the Julia Street and Erato Street Terminals and Fulton Street Garage for parking.

Fulton Place Parking 

This garage is a couple of blocks from the cruise terminal.  You park your vehicle and take your luggage to the bus, where you will be transferred to the cruise terminal.  Once at the cruise terminal, your luggage (with your luggage tags on and secure) will be taken by Carnival Porters.  You will not see this luggage again until you are in your room.  (usually 4-6 hours).

I’ll stop there and add that you should pack all valuables, medications and possibly your swimsuit or shorts in a carry on so that you will have once on board.

Erato or Julia Street Terminal Parking

Which terminal you use will be determined by where your ship is docked.  This information will be on your cruise boarding passes.  On either of these terminals you will pull into the garage first level, where  Carnival porters will come to your vehicle and take your luggage (again make sure your luggage tags are on and secure).  Once your luggage is taken you will be directed to drive on into the garage and park.  Remember your parking spot.  I text the floor and car spot to myself or you can take a photo so you can look back for your spot number.


Fulton cost $83.40 for a 7 day cruise

Erato/Julia cost $20 per day – $140 for a 7 day cruise

Fulton takes longer to get to the check in process.

Erato/Julia is easier and quicker.  You don’t have to handle your luggage at all when checking in and when returning from your cruise it is a short walk and elevator service back to your vehicle.

Fulton you have to handle your luggage from your vehicle to the bus which could be several floors away.  Your luggage is then loaded in the back of the bus and transported with you to the terminal where you have to claim your luggage and then transfer to the Carnival Porters for check in.   On returning from your cruise you have to claim your luggage in the warehouse area (this is when you choose not to handle your luggage yourself) or if you opted for Self-Assist you will leave your stateroom with your luggage and continue to Customs.  Either way once you are off the ship and through customs you take your luggage to a separate loading area to board a bus and return to the garage where your vehicle is.


it is customary but not mandatory to tip your porter that handles your luggage.  We usually tip $1 per piece of luggage per person.

I am back

Sorry, I have not been on the Blog in awhile and I promise to do better.  We just returned from a quick get away cruise to Cozumel, Belize and Mahogany Bay Honduras.  ferry-boat-ferry-ship-boat-69122.jpeg

This was the first time out of 28 cruises that I was “SICK”!  I think it was food poisoning or maybe it was just a stomach virus but it kicked my butt for 3 of the 7 days. It didn’t hit till late Tuesday night, so I was fortunate to get to enjoy Cozumel.





Swim up bar at Mr. Sancho’s

The menu which is all included in your entrance fee of $55 per person.  You get a umbrella table and chairs and a dedicated waiter that insists on keeping your drink glass full and your plate too!  When you have ate your fill you can relax on a lounger or get in the water.  Many services are available such as massages, hair braids, tattoos, fish pedicures, snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, and many more,  of course these are extras that you can add on.


If you are ever in Cozumel – check Mr. Sancho’s out.  You can’t go wrong.  Oh and try the coconut shrimp – to die for!  We were a large group of 10, so I pre-booked on Mr. Sancho’s website.  You can add on all the extra amminties you can enjoy on line too.  Since this is not a shore excursion offered by the Cruise Line, you are on your own.  Let me help you step by step get there and back.


Your ship will dock here.  You can’t see the ship from this photo but it is moored at the end of the long white building marked (1) (far right).  Walk from the ship to this area.  This is a large duty free shop that you have to pass through to get into Cozumel.  Actually the area pictured is called “Little Cozumel”.  Continue walking until you reach the long covered walkway between 18 & 19.  Here is where all the taxis and cabs are waiting to pick you up and take you to wherever you want to go.  The vans they have will hold 8 people and a ride to Mr. Sancho’s beach cost us $40 ($5 each).  This is what we paid, but I suggest and recommend that you ask before you get in the cab how much they charge to Mr. Sancho’s.  Once you are loaded and on your way, it will take about 10-15 minutes to get there.  If you have reservations (highly recommended) you will be directed to the entrances where you will receive your armband and your waiter, who will show you to your table and take your first drink order of the day.

Open from Monday to Saturday, 8:00 to 17:00

Carretera Costera Sur Km. 15
77600 Cozumel, Q. Roo.
Mobile: +(52) 1 987-871-9174
Phone: +(52) 987-120-2220

Be sure and check what time you need to be back on the ship. (you don’t want to miss the ship…..or do you!)

When you are ready to return to the port, taxis will be waiting on you to carry you back.  Again get the fares straight before getting into a taxi.  You will be dropped off where you were picked up at.  You can shop all the stores all the way back to the ship.

If a day at the beach is not exactly what you want, each cruise line offers a wide assortment of excursions or purchase excursions at the pavilion where the taxis and cabs are.  Just make sure of times and be back at the designated ship time.

Another option in Cozumel is SHOPPING!  Really awesome shopping!  Jewelry, Silver, Pottery and of course T-Shirts are good buys in Cozumel.  If you are a serious shopper I would recommend taking a taxi into downtown Cozumel where you will find hundreds of shops, one after another.  Remember the prices marked (if marked at all) are negotiable and don’t pay the first price they give you.  Another great suggestion is after you ask the price of an item and you shake your head no; add another item to it at the price he quoted.  Such as if you are looking at a amethyst ring and you were quoted $100 for it, tell him you will give him $90 for the ring and a pair of earrings!  I can’t promise that this will work every time but I have a lot of purchases that I got this way.

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

My most favorite place in the world!  I have been to Rome several times and have visited all the well known sites; the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, the Parthenon; but just walking around and taking in the surrounding that have been standing for centuries is my all time favorite.  To imagine the world at a different time is like time travel.  Let your imagination soar.

Avignon, France

Avignon, you smell so nice!  We visited this French Village days after the Lavender harvest.  You could smell lavender everywhere.

Shop after shop had everything you could possibly image made from Lavender!


Pictured is the Pope’s Castle from the 1100’s.  Rome was not safe place during those times and the Pope was sent to live in this castle (known as the Papal Palace) until he could return to the Vatican City.  (It was occupied by several popes until 1791) It was used off and on for hundreds of years as either a permanent dwelling or a summer home.


The remains of the 12th century ramparts and the Bridge of Avignon over the River Rhine

Vincent Van Gogh

While in Arles we did take the time to have lunch.  And if you are in France where do you have lunch, nowhere but at Cafe Van Gogh. We sat outside and enjoyed our lunch and wine as we marveled at the sites.  It truly was a magical day as we sat in the very spot of Vincent Van Gogh and ate at the cafe that made his painting come to life.  Van Gogh created his oil on canvas in 1888, and the very spot he sat his easel on is marked by a copy of his painting.  Inside the cafe were more tables and a beautiful bar that was very ornate and truly French!