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.


Sainte-Chapelle – a gem of high gothic architecture in the centre of the Ile-de-la-Cite’

Built between 1242 and 1248 to house the relics of the Passion of Christ.  The most famous of these relics was the Crown of Thorns, acquired in 1239 for a sum that greatly exceeded the cost of building the Chapel itself.  The Holy Relics had belonged to the emperors of Constantinople since the 4th Century.

Sainte-Chapelle consist of two levels, the lower chapel and the upper chapel.

Visitors are greeted by a statue of the Virgin Mary, the sanctuary’s patron saint.


The low vault is held up by openwork struts linking the aisle column to the lateral walls.  These walls are decorated with blind trefoil armatures and 12 medallions featuring the apostles.  The vaults’ flour-de-lys on an azure background are also found on the columns, alternating the towers on a purple background which were the arms of Queen Blanche of Castile, Louis IX’s mother.

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And then you found yourself in the far back corners of the sanctuary where spiral staircases led you to the upper chapel.

This is a truly monumental and sumptuously decorated reliquary.  Sculpts and windows combine harmoniously to glorify the Passion of Christ and created a feeling of entry into the Heavenly Jerusalem.


The 1,113 scenes depicted in the 15 stained glass windows tell the story of mankind from Genesis through to Christ’s resurrection.  Fourteen of the windows, depicting episodes from the bible, should be read from left to right, from the bottom upwards.

Many, if not all, of civilization could not read and the stories of the bible were taught by pictures.  You could literally read the bible by looking at these beautiful stained glass windows.




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The Western Rose (the round window) illustrates the prophetic Apocalypse of St. John, symbolically represented opposite the Passion of Christ in the choir’s central stained glass window. In the center of the rose, Christ returns in glory at the end of Time to judge the dead and the living.

A Parisienne Adventure 

What a day what a day!  At least we started with a good nights sleep, a great cup of French coffee and first time in Paris excitement.  So much history to see.  But the adventure was the subway!  So many different lines and stops and keeping it all straight, thank goodness for Tom, our tour guide.  He even planned for contingency.  You literally had to run, jump, push, and pull to secure your place on each car.  But who knew some took that so literal, we were boarding yet another car when a fight broke out, a real blood beating, fist punching, foot kicking fight.  Of the 28 travelers in our group it was obvious that we couldn’t stay together at all times.  Boarding the subway cars in such a hurry we had to divide and conquer to all get on in the split seconds that you have to board. I personally did not witness the chaos but fellow travelers related the incidenct to the rest of us.  It seems a disagreement broke out between three gentlemen in the car as the door opened and our group was boarding, one gentleman (I use that loosely) pushed the other out of the car as the doors were closing. Thereby preventing a couple of our group from getting on board.  One passenger, possibly one involved, pushed the emergency button stopping the train suddenly.  Let me clarify, stopping the train very suddenly!  Physics came into play as the train was traveling in one direction and then suddenly stops put the many bodies on that train continue to travel in the previous direction. One traveler from our group was holding the pole as we suddenly stopped and she decided to entertain everyone as she did a very artistic rendition of a pole dance all the way around the pole!  As the cops escorted the fighters off we were once again on our way to see the sights of Paris.

Back on the subway we headed back to the hotel, backtracking our previous routes with two stops on the green line and then five stops on the yellow line. Like I said earlier it was a good thing our guide went everywhere with us.  As we stepped off the train to change lines again the strangest looks are received as the doors shut and three fellow travelers are still on the car. At least they were together and we had previously said if this should ever happen to go to the next stop.  That was fine except we weren’t going to the next stop we were changing lines!  Tom, our fearless guide, made sure the remaining group was secure and told us to stay put.  He then got on the next train and caught up with our runaways.  They had to catch another train running in the opposite direction to make their way back to us.

Finally we made it to the Louve to only wait in more..long…lines.  28 of us mixed and mingled as we made our way to the ticket counter.  While in line we were witness to a shoplifter.  The little guy brazenly picked up perfume from La’Occidental and put it in his back pack, another woman brought him yet another stolen package and he hid it in the pack.  We stood there and watched in amazement at the bold brazen acts that were being carried out in front of us.  After the shock wore off the law enforcement backgrounds of some of our group kicked in and two of the guys in the group apprehended and held the culprit until security could step in.  When the heroes returned to the line we broke out in applause. Even waiting in lines are an adventure for our group.

Paris, France

IMG_1405France was amazing!

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Notre Dame

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The streets of Paris

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Paris in three days…is virtually impossible.  We started from the Little Rock airport at 10AM and arrived in Paris at 9AM the following morning.  Time changes and turbulent flights led to NO sleep.  Once in Paris we hit the streets running.  Notre Dame and the Museam de’Orsay were stops along the way.  Seeing works of arts by Monet, Rembrandt, Toulouse-Lattrece and many more was a bucket list checker for sure.  30 plus hours and more than 6 miles logged in steps we were quickly draining any energy that the excitement might have produced.  I believe that we could have been given a cardboard box to sleep in and would have slept just as well.

Rejuvenated and refreshed we met for a European breakfast of espresso and croissants.  Boarded the bus and began a city tour of Paris.  So much history and interesting stories to be seen and heard.  After many years of traveling I can finally say that I have seen the Eiffel Tower, and will go up in it later.  Morning bus tour along the Seine and of Ile de la  Cite’, where we saw the Notre Dame Catherdal and passed the Arc de Triomphe,  We traveled down the Champs-Elysses to the Place de la Concorde, dedicated to King Louis XV.  We visited the site where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed during the French Revelotion.