Travel: Cozumel & The Cayman Islands

From St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th through week of March 20th (which included the first official day of spring and my husband’s 29th birthday) was the first of many travel adventures for 2016! 

We began our trip with a flight to Lakeland, Florida to visit Snapchat-3084184456765695970family and prep for our cruise which left out of Tampa, Florida. My father-in-law might as well be a Master Chef…he throws down in the kitchen whenever we visit. Night one the dinner menu was fresh fried fish that he caught while fishing just prior to our arrival. He served the fish with grits and hush puppies. A true southern tradition! The next night was a complete seafood smorgasbord. Blue crab, king crab legs, crawfish, boiled shrimp and eggs, grilled sausages, bbq chicken wings, corn on the cob and potatoes. It was so legendary!

When Saturday rolled around it was time to kiss our folks farewell and Bon Voyage! Our vacation began with a couple of days at sea aboard the Carnival Paradise. The moment we stepped foot on the boat the turn up was instant!


I have been on other cruises but this was my first time on a Carnival Cruise. Verdict?… The staff was amazing, the entertainment was enjoyable and the food was what I expected it to be… plentiful! We ate so much! We bought the “15 drinks a day” package and it was well worth it every penny. Also, this was my first time traveling with internationally with a group of friends (2 other couples) so the experience was very exciting! On the boat it felt like whatever we wanted we could have – it was the ultimate indulgence. On the first night we in unintentionally made our presence known on the ship by merely dancing the night away.

on one

Every day after the first night, lots of people who we didn’t necessarily recognize would see us and give us the ol’, “Heyyyy guys!” followed by “Man, you guys sure know how to have a good time!”… and they are absolutely correct!


On day 3 of the cruise we arrived in Grand Cayman. We decided to book an intimate tour of the island which brought us to a Rum Factory, where we sampled rum cake and took shots of fine Caribbean rum. The tour also swung us by Dolphin Adventures and finally a couple of really beautiful beaches were we couldn’t resist splashing around in the crystal blue and turquoise Caribbean Sea.


We couldn’t leave the Cayman’s without eating the local food so we strolled into a place that served the local favorites… turtle and conch! “Turtle burgers and conch fritters coming right up!” My husband had the turtle but I couldn’t do it, so I had the conch. The dipping sauce for the fritters really set it off!

images (2)

p1270394 (1)

The following day was Kj’s birthday!

We arrived in Cozumel and then the entire trip was taken to the next level (as if it wasn’t already on another level). Mexico was instantly turnt! Our first stop was for frozen strawberry margaritas in route 44 size Styrofoam to-go cups! The guy hooking them up made them with handfuls of fresh strawberries, freshly squeezed lime juice and A TON of tequila. Lol He didn’t even measure how much he was pouring in there. If you wanted more… that’s all you had to say and he wouldn’t hesitate to ensure that you were about to enjoy the best margarita you’ve ever had. We also grabbed a couple of fresh off the grill beef tacos because we couldn’t resist their sensational aroma and the fact that they were 2 for $5. What a warm welcome!


From there we managed to hustle our way into getting a personal tour guide for the entire day for only $20 a person! Our guide’s name was Gil Fuentes. By the end of our day with him we were all calling him TRILL GIL! Lol Let me tell you why Gil was so trill…

  1. Upon the 6 of us climbing into the van, we determined that we could play our own music in this van because we could connect our devices with an auxiliary cord. We bumped all the hottest rap jams of 2016 while being tossed around in this van with no worries, cups full of tequila, and an itch for adventure!
  2. Gil brought us by a Tequila Factory were we watched and learned the process of making authentic Mexican tequila. We of course sampled the finest… 
  3. bddc70cc-b022-4070-b121-dab5adb401fb Gil took us to a local store where their deal of the day was buy a 2 liter of soda and get a bottle of tequila for FREE! What??! And the tequila was good! For $10 we got a bag of Doritos, bag of ice, 2 liter of Fresca and Tequila. WINNING!
  4. celebrate-celebration-cocky-party-hard-win-winning-GIFTrill Gil wanted to make sure we kept or drinks cold so he then decides to swing us by HIS HOUSE to lend us one of his coolers! Yesss Trill Gil! After we got our drinks on ice, we went to a gorgeous beach in Cozumel to lay out and just vibe. We ended our visit in Cozumel with a finely prepared, authentic Mexican dinner. It was incredible… the best I’ve had. Mexico owes us nothing!


Back to the ship that evening, showered and full… it was time to eat yet again! We had dinner reservations for 8:15 and needed to keep them so that we could enjoy the birthday cake that I pre-ordered for my husband’s birthday. He spent his birthday in Cozumel and now it was time for his official birthday dinner. We forced dinner… but everything down to the birthday cake was perfect – so tasty with that surprise strawberry cream filling.


For the duration of the cruise, we hung out, played cards, went to the casino (where I actually WON $100 playing a crane game!!!)…


As excited as I was you might’ve thought I won a million dollars… naw just $100. lol But that was $100 I didn’t have before I played a game that cost me $1! #Grateful.

We lounged on the ship’s deck, went hot tubbin’, ate until our hearts content… and just soaked up every moment, in the moment.

At sea

The first of many trips this year was so successful…feeling blissful and blessed.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more exciting lifestyle blogs! 

xoxo -Riss

Carissa Stephens She's ChaRISSmatic

Comment. Share. Subscribe!

Click here to contact us for business inquiries collaborations!