The Trip That Started It All

The inspiration for "The Ox Travels" Facebook page started with one trip: our honeymoon. Little did we know at the time that The Ox Travels would become more than a fun hobby, for me it would turn into a career. 


Our original wedding plans were to get married in Tennessee and then go to Germany for our honeymoon. Instead we decided on a smaller DIY wedding in Tallahassee, FL. We still wanted to go to Germany but with unforeseen repairs needed to our home we had to reevaluate our wedding budget which meant no Germany. With the wedding 6 months away we needed to book something quick and easy that required the least amount of work on our part. So we went with a cruise. 

Neither one of us had ever been on a cruise before, and for me it would be my first time leaving the country! With very little research we ended up booking a cruise on the Carnival Paradise sailing out of Tampa with an itinerary taking us to Cozumel, Mexico and Roatan, Honduras. 

It took us more time to book excursions than it did our cruise! There were so many options that we wanted to book, but ultimately we decided on a cultural experience in Cozumel, and a private beach excursion in Roatan. 

The ship

Coming from first time cruisers we thought the ship was huge and pretty updated. Turns out that the Carnival Paradise is a smaller ship at 855 ft in length with a guest capacity of 2,124. For scale the worlds current largest cruise ship is Royal Caribbean International's "Wonder of the Seas", and is about 1100 ft in length and has space for about 7,000 guests.  

For our stateroom we went with a balcony. This was definitely the highlight of our ship experience. We loved spending time out on the balcony watching the sunrise and sunsets. The room itself wasn't enormous but it was spacious enough for us for 5 days. 

The food was great. There was enough variety that we didn't get bored. We definitely got our fill of the self serve soft serve machine. If we were out late pizza was always an option. The dinning room usually had some type of entertainment going on. 

As far as entertainment went there was always something to do. We attended shows in the theater, went to comedy night, and participated in the ship wide sing a long night. There was karaoke, a nightclub, art shows, and shopping events to participate in as well. In between activities on our at sea days we just walked around the ship, and enjoyed our balcony. 

There was only one pool on this ship and it was always busy, but there were usually a few spots on the upper deck overlooking the pool where we could sun bathe.

The ports 

Our ports of call were Cozumel Mexico and Roatan Honduras. We decided to do an excursion at each port vs exploring on our own. Cozumel was a cultural excursion where we learned a little about Mayan culture, ate some traditional food and watched a re-creation of an ancient Mayan ball game. We even learned about how chocolate is traditionally processed, and got to sample the finished product.

In Roatan we opted for a more laid back and romantic excursion. After a bus ride across the island we ended up on the most gorgeous private beach I've ever laid eyes on. The trees were perfectly manicured, the sand was so soft, and the water a crystal blue. We rode horses around the property and into the ocean, ate delicious food, drank fresh coconut water, and just relaxed. 

Looking back

As a first cruise we definitely were not disappointed. We did learn a few things to apply to our next cruise. Our next cruise will be on a bigger ship. Our last day saw some choppy water which we were able to feel on board leading to some sea sickness. Had we been on a bigger ship it wouldn't have been an issue. I also know to now to bring motion sickness meds with me just in case! We will ALWAYS go with a balcony room. After having a balcony room is hard to imagine ourselves in an interior stateroom. The 5 day itinerary was the perfect amount of time for our first cruise. It was long enough for us to know what life at sea is like but also short enough that we wouldn't feel trapped if we didn't enjoy the cruise.  

After we returned home we decided we wanted to travel more. We also knew we wanted to document our travels and share them with friends and family. After a lot if thought we decided to make the page "The Ox Travels". A little over a year later I would go on to join Creating Magic Vacations, an authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Since then we have been able to continue documenting our travels and I have been able to help my clients plan their own, and it all started with a trip.