Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Little Alley Steak, The Supreme Temptress

Center Cut Filet Meats by Linz
I've been so focused on gardening lately that I haven't done a travel or restaurant post. We've tried a few new places recently but nothing left an impression quite like Little Alley Steak in historic Roswell, GA. It's a character-changing experience.

Little Alley Steak is located on Canton Street, one of the few precious areas outside of Atlanta that offers pedestrian-friendly access to dozens of locally owned restaurants and shops. This is the perfect setting for Little Alley Steak, a small restaurant tucked amid several others, including sister restaurant Salt Factory.

I enjoyed the interior which is an arrangement of rustic brick, dark woods, and dim light bulbs that seemed to float in midair. Upon a closer look, you'll see that they're suspended from large butcher hooks, which is its own kind of cool.

There is little about bricks, wood, and sharp metal objects that spells romance but it's definitely a worthy date night location because of the service. Our waiter, who mentioned being new, was great. The manager stopped by our table and genuinely seemed interested in how things were going. We even had a chef pay us a visit; he noticed that my husband had just finished his beer so he retrieved another for him. There was none of that, "Well it isn't my job..." attitude. Everyone was kind, helpful, informative, and yet somehow they seemed to stay out of the way. Perfect combination for a date night.

Food

But you want to know about the food, right? What temptress seduced me back to the land of meat?

For starters, we ordered the Ahi Tuna Tartar. It was scrumptious, like, melt in your mouth tuna. The fun, frou-frou-modern accompaniments made the presentation better, though I would've been fine with traditional wasabi instead of foam. The only surprise is that you're supposed to eat it with a fork rather than toss it on top of some sort of cracker. But the tuna was so fresh and delicious that I can see why it was the star of its own show.
Little Alley Steak Roswell, GA Center Cut Filet Meats by Linz
Image via Hunger Maps

And dinner? This gal, who thrives on a largely vegetable-based diet, was tempted--nay coerced by my own senses--into ordering a steak! I saw a few of them pass by our table on the way to other guests. They looked spectacular, presented in cast iron pans and then served with such finesse. I wanted a steak.

I ordered the smallest one there, an 8 oz Center Cut Filet and added on a side of Triple Cream Mac and Cheese Mascarpone with black truffle oil. My husband ordered the Ahi Tuna "fire grilled" with garlic spinach, fingerling potatoes, and yuzu-herb beurre blanc. No, we didn't know what that was, either, but I Googled it and beurre blanc is French for a butter and wine sauce. In English, it all translates to:

Bliss.

Every bite of every item that we ordered was delicious. I was looking for something to complain about since I'm always leery of restaurant reviews that seem too perfect but I don't have a single complaint. The steak was exactly what I wanted when I said, "medium." Tender, juicy, flavorful excellence. I've never had macaroni and cheese that was so creamy and delicious. The crunchy breadcrumbs (I think) on top just set it off.

I sampled my husband's dish and relished in that, too. The rare tuna was seasoned well enough to let the fish shine through without it just being a slab of sashimi. I can't go wrong with spinach but I appreciated that it was just wilted, kissed with salt and garlic, and not too oily. The fingerling potatoes could have been an entree in themselves.

As for the wine list, I've got no complaints there, either. They served Silver Oak, which I adore, though I didn't order it because it just wasn't that kind of night. Instead I enjoyed the Peter Freimuth Riesling. There is an interesting assortment of whiskeys for anyone who's into that. My husband found their beer list a bit lacking. He didn't suffer, though. He ordered and enjoyed a Chimay.

We were too stuffed for dessert but we will make room next time! And there will definitely be a next time.

Last but not least comes the pricing. It's old town Roswell. Little Alley Steaks imports its cuts from Meats by Linz in Chicago. It's pricier than the sort of place that I'd usually go on a random date night but I felt the experience, overall, was well worth it. My husband liked it so much that he even brought several executives there when they came to town. Cheers!





Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's Spring! Last Minute Tips to Get Your Garden Ready

Welcome to Spring, the official beginning of terrific weather, sunshine and refreshing showers. The southeast has had an abnormally crappy winter (not that the midwest or northeast had it any better) and Spring couldn't come fast enough.

Some of you lost track of the calendar as one bleak, gray day blurred into another. Spring has caught you by surprise--you've got nothing done in your garden but it's not too late! If you start now, you've got plenty of time to get your garden ready for late spring and summer harvests.


It's not too late to start your seeds indoors. Several plants, especially peppers and tomatoes, do well if you start the seeds indoors in a controlled environment . Ideally, you should start 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. (The last frost date for Atlanta/ Zone 7 is listed anywhere between the end of March to the middle of April.) But there is still time! The southeast has a long growing season so you can still get an ample harvest even if you're falling a bit behind schedule.

You can buy a starter kit, which I did this year. I still recommend DIY seed starters to conserve resources. Recycle small plastic containers like yogurt cups, strawberry pints, or the little black containers that plants come in at home supply stores. Just be sure to select a plastic that is easy to cut through when it's time to transplant the seedlings. Also be sure that there is a hole in the bottom for drainage.

Next, fill your container with Fox Farms Light Warrior Seed Starter. It's the best seed starter that I've used, hands down. It's ultra light, making it easy for little sprouts to push through. The material holds the right amount of moisture so you don't have to water  it every day and risk water-logging your seeds. Lastly, it's got good nutrients to give your plants a healthy head start.
I started my seeds in recycled containers filled with Light Warrior and a Bio Dome by Park Seed Co. Both are on top of a heating pad. I put the dome from Park over the seeds in the recycled containers since I started those later and they need  the warmth for a little boost :)

Once your seeds are sown according to their instructions, find a sunny spot near a window and be patient. Lacking sunlight or patience? Put your seed starters over a heating pad or heating blanket. Set the temperature between 65-80 degrees, depending on what you're growing and how much light is available to naturally heat the soil. The additional heat will jump start germination. Even if you have a sunny spot, you can use the pad in the early morning and late evening to prolong the soil's warmth.

Prepare your outdoor soil for direct sowing. Ideally, you'd have your native soil tested in the winter so that you know exactly what your soil needs. Soil testing through a local university extension takes several weeks. Oops. Too late for that. There are ways to work around it.

You can buy a home testing kit for your native soil at a garden supply store or online (expedite the shipping). Those tests can be completed in a day. I recommend working with native soil (at least in part) for gardeners who are working with large spaces since this method can be most cost effective.

The second option is to start a raised bed or container garden. Fill your bed with store-bought garden soil and fertilizers. Bagged soil has its nutrient composition on the outside of the bag so that you know what you're dealing with already. I recommend this for smaller garden spaces simply because store-brought soil can be quite costly.
A few of my pots, cleaned and ready to go!
My faves are the rustic cauldrons, a gift from my mom.

Are your tools ready for use? Do a walk-through of your garden and gear:

  • Check hoses and nozzles for drips, gaps, and other damage that could have occurred during the winter. 
  • Sharpen your metal tools--it makes weeding and digging so much easier. 
  • Buy your plant supports now since you'll want those in place soon after you transplant the seedlings; if you wait until the plants need the supports, you run the risk of damaging the root system when you shove the support into the ground. 
  • If you let soil sit in your planters and pots over winter, dump it out and sterilize the vessel. (A simple clean with warm soapy water will do. Rinse well and let it dry.) Some diseases, bacteria, and harmful pests can overwinter in containers. It's best to start fresh when you can.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Full of Crap: Manure Types for Organic Gardening

This post is all about poop! Using manure as fertilizer is simply a part of composting and organic gardening. Below is a bit that I've learned on different manure options and their benefits/disadvantages. Hopefully this little guide will be helpful!

Please note: Never scoop anything out of an animal's butt and toss it on your edible plants. Ever. All manures should be properly aged and composted, or at least heat treated before use. These methods will prevent the passing of harmful pathogens and parasites. Farm on!


Via Forest Edge
Earthworm Castings Worm castings are one of my absolute favorite soil amendments. It's great for novice gardeners because it's idiot proof: castings don't burn plants in high quantities so there is no need to measure carefully before applying. They don't need to be composted or heat treated. Worm castings are high in macro and micro-nutrients and they stimulate good microbial growth. The only downside is that it's hard to get worms to generate enough poo to fuel a large garden or farm! 

There are low cost castings, like Wiggle Worm, which are created by mixing castings from various sources. Some say this leads to inconsistency in the product but, at the end of the day, it's a decent quality for the price. 

Higher quality castings like Worm Power and Sungro Horticulture Black Gold can be very expensive. You'll get more for your buck by making casting "tea." It's a good way to distribute the dense nutrients over a larger space. 

It's also a good idea to buy your own earthworms and let them do their thing. You have precise control over what they're fed and thus the quality of castings they produce. Earthworms multiple like crazy, making them a worthwhile investment. These critters are all around a good, long-term solution for improving your soil.



Via Chicken Lover Life
Chicken Manure This is arguably the second best option to worm castings. It can be stellar for Georgia clay since many chickens are juiced-up on calcium to make their stronger eggs; this calcium is then passed through their manure and into the clay, helping to break it up.

The downside is that bird manures tend to have relatively high nitrogen content, which can burn seedlings. If using fresh manure, compost it with other organic matter, give it at least three months to mellow, and ration the mixture to mature plants. Or buy prepackaged products like Chickity Doo Doo Organic Fertilizer.





Via Happy Cow Caramels
Cow Manure This is a popular option, readily available at most home and garden supply stores or anywhere within 30  miles of a farm. It's plentiful and therefore quite cost effective. 

Downside: it's relatively low in nutrients. Cows do some serious digestion work on everything that they put in their mouths, so there are fewer nutrients remaining in their manure. Thus fewer nutrients get to your soil. It's still a good option, though, and it won't burn plants. 

Fresh cow manure can be dangerous, not just because of its smell. It can hold a cesspool of nastiness (especially if you aren't familiar with the cows' livelihood) so be sure to heat treat or compost cow manure before applying it to your edible garden.

I couldn't find a widely revered cow manure to suggest; so many gardeners and farmers recommend buying local. We've used Moo-nure in the past and were quite satisfied.



Via iStock
Horse Manure Of all pooping animals, horses are probably my favorite BUT their manure isn't the best option. I daresay it's not even a good option. 

Horse dung can be full of weeds, since seeds aren't broken down in a horse's digestive tract. Many horses are given dewormers. Remnants of the drug are passed through the excrement, which will kill earthworms that are beneficial for your garden and compost bin. Grazing fields are also treated with herbicides to prevent the growth of thistle; this herbicide lingers in the soil after the manure has been applied, damaging a variety of plants including garden favorites like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, many herbs and flowers, and legumes. Lastly, horse manure is rich with magnesium, which is great for short term applications but over time, a build up of magnesium can cause stunted growth in plants. 

So basically, love the horses and leave their poop alone. At least for edible gardens, anyway...

 Got questions about manure for gardening? Let me know and I'll do my best to find an answer for you!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Spring Garden 2014: Bring it.

Spring is near! The chilly, gray weather outside of my window isn't too promising but unless the globe comes screeching to a halt, spring is indeed on its way. Time to revamp the vegetable gardens!

There are a few things that we're doing differently this year.

  • Wooden raised beds in the old garden and adding a new raised bed near our garage
  • Improving soil composition
  • Focusing on the health and strength of seedlings
  • Adding fruit to garden
  •  
     
So...we've got some work to do.

Raised Bed Plans, Phase I and II

raised bed designs
Our 4' x 16' bed frames, on their sides

Last year, we started raised beds made of compacted clay. Fail. This season, we're building proper raised beds out of wood. These won't get washed away and they look prettier. We're also hoping that raised beds and better soil composition will promote better drainage and root health.

We will have two main raised beds that are 4'x16'. Those two will be 1' deep. We're also adding an L-shaped raised bed near the garage that has 8' and 10' legs, each 2' wide. One leg of the L is 1.5 feet deep and the other leg is 1', just for aesthetic purposes.

Though the frames could fit through our basement door, we had to cut the 4'x16's in half so that I could help carry them out. (All the working out in the world hasn't enabled me to lift something like that!) It turned out to be a great decision; they were easier to carry and my husband had the splendid idea to terrace two levels of one bed. That bed fits into the natural landscape better that way.
Original garden during winter, 3 rows. The plastic garden trim prevented the garden soil from washing away during our rough fall and winter storms. That plastic will be repurposed for the flower gardens (mostly buried as a border). We will reposition the deer fencing later.

ideas for raised garden beds
We created two large rows instead of three small ones. The row closest to the house barely got any sun, anyway. This design also allows for 3 large walking aisles. In this photo, we added the first raised bed, moved the compost bin closer, and added a compost mixing box.
ideas for raised garden beds
Two beds installed, along with supports for tomatos.


Florida weave tomato supports
Almost done! Just need to add sisal rope for Florida Weave tomato support system.
This used to be a flat grassy area near the garage. It gets tons of sun so we added two raised beds for growing space.

Filling the Garden Beds

The native clay sucks. The first problem is that it is acidic, hard, clumpy clay. The second problem is that there are TONS of rocks in it, even after the hand sorting that we did last year. My husband made two sifters that we will use to get the rocks out and break up the clay. This will help us to evenly integrate the soil amendments.

DIY sieveways to get rocks out of a garden





The sifted clay will be mixed with homemade organic compost, cow and chicken manure, lime, Fox Farm Happy Frog Soil Conditioner and a bit of Ocean Forest Garden Soil, and Miracle Grow Organic Choice garden soil. To estimate, the soil will be 40% clay and 60% good stuff. We will leave 1"-2" at the top of each bed for light mulch.

Starting the Seeds

Last year, I did it all wrong. I started the seeds in native clay, blended with a smidgen of potting mix. Most seedlings developed but they were weak. Between flash floods, weeks of drought and scorching temperatures most plants struggled to survive. Only my bell peppers and tomatoes produced anything worth talking about.

This year, I brought a Bio Dome to start the seeds. There are a few cheaper styles out there but since I'm starting seeds in full view of my kitchenette, I wanted something that looked nice. Once the seedlings can be hardened off, transporting the Bio Dome outside will be a lot easier that moving all the tiny recycled plastic cups that I had last year. (I didn't have a rolling table.) I loved the idea of using recycled materials but the convenience and aesthetics of the dome won.

Giving the seeds a good start in the BioDome sponges should help strengthen them until I learn to master my own seedling starter mix.

Garden Layout

I don't have much diversity. This season, I'm aiming to master a few things, especially peppers. For one, I love them. Secondly, organic peppers are expensive so growing our own makes sense ($3-$4 each at Kroger. Ew!) The spring/summer garden will contain:

  • Marketmore Organic Cucumbers
  • Mater Sandwich Organic Tomatoes
  • Moneymaker Organic Tomatoes
  • Sweet N' Neat Hybrid Cherry Tomatoes
  • Carmen Hybrid Red Pepper
  • Cayenne Blend Organic Peppers
  • Sweet Rainbow Blend Peppers
  • Strawberry Rainbow Treasure 
  • Hull Blackberry Shrub
  • Sunshine Blueberry Bush
  • Organic Chives
  • Organic Basil
  • Organic Cilantro
  • Organic Parlsey
  • Organic Dill
  • Organic Garlic
  • Spinach and lettuce
Most will be grown in the raised beds, though the leafy greens, herbs, and strawberries will be grown in containers on the patio.

Our ROI

This year, I'm keeping track of how much we spend on the garden updates. I'm going to compare that against this year's yields, pricing out each harvest as if I'd brought it at Kroger. This will give me an idea of how quickly the garden will pay for itself.

So far, we've already saved money by DIYing the garden. We created 164 square feet of garden space, a compost mixing box, and two sifters. We spent $550 on building materials. We spent $165 on soil, seeds, and fertilizer. DIY Total is $715.

Home Depot sells a 80sq. ft raised garden frame for $285. Buying our square footage in garden space would be $570. Add 4 coated galvanized steel tomato and that's $28. (Not exactly comparable.) Buying our raised beds and cages would be $598. 4'x4' wooden frame for compost mixing would be $40. Two metal sifters would cost $302! (Ridiculous.) Add $165 for soil, fertilizer, and seeds. Store-bought Total: $1,105

On the surface, we saved $390. That's enough to make me happy. But upon closer look, I think we got an even bigger value. Our tomato cages will last longer than the flimsy wire ones from the store. Our sifters are larger, of higher quality, and attach to our wheelbarrow. (They will get plenty of use--going to do flower gardens in the front and back yards.) We got to customize the style and dimensions of our beds. Lastly and most importantly, my husband had a great time playing with his toys :) I couldn't be prouder.

And...we're ready for spring!









Monday, February 3, 2014

Lamanai Ruins and River Safari

The day of our Lamanai Ruins tour didn't look too promising. The temperatures were in the low 70s, which isn't bad until the wind and cloud cover were factored in. We left the Jewel with a backpack stuffed with rain gear, light jackets, and anything else we would need might the weather change for the worse.

We took a small ferry across the choppy waters to the port. If that wasn't stomach churning enough, we then hopped on a Cold War era Grayhound bus. I was expecting it to break down the entire time but it didn't. Captain Chino (yes, that's what he wanted us to call him) handled the details well and got us safely to our destination.

Mayan Ruins Mexico
Add caption
The first stop was a small, open-air restaurant that overlooked a small lake. We channeled through the restaurant and loaded onto a speedboat. There were a few older couples who were surprised that this was a speedboat tour--they were thinking a river cruise ship--so the cold winds, cramped quarters and lack of cocktails took them by surprise.

Lamanai Ruins Mexico

During the river safari, Captain Chino pointed out numerous plants and trees. That's interesting and everything but I was most excited about the animals! We spotted a few bird species, two iguanas chillin' in the trees, and a monkey. He was my absolute favorite.

Lamanai Ruins Mexico
Mr. Monkey had an agenda. I think he knew that the tourist come through that way because he was sitting on a low branch waiting on us. The skipper from the boat ahead of us handed him some fruit and the little monkey paused for his photo op. He was adorable though not as wild as I would have thought.


Lamanai Ruins Mexico

After a 40 minute ride through the winding channels of New River, we reached the Lamanai Visitors Center. It serves as a gateway to the three major points of interest in the Lamani complex. The first is the Jaguar Temple, which I think was the prettiest. The worn, moss-covered rocks were beautiful. I later learned that most of this temple is still underground. If fully excavated, it would be the tallest temple in the complex. (So dig it up already!) Only downside: I could've lived without the cheesy growling jaguar sounds looping from speakers.
Mayan Ruins in Mexico


Next came High Temple at Lamanai, the submerged crocodile. It's nearly 10 stories high and is the best excavated of the three. It's the one that most tourist want to climb. Once at the top, we were rewarded with stunning view of the New River, nearby lagoon, and lush jungle.
Mayan Ruins Norwegian Cruise Lines
Add caption
Lamanai Ruins Mexico
The stairs are incredibly steep and narrow, so many people crawled up like spiders and came down sideways. There was one older woman who slid down step-by-step on her butt, which was funny, and incredibly smart for anyone with weak knees.
Lamanai Mayan Ruins Mexico
Mayan Ruins Norwegian Cruise Lines
The last stop on the tour was the Masks Temple, which is tiny compared to the other two but it has the best preserved mask carvings on either side. They're about 8' tall, I think, and quite fascinating.


Mayan Ruins Norwegian Cruise Lines
Lamanai Mayan Ruins Norwegian Cruise Lines
I don't have any photos of the ride back because it started to rain the second that we got on the speedboat. It was the longest, wettest, coldest boa tride that I've ever had in my life. So worth it! The ruins were beautiful and really spoke to the skill of the Mayans. They were inspirational for a book that I'm working on and the images will stay with me forever.

Monday, January 20, 2014

ATV Jungle Excursion and Beach Break in Costa Maya, Mexico

During our cruise of the Western Caribbean on the Norwegian Jewel, we participated in the ATV Jungle Adventure and Beach Break in Costa Maya. It was an excellent choice.

The ATVs are automatic and super easy to navigate. The course starts off straight and simple (to help beginners get acclimated) and then escalates in difficulty. Check out our video!


Midway through the ride, we had a water break at a pretty outlook area. Our tour guide Daniel told us a bit about Costa Maya and life in the area. Costa Maya is what Cancun was about 30 years ago. Aside from a shopping center at the port and a few private beaches, it's quite underdeveloped. That's a good thing for locals who don't want to be flooded with tourist yet not so great for the economy. As development moves forward, they're playing a balancing act, trying to keep a small-town feel while fueling the economy.

Norwegian Cruise Lines excursions
Even bandits need water breaks
Daniel is incredibly kind and helpful so I recommend working with him if you have the option to take the tour.

After the water break we continued the tour. Along the way, one passenger's ATV broke down. It was a minor hiccup. The assistant tour guide switched ATVs with her and he waited for the repair crew to arrive while we continued the tour. Surprises happen so it's nice when the crew is organized enough to handle them.

Overall, the ATV excursion lasts for about 45 minutes. There is a straight paved section, a winding sand track, a bumpy section similar to a pump track for bikes, and then an overgrown jungle and winding trail towards the end. That's where the most photos are taken, so you look all hardcore on your ATV busting through the jungle, hahaa.

There are a few things that you should know to get the most out of your adventure:

    Norwegian Cruise Lines excursions
  • Be sure to wear sunglasses. Aside from blocking the sun, they will keep dust and sand out of your eyes. Oh, and tree branches. 
  • The little bandanas that Daniel gave us are optional. After rain, the sand doesn't blow around as much. We didn't really need to wear them. But I imagine that bandanas are really helpful in drier conditions where kicked-up sand could irritate your nose and throat.
  • Wear shorts! Some ads for the ATV ride recommended wearing pants. Those who did were hot and miserable.
  • Bring a video recorder like GoPro so that you can make your own videos. The pictures that the tour company took came out blurry and were $16 each. Safeguard your memories and save money by taking your own videos and pictures.
I heard saltwater helps locs tighten...?
After the ATV ride we were dropped off at a private resort just for cruise members. The service is exceptionally good (the bathroom attendant was like a second mother, haha). The open bar proved to be a much needed relief from the $12 cocktails on the cruise ship. Drink up!

Note: Food orders do take a while (since large groups arrive at once) so don't wait until you're famished to order. Order ahead and enjoy the beach while you wait.



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Snorkeling in Roatan

snorkeling in Honduras
Captain Bill's boat
We recently cruised the Western Caribbean on the Norwegian Jewel, with stops in Cozumel, Costa Maya, Roatan, and Belize City! This post gives highlights from the cruise as well as things that we learned as first time cruise ship travelers, including tips for packing and land excursions.

First, the fun stuff! Getting off of the ship and into different countries was the best part about my cruise experience.  Each cruise offers shore excursions once you reach a port. At first, I thought these would be a huge rip-off. (I'm naturally suspicious of things that are too convenient.) But there are plenty of benefits:
  • If you're on an official Norwegian Cruise Lines excursion, they're responsible for you. The boat won't leave you if you're running late, which is reassuring in countries where people are on "island time."
    good food in Roatan Honduras
    At Frenchie's Restaurant
  • Many excursions include a bilingual tour guide, the activity, transportation to and from the port, lunch, and some sort of beverages. While the price is definitely a bit higher, it's still a good deal for travelers who don't want to worry about the details.
  • Excursions do not include tips for local professionals and they may not include all of the equipment needed for the activity, so be sure to ask the reservation specialist aboard the boat!
One excursion offered is a scuba and snorkeling trips in Roatan, Honduras.  The island is world renown for its scuba diving opportunities, boasting beautiful reefs, ship wrecks and stunning underwater cliffs. I'm not scuba certified yet so my husband and I decided to snorkel first. I LOVED it.

Confession: snorkeling makes me feel like a mermaid. I also prefer it to regular swimming because I don't obsess over oxygen deprivation, haha. Below is a sneak peak from our snorkeling adventure, filmed using GoPro.  This was actually taken during our honeymoon so the Norwegian snorkel sites will differ.

The sexiest dude is my husband, Alejandro. The other guys are Captain Bill and his assistant, whose name escapes me.


It was my first time snorkeling. Even is such shallow waters, I was surprise by how quickly pressure built up in my head. I wasn't used to it so I didn't dive very deep. Next time, I'll be more brave! It took about 20 minutes for me to learn what to do with my hands so I doggy paddled, haha. I look goofy but I'll chalk it up to inexperience.

If you're planning on taking an excursion during your cruise, there are a few things that you should know.
things to do in Roatan, Honduras
Alejandro, relaxing in the bay

Excursions
  • The details provided in the ship's brochures are generally inadequate. Go to the reservations desk and ask questions! 
  • Get all of the details of machines that you will operate, such as the number of passengers permitted, drive time available for each passenger, stick vs. automatic, appropriate attire and footwear, etc.
  • Get a breakdown of the excursion timeline. We have a seven hour excursion where nearly four hours were spent in transit!
  • Understand what is included in each packages as far as drinks, meals, and equipment.
  • You'll want cash for tips and souvenirs. Seeking out an ATM while in the US is ideal but the ship may also have an ATM available (check the casino). Just about anything is preferably to ATMs at the ports, which charge high fees and may give you funds in local currency only.
  • Most post excursions accept $USD.

Up next, an ATV Jungle Adventure, beach party, river safari and trek to the Lamanai Mayan ruins!