Day 6 – Time to hold a sloth!

Excited to hold a sloth!

We got up bright and early on day six because today we were going to go to Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout in Roatan.  I’d been looking forward to that excursion for months! I had booked the excursion directly with Daniel Johnson’s a few months before, and it was extremely easy.  No money till you got there, and the cost was $40 a person for the Sloth Hangout and an island tour.  Way better pricing than on the ship.  In fact, I don’t think that the ship had a sloth excursion at all.

We had breakfast in the buffet and were off the ship just after 8:00 am, island time.  When we booked the excursion we were sent directions to find them outside the port area.  We were docked in Coxen Hole.  Remember also that our itinerary had been changed, so we were docking in Roatan two days later than expected.  I had contacted Daniel Johnson’s by Facebook during the cruise, so they knew about the changed date.  And the weather was just perfect, warm, but not humid.  

We did have a bit of trouble finding our driver because there was some construction in the port area blocking access.  We asked around and were guided to where Daniel Johnson was located.  They had to meet us outside the port area on the street because they are an independent excursion group.  Jermai (pronounced Jeremiah) was introduced as our guide, and we followed him down the road to an older van.  Another couple, who from Wales, were on the excursion also.  

Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout

It was about a twenty minute drive to Daniel Johnson’s on two lane streets.  People in the islands drive differently than those in the US.  I don’t think that there are any speed limits or seat belts.  We drove through nice areas of Roatan and poor areas as Jermai gave us a guided tour.  

We got to the Sloth Hangout and found out that the owner’s wife is from my home state of Ohio.  It sure is a small world, isn’t it?  We paid in clean American dollars at the desk, then were shown to our guide.  (If you’re paying in US dollars, they request crisp clean bills so that the banks will take them.  It’s the same in Cuba.)  

Snow White

We were taken to the sloth area, the sloths actually live in the trees surrounding the hangout and are totally free.  It’s not like they’re going to run away or anything.  One of the guides went to get a sloth from a tree for us to hold.  

The sloth that was brought to us was named Snow White.  One by one we got to hold her gently.  She was so soft and cuddly, her fur isn’t wiry like it looks.  And she was gentle and sweet, and I would have taken her home if I could have.  We had enough time with her to take a lot of pictures too.  If you ever get the chance try this!  It’s so worth it.  I think that it was the highlight of my entire trip.  

Monkeys

After we were done with Snow White we were allowed to enter the cage with the Capuchin monkeys.  They won’t allow anyone in with the Spider Monkeys because they can be dangerous.  They do have cubbies with doors for you to put your things in so that the monkeys don’t destroy or ruin them.  The cages are clean, and the monkeys seemed well cared for with enough room to run from one large cage, through a tunnel, to another large cage.  That way they can interact or not, depending on their mood.  

I declined to go into the monkey cage, but my husband did.  The monkey’s leapt onto people’s shoulders and heads, and even went to the bathroom on one guy.  I considered it a good move to stay outside and take pictures at that point.  Yuck.  The guide does encourage the monkeys to interact with treats.  

Parrots and Macaws

Next were the parrots.  I did enter the cage with the parrots, and it was fun.  I was the last to hold a parrot, so he placed both of them on me, one on each arm.  The Macaws were next.  Beautiful birds!  Kind of like an extra large Parrot.  I held one on my arm, and then the other one flew right onto my head.   I was glad I was wearing a hat.  What an experience!  And after that we walked through the little gift shop.  I bought a magnet, but I felt that the stuffed sloth toy was overpriced, so I didn’t get that. They do have restrooms.

I’m so glad that we visited Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout.  It is a really special place, and the staff love the animals.  It’s clean and well taken care of, and there aren’t that many places in the world where you can have this experience.  Check them out at their website here if you’re going to be in Roatan.  I do recommend them.  I would go back.  We had a wonderful time there.

Island Tour

Jermai was waiting for us, so we got back in the van for our short tour of Roatan.  He asked if we wanted to stop at the Iguana Farm, it was $10 each, but we declined.  We did stop at a grocery store for drinks.  I didn’t go in, but Jermai and the other gentleman went in.  We had brought our insulated steel bottle filled with cold water and electrolyte powder.  Those bottles really do keep things cold for a long time. 

The lady from Wales had gone to the rain forest in Belize two days earlier, and she had been absolutely eaten by mosquitoes.  She had worn long clothing and used bug spray, but still she was in misery, so she asked if there was a pharmacy nearby.  Jermai stopped at one just around the corner, and they went in to see if they could find anything to help.  She said that the pharmacist was very helpful and sold her some cream and some antibiotics for a reasonable price.  Pharmacies are way different in the islands.  They can sell drugs without a prescription.  I actually saw some with Retin-A and antibiotics.  In Nassau I saw Codeine without a prescription.  

Straw Market

He drove to the top of a small mountain to a local straw market.  A straw market is like a flea market in the US.  Lots of local vendors selling pretty much the same thing.  They need to diversify a bit.  We did some shopping and negotiated for a couple of Mahogany containers filled with coasters.  Since this was on top of a mountain, it had a wonderful view of the ship.  It’s a great place for pictures.  Then we got a picture of Jermai with us.  You can find bottled water here also.  

Chocolate Factory

Next we were driven to a chocolate factory.  By then it had started to rain, so we ran in to sample the chocolate.  It wasn’t all that impressive, just a small store that sold chocolate and coffee.  And the sample was a chocolate chip.  We didn’t buy anything.  Bars were $2.00 for a small one.  And across the street was a small store that sold metal sculptures.  

We drove around a bit after that, through more of the touristy scenic area.  Our last stop was in front of the Roatan sign, and Jermai took pictures of us in front of it.  Then he dropped us off at the port, the entire tour took about three hours.  

Back at port and craziness trying to get back onto the ship

We decided to go back to the ship to get lunch, and then come back out to shop at the port shops for a while.  I wanted to get my granddaughter a stuffed sloth if I could.  But getting back onto the ship was crazy.  I’ve never seen so much security getting back onto a ship, not even on this same ship.  

The line through security was incredibly long.  People were having to take off their belts, their jewelry, and everything out of their pockets, and put them through the X-ray machine.  Then if the alarm went off as they stepped through the sensor, they were checked with a hand want.  I saw a few even being patted down and I half expected a strip search.  I’ve never ever experienced that on a cruise ship.  What I heard later was that possibly the machines were being extra sensitive and going off on everyone, so they had to do this for security reasons.  Not fun though.

Lunch

At lunch I actually didn’t have a hot dog…but I did have a sausage.  And again I had my fries, they are really good, and some potato salad.  He had a filet of beef with mashed potatoes that he said was good.  The sausage was pretty spicy, I wished I’d gotten the hot dog.  I do love the hot dogs on the ship.  We walked around on deck 16 for a while to get pictures of the island, then got some ice cream.  

Coxen Hole Port area

We did go back out just to the port shops area for a while, but took hardly anything with us so it would be easier to get back onto the ship with the enhanced security.  It was raining out, so we didn’t stay long.  I found a magnet and a small stuffed sloth.  They were much cheaper at the port than at Daniel Johnson’s.  There are a number of shops, the shopping area has an upstairs and a downstairs, but there’s not much upstairs.  There is a lot of construction going on.  They’re adding a new dock.  We walked around a bit, but since the rain would not let up, we decided to get back on the ship.  We used the other entrance this time, and it was easier to get back on.

Cabin and balconies

It was elegant night so it was time to go to the cabin and shower and get dressed up.  I sat on the balcony a bit to write.  The Bella balconies on this ship are about the same size as Carnival balconies.  Deck 8, which was below us, has much larger balconies, but no view.  The life boats are right in front of them.  On deck 9 you can see out to the ocean, but not straight down to the water.  All you can see are the balconies below.  Privacy isn’t great in any of them because people can see up, and people to the ends of the ship section can see around into your balcony. 

Also there is no deck on the ship that you can walk totally around the ship on.  There is a walking/running track on one of the upper decks above the pool.  There is no miniature golf either.  They do have a ropes course.  We saw no one on it ever. I’d imagine that it was used when we weren’t in the area.

Elegant Night

We went to the dining room.  After that first night things got quicker and we had no problem getting in on time.  And at this point we had a nice group at our table who were starting to get to know each other a bit.  Elegant night meals on the Meraviglia does not include Prime Rib or Lobster tail like we’re used to on the other ships.  You can get them, but they are $23.95 extra.  Crab cake was my appetizer, and Chicken Kiev and Mashed potatoes were my entree.  I had some sort of apple caramel for dessert which I didn’t like, but the rest was pretty good and I could run to the buffet later for dessert.  My table mate had ordered the large shrimp, but didn’t expect them to be looking at her when they came.  She sent them back and got the chicken.  

Entertainment

After dinner we had just enough time to hurry to the Broadway Theater for the night’s show.  It was a bit more crowded than usual, but we found a seat to the side.  There were some glitches in the show, it started a bit late because of technical difficulties.  The show was a musical compilation of Broadway Plays.   We enjoyed most of it, but were getting feedback from the microphones.  I think it was worse where we were sitting.  And they snuck in that opera again, nothing against it, it’s just not my thing, but I’m sure that many enjoyed it.   

The Broadway Theater is probably one of the best theaters that we’ve seen on a ship.  The seats are comfortable and there are no poles blocking your view.  There’s always enough room for everyone, and there are three shows each night.  The sets are nice, and change every show.  

MSC Meraviglia

Decaf time again

After the show we went to the buffet for our regular snack and decaf break.  They do have decaf coffee at dinner, but it’s packets that you add to water, like Sanka.  We’ve been sitting at the very back of the buffet outside.  It’s a pleasant place to sit and relax and find some peace and quiet from the crowds.  

And then we had to change our clocks back again to Miami time and get ready for our last day at sea before we had to go home.  I was disappointed because that last day was supposed to be in Ocean Cay.  We had made plans to relax and snorkel there, and I wanted to be able to go out after dark and look at the stars.  The ship wasn’t supposed to leave till midnight from Ocean Cay.  Oh well, time to get some sleep.   I’m going to miss the ship rocking me to sleep.

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