Tuesday, March 14, 2023

February 24, 2023 – Belize City, Belize – Mostly Cloudy – 84F

Up early, as always, so I was able to get porthole shots of the pre-dawn sky and sea.

We are on tour today- “The Best of Belize City” and even though the meeting time is 9:00 AM, we opted for Room Service (the usual – pancakes or French Toast and two eggs over medium – I also had a bowl of Special K.  The food was good and came right on time.

We are anchored not far from Mein Schiff, another large TUI cruiser.  I don't know which one this is - they number their ships, but I can't make out any numbers.  As you can see, the waters near Belize City are a blue-green color today.

At 9:00 AM, we gathered in the Cabaret Lounge to start the tendering process.  Belize is providing the tenders and they are huge – I think most of the ship could fit in one of their tenders.  We waited a while for the tender to return and then tendered for about 20 minutes to the port.  The ride was fast and smooth, and the seats were as uncomfortable as possible.  Getting on and off the tender was easier than I thought it was going to be. 

I took some pictures from the tender:  Departing for Belize City.

Mein Schiff and Azamara Onward

Tender approaching Azamara Onward

Belize City 

Some of the Belizean Local Tenders are pretty sharp.

Belize City Tender Port Shops

We found our Group (#9) at the bus pickup area, 

as well as our guide, Dillon. We boarded our bus which seemed quite hot.  When we asked for the AC to be turned on, Dillon told us that the AC was not working, and he had already called for a backup bus.  Amazingly, the backup bus, which did have excellent AC showed up within 5 minutes and we were off.  Dillon is a very funny guide and often throws out questions for the passengers.  His act does work.

Our first stop was the lighthouse and tomb of a fellow named Baron Bliss, who donated $4 million dollars to Belize for its development.  The tomb is being tended to as it looked in good shape. We did not get out of the bus so no pictures.  

Our next stop was St. Johns Anglican Cathedral (the country was British before it gained independence in 1981 so the religion was Anglican – now freedom of worship has been established in Belize).  

The group went inside, and I was able to get some pictures. We didn't stay in there too long because it was hot.

Directly across the street from the Cathedral was the original Governor’s Mansion

the only piece of property the Royal Family would not relinquish when granting independence.  Dillon told us that Belize has plans for that building.  

Just down the street from the Church was the Police Station.

We drove through a number of diverse neighborhoods, and nothing seemed crowded – Belize has a total population of just over 400,000 people – and wound up at the Belize Sign Monument or as we call it the "country sign".  It sits overlooking the Caribbean and is a favorite tourist destination.  Besides the sign, the big attraction is a pair of "lucky turtles" - you are supposed to rub the heads of these metal turtles for good luck.

The other guide with our group (I suspect that he was Security) took pictures of people with the sign.  It took two attempts to get a decent picture of us in front of that sign and even then, the whole sign did not get in the picture.  We're not going back anytime soon so that will have to do.

We were also told not to get too close to the water as there are crocs in there.

Our final stop is the Old Belize Marina.  It’s really a shopping and eating stop with a restaurant, bar, and gift shop.  There is also a water park on the premises.  

We first took a tiny train through the Museum which displayed scenes from Belize’s history.  

I was unaware that Belize was exporting sap to be used to make Wrigley’s Chewing Gum and that Chiclets were at one time a major export.  There was a figure tapping a tree for sap (I first thought he was real and not a model).

While wandering the grounds, we ran into Andrew Merry (yes that Andrew Merry) and Astrid, who were enjoying a meal and drink.  We said hello and chatted briefly.  

The passengers on our bus did not want to stay the full time at the park and so that was shortened to just under an hour.  The ride back to the pier took 30 minutes and the tender, which was just loading, took 20 minutes.  The tender was full, but we waited until everyone else got off and then we helped a very nice woman, who was anxious about the little hop onto the pontoon, disembark the tender.  That comes from our escort training.

We had a late lunch in the Windows Café – I ordered the seared tuna wrap well done and it came raw, so I didn’t eat it.  I settled for a Cesar Salad and a little tuna salad.

We showered off the grime from the excursion and went for a late dinner in the Windows Café.  “The Taste of Japan” offered up only stir fry and other noodles for me, which was OK, and nothing for Ellen so she had Salmon and sides delivered to the Café from the Patio by Sarah. It was good but it was Salmon.  

I got nighttime pictures of both Belize City and Mein Schiff.


We headed to the theater to hear Dave Konig to his second show. The show was a bit disjointed and some of his material was borderline offensive and got some groans.  I had high expectations and was somewhat disappointed in the effort.  It’s clear he can be funny and maybe we will run into him again.

To the room – I had twisted my knee yesterday and although I was able to complete the excursion today, it is still smarting. 

Clocks go FORWARD tonight putting up on Eastern Daylight Time.

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