Captivating Cartagena

Cartagena is a city in the Caribbean that has gotten very popular lately. It has become one of the most instrammable places in the Caribbean. When I traveled to Cartagena I was expecting all of the colorful and colonial buildings.  The beautiful old churches everywhere, friendly people who would give me a sense of home since I’m Latina, and street vendors selling all types of food and souvenirs everywhere you would go. 

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Spoiler Alert!

I wasn’t completely wrong .

 I did feel at home because I could speak Spanish freely with my grandmother and not feel as if I was being rude.  My grandmother felt like she could go anywhere and they would understand her since she barely speaks English and is my main travel partner.  There were tons of street vendors everywhere you’d go selling fresh fruit which was of course absolutely delicious and cheap! As you get to know me there are 2 things I absolutely love while traveling and that are local street food and live music.

That being said, before arriving to the old city we went to the new city where the main sights are and I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I wasn’t impressed. It just wasn’t what I was expecting, and then to top it off, the moment we got off of our bus we were swarmed with street vendors selling us souvenirs.  I wasn’t expecting that I be actually quite bothered by it.  I would warn anyone thinking of heading out to Cartagena to watch out for that, it’s a common mistake non-experience travelers face a lot and it’s a quick way for one to get robbed. I hadn’t experienced that in a very long time so it was a bit of a shock to me.   

Before heading to the old city we made 1 last stop at the beach.  One thing enjoyed about Cartagena was that it reminded me of Miami.  You are able to see the hustle and bustle of a city and then a quick drive takes you to the beach.  I feel as if you can get both in a day and there aren’t many Caribbean cities that can offer that.  

The old city of Cartagena has beautiful colorful, colonial buildings. I literally spent about 3 hours just walking down the streets and getting lost through the old city.  We would walk into the stores, talk to the locals, get some tips from our guide, but the most I did was just get lost in the streets of the old city.  Which is another one of my favorite things.  I love to discover a new city and just get lost in the attraction.  It’s hard to choose one photo stop in the old city of Cartagena.  There are so many beautiful buildings and old churches.  


I only had a few hours in Cartagena since I was on the MSC Divina.  However, if I were to go back to Cartagena, which I plan to do a tour of Colombia as a whole, so I do see myself heading back there at some point.  I would stay in the old city and enjoy all that it has to offer.  I would spend a few more days getting lost in those streets and explore some of the other cities that I didn’t get to explore this time around.  


Expanding Our Horizons Aboard The Carnival Horizon


MCH Tours Carnival Horizon

This past weekend, I was able to tour the Carnival Horizon with 25 of my preferred clients, and boy was I impressed! 

 Let me give you some background on my history with Carnival. My first cruise ever was on the Carnival Destiny back in 2005 (which is now the Carnival Sunshine).  I was on 1 of its final sailings before it was completely remodeled and renamed the Carnival Sunshine.  On the Carnival Destiny, it was my first time to cruise the Caribbean and my first taste of cruising.  It was a 10-day cruise to the Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico.  We visited some of my favorite islands on that sailing. Since then, I have done a lot of cruising. I’ve sailed on MSC and Norwegian many times, but I haven’t been back on a Carnival ship.  

As a travel agent we get the opportunity to visit several ships in our home ports and whenever there’s a new ship we take advantage and look at it ourselves so we can form our own opinions on the ship rather than listen to a sales pitch.  I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several of Carnival’s ships here in Miami.  A couple of years back I assisted with a wedding on the Carnival Vista, which is considered the sister ship of the Horizon, that ship is just as beautiful, and it has several other amenities that make it desirable especially to families.  

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to tour the Horizon and I just fell in love with the ship.  Instead of giving my clients the regular sales pitch of this cruise I was also given the opportunity to invite a few of my preferred clients on this ship tour as well. To say we had a great time was an understatement.  

First off Carnival ships have something a lot of other ships don’t which is Guy Fieri restaurants.  I know a lot of ships have specialty restaurants that are just as delicious however, those cost extra.  On the Carnival Horizon it’s as easy as going to the buffet and getting your own Guy Fieri burger and seasoned fries.  Which are delicious if I do say so myself.  There’s also a BBQ restaurant from Guy Fieri where they smoke the meat right in front of you.  

Cruise ships are famous for their buffets and crowds of people; however, the buffet is set up in a way where it’s divided and you never feel as if you’re with the crowd all of the time.  They have designed it to make the cruisers feel as if they’re in some sort of rainforest instead of just some plain old cafeteria.  

The home port of the Horizon is Miami, so I was very pleased to see it paid homage to the people of Miami and its culture.  There’s a Havana section where there are dominos tables, a bar, live Cuban music and get this even the rooms are different.  The entire cabin and its hallways transport you to Havana in the 1950’s.  The balconies are terraces with swings and lounge chairs to relax on.  It’s definitely worth the splurge.  That’s where you can find me on any night of its 6 or 7 night sailings.  

I know Carnival has been known for being a family related ship or the party ship, but with the Horizons ship, it’s set up in a way where you can be with just your group and not have to deal with anything else.  Long gone are those loud colors synonymous with cruise lines and microwaveable food.  The Horizon is designed in a modern way without taking it to the extreme. Cruising brings the comfort of home to the seas.  As a traveler you’re able to explore different islands at once without having to unpack several times.  You get a taste of so many different cities that to me it’s worth it. 

Check out some pictures from the tour below!