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We booked the cruise about 15 months out, but most of the others in the group booked it long before me. It was a long wait, but all of the planning that went into it helped pass the time. All of the planning was well worth it. The cruise turned out to be great.
We all met in Miami by the day before we cruised (a few were there even earlier). When Cindy and I walked into the hotel lobby, many of the group were sitting there as a welcoming party. Amazingly, I recognized just about all of them with no problem. Everyone hit it off right from the beginning.
We had our 1st group event that evening. A dinner at Miller's Ale House. Jason, Cheryl, and Wayne were there as well, even though they were not cruising with us. It was great to meet Jason and Cheryl after all of these years on the board. That 1st dinner was a nice way to start to get to know each other.
The next day, we took the hotel shuttle to the pier, and got in the Concierge Class line to check-in. What a fiasco. They were so disorganized that all of the regular cabin people were checked in long before us. Our line was having one person go to check out about 7 minutes apart, and we were 13th in line. That meant that we would be there about 1 1/2 hours. Finally, someone took the back of our line and sent us to the regular line. Luckily, we were included. We got on board about the same time as the 2nd people in the Concierge line.
When we finally got on, we got our glass of Champagne and went to our cabin. This was our 1st aft cabin, and boy, were we impressed with the size of the balcony.
The champagne and fruit in the room was nice too. We ended up not going to the sailaway party because with all of the traveling, we were exhausted, so we watched sailaway from our balcony.
We had the Concierge Class Breakfast on our balcony several days. The food came cold on the 1st day, but got fixed, and was fine after that.
Pre-dinner drinks were always in the Martini Bar. The martinis were great, and the service was always very good
Dinners on this cruise were nothing to write home about. There was some strange food on the menu. Mostly, the food was pretty bland. Cindy and I are not the type to complain much, but neither of us was very satisfied with the dinners. Even down to the bread on the table we were disappointed. Every night was the same. Eventually, Rose Spoke up (no surprise there :D), and asked for some different bread. The next night, and all of the remaining nights we did get some different rolls.
The one exception was Ocean Liners. The food and service there was exceptional. That was a great experience. The group sat at two separate tables, and had a ball.
Even with the problems with the food, dinner with all of the Crazies was an enjoyable event every night. In general, the group hit it off very well. A very compatible bunch of people.
Breakfast and lunch at the buffet was fine. The waffles were great. So were the burgers. The pizza was good.
We didn't get to too many of the shows. What we did see were fine. Nothing that blew my socks off, but enjoyable none the less.
We did a slot pull where we each put in money for a certain amount of pulls, and what ever we ended up with would be split evenly. Unfortunately, we didn't pay off the cruise with our winnings (maybe I should call them losings). Other events that we had on-board included a scavenger hunt (Debbie and Andrea won), Mah Jongg lesson (Cindy was the instructor), and a group picture.
Our 1st port was St. Thomas. Been there enough that all we did was take a taxi to town and shop (AARRGGG). The weather was sunny and hot. There was a beautiful sunset at sailaway.
Next stop was St Maarten. We haven't been there since 1975, so we took a ship tour that included a butterfly farm. Very interesting. Glad we went.
St. Maarten was beautiful. Great weather.
Next was Antigua. There, we did a group tour with the other Crazies. We visited Nelson's Dockyard
On the way to the beach, our van broke down. It could have been a disaster, but with the company we were with, it turned out to be no problem. Cindy and Rose managed to find more shopping when we finally reached the beach..
The next day, we were in St. Lucia. There, we had a great tour. Lots to see on this beautiful island.
We visited a banana plantation where we had a banana picked right from the tree.
A drive in volcano
A beautiful waterfall
and again went to the beach.
The tour included a very interesting lunch of very Caribbean fare (most of which was very good), and all-you-can-drink beer, rum punch, soda, water, etc. Personally, this was my favorite tour.
Our 5th island in 5 days was Barbados. We did another group which included a rum factory
and a nice tour of the island.
We finally got a reprieve from touring, and had a nice relaxing day at sea. We didn't do very muc, and that was fine with us.
Our next-to-last islands was Aruba. Cindy and I have never been there, and we took a ship tour of the island. Aruba is very beautiful. Very dry and desert-like, with lots of open area. There we visited interesting rock formations
and a lighthouse
We enjoyed the tour.
The last island we visited was Curacao. Also a beautiful island. We got off the ship, and bought a tour from one of the vendors just off the trip. This wasn't one of the better tours, but it was cheap. Still, all in all, we enjoyed it.
I could honestly say that this cruise was one of the best we have done, and we'll remember it for a long time to come. Disembarkation was actually one of the best we have ever had. Quick and efficient with no crowding at the door. The Connie is a beautiful ship. Lots of art work (some a bit strange). The crew was great, and seemed genuinely happy. I loved the layout. very easy to get around. Never seemed crowded anywhere on the ship.
We were afraid that 2 weeks on a cruise ship was going to be a bit too long. We couldn't have been more wrong. The only regret I have is that I'm not still there.
The final 2 days were sea days. We were able to relax and unwind before flying home and get back to reality. It was nice having everyone with us. They were all great company. Howie and Rose had a nice Mimosa party on their balcony. Some final shopping was done, and afternoon naps were mandatory. When we finally had to say goodbye to everyone, it was definitely a sad time. Here's to all of you wonderful Crazies.