Overall Rating: Excellent
|Destination:||Caribbean - Southern|
|Departed From:||Fort Lauderdale, FL|
|# of Nights:||11-14 Nights|
This cruise was to celebrate a milestone birthday of my husband’s.
We had a direct flight from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale, arriving in FLL at 10:30 am Saturday, 3/23/13. We were transferred from the airport to the cruise port in less than an hour. Embarkation was very efficient and quick. We were on the ship before 12:30, had our “welcome aboard” champagne and went up to the Oceanview Café for lunch (and a drink) before getting the all clear that our stateroom was ready. The Muster Drill was held about 3:15. Same as last year – met in one of the Specialty Dining rooms for announcements and a slide show. I still don’t agree with this kind of safety drill. We were not even told where our lifeboat station was. And, were told to report to our “stations” without our life jackets. For some reason, our scheduled 4:30 pm sail away was postponed to almost 6:00 pm. Since we had a 6:00 seating in the main dining room (Moonlight Sonata), we dined in the Oceanview Café instead. We wanted to be up top for the sail away to wave at the Port Everglades webcam.
1 – Depart Fort Lauderdale 4:30 pm.
2 & 3 – At sea.
4 – St. Thomas – We’ve been to this port numerous times. Since we were docked at the pier to the west of Charlotte Amalie, we decided to take a cab ($8 pp, one way) downtown to shop and walk around.
5 – St. Maarten – A torrential downpour most of the time we were docked. Nobody on the beach. We just walked around carrying our umbrellas and ducking into stores and restaurants.
6 – Antigua – A taxi tour that we just “grabbed” by the pier, that I wish we hadn’t. Long story.
7 – St. Lucia – We purchased a ship excursion that took us to several scenic overlooks on hilly, windy roads. Beautiful views of the Pitons and a walking tour of the Soufrierre volcano.
8 – Barbados – Another ship excursion. This took us to the Atlantic shore – Bathsheba - and beyond. A different tour than I went on when I was there on the Cruise Crazies group cruise in 2009.
9 – At sea.
10 – Curacao (extra sea day) – We were supposed to dock here from 8 am – 9 pm, but it wasn’t meant to be, I guess. It was very windy and choppy so the port authorities decided that it was too dangerous to dock. So we just kind of sailed in circles and had another sea day.
11 – Bonaire – Another ship excursion. This island is not a particularly pretty island. What it is most know for, is their gorgeous coral reefs. It is a very popular destination for divers and snorklers.
12 – Aruba – Just a walking around, shopping day here in Oranjestaad.
13 & 14 – At sea.
15 – Arrive in Fort Lauderdale – 7 am.
Moonlight Sonata (Main Dining Room) – We were assigned to Table 248 with three other couples – two of us were from the U.S., one from Canada and one from England. We got along so well that they almost had to kick us out of the dining room to get ready for the 8:30 seating. The food was amazing. No complaints. Our wait staff – Nelson, head waiter and Elena, his assistant – were very attentive. Like in all parts of the ship, the Celebrity crew treats you with respect and class. I can’t say that enough.
Murano (Specialty Restaurant) – For my husband’s birthday celebration, we dined in this French/Mediterranean specialty restaurant. Excellent food and service. Highly recommended.
Oceanview Café – Not your typical “buffet”. Like I mentioned in my review, last year, it has “islands” of different types of food. Not the long lines that you have to wade through and wait for others to decide what they want, even though you don’t want it. It was especially nice for breakfast – a couple egg stations with cooked to order eggs and different types of Eggs Benedict, and fruit and veggie islands, cereal – hot and cold, etc. Very well organized.
The Martini Bar - This was our favorite hangout after dinner. Our two master martini bartenders were great – “Wid” and “Putu” could really mix a great drink while putting on a show in the process. I told my husband that I wanted to adopt them and take them home.
Eclipse Theater – We went to several shows. They ranged from variety shows to comedians to a “circus style” acrobatic show called “Eclipse”, that was my favorite, and of course a Broadway show revue that was very well done. They even had Marc Preston, former member of “The Lettermen”, perform twice. Very enjoyable.
Other entertainment around the ship was great. A Liberace-style pianist, Perry Grant was very entertaining. There was Ray Brown, Jr. (Ella Fitzgerald’s son) and his quartet and a very good acoustic guitar player/singer, Kylle Thomasson.
We never made it to the Glass Show, but we did go up to Deck 15 (the lawn deck) often. It’s so different to walk on real grass on a cruise ship.
The ship, itself was kept impeccably clean, always. Our cabin steward was very professional and friendly – addressed us by name every time he saw us in the hall. Every request was taken care of in a timely manner.
Debarkation went very well. We were assigned a time for our group to meet in the Theater – 9:00 am. The only glitch was having to stand in a long line to retrieve our luggage. Unlike Miami, your luggage is just put in a large room according to your luggage tag number and color. I like the carousels in Miami much better.
Our trip home wasn’t as smooth. Our scheduled 11:55 am flight to DC was changed to 12:20 pm flight, which turned into 12:35 pm. We were supposed to arrive in DC at 2:20 with a connecting flight to Detroit departing at 3:15. Long story short, we made it to the gate at about 2:55. We made it home…..barely.
A great ship…..a great cruise. Celebrity remains my favorite cruise line.