Friday, April 25, 2008
Rejuvenated-but oh so not rested. Our journey began by having to get up and out of our bed at 3 a.m. (yes, there really is such an hour-egads) to shower and dress for our hour-long drive to LAX for a 6 a.m. flight that would end up in Ft. Lauderdale, FLA. The flights were smooth, landed on time and our luggage arrived at the same time (and in the same place) we did. The hotel shuttle came within 10 minutes of our getting out to the front of the terminal. The Comfort Suites Inn was clean, well kept (okay, the tub was clean but Miss Plumbing here felt it could have been in better condition) and the staff was very friendly and helpful.
So far, so good!
We had a day-and-a-half in Ft. Lauderdale. Thanks to our front desk person, we were able to make the most of it. He had the same shuttle that brought us take us to the riverfront in old town and told us which water taxi to commandeer. We decided to go and hunt up a place for an early lunch. Unlike California, this city didn’t seem to believe in breakfast restaurants! That was okay. Our “captain” on the water taxi gave us a tour of the canals-the yachts, the homes, who lived in them and all the gossip-then he dropped us off a street behind the main drag of restaurants and upscale shops (and a suggestion of where to eat!). Thanks to a truckload of prednisone, I was more than able to walk-so we did. We found the crepe place that was suggested. It was very cute, had great food and good coffee.
Fortified-we walked up and down old town. Then it was back to the hotel. We were able to find simple but okay dinner places both nights. Sunday morning, we ate the breakfast the hotel provided and the shuttle over to our ship.
We boarded the Celebrity Millennium and made ourselves at home. Our first evening we were expecting our requested table for two-but wound up at one for 8. Everyone was very nice, but by the time we arrived back at our cabin after the first show, we were re-assigned to the table of our choice.
Our first day was at sea, beautiful weather and we enjoyed a day of puttering around. We went to the gym (I was also doing a bit of work on an article for the OC Register on how to keep fit and healthy while cruising), worked out and I had a very nice massage, while my better half enjoyed a round of bingo (and won!).
Next day we docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. On the way to our tour bus (we did old/new town and the Ft. Cristobal) we actually saw dolphins. San Juan was quite picturesque. Although we were a bit taken aback by some of the residents calling us (meaning tourists in general) names! Not the people in the shops, but those hanging out in the parks and street vendors.
Wednesday we docked in St. Thomas. We love Megan’s Bay-it truly is one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. We did some shopping as well. Nothing major this trip, after all we weren’t in the market to upgrade any jewelry. We were looking for some gifts for the “kids” in our lives, but alas, both San Juan and St. Thomas had nothing we couldn’t get at any of our local malls.
Thursday, while it is true that we docked in the Dominican Republic-we stayed on the ship. We had already been to this port and weren’t very impressed with it the first go-round. It was a day of having a great time in the gym and walking around the ship.
Friday was spent at Celebrity’s private island in Labadee, Haiti. We took a very interesting walking tour. Our guide was a very passionate young man who was worth twice the amount we paid for the excursion. He told us about the city of Labadee across the bay where he came from and how thanks to our cruise line his home finally had not only its very first medical clinic, but electricity as well.
Saturday was our last day at sea. It was smooth sailing. Again we hit the gym and just enjoyed all the ship had to offer. I must also add we had the most wonderful waiter. Eladio was from Guatemala. He’s about our age and a family man with 3 teenage boys. He and his wife hate the 6 month long separation, but he’s able to support his family so they all endure what they must. Our miter’s Franco, was a wonderful younger man from Croatia. He had been with Celebrity for 16 years. While he loved his job for most of those years, he is now a family man with 2 very young children. He has decided that he no longer wants to be away from them for so many months at a time. His goal is to try and arrange a different job within the company that would allow him to be with his family. Our cabin stewards were excellent. Friendly, helpful and yet-they did their jobs as if they were as stealth as jaguars!
Sunday’s trip home was long and tiring. Our “first” class tickets are going to be this weekend’s project. Seems our plane hadn’t had the capability to give us movies or music in a month! If we had paid with cash instead of air miles we would probably be a bit more disappointed, but we are going to try and get those miles back. Also, when one requests a “vegan” meal and then specifies that there cannot be any dairy on her plate due to food allergies-why would the “chef” send a plate with cold salmon, frozen (that cold) French fries and ranch dressing?
Ah well, if only the last stretch home had a hitch in it-we truly must have had one helluva grand time!