Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 13, 2011 - Port Everglades Florida

Embarkation – We arrived at Port Everglades around 2pm, and enjoyed a smooth embarkation. Our cabin is very small, but certainly has everything we need. We were told that lunch was being served in the cafeteria, so before we unpacked, we took advantage of that. Then we headed to the briefing about excursions and so on. Before we finished unpacking, there was a life boat drill, though we never saw a lifeboat. We did look quite cute in our lifejackets though. We managed to stow everything in our limited space, then enjoyed watching the giant “Allure of the Seas” maneuvering its way out of the port. Quite a sight! There were a couple of other departing cruise ships in sight at the same time. Then it was quiet time, reading up on the available excursions and activities. Looks like something fun in every port! After a drink in one of the bars – with live music – we joined our table in the dining room. 3 other couples, from southern England, Rhode Island and Philadelphia. What an enjoyable group! Lots of chatter and laughter. And good food and drink. Then into the tremendous theatre for a lively “SAM – tribute to USA” show. Lots of folks were heading to the casino or clubs but we were ready for bed                   

 Photos of the Day

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 14, 2011 Key West, Florida

Key West, FL – Valentine’s Day in Key West – After breakfast and exchanging valentine’s cards, we walked into Key West. We shopped a bit at the Mallory Square end of town, then strolled to the farthest south point. There was a long line-up for photos so we took ours from across the street.

 Then we strolled back to the Hemingway House and took the tour there. We had a great animated guide who really told the stories well. From there, we headed back to the Little White House and enjoyed another really interesting tour, before returning to the ship for a late lunch and some quiet time in our cabin. A lovely day – bright and just warm enough for strolling. We enjoyed cocktails and watched the sunset from the pool deck, then a Puccini concert in the theatre and dinner with our very interesting and animated table companions.

Monday, February 7, 2011

February 15, 2011 Day at Sea

A day at sea -  We tried out the cafeteria for breakfast this morning, but will switch back to the restaurant, we think, for the rest of the cruise. The food on this ship is fine, but nowhere near the standard we’ve experienced on smaller ships. I attended the morning Arts & Crafts session, where I learned to make crepe paper flowers that the kids might enjoy trying. Later in the morning, I played Bingo – I ended up just one number short of the big jackpot. Too bad! Lunch in one of the restaurants was very pleasant. We sat with a couple who are farmers in England and a young guy named Mario who carries a Canadian passport, lives in New York and appears to have come from elsewhere before his time in Windsor and NYC. Much talk of alligators and everglades. In the afternoon I attended another craft session – bookmarks this time – not very interesting. Larry attended a technical lecture about the ship, which was very interesting.
It was gala evening, so we dressed up and went for cocktails with the captain, followed by a lively show of gymnastics and such, then a great dinner. The conversation at our table was so great we were among the last to leave the dining room.
Photos of the Day

Saturday, February 5, 2011

February 16, 2011 Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica – Our shore excursion today was “very interesting”. First, a ride through Fern Gully, a rain forest environment. The roads are terrible and it was raining, so they were running with water as well. The trees are green, lush and very tall. Next stop – Coyaba Gardens a botanical garden also featuring a waterfall. It was gorgeous. Finally, we went to Dunn’s River, which falls about 1500’ over rocks just before it reaches the ocean beach.
  We donned water shoes and packed our clothes into a locker, formed a human chain and climbed up. It must have taken about an hour and it was exhausting but much fun. We bought a photo and the DVD. [Our guide was the very worst we’ve ever encountered. She conveyed very little information about our surroundings, but the driver filled in for much of that. We were delayed at Coyaba Gardens because she disappeared. Then, at Dunn’s Falls, she gave us no information except a departure time. We were late for that, because of the length of the climb, and had to chase the bus across the parking lot as it pulled away without us. She tried to prevent us boarding, but the other passengers rebelled and insisted.] We were sure ready for a Red Stipe when we finished! Back to the boat for a very late lunch and a bit of time by the pool. The rain moved in again, though, so we abandoned that and went to our cabin. Dinner, again, was lots of fun. We‘re very fortunate with our assigned table. After dinner, there was a big party on the pool deck, so we went and watched the dancing for a while, then checked out the photographs. We even bought a few.
Photos of the Day

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February 17, 2011 Georgetown, Grand Cayman Is., BWI

Georgetown, Grand Cayman Islands
Today the ship was at anchor in a bay, so we went ashore by tender. There, we made our way to a dock and boarded The Galleon for a snorkelling excursion. We stopped at two places: first, over the wreck of a freighter, from the 1980s, then, over a large coral reef. Neither was as good as some we’ve seen, but it was still very worthwhile. We saw many kinds of fish and coral, the water was a perfect temperature, and it wasn’t too crowded. So we really enjoyed it. After a brief tour of the local shops – mostly high-end with watches, diamonds and Lladro figurines – we boarded a tender back to the ship in time for a late lunch. We both played bingo in the afternoon but again were one number away for each possible prize. Tonight’s show was called Atlantis and it was an “impressive” display of dancing, acrobatics, song and knife-throwing. Totally not my thing, but perhaps entertaining for those who are fans of Cirque de Soleil or circuses of any kind. Once again, lively conversation at dinner, then off to bed. The two younger couples are intent on getting sunburned and spending time drinking at every available Margaritaville establishment on shore. It’s becoming tedious. They did regale us with the on-shore antics of the woman in the knife-throwing act, though. She apparently wears a tiny bikini and invites men to have photos take with her.
Photos of the Day

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 18, 2011 Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico – We had a nice, late morning, with breakfast in the cafeteria. Our tour didn’t depart until 10, so it was very relaxed. The tour was great -- a trip around the island with a stop at a very old Mayan temple at El Cedral, where there is also the first Catholic place in Mexico, and there is quite a nice market area.
Next stop was El Mirador beach on the east side of the island, where we could wander in the sand and watch the breakers roll in. Finally, the Tequila Museum, where we learned about the process, saw Blue Agave plants and sampled several kinds of tequila. Then, on the same site, we watched a terrific dance show -- dances from all over Mexico. Then back to the ship for a very late lunch and some relaxation. The evening show was heavy on acrobatics with some singing and a farewell from the entertainers. Dinner was formal and included a parade of flaming Baked Alaskas.

Photos of the Day


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 19, 2011 Day at Sea - back to Ft. Lauderdale

Day at Sea - back to Ft. Lauderdale – A morning walk around the pool deck (I stopped after 3 circuits; Larry did 9) and breakfast in the cafeteria. Our disembarkation briefing and a game of bingo (no joy) with a lively and interesting conversation in French with a Swiss lady. Lunch in the restaurant and packing for early disembarkation tomorrow. Although this was a nice getaway, I won’t likely travel with MSC again. The ship was bigger than I’m comfortable with, and the entertainment is very definitely not to my taste. There was no sense of shared interests with anyone else on board.

February 13, 2011 - Port Everglades Florida

Embarkation – We arrived at Port Everglades around 2pm, and enjoyed a smooth embarkation. Our cabin is very small, but certainly has everyt...