Dancing Across the Caribbean
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Embarked at Ft. Lauderdale. Embarkation was quick and efficient at the new terminal.
Impressions of Ship: The ship was beautiful and clean. We never got tired of our surroundings during the 11 days.
Food: We are not super particular gourmets and found the food to be excellent. We got a package for the three specialty restaurants ($10 off for buying the package). We thought 11 nights in the main dining room would be a little much. All three specialty restaurants were phenomenal. Service was adequate. Not as good as on other cruises but that's the luck of the draw.
Dancing was our main form of recreation. We are into ballroom and found the cruise to be more than adequate for most of the ballroom styles. Every night there was an hour of ballroom dancing in the Grand Foyer, before dinner. We had a little trouble with the traffic coming down the staircase but it was mostly a pleasant experience. There was a tremendous dance band on the ship and we danced to them in More
a variety of venues and to a variety of ballroom styles. A cruise highlight was being chosen, along with my wife, for the Everybody Dance competition. (like Dancing with the Stars) We had a ball and our partners Lexi and Landon were both great dancers and very nice people. There were two dance lessons taught on every sea day. These lessons were taught by the ships dancers Lexi, Landon, Byron and Natasha. They were great instructors. We learned something from each lesson even though we have been ballroom dancing for a little while. There were also special interactive events usually kicked off by the ships dancers. All in all were were very satisfied with our experience in this area.
We had always cruised Royal Caribbean before and found Celebrity to be a little more upscale but not enough to preclude Royal Caribbean in the future. All in all it was a very enjoyable cruise with lots of memories made. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We went on a cave tubing adventure in Belize. We went with cavetubing.bz, Vitalino Reyes. He was recommended by a friend who had used him in the past. We were greeted outside the terminal and transported to the cavetubing site. We gathered our equipment and hiked to the drop-in site. Our helmets had lights so we could see our surroundings while floating through the caves on an underground river. Vitalino takes you on a longer hike, which gives you more caves than most of the other outfitters or than on the ships excursions. We also got a nice meal at the Reyes family restaurant - included in the $45 price. This excursion was well worth the price.
We read that the city of Colon can be very dangerous to tourists so we took the ships tour that included a boat ride on Gatun Lake, a visit to an Embrera Indian village and a trip to the Gatun Locks. The boat ride was OK. We didn't see anything spectacular. The Embrera Indians looked authentic although I go the impression that they were in the "village" only to show off for the tourists. A ship was going through the locks while we were there which impressed our friends who were at the canal for the first time. This was our least favorite tour because it was a large group and we were spoiled by the ambiance of the private tours at the other ports of call.
We took a taxi to Chankanaab National Park where we did some snorkeling and vegged on the beach. Snorkeling is good close to shore, lots of fish. There was also a sea lion and a manatee show included in our ticket price but we did not view these. Cost per person $21.
This was our third time at Grand Cayman and as before we rented a car from Andy's and drove to our favorite snorkeling reef - Cemetery Reef at Cemetery Beach. This beach is on the northern end of 7 mile beach. The snorkeling as always, was great, lots of fish and beautiful coral formations. Our wives also really like the shopping at Grand Cayman. We appreciated being on a Celebrity Ship here. We were tendered efficiently back and forth to the ship. A Carnival ship in port had a two hour wait to be tendered back on, and many very upset passengers.
We went with Eduardo Humpreys, Your Lucky Tours, for our aereal tram tour of the Veragua Rainforest and boat ride on the Tortuguero Canals. We had wonderful time touring the rainforest and canals. There were only the four of us in a private van with Eduardo Junior as our driver and our wonderful guide Stephani. The Veragua rainforest is beautiful and extremely educational. We saw leaf cutter ants, howler monkeys and poison arrow frogs along with numerous beautiful birds. Our boat ride on the Tortuguero Canals was on a small boat piloted by Eduardo Junior's father-in-law. He took us in towards shore when there was something interesting to see. We saw sloth, numerous iguanas, a cayman and again, numerous multi-colored birds. We then traveled to a locals restaurant, situated on a Caribbean beach where we had a wonderful meal. We then were transported to Eduardo's homestead where we were treated to fresh coconut milk and a tour of the family's private cave. We can't say enough good things about Eduardo, Eduardo Jr., Stephani and Your Lucky Tours. Use them. You won't be disappointed. The cost was $120 but $55 of that was the entrance into the Veragua Rainforest. It was so worth it.