We flew out of Toronto on Thurs. Mar 22 2012. Landed in Fort Lauderdale. Stayed 2 nights at the Hollywood Beach Resort and Cruise. I called the resort when we had claimed our luggage. The free shuttle van came in 20 mins. We requested the free shuttle from the resort/hotel to the pier. It was a short distance to the pier. Arriving before our cruise date was very relaxing. So it was a great start to our cruise.
Embarkation went quickly. My DH and I were impressed how quickly we got onto the ship. What I didn't care for was the huge crowd of people trying to get something to eat from the Seaview buffet. We have since learned to go to the Bistro on 5. You can have great food there too. It's costs a minimal fee. I will be keeping this in mind for our next cruise!!
We found a spot to eat and then proceeded to walk around the ship. Our luggage was waiting at our door when we got there this was at 1:15. We did the closet dance. My DH decides to unpack (which is a first for him) I guess cause it was a 14 day cruise. There were enough hangers for my clothes too!! The bathroom was ample room for our toilets.
Dining Seating: Were had booked first seating (6pm) a table for 2. A card in our room saying we were scheduled for 2nd seating. So we spoke to the head Maitre D and he fixed it that we had our 1st seating. BUT we would have to be at a table of 6. We agreed. That was a great decision. Our first dinner we were nervous as to who would we be seated with. Well when we meet that first night.. We knew we had no worries. We met 2 other couples. They made for great dinner conversation. So our next cruise we're going with a larger table, instead of being by ourselves.
Food was good. There was so much food. Soon you learn to slow down and eat lighter.
I have to say that we had great warm sunshine EVERYDAY. I brought some clothes for coolish temps and didn't need them. Which an added bonus for me.!!
Excursions -- ARUBA we did the Kukoo Kunuku Palm Beach tour. It cost $32.75 p/adult. 4 hrs. this took us to some famous landmarks of Aruba. The driver was informative as well as comedic. After the sightseeing were we taken to the beach. The cost of the tour included: entrance to the beach, a lounge chair and a drink. We found out that booking the tours through the ship are very close to the price had you booked your tour on shore.
CURACAO- we did another beach tour for $34.75 p/adult. It was similar to the Aruba tour. We're in the sunny Caribbean.. Beach it is for us!!!
GRENADA-- we walked up the street to a market of fruits/veggies and SPICES... Smelled so sweet. We tour a taxi around the island (with a couple we met at dinner on the ship). Next time I visit Grenada I'd love to buy some spices. The market vendors also small sealed bags of wide variety of spices. Women were also selling necklaces (that you hang in your kitchen) of the different spices on the island. I wished I could have bought some. Our taxi driver showed us the different spice trees. We didn't go to the beach this port. But bought some hot sauces to take back as gifts.
BARBADOS-- excursion was "Beach Break" $29.75 p/adult. I rate this a great value as we spent 3 hours at the beach AND we got a chair, umbrella and a drink!! The beach sand is the consistency of flour--powder soft. This is definitely a place I plan to return for at least a week.
ST. LUCIA-- we didn't get very far as I shopped and bought myself a lovely Amolette pendant!!! Plus we had spent a week here at a resort couple of years prior.
ANTIGUA-- Our original excursion got cancelled due to lack of interest. Worked out for in our best interest anyway.. So we chose the Sting Ray and snorkel. $69.75 p/adult. You are taken by bus to the coral reef. It's well organized. They have the guides instructing you what to do while in the water with the sting rays. The s. rays are sooooo soft. They help you hold them (if you want to). Don't miss the opportunity to feed the squid and hold them. This has got to be another highlight in our cruise.
ST. MAARTEN-- have to say this port is very organized for arranging your own tour to the beach. They have signs posted to the different beaches and you line up for the beach of your course. We've been to this port last cruise so we went with a different couple from our dinner table. We meet at 9 am at the gangway and headed for the taxis we decided to go to Orient Beach. Later we heard that this was a good to go. Those people leaving at 10am. had looong lines waiting for taxis. Another good point is the more people you have in your taxi/van the cheaper it is p/p. The taxi driver gave us his name and van # and we told him what time to return to pick us up. It went so smoothly. This is not the case in another port we were at. Some passengers asked to be dropped off in town to shop. Which not a problem for the driver. We just went back to the ship.
ST. THOMAS-- we've been here too last cruise. We went to where the taxis were--expected it to be run like the last port (St. Maarten) NOT! we wanted to go to the beach the taxi drivers started arguing over which of them would take us. (10 people) here the taxi fares are the same not matter the number the people are in the vehicle. We went to "Coki Point Beach" super blue water. Just gorgeous!! mine you we had to pay a fee for the umbrella -$10 usd for the umbrella (these are the huge canvas ones) and $5.per chair -- so with the price of the taxi ride and the 2 chairs and umbrella it's very close to the cost of a tour from the cruise ship. And no complimentary drink. Although the people working here are very attentive to you. I saw a lady pulling a wagon of snacks you could buy. Chips, choco bars, juices. I was expecting them to cost alot. But a med. size bar of name brand chips, Doritos were ONE usdollar. They have on the premises a hut where the make you fresh natural organic smoothies. They let you sample them first. This beach there were people doing scuba diving and snorkeling. You can rent their equipment or bring your own. Such a beautiful beach.
ROOM SERVICE: It arrived on time and with everything we ordered. You can order from the TV or find the forms in the binder on the vanity table. I was so pleased with their prompt delivery. Especially on the days we were in port.
Breakfasts: Dining room were very good too. It was nice being on a 14 day cruise, cause it takes a few days to realize that I can ask for ANYTHING to eat. It doesn't have to be on the menu.
Lunches: We did at the buffet. It was fast and the variety was vast to choose from. I really enjoyed the healthy extras they had available. Dried fruit and nuts I'd add to my daily huge salad. I asked if they had any sandwich/ paninis. I was told where to go and there too were vast selections for decide what to have today!!
DISEMBARKMENT-- We did the "walk off". We were asked to be on the third floor by the BETA ROOM at 7:45am. We went for breakfast Seaside buffet at 6:30am. went to our room to get our luggage and proceeded to where we were instructed. Got there at 7:20am and there was a huge line. Some people were panicking--worried they would miss their flights. But the ship has to wait to be cleared by the port Authorities before allowing us to leave. Once the "All Clear" was given it went relatively quick. Once through immigrations you proceed out to the taxi que is. This went fast as well.
Overall we loved our cruise. It was so relaxing and we met so many nice people on our cruise. I give it a 5 stars...
Cruising on the Celebrity line, they tell us to let them know if there's anything to make your stay more pleasant to just tell them and they will make it happen. We can attest to this. With our dinner seating time. Well done. Thanks. We booked our next cruise while on this cruise. So now we're going to the Mediterranean in the spring of 2013. Looking forward to it!! :)