Seabourn Legend cruise to celebrate our Golden Wedding.
We flew to Miami from London Heathrow. It was a daytime flight and in itself it was pretty good, the food was probably the best we have ever had on a flight, if that is not an oxymoron!!
However....on arriving in Miami airport, not only did we have to walk half a mile (!) but the queue for the passport control snaked round and round and took one hour and 20 minutes. That was exactly the same time as our journey from Cheltenham to Heathrow!!
We stayed for two nights in the Hilton Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. I can recommend this hotel for a short stay. It was friendly, comfortable, reasonably priced and had a lovely roof top pool.
On 10th December, at noon we left in the Hotel shuttle (not free) for Port Everglades to board Legend. It took fifteen minutes.
Immediately we alighted from the taxi, the Seabourn agents and crew made us very welcome. The small number of passengers obviate queues, and after the usual health check paperwork, we were on board. The Maitre D greeted us by name, remembering us from the previous cruise in March, and the CD and one of the waiters were also there from the last time on board. We felt like old hands.
Check in takes place on board and includes champagne and canapes and time to chat and get to know fellow guests. When the suites (cabins) were ready we were escorted by a crew member, who does not allow anyone to carry any part of their luggage themselves!!
We were closer to the pointy end on this cruise and I am sure the rough crossing to Grand Turk was exaggerated in this part of such a small ship.
As usual on our arrival, in the Suite, our stewardess offered me luxury soaps to choose from, and a bottle of (guess?) champagne and some chocolates were waiting for us. The stewardess was a charming Brazilian called Margeless. The suite is spacious with large marble bathroom with full size bath and shower over. (The position of the shower fitting makes it tricky to use which is annoying.) There is a walk in wardrobe, safe, TV, plenty of drawer space and a picture window.
Ports. Grand Turk, Virgin Gorda and Prickly Pear Island, BVI; Antigua; St Martin, French side of Dutch/French Island; Cruz Bay,St John, USVI; and San Juan, Puerto Rico (which is nearly America)
All the islands are beautiful of course, and we enjoyed them all. The favourites were Virgin Gorda and PP Islands, and Trunk Bay, on St Martin.
On Prickly Pear Island we had a wonderful BBQ laid on by Seabourn. Much the same as Princess do on Princess Cays. But they serve champagne and caviar in the sea from a serf board. Very pretentious but very nice too.
There are sea toys, banana thingy, kyaks, and a blow up thing you sit in and are dragged across the wake in, very frightening I should think. The tenders for the guests are small launches, not the lifeboats we are used to. All of these toys are stored inside the back of the boat and the back drops down to form a swimming pool, when conditions are suitable. Trunk Bay was Alec's favourite. It is a National Park, and therefore completely unspoilt, no sun loungers or umberellas, although behind the beach and out of sight, are showers and facilities.
Excellent as before. dine when you like, with whom you like, or on your own.
I did have one complaint about the food. I had two beef meals. One was a fillet steak, and the second beef Wellington. On both occasions the meat was "spongy". I should have sent it back, I don't know why I didn't. I found out later that the beef had probably been "hung" for too long. Another time I would make sure it went back... (I had no ill effects from eating it, although I didn't eat much) . Otherwise, all the meals were very good and the service attentive. Breakfast and Lunch is taken outside/inside on the aft deck, and is a buffet, but the tables are laid up and it is usual to join other diners; nobody blocks empty chairs. Breakfast and lunch is also served in the MDR.
Dinner is served from 7.00pm and it is a leisurely meal which suits us fine, but some guests thought the service was "slow".
The CD was excellent, the Ents group put on some rally good singing/dancing shows. Of course there is no auditorium, just a Show Lounge, but the production is very good, lighting, sound all very professional. We also had a guest jazz pianist, and a speaker who did a series of talks on Caribbean folk lore and history, including slavery of course. Also, we went Shopping with the Chef in Antigua. We visited the fruit and veg market and were introduced to many mysterious produce, with information about their use and flavour. It was a lovely experience and completely free, even though it included bus ride. About 20 of us went on this trip. On the second part of that day we went to Dickenson's bay. Unfortunately this lovely beach has been "taken over" by Sandals Resorts. It is still beautiful though.
We had made no arrangements for the transfer to the airport. Our flight left Miami at 8.00pm and of course we were to leave the ship at about 9.00am.
The Passenger Services manager arranged for us to stay from 10.00am till 6.00pm in the Sofitel on the airport for $60. We got a taxi from the port to Miami and were welcomed at the Sofitel at 9.30am and were able to have the room right away. This was a life saver. We had a lovely lunch in the hotel's French restaurant and were taken to the airport by free shuttle bus later in the afternoon. We gave ourselves rather too much time at the airport, passing through security in record time, so we were there for three hours! It is a grim airport, very worn and tired, nothing like the sort of thing we are used to in London. No champagne and caviar bar in Miami airport.
We found Long Haul travel very taxing this time, and I do not expect to do it again! Europe for us in the future.