My wife and I are both 64 and retired. We live in Gloucester Virginia. This was our 4th cruise, two on Holland America and two on Celebrity. We have been to Alaska(19 days), Panama Canal(14 days), Bermuda(7 days) and Southern Caribbean(14 days). We went on this cruise with two other couples.
We left Virginia a day early and got to Ft. Lauderdale approx. 11:30 am. We retrieved our bags and went to the shuttle parking and there was a complementary shuttle from the Best Western already there. We got to the motel too early and while waiting to get into our room, we went to Mc Donald's next door and got a bite to eat. We got into the room at 1:30. One other couple arrived at 3:15. Later we got a shuttle to a restaurant recommended by the motel staff, Kiki's, and had a nice dinner there. Back to the room and to bed. We stayed at Best Western Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port and the motel was very nice and quiet. The rooms were clean and the beds comfortable.
We awoke the next day, 1/28/12, had a bite to eat and got ready to take the shuttle to the cruise terminal. The shuttle was $8 per person and we signed up for it the previous day after we arrived at the motel. The day we left was a very busy day at the terminal and also a busy day at the motel trying to get guests to the ships. At our motel there were approx. 100 people waiting for various shuttles to take them to various ships. I think it went well considering the sheer volume of people. When we paid for our shuttle we also paid for the return shuttle to take us to the airport upon our return. We left the motel at 11:15 and arrived at the terminal at 11:45. The terminal porters got our bags and loaded them on the various carts to be put on our ship and we were off to the terminal. There seemed to be approx. 300 to400 people at the terminal when we arrived. We got in line and it went smoothly. We were onboard by 12:30, had some lunch and got into our rooms by 1:30. We had an outside room and while it was certainly smaller than our home it was big enough for us and our four suit cases. It was clean and all of the paperwork we expected, shore excursion tickets, coupon booklet etc., were on our bed. We met our room stewards for the cruise, Mat Syaroni and Vijayen Padayachy, and I cannot say enough about these gentlemen and the level of service they provided. After about three days they knew exactly what we needed and when we needed it. We went to deck 11 to watch the ship leave and what a sight we saw. There were nine ships leaving that day, we were number 6, and what a procession it was. We had dinner in the dining room and saw the show and went to bed at 11:00 pm.
The next two days, 1/29/12 & 1/30/12, were sea days. We basically got up had breakfast, laid by the pool, had lunch, laid by the pool, got dressed for dinner and went to the show. Other things we did on these days were kitchen tour (very informative), cruise critic meeting, bingo, shopping talks, playing Rook, beyond the podium presentations with Dr. Danny Whitford (very interesting and easy to understand) and the Super Bowl on Sunday. We had our first formal night at dinner and everyone was dressed nicely. A word about the food on this ship during this cruise is in order. We ate in the main dining room every night except one and found the food and service to be of the highest quality in both taste and freshness. Our two waiters throughout this cruise were Gede Gardita and Emmanuel Arro. We got to know these gentlemen a little and learned about their families and where they were from and they made our dining experience better for it. After a couple of nights they were calling us (three couples) by our names and they also had our drinks already on the table when we sat down. They were fantastic and we cannot thank them enough for making our dining experience the best that it could be.
This morning, 1/31/12, we arrived in Aruba and ate breakfast then went into town to shop as we did not have any excursions planned for Aruba. We were here before and had taken a tour of the island. We did buy some nice pieces of jewelry. The prices seemed, by far the best, at Diamonds International. After we returned to the ship we relaxed by the pool for a few hours, played some cards and then got ready for dinner then the show. Tonight we were lucky to have singer Lelani Marrell preform for us and she was great. Afterwards we played some more cards then off to bed.
On 2/1/12, we arrived at the island of Curacao. We had breakfast and then went for a walk in the city. We returned to the ship for lunch prior to taking our tour, Blue Curacao & Seaquarium CU52. Did not care for the Blue Curacao part of the tour but enjoyed the Seaquarium, especially the Dolphin show. Returned to the ship, showered and went topside to see the departure from Curacao. After pulling away we dressed for dinner, then went to the show to see comedian Don Gavin who was very funny. We then hit the sack.
Feb.2, 2012 was a sea day and basically all we do on sea days is eat, lounge around the pool, play cards and see the show. My wife did play bingo today and enjoyed it. Tonight we saw two shows, concert pianist Brooks Aehron and our cruise director, Sue Denning's one woman show. Both were very entertaining and quite good. After the shows we went to bed.
On Friday, 2/3/12, we arrived in Grenada. After breakfast, we went to the pier side shopping mall and looked around for a while, then, back to the ship for lunch. We then went on the Spice and Waterfalls tour GD43. It included a tour of a cocoa grower and a nutmeg processor which were interesting. I learned that a hurricane a few years ago destroyed 90% of the nutmeg trees and that they are replanting them. Back at the ship we got ready for our second formal dinner, then, a production show. After the show we hit the sack.
This morning, Sat. 2/4/12, we arrived in Barbados. After breakfast, we went on the Coast to coast scenic drive tour of the island BBC5. We went to the second highest point on Barbados and the view was fantastic. We also went to Bathsheba beach and saw some interesting rock formations. The tour was very comprehensive and worth your time. After we returned to the ship we had lunch and sat by the pool and read and people watched. We then took our showers and went topside to see the departure from Barbados. Then we dressed for dinner and after dinner we saw the show which was a very good ventriloquist, Don Bryant. Then we went to bed.
Feb. 5 started with sunrise pics and a cup of coffee entering St. Lucia. After breakfast we got ready for our tour for today. We took the La Soufriere tour SLC6 which I thought was a pretty good and informative outing. We, of course, went to see the volcano, but we also toured around the countryside and we also went to Maranatha gardens which were small but very pretty. When we got back to the ship, we showered and relaxed for a while prior to dinner. After dinner we watched the Super Bowl, then to bed.
This morning Feb. 6 we arrived in Antigua and after watching the ship dock, we went to breakfast, and then got ready for our excursion for this day which was Beach Escape ANA9. We went to Dickenson Bay Beach and it was a beautiful beach. We also did some sightseeing on the way back to the ship, all in all I would recommend this excursion if you like the beach. After our return to the ship, we had a late lunch then played some cards, showered and then went topside to watch our ship departing Antigua. We ate dinner in the buffet for the only time on this cruise and it was not as enjoyable as our usual dinner with our fantastic waiters. After dinner we went to the show and were entertained by a violinist Nicola Loud and she was very good and quite accomplished. After the show we hit the sack.
On Feb.7 we pulled into the dock at St. Maarten and after docking we went to breakfast and then got ready for our tour which today was Island Tour SMO4. It was an interesting tour and we saw many sites around the island including the border between the Dutch and French side of the island. We also stopped in Marigot Bay at a large outdoor shopping area and of course bought some t-shirts. After the tour we went back to the ship, ate lunch and played some cards by the pool. We then took showers and went to watch the ship depart St. Maarten. We then dressed for dinner then more cards and on to the show. This evening the show was a magician and comedian, Chad Chesmark who was very funny and entertaining. After the show we went to bed.
This morning Feb. 8 we docked in St Thomas. We ate breakfast and got ready for our tour which was Magens Bay Beach Getaway ST12. WE did a little sightseeing on our way to the beach which was beautiful. The beach, in a word, fantastic. The sand was fine and the water could not be clearer. We rented chairs and parked beside a lifeguard. It is a horseshoe shaped bay but the only negative was the width of the beach. There were a lot of people there, but, it was a trip worth taking. We went back to the ship and had lunch then went to the pier side mall and did a little last stop shopping. Went back to the ship, showered and went topside to wish St. Thomas goodbye. After dinner our show was a variety show made up of some of our previous talent and it was pretty good. After the show we hit the sack.
The next two days, Thur. Feb. 9 and Fri. Feb. 10, were at sea and again what we did was eat breakfast and instead of the pool we went to Deck 4 and read. This was a very quiet place where people just went to read and watch the ocean. Then we would eat lunch and back to Deck 4 or off to enjoy another activity on the ship. We would shower, go to dinner and see the show then to bed.
On Feb. 11 we sailed into Ft. Lauderdale to end this wonderful voyage. Disembarkation was approx. 30 min. behind schedule, but, other than a little lateness it went without a hitch and we left the ship and were thru customs quickly.
To sum up this is a cruise well worth taking. The ship was a beauty and just the right size. I cannot say enough about the crew. Our cabin stewards, Mat Syaroni and Vijayen Padayachy and our waiters, Gede Gardita and Emmanuel Arro, were first rate at what they did. They seemed like they were a step ahead of what we wanted. The ship did have a bit of norovirus, but, the Captain and crew went to work to contain the spread and I think they were very successful. I will definitely sail with Celebrity again.