March 2 to March 13, 2020
Ft. Lauderdale, Cartagena Columbia, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, Georgetown Grand Cayman
Number of Cruises – 28
Cruises on Celebrity – 7
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
The poem is Sea Fever by John Masefield and I learned it in the fourth grade. While it was first published in 1902 when sailing was quite different, it evokes in me the desire likely shared by all my fellow cruisers on why we seek a cruising vacation. Sadly, it appears that the Corona virus will prevent all of us from satisfying our “sea fever” for several months.
My wife, Joanne and I really like Celebrity and Solstice-class ships in particular. I don’t think you can assemble a much nicer Caribbean itinerary than this one. There was a Veterans Day sale last November that had a good price which included four perks. We stepped on the Reflection with a $300 on-board credit, a premium beverage package, free wi-fi and gratuities.
My wife and I later agreed we didn’t need the wi-fi as it kept us too connected to the “real world.” This was our first cruise with a beverage package. I found it a very nice luxury to order a Macallan, a Café Americano, or a glass of nice wine without mentally adding that to our bill. You just present your Sea Pass card and it came back with your beverage and not even a receipt to sign. PRO TIP: Slip your cocktail server a few dollars when you first order and your glass will never be empty.
We booked dinner for the first night at the Tuscan Grill at the aft of the ship. It’s a wonderful dining experience that allows you to view the lights of Florida as you sail southeast.
Crisscrossing the Caribbean resulted in several sea days which were wonderful. The Caribbean, for most of our days, sported white caps indicating a wind speed of 20-25 mph and produced a nice rolling motion on the ship. One day it was quite pronounced and when we went to the Oceanview Café on deck 14 it was very rocky. I wobble around using a cane and I had my wife fix me a salad plate for lunch as I didn’t want fellow passengers erroneously thinking I was abusing my premium beverage package with a face plant.
This was our first time in Cartagena. The ship ties up at an industrial pier where you dock next to container ships and there is really nothing within walking distance. We signed up for the Cartagena Panoramic Sightseeing excursion. The tour stops at the massive Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas for a photo-op, a shopping arcade and the naval museum. The drive through the old walled city is reminiscent of Old San Juan or even New Orleans. The “new city” of Cartagena would remind you of Miami Beach. The most acute memory of the tour is the insane traffic. One-way streets seem to be just a suggestion for drivers and I will be unable to complain about Atlanta’s traffic with this experience.
We had an overnight port stay in Aruba and dined in the Lawn Club Grill while enjoying sunset. While the ambiance of the open-air venue was lovely, I didn’t find anything about the pizzas, salad bar or grilled steaks that warranted the extra charge.
In Bonaire, we booked the North and South Highlights excursion. The tour guide was very good and we viewed loads of flamingos and saw the salt ponds which produce the islands only export. I was amazed how interesting it was to see how giant pools of evaporating sea water produce the salt we use. A very worthwhile tour. Dinner this evening was in the Murano which is by far, one of the most marvelously decadent experiences you can have anywhere. Put the Murano on your cruising bucket list.
Our cruise director, Rich Clesen, was everywhere all week and personally bid all the passengers, adieu, upon departure. He did a great job and I “accidentally” photo-bombed him and his assistant when they were taping a daily show one afternoon in the shops aboard. Comedian, Kevin Jordan was very good with humor directed to the average age aboard and which would be lost to Gen-Xers or younger. Magician Ryan Joyce put on an amazing magic show in the Reflection Theater one night and followed the next afternoon with a hypnosis program. While he had 20 participants “under” on stage, he gave them a hypnotic suggestion to never drink and drive in addition to all the crazy routines they obeyed. He said he does that for every show. Uptown Funk performed one night and we’ve seen them three times now on Celebrity. I always enjoy the show.
In all aspects, it was a wonderful 12 days and while our next cruise is scheduled for December, we’ll likely be back on Celebrity sooner when the health authorities signal an all clear.
The cabin was convenient to the aft elevators. While listed as "partially obstructed" your view was fine as you can see from the photos. The veranda was HUGE.
Visited the Fortress, shopping arcade, the naval museum and the new city.
North - South tour.View All 107 Island Tour Reviews
A wonderful port.
We've visited here many times and always enjoy it.
The turtle farm and a glass bottom boat tour.