Boomers of the Caribbean TR - COMPLETE!! 5/10
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Don't you love Southwest Airlines? They are the best. Here's the view of the Everglades from the air.
Our flight arrived in Fort Lauderdale around 10:30 a.m. and we picked up our one-day rental car at Enterprise. (Rick loves to book and rebook rental cars in the weeks prior to a vacation -- he ended up getting this one for $38!) It was too early to check in, so we went to a locally-famous 24-hour restaurant for lunch (the Floridian) and started getting acquainted with the streets and beach area.
Spotted our first lizard of the trip on the way into the Floridian.
Rick started wondering how much $$$ it would take to buy a little yacht. Of course, if you have to ASK. . . .
Then we checked into our hotel -- I think it was a Hampton Inn, nothing fancy but clean and quiet. Then we drove the car to Miami Beach so I could get my "Art Deco fix." It was a nice way to spend the afternoon, walking the streets of Miami Beach.
Approaching and then getting on board the Celebrity Solstice was pretty even for Rick. He last cruised with a bunch of pals when they were young and broke -- I think they slept 3-4 to each interior cabin. The entire cruise industry has changed loads in the 25 years or so since then. And of course, this was my very first cruise, so the sheer enormity of the ship was pretty darn impressive to me. Rick and I starting snapping photos like mad.
It was impossible to get a shot of the entire exterior that day -- I think we took this photo in Grand Cayman two days later:
You can see that the ship has a LOT of exterior balconies. We loved having a balcony.
The logistics of everything are pretty fascinating -- the ship docks on Sunday morning, and the previous guests have to be off by 10:00 a.m. and the new guests can get on board at 11:30 -- with your cabin ready for occupancy by 1:00 p.m.
Many beautiful spaces all around the ship. Here's the stairway up to the spa area -- and the doorway to this area was just a few steps from our cabin.
Within the spa, there's a special quiet room exclusively for the use of "Aqua Class" guests -- which, thanks to Rick's company, we were. We went into this room which overlooks the front of the ship, has soft music piped into it, and special teas and ice water with floating oranges or limes in it. "Blue" is definitely the color for the Aqua Class areas.
I started posing for pics to make everybody back home jealous. Is it working?
The Aqua Class cabins and suites are on deck 11, so we could easily take stairs if we didn't want to wait for an elevator to get to the pool and buffet area on deck 14. Arrival day is the best time for photos -- it was the only time the pools weren't inhabited.
Some cute little "private" areas, so I couldn't resist posing again -- still enjoying my ice water with orange slices. Boy, did that smell good!
Then we walked up the exterior stairs to deck 15, which has a little putting green on it. That's downtown Fort Lauderdale in the distance.
Corning Glass does a hot glass show a couple times a day and once a night during the cruise. Some beautiful pieces on display. Unfortunately, you can't buy them on board. We asked one of the Corning guys why, and he said they'd have to start mass producing whatever people most wanted to buy rather than create the colors and shapes they wanted to. So at each show, they either have a drawing or give the glass object to a child. Very cool.
I was very enamored of this bowl (below) and would have probably paid a hefty price for it -- I'm kind of glad they WEREN'T selling!
The Corning Glass Company has an area where they WANT you to pose -- otherwise, you know my innate shyness would have prevented me from doing so.
Back outside, I was about to take Rick's picture when another guest offered to take one of the two of us.