We left home early Jan 12th, great weather, it was cold but all the roads were dry, perfect driving weather. We took 4 days to get to Florida, our first stop in Florida was St. Augustine were we had supper with Cruise Critic friends (Millie and Bill) which will be on our upcoming cruise. We had a great time.
The next day we went to visit friends from home in Nettles Island and spent the day with them. They just bought a beautiful place there and were in the middle of renovations. It will look very nice once finished
We spent one day in Pompano Beach and checked out the Timeshare that we have booked for Oct 2010 (pre-cruise) to the Oasis.
We got to Weston around 11AM, check-in was at 4PM, but to our delight we were able to move in right away. We requested an Handicap room and they had one available for us. It is really nice when we can have it, the big difference is the roll-in-shower, lots of room and a bench if needed to sit while showering. We have the "A" side which means a full kitchen, even the dishwasher. The weather has been great between 75F and 85F and clear sky. There are many pools around the complex, we have one at ours, it is great, big
We took a bus tour called Miami by Day & Night. We were picked up at the registration office of this complex around Noon and returned at 9PM. It was a full day. Our tour operator, Mindy, was great and very informative. We drove by Ft. Lauderdale Beaches as we had to pick up other people. We went by the Port of Everglades where we will be back in Oct for our Oasis back to back cruises. Our first stop was the Holocaust Memorial, which is a very sombre exhibition. Then we drove to Lincoln Road were we had time to have lunch. We drove by South Beach, Downtown, the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables where we got to visit, such a beautiful hotel. What a beautiful pool as you can see in the photos. Just across the street from the Biltmore was a beautiful church where Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez were married. Our next stop was Little Havana where we got to taste some Cuban Coffee and watch people playing Dominos. Our final stop was Bayside Marketplace where we had 2 hours on our own. We had supper at Los Ranchos and had filet mignon, plantain, rice with beans, a real Cuban meal. During the time we were there, the price was 2 for 1 so that was a great deal. At 7:45PM we all boarded the bus for our return home. What a great day. We only had 40 on the bus as this was the second tour this week. It was added because there was an overflow from Tuesday.
We arrived at the port, our ship, The Constellation is docked at dock F, we left our luggage with the porter and went to park at dock G. From parking to onboard, it took less than an hour, very quick embarkation. Since it was close to having access to our cabin, we waited so we could drop off our carry-ons.
Muster drill was at 4:15PM with no life jackets required anymore. After muster drill we went to Seaside Café Bar to meet up with our Cruise Critic friends for sail-away. It was nice to meet everyone.
We have first seating for dinner which is at 6:00PM. We met two of our tablemates and had a lovely dinner. There is quite an extensive daily menu and a menu that does not change, so lots of choices. Our waitress is Armada and assistant waiter is Rolando.
After dinner we were off to the Celebrity Theatre for the evening show which was the Opening Night Show featuring A Capella Sensation Free for All and the Celebrity Singers and Dancers and guitarist Eugene Villarino. Our Cruise Director is Peter Baker. Then finished unpacking and went to bed.
We both had a great night sleep. Off to breakfast at the Seaside Café. At 10:30AM was our Celebrity Connection party in the Michael's Club, what a nice venue for this type of gathering. The Cruise Director, Peter Baker was present with a few other officers. We all introduced ourselves and mingles. They served coffee, tea and danishes. A nice way to meet our fellow Cruise Critic roll call members.
We spent some time on our balcony watching the sea go by. Tonight is our first formal night. We had Chateaubriand, excellent. The food so far is outstanding, cooked to order which is sometimes hard to achieve.
The Captain had is Welcome party prior to each show. We got the usual Champagne, wine or juice. Captain Nicholas Pagonis welcomed us and introduced his Dept. Heads.
The show tonight was: Spotlight Broadway, they shows that showcased were: Cabaret, Hello Dolly, West Side Story, 76 Trombones, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Les Misérable's and a few others. It is amazing to watch, without interruption, how smoothly they run into each show, with costume changes.
After the show, we went to Michael's Club to listen to the piano player Maxx Difaz. He sang some Tony Bennet and Frank Sinatra amongst others. We enjoyed him very much and will probably return to listen to him again.
A beautiful warm sunny day on our way to St. Thomas. Today we had brunch, in the dining room, what a beautiful spread. They work all night to get it ready for us. You can see by the photos, there is a lot of effort put into this buffet.
We are part of the Captain's Club (Select Level) and we were invited to visit the Navigational Bridge, for security reasons, we are not allowed to take pictures. The first officer explained all the navigational instruments, radar, GPS. They still do manually plot the charts in case of emergency. After we had a group picture taken.
Another event for the Select Level Wine Tasting Seminar which turned out to be a wine blending. We had six glasses of different Chardonnay made from metallic drums, to white oak, to French Oak etc. We tasted each one then after the moderator had us blend 4mm of one into an empty glass, then taste that combination, then we added 2mm from another one and so on. At the end we just blended all of them together. It was a very nice event.
The evening show was Michael Finney Magical Comic. He was an excellent comedian, told jokes to the crowd, which I would say the average age would be mid sixties, and did a few magic tricks. Aerialist Laure opened the show. Amazing how they can lift their body weight perpendicular to the rope and seem effortless.
After the show, we went to Michael's club to listen to Maxx, singer/pianist. He has a very extensive repertoire and does not have any music sheets. Amazing.
What a beautiful day, it is Sunny 27C/80F. We had breakfast once the rush was over. We went off to Havensight Shopping area and walked around, did some shopping. There were three ships in. The other two were one of the Disney ships and Freedom of the Seas. In St. Thomas they drive with American cars on the left side of the street. Once back on our ship, we sat on our balcony and drank a pitcher of lemonade and watch boats coming in and out of the harbour.
The Select/Elite group were invited to a sail away party on the Helipad. It was nice to watch the sail away from there. They also had refreshments for us. Once we were out of our spot and on our way, the Captain tooted the horn and wave to us all on the Helipad.
The entertainment tonight was Jeff Trachea (he played Thorne on Bold and the Beautiful). He is a singer, impressionist, comedian. Another excellent show, he got a standing ovation. The Celebrity orchestra only had today to learn this routine.
Today it is cloudy and 28C/82F. We had some showers but nothing to dampen our day. We had breakfast then went for a walk around the shops on shore.
We had a shore excursion at 12:30PM called Best of Antigua which drives through the capital city of St. John's heading past quaint villages, churches, and small rum shops that epitomized the West Indian style. We made three stops at the Antigua's National Park. Our first stop was the Blockhouse Ruins overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Creek and the St. James Club. Our next stop was the Shirley Heights to see the guardhouse, built in 1791, which sits upon a rugged cliff top offering the most spectacular view of Antigua. The guardhouse has been converted into a quaint little restaurant. Our final stop was the Nelson's Dockyard, we saw the Admiral's House, Sail Makers Loft, Old Bakery and the Officers' Quarters, and lots of sail boats at the marina. The we enjoyed a complimentary beverage in an 18th century inn. In Antigua they drive on the left hand side and their cars are British. There are 365 beaches in Antigua, so you can swim in a different beach everyday.
After supper, we went to the Bar at the Edge of the Earth to listen to Free 4 All a Capella group. They have been together now for 2 months and they are terrific.
Tonight's entertainment was Mark Cunningham who is an opera and theatrical singer and Adage Duo Gilles & Laure aerialist. Mark did a superb show.
Today is sunny with a few clouds, 29C/84F. Since we had a tour early this morning, we order room service and ate on our balcony.
Our tour today was Dolphin and Whale Watching. We boarded our boat for this tour. We were only 14, the minimum they would take and off we went. There are two other ships in port, Celebrity Millennium and Costa Mediterranea (which was tendering). We went out to sea for over an hour before we got to see some schools of dolphins, they do love to play. After we went even further to see 2 sperm whales. Photos won't do it justice as they were a little far away, but we could seem them clearly with the naked eye. When we first started to see the dolphins it was at the tip of the volcanoes called Petit Piton (1900 feet) and Gros Piton which is a half a mile high but in spite of sulphur spring jets, the volcano has not erupted in recorded history. On our way back, our captain took us for a tour of Marigot Bay where we saw beautiful mansions once owned by Oprah Winfrey and Mick Jagger. Also some beautiful yacht at the marina.
After dinner we went to Michael's Club to listen to Maxx Difaz, a piano entertainer.
Tonight's show was Michael Finney & Jeff Trachta accompanied by the Celebrity Orchestra. Both were excellent again. They fly back to the US in the morning.
Today it is sunny with some clouds and the temp. is 30C/86F. We went to the Seaside Café for waffles, love those waffles.
We took a shuttle taxi from our ship to the shopping area on the peer. It is a nice enclosed mall with A/C. Did some souvenir shopping and returned to the ship. We have been to this island before. They also drive on the left.
There are five ships in port today: Celebrity Millennium, Sea Princess, Royal Clipper, P&O Artemis and of course ours Celebrity Constellation.
After dinner, we went to see the A Capella group Free for All, they are really a great group great sound.
Tonight's show was The Hilarious Comedy of Fred Klett good comedian, very funny. He will be back later on this cruise.
Another great sunny day today, 30C/86F. We had breakfast in the Seaside Café then headed of the ship.
We walked to the terminal and took a taxi for 2 hours for $50. We did a tour of the West End of the island. Our first stop was Ft. King George which is on the Atlantic Ocean. Our second stop was Ft. James. Our third stop was the Mystery Tombstone in memory of Betty Stiven and our last stop was at Ft. Bennett were we could see the Caribbean Sea. We saw lots of the country side, some very poor looking houses and some more upscale, many beaches, many hotel/resorts. On thing that set Celebrity apart from other lines is when you return to the ship you are greeted with a cold face cloth and ice water or ice punch before boarding the ship. Since it was very hot, it was much appreciated.
Tonight, being Superbowl, the ship is having a Tailgate party at 5:30PM then a live broadcast of the Superbowl XLIV in the Celebrity Theatre. It was amazing the quality of the picture on such a big screen. We watched the 1st & 2nd qtr then went to the Rendez-vous Lounge for the show.
For those who don't care for the Superbowl, in the Rendez-vous Lounge the show will be a Tribute to Vegas Cabaret Show with Maxx Difaz. Maxx did great, he sang some Tom Jones, Englebert, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Tony Bennett, Elvis, Frank Sinatra. Very enjoyable evening.
We went back to our cabin and watch the end of the Superbowl. It was nice that Celebrity made an effort to broadcast the game.
Another perfect weather day, sunny with some clouds, temps 29C/84F. Again we had breakfast in the Seaside Café before leaving the ship.
Today, we took a taxi to tour the island, the rate was $70 for 2hrs. Grenada is volcanic origin, also this their summer, winter is in July and August. We first went to visit a spice outlet, where our driver showed us a few of the spices in there natural state. This island is known for wonderful spices (nutmeg, vanilla, saffron, bay leaves and more). Then we went to the Annandale Waterfalls. Saw some lovely flowers and kids swimming near the falls. Also cliff divers dove off. Then we went to the Carenage, the horseshoe-shaped inner harbour, is the centre of activity in this busy, quaint city. This is a very nice island, very clean, most houses are well maintained. They also drive on the left.
Tonight's entertainment was David Meyer, Musical Artist Extraordinaire. David plays the Xylosynth, it is a combination of a xylophone and synthesizer. He can play anything from something from the Who to Opera Carmen. Another great show.
After the show, there was a dance party on the pool deck with a fruit buffet. We enjoyed watching everyone dancing. Great party.
Today, sunny and temp are 27C/80F. We enjoyed the Buffet Brunch in the dining room, took some photos. Today is also formal night, which will be our second one this cruise.
We had another Captain's Club Celebration today for all levels in the Bar at the Edge of the Earth, we met the Captain and his officers in a greeting line. After we were welcome by Peter our CD and the Captain said a few words on what is coming with Celebrity and the new ships and the dry dock for the Constellation in April. The Captain's Club Coordinator said a few words and gave some flowers to the couple who have 131 cruise credits since 1992, amazing. After we had a show with two of the Celebrity singers along with the Celebrity Orchestra, Four for All and the string quartet, great show. They also served drinks and food, so we had our lunch at the same time. This was the best Captain's Club Celebrity event we have ever attended. Bravo!!
We spent the rest of the afternoon in our cabin, we have been enjoying our balcony even with he hot weather as we have a steady breeze from the ocean.
Tonight was a formal night, took photos of our wait staff and table mates.
After diner, we stopped at Michael's Club to listen to Maxx Difaz, we really enjoy his music.
Tonight's show was Rhythm of the Night with the Celebrity singers and dancers and the Celebrity Orchestra. What is amazing is how many costumes changes they go through during the show. Another amazing show.
Another sunny day, with a few clouds, temp is 28C/82F. It is warm with a light breeze. Breakfast was at the Seaside Café.
We took a taxi (price was $100. for the taxi for 2hrs) so we shared with another couple. Aruba get 5" rain per year, so they make their own water out of sea water, it could cost a family of 3 about $300. for water and $600 for electricity, also gas is $6.00US/gal. Since it is very dry here, the hotels and golf courses use the waist water from the ship to water and fertilize their grass, other than that there is no grass anywhere. Everyone speaks four languages (their local language made up of all other three languages called Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish and English). It is summer year round here. The people only come out after 5PM when it is cooler, we hardly saw any on our ride around. We stopped at a little Chapel of our Lady of Alto Vista. The pews are mostly outside, see photos. The area vegetation is mostly cactuses and they even make fences out of cactuses. We also saw a cactus tree. There are also lots of boulders on one of the mountains. The houses are all very well maintained, they are painted every two years in bright colours reflect the sun to keep the houses cooler. The Government has houses for the poor at $60-$80 per month, they look very nice also. It is very clean island. Tourism is their primary source as we can see by the chain of hotels (could look like Miami). There are more jobs than workers in Aruba. The beaches are very fine white sand. We saw some catamarans where divers go looking at shipwrecks. They drive on the right side contrary to all the other islands that we have visited so far. It was a great tour. For those who only want to shop, there are free shuttles (old school busses with no windows) that take you to the shopping area, which has everything that you could want.
The entertainment tonight was Karen Grainger (from Toronto) and she is accompanied by the Celebrity Orchestra. Karen did many impressions i.e. Cher, Céline Dion, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston and many more. Another excellent show.
What a beautiful day, sunny and temps 30F/86F. We had breakfast in the Seaside Café before leaving the ship.
We took another taxi tour cost is $100US for 2hrs, so I found 3 others persons to share, so it only cost us $40. Here they drive on the right side. The primary language spoken is Papiamento, then English and Dutch. We did a tour of some of the hotels along the beach, visited a catholic cemetery, on main street, they were getting ready for Carnival which starts tomorrow. We saw a pontoon bridge (names Queen Emma pontoon bridge which unites Punda and Otrobanda), when a ship comes in they push it to the side, then during the day they push the pontoon bridge across so the people can cross on foot, otherwise there is a foot ferry. The houses are painted bright colours as you will see in the photos. Lots of shopping on both sides. Towards the end of our tour, our taxi broke down. It overheated, finally our driver hailed another taxi to take us back to the ship. Very clean and beautiful island. It is summer now, their winter is from Oct. to Jan. which is the raining season.
Our entertainment tonight was David Meyer and Karen Grainger with the Celebrity Orchestra. David played his Xylosynth and was fantastic. Karen did her impressions of Cher and found a volunteer in the audience to play Sonny, she also did Barbra Streisand. Great show, the Celebrity Orchestra only learns the music that they play, once the artist boards the ship. They have one rehearsal in the afternoon of the show then put on two shows that evening. It is flawless, great musicians.
After the show, we went to the Bar at the Edge of the Earth for the Newly-Wed, Not-so-Newly-Wed Game, this is always a funny show. They picked four couples (married one month, married 6 months, married 10 years and married 46 years. We always enjoy this show. They we had a Chocolate Buffet, every thing you could think of in chocolate. They had a dark chocolate and a white chocolate fountain. Yummy!!!
Another warm and sunny with some clouds, temps 27C/81F. We had a late breakfast.
We relaxed, spent lots of time on our balcony.
Tonight was our last formal evening. There was lobster tail on the menu and the Baked Alaska parade. Always fun...
Entertainment tonight was the production show Celebrate The World with the Celebrity singers and dancers. It was an exciting mix of music and dance from around the world. I am still amazed at how fast they change costumes.
Today it is overcast and the temp is 25C/77F. You can tell it is getting cooler. We will be packing today, our final day at sea. This has been one of our best cruises. Celebrity really does a great job, their staff are always smiling. We enjoyed all the shows, the dining was great, our dinner companions where great, food was very good, always warm, even at the Seaside Café, the Constellation is a great ship in very good condition. It is going into dry dock in April and they will be adding a new restaurant and bistro among other things, our cabin was very nice and comfortable and the linens were very soft - Egyptian cotton. We like this cruise so much, we are thinking of booking it in 2012, if it is still available.
Today, many were in the Celebrity Online printing out their boarding pass, signs that this cruise is coming to an end.
The entertainment tonight was The Ultimate Variety Show, starring the Celebrity Orchestra, Arial Adage Duo Gilles and Laure, Fred Klett and Acapella Group Free 4 All. Another great show. All the entertainment on this cruise was great.
Our estimate time for debarkation was 9:20AM so we had plenty of time to have breakfast in the dining room. We went back to our cabin to retrieve our carry-on and went to the designated room to wait for our colour to be called. Once our colour was called, we proceeded to Customs and Immigration then to the carousels to pick up our suitcases. We found a porter that would take all our suitcases to our van in the parking garage. We were off for our drive back home around 10AM. Our first overnight is in Kingsland, GA. We drove 622KM today.
Today, our drive went ok except for 2 hours of rain after lunch. Our overnight stay is in Weldon, NC. We drove 774km
Today, we started to see snow, snow and more snow along the side of the roads. The roads were all dry all the way which makes it easier to drive. Our overnight stay is in Rochelle Park, NJ. Today we drove 710km.
Today we only had 560km to drive. The weather was great, again dry roads, could not have asked for better weather.
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