We (my husband and I) went down to Miami a day early. We have learned that we really enjoy embarkation day when we have had a day to rest from traveling to the port city. We took the super shuttle from the airport to the Clarion hotel downtown. Right outside of baggage you can arrange for tranportation at anyone of the many stands they have. Advance reservations can be made at 305-871-2000. Now for the Clarion...the hotel lobby was pleasant, reception was ok, no one to help with luggage so we dragged all six bags to the elevator which was the size of a phone booth. This should have been a clue. The room was the smallest I have ever seen. How they fit that queen size bed in there, I'll never know. There was a bed with small night side stands, a chair and a tv console. We have had larger rooms on a cruise ship. But you get what you pay for $112.00/night. We took the free metro mover to Bayside Market and looked around. We ate at Bubba Gumps and had great shrimp and beer and salads.
The next morning we walked over to the Hyatt (right next door) and had a wonderful breakfast and enjoyed our coffee in their spacious lobby area. It was here that I reserved a rental car from Enterprise for our return to the Ft Lauderdale airport. We took a cab to the ship around 11am. We checked in at the Latitudes counter and were in the "holding" area by 11:20. They gave us our "Freestyle Daily" and served juice and water. At noon they started the boarding and we were in our cabin by 12:20. We saw alot of people having their booze confiscated.
We had a balcony cabin on deck 8. This was by far the best cabin we have ever had. So much storage area. Two vanity/desk areas with shelves and three drawers each. The balcony had two chairs and a table. While we were checking it all out they brought in our bar service and wine we had pre- ordered. 866-625-1159 order atleast two weeks out.
After a nice lunch in the garden cafe we met up with my husband's sister and her husband who had just arrived. They said the wait at the airport for the cruise transfer was crazy. Again I recommend the super shuttle. After exploring the ship we unpacked and went to the wonderful muster. Atleast if was a cooler day and we didn't sweat in our life jackets. We were delayed sailing at 4pm waiting for some late arrivals. That evening we ate at Le Bistro to celebrated DH birthday. Wonderful food and sevice, definitely worth the extra cost.
Our sea day was sunny and warm. We walked the promenade deck and ate breakfast in the garden cafe. We ate here every breakfast and lunch except for one breakfast and one lunch in the dining room. Both were fine.
Well you don't need to hear about every minute so here are the things I would like to share.
We waited for the "rush" to tender in and arrived around 10am in town. Took a shuttle to the Sea Grape Beach Club and rented chairs w/drink for $10.00 per person. Great beach area. Went back to town and did some shopping and then back to the ship.
We booked a tour with Victor Bodden. This was the highlight of our trip. He gave us a great island tour. We stopped at the CSI orphanage and deliverd some much needed supplies. (this explains the extra luggage) The gave us a nice tour of the facility and we met all 14 of the children. A nice touch was when we went to Victor's home and met his family. He has a beautiful wife and three sweet daughters. We brought each of the children a small gift and we were served a wonderful taste of an Hondurian dish. Victor took us to a beach area that we could snorkel at and use the beach chairs. We had some snacks and beer and really enjoyed relaxing. Victor picked us up two hours later and returned us back to the ship.
Gotta go for now. Will finish this later.