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About NBliving

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Braunfels, Texas
  • Interests
    Cooking, traveling, reading, gardening
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    St. Maarten

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  1. Great review! We are going on this cruise in May of 2020. Have not been to the ABC’s before. Your pictures are beautiful. We can’t wait!
  2. The only time we were near it when a movie was being played was our last evening. I could hear it from the lawn area around the Sunset Bar, but it didn't interrupt our conversation.
  3. I thought I'd add a few comments about the Celebrity App. I really liked it! We don't get any internet package when we cruise. We like the break from the world 🙂 With the app, my husband and I could text on board through the app. We didn't do it often of course, but it was nice to let each other know if we were on the move when we were apart. I also liked being able to change my dinner reservations on it and to see what was on the schedule. You can add things from the schedule to your side of the calendar and it was a nice way to remember what things were interesting to us. It also shows the ships time which was nice to have while on an excursion, etc.
  4. We had to be back on board at 4:30.
  5. We also have stayed in a lot of Embassy Suites and know what you mean. IMO, this one is above average. It was packed with cruise passengers leaving at some point during the weekend. We had planned to walk a few blocks and get on a water taxi to explore more, but couldn’t because of the rain. There is a grocery store and either a TJ Maxx or Ross nearby also. Lots of other restaurants too. Have a wonderful trip!
  6. more like 10 - 12. And again, looking back if they were there it wasn't very long at all.
  7. There might have been one day where I noticed just a few young kids with parents. They weren't there that long from what I remember, so there were probably crew members checking.
  8. Debarkation – We had a noon flight back to Texas, so we didn’t have to rush off the ship. We could have gone to the Concierge lounge area in the MDR, but really wanted more of a breakfast than the pastries they had there. We made the MDR breakfast just in time to enjoy a nice served breakfast. We had missed it on other days because the hours end earlier than we could get ready. After our breakfast it was 9:00 so we decided to go ahead and head to the airport. Our concierge told us that our bag tag number (11) was an early number (8:00 departure), but we could stay on until we were ready to leave as long as it was by 9:30. The number 11 just let our bags hang out at an area closer to the exit so we didn’t have to drag them so far. Nice to know! The only slowdown in the debarkation was that Captain Kate was at the exit saying goodbye to all the guests. Of course they wanted a picture with her (me included) so it did take a little bit of time to get past her, but not too bad. We literally grabbed our suitcases and then walked through a face recognition thing and exited to the transportation area. So quick and easy! We will definitely sail on the Equinox again. We really love the Celebrity experience. Even though this cruise had a lot more children and young adults on it (not a bad thing!) we still felt like the overall feel was the same. It is hot in the Caribbean in June though, so we may stay away from the summer months! Hope this is helpful to some of you. I love all of the help I've received on these boards.
  9. Day 7 – Sea Day Our last full day of this cruise – boo hoo! Our plans today were to relax by the pool, play bingo, watch the officer vs. guest volleyball game, and to try to catch some of the musicians we hadn’t seen yet. We slept in really late for us; woke up around 9:30 – yikes! We got dressed in our walking clothes and headed down with a beach bag and books for the pool. I am a rule follower and we have never reserved chairs before; but this morning we compromised and luckily (because of the time) found two chairs in the main pool area, set down our things, then did our 1 mile walk around the upper deck. Came back, relaxed a bit, then went to grab a late breakfast in the buffet. Went back to our seats and read for a while before going to the cabin to change in to swimsuits for the rest of the afternoon. My husband thinks I’m silly to not want to save chairs, because so many people do it. We might have technically saved chairs but since we were using them on and off I was ok with it. There were some other empty chairs also, so we didn’t have the last two on the ship! Lunch was a burger and a hot dog from the Mast Grill, we ended up skipping Bingo because we were having such a nice time by the pool! Maarten the cruise director came out to the pool in his suit with another officer and plopped down in the hot tub! Lots of guests lined up to get their picture taken with him. The volleyball game was fun to watch. Captain Kate was in attendance! I missed the preliminary trials because I wanted to go shop the Captains Clearance Sale. I bought a new beach bag and 2 swim suit waterproof bags. $10 each! We ate in the MDR at our favorite waiter, Joseph’s table and then went up to the Sunset Bar with our bottle of sparkling wine we got for being in a Concierge Cabin. We got 2 champagne glasses from the bartender and then sat on the lawn and watched the sunset. Perfect last night for our cruise! When we had watched the last bit of color drop from the sky, we went down to the Grand Foyer for the Silent Disco. We have not done this before, but always hear how much fun it is! Also, our son is involved in some of the big music festivals and he puts on Silent Disco’s for their attendees. We thought we might impress him with how fun we are so we gave it a try! It was really a lot of fun! There was an 80’s pop, Latin music, and maybe hip hop? Sometimes we’d see a whole group start doing a line dance and then check what color their headphones were on so we could join in. Other times we were totally listening to our own thing. I highly recommend giving it a try! We reluctantly left the dance floor to head up to bed.
  10. Day 6 – Grand Cayman I had booked a tour with Captain Marvin’s after researching here on CC for a good stingray city tour. Our reservation was for the 1:45 trip. Since we have to tender at this port, we weren’t sure if we would make an earlier trip. We had no problem getting one of the first tenders and we were on land by 10:20. We decided to stop by Captain Marvin’s office to see if there was an earlier tour available and we were in luck! There was one at 11:15 so we signed our liability form and then waited for the van to get there. Our boat had about 30 people on it so a little more than I was expecting, but not too bad. The seas were a bit choppy that day, so when we got to Stingray City there was a lot of wave activity which made it noisy and hard to stay still which is what I was trying to do to avoid stepping on one of the stingrays! Back story – one time in Destin, I was getting on a boat to take our kids para sailing and one of the crew members stepped on a stingray and got hit with its barb. Ouch! So I really felt like I was being brave to do this excursion J It was really amazing to see these creatures up close and just swimming around us. Great experience, but I don’t know if I would need to do it again unless it were a calmer sea day. Our next stop was to a coral reef to snorkel. This was a beautiful spot! Lots of colorful fish (I don’t know names) and coral. I have one of the full face snorkel masks and I love it! So easy and less anxiety on my part to keep breathing correctly. We were here about 30 minutes. It was the perfect amount of time for me. Back on the boat, the photographer who took our pictures with stingrays had his photos ready for us to look at. For 2 people our photos cost $50. The tour was $40 per person, and the pictures turned out great so I didn’t mind spending the extra money. When we returned to the pier, there were several shuttles waiting for us. We wanted to go eat at Calico Jack’s so we were directed to one of the shuttles taking people to the beach. I had read about Calico Jack’s on CC. I just knew it had been recommended to eat there. We were dropped off and because of construction, we had to wind our way through some high fencing to get to the beach and then Calico Jack’s was a little ways along the beach. We weren’t really sure if we needed to seat ourselves or grab a spot, but a nice gentleman greeted us and led us to a table where there was a breeze. My husband wanted to sit looking towards the ocean but there weren’t any spots available. About 5 minutes later the gentleman came back and told us some seats had opened up. We had already ordered some drinks and the pan fried grouper plate but he told us the waiter would find us. We later heard someone call this gentlemen “Jack” so next time we saw him I asked if he was the owner and he was! I told him he had a really nice restaurant – great food and service! He was very humble and proud of his place. The beach was really pretty here, but we were ready to head back to the ship. We are coming back on a cruise in 2020 so we will do a beach day then. When we left he had told us that we could catch a city bus for $2 per person but as we were walking to look for the bus stop a man with a shuttle said his was $2.50 so we just took that. We were dropped off right at the terminal and made our way back onboard. As had become our habit, we found two chairs at the pool and relaxed for a while, cooled off in the pool and chatted with a nice couple from Canada. When it was time, we made our way to dinner in the MDR and then to the evening show. Tonight it was comedian, Dan Wilson. He was very good and had some hilarious observations. After his show, we gambled a bit, then went to see what the “Party Like Gatsby” dance party was all about. It looked like great fun, lots of people dancing the night away. I was hoping to see some 1920’s attire, but didn’t see anyone who had dressed the part. The music was pretty much what was being played every other night, so no 20’s music. Everyone was having a great time! We shortly retired to our cabin.
  11. Day 5 – Cozumel We knew we wanted to snorkel here, but weren’t sure which beach to head to. I had written down the Money Bar in my notes as a place with great snorkeling so we did some quick internet research and it looked good and fairly close to the port so we grabbed a cab and went there. We were very happy with our choice! Great snorkeling right off from the shore. We were warned by a couple who sat next to us that the undertow was quite strong the further out you went. Several boat excursions were stopping right in front of us and letting off snorkelers who would drift down a few hundred yards and the boat would follow them and pick them up. We got in the water a few times – it was crystal clear. We had chicken nachos and beer while we were there. Great service, no locals trying to sell us things. Very relaxing. We had agreed with our taxi driver to pick us up at 3, so we went outside to wait but he didn’t show up. A different taxi pulled up about 5 after so we took it back to the terminal. Again, we went to the pool and relaxed until it was time to get ready for dinner. We ate in the MDR every night except for the first night’s dinner at Murano. We didn’t do the show again that night. Most nights that we didn’t do the show, we listened to musicians in Ensemble or the Grand Foyer or went to the Sunset Bar.
  12. Day 4 – Costa Maya We weren’t sure what we wanted to do in Costa Maya. I love researching what to do in port, but wasn’t finding anything particularly interesting to do here. We are so spoiled by beautiful beaches from past cruises and spending many summers in the Destin area of Florida. The pictures I found online of Costa Maya just didn’t look like something we would enjoy. Now that the day was here we had to decide what to do. We ultimately decided to take a taxi over to Manahual and check out the beaches there. We first had to wind our way through the shops at the port facility. There is a really nice pool there that we were told you can use as long as you consume food and drink while you are there. We wound our way to the end of the maze and saw a shuttle to Manahual for $6/person. We decided to take that and waited about 5 minutes before the driver decided he wasn’t getting any more passengers and we were on our way! This shuttle was a truck pulling different sections of seats – kind of like at a zoo or amusement park. The drive was about 15 minutes because he had to drive slowly. He stopped in front of a building and as we hopped off an employee of the restaurant there started leading us to his section of the beach. We couldn’t see any of the beach from the road, so my husband at first wanted to look around before deciding on which beach area to choose. Since the beach and restaurants were all behind the buildings, we just decided to stick with this man as he led us to our chairs and umbrella. It ended up being the nicest section of the beach so we were happy. The water had a little seaweed but not too bad. The chairs and umbrellas were free here as long as we ordered something from the restaurant. All in all we paid about $38 not including transportation. After a few hours, we decided to head back to the ship. The shuttle only works to the beach, so when we got to the road there was someone there who flagged down a taxi from the line of taxis waiting. The return trip was less than 10 minutes. We walked back through the maze of shops and were probably back on the ship by 2. We went to the pool and had some free drinks and food and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon there. At 5:00 we went to hear the Alaskan cruise presentation since we are thinking about booking one while onboard. Anna from Russia gave a nice presentation. We talked with her later and she told us it was her first time to present. You could tell she was kind of nervous, but Alaska is a good topic and she had worked on those itineraries so she told us some first-hand stories. After dinner we went up to the Sunset Bar and really liked the lawn area there. Really relaxing atmosphere. We skipped that night’s entertainment which was an illusionist.
  13. Day 3 – Sea Day Today was a relaxing day spent mostly by the pool in the Solarium. We did play Bingo, but didn’t win LBreakfast was in our room with room service, lunch was in the Aqua Spa and buffet and dinner in the MDR. Tonight’s entertainment was the show Elysium. It was very good, amazing talent. We donated some money to the casino and then called it a night.
  14. Day 2 – Key West We stayed in Key West a few years ago for a long weekend, but had never visited it as a cruise port. Last time we were there we rented bicycles and found that was a nice way to get around – especially on a hot day. I had found a bike rental shop when searching online called A&M Rental where we could rent bikes for $10 each per day. They will pick you up and drop you off at the cruise terminal, but they don’t open until 9 am and we wanted to go to mass since we would be there on a Sunday and that also started at 9. We decided to walk to the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea. It took us about 40 minutes. Afterwards we were a few blocks from A&M Rental so we walked there and rented bikes and off we went. We had seen signs for Fort Zachary Taylor when we had first left the cruise terminal, so we rode our bikes there first. We lucked out and joined an 11:00 guided tour by a park ranger. It was very informative and entertaining. It lasted about an hour and twenty minutes and was our favorite thing we did that day. After that we decided we needed lunch and key lime pie so we rode our bikes over to one of our favorite hole in the walls called BO’s fish wagon on Caroline Street. We both had the fried grouper sandwich but I think the last time we went I had the grilled mahi sandwich so hopefully I will remember that for the next time we are there. Afterwards, I looked at my list of the best Key Lime pie spots and remembered we had eaten at one across the street on our last trip. It is at a restaurant called Pepe’s and it was delicious! After that we just rode our bikes over to Duvall and walked around looking at shops etc. We returned our bikes and could have waited for a shuttle to the terminal, but we decided to get more steps in and walked back – about 30 minute walk. Tonight would be our first night to eat in the MDR. We have had a set dinner time our previous two cruises on X, but this time we chose Select Dining. I made our reservations ahead of time guessing what times would be good for us. Two observations we had during our MDR meals this cruise. The first is that we decided we prefer a set dining time (8:30) because we like getting to know the wait staff. After two nights of eating in the MDR, we requested to eat in a particular area where we felt like the wait staff was above par. The maître d’ was able to accommodate us all but one night because of our reservation time. The second is a silly observation, but on the Summit we liked that our assistant waiter would tell us what the different spreads were when he/she gave us our bread. We had three different wait staffs and no one did that on the Equinox. We finally asked the last night what they were. Not that it makes that big of a difference, but it was a nice little intro conversation starter we did miss. Tonight’s entertainment was the comedian, Darrell Joyce. He was really funny and we thoroughly enjoyed his performance. In fact, one of his bits was about people trying to get in to a full elevator. After the show we were in the elevator (full) and at one of the floors a woman barged her way in even after we said it was full. Everyone on the elevator had been to the show and so we couldn’t help but laugh. Afterwards, we went to the Martini bar and had a martini each while visiting with a couple sitting next to us. We really enjoy meeting fellow cruisers and hearing their travel stories. martini.mov
  15. Day 1 – We ate the breakfast at Embassy Suites and then took an Uber to the cruise terminal. The hotel has a shuttle for $6 a person I believe, but our Uber was around $8 total. Unfortunately, our uber driver had never been to the cruise terminal before, so at the security check point it took a little bit of time for him to get his documentation out. We had a laugh when the security guard, after looking at our Texas driver’s licenses asked my DH and I if we were carrying any weapons. We said “No” and he shrugged and said “A lot of Texans carry guns, so we have to ask”. True, but not us on a trip 🙂 This was our first time at this terminal, so it was a little overwhelming for us. Super busy! A porter immediately loaded our bags on his cart and said he would get them on board. We had planned to carry them ourselves, but he insisted. Ok then… We entered the terminal and used the express pass on my Celebrity App to board. Easy peasy. By this time it was around 11:30. I don’t know if this is new, or I just forgot, but our seapass was at our stateroom. It seems like last year when we sailed Celebrity, we got it when we checked in at the counter at the terminal, which we did not have to do this time. We got our cards and went to check out the ship. We weren’t hungry as I said before, so we didn’t do the Concierge embarkation luncheon. After walking around a bit, we went to our stateroom and changed into swim suits and hit the solarium pool. Our cabin (number 9241) wasn’t totally ready yet, but one of the porters told us we could leave our bags in the room. We enjoyed a few hours at the pool until it was time for muster. Our muster was in Murano, which was nice because that’s where we were having dinner that night! I really don’t like how the muster works. We were crammed into this restaurant, and couldn’t see the tv where the safety movie was being played. Plus, so many people were talking, we couldn’t hear it. The life jacket demonstration happened in front of us so we saw that, but people seated by the windows couldn’t have seen it. I don’t know how they can improve it, but this seems like a waste of time for a very important aspect of the cruise. After muster, we headed to the helipad for the sail away courtesy of Future Cruises. We had done this on our last cruise courtesy of our Concierge Class, so maybe we get to do it again? I had booked a first night dinner at Murano a few weeks ago for $35/pp. We really enjoyed the attentive service and the food. I had the lobster and DH had sea bass (we think), we both ordered soufflé's for dessert. After dinner, we attended the evening show, “Topper”. As usual, the cast is super talented and we both enjoyed the show.
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