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abbydancer

Sort of Live from the Equinox - Western Caribbean

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Those of you who were with me last year may remember that last year I took my sister on her first ever cruise on this ship to the eastern Caribbean. We had so much fun that we decided to book another one for this week. We booked another Concierge balcony since we had so much fun doing it.

 

About a week after final payment, someone on our roll call posted that the prices had dropped a lot since final. I called Celebrity and they told me that for the same money, we could move from Concierge to Aqua, and for about 100.00 we could book a mini (Sky Suite). Since the suite restaurant gives you access to both the suite restaurant menu and the dinning room menu, I decided to do it. So we picked a mini suite on the port side, below a seating area of the cafe.

 

I flew to NY a week early to go to my niece's camp visiting weekend with my sister (from now on referred to as Beth since that's her name) and hung out in NY for the week between. We were leaving on a 3:20 flight to Fort Lauderdale on Friday.

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You will love the Suite Life. I'd love to know who the Bartender is in Michaels Club. If your looking for a top notch waiter in Luminae ask for Nino. I'd also like to know if Emir (butler) is onboard and if so for how long.

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Friday 7/27 - yay we go to Florida.

 

Our day started great - we were packed and ready to go to the airport (JFK) early, called a ride and away we went. About 5 miles from the airport, we got notices that our flight was cancelled. We both immediately got on the phone to the airline and were put on hold. We were on a 3:30 flight, but there was a 2pm flight so maybe we could get on that.

 

We arrived at the airport around 1:15, still on hold and were directed to a very long line for people with cancelled flights. There was no way we'd get to the front in time for the 2pm, so it was a good thing we were on the phone.

 

We both got called about 10 minutes in, and it turns out it didn't matter because every flight to Florida on Jet Blue was sold out. And by Florida, we had them look at Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando and Tampa. The best they could do was fly us to Boston from La Guardia tonight, and a 7 am flight to FLL from there tomorrow morning. It arrived at 10, so we would have made the ship, assuming not late.

 

In the meantime, I looked at the United App, and found a 7pm flight to Miami, but from Newark. We bought it for not a small amount. Now we had to get to Newark from Kennedy, about 35 miles. We called a ride company and the driver showed up around 2:30. It took almost 3 hours, so we we a bit nervous. (Well I was, Beth trusted what Waze said). We arrived around 5:30, so plenty of time.

 

During this time, we were canceling the rental car in Fort Lauderdale and replacing it with one in Miami. The first plan was to rent a car, drive to the FLL hotel, and come back in the morning. Beth asked why we were driving just to sleep, so I called Marriott and changed the hotel to this very nice one in Miami.

 

At about 6:15, they pushed the flight to 7:15 - ok, still arriving on time. Then got pushed a few more times, until it was 8:30 and they boarded us at 7:45.

 

We pushed at 8:44 and then were held while a flight went out to see if they could get around the weather. We'd get the news at 9:15. At about 9:30 the announcement came for flight attendants to take their seats for departure, and we took off soon after.

 

While it was unclear if we'd depart, I actually booked a reservation to Grand Cayman. I was happy to cancel it on the way to the hotel. We were also worried about the crew timing out (Beth said they told her that it came close.)

 

So here we are getting ready for our last sleep before the trip. I'm going to try to add a picture of us waiting for our bags in Miami airport, completely relieved to actually be in Florida.

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You will love the Suite Life. I'd love to know who the Bartender is in Michaels Club. If your looking for a top notch waiter in Luminae ask for Nino. I'd also like to know if Emir (butler) is onboard and if so for how long.

This is my second Sky Suite, but Beth's first. I'll try to check these things.

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I know what you went through with the flights. My wife returned from Athens and had booked a flight to Richmond. Every flight out of JFK and LGA had been canceled except hers at 8:29. It finally left at 11:45PM. Fortunately, she wasn't trying to make a cruise connection, but the lesson regarding flights is clear. Glad all went well

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Following. I’m glad you got onto a flight! I’ve been in a similar position more than once, so I know how stressful it is. I hope to see a photo of the two of you relaxing in Florida very soon:)

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Hello! I haven't forgotten this - I am writing it in my blog and posting here. I'm a few days behind, but I am adding, so this will run about 3 days behind, and will finish after we're done.

 

So here's day 1:

 

After a short sleep, we were up around 9 to grab breakfast before leaving the hotel, just in case we can't get food for the next week. (ha).

 

The hotel had a very nice buffet for their elite members, and after enjoying juice, coffee, an omlette etc, we headed over to the CVS next door so that we could get sunscreen and Beth could pick up her sea sickness bands. Perhaps the world's best placebo.

 

Following that, we went back to the room to pack up and grab an uber to the port. She wanted to send letters to her daughters, so, as we were checking out, asked the front desk if they had stamps. They did not, but did mention that there was a post office next door. So we left the bags, and found the post office. Of course it was closed, since not all are open on Saturday. And this was one of the few post offices that didn't have stamp machines outside. So back we went for our bags. Beth summoned Uber and we were on our way.

 

Not long after, we pulled up to the pier. Last year, there were two ships in, this year there were 4. Two Carnival and the MSC Seaside. We quickly gave our luggage to the porter, and heading inside. As we were checking in, wearing our Mardi Gras beads to identify us as Cruise Critic, the couple behind us introduced themselves as members of our roll call. They were another of the several people who had taken advantage of the last minute price reduction to move to a mini suite.

 

Check in went smoothly and we were shortly on the ship. With our welcome drinks in hand, we headed to Michael's club to wait for the rooms to be ready. We sat at a corner table, and a crew member brought us a small plate of appetizers. I stopped to chat with fellow roll callers Ann and Greg, and Beth soon joined us, so we moved ourselves over with them.

 

At about 1:10 I asked the suite manager if the rooms were ready, as it was getting close to restaurant closing time. She confirmed that our deck was ready. We went to the room, dropped our bags and headed out to lunch. On the way out, our butler Jo introduced himself. He mentioned that he'd be bringing appetizers to our room each night and a few other things.

 

We headed down to Luminae for lunch and met the hostess, Maitre'd and some of the wait staff. We settled down at one of the window tables. For lunch, I ordered one of the famous Luminae burger. The jam on it was great, but the burger is way too thick. I had to take it out of the bun. Beth had the risotto and pronounced it very good.

 

We were starting to push uo against muster drill time, so we decided to just stay around the lower decks to wait for it.

 

Our muster station was Michaels club, and I noticed that this one was taken a bit more seriously than our previous drill. There was a life jacket demonstration, and then the silly movie. After that the station leader went through some of the safety information.

 

By this time, it was pouring rain. We were planning to do the usual Cruise Critic mast bar meeting, so we headed up. Too wet to get there, so we went to the Cafe Bar instead. No one was there, so we grabbed a drink. Eventually, the rain let up a bit, so we went up to Sunset Terrace Bar. No one there either, so walking under the overhang we headed towards the center of the ship. We then ran into Bob and Vicky from our roll call. We chatted with them and some of the other CC folks for a while, and headed back to the room to get ready for dinner and the show.

 

We decided to go see A.J. Jamal, a comedian. I've seen his name around cruise ships a lot, so thought it might be fun to actually see him. He was basically funny, although he had three very embarrassed boys on stage with him, so that was honestly more painful than funny.

 

After that, we headed to Luminae for dinner. We had our soon to be usual waiter, and enjoyed the first night dinner. It was nice that Yun, the Sommelier, did base our wine on what we were eating. I started with Burrata cheese and a steak for dinner.

 

After dinner, it was back to room, since it has been a very long couple of days.

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Sunday, July 29 - our first port - Key West.

 

Beth was excited to visit a bookstore there because it is a non-profit bookstore owned by one of our favorite authors, Judy Blume (Are you there God, it's me Margaret and SuperFudge). So after breakfast in Luminae we gathered our stuff, got some water and headed off the ship. We walked out of the port area, and turned to Google maps to guide us for the about 12 block walk to the bookstore. We arrived just after 10:00 and were relieved to see that it was already open.

 

Sadly, Judy was not there, but the very nice young lady told us that if we bought books, they could be autographed and then shipped. Beth bought a book for her super fan daughter, and I got one of her adult books. Both will be shipped to Beth in about a week. We also asked where we should go for Key Lime Pie. She gave us a couple of suggestions consistent with what we'd read on the web. We decided to go to the Key West Key Lime Pie CO, with Kermet's as a back up.

 

Our other stops were planned to be Starbucks so Beth could download books to her Nook, and a mail box or the post office so she could mail letters to her kids. We decided to do the pie first (everyone should have a piece of pie at 11:05 am) since there was another ship coming in, and we wanted to get the pie before it got too crowded.

 

So, we made a slight wrong turn, and ended up at the Key Lime Bakery. We decided to turn and around and find the shop we planned to. About 5 minutes later we arrived, ordered our slice of pie and sat down to enjoy it. Right after we started, a tour group arrived, and their leader said for everyone to find a place and he'd bring the pie. We decided to finish quickly to give them the table, but all but one couple disappeared. They told us it had been a bike tour, but was at the end, so I guess people took their pie and left. We had a nice chat with the couple that were there, and then decided to go to Starbucks, then post office. I found a Starbucks about two blocks from the post office, back by where the book store was. So back down the main street (Duval) we went. We found the Starbucks, and a CVS nearby, so we decided to go to Starbucks, then post office, and then a stop at CVS before heading back to the ship.

 

We had our coffee, Beth did her download, and we headed to the post office. We arrived at the location, and no sign of it. We asked in a store and they pointed us to a brick building across the street. We walked over and saw it was the side of it. The grounds had a couple of iguanas, and a lot of chickens running around. Beth mailed her letters, and we headed back to CVS. We bought a few items and then headed back to the ship. As we were approaching the pier, someone tapped us on the shoulder from behind. It turned out to be our friend Melissa from the sweep team in San Diego. She and her relatively new husband were also on the cruise. We decided to have breakfast in Blu tomorrow morning.

 

We headed back on the ship, dropped our stuff, and went up to the buffet for lunch.

 

Later in the afternoon we headed to Michael's club for afternoon tea. We enjoyed cucumber sandwiches and chicken sandwiches, as well as desserts and scones. We'd been invited to the helipad for Sailaway, so at about 4:35, we made our way to deck 6. A security officer was there, and told us that the group had already gone, so we headed down the hall and joined the group.

 

We spent some time talking with our roll call people, and enjoyed watching the Florida keys disappear.

 

Tonight was formal night, and so after leaving the helipad, we got ready for dinner. It was evening Chic night, so we had reserved seating in the theater. At about 6:45 we headed down to the theater. Jo seated us and we settled down to watch Jessie Hamilton Jr sing. He's most known for playing Simba in the lion king on broadway. He was moderately entertaining.

 

We then headed to Luminae. There weren't a lot of good seats available, so Auri (the maitre'd) suggested we go to Michael's to wait for the table. Sevren, our favorite waiter, said it would be about 10 minutes. We sat down and started chatting with a couple from the San Diego area. Turns out they are in the room next to us. By about 8:30, the concierge had left, so we asked one of the bartenders to call the restaurant to call. She did, and they said it would be about 5 to 10 more minutes. Ok, we continued chatting. Finally, close to 9, Auri arrived to tell us our table is ready.

 

For dinner, I had beef tartare, a tomato watermelon salad and cote de beoff. All good.

 

After dinner, we headed up to the room, still catching up on sleep.

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Is the post office open on Sunday? We will also be in Key West on a Sunday and I'm wondering where we will be able to buy stamps.

Thanks,

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Hi Abby & Beth... it was SO much fun hanging out with you two! Looking forward to reading the review even though we lived part of it with you. I had no idea that Judy Blume owned a bookstore in Key West… She was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid. Hope you got to the airport ok. We’re enjoying Miami... we asked for a room with a view and boy did we ever get one! 4b3b72db4e068b76d6461702395a04f5.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Is the post office open on Sunday? We will also be in Key West on a Sunday and I'm wondering where we will be able to buy stamps.

 

Thanks,

 

 

 

No, but there are stamp machines in the lobby, which is open. If you see them, say hi to Fred and Ginger (what we named the iguanas)600e8af9ee1dd6361ef5c21ff42ce4cb.jpg

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I'm confused. Was it formal night or just chic night? Going on this cruise in the spring and want clarification about the evening meals after a day in Key West.

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Is the post office open on Sunday? We will also be in Key West on a Sunday and I'm wondering where we will be able to buy stamps.

 

Thanks,

 

 

 

Just take some in your wallet before leaving on the cruise.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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There is no formal night. Chic night is it.

 

 

Sorry for the confusion. Yes, chic it is. I also sail Princess, which still has formal.

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We'll be on this same itinerary in December (first Celebrity cruise!). Looking forward to the rest!

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Is the post office open on Sunday? We will also be in Key West on a Sunday and I'm wondering where we will be able to buy stamps.

Thanks,

 

Just take some in your wallet before leaving on the cruise.

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

That would be the ideal but I live in Europe and will only be arriving in Miami late afternoon the day before the cruise. Is it possible to get stamps at CVS or other (tourist) shops ?

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That would be the ideal but I live in Europe and will only be arriving in Miami late afternoon the day before the cruise. Is it possible to get stamps at CVS or other (tourist) shops ?
Yes, CVS does have stamps... just ask the cashier as they are kept in/under the cash register.

 

Sent from my SM-G960U1 using Forums mobile app

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Yes, CVS does have stamps... just ask the cashier as they are kept in/under the cash register.

 

Sent from my SM-G960U1 using Forums mobile app

 

Thank you.

 

Maybe. Before heading to the ship, we stopped at the CVS near our hotel on Brickell, and they didn't have them. The post office nearby was closed on Saturday and had no stamp machines.

 

You can get stamps in the lobby in Key West.

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That would be the ideal but I live in Europe and will only be arriving in Miami late afternoon the day before the cruise. Is it possible to get stamps at CVS or other (tourist) shops ?

 

CVS will only have stamps for domestic US mail. I’m assuming you are wanting stamps for mail back to Europe....for those you would likely need to visit a post office....

 

Joe

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