He bumped up our accommodations from an inside cabin to a balcony/little veranda cabin, which was really really nice…..The Celebrity Constellation can accommodate 2034 guests and they said our cruise was full! It's a 91, 000 ton ship, a medium sized ship as far as cruise ships go, says Eldo. He really did his research as he always does-- a VERY thorough job of searching out the best deals. If anybody has any questions about cruising, send us an email. Eldy will be happy to answer questions. He really knows his stuff!
The food was wonderful! We could have had specific dinner seating times--usually the choices are 6:30 or 8:30 PM. That's the way cruises use to do things. You'd sit at the same table every night with the same people. But with a last minute booking, only 8:30 PM dining was available. Kinda late for us. Eldy chose select seating where it's like a restaurant. You can make reservations, or you can just go in at your convenience to eat. You can sit with a group, or you can have a table for two. We did both and enjoyed having the choice. 99% of the meals were fantastic at the restaurant/cafe and all your meals are included in the cruise price. The portions were very appropriate, leaning towards the small side which was just perfect for us. No reason to overeat! In the old days, Eldy said food was served differently, and it was possible to order multiple servings of something you liked. Sparky could have had multiple salads one night, it was so good! (fresh creamy tarragon dressing). There was a general buffet also open just about all the time, and that was ok….Your usual buffet stuff….There are other dining options as well. There were specialty restaurants where you pay for the meal which is not included in the cruise price. We didn't try any of those….
There was some great entertainment…the best dancing music was from the Miami D.J's Live, and unfortunately, they only played at the going away party for about 45 minutes and just as Sparky wanted to get her mojo going, they quit! Then they didn't play again until 12:00 AM in one of the lounges…Phooey! There were wonderful opportunities to participate in all kinds of stuff: learn how to make crepes, team trivia, music trivia, art auction, wine tasting, fitness classes, a Fun Factory for kids, a sports court where people played basketball, the casino--one of the biggest Eldy has seen on any cruise, several pools, a spa, a library, boutiques, eight restaurants, seven entertainment venues, and ten bars (!). Sparky had her first one and only strawberry daiquiri which everybody at the bar laughed at Sparky's incredulous reaction to the size of it! "Holey moley!" she exclaimed when they set it down in front of her….
After all this smorgasbord of eating, Sparky did zumba exercise class twice…whew! That was enough! Check out some entertainment...There was a great water volleyball match between the captain's bridge staff and the hotel crew….The captain was CUTE! He's 35, and Greek.
A little later in the ship's agenda, was a Liar's Club Comedy show with the captain and some of the entertainment staff- the cruise director and activity manager who were natural comedians. The announcer gave a real word of obscure recognition and the captain and the other two had to give a definition. Two were lying and one was telling the truth. It was hilarious! The captain had a wonderful sense of humor which was quite evident throughout the trip as well. He kept prefacing his definitions with the word was "a Greek word meaning….".and he'd launch into a hilarious personal tale about what the word meant. In case you didn't know, "pismire" means a urinating ant. He fooled the audience with his tale of an ex girlfriend on a picnic with him whose food was ruined by pismire. We thought that was so outrageously out there, that we voted for the guy who said it was a marketing strategy gone awry.
And….there are always shore excursions which are almost always pricey…We did two…One was a flat bottomed boat to the reef out of Nassau which was 29.00 a person…Really wasn't much to see in the reef on that particular day, but a nice ride out on the ocean with some historical background information about the residents of Paradise Island in Nassau…Tiger Woods, Barry Bonds, Oprah Winfrey, the owners of Lloyds of London, Michael Jordan all have homes on Paradise Island, an island you pass on the way to the reef. Whoop de doo! But still fun to see….We saw the natives hawk their wares on the docks and in the Straw Market.
|conch shells (correct pronunciation is "conk", Sparky was informed)
Nassau accommodates a LOT of cruise ships. There were six in the harbor at one time while we were there… You should see the captains BACK some of these ships into their docking positions. Yep, turn 'em around and BACK them in. Pretty impressive. These things are BEHEMOTHS! HUGE! HONKIN' HUGE!
The second tour we did was the Key West Extreme Adventures Shark ECO Tour..Now that was cool! 79.00 a person, we felt it was a great tour. However, it was unremarkable as far as seeing lots of different wildlife today…As the "winter" season is upon us here in Florida, the abundance of wildlife that you might see in the spring is greatly diminished in the winter. We saw a couple of turtles on the way out to the "back country" as our guide, Ken, gave us lots of information about sharks. Ken was a fishing guide for 32 years and he had his boat especially built for going into shallow areas in a certain area of Key West… He and his son are dedicated to promoting the education and conservation of sharks and marine wildlife. The boat had lots of great vantage points, and today there were about 19 people aboard which made for a very pleasant viewing experience. No jostling at the rails to see the sharks. The guys bait a pole, and lemon sharks come and take turns feeding…legal as plenty of people sport fish for sharks in the Keys…..There's no hook involved so you get to see the sharks up close and personal..Sparky means REALLY up close! Ken, the guide, said you could jump in on the other side of the boat and the sharks could care less if you were there…Anybody want to jump in? he asks. He was just joking but serious about the sharks not being interested in people, only fish….Hmmmmm….says Sparky. What about the surfers and swimmers who lose arms and legs every year to sharks thinking they are seals?
The end of the excursion trip resulted in seeing some dolphins playing and swimming around. Just caught this guy out of the corner of my eye and camera. Never get tired of seeing dolphins!
The cruise was over before we knew it, but it was wonderful to get back home to our beautiful home in Bradenton, only to find out we have BATS! Where we don't want bats! Stay tuned for "Batty in Bradenton"…..Hope you had a wonderful holiday….