Feb 1 No drama on the flight to Miami and the Lyft ride was easy as well. The AirBnB check-in went smoothly. We were starving so I immediately found The Fish restaurant on TripAdvisor. Easy walk from the apartment! Dinner was expensive but delicious. Very few people eating at 6 PM at night which was 8 PM Denver time. We walked home along the boardwalk. I think I picked a great location for the apartment!
Feb 2 We had an early lunch at a great Thai restaurant (oooh I miss Thailand). We walked in the direction of Ocean Drive. Lots of Art Deco buildings and a ton of restaurants. Across the street was more of the boardwalk. The beach was packed with people enjoying the sun, sand and water. We made the mistake of taking the local bus to North beach. Traffic, an altercation between the bus driver and a Cuban woman passenger and changing bus drivers added 30-40 minutes more to the ride. I don’t advise taking the bus unless your hotel isn’t in South Beach. Our waiter from the night before recommended a Cuban restaurant. It was traditional home cooked food with Cuban spices and fried plantains.
Feb 3 The skies were dark but we put on our rain gear. We didn’t get more than a block from the apartment when the skies opened up. Back to the apartment we jogged. Dinner was very simple. We had pizza at a place on Lincoln Road - a famous shopping area.
Feb 4 We had lunch at a Spanish restaurant on Espanola Plaza, luggage and all as today was embarkation day at the MSC Divina cruise ship. The view of Miami from the ship is beautiful.
While watching the Super Bowl Game, a passenger was taken off the ship by boat for medical reasons. Never had this happen before during all our cruises.
Feb 19 Port of Call Basseterre, St. Kitt. The Island use to be called St Christopher in honor of Chris Columbus. Over time the nickname became the official name. We had a great walk around the city. We wanted to take a ferry to Nevis to see where Alexander Hamilton grew up but it was extremely windy and I didn’t want to be feeding the fish.
We had a woman fall to the floor in the dining room - heart attack. Is this ship jinxed??
Feb 6 Port of call Ocho Rios, Jamaica. As we left the ship - RAIN. Got right back on the ship and glad we did as it poured!! The sun did shine later in the day as you can see from the picture. We had spent a week on Jamaica for a conference several years ago plus other cruises so we didn’t miss anything.
Feb 8 Port of call Oranjestad, Aruba. No sight seeing for us. We were here for a week with the kids many years ago. We wanted Wifi which we found at Starbucks! I didn’t see a big change in the downtown area - just more stores.
Feb 9 Port of Call Cartagena, Columbia. We decided to walk the 45 minutes to the old town. It wasn’t the most interesting walk. We stopped at a hotel for 3 beers. The bill was $28,600. It will be interesting to see the conversion. We walked to the Castle but I was too tired to visit - a good reason to take the taxi!!
We skipped Cristobal, Panama and Belize City, Belize and Freeport, Bahamas. Been there and done that and having the ship to yourself is wonderful. You may ask why we took this cruise: We took this cruise as a reward for the 6 house sitting assignments for the holidays. It was a very good price for 10 days. Finally, we needed to fill-in some time on the calendar before our trip to Mexico. Spending the kids inheritance.
Feb 15 Back in Miami for our B2B cruise with a whole new itinerary. Had to change rooms - had to pack everything up for 24 hours, ugh!
Feb 18 Port of Call Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas. We were trying to hook up with Tim & Julie Miller. They ran a vacation boat charter business which we used many years ago. A hurricane destroyed their boat in 2017. We never did hook up but we did meet a ex-Coloradoan who just purchased the Drunken Clam. We each had 4 drinks and chicken nachos - feeling no pain.
We noticed a significant change for the worse in service on the ship. Service was spotty to begin with. There are 2400 Vegans on board for a Holistic conference. More on this later.
Feb 20 Port of Call Fort de France, Martinique. I wanted to take a tour of the island but after checking around, the taxi driver only wanted Euros. Yes we could have found an ATM but we had a lovely walk around the city. The local market was interesting with fresh vanilla pods lying in baskets or vanilla essence in bottles. There was a statue of Chris Columbus in the park. Supposedly, Columbus said Martinique was the most beautiful island he had ever seen. The library pictured above was an amazing example of Colonial architecture.
Feb 21 Port of Call Bridgetown, Barbados. I think I would like to come back to this Island for a longer stay. The city is named for the bridge that accessed the other side of the river, originally built by the local Indians. The city was very clean and well maintained. The government building pictured above was beautiful. The people were very friendly and helpful. The local beer was just so-so according to Gary. If we come back it will have to be Gin & Tonic.
Feb 22 Port of Call Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. This city is located between the two wings of a butterfly if viewed from the stratosphere. The town is very run down but the folks working for the tourism agency were very friendly. A local driving her car was kind enough to stop and let us take a picture of the museum. She spoke only French so our conversation was pretty basic.
Our secret daytime spot aboard the ship is in the Galaxy restaurant. While we were listening to our book on tape, a man fell with a heart attack just 15 feet away from us. A doctor from the conference was applying chest compressions. This went on for 20 minutes or more. This isn’t the kind of excitement I was wanting.
Feb 23 No more ports of calls. We did relax 2 days at sea before arriving back to Miami. This is the worst cruise line we have ever been on: no coffee cups, no coffee, no napkins in the buffet, a terrible web site, reception made assumptions about messages left for us, no wash cloths or hand towels first day of the 2nd cruise. I could go on and on. The staff & the passengers we met were friendly which helped a lot. Looking forward to seeing Gary’s mother and step-father in Savannah and then on to our stay in Puerto Vallarta!!!