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Well it’s the end of the cruise. We arrived in Miami just before 5:30 and were both awake so I popped up to get us a couple of coffees to have in the cabin. We had to be out of our cabin by 8:00 so we went to the Oceanview Cafe at 7:00 for breakfast but to be honest both of us didn’t have much of an appetite so really only had a smallish breakfast.

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We were off the ship quite quickly and through immigration before we knew it. I am really impressed with the way the port of Miami does is business and would like to think it’s like this every time.
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We joined the taxi line and waited for about 10-15 minutes to get a cab, it was then off to the Sheraton Hotel at the airport to spend the day while we wait for our flight. The taxi fare cost $28 and we went out through the tunnel exit to the port because of the marathon being run. We actually drove alongside some of the runners for about a mile which made the journey a little interesting.

I will add a little more a bit later once we get to the airport.

Meanwhile we are just sat out on the sun at our hotel. It seems a really nice hotel and I think we made a good decision booking a day room here.

Sheraton Miami Airport

Sheraton Miami Airport

I have just been for a wander round the hotel and found these two. The hotel is next to a river and there are signs warning you about poisonous snakes and alligators but they never mentioned these two guys.

Our friend at the Sheraton

Our other friend at the Sheraton

Out penultimate day on board the ship has arrived. The table at dinner last night although buoyant still felt a little subdued. I think everyone is feeling the same and sorry to be soon leaving the ship.

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It’s very windy today and although we have scattered clouds it is still quite warm. Having tried several locations around the ship to find somewhere to sit we eventually have settled on a spot on Deck 14 above the pool deck. All the beds are tied down and there are not too many takers today. I have also given up on my book, having bought the latest John Grisham at the airport on the way out having only managed around 100 pages or so.

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Sheltering from the wind on the pool deck

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Nicole braving it on Deck 14

We have been watching the weather situation on the east coast of the USA with interest and wondering if our flight will be disrupted at all. I should be able to check in later today which is another plus point with having the unlimited internet package. 

Our allotted disembarkation slot is 8:10 tomorrow and fingers crossed the Miami Marathon will not effect the taxi service too badly. We can get into our room at 9:00 so on paper all the timings should work.

More to follow later……

We have been a little bit lost this afternoon, the weather hasn’t been brilliant and the winds have picked up even more. It’s been like we have been hanging around just waiting to pack and then get off.

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We still have sight of Celebrity Silhouette just ahead of us

There have been some big waves which the ship is handling very well, I think being as we are heading into the wind is making it more stable.
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And there you have it nothing to exciting to tell today. We are not going to the theatre tonight and will just go down to dinner for the last time at 8:30. Say all our goodbyes and swap e-mail addresses to forward photos etc..
All that I need to do now is go and check in for our flight tomorrow.

I will start with last night’s show which was Beatles tribute act, not too bad but not as good as the one we saw on Norwegian Epic a few years ago. Still it was fifty minutes well spent before dinner.
If I had to criticise the Tuscan Grille then the only thing I could fault would be there was too much. Having got used to the portions in the MDR it comes as a bit of a shock when your plates have a little more on them. The food was absolutely delicious and great service as you would imagine and made all the more entertaining by the motion of the ship as we have now set sail for Miami and last night experienced a little bit of a swell which made the ship rock just a bit. All good fun!

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With just two days left we have been offered unlimited internet for $59 so I am going to take it up and consequently will be able to post a few more photos. What I will do perhaps is experiment by updating the post throughout the day. It sounds good in principle and the only downside is the area of the ship where we intend to be for the day doesn’t have a strong signal. On the positive side though the s,hip is a lot more steady this morning and the skies are pretty much clear overhead and we have a beautiful day in prospect.

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Something out of the ordinary to post, the cruise director Richard Spacy announced over the tannoy that the captain has adjusted our route back to Miami so as to miss a storm system which would have made it quite bumpy. We are now heading along the Northern coast of the Dominican Republic and will cut back up when we reach Haiti. Some 60 miles longer but missing the storm.
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It feels incredibly hot today and most are seeking the shade, even the terrace at the back of the Oceanview Cafe has plenty of seats which considering it’s a sea day is an indication of the heat. There is just no breeze today with a high of 82F.
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After we had finished lunch we collected our bags etc from the Solstice Deck and took refuge in the cabin. We will probably regret that move next week when we are back in a less than hot UK.

The unlimited WiFi has enabled us to find a hotel with day facilities. We were notified that the Miami marathon is taking place on the day we arrive back and to expect disruption. This pretty much scuppered our plans to go South Beach and instead have booked a room at Sheraton Miami Airport which will give us somewhere to go. It has a pool and we will at least be able to get changed and have a shower before we fly.

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Cruise Director Richard Spacey introduces Rock City

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Last night’s show was concert featuring rock anthems. Very colourful and entertaining.

Jayne Curry was very entertaining indeed, very witty and a great voice. What I hadn’t realised was she wasn’t actually the main entertainment but was doing an extra show at 10:30. The theatre was packed with many standing at the back too, I don’t recall ever seeing an act on a ship that popular. She did say she had been doing cruise ships for 12 years now but has just recently got exclusive to Celebrity so we may see her later in the year when we do the Baltic’s.
As hoped we were first in and able to get of the ship quite quickly. The Silhouette was with us again today along with Oosterdam and Allure of the Seas.

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We then caught the ferry across the bay and took a stroll up a deserted Front Street, coming out on to the northern end of beach and securing two beds and a parasol for the day. Around 9:30 yet another ship appeared, this time Carnival Splendor making it five in total. Being as it was so quiet we walked the length of the beach and back while the sea just washed over our feet as we did so. Just beautiful!?
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It didn’t take too long for the beach to fill and despite the numbers on the beach it didn’t feel crowded at all. Then to add to the numbers just after midday we were joined by one of our old ships, Costa Magica.  Making a total of six in port today and quite a gathering at the piers.  This port does seem to pack them in and copes with it too.
We stayed on the beach until just before 3:00 and made our way back to the ship and get a closer look at the Allure.
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Time to cool off a bit and take a shower then it’s Tuscan Grille time. 

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Leaving Antigua

Last night we attended the Captain’s Club Cocktail Party which was held in the Sky Lounge for Select members and above. 45 minutes long with the incentive for me out having a free bar! Very nice! We haven’t attended one of these for years and only went because some of our table mates invited us to join them. We had to make a quick dash to the other end of the ship for dinner where Nicole had Happy Birthday sung to her and was presented with a cake too.

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When we eventually returned to the cabin at the end of the night we found our steward had been up to mischief again with two towel swans scattered with rose petals on the bed.
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Arrival at Basseterre followed the trend on this cruise of being cloudy and you couldn’t see the top of Nevis this morning as it was covered. We were delayed going down to breakfast as we watched one of Eclipse’s sister ships, the Silhouette slide along beside us. It was lovely to see her again as she has given us our two best Celebrity cruises to date. The crew all seemed to be really excited having the two ships berthed right next to each other.
We collected our breakfast from the Oceanview Cafe and ate it up by the Sunset Bar this morning and had a great view of both ships side by side. It was quite a strange feeling having an almost identical ship right next to you.
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No beaches today and all we did was get off briefly for a stroll round the port area where I succumbed to another T-shirt. I also seized a great opportunity to photograph the two ships side by side. We were off for about an hour before getting back on and taking advantage of a quiet ship and pool deck. Just a few scattered clouds to contend with until just after 3:30 when it clouded over again. We have really enjoyed a lovely relaxing day onboard with lunch in the Oceanview Cafe.
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The plan is for theatre and dinner tonight. The act on in the theatre is a British lady by the name of Jayne Curry, a singer and entertainer. Unusually she was also on last night, our table mates who went to see her last night all said she was very good.

After the exhilarating day we had yesterday it is not surprising we were both feeling a little tired this morning. No show for us last night either as we didn’t fancy it. The billing read like this……
Violinist Extraordinaire: David Klinkenberg
David has appeared on radio and television across the United States and Europe including the acclaimed PBS International. He has toured with Grammy winners such as Jim Brickman, Richy McDonald of Lonestar, Celtic Women and Dino Kartsonakis. His latest release is one of the best selling instrumental albums of 2012. From modern to classical David will thrill you with his virtuosity. 
Hmmmmmmmm…….
Today is a certain persons birthday and it was the main reason for this cruise so it’s quite fitting we were at one of our favourite islands. After we had returned to the cabin after breakfast we were surprised to find the steward had put up some decorations and a Happy Birthday banner. He must have spotted the birthday card and then done some checks as we have only mentioned the occasion to our table mates.

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For some reason clearance took 25 minutes today but it didn’t hamper our plans. There seems to be a bit of a theme running with the weather as once again there was a heavy shower of rain just as we were about to get off. It soon cleared and then it was time to go grab a taxi. At St. Johns they have official taxi despatchers which is good thing. Having located their kiosk we booked our ride our favourite beach which is Fort James Beach and at an area called Millers ByThe Sea. We have been twice before and just love it there, it’s close to the port and on previous visits its never been busy.  The taxi cost $12 each way and today we had a driver called Sam who was full of chatter.

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We arrived at the beach to find the facilities had all been modernised since out last visit, gone was the little beach shop which has been converted into seating area for the restaurant, the shop moved to another building and all new sun beds and umbrellas. There are lots more staff now and you can even get drinks brought to you on the beach. It’s still a beautiful beach but maybe now lost a little of its old charm. By all accounts the daughter has taken over the business from her father and upgraded everything. We used to love the fact you could hear the radio in the shop which was always tuned into the local station but sadly that has now gone.
Our taxi picked us up at 3:00 and took us back to St. Johns where we browsed the shops for a while before heading back on board ship.
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Another nice surprise waiting for Nicole were some chocolates and strawberries courtesy of the Celebrity Captains Club Hostess. Word seems to out……
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We sail at 6:00 tonight then it’s off to St.Kitts. There is a good chance we may not get off there as we didn’t find the beaches to our liking. But you never know we could surprise ourselves yet.

The showtime’s were reorganised yesterday due to the fact we didn’t still from Barbados until 11:59. Last night was another production called The Chandelier and we ended up going to the 10:30 show. It was mildly entertaining but nothing special and not something I would be in a hurry to go and see again.
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Today we arrived at St.Lucia shortly before 8:00 and once we had received clearance to go ashore we made our way down to the cruise terminal to rendezvous with our tour operator, Spencer Ambrose. We had prebooked a beach trip by boat for today opting to use this method instead of going by road. By boat being the much quicker method of getting to the beach which is at the other end of the island. After having to wait for one couple who were not on the ship and were making their way by road to join us we eventually set off. Spencer had two boats running today and very quickly set off to our destination Jalousie Beach which is directly between the two Pitons.
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The journey took just over half an hour and I suspect we went quicker than usual to try and make up some time. Jalousie beach is part of the Sugar Beach Resort and is a truly beautiful setting. A lot of ships tours go there for the snorkeling area. There used to be free sun beds on a first come first served basis but for some reason the resort have removed them so today we had to just lay our towels on the sand. This may read a bit more garbled today as I am writing even more quickly than usual. There is free WiFi at the terminal and I wanted to have everything written and ready to post when we got back. So apologise if I drop in and out of past and present tense. We spent four hours there which included a picnic lunch in the price of $60 a head. This is less than advertised as we received a small discount for mentioning the tour on Cruise Critic. Spencer had end emailed me a couple of months ago saying bookings were quiet and would i mention him on our roll call for a little discount. Job done!
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Once again the easiest way to take you there is with some photos so with courtesy of the free stuff at the cruise terminal. 

For the second night on the trot we gave the show in the theatre a miss, billed as a double act of David Guidice & Jordan Bennet our table mates revealed that the two didn’t actually sing together and did half a show each. I think we made the right decision in just going for a drink in the Sky Lounge where we listened to a duo called Natalie & Rich who are from Britain, she being an excellent singer while he accompanied her on the acoustic guitar. We liked them and will certainly keep an eye out for them performing again around the ship.
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We arrived at Bridgetown shortly before 7:00 this morning to find 3 other ships in, those being P&O Oriana, Thomson Celebration & AidaDiva. The weather was very cloudy and we came through a heavy rain shower on the way in to port along with a couple more just after we docked. 

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After breakfast we made our way off the ship and walked the short distance to the cruise terminal opting not to use the ships free shuttle service. Once through the terminal we headed for the taxi rank and got a shared mini bus to the beach. Our stop being the second to last and taking us to Rockley Beach or as the locals call it Accra Beach after the hotel that’s there.

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With $15 for two sunbeds and an parasol we were all set for the day. The only thing not perfect was the weather and even though it rained several times while we were on the beach it was still lovely and warm. We were treated to several breaks in the clouds which reminded us how hot it actually was without the cloud cover. All morning it was dark clouds and showers all around with a soothing sea breeze.
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Around 2:00 the weather brightened up and the clouds became less prevalent with more sunshine and it started to get hot. It turned out to be a really beautiful afternoon. We stayed on the beach until 4:00 before getting a taxi back to the cruise terminal.
This last bit is written in the hope I will find some free WiFi.  If I do there will be more than 3 photos, if I don’t it will be ships WiFi and less photos.

We are now on our way to Barbados and enjoyed a sea day today. We didn’t go to the show last night as the description sounded like something we certainly wouldn’t like. Listed as Jordan Bennet in the FeelGood Concert, acclaimed entertainer of film, TV and Broadway fame performs his one man show with all types of music and a touch of humour. The LA Times said; “Jordan Bennett is often quite mesmerising. ” That to me says give him a wide berth!
Our table mates who went didn’t think too much of it when we were discussing the subject at dinner so it sounds like we made a good decision. There were only six of us at our table last night as one couple were still feeling the effects from the night before and had chosen to use the buffet which allowed them to eat earlier and also to regulate their intake. Both complaining that they couldn’t sleep due to the fact they had eaten too much.
Well, Jesus works in mysterious ways and yet again he overheard that one couple on our table had booked to go to the Tuscan Grille next Thursday, this is another specialty restaurant and again has a cover charge of $45 per person. The question was posed if we would be interested in a similar deal to Qsine. Well being as we would involve the whole table again it would be a shame to miss out on such a good deal so we duly accepted the invitation assuming out absent friend would feel the same way. I will at this point confess to having misquoted the price we got at Qsine, it wasn’t what i thought which was 50% off but actually $50 per couple and is the same price we have been offered this time. Both restaurant’s are advertised at $45 per person so it’s not quite half price but still an excellent deal. 

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Just before sunrise this morning

My body clock is still slowly adjusting and i was up just before sunrise this morning which is a bit better than 4:30! I will probably just fall into sync as it’s time to come home.
Nicole again ordered coffee which we enjoyed on the balcony and today it was in glorious sunshine. The inclusion of some pastries made it all the better and this could become a regular thing, particularly on sea days.   
Not long after we had demolished the trays contents we applied our sun cream then made our way up to the Solstice Deck where we had pretty much the pick of the sunbeds and throughout the day we had to endure beautiful clear blue skies (along with the odd cloud of two) with temperatures between 24-28C.

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Looking back from our vantage point on the Solstice Deck

As it was a sea day we avoided the Oceanview Cafe and took in a quick burger and fries from the Mast Grille which I really enjoyed. It was just a case then of going back to the cabin to shower and cool off a bit and making the most of the balcony.
There isn’t much else to add today but tomorrow there should be plenty to talk about.

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Waiting for Nicole to get ready for Qsine

What an amazing evening last night turned out to be, Qsine was absolutely fantastic and I can’t praise the experience highly enough. So many flavours to choose from and all beautifully presented. We were there for over two hours and came away full to the brim. From there it was straight to the theatre to see the Billy Joel tribute who was a guy called David Guidice, he too was very good. Not just a pretty good sound alike, but a very accopmplished pianist too.
The night didn’t end there because as we were feeling so stuffed we decided to go and try and walk some of it off, being as we were still in port we decide to do this ashore. We walked as far as the the Queen Emma Bridge and looked across at the coloured buildings which were all beautifully lit up. On the way back we passed the free WiFi spots and there were lots of crew all sat out with tablets and phones, it was really cheering to see so many happy faces.
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This morning Nicole surprised me by ordering coffee and fruit to be delivered to the cabin, this we enjoyed out on the balcony. The weather first thing was partially cloudy but still lovely and warm.
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We made the decision to do something similar to yesterday and opted to go for a walk into town, I had seen a T-shirt I liked yesterday so went to go and get it. It did cloud over more on the way and eventually gave us a couple of showers to freshen the air a little.
With purchase made we had to wait to cross the bridge as Vision of the Seas came into port. A good time to get back on the ship with a whole new batch of visitors eager to get off nu and explore. A good sign was we seemed to be walking against the tide which I read as less people on board.
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Because of the amount we ate last night we skipped breakfast and opted for an early lunch. So as soon as we were back on board we dropped a few things off in the cabin and proceeded to the Oceanview Cafe where we easily found seats on the terrace at the back.
Then we made our way to the pool to relax, the sun making guest appearances every now and again. Sailaway is at 5:00 and this will be posted around 4:00 as such was the success of the free WiFi it would be silly not to make use of it again today.

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