CELEBRITY REFLECTION Part 6 (the final one)
(click on pictures to enlarge)
Part 6 - the final one
Friday 7th December 2012
Hooray, the storm has obviously abated overnight, for we arrived in CocoCay Island at 7.30 in bright sunshine and tremendous heat, and put one anchor down.
The tenders were prepared and goods were sent ashore; this is Celebrity's island and so we can all go ashore for excursion things or to do nothing and have lunch ashore. It is a very small tropical island and like nothing I have ever seen before.
We had a leisurely breakfast (with good English bacon, in the spacious Lido) and took the free tender to the tiny harbour, then strolled round to one of the fine sandy beaches. I loved the sapphire and aquamarine colours of the water.
On the island the trees were sparse and obviously lacked water, but the sand was fine and soft, and there were all sorts of water sports available; one could also do absolutely nothing. We paddled, took photos, I tried a hammock strung between two trees (very comfortable but difficult to disembark) we strolled around to another part of the island where some local craft were berthed, and admired the large piece of carpet on a linkspan.
We had a light lunch and drinks provided by the cheerful ship’s staff, and then later headed back to the ship for coffee, tea, cake and ice cream in Café al Bracio. What a contrast with yesterday’s weather.
I now have my disembarkation papers for tomorrow when we arrive back in Miami. Thanks to Celebrity I have been able to arrange to leave as an independent traveller soon after 8.10 a.m. and take one of their coaches to the Bayside Market complex; there my luggage will go in secure and guarded storage for the day until 5.30 p.m. when I take another coach to Miami International airport, so I appreciate this facility that the cruise line offers.
Tonight’s dress code is Smart so I had the chance to wear again what we English jokingly like to call a ‘posh frock’. Packing quickly completed, I joined my friends for a pre-dinner drink and then a lovely meal. A late night walk on deck was in amazing heat, even up on the top Deck 15, with no breeze, and with the sight of several other ships in the distance all lit up.
Ships seen: Cococutter 2, Cococutter 1, Nina, La Santa Maria, a Disney ship on the horizon, various others at night which couldn’t be identified
Saturday 8th December 2012
Back in Miami at the Cruise Terminal I was up early and had the chance to ring beloved daughter, and hear about two little boys seeing real reindeers the day before. I was preparing for an early breakfast and departure from the ship at 8.30 on my pre-arranged Celebrity Excursion, went through Customs and collected my suitcase, and on the quayside I was directed to a coach to travel to the Bayside Market complex. There my suitcase was put in a secure container for the day – peace of mind. Then I could go into the Market mall as planned and locate one of my good friends, with free wi-fi and coffee, before saying goodbye.
One of my American friends was unexpectedly free so we were able to meet and have lunch and a little visit. I saw the Mary Brickell village, the fantastic Biltmore Hotel entrance hall, and routes around there, before being dropped off back at the Bayside Market (thanks Ernie).
I was able to catch a double-decker red open-top tourist bus from there to travel over the MacArthur Causeway and see the cruise ships, before crossing the road and catching another red bus back to Bayside. Driving over the Causeway, there was CELEBRITY REFLECTION coming towards me, along the Government Cut, and it felt a bit odd to be in the position of ship-watching from there, rather than on board!
Back at Bayside I collected my suitcase from the safe storage, and was escorted onto the bus to Miami International Airport, which was all part of the Celebrity Excursion for today. It seemed a sensible thing to arrange to do, as I was unencumbered by my suitcase for the whole day and knew it was in safe keeping.
I checked in for my evening British Airways flight, which arrives tomorrow morning at London Heathrow.
Ships seen: Celebrity Reflection, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Breeze, Norwegian Epic
Sunday 9th December 2012
It was an uneventful long flight home, but I think the ‘social whirl’ caught up with me and I slept well! On arrival at Heathrow I was soon able to catch a coach heading south, and then beloved son met me and drove me home. I had been away for three weeks and enjoyed every minute of it, both the sea time and the land time.
The ships were all very different but interesting in their own ways, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been very fortunate.
One could say that, on REFLECTION, I’ve been able to BREEZE through PARADISE.