Saturday, November 25, 2017

Western Caribbean Cruise

We have been at a 'Serenade of the Seas' - 7 Nights Western Caribbean Cruise, November 17th from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades).
Ports of Call were: Key West; Coxen Hole, Roatan; Costa Maya and Cozumel.

A complete VLOG from the cruise with videos form the ship, sail away as well as each port of call:

Below a Day to Day review - first day is the last post - also tabs with overall cruise reviews including videos and a Serenade of the Seas review.

Prior to the cruise we did stay one week in Miami in order to recover from the 6 hours time difference and a very long flight. Flew with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) direct from Copenhagen to Miami - rented a Hertz car i Miami Airport and did return the car at the Hertz office in Port Everglades.

7 Nights Cruise:
Day 1. Fort Lauderdale, - departed. 4 pm
Day 2. Key West, Florida - Arr. 07:00  am - Dept. 5:00 pm
Day 3. At sea
Day 4. Roatan, Honduras  - Arr. 08:00  am - Dept. 5:00 pm
Day 5. Costa Maya, Mexico -  - Arr. 08:00  am - Dept. 5:00 pm
Day 6. Cozumel, Mexico -  - Arr. 07:00  am - Dept. 5:00 pm
Day 7. At sea
Day 8. Fort Lauderdale - Arr. 07:00 am

Back in Fort Lauderdale we took a RCCL shuttle bus direct to Miami Airport for the flight back to Denmark.

Here is a video from our cruise and ports of call:

Friday, November 24, 2017

Disembarkation - Fort Lauderdale

Last day of the cruise. Serenade of the Seas arrived at Port Everglades just before scheduled time at 07 am.
Disembarkation went very smoothly. At 7:20 am the ship was cleared and self-assist express departure could depart.
We had booked a shuttle to Miami Airport -  had got tag number 16 - scheduled departure was 8:40 am - breakfast in Windjammer.
- already at 8:10 am we could depart.
Short queue for immigration - it took about 20 minutes from we left 'Serenade of the Seas' until we were through immigration.
Link to as 'As You depart' information.

At 10:30 am we drove the 30 minutes from the Port Everglades to Miami Airport. Check-in at Departure at 3:45 pm. Back home in Denmark 12 hours later.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Day 7 - Thanksgiving - At Sea

Last day at sea  and Thanksgiving - on our way from Cozumel to Fort Lauderdale. Breakfast at 07 am with a nice sunrise.
At 9:30 am we were invited to the bridge. 
Before lunch there was the  'International Crew Parade of Nations' in Centrum -  Crew from 66 different countries - the captain from Norway, the doctor from Denmark and the nurse from Sweden.
Lunch in Windjammer, followed by the last sun on the deck. Thanksgiving Football games were shown on the Big Screen Poolside.
I would also try to "steer the ship".
The suitcases were also to be packed - they had to be put outside the cabin door before 11 pm.
At 5 pm a drink in Vortex bar before the Thanksgiving dinner in the restaurant - salad for starters followed the traditional turkey with cranberries and pumpkin pie for dessert.
After another drink in Schooner Bar, the last items into the suitcases before bedtime.

View from bridge..
.. ship mate explains..
... the bridge

Part of menu.
Turkey with cranberries ..
... and pumpkin pie.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Daily Cruise Compass and Planner

Here are the Daily Cruise Compass and Planners as well as the 'As You Depart' and 'Officers and Staff' information from our cruise (Please report broken links or missing information.):
Compass Day 1
Compass Day 2
Compass Day 3
Compass Day 4
Compass Day 5
Compass Day 6
Compass Day 7

As You Depart
Officers and Staff

Day 6 - Cozumel, Mexico

7 am we arrived at Cozumel, an island in the Caribbean Sea at the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatán peninsula. 
After breakfast we enjoyed the morning sun on the aft deck.
Took a taxi from International Pier to San Miguel de Cozumel, the largest town on the island - a 5 km (3 miles) and $8 trip drive. Of course we were set off next to a jewel store!
Walked along the seafront  - there were plenty of souvenir shops and the locals stood outside their shop to lure us inside. If you want to avoid the Sidewalk Shuffle on San Miguel's waterfront, walk on the ocean side of the street. In the side streets and at San Miguel's El Zócalo (The Plaza), with its bandstand and clock tower, - there was more peacefulness.

Enjoyed a drink on a sidewalk cafe at El Zócalo. San Miguel is very colourful, with low rise colonial-style buildings - City is very safe and friendly. 
After about 3 hours in town we took a taxi back to the ship to have lunch on the Windjammer Cafe.
In the afternoon a shady space on the deck - the temperature approaches 30 degrees C (86 F).
Started the evening with a show - VIBE*OLOGY with 'Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers' -"A high energy show featuring songs by your favourite artists from the 60's to the 90's" - excellent show.
A short video from our 'Cozumel Walking':

Cozumel sunrise..

.. harbour promenade..
... and quiet side streets.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Day 5 - Costa Maya, Mexico

Costa Maya is a small tourist area in Mexico - just north of Belize.
The cruise port of Costa Maya is a nice little artificial Mexican village, build from scratch for cruises - It feels like a private island.
We arrived just before 7 am followed by 'Navigator of the Seas' - two Royal Caribbean ships at the pier.
A long pier leads to the shopping and entertainment area - transportation is provided for those who would prefer not to walk.
There is a small, man-made beach right at the port, but too rocky for swimming. The cruise pier is located approximately 1 mile north of Majuhua, a one-time fishing village of 200 people that's about a 30-minute walk or $5 cab ride away.
The shopping village has an outdoor amphitheater, where a Mayan folklore show was offered for free -  a couple of restaurants,  several bars, and a saltwater pool for dolphin swimming and dolphin shows. 
Nice and cozy area, but many people, when there were two ships at the pier. Enjoyed a drink at a beach bar before we went back to the ship.
Lunch in Windjammer and sun on the deck in the afternoon.
A short video from our day in Costa Maya:

Village at the Pier with shops
...swimming with Dolphins..

... and bars

Monday, November 20, 2017

Day 4 - Coxen Hole, Roatan

7 am we arrived at Coxen Hole, the largest city on the island of Roatan, a department in Honduras. The city was founded in 1835 when pirates moved to Roatan from the Cayman Islands. The city is named after pirate captain John Coxen and was home to over 5,000 pirates. 
After breakfast we went for a walk in town before it got too hot.
First we had to pass all the taxi drivers offering islands tours. From the port we walked half a mile along the Main Street. Very picturesque, but also impoverished. 
A short video from Coxen Hole Main Street:

In the afternoon sun at the pool. 
It's Thanksgiving on Thursday - Centrum has been decorated for Christmas and a big Christmas tree in Reflections Restaurant. 
After a drink at Schooner Bar we did have dinner 7.30 pm in the restaurant - Starter: Prawn Cocktail, for main course Chicken Masala and Tiramisu for dessert. Music in Centrum before bedtime.

Pictures from Coxen Hole:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Day 3 - At Sea

At Sea - sailing  from Key West to the island of Roatan in Honduras.
After breakfast and lunch in Windjammer we enjoyed the sun on the deck.
It was 'Formal Night' - cocktail dresses and tuxedo.
Before dinner, a drink at the Schooner Bar followed by the Captain's welcome at Centrum.
At dinner we got Scallops for starters, Duck a la Orange for main course and Lime Pie for dessert.

Dancers in Centrum

Captain's welcome at Centrum ... 
... and his staff

Duck a la Orange
Lime Pie

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Day 2 - Key West

At 7 am, Serenade of the Seas arrived at Key West, the southernmost point in the United States. Most houses date from 1886 to 1912. Ernest Hemingway lived in the 1950s in Key West.
Hurricane Irma passed Key West in September the city has been restored in record time - in surpricingly good shape - tourism is an important source of income. The town was well organized and hardly any traces of the hurricane.
We started off the main street Duval St. where we visited the oldest house in Key West. Further up to Hemmingway's Home and back on Whitehead St.
An interesting trip through the old city.
Video: Walking through Key West and Serenade of the Seas Sail Away:

Back on the ship we had lunch in Windjammer,  - spend some time on the sun deck and coffee on our balcony.

Tonight we had a drink in the Vintage bar before a show with 'Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers' - "West End & Broadway Musicals turned into Movie Musicals" - as usual excellent performance and a good show - ended the evening with dinner in the restaurant - For starters: Smoked duck breast, main course Entrecote and apple pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Duval Street..
..the oldest house in Key West
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Hemmingways House
Audibon House
The Light House

Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 1 - Fort Lauderdale Sail Away

We did stay in Miami for a week prior to the cruise. At 9:30 am the suitcases were packed and we drove to Fort Lauderdale. 
We handed our rental car to the Hertz office at SE 24th street  10:30 am. There is a shuttle bus from the Hertz office to Port Everglades - a relatively small bus, many cruise passengers and a lot of luggage. 
3 ships in the harbor. First shuttle bus stop was berth 18, for Celebrity Reflection. Long car queues and slow traffic. Next stop was berth 29 for Serenade. Here the traffic was better organized and no traffic jam. On the other hand there were long queues at ID and security check. 
Check in was well organized and we were aboard just after noon. Had lunch in Windjammer. 
At 1 pm the cabin was ready. E2-8538 Deluxe oceanview with balcony. Our luggage was delivered to the cabin very fast - at 2 pm we have unpacked.

Departure was scheduled for 4 pm, but was delayed for almost an hour due to traffic in the harbour.
Originally we had booked a table in Restaurant Refelction (Main Dining Restaurant) at 6 pm, but changed it to 7:30 pm, so we could follow the departure from Fort Lauderdale and have a drink in the Schooner Bar before dinner. 
A good dinner - Fish Rillettes, Atlantic Salmon and Carrot Cake/Cheese Cake.
Check-in at Port Everglades
Lunch at the Aft deck - Windjammer
Drink in Schooner Bar

Atlantic Salmon
Cheese Cake
Carrot Cake

End of the Review!