Cruise the Caribbean – the perfect winter escape

Labadee Haiti

Top-up your suntan on a Cruise in the Caribbean

The Caribbean is the perfect winter escape.  The weather is perfect to top-up your suntan, enjoy the warm water beaches and escape the cold winter temperatures of the north.  It’s the perfect time to take a cruise!

Our ‘trip of a lifetime’ started in the winter zones of the United States in December.  (Read all about it in our ” 50 Travel Days is NOT enough time ” post)

Whatever were we thinking?

Let’s be clear.  Aussies are warm weather people!

Winter for Aussies, especially those of us who live in Darwin, is usually a minimum of 18 degrees celsius and it’s summer when we have Christmas, Down Under – and usually around 40 degrees in the shade.

A week in the Caribbean … on a cruise!  Oh Yes!  We were in heaven!

Our ship was the Celebrity Equinox – a modern ship carrying about 2,800 like minded travelers to the Caribbean islands – most of them escaping winter!

Shore Excursions

Labadee in Haiti

On the northern coast of the island of Haiti, Labadee is an ‘island paradise’.

We signed up for a historical walking tour of Labadee, which was narrated by a local Haitian man talking about the history of the island of Haiti and it’s people and culture over the past 500 years which was very interesting.

We then swam and lazed around on the beach until the ship sailed late in the afternoon.

Falmouth in Jamaica

Falmouth is on the north coast of Montego Bay and noted for being one of the Caribbean’s busiest ports in Jamaica.  In it’s heyday, Jamaica was the world’s leading sugar producer.

Our tour took us to some beautiful sights and ended with a traditional lunch by the beach.  The relaxed outlook of the Jamaican people was refreshing.  ‘No problem mon‘ is truly their mantra!

George Town, Grand Cayman

The Cayman Islands consist of 3 islands and are currently still one of the countries in the British Commonwealth.  Beautiful clear turquoise waters of the western Caribbean make this destination one of the most popular holiday spots in the Caribbean.

We explored George Town during this shore day taking the opportunity to shop and sample some of the local food and enjoy the local music.

Cozumel in Mexico

They say “Mexican heart, Caribbean soul”.  Cozumel is famous for it’s coral reefs and water sports such as deep-sea diving, snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing and much more.

Mexican cooking always starts with a margarita – apparently!

We chose to do a Mexican cooking class during this shore day and paired up with another Aussie couple for the cook-off.

Mexican cooking rules saw us settling into our first Margarita at 10 am.

Our chefs had a great sense of humour, kept up the supply of Margaritas and ensured we came to no harm.

Our cooking lesson was about preparing a Grouper (fish) parcel ‘the mexican way’, a cornmeal tortilla topped with spicy paprika prawns followed by Tequila plantain bananas.

A  fun day for us all and no complaints to the chef!

Cruise the dining options

Breakfast is served in the buffet and the main dining rooms.  Opting for a light breakfast most days as we were both determined not to gain weight.  Not an easy task when food is one of the key features of the cruise!

The main dining room ‘Silhouette’ served excellent choices.  A three course meal was on offer every lunch and dinner with premium steaks, lobster, chicken, and lamb dishes accompanied by an extensive wine list.

Dining in the main restaurant is always a treat but we also enjoy experiencing the other on-board restaurants so for this cruise we opted to alternate between the restaurants.

We enjoyed them all!

The Equinox has a number of specialty restaurant options including the popular european inspired coffee house with gelatos and freshly baked pastries, Cafe al Bacio and Gelateria.

  • Sushi on 5 – Japanese style sushi, perfect for light dining.
  • Silk Harvest – combining Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
  • Tuscan Grille – an Italian steakhouse with a sophisticated menu and wine selection.
  • Murano – fine European style dining with an extensive wine service.

Shows and entertainment were consistently good.  Talented crew members, singers and comedians showcased a their broad repertoire of talents.

On board activities evolved around shore days and included trivia quiz’s, cards and board games or lazing around the pool.

On-board Cruise Shopping

We’ve traveled on previous cruise lines but never before with Celebrity Cruises and were totally impressed!

I was lucky enough to win a pair of Tanzanite stud earrings as a lucky draw prize.

Shopping is a popular pastime for both men and women passengers.

Tax and duty free boutiques offering selections of exclusive handbags, perfumes and cosmetics as well as watches and beautiful jewelry.

Some of the on-board activities included raffles and giveaway prizes for the passengers and auctions showcasing art from emerging artists and exquisite hand-blown glass pieces drew the crowds.

The on-board Casino was always busy with both the high rollers tables and the pokie machines. I’m sure this had nothing to do with the ‘no gambling’ laws in Florida!

Wine glass Workshop

One of the on-board activities that was available was the Riedel Workshop.

Riedel Crystal has an extensive reputation worldwide for designing the very best wine glasses specifically to suit each and every wine style.

As part of this workshop experience, we were treated to a unique and authentic Riedel Glass Tasting at sea.  Led by some of the best sommeliers, this wine glass tasting demonstrated the benefits and difference in the taste of wine with relation to the wine glass it’s poured into.

A fun afternoon with some surprising revelations for wine drinkers!

A ‘flight’ of martinis

We ‘discovered’ martini’s !

Visiting the ‘iced over’ Martini Bar for 5 o’clock drinks on Day 2 seemed like a good idea at the time!

Someone ordered a ‘flight of 12 martinis’.

The crowd gathered around, cameras appeared and the encouragement began.

Spectacular to watch drawing cheers and whistles from the crowd who had gathered!

Fascinated, we watched as Allin the cocktail crafter extraordinaire prepare the flight.

He built a pyramid of 12 martini glasses on the bar.  Different ingredients for each martini were poured and blended into 12 individual cocktail shakers.

The shakers were then stacked on top of each other, raised over his shoulder and shaken before tilting sideways over the glass pyramid to simultaneously pour 12 different martinis into the 12 martini glasses!

We were hooked  …  but by Day 6 we couldn’t face another martini!

Relax and be pampered

One of our special self-treats is to luxuriate with a facial, massage or treatment.   We both took the opportunity of spoiling ourselves a little.  A nice relaxing treat for a sea day.

Smart thinking if you are looking to relax!

Some passengers opt to stay on board during shore days as most of the passengers exit and they have the ship to themselves.

Spa treatments booked for shore days often attract a discount so it’s a win-win option.

Celebrity Cruise options for all

Celebrity Cruises operate around the world with cruise destinations to suit everyone.  Asia, Europe, Mediterranean, South Pacific and South America are just some of the cruise options available – the choice is yours.

We totally enjoyed our cruise aboard the Celebrity Equinox.  Excellent customer service by staff who were committed to ensuring the passengers had a great holiday.  We’ll certainly be choosing this cruise line again!

Cruises can be great fun!  Fine dining, quality entertainment, relaxation and like minded people who enjoy some of the finer things in life.

Have you been on a cruise?  What did you enjoy most?  Do you have a fun story to share?  Share your story!

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