The cruise/vacation is officially over. Yesterday we returned home. Our day in Fort Lauderdale was restful and uneventful. None us wanted to do anything but relax, so about all we did was swim in the pool at the hotel and eat. With a 4:30 AM wake up call for our flight back home, we turned in pretty early too. Both flights home were also uneventful and on time with no issues whatsoever.
This was an absolutely wonderful vacation. We ran around like idiots in Rome, Italy for 4 days at the start. I think we averaged over 6 miles walking a day touring the town and seeing the sights. The kids were glad to have been able to see Rome and experience the history there. For me, it was nice to finally get back there too since its been like 7 years since I have been to Rome.
Before the cruise, we were a bit worried about the Celebrity Solstice and its size. We have always sailed on smaller Celebrity (and other lines) ships. We were a bit worried about getting lost in a swarm of people. Now, this cruise was not nearly full, but still had many more folks than our previous cruises. And the end result is, So What? It was a complete non issue. In fact, the Celebrity Solstice is now my favorite cruise ship that I have sailed on. I found quite a few places where I could be alone with the ocean and do my stare time.
I also have to admit that I thought the Lawn Club and the Hot Glass Show would be a bit gimmicky, but I found them to be the best parts of the ship. Its amazing how immaculate they keep the lawn and how accessible it is. I do wonder if on a completely warm weather cruise, say the Caribbean, if the Lawn Club might be more jammed with people. I am guessing not since those cruises are more port intensive and we tend to not get off the ship on all ports. The Hot Glass Show was thoroughly entertaining. I thought it might be a very simplistic show and quite redundant. However, every show was different as the artists tried different pieces and techniques keeping it very fresh and entertaining. And the artists didnt just try simple pieces. They actually were experimenting to learn new techniques from the other artists and using the ‘free’ studio time to grow themselves. I think this show will just continue to get better and better with more and more artists discovering the benefits of participating.
The transatlantic cruises continues to be a favorite of ours. After running around Rome, and having 5 ports in 6 days, we were most definitely ready for 6 days at sea. I go on vacations to relax and recharge from work. While heavy sight seeing vacations are fun, one tends to come back more tired than when you left. Not having had a real vacation of any length this year, I need a recharging vacation and this turned out to be it. Perfect timing and the perfect vacation.
We are also presented with a dilemma for our future cruises. The kids missed two weeks of school for this vacation/cruise. The school has been really understanding about this and working with us on homework and stuff for the kids. Their philosophy has been that the kids will learn more on the vacation/cruise than in those two weeks of school. I think that is quite true, but not a prevalent thought in our society. Next year, Sean starts high school. Our plan has always been to not take the kids out of school for a cruise once they go to high school and school was ‘more important’ in prepping for the future. So our yearly family vacation over Thanksgiving will either need to shorten or be moved to a time of year when the kids have school off. They of course have time off in the summer, so we could adjust to then. But, thats not far away, so do we not take a cruise this year? Or do we take another soon? So of course, finances come into play with a cruise so soon. Or perhaps Suzanne and I go on the next cruise alone? Lots to think of on cruise planning! And we have begun already.
And where to cruise? We have never taken a cruise to the Caribbean. Perhaps its time? But the weather (we like colder weather over hot and humid) and the sheer number of boats and people in the Caribbean are a drawback. The Panama Canal cruise still beckons to us. We really want to do that one, but its usually one of the most expensive cruises. We also have our eye on an Arctic Circle cruise in the Iceland, Finland, Norway, etc area. So lots to think about!
Celebrity has done another great job. Except for the one bad meal and the communication issue on the shore excursion when our port was changed, they did an outstanding job. The cruise staff was their usual jovial, helpful and outstanding crew. Its a pretty safe bet that our next cruise will be on Celebrity once again.
I will close in saying that I hope you have enjoyed following our cruise adventure on my blog. Its been fun with the daily updates and its a great place for me to jot down my thoughts. Suzanne will begin processing all the photos from the cruise/vacation soonest and I hope to get them up here within the week.