This is a 14night cruise departing Miami on the 26th of November and returning December 10th, 2017.
We are flying in one day early on the morning of the 25th and spending it in Miami.
We are staying in a Royal Suite for this cruise and it will be our first time in a Royal Suite. We are very excited!
We have booked the GO BEST promotion which means we have the premium drink package, prepaid gratuities, unlimited internet, and on board credit.
We have a total of 5 sea days and 9 port days with one overnight port in Curacao.
As December 10th is a Sunday we plan to head home that day.
Below you will find our blog "re-formatted" with additional information from our cruise. If you'd like to read the "Live Blog" and see questions posted from other cruisers I invite you to follow our CRUISE CRITIC BLOG by clicking HERE.
I know many of you want to see the daily papers and see the activities available on each day. They are now ready for download! Please click the button below for the PDF file page.
Some people believe it is taboo to discuss how airfare, hotel stays, and the cruise itself was booked. How much the cost is, why we chose the flights or the room we did, etc. Well, I think this information can only help those who are looking to book or are currently booked on a cruise. So let us discuss in detail our travel plans at the cost.
We are from Chicago, so we are flying out of MDW to FLL on Southwest. Going there we used points to book and got a very good deal, but our flight is at 5:30am Saturday morning!
On the way home Southwest flights were quite pricey for a non-stop, over $250 per person. Since we are porting out of Miami it also means we'd have the expense of getting to FLL. We opted for flying American on the way home as their First Class out of MIA was only $370pp. We used our American Express Platinum to book these tickets thus earning us 5x Amex points per dollar spent for a total of 3,700pts. These points are typically valued at 1.7cents, which equates to $62.90 in future travel value.
We decided to book through American Express travel (fine hotels and resorts) and were able to pick up a good deal at the Miami Four Seasons for only $240 after taxes. In addition, because we booked through Amex we are receiving $100 in hotel credit to be used at any venue. Since we need to eat and drink anyway this is a great value for us. We plan to grab a nice lunch at the hotel bar or pool when we arrive.
On Saturday morning at 5:30am we will board our flight from MDW to FLL on Southwest. Here is a quick video to introduce you to our live blog for the next 15 days.
There's much to see here. So, take your time, look around, and learn all there is to know about us. We hope you enjoy our site and take a moment to drop us a line.We left our building around 3:30am. We ordered an Uber Black car and he was waiting for us by the time we got to our lobby. We were at the airport by 3:50am. As you can see from the below photo check in for bags was a bit hectic. Southwest has the majority of Midway airport and it’s a good thing they do! The whole process only took about 15/18 minutes so not too bad.
TSA pre check which should have opened at 4am opened at 4:20am so there was a bit of a wait. Par for the course with TSA. However once we entered the security line things moved quickly.
We had plenty of time at the gate for me to get out a couple last work emails. As I write this portion we are just under halfway to FLL. I’ve already had my first screwdriver and I’m watching the news on my iPad.
More to come once we arrive in FLL. We are using CATA Black Car for the first time to get us to our hotel in Miami. They have excellent reviews on Yelp and booking was very easy so hopefully it’s as good as everyone says it is.
Our flight arrived a bit early and our driver was already waiting for us. Our bags were some of the first to come out and we had 4 total checked bags (thank you Southwest). We’re in the back of the car now. Beautiful and spotless XTS with so far what seems to be a great driver. This is a little more than a taxi and so definitely worth it.
Sunrise from the plane
We arrived at our hotel, the Four Seasons Miami at roughly 10:20/30. We had an early check in set up for guarantee by Noon. We had our room keys right away.
As mentioned we booked this through Amex. Not only do we have a $100 food and beverage credit but we also have breakfast tomorrow up to $64. We’re definitely happy with that and Amex platinum continues to justify their annual fee.
Again because we booked through Amex we received an upgraded room. It is basically the same sized room but with a much nicer view. The room as you can see is a little dated but it is very clean. The carpet seems new and the bedding is the excellent bedding you’d expect at a Four Seasons.
Since we had our credit we decided to eat lunch at the hotel. Personally, I always have a drink at the hotel bar as soon as I arrive. I prefer hotel bars. Here there are multiple restaurants. We ate lunch at Bahia which overlooks the pool and has a nice water feature in the background. It’s a nice relaxing setting for a hotel that is in downtown Miami. We really enjoyed the food and our drink. We both had a house Margarita on the rocks. We then had ceviche with Florida snapper (they were very generous with the fish), chips and salsa with guacamole, and then fish tacos. Overall it was very tasty and an excellent value for the quality of the food and an especially awesome value for it being a hotel restaurant.
Now, it is time for a little nap. We’re running on very little sleep. After our nap I think a pre-dinner drink will be in order.
Well I finally woke up from my nap! That was much needed. I'm currently sitting on a cushioned window ledge in our hotel room looking at the water and watching the planes come into the MIA (helping satisfy my inner avgeek).
Thank you to everyone who has commented and is following along! Wow, I am surprised with how many people have commented already. I love it!
I've made note of ALL the questions that have been asked and will do my best to find the answers for you and to give my opinion as well. I'm chuckling at the Louis XIII question because it is something talked about with some friends back home so it will most definitely be my pleasure to find out for you.
We were just talking about where to go for dinner and we noticed that the steakhouse in our hotel, called EDGE, has a happy hour from 4 to 7 overnight. We might stop down there for drinks before dinner and a small bite. I'm mentioning that because it seems like a decent deal so if you're looking for a place in this area it might be worth checking out. I'll let you know my thoughts. From 4 to 7 they have 50% off specialty cocktails and 2 for 1 small plate specials. It turns out they also had a 3 course lunch special for $24. Maybe when we cruise on the EDGE we should eat at THE EDGE before? Ok, that was a bad joke. My apologies.
The weather was beautiful earlier today and still is. It was in the upper 70s with a nice breeze. It felt wonderful. Right now there are very few clouds in the sky. Tomorrow the weather should be 79 degrees and perfectly sunny. A great day for sail away.
So we are about to go to sleep! We will grab breakfast in the morning here and we will report back about that. Here is quick video about our evening and our stay here at the Four Seasons Miami. Keep in mind we live in a hotel concept in Chicago. We expect things a certain way and I have to say that this place (which is also a hotel plus resident concept) is very well managed and we were thrilled with the service.
Good Morning from Miami. We just had a wonderful breakfast outside with a couple of drinks.
The weather is sunny today and I think we will have a high right around 80. There is a very slight breeze in the air. Very comfortable. It is 9:50am as I write this. I think we will hop in an Uber around 10:20/10:30 to head to the pier. We love being one of the first ones on the ship. After all we cannot use the drink package all day if we don’t start early!
I will let everyone know how the embarkation process goes. In the past we’ve arrived this early and never had any issues with check in. Fingers crossed it’s the same today.
Well we are already on board. Check in was a breeze. At check in we were met by Solomon from the ship who escorted us on the ship. It was a little awkward cutting by all the people waiting to get on but it was a nice treat.
Right now we are sitting in Michael’s Club and I think we will go explore the ship shortly and see who we know on board.
The first of many Ketel One & Orange Juice
Our room is beautiful. We’ve met Alfred our butler who is very professional and stressed that “anything at all we need or want, no matter what” that he will take care of it. We will try and test that. Within reason of course.
Today was coast guard inspection. The first since they came over. So the staff was a bit frazzled. But they’re happy now that it has been complete. I hope they performed well!
Cheers everyone! It is almost midnight as I am sitting in bed typing this. We had a wonderful evening. We started with drinks at the Martini Bar. Followed by dinner in Luminae and then multiple drinks at World Class. Edward is currently ordering room service for a late night snack. At least I talked him out of another drink. It was like watching Bambi learn how to walk!
I was hoping to post more photos but the internet is not cooperating. Hopefully later tonight will work or first thing in the morning. Please stand by!!
I’m currently sitting by the pool bar. Not sure if this is the place to be or sunset this cruise. Still feeling it out. We had breakfast in our suite. Alfred set everything up nicely. We didn’t order much but he added a few extras. We didn’t eat too much of it but it was a nice start to the day and helped with the minor hangover we had.
Today the weather is a bit overcast. No sun yet and not too warm but it’s enjoyable. Perfect weather to drink or relax outside.
Last night we made some new friends at the martini bar and World Class. I have a feeling we’re going to do a lot of talking on this cruise. But that is a GREAT thing!
A quick note about dinner last night. We walked into Luminae around 8:10. No issue getting a nice private table and it was not crowded at all. Service was excellent. Our waiter was Tony (Toni?). Food came out in good time. We never felt like we were waiting too long or felt rushed. The sommelier is a gentleman. Tall, young good looking guy. We will get his name tonight.
Nenad is helping run Luminae. We’ve had him on a previous cruise and he remembered us right away. He also said someone from here was telling him to take good care of us! Also that same person alerted Michaels Club about us so we’re getting the special treatment. I think I know who you are so thank you!!!!
World Class Bar was awesome. Vasil is working the bar along with another bartender. I forget his name right now but will post it later. He is tall and seems like he enjoys wearing bow ties. They’re both extremely nice. We’ve sailed with Vasil before.
I have to say we were going into this cruise a little sad that we didn’t know any crew but we are running into them left and right and making new friends.
As always thank you for following along and did your questions. I haven’t forgotten any of them. I will definitely get to them all.
SEE THE PHOTOS BELOW FROM LAST NIGHT'S DINNER
We ate in Sushi on 5 for lunch since it is complimentary for us. It took a while for our drinks (we ordered from the drink menu) since they still were recovering from the inspection. But the wait staff was apologetic and we had no rush to go anywhere.
The sushi was very tasty. You can see the photos above.
NOVEMBER 28TH - ANOTHER SEA DAY!
Good Morning everyone. I am at the....can you guess it...pool bar this morning. I am glad to say we slept excellent last night and I finally feel fully recharged. Today is a beautiful day. Some clouds but it is mostly sunny. The high today is 82 and there is a slight breeze.
Yesterday we had a wonderful dinner in Luminae. Nenad came over as we sat down to let us know we had a very nice bottle of wine from the hotel director. We chatted with him for a bit and he went on to recommend the halibut. I can easily say that the halibut we had last night easily ranks in the top 5 of meals we’ve ever eaten and not just at sea. It was perfect.
The wine we had was great. It wouldn’t be the choice to pair with the halibut but it was delicious enough that it did not matter. All other aspects of dinner were wonderful. Again we found Luminae to not be crowded and we had a very private table.
I’d also like to announce that the regular butter for Luminae is back!
SEE PHOTOS BELOW FROM LAST NIGHT
We're trying some olives tonight...
Our second sea day started at of course, the bar. We've decided to make the pool bar our regular morning place instead of the sunset bar. We've gotten to know the bartenders here it seems and we have gotten to know some of the regular passengers that frequent here in the morning as well.
For lunch today we decided to go to Luminae. We had three courses for lunch, but none of them were too heavy. While we were definitely full, we didn't feel like we over ate or "pigged out" for the lack of a better term.
After lunch we went to a future cruises talk about an African Safari add on package. This was held in Celebrity Central. Lastly we walked through the shops a bit. Here is a photo for Mr. and Mrs. Dewars. You know who you are!
Some followers of my blog asked about Christmas decorations. They just started to put them up and new ones seem to be added each day. Some photos are below.
Photos below of lunch, presentation, Christmas decorations and shopping.
Good Evening Everyone - This evening we started at Michaels Club for a drink and then went to the Martini Bar. While at Michaels Club we scanned the Luminae menu and didn’t find it too appealing so we were considering going to a specialty. On the way out of Michaels we ran into and finally met Arno! The legend aboard Celebrity. He mentioned that the menu tonight in Luminae wasn’t that great so it helped solidify our decision to go to a specialty. Since it’s included in our RS we figured we might as well. So we ended up at Qsine. Per the usual it was a lot of food! So here are some photos from dinner.
Dinner and service in Qsine was very good. All the staff was very friendly and we had a nice table by the window. One of the restaurant managers we met in Sushi on 5 remembered us and stopped by to make sure everything was ok.
I noticed upon boarding the ship that some of the bar staff seemed out of sync. Some bars had missing items etc. Today it seemed as though they were all getting their groove back. I think a lot of this had to do with the health inspection on embarkation day as it does put a lot of stress on the crew.
We are currently sitting on our balcony enjoying a glass of Remy. Quick funny comment - we get back to our room and there is an extra lounger on our balcony. We had already requested an extra one (so we’d have two) with the shoreside concierge and that request was met. But now we have 3? Perhaps our neighboring RS requested one and they got confused. Either way we will have it removed in the morning.
Right now we may just fall asleep on the balcony in our bath robes. The sound of the sea is so calming and the breeze is strong enough to keep us cool but gentle enough to be comforting while dozing off.
I’ll leave you all with this beautiful sunset photo from earlier today.