We really enjoyed our first cruise experience a few years ago, so in 2015 we decided to book a slightly longer cruise for the Easter holidays. We flew to Miami and booked a 1-night stay in the Atlantic Hotel & Spa in Fort Lauderdale. The next morning, we boarded the Celebrity Silhouette.
Celebrity Silhouette by numbers
- The ship is over 300 meters in length and can accommodate nearly 3000 passengers. It is one of the Solstice-class ships within the shipping company, with sister ships like Equinox and Eclipse. In other words, they are Celebrity’s flagships.
- The 250 chefs prepare about 16,000 meals daily. During a 7-day cruise, they use nearly 8,000 eggs, 50,000 litres of milk, 6,500 kg beef, more than 9000 bottles of wine and more than 1000 bottles of assorted other alcoholic beverages…
- And so, there are 8 restaurants and 5 bars on board. The most extraordinary one is Crush, an ice bar for vodka and caviar tastings.
- The Sunset Bar, located on the top deck, has a real grass lawn! Can it get any crazier?
We left the harbour at the end of the afternoon, on the way to our first stop.
We went on shore in Mexico and looked for a taxi to bring us to Tulum. This old Maya city sits atop a 12-meter-high cliff. The city was originally called Zama (Sunrise City). The first inscription dates back to 564, but the city’s heyday really spans from the 11th to the 15th century. The ruins give a good idea of the old city, but the city’s location – just above the beach – is truly spectacular. After an extensive tour and a nice Mexican beer, it was time to board again.
The most important reason for me to book this trip were the Cayman Islands. Not, unfortunately, because I have my millions stashed away here, but because you can swim with stingrays.
We immediately arranged a boat to bring us to the right location. After about half an hour on the boat, we arrived at a sand bank in the middle of the ocean. You could immediately see shadows of gigantic stingrays swimming beside the boat.
In former days, fishermen used to stop here to clean their catch, as there were no mosquitos and flies to annoy them. The stingrays feasted on the fish guts the fishermen discarded. Eventually, the stingrays started to count on this easy meal and hang around this area.
My youngest son and I had just entered the water when the first ray stroke our legs. The guide lured a gigantic specimen our way so we could have a close-up view and feel it. And although it is, of course, a tourist trap, it was an unforgettable experience at the same time.
After this fantastic experience, we had time to walk through the streets of this British overseas tax haven. All houses are brightly coloured and make a cheerful impression. If you are looking for a new watch or other jewel, this is the place to go.
Jamaica was never top of the list for us. But we liked to just glimpse it nevertheless – been there, done that! But the country was a pleasant surprise. Beautiful nature, very friendly people, lovely food…
We visited Columbus Park in Discovery Bay. When Columbus first landed here in 1494, he called the place “Dry Harbour” because there was no drinkable water to be found. There are a few remains and you can take a nice photo of a scene from the time of Columbus.
Afterward, we drove to Ocho Rios to visit Dunn’s River Falls. This waterfall is the most popular tourist attraction of Jamaica, and the water falls 55m to the beach, over a total distance of 180m. Be sure to have good water shoes and climb the waterfall (with hordes of other tourists). Especially the kids will find it a fabulous adventure.
We were extremely charmed by Jamaica, and we will return to explore the island fully.
We couldn't resist taking a picture of this happy Jamaican.
From the terrace of our cabin we enjoyed a magnificant Jamaican sunset. No filters needed.
Labadee is a small piece of Haiti owned by the shipping company. Do not expect to do any trips inland, you can only enjoy the beach here. When the ship enters the harbour, it get surrounded by jetskiërs to welcome the new guests. There is a lovely bbq during lunch. The kids can enjoy themselves in the gigantic water playground.
We made a spectacular trip on a superfast rib. Not for the faint of heart or those with back problems, otherwise a definite must-do.
There was a stop for a bit of snorkelling. But as we did not feel like it, we were left stranded on an uninhabited island for an hour. We fancied ourselves Robinson Crusoe for a moment.
Lobster night concluded this wonderful cruise and we had a photographer take the obliged cruise-picture. We enjoyed one last sunset from our terrace and disembarked in Miami the next morning.
As we had a few remaining days, we planned some sightseeing in Miami and the surrounding area. Read all about it in the next blogpost.
You want to read more about cruising?
Read Cruising: Legend of the Seas where we discovered Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
Soon to come: Cruising Star Clippers.
What's your favourite cruise experience?