Saturday, December 28, 2013

Intercontinental Miami

Before our December cruise on the Carnival Breeze, we spent the night at the Intercontinental Miami on the bay. I always recommend spending the night in your departure port before you cruise. I find it is much more relaxing and you don't risk missing your cruise because of travel delays.

The Intercontinental location is fantastic. The port is minutes away and you have a terrific view of the harbor.Bayside - a large entertainment complex with restaurants and bars is a 10 minute walk. The rooms were spacious with a nice bathroom.  I had the best cucumber Collins cocktail at the pool bar. We will definitely stay there again when we cruise out of Miami. 
King Bed Room

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sandals Royal Bahamaian Nassau, Bahamas

Recently, I had the opportunity to enjoy a day at the Sandals Royal Bahamaian in Nassau, Bahamas.  

Overall, I really enjoyed the property. The pools were fantastic. They are very large and clean with swim up bars and plenty of chairs on the pool deck. The chairs are set up as pairs with a little extra space on either side so you don't feel crowded. They have an active pool and a quiet pool. The active pool plays music and has the Sandals staff leading a wide range of activities. 

We had breakfast at the buffet and lunch at the poolside pizza oven. You can order by the slice or get a personal pizza.  I was really impressed by the vegetable pizza. 

The bartenders were very friendly. Their specialty is the fruity Caribbean cocktails - especially the Bahama mama. The swim up bar was stocked with some very good rums, but you may miss some of your other well-known American brands of vodka, tequila or whiskey. 

This property is geared toward couples. The people we met were a good mix of young newlyweds and people who have been coming here for years so it was a nice age range. I recommend this property for couples who want a romantic getaway. I was impressed by the list of activities - both active and educational. On the day I visited, I could have joined a beach volleyball game, attend a wine class, a cooking class, a mixology class, participated in poolside trivia, an afternoon tea, and a show that evening. Plus a wide range of water activities - including scuba diving for certified divers - are included. 

Here's some photos: 

The main interior bar. I loved the elegant interior design.  The wood was beautiful. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Living in Florida, it can sometime be hard to get in the holiday spirit. That's why I love visiting amusement parks this time of year. Busch Gardens hosts Christmas Town in the evenings during late November and December. This was my first year attending and I really enjoyed it. My husband really enjoyed the lack of lines for the roller coasters!



The Decorations at the entrance 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Traveler Review: 2 Night Cruise on the Norwegian Dawn

My husband and I took a 2 night cruise from Tampa on the Norwegian Dawn. Here's his review: 

Overall a great cruise. Very pretty ship - most beautiful dining room I have seen on any ship.



Venetian Dining Room, Norwegian Dawn 

Embarkation was fast. Arrived at the port at 11:45 and were on board within an hour. Rooms ready by 1:30.

Service was very SLOW in all dining rooms (ate in Venetian for breakfast, lunch and dinner and once in Aqua for dinner). Might have been due to the nature of the cruise. Didn't east in any specialty restaurants. Food we very good in all restaurants. Highlight were great lobster (broiled but not dry and dead), goat cheese stuffed portobello at lunch and olive tapenade (also for lunch).

We were very impressed with the Spa Area. It's an additional charge so we didn't purchase a pass for such a short cruise, but we likely would for a longer cruise. 

Lap Pool in the Spa, Norwegian Dawn 

Relaxation Area in the Spa, Norwegian Dawn 

Loved the grill at the Bimini bar one deck above the pool. Tasty burgers!!


View from Bimini Bar 

About two hours are departure,  we had a great view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. 
Sunshine Skyway Bridge 

Room service wasn't provided - at least to our cabin - so no feedback on how that worked. A couple travelling with us ordered a pizza to their cabin ($5) and it was the worst pizza they ever had.

We saw "Band on the Run" on the main theater and it was fabulous show. Some very talented singers on board. We missed the opening night show so didn't see the comedian although he hosted "The Quest" on the last night. Karaoke was in the English pub but terrible setup where the person singing was sequestered in a small corner so hard for the crowd to get into it. 

The Spinnaker Lounge hosted several fun games and music including a small band and a male/female singing duo that we saw that were entertaining. 
Bar at Spinnaker Lounge 
First night in the disco the DJ cleared the dance floor with the music he was playing - definitely didn't know his audience. But he must have had a personality transplant by the second night as he played different music and the floor was at capacity until wee hours.

Disembarkation very smooth. We ate breakfast in Venetian and then were off the ship by 9AM. Could have walked off as early as 8AM.

Will definitely sail on NCL again. I like the experience.