Celebrity Cruises Blogger Contest Submission
There are several types of travel preferences which range anywhere from the venturesome backpacker to the luxury maven. As a 30-something, I appreciate both ends of this spectrum because it gives me the opportunity to have more unique experiences wherever I’m off to next. I always have a great story waiting at the gate so to speak because I travel in this fashion. If you ask me to tell you one, I’ll ask you what genre you would like it told in- they’re all there.
Cruising with Celebrity Cruises allows passengers, like myself, to be able to experience both sides of the travel spectrum simultaneously. I can head off on my own on each island and not have to worry about dragging my luggage, souvenirs and random tchotchkes along with me because they are safely onboard in my room on the ship. If there is nowhere to hike, I can always see what excursions Celebrity has available and definitely take advantage of the concierge onboard.
“Okay, so what do YOU really like to do on the island? Be real with me, concierge!
If that is your real name…”
The contest asks for bloggers to write about their ideal Celebrity Cruises Caribbean itinerary for a chance to be featured on their blog.
Just one? Are you kidding me?! Give me all of the options!
I am on a mission now to find the best cruise for myself to write about. Luckily, Celebrity’s website does a beautiful job of making my search as painless and easy as possible. The view ports & map option on each sailing doesn’t take me to another page and then reset when I try to go back; this is a common occurrence that I have encountered on other booking sites. It opens up the map and itinerary, I take a look, close it, move on to the next sailing and repeat.
I appreciate you, Celebrity Cruises search page.
Celebrity Cruises Filter One
My first filter is obviously the location for this contest which is the Caribbean. Pristine tropical beaches and warm weather- I have zero complaints about that!
Celebrity Cruises Filter Two
My next filter is selecting a duration of 10-14 days because I want to visit as many islands as possible, but not overcommit with anything that is longer than two weeks. I work remotely, and thanks to Celebrity’s WiFi package, Xcelerate, I can work on the ship without missing a tropical beat. I really like that I can connect up to four devices with their Xcelerate package. I really, really like that I can save up to 10% on the price if I purchase it pre-cruise. They also have free unlimited WiFi as one of their selected perk options if you book an ocean view stateroom accommodation or higher.
Celebrity Cruises Filter Three
My third filter is selecting what ships I want to cruise on. My friend Torey was a glass blower at The Corning Museum of Glass for years. A few months ago, she accepted an employment opportunity with Celebrity Cruises to blow glass for Hollywood Hot Glass on two of their ships- Equinox and Solstice. Her glass work is absolutely incredible, so I’d love to see her in action! I can picture myself casually rolling up to one of the demos and surprising her onboard.
(I’m seeing major hashtag potential here)
I hope that she is allowed to have a drink or two with me when she ends her shift for the day because the World Class Bar that’s available on both Equinox and Solstice is calling my name!
Here are a few drinks that I would treat myself to on the menu:
Okay, I’m sobering up now. Back to the task at hand…
There are six options that appear as a result of my chosen filters. I ALMOST selected the 10 Nights Southern Caribbean Cruise because it stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; which I have a soft spot for.
My fiancé and I were in San Juan this past April and we absolutely loved it! Most of the places we visited were up and running, but only as of recent for some. On our way back from El Yunque Rainforest, we decided to check out a restaurant that was on the way called El Yunque Treehouse.
Our server mentioned that the restaurant recently had their power restored (it was turned back on about a week before our visit) after not having power for six months! That’s a long time to go without any business coming in! Their food was beyond delicious F-Y-I, and I highly recommend going there if you get out to the El Yunque area.
If you decide to dine at El Yunque Treehouse, ask them about the dogs that hang around outside of the restaurant. They are absolute sweethearts and more than happy to eat your leftovers even though they are already well-fed from the restaurant! It’s an interesting story!
I was told that Celebrity Cruises dock their ships at the Pan American Pier which is on the southern side of Old San Juan. With just a short 10-minute drive, you will be in the center of several restaurants, shops and colorful buildings for people to have serious photo shoot sessions in front of (for the gram).
Below are a few more photos from my trip.
While exploring Old San Juan, I discovered why the chicken really crossed the road…
…to get away from the pesky rooster.
If you decide to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Castillo San Felipe del Morro aka “El Morro”, you will have 360-degree views for days! I’ll do you one better- you can watch the dolphins play at the bow of other cruise ships sailing by from the top of the fort.
I know that you can sometimes see dolphins playing in the wake when you’re on a cruise ship, but it looks pretty cool at a distance, as well. I logged at least five minutes worth of Snap stories with said dolphins, and my friends were not mad about it!
The best advice I can give you is to rent a car and drive, but only if you have the time. A few street lights were still out, but drivers manage those obstacles very well on the island. I have driven in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and it’s just as easy to drive in Puerto Rico. You will be able to discover some incredible beaches this way. If you decide to check one out, make sure that your car doesn’t get stuck in the sand by parking closer to the road or driving on paths where you can see tire tracks that were created by other cars.
My fiancé, Hans, and I were laying out at Playa Vacia Talega and heard a commotion behind us. A couple managed to get their car lodged in the sand, so Hans and a few other beachgoers helped to push them out. Although we did not get stuck ourselves this time, this was not our first rodeo with cars that are stuck in the sand.
I would absolutely love to do the Give Back to La Perla Excursion that Celebrity Cruises offers its passengers. If you book this excursion, you can choose among several volunteer opportunities that give back to the La Perla community. They really need our help and it’s great that Celebrity Cruises is taking action with this!
As I said earlier, I ALMOST chose this sailing, until I looked at the dates… 2020!
No deal, Howie!
I would like to go much sooner than that. Back to the drawing board…
The Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao (aka. ABC Islands) sailings are tempting, but I have something in the works with those islands already. I’m zoning in on those lovely Leeward Islands!
And the winner is…
11 Nights Southern Caribbean Cruise Onboard Celebrity Equinox
Sailing Date: November 5, 2018
They have two other sailings in September, but my wedding is in September. That would make November justtttt ripe for a honeymoon. Yes, I am pulling out the wedding card and throwing it down on the table.
Let’s take a look at the details which I found on Celebrity’s website:
My bags are already packed just thinking about this cruise!
I have a few ideas of things that I would like to do for each island.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
I’ve got 99 problems and they’re all steps!
Built in the 18th Century, the 99 Steps Stairway is one of St. Thomas’s famous landmarks, and an opportunity to challenge Hans to a race to the top. The lush greenery, flowers and stairs themselves are worth it even if you stand at the bottom and look up at it. I couldn’t find any free stock photos of this, so you’ll have to Google it yourself. It looks gorgeous!
The stairs lead the way to Blackbeard’s Castle. Unfortunately, the castle is still closed to visitors due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. However, that won’t stop us from at least exploring it from outside. I know Hans will be bummed about the closure because he recently finished re-reading Treasure Island and Blackbeard is definitely mentioned a few times in that book. He will also be bummed after I beat him on the 99 Steps, but he’ll just have to deal with the fact that he married a winner!
Did someone say duty-free shopping?
I would be remiss if I did not mention the shopping opportunities that are on the island. St. Thomas is well-known for its world-class shopping, and I am planning to take full advantage of that fact.
I will also be able to purchase something nice on the island for my Italian mother to let her know that I did not forget about her (for the millionth time).
Certified Scuba Dive
This is one of Celebrity’s excursion options for St. Thomas. The description says that participants are able to explore a coral reef and a sunken shipwreck; Enough said. Take my money.
If we have time after all of the above options, we would most likely find a beach to sit on. It will be tough deciding which one to choose because St. Thomas has some unbelievably impressive beaches! I’ll have to have a chat with my Celebrity Cruises concierge…
St. Croix, U.S.V.I.
Not me. How DARE you?!
During my internet search for rainforest hiking trails on the island, I came across a place called Mt. Pellier Hut Domino. This place is known to have adorable, beer-drinking pigs. For only a dollar or two, you can buy these beautiful piggies a drink. I’d say that’s money well spent!
Ideally, we would most likely spend the majority of our time on St. Croix hiking in the rainforest and end it at this bar.
I want a pet pig now.
*updates wedding registry*
St. John’s, Antigua
I won’t be walking off the ship; I’ll be full-on sprinting (possibly drive-blocking fellow cruisers in my way) to get to a cab! If I had more than eight hours, I would take the bus, but I’ll save 15 minutes by going direct. Every minute will count on this day!
Nelson’s Dockyard has it all- shops, restaurants, art galleries and boasts incredible views from the harbor! To top it off, it is also an UNESCO World Heritage site. I debated whether I would like to hang around the St. John’s Harbor and walk over to Redcliffe Quay, but Nelson’s had me at hiking trails. The trails will take you around Nelson’s Dockyard National Park which is best way to see the historic forts that surround the area if you do not, you know, happen to have a boat on hand.
Nelson’s is in perfect position to get to the next stop on my list.
Pillars of Hercules
After reading the reviews of people who visited this site, I came to the conclusion that the hike to get there is a bit of a challenge. If that means I do not have to pay a cab to take me on the 10-minute drive from Nelson’s to this spot, then challenge accepted.
The pillars came about due to weather erosion on the sandstone rock. Over the course of time, it formed these massive pillars. They look deliberate, but most geological formations seem that way because they are so unbelievably impressive.
Side note: I will most likely replace all swear words on my trip with “PILLARS OF HERCULES!”
Meet me at the Rendezvous Point
Bring on the relaxation and romance!
Rendezvous Bay is a private beach that is secluded from the mighty flock of tourists that visit Antigua because it is not easily accessible by car (although not impossible either). I came across a few articles that revealed plans to build resorts here, and construction began in the last few years. This prompted me to browse a few YouTube videos from people who were there this year. Thankfully, it does not look crowded at all!
Colesome Farmers Market
If we have time before heading back to the ship, I would like to check out this market.
Most of the produce here is grown on site or locally grown. We like to visit local markets when we travel. Hans is a chef, so I like watch him dissect the fruits and vegetables that are available because he always finds the good ones in the bunch. I am not a chef, but I get to eat whatever he finds!
Tiami Five Star Catamaran & Turtles
I enjoy venturing out on my own, but Celebrity Cruises does it right with this excursion!
I researched this tour on TripAdvisor, and the reviews were excellent- 4.5 out of 5! A lot of reviewers said that the crew members working this excursion are fantastic. When Hans and I were in Thailand, we had a great boating experience, and it was thanks to the crew.
Halfway through our trip, we got caught up in the middle of a storm on the water. The waves were insane! The guys working on the boat were great at keeping everything positive, funny and safe- very professional! The energy of the tour operator(s) is so crucial that it can make or break your experience, so I’m happy that several reviewers had a positive experience with the crew for this excursion.
Allow me to give you the rundown of what is provided:
Relax on the beach
Swim with the turtles
This excursion is five and a half hours of pure Caribbean bliss!
Castries, St. Lucia
Tet Paul Nature Trail
Omg! Omg! OMG!!!
In my twenties, I was a travel agent for about a year. My favorite bookings involved clients who wanted to travel to St. Lucia! I have an enormous bucket list of things that I would like to do here, but I will have to narrow it down for the sake of this contest. The cruise ship is only on the island from 8am to 5pm which gives me nine hours to take in as much of this place as possible.
This is one hike that I can’t miss, and it can be accomplished in about an hour. I will have to make sure my camera has enough space available to capture the picturesque views of the island including those infamous Pitons!
St. Lucia offers several different ATV tours on the island that are approximately two to three hours. ATV tours allow visitors to really appreciate the unique vegetation and discover the various fruits that grow on the island. I remember reaching out to a tour operator for one of my clients back in the day, and they said something that I’ll never forget:
“All riders must wear helmets because of the coconuts that fall from the trees.”
From that point on, I always cautiously look up at any palm tree I encounter because I do not want to get taken out by a coconut. Although I love them, palm trees are shady like that!
Sulphur Springs, Waterfall & Mud Bath
I will be going into this well-prepared. At the top of our to-do list when we were in Iceland were the hot springs. The smell is not pleasant, but the benefits from the minerals outweigh that; Beauty is pain. It was very relaxing once you get past the sulfur smell!
Sulphur Springs is a dormant volcano in St. Lucia where visitors go to check out the volcano and experience a relaxing mud bath. I read that there is a soaking pool that you get into first to get wet, and then you head to a stream to slather on the mud and let it dry on your skin. I will make sure not to wear my favorite bathing suit here because, according to the reviews, there is a good chance it will get ruined from the mud. I’ll wear one that is no longer in style.
Before heading back to the port, we would have to stop here. This is located at the bottom of the Pitons; lush green mountains against the sparkling blue water produces spectacular views- which is exactly how I’d like to end our visit on this magnificent island!
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
I’d like to go super-touristy for the last island on this Celebrity Cruise and head inland to Loterie Farm. Their restaurant and lounge took a hit from Hurricane Irma, but they are slowly getting back to business according to their website. They fixed up their pool area, as well as, the kitchen by the pool which is where a lot of the charm of this place is to begin with in my opinion.
They have also repaired their treetop courses, but I’m most likely going to eat a big lunch and lounge at the pool. Don’t judge me- I’m on vacation!
Before heading back to the ship, I’d like to get real touristy with it and hit up Maho Beach for a unique photo op. The beach is located in very close proximity to Princess Juliana International Airport. Beachgoers can watch low flying planes go right over them while laying out on the beach.
There is a warning to anyone who visits this beach that the jet blast from the aircrafts can blow people into the water! This tends to happen to people who hang on to the fence at the end of the runway. I’m cool with staying away from the fence and just taking pictures of the planes. I can’t say the same for my fiancé.
That’s a wrap!
There you have it- my ideal Celebrity Cruises Caribbean Itinerary! Is it weird that I’m all melancholy about the end of a trip that I haven’t actually taken yet?
Celebrity Cruises is such a great way to navigate the Caribbean! The cruise ships themselves are basically floating resorts and have so many amenities it would be impossible to run out of things to do onboard. I would love to have an opportunity to write about my personal experience on the Celebrity Equinox ship- I can guarantee I will get into something random that will produce great story content!
I hope you enjoyed my post (especially you, Celebrity Cruises), and I’ll see you onboard soon!