Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote about my day visiting Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas U.S.V.I. – where I spent most of the day enjoying the cruise ship docked portside. That was Day 5 of my 7-day cruise aboard the Carnival Celebration from Sunday January 08TH 2023 to Sunday January 15TH 2023.
This week it’s on to Days 6, 7, and 8. That was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – with Sunday being debarkation morning. That’s always the saddest part of any cruise – having to leave it all behind after all of those fun days aboard. This was the newest and biggest cruise ship that I’ve ever sailed on – with the most passengers (6,000+) and crew (1,700+). As a local in Miami-Dade County Florida I always strive to get off the ship as soon as I possibly can – if only to avoid as much traffic as possible between the port and my home – about 32 miles. (That 32 miles is a long and rough 32 miles that usually takes anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.)
But also I wish to get off the ship early to avoid prolonging the inevitable. Why hang around for a couple more hours when I can put a cap on the fun and look back at all of the great memories had and great people met.
Days 6 and 7 were fun days at sea sailing west-northwest from the U.S. Virgin Islands back to Miami. The ship took a more southerly (than usual) route back (along the north coast of Cuba) due to ferocious winds north of us in the Bahamas caused by an unusually strong Arctic cold front that had made its way that far south. Winds were actually gusting up to 50 MPH at times against the starboard (right) side of the ship, but surprisingly the big ship handled it well. I could barely feel the motion of the ship, and that was a great thing, as I can easily get seasick when the ship gets a rockin’ and a rollin’. As we traversed the north coast of Cuba we lost the heat of the tropics and we plunged into the cold air of the north with temperatures into the 60s and wind chills into the 50s. (When we arrived en Miami early on Sunday morning – wind chills were well into the 40s !)
This was another excellent Carnival cruise. Why sail any other cruise line when I usually enjoy a fantastic experience on Carnival ? I feel like I’m returning home every time I board a Carnival cruise ship – old or new. I know what to expect, and I enjoy every possible minute of it. Carnival specializes in activities and things to do and see from early in the morning until early the next morning. I think they do it better than any other cruise line. Their customer service is the friendliest at sea.
As for my next (17TH) Carnival cruise – I’ve been looking – but I haven’t booked yet. It’ll likely be out of Port Tampa Bay (the closest cruise ship port to my new home) – or Port Canaveral – a little further away. (Carnival sails out of both ports, but with not as many ships as PortMiami.)
I may skip a year of cruising in 2024, or maybe I’ll wait until later in the year to do so. My income will change dramatically next year since I’ll be retired instead of employed, so I’ll need to assess my budget once I reach that milestone in my life.
And speaking of which – I spent 4 days and 3 nights up in Highlands County Florida last weekend, and I activated the start of a dream that I’ve been dreaming (and blogging about) for the past 7 years. That dream is to retire near Sebring. Last Thursday morning with my Real Estate Agent I toured 5 condos in my dream neighborhood, selected my favorite one, made a purchase offer on it, and it was quickly accepted by the seller. I am now 8 days into the 30-day closing process, and everything is working out smoothly so far. I’ll write more about that – next – #TravelThursday.
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