Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Honeymoon | Celebrity Equinox - The Ship

Celebrity Equinox Honeymoon Cruise

In my last two posts I talked about flying premium economy and our 3 days in Miami which already set our honeymoon off to a fantastic start. On our last day in Miami we headed to the cruise port up the coast at Port Everglades to meet our ship - the Celebrity Equinox.

Celebrity Equinox Lift Tree Lobby

Why a Honeymoon Cruise?

Rich and I really struggled to come up with ideas for where to go on our honeymoon, everywhere we fancied didn't feel "honeymooney" enough, or we couldn't agree on a place to go. Eventually we thought about cruises. My parents went on a cruise for their silver wedding anniversary a few years ago and have been hooked ever since - and every year when they come home I am always really envious when I see the photos. 

When I suggested it to Rich, and we thought about it, we realised it was the best option for us, as we could have the luxury we wanted, as it was our once in a lifetime honeymoon, but also see a lot of places and have activities to do when we wanted to. Although cruises tend to be the domain of the older generation we didn't mind that at all as it gave us a slower, calmer pace. It also meant there were very few children, a huge bonus!

Celebrity Equinox Concierge Class Cabin

The Cabin

When we booked the cruise, there was a special offer on, meaning that upgrading to concierge class, rather then just a balcony room only cos us a few extra pounds, so we went for it. The cabin was surprisingly roomy, having our utterly massive double bed in it (we could sleep without touching - bliss when it was over 30 degrees!), a sofa, wardrobe and shower room.

Celebrity Equinox Concierge Class Cabin

There was plenty of room under the bed to store our suitcases, and lots of shelving and storage for everything else, meaning that our room ended up tidier than ours at home!

Celebrity Equinox Bathroom

I was really surprised at the size of the shower, and it even had a ledge in it to rest your legs on when shaving them - very useful!

Celebrity Equinox Balcony
Our balcony was a really good size, when we saw other cruise ships in ports they never had as much room on their balconies as we did, having the foot rests was a comfortable bonus. 

Every day we had our room serviced by Elton, who we got to know over the 11 days quite well. In the evening he'd turn our bed down and leave us a chocolate on our pillows, along with the daily newsletter for the next day, which detailed what was on, what the cocktail of the day was, and other ship news. 

The Ship

Celebrity Equinox Lobby

The ship itself was gorgeous, and big without being ridiculous. We soon found our way around and quickly found our favourite out of the 7 (maybe?) bars to relax in. 

Celebrity Equinox Murano

Celebrity Equinox Specialty Restaurant

There is two main restaurants, the table service one and the all you can eat buffet one, along with three specialty restaurants which cost a little extra to eat in (which we did - of course!) and a cheesecake bar and coffee bar.

Celebrity Equinox Cheesecake

All of the food and drink were amazing, I put on 10lbs in two weeks, that's how good it was, but I'll do my food post soon, as it definitely deserves it's own post.

Celebrity Equinox Outdoor Pool

Celebrity Equinox Sun Deck

Celebrity Equinox Sunbeds

As well as stuffing yourself silly, there were the standard cruise ship facilities, such as sun beds and an outdoor and indoor swimming pools. As it was a Caribbean cruise the outdoor pool and sun beds were always very busy during the day, so Rich and I favoured the indoor pool, mostly because it was a bit cooler, and I didn't have to put suncream on!

At night though, the pools were open til 10, but were deserted after dinner, so a couple of times we headed to the hot tubs outside after dark and had them to ourselves, utter bliss!

Celebrity Equinox Library

Celebrity Equinox Library

One of my favourite parts of the ship was the library, our room was on this floor, and there was a decent enough selection of books to borrow during your cruise. It was also a nice place to sit and chill out for a while, I always find it very calming to be surrounded by books. 

Celebrity Equinox Lawn Club

Some of the other amazing things on the ship, which I didn't get to photograph were the spa; at which I had a blissful massage courtesy of Rich, the card room; where we spent a good amount of time playing Star Fluxx, the casino; where I won $90 on roulette, and the theatre; which put on a different show every night, some of which were fantastic, some of which were aimed at the older guests so not our cup of tea. There was also the hot glass show, run by three members of Cornell University's Museum of Glass, who would make pieces out of glass every day live. It was amazing to watch, and totally fascinating seeing them mould this liquid glass into stunning things. At the end of every show they raffle off some of the pieces they'd made, and I won a vase! It was scary transporting it home, but it made it and I now have a one of a kind piece of glassware in my house. 

Celebrity Equinox at Night

We loved our time on the ship, and I genuinely don't think anyone can get bored on it. There is always something to do, from lectures, to dance lessons, to just chilling out. I want to go back!

Rachel x

PS - I also did a vlog of the honeymoon which you can watch below:

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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Honeymoon | 3 Days in Miami

3 Days in Miami

I hope you enjoyed last weeks post about our flight to Miami. It was supposed to be joined in with this post, but as I was writing it the page got longer and longer until I realised I should split it into two posts. So here is the second half!

Ford Mustang Hire Car Miami

We landed in the mid afternoon, and after the endless faff of getting through American customs we were in America! To make life easier we hired a car, and Rich was desperate to drive a Ford Mustang again. The hire costs weren't bad at all, and it meant we were free to go wherever we wanted to whenever we wanted to. Fitting 2 huge suitcases and our hand luggage into the car was... interesting. We ended up dropping the roof and sticking one of the massive suitcases into the back seat!

Happy Couple Miami beach

Okay, so I totally forgot to take any photos of our hotel room in Miami. I did vlog it however, and the vlog will be going up soon... potentially next week? We stayed at Z Ocean South Beach in one of their spa suites, and it was lovely. There was a huge shower, a mini kitchen and a hot tub on the balcony. We couldn't see the sea from our room, but the hotel was on the street where a lot of bars are so we loved being all wrapped up in our fluffy robes watching the people out partying every night. The noise wasn't a problem at all though.

Sephora Shopping bag

The first day we headed off to Aventura Mall, which is something like the 4th biggest Mall in America, so I could go shopping and squeal over American accents. It was so good, and we had a great day wandering around looking at things, and I definitely spent far too long in Bath and Body Works smelling candles and hand sanitiser.

Cheesecake Factory Sign

Very luckily for me, the mall had a Cheesecake Factory, which is a place I've wanted to visit forever. There was a long wait for tables, but I didn't care, I was so so excited!

Cheesecake Factory Nachos Starter

Marinara Sandwich Cheesecake Factory

Cheesecake Factory Zuchinni Mushroom and Avocado Fries

The meal was so so good. It's lucky they don't have a Cheesecake Factory in the UK otherwise I'd be there all the time. We had nachos to start (of course) followed by a beasty sandwich (I could only eat half of it, thank goodness for the American custom of doggy bags!) with the most amazing fries ever. I love the courgette fries you get at Byron, so as soon as I saw they had zuchinni, mushroom and avocado fries on the menu I was sold. They were so good!

Cheesecake Factory display case

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cheesecake Factory

Of course though, it was the Cheesecake Factory, so we had to eat some cheesecake. After struggling with which to choose for ages I finally opted for the red velvet cheescake and it was beautiful. If I could marry a cheesecake I would marry this one. We desperately need a Cheesecake Factory in the UK!

Completely stuffed we slowly headed back to the hotel and had a chilled out evening in the hot tub watching all the people partying in Miami. Bliss.

Smoked Salmon bagel breakfast Miami

The next morning we had yummy breakfasts and then headed out for an explore of Miami beach. It was our last full day in Miami, so we wanted to make the most of it.

Miami beach in February

The beach itself was gorgeous, and we spent a bit of time relaxing on the sunbeds that are provided, along with towels, by the hotel. Even though it was the middle of February, it was still gorgeously sunny and warm and if you weren't such a vampire as me, you'd be able to get a decent tan.

People working out on Miami Beach

A huge part of the enjoyment of Miami Beach was people watching. Just from a short wander we saw lots of people rollerskating along, a model on a photoshoot, and countless people working out. The beach gym equipment looked excellent, and the people doing yoga were so good!

Burger & Beer Joint Miami Beach

One of Rich's requests for the time in Miami was to go out for a burger, and he found a place on Tripadvisor which got great reviews, Burger & Beer Joint, so we headed off to fill our faces (yet again). By this point (3 days into the honeymoon!) I was beginning to get sick of food already, as I'd been eating soooooo much! So, I thought I'd be good and opt for a salad. Then the salad arrived and it was in a mixing bowl it was that huge. Oops. It was so tasty though, and the courgette fries and super huge onion rings were incredible. Rich loved his burger as well, and we are both a huge fan of the American way of being able to have unlimited diet coke wherever we go.

Yet again we waddled back to the hotel for our final night on land before heading to the cruise ship.

Ford Mustang interior

We drove ourselves to the cruise terminal the next day as it was only about 45 minutes away from South Beach. Rich loved this car so much, he was genuinely sad to see it go when we handed it back in Fort Lauderdale. We got a transfer back to the cruise terminal, and began to check in on the ship... which will be what I talk about next Wednesday!

If you're thinking that I just ate on honeymoon, you'd be pretty right. American food is so good, and the portion sizes are all so huge. I can officially never move to America otherwise I'd be overweight before I knew it!

Rachel x

PS - I also did a vlog of the honeymoon which you can watch below:

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