When last you heard from us, we were just finishing trip to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In that last blog I mentioned a upcoming trip to Montana and the Pacific Northwest. Well due to my testing positive on the 3rd day of the trip, our plans changed radically. Rather than meet Keith and Joanette in Southeastern Montana, we instead, headed to Hot Springs, MT to quarantine in our trailer at the spot Keith and Joanette usually use. A big thank you to Paula and Jim Stobie for their hospitality. It made the unfortunate ordeal tolerable.
In the interim we have made a couple of trips to our condo on Maui, snuck in a quick trip to Puerto Vallarta and an even a quicker weekend to Palouse to help Keith and Joanette assess property for a future home. But, for the most part, we have stayed close to home, exercising prudence as the various waves have passed through.
But now, we are in the early days of a Europe trip that will have us visit Portugal, France, the UK The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Greece. This is the twice postponed trip to celebrate our nephew, Kyle and his bride, Ida’s wedding. Kyle and Ida have already married and have a son, Thomas, but we are still going to celebrate with all the family along the Costa del Sol in June.
Bill and I decided to use our Future Cruise Credit from the cancelled 2020 South American cruise to book a transatlantic cruise on the Celebrity Apex from Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam.
Originally, we booked a nice non-stop LAX to Ft. Lauderdale. This was a former Virgin America route that Alaska was still operating. However, several months ago, we were advised that Alaska was discontinuing that route and they offered to put us on an overnight connection from LA through Seattle. I asked if they could change that to a Palm Springs originating connection. I was expecting to be told no, but, surprisingly, the agent said, “I can do that!”
So, on April 26th, we boarded a late afternoon flight out of Palm Springs to Seattle connecting to an overnight flight on to Ft. Lauderdale, arriving around 7am. We booked a water front one bedroom at the Cabanas Guest House and Spa in Wilton Manors. Since we arrived so early, we just hung out by the pool until our room was ready. The staff at Cabanas was very accommodating. The grounds were impeccably well kept, the facilities were excellent and our 1 bedroom had the very best location.
We had several days chilling out at the Guesthouse. Our traveling companions, Brian and Gary, joined us on the 28th.
And then on the 30th, we all boarded the Celebrity Apex, for our transatlantic crossing.
Six full days at sea before reaching the Azores.
Our travel across the Atlantic was notable in how smooth the seas were. The Captain, as well as other staff, commented on how lucky we were to be experiencing seas so calm. We spent our time lounging, reading, meeting other guests. We were in a Sky Suite, which included access to the large Retreat Lounge, spacious sun decks and other outdoor spaces. We specifically upgraded to a suite, so we could spend time in this less crowded area of the ship. It was one of several measures we took to reduce the likelihood of infection. We decided not to book any of the ships shore excursions. Those all involved long trips on a bus. We also avoided the ship’s theater. Again, to avoid being in close quarters with large number of guests. We, along with Brian and Gary, booked a 7 night Specialty Dinning Package, which also allowed us to dine in the less crowded and smaller specialty restaurants aboard Apex. Our favorite was Eden. But we did try, the Prime Cut Steakhouse, Le Grand Bistro, Rooftop Terrace Grill and le Petite Chef and Family. The latter being a fun dining and animation experience.
Rather than going to the theatre, we did enjoy the entertainment in Eden Lounge, a large two deck high space with less dense seating, allowing for comfortable distancing. One of our favorite Eden entertainers was Matthew McDaid, a solo guitarists from Northern Ireland, now living in Barcelona. He had a wide range in his repertoire. One night he did an all Irish set, including Danny Boy. Listening to him reminded me of how much my Mother loved playing the guitar. She would have loved playing in this environment, just her, the center of attention. Those of you who knew her are, smiling, nodding your head right now.
After six nights at sea, we arrived in the Azores, a Portuguese island about 900 miles off the coast of Portugal.
Just a note, Mouse is being cared for, first by my brother Keith and his wife Joanette. After they leave, we have housesitters from Trusted Housesitters coming in. More about that later.
Having arrived ar our first stop in Ponta Delgado, Portugal, I think I will break it here. Stay tuned as the adventure continues.