An oldie but goodie from the archives. Belhaven, NC 2010.
We don’t usually get too excited about Cozumel, because we have been there a number of times and have done most of the touristy things. We don’t go to the beach, so that leaves out a lot of activities.
On this recent cruise, Cozumel ended up being our only stop, so we decided to at least get off the ship and have a drink or two. Thanks to The Google, I located a bar and restaurant called The Thirsty Cougar which was a short walk from the cruise dock.
My usual Mexican libation is a Paloma instead of the traditional Margarita. A Paloma is made with tequila and grapefruit soda, and I like the combination. The Thirsty Cougar also does an awesome Margarita, as I was assured by our friends who sampled some. They also do a mean Nacho platter!
When visiting Cozumel on a Norwegian ship, it docks in the downtown area where a lot of the restaurants are. Many of the other lines dock at a different terminal about 3 miles away. There are restaurants there, too. But in my mind The Thirsty Cougar might just be worth the taxi fare! 🙂
Photos from this most recent trip are here.
After our Constellation cruise we headed home by way of Ponte Vedra, FL to meet up with John Linn and his wife Linda, who live nearby. On the way we made a stop at the Juniper Springs Recreation Area of Ocala National Forest. It was an interesting place, with mineral springs that you could swim in (we didn’t) and lots of greenery. We met John and Linda at Bird Island Park in Ponte Vedra before going to their home then having a lovely dinner at a nearby seafood restaurant. It was nice to meet another long-time “online friend,” if only for a few hours. But Ponte Vedra is on the way to lots of places down that way, so it’s likely we’ll be in the area again!
We’re off again. Back to Florida to visit different friends, hop on another cruise ship with them for a few days, then slide back into town just in time for Christmas! Good thing our shopping is done…. 😉
Complete photo gallery of our trip is here.
My pictures may not prove it, but we were at Biltmore about a week early for peak fall color. I had to “help” the color a bit in processing to make them look as fallish as they do, but they still give a pretty good idea of what things looked like.
Last week’s blast of cold air and accompanying winds discouraged any thoughts I had of getting out early and took care of our bold plans for a picnic or two. But we still managed to find some nice color on a couple of days.
I’ve got more photos to share and will work on them over the next few days.
Kathy & I are at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC celebrating our 42nd anniversary. I’ve been joking that this is quite an upgrade from our honeymoon in Gatlinburg, TN. 😉
We did an early morning guided house tour on Monday and have a few days of exploring planned, including taking in their Leonardo Davinci exhibit on Wednesday. I’ve taken a few photos so far, including this one of the Biltmore House from The Lagoon, a spot along the French Broad River.
Very few people will be interested in this, but for those few who are, here is a brief post about our stateroom aboard Celebrity Summit.
On recent cruises, we have recognized the relatively better value of booking an “Ocean View” stateroom as opposed to a “Veranda” stateroom. The main difference is that an Ocean View stateroom has just a window, which can range from a porthole to a large picture window, while a Verandah stateroom has a balcony, with sliding glass doors from the room. The cruise lines have been quite successful in marketing the Verandah staterooms, since they cost more, thus being more profitable. Some of the newer ships have done away with all or nearly all Ocean View rooms for this reason. But depending on the specific cruise, the price difference can be significant.
This was our third cruise with an Ocean View room, and we have found that there are certain Ocean View staterooms on certain ships, that are much larger than “regular” Ocean View rooms, sometimes to the point where they are larger than the higher-priced Verandah rooms. We have really come to enjoy the rooms in the very front of the ship. They provide an interesting view and more space, with the tradeoff that they are on one end of the ship, so you have a long walk to just about anywhere. But we like it!
So this is just a short overview of our stateroom on Celebrity Summit. Those who have been on cruises will recognize the layout, those who have not might still be interested.
On the day we left Bermuda, we along with “several hundred of our closest friends” were invited to experience Sail Away from the helipad. It is the second time we got to do this, the previous time was on a cruise sailing from Barbados.
On most cruise ships, the helipad is off-limits to everyone but crew. A few of the larger ships do allow passengers on the helipad when conditions are safe. Someone always has to do the “Titanic” thing on the bow.
Generally though, sail away is by invitation only. I asked the Captain’s Club hostess how people were chosen, and she kinda answered that there was no magic formula and that the number was determined by the captain. But I do know that our past-passenger status with Celebrity – high but nowhere near the highest! – had to have helped. It was a fun time, I got a few photos and we had some free champagne-like wine. It is always a treat, and we enjoyed the experience!
The National Museum of Bermuda explores the maritime and island history of Bermuda. The maritime museum is located within the grounds of the fortress keep of the former Royal Naval Dockyard.
The Commissioner’s House is used to display a number of exhibitions. The basement shows Bermuda’s Defence Heritage, a display about Bermuda’s defenses and fortifications since 1612, and the role of local forces in World War I and World War II (this is devoted only to the British aspect of Bermuda’s naval and military history, although there is a separate exhibit devoted to the United States bases). The pillared hall is site of a two-story History of Bermuda mural by the Bermudian artist Graham Foster. The main floor has a number of themes related to Bermuda’s history including slavery, immigration, and tourism. One room is dedicated to the history of the Bermuda Race. The upper floor contains collections of maps, books, coins, maritime art, and exhibits concerning activities of the Royal Navy and the US Forces, specifically during World War II. Other buildings show shipwreck artifacts, local watercraft, or are under renovation.
Other outbuildings house various exhibits. The Queen’s Exhibition Hall/1850 Ordnance House contained a display pertaining to underwater archeology. The building known as the Boat Loft contains historic local watercraft, a collection of vintage outboard motors, and a fascinating two-story clock mechanism.
On our second day in Bermuda we took a ferry from the Royal Naval Dockyard to the town of St. George’s, located on St. George’s Island on the east end of Bermuda. St. George’s was established in 1612 as New London, and was the original English settlement on Bermuda. St. George’s served as the capital of Bermuda until 1815, when it was moved to Hamilton.
Downtown St. George’s is a quaint little place, pretty quiet except just before and after the arrival of the ferry. It also serves as the dock for smaller cruise ships, and the Oceania Insignia was docked there during our visit. The shops and restaurants there were very nice. For my money I would revisit St. George’s before returning to Hamilton, due to the hustle and bustle of the larger capital city.
After our tour, waiting for the time to return to the ferry, we had a very yummy lunch at Wahoo’s Bistro, a restaurant recommended by our guide. They are known for their fresh seafood, including their “Fish Sandwich” which consists of lightly fried local fish on raisin bread, with a tangy sauce. It’s a little hard to imagine the combination, but believe me when I say it was delicious! Sadly, I don’t have a photo of it. 🙁 We also indulged and had a Yellow Bird, a Bermudian cocktail made with rum (Gosling’s, of course!), pineapple and orange juice, Creme de Banana and simple syrup. We only had one (each) so we would be able to make it back to the ferry dock!
Most cruise ships that visit Bermuda dock or tender at Royal Naval Dockyard, which sits at the very northwestern tip of the island. Originally established as a base for Britain’s Royal Navy, the Dockyard occupies a strategic location in the Atlantic and has played a role in many naval operations, including a key role in the War of 1812, when the British blockade of American ports was orchestrated from Bermuda.
Today the Dockyard is primarily a marina and shipping port, complete with a requisite shopping areas and restaurants, including the ubiquitous Diamonds International. The “shopping mall” was a disappointing collection of t-shirt shops and souvenir stands, a far cry from the high end shops on Front Street in Hamilton. We wasted too much time there, missing out on visiting the Bermuda Transport Museum as well as a potential lunch at a restaurant that one of our guides recommended. Next time!
Adjacent to the Dockyard is the National Museum of Bermuda, including the former Commissioner’s House which sits atop a hill overlooking the bay. I’ll detail that in another post as it is a destination unto itself.