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Would anyone be interested in reading a Celebrity Reflection review from a newbie?


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Question Time

Thanks everyone for all your encouraging comments so far , I'm glad everyone is enjoying the review. As I said at the beginning I never planned to write a review ...if I had planned it I would have probably taken some notes to help me out! I'm hoping a few other people may he inspired to write their own review for me to read. Writing a review is hard work....reading one is much easier !!

To begin with I was using my laptop to write the review directly into the comments on the Cruise Critic page. Unfortunately yesterday a couple of times I had nearly finished a post and my wifi went down and I lost the whole thing and had to start again....if not we would probably be nearly at the end by now. I've learnt my lesson and I'm now typing onto a word document and then  copying and pasting into the cruise critic page - that way I wont lose anything! 

As the title says  I now need some audience participation and answers to a couple of questions

1. Are you able to view the video clips I have posted? If so great, if not I wont post anymore of them.

2. We are heading towards the end of the cruise and I will probably be finished within the next day or so. Do you want me to stop at the end of the cruise or would anyone be interested in hearing about our post cruise week in Mexico? I know it's not strictly cruise related but from everyones kind comments it appears you are all enjoying having something to read that doesnt involve Covid or refund questions ! 

Thanks Everyone 

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Annie

 

Yes, I would love to hear about your experience in Mexico. Pictures too. And I’m able to view the videos so keep them coming. I’m flattered to be included with that group who helped inspire you to write this. Thanks for sharing your experience. Great review. 
 

Maris

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Thank you for posting the review. My wife’s mum passed away yesterday in a care home ( Possible Covid 19 with different doctors opinions) at least she got to sit with, and comfort her in full PPE until she passed away. Moira loved her family holidays but was never brave enough to go on a cruise as much as we tried to persuade her. Amid all the negativity it’s nice to read something positive.

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1 hour ago, yorky said:

Thank you for posting the review. My wife’s mum passed away yesterday in a care home ( Possible Covid 19 with different doctors opinions) at least she got to sit with, and comfort her in full PPE until she passed away. Moira loved her family holidays but was never brave enough to go on a cruise as much as we tried to persuade her. Amid all the negativity it’s nice to read something positive.

I'm so sorry to hear this. My condolences to your wife and her family. I am glad the positivity is helping in a tiny way 

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Day 8 At Sea

As much as we enjoyed the ABCs we were really looking forward to having a day at sea to relax. 8 days in and I finally finished a book, I normally average one every 3 days on holiday! Dave played some poker and  I relaxed in my new favourite place .. the solarium.

 I’ve been looking back through my FB posts and this was the day I had commented on how spoilt the cruise was making me. When we had breakfast in Blu I usually had half a grapefruit. Which the staff cut away from the skin. This morning we ate in the buffet and when I dug into the grapefruit I was surprised when the juice squirted at me and I wondered why… and then I realised it was still attached to the skin… the wonderful celebrity crew were de-skilling me!  The crew are so amazing, nothing is too much trouble. They actually seem quite disappointed when they ask if you need something and you say no. I get so annoyed when I hear people not saying please or thankyou to them. This morning our room steward came to see if we were okay, he said when we slept through dinner last night, he thought maybe we were ill. Its nice to know that the crew  seem to genuinely care.

So later in the afternoon we heard there had been an earthquake in Jamaica, we were about 60 miles off the coast of Jamaica at the time. Then later on the sea was so calm. People who had been cruising for 20 years said they had never seen the sea as still. There were a few conversations about the quiet before the storm and the possibility of a tsunami. We then heard that there had been an after shock in Grand Cayman, our port of call the following day. I got some brilliant photos of the sky and sea at sunset and we saw some flying fish, but I didn’t manage to photograph any. A few people said they had also seen dolphins, but we missed them.

Anyway, cruise life carried on and it was time for the second 'posh night'. I was a bit worried that it was lobster night and everywhere would smell of lobster... Dave threatened to try it… until I pointed out that if he was sick, he would be confined to the cabin and miss Grand Cayman, so he changed his mind. We did discuss whether he would allergic to snails??? But he didn’t try them to find out. We hadn’t done any speciality dining and I did consider seeing if I could book the Lawn Club … the one speciality I wanted to try, but in the end we stuck with Blu and it was fine, he couldn’t smell the Lobster.

Thankfully there  were plenty of other non Lobster choices on the menu… and we had a leisurely dinner whilst discussing with others at nearby tables the strangely  calm sea and  people were speculating whether there would possibility be a problem with docking in Grand Cayman because of the earlier aftershock. Am I the only one who finds it very odd when the photographers come round to take pictures when people were eating… I loved there were so many photo opportunities but I still didn’t really get why people would want their picture taken whilst having dinner. We had had our picture taken at several venues both onboard and in port but I hadn't yet seen the one I wanted as a souvenir. I found most of the shots either boring or cheesy. Tonight was the night we actually had a photo taken that I liked..and bought.

I don't think I have mentioned the 'lime ' story.  Dave's favourite drink is Bombay sapphire gin, tonic water and lime cordial .When out for a drink at home he orders  G & T with a splash of lime. On the cruise this was somehow lost in translation so when he ordered it, what he actually got was a gin and tonic with a slice  of Lime... I totally see the logic ! What he actually needed to order on the ship was G & T with Roses ...as in Roses lime cordial... I found this quite amusing and kept expecting a G & T to turn up with a couple of fresh cut roses floating in it... it never happened but it would of made a great photo. 

After dinner we then went to watch Abba night in the foyer. It was very busy and eventually we went up to to Al Bacio and listened whilst we had a coffee. When I say listened… Dave kind of put up with it whilst I had a singalong .After coffee it was time to go to bed ready for our final port of call.

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Still enjoying...Photography is great.  Would love to hear more! 

 

Be careful with Coral !

. A few yrs ago we snorkeled at St Croix along a narrow trail  in rough water.  I got caught on some  coral and dh came to my rescue.  He got sev scrapes and cuts and a very bad  and immediate reaction. I immediately gave him benadryl on the snorkel boat and the mates washed it out with disinfectant. 

 At the med center on board the ship,  he was told it was b/c he is highly allergic to  lobster and shellfish.Was treated with benadryl and antibiotics plus cream....and was still erupted a few weeks later when he saw our dr at home...nasty stuff.  Glad you were okay!   

 

And glad your dh avoided the lobster!

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Thank-you Annie! Excellent review! Love all the details and learned something new about the ABC Islands as well as the incident investigator.... for an event which occurred on a private excursion.

 

I am really glad your hand is O.K and that you were able to continue on your trip!

 

Loved the photos! The calm sea pictures were impressive and I also enjoyed the video clips!

 

If you write about Mexico, I will definitely read it! Bravo and thank-you for taking the time to share your adventure! (Thank you for the tip, regarding writing your posts on a word document then copy on Cruise Critics. It really makes sense for long posts!)

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19 hours ago, anniedave said:

Day 7 Bonaire

 

Okay now either I read the info about the excursion incorrectly or it wasn't described very well.. going on the fact  that Im never wrong Im gonna go with the second one.

 

 

Okay all of you who think I’m a good person may want to skip the next bit as I am about to show my mean streak…. Actually I think we will just call it determination. … I said 'actually your seat is the other side and the driver has said we need to sit in the same seats' … well he may have said it very quietly ! 

 

 

 

This entry got quite a few loud snorts from me! So funny! Thanks Annie for this review. It's written well and I am enjoying the humour. It's taking me back to some of our favourite spots in the Caribbean.

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oops don't know what happened there.. the photos appeared without the review !! Good job I had it saved in a word document :

 Day 9 Grand Cayman

So, we had woken up… there hadn’t been a Tsunami … we were still going to Grand Cayman… all was good. By now I think we had received our disembarking info, but still having our week in Mexico to look forward to it wasn’t as sad as it might have been. But we had begun to pack and at the same time I had been trying to calculate if we had enough clean clothes or whether I needed to do any more hand washing. We weren’t due to dock until 12pm so after breakfast  it gave me chance to start organising the cases. At least the week in Mexico meant that when Dave asked why I had brought and was repacking things I hadn’t used I could try and justify… yes I don’t know why I was going to need seasickness bands or post in notes in Mexico either ..but you never know !

Going back to earlier in the cruise I mentioned the drinks and more package… well to be honest we had hardly drunk anything from the mini bar, a couple of cokes, a small bottle of wine, a few tubs of pringles, but that was about it, we also hadn’t drunk our 2 bottles of wine… we did eventually get them swapped for a couple of bottles of nice Pinot, but never got the extra 2  bottles. We didn’t really need the mini bar on the cruise as we had the premium drinks package. In Mexico on the other hand we only had a breakfast and dinner package with no drinks included. So with a bit of foresight during the cruise we had stashed away some of the vodka miniatures. This meant by the time we started to pack we had 2 nice bottles of pinot and rather a lot of mini bottles of vodka to take with us in the suitcases. I had the bright idea that to save on weight we could pour the wine and vodka into some empty plastic water bottles… that gave Dave his designated job for the morning whilst I did some packing!!!

So, when we knew we were going to be visiting Grand Cayman the one thing I knew I wanted to do was swim with Stingrays. From the wise people of Cruise Critic I had also been told that if you were doing a tender port it was much easier to do a ship excursion… this alongside the fact there were going to be 6 ships in port that day made me decide to stick with the safe option of a celebrity excursion. Originally, I booked the Stingray City, Hell and turtle excursion but when we cancelled and rebooked, we decided to focus on the Stingrays and do the Stingray City and Calico Jack’s beach break.

We went to the theatre, got our stickers… got off the ship … got the tender … got off the tender so far so good. Then we joined several 1000s of other passengers in port and it was a free for all. There were people shouting for you to follow them…. People holding up placards with different numbers on … the problem was with so many ships in port there were several numbers all the same!!! By some miracle we managed to find our excursion and got on the correct bus…apparently some didn’t!

So after a bus ride and then a short boat ride we arrived at the stingrays. I had read somewhere that the stingrays were attracted to food … my worry was that if there were so many people there that day…and they had already been fed, by the time we arrived in the afternoon they wouldn’t be hungry. I needn’t have worried, although very busy there were plenty of stingrays to go round. Although a little nervous at first once in the water I loved it and I had a great time. They genuinely do feel like silk. After I had had enough of playing with the stingrays I sat back on the ship and took some photos of Dave snorkelling with them. I don’t snorkel.. I don’t like my face being under the water!. Whilst in the water we got some fabulous pictures with the Stingrays taken by the tour guy, and on the way back we could view and then purchase them in email form for what I thought was a reasonable price.. I think it was $50.

Back ashore we were then take by coach to Calico Jack’s and told there would be coaches then running back to the ship every hour and to just jump on one when we wanted. It was such a shame that the final part of the final excursion of the cruise was Calico Jack’s. It was just an over priced, overly noisy beach bar. When I say beach I use the term very loosely. At some point over the years the beach had obvious eroded away leaving a small strip of sand – enough for some benches with tables and one row of sunbeds. Even then the beach was on such a slant you put your drink on the table and you had to hold onto it or it slid down to the other end!!  I don’t think this was just my opinion as at the end of the first hour the bus was full ready to go back to the ship with very few people choosing to hang around.

Once back on board we had a nap and got ready for dinner and after dinner we went to watch the silent disco. May favourite part was the crew going up and down in the lifts (elevators!) doing all sorts of silly dance routines. It was great fun to watch, then off to bed.. only one more day onboard.

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Day 10 Sea Day

It had arrived so quickly… final full day. We had some chores to do… I know chores right? We finished packing and after  reading the horror stories of people forgetting about travel clothes I made sure I had put some clothes for the following morning and for dinner that evening aside.  To make things easier I divided the cases into one of dirty clothes and souvenirs that could stay packed whilst in Mexico and one of clean clothes and things we would need for the final part of our holiday. We had a few things to sort out on the bill – charges for the mini bar which had occurred whilst we were still trying to sort out our drinks and more package. We also had a very early departure slot of 8am when we weren’t being picked up from the terminal until 10.30.. so we managed to swap it for a later one. We sorted out tips for those we wanted to give a bit extra to…see we remembered !! We went and chose and paid for the one photo I decided I liked and also Dave had decided he wanted to buy himself a new watch , so we went and did that.  Having set off on holiday with a massive plastic wallet full of all the relevant paperwork I was able to go through and sort and discard lots of cruise related stuff we no longer needed – although I kept any tickets and the daily’s etc to make into a scrapbook ( still not got round to it yet!).

Chores done we had one more activity planned for later in the day. As part of our drinks and more package we got a free wine tasting event. Now I don’t think I would have specifically booked and paid for wine tasting but it was free… and having not done one before I decided I wanted to go. Wine tasting… did people just wear their usual day wear shorts and t shirts or did people dress up? Dave had arranged to go and play in a final couple of poker tournaments and having still not got round to it I wanted to try out Persian Gardens. The plan was to meet back in the cabin 15 minutes before the wine tasting, quickly get changed … (Dave agreed to compromise with a shirt and smart shorts !!!) only because he couldn't be bothered to argue with me) and then head to cellar masters.

One of the things I haven’t mentioned was that I have a very bad sense of direction. When Im driving if I haven’t been to the place at least 5 times I need my sat nav . So I did find navigating my way round the ship very challenging… by the end of the cruise I could find my way to the solarium, Blu and the Sunset bar but anything else I struggled with. So I set off to find Persian Gardens… I had a vague idea of where it was but it still took me 15 minutes and much wandering of corridors !  It was definitely worth it when I got there and I wished I had been sooner. I don’t like steam rooms but I enjoyed time in the Sauna … what a view!! The aromatherapy room, the cold room , had a nice sensory shower and then spent a pleasant half hour lying on a warm tiled bed reading a book. After that I spent a final bit of time in the Solarium, had a swim and spent some time in the jacuzzi and then headed back to the cabin.

So I got ready and waited and waited… now Dave had promised me that after the disaster of the salsa class that later in the cruise we would have a go at a jive class… however unluckily for me and luckily for him because of my sore hand I decided it wasn’t a good idea. When I reminded him about the wine tasting the previous day I knew he wouldn’t be that keen so I did tell him that it was a replacement activity for my missed dance class. Eventually  he turned up and was running late because he had won the poker tournament… first time all week !!! His winnings meant he had nearly broken even  at the casino so he was in a good mood for the wine tasting !

We arrived a few minutes late for the wine tasting but it didn’t seem to matter, we were given a score sheet and the different wine stations were explained. On the very rare occasion Dave drinks wine he has red, I on the other hand much preferred white. So we decided in order to not get too sozzled in the middle of the afternoon I would try the white and him the reds and luckily there was also some cheese and biscuits to soak it up with. There were 12 different wines to try from 6 different countries , 5 of the stations had one red and one white and one of the stations had 2 white. So there were 7 different wines for me to try.  Apparently we were meant to smell..sip…score..comment . Then clense our palate with some water before the next one. Allegedly guzzling the half glass of wine wasn’t the way to go…ooopps. We spent a pleasant time enjoying the wine and chatting to people and I had a nice talk with a lovely sommelier who told me the story of how she had started as a waitress and then done the training to be a sommelier, it was really interesting. Our favourite was the lady who we watched going round to each station in turn saying that she had tried all the wines and that , that one was her favourite and could she have some more!!!.  My big discovery of the afternoon was that I really liked Croatian wine... who knew !!  After the wine tasting we needed a nap.

When we got back to the cabin our lovely steward had left us a present of some chocolate coated strawberries, they were delicious. We got up from our nap, finished packing, put the cases outside the door and went out for our final dinner in Blu and our final drinks at the sunset bar, stayed for a bit at the farewell party in the foyer and then grabbed a coffee from Al Bacio and went and sat on our balcony. By half way into the cruise we had already decided cruising was definitely for us... did you guess?!!!it wouldn’t be our last, and had actually gone to future vacations to try and book something for 2022, but found that the deals they had on sadly didn’t apply to us Brits ..so decided to wait until we got home. We  did sit and talk about what a brilliant time we had had and agreed it definitely wouldn’t be our last Celebrity cruise.

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Day 11 Fort Lauderdale.

 

We were up and ready to leave the room before 8, said goodbye to our room steward and went to the buffet for breakfast. After that we grabbed a coffee from Al Bacio and sat at the empty Sunset Bar listening to the announcements and looking out over the port. Our flight to Cancun was at 3.05pm....well meant to be but more of that later! Anyway I had considered whether there would be time to do anything... I really wanted to see a bit of Miami, I did contact a couple of companies to see if we could be picked up from the port, taken for a drive to see some of the highlights and then dropped off at the airport - it was possible but I was worried we would end up missing our flight. We then realised it was Super bowl weekend and everywhere was probably going to be really busy. Whilst staying with my cousin she did offer us going to hers for a couple of hours pre flight but again there didn't seem that much time. I also looked at airport lounges but most of them in Miami seemed to be linked to having  certain  credit cards or being a premium airline passenger. In the end we decided that we would just sit it out at the airport, grab a snack and a drink and have a look round duty free. 

 

We left the ship about 9.45am I love the porter system in the states.... a porter  offered to take our bags and took us all the way through passport control and security to our pick up meeting point. We sat and waited for our  transfer, when it arrived it was also picking up another couple from the UK . Their flight wasn't until about 6pm and they joked that they would be having a much longer wait than us. We got to the airport and again it was all so much easier than the UK, a porter took our bags from the taxi and straight over to the outside check in desk so by the time we entered the airport we only had our carry ons. It was all going so well...famous last words. Once through security and passports we have a wander round the shops … well I had worn the same perfume for 2 weeks now so I definitely needed something different for Mexico !! Dave was happy because he found somewhere to have a cigarette, we grabbed a drink and snack and sat and waited for our flight. We boarded the plan and sat and waited for take off when it was announced that there was a problem with the hydraulics and there were currently 4 engineers looking at the plane! We sat tight and eventually  we were told the plane couldn't fly … but it was fine as they had found us another one and it was only 2 gates down from the previous flight. We all got off the plane and were told there would be about a 45 minute wait before we could board... Dave of course went off to have a cigarette. Whilst he was gone the pilot appeared at the gate and announced unfortunately there was a problem with the second plane... and actually both himself and the co pilot had now run out of airtime so they would need to find us a new plane and a new crew. At which point one of the passengers who was standing near the pilot lunged at him and started  shouting and swearing and had to be removed by security, Dave then came back having missed all the drama and asked if it was time to board !! Shortly after they then wheeled out a trolley with cold drinks and snacks and told everyone to help themselves.... I don't think anyone had eaten or drunk in weeks as it was stripped bare in a couple of minutes. By this point I was messaging my cousin letting her know she might have 2 visitors for the night!!! Eventually the good news was they had found us another plane.. the bad news was it was at the other end of the airport … we went up an escalator , down an escalator … on an internal rail link.... off the link... up and down another escalator and finally reached our gate. Whilst this is all happening I was trying to contact our transfer company in Mexico to let them know we would be late... I got through but the options of which number to press were in Spanish... I don't speak Spanish … eventually I somehow sorted out the transfer and they said it was fine , just for me to phone them when  we arrived. Eventually we took off … 2 hrs and 55 minutes late... remember anything over 3 hrs and you get compensation … a coincidence? Never mind at least we were finally on our way. It was a short and uneventful flight... we got given some free drinks and snacks and the pilot made up quite a bit of time on the 1 hr and 50 min flight and did it in an hour ???!!! it did worry me slightly... did that mean he was speeding …. can a plane speed? .

 

We got through customs/ security and baggage pick up and I got hold of our transfer...By the time we left the airport he was waiting for us and we had a short drive to our hotel . We were in Mexico and the next part of our holiday could start. 

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So this was meant to be the end of the review but by popular request …. and you have all been so lovely with your words of encouragement... I am going to carry on with our week in Mexico.

I always like to tidy up any loose ends and at the start of the review I hadn't realised that I was able to post videos … so before I start telling you about Mexico Im going to back track and attach some video clips from earlier in the holiday 

These first ones are from the Everglades and the Hard Rock 

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Mahekal Beach Hotel , Playa Del Carmen , Mexico 31st Jan - 7th Feb 2020

 

So here goes the second part of my review . As I said earlier I spent a long time choosing this hotel and would have been really disappointed if it wasn't possible. The original cruise dates meant that we would actually be leaving the ship and travelling to Mexico on my birthday, which would of been okay but this way we even better. I just need to give you a bit of background into my birthday so you understand why this holiday and my 50th Birthday were important to me.

Dave and I met when I was 27 and he was 36 

My 30th Birthday - we were due to go away and then my eldest son who was 13 at the time ( not an error … I had him very young ! )  had a nasty accident and I spent my 30th Birthday sat next to his intensive care bed with my ex husband - thankfully he made a full recovery.

Dave's 40th Birthday - I was 7 months pregnant with our daughter so just did a party at home for him

My 40th - this was probably the best one of the lot, we went to the Canary Islands with our daughter who was 8 at the time , it was a lovely family holiday but we didn't really do anything special … in fact laid back Dave bless him,  organised  for me to get some flowers and champagne at a nice family dinner on the evening of my birthday , which meant nothing at all happened on the day and I spent all day in a disappointed sulk!

Dave's 50th - he had injured his back and had very limited mobility at the time so all we could manage was a night away at a local hotel.

So I was determined that we were going to do something really special for my 50th and as a belated  20th Wedding anniversary celebration which had been in June. I was happy to plan the whole holiday , the only thing that I asked was that my laid back husband arrange a surprise for me for my actual birthday! He doesn't do surprises and in the 23 years we have been together he has never a surprise weekend away or a surprise meal out... I just wanted one thing... you will need to carry on reading to see if he pulled it off.

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So by time we arrived it was quite late and dark. We quickly checked in, dumped all our stuff in our room, freshened up and went for dinner. The hotel had several restaurants and actually the eating arrangements were quite complicated.

We were half board - breakfast and dinner.

There was one al la carte restaurant that was also open to the public - we could have breakfast there free of charge and could also eat dinner there, but had an allowance towards the cost and would need to make up any difference ourselves.

There was another restaurant which had a buffet breakfast each morning, with some hot options that were included in our package and also some evenings had a buffet dinner which was also included.

Then there was a third restaurant that only opened for dinner some evenings, and some evenings it was a la carte and others a buffet!

There was also on a site a bar, an ice cream parlour ( we never found) a shop that sold beautiful crafts and another place where you could make your own craft items. There were yoga classes on the beach, a spa , 4 pools and a private beach area.

On the first evening when we arrived dinner was at the third restaurant and was an a la carte menu. I cant honestly remember what we ate except that we had the option of having quesadilla's every evening as an appetiser , they were little savoury pancakes folded over with the option of several fillings freshly made as you watched. 

Our 'room' we named the tree house you will see why when you see the pictures... we had a table and chairs and hammocks on the veranda.

When you read this review its not going to be action packed as this week was going to be a chill out week before be returned home. There were a few things on my to do this though. We were having one day trip - to chichen Itza, something Dave really wanted to do, I also wanted to see a proper mariachi band and swim in a cenote ( which we were going to do as part of our cenote excursion) .

The first evening when we arrived I took a few photos of the reception area and the inside of our tree house, they didn't come out great though because it was so dark.

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I agree with the others, keep posting including your time in Mexico and your journey home too!

The Stingray photos are lovely, along with the sunset shots from the ship.  I am seriously missing time on the water, so it's good to see you pics.

 

2 hours ago, anniedave said:

 Apparently we were meant to smell..sip…score..comment . Then cleanse our palate with some water before the next one. Allegedly guzzling the half glass of wine wasn’t the way to go…ooopps.

 

 

Sounds like you do tastings the way I do!  🤣🤣🤣

 

Edited by mchell810
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Day 2 Mahekal Beach

Whenever I go on holiday the first thing I do when I arrive is unpack. However yesterday we had been up before 7am and by the time we had got back from dinner it was 11pm and I hadn’t had my nap!! So the first thing I did when I woke up was unpack. Then we went for breakfast and out to explore in daylight. Dave also said he had to go off and arrange something. 

I also forgot to mention yesterday that in the middle of all the drama at the airport I’d received a call from our daughter to tell me she was unwell with tonsillitis and had been to the GP to get antibiotics but wasn’t feeling any better. She is a  mature and most of the time...!!! sensible 18 year old and is more than capable of looking after herself, so we weren't worried about leaving her at home. When she was younger I always worked long hours and for a few years Dave couldn't do much because of his back, and then when he did go back to work, he worked nights so slept during the day, so she is used to fending for herself and is able to cook and clean … when she chooses to !! We live in a small village and we are also fortunate that we have lots of family and close friends locally who we knew she could turn to if needed, as well as her own close group of friends. I spoke to her again that morning and she was feeling worst so as it was a Saturday  had arranged for my best friend to take her for an emergency out of hours appointment. Knowing my best friend was looking after her eased a lot of my worry… holidays are great but at times it is horrible when you are so far away.

So after going for breakfast … not as nice as Blu or Ocean view … but we did have a lovely view of the sea and the infinity pool … we had a lazy morning in our hammocks . Then early afternoon we went out for a walk to explore Playa Del Carmen , it was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel to the main strip. When we got there we were scammed !!

We  had only arrived the previous evening and were still both quite tired. A guy in shorts and T shirt comes up to us smiles and says hello like he knows us. He says I am ….you met me last night Im one of the waiters from your hotel but you probably don’t recognise me as Im not in my uniform. Its my day off today I’m helping my grandfather with his new gift shop… it opens today. Now there were several young waiters in the restaurant the night before and it certainly could have been one of them. Im  generally a kind person ( except when someone tried to stop me getting photos of Flamingos ! )So naturally I said ‘ well we are having a look round the shops so tell me what its called and I will look out for it'. He says its not far , I will take you. We then follow him to a small square of shops and he takes us into one, where he  introduces us to his ‘cousin’ the manger and says….. these people are staying at my hotel and Ive brought them to show them grandfathers shop.  He then starts to show me round, and produces a tray of rings and starts trying to persude me to try some of the jewellery on. Dave and I both at the same time realise we have been scammed, I just say that  we will come back and look at the jewellery another day and we leave. No harm done to us and it was actually quite a clever scam, Dave usually spots them really quickly. The same scam was tried a couple more times during the holiday but we were wise to it.

We did look at some of the trinket stalls and shops and then decided to stop at a bar to get a drink. We had eaten breakfast but that was hours ago and by now we were used to cruise style eating of every few hours!!! We didn’t want loads so decided to order some salsa and chips to share, What happened next was brilliant.  2 young men appeared wheeling a cart with lots of ingredients and then tableside  one of them gave a very elaborate demonstration  of making our salsa. I gestured to see if it was okay for me to take some pictures and he was very bemused at me wanting to photograph him making the salsa.  We had our delicious salsa and chips and a drink  then asked to pay.  An older gentleman who we think was the owner came to take our payment and Dave asked if we could see the young man who had made our salsa . The owner loudly  shouted for the young man who appeared looking very nervous , I think he though he had done something wrong. He looked very relieved when I thanked him for the show and Dave gave him a tip.

After this we wandered back to the hotel , got ready for dinner and went again to the same restaurant as the previous evening. I don't remember what we had to eat except that I had a glittery dessert so I took a photo of it. One of the things I found amusing all holiday was that each evening they always provided me with a little mini coat stand next to the table on which to hang my bag and wrap. One evening  I put my bag  on the floor and they came rushing over with the stand!

After dinner we went back to our tree house and sat on the balcony and I had a glass of wine and Dave a vodka and coke and we enjoyed the peace and quiet. Tomorrow I would be 50!!!

 

 

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image.png.482330f14e27fdcf8197881e3fd8b7d8.png Day 3 Mahekal Beach - My Birthday

 

So I woke up with not a clue what I was going to be doing on my 50th Birthday, grateful for being in such a beautiful place to spend it and secretly hoping I had a surprize in store... however after 23 years of being with Dave as much as I love him, I must confess I hadn't set my expectation too high. I had decided to open any cards I had been sent before I left for the holiday and the only ones I had to open were one my daughter had given me to bring and one from Dave... actually 2 from Dave . I always get a soppy one that I love and a joke one that he finds hilariously funny. I was just suggesting that maybe we got up to go and have breakfast when there was a knock at the door and he went and answered it and asked me to come to the door. My first surprise of the day a huge bunch of Lily's , my favourite flower. He then told me that  I could decide what we did for the rest of the day but that I needed to be ready at 6.30 in a 'posh frock' for my birthday surprize. I asked him if we were eating at the hotel that evening and he said that we weren't . One of the options at the hotel was that you could swap dinner for lunch, so asked in that case if we could have lunch at the a la carte restaurant, he told me it was my birthday and I could do anything I wanted … I could get used to this!!

So we went for breakfast and then spent a couple of lazy hours in the hammocks... I was growing to love the hammocks as much as the Solarium … only problem was no waiters to bring me a cold drink... however it was my birthday so I did send Dave off to get some ice cold cokes. We went for a lovely lunch in the restaurant... I still didn't know what the evening surprise was and wasn't sure if or what we would be eating later … but we had a pizza, a salad and some lovely steak tacos to share and I had a couple of lovely glasses of ice cold Pinot whilst listening to the sea and reliving some cruise memories... perfect. After lunch we explored some more of the complex, I did think about booking a massage at the spa but in the it felt like too much effort... so I had another nap and then got ready for my surprise. When we got back to the room after lunch there was a small chocolate birthday cake waiting for me... which to be fair Dave could have taken credit for... however he didn't know anything about it, it was from the hotel which was lovely.

 

Now I knew on the website that the hotel did a romantic evening package with dinner on the beach and in my head I thought that was going to be my surprise... which would have been lovely but we had done dinner on the beach in Aruba . Anyway I got dressed up and then we went to reception and the Concierge wished me happy birthday and told me that the taxi would be here soon... we were going out out !!! 

 

Ive been writing all day so like all good stories Im going to leave you a cliff hanger until I continue tomorrow 

 

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