We shared the port in Ft. Lauderdale with three other ships, including this one, Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship afloat. With eight decks of balcony staterooms, it looks like a bee hive. Below is Carnival Conquest. The fourth ship was Celebrity Silhouette.

The stateroom is small, but adequate. We like to open the doors to the balcony to hear the sound of the waves and take in the fresh, salt air.

Our room steward added to the usual towel animals little stick-on eyes, which enhance the impression.

Lifeboats are rather anachronistic these days. Yes, the Titanic could have used more. But with modern communications, being stranded for a long time at sea is unlikely. Instead, they could use open life rafts, which are stored in metal drums and pop open when activated (below).

Nieuw Amsterdam

Two week cruise in the Caribbean November 28 - December 13, 2015.

We booked two week-long cruises back to back, thereby visiting both the eastern and western Caribbean, leaving from and returning to Fort Laudrdale, twice.

Ports for week 1:
...Half Moon Cay (Holland America Line's private island in the Bahamas).
...Grand Cayman Island
...Cozumel, Mexico
...Key West

Ports for week 2:
...St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
...Grand Turk Island (Turk and Caicos Islands, a British protectorate)
...San Juan, Puerto Rico
...Half Moon Cay

Our first stop was Half Moon Cay (the last word is pronounced "key"). All of the major lines have their little enclaves. Why give the business away to port towns when you can have it all for yourself?

The old ship is a bar, of course. You can rent clam shells and cabanas of all kinds.

We walked down the beach a ways and found a rope hammock in the shade of one of the colorful buildings.

What a cutie!

Of course the water is the main attration, even if just sitting in it.

The constant availability of food on a cruise ship can be hard on the waistline.

 

CONTINUE PHOTO ESSAY ON NEXT PAGE (click here)

Heading west. A new day.

Now that's an anchor chain! Usually, instead of an anchor, they set the GPS to a certain setting and the ship's thrusters, which can work in all directions, keep the ship in place. That's probably more reliable and less work.

Most people prefer to sun themselves on the upper deck, leaving the lounge chairs on the promenade deck available.

There were four elevators with a view. Note the beautiful glass etching. Every day they change the carpet, which is very helpful to keep track of the week.

This cruise had an unusual number of gray and rainy days. We still had a good time, but the view wasn't what it could have been.

The Crow's Nest is a bar and lounge on the highest deck. It was our favorite place to read and work in the morning, until about 10:30 a.m. when the talkers showed up and filled the space with noise. Clearly this wasn't one of those gray days.

Besides books and videos, the library has a couple of dozen periodicals. They also put out daily sudoku puzzles.