Cruise Aboard Empress of the Seas! Key West & Cozumel

Now it’s time to tell you all about the cruise! Let me start off with I’ve never been on a cruise before, so I have nothing to compare this too. I honestly was a bit confused about how it all worked. I couldn’t have been more excited to get away.

We had a direct flight to Fort Lauderdale with Jet Blue, arrived at the airport about 1030. We had to be at the ship before 330, so we were all good timing. Took an Uber to the port, which was about 40 minutes away! Jet Blue didn’t fly into Miami airport, only Fort Lauderdale. Arriving at the port was pretty easy, our ship was at the last terminal of course, so we had to go all the way around the port. Getting on the ship was also really easy, check-in was quick. Upon getting onto the ship, we learned we couldn’t access our room until 1 PM, it was about noon at that time, which was tad frustrating, we’d been up and traveling all morning and a quick rest would have been nice. That’s when we quickly learned how meals work on ships. We were told on the top deck there was lunch waiting.

Lunch was served on Deck 10 at the Windjammer Cafe, which is buffet style and had pretty much anything I could have wanted to eat. Fast forward, the rest of Day 1 went well. We were able to get to our room, which was small. Very small. We had dinner in the main dining room, and enjoyed the show which was a comedian. Here is a photo of the ship.

Cozumel, Mexico

Day 2 was Key West. I’ve been to Key West before, so I had a decent idea of what to do and how to get around. We took the Conch Trail Tour, which wasn’t that expensive, and allowed us to see what was in Key West without having to walk miles. We had lunch at the Hard Rock and then proceeded to go to Zachary Taylor Beach. Honestly, I didn’t have a clue how exactly to get to this beach, it was over a mile walk from where the train tour ended, but we had a few hours left and wanted to enjoy the beach. The keys aren’t known for their beaches, but this was a nice little gem. Very rocky for the first few feet, but then sandy perfection. Here’s some photos.

Key West February 2018

Key West, Florida, Feb 2018
View from Mallory Square, that is not our ship though.
Key West February 2018
A must see. Southern Most Point.

The next day was spent at sea before arriving at Cozumel on Day 4. We booked an excursion, Dune Buggy and Snorkel. I’ve been snorkeling and I scuba drive, so I was excited to see what Cozumel had to offer. We arrived at the pier and found the group for our excursion. Our leader was wonderful and walked us down to get the dune buggies. Sadly, these were manual and I can’t drive manual. Because four people have to go in one, we ended up sitting with a nice couple, which honestly worked out. I could enjoy the views and not have to drive. We made our first stop at a place to snorkel, stayed for about an hour, then drove around the island. The second stop was beautiful, the water was much too choppy to snorkel, so we were allowed to just enjoy the beach for about 45 minutes, then we headed back to the boat. Here’s some photos from Cozumel.

Cozumel, Mexico - February 2018
Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel, Mexico - February 2018

The next day was also spent at sea before we arrived back in Miami. Now one thing we didn’t realize before the cruise was we had the option to do an excursion in Miami as our flight didn’t leave until 7 PM and the ship docked in Miami about 730 AM. We took the Big Bus Miami tour, which I highly recommend. For us, it included our airport transfer and luggage storage while we did the tour. There were two loops, a beach loop and city loop. Each loop was about an hour and a half. We did both loops and then had lunch at the Hard Rock. The weather was just beautiful too. Here’s some photos from Miami.

Miami, Florida March 2018
Miami, Florida March 2018
Miami, Florida

We arrived at the airport about 4 PM, plenty of time for our 7 PM flight. Unfortunately, that flight was delayed and delayed again – which meant the time to make our connecting flight in Charolette was diminishing. We did end up making it back home, about 3 AM!

There is so much more to write about the ship itself, I’ll save that for the next post. Overall, the vacation was wonderful. Each place we went too was lovely and we were able to do and see a lot of things. Thankfully, the weather also was lovely. Less than four weeks until I’m off to Aruba!

I also started a dedicated Instagram for this blog, @idrather_havecake. I’ll post photos of my travels as well as some motivational things, because, let’s be honestly, we all need that once in awhile.

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