I would get my chance to travel to Miami with another TRAVEL TIME group in November of 2015! Miami was to be both our first and last city on this itinerary! This group trip I was the escort for the group to Miami via Frankfurt, and we arrived in the USA one day before Thanksgiving – a major holiday! Our three days in Miami, before beginning our cruise on the Celebrity Reflection, was to be a combination of sightseeing and shopping, as in the USA the day after thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, is a day of very discounted shopping opportunities! In fact that day we all began shopping at 5:00 in the morning! While in Miami our excursions took us to the Everglades National Park, which is the largest swamp in the USA, full of not just alligators but also many different birds (not to mention mosquitos)! We also visited Coral Castle, “built” by a Latvian man as a homage to his fiancee – who left him never seeing his handiwork! And we visited the Florida Keys all the way to Key West and even got dinner of Stone Crabs en route back towards Miami in Islamorada!
Once we got onto the one week cruise, we were scheduled to visit the Eastern Caribbean – making three stops at San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, and St Maarten, French and Dutch West Indies. Each of these ports afforded us different opportunities to explore! In San Juan, on a rainy evening, we got to explore the Forts and streets of the Old Town. St Thomas was complete with a visit to Blackbeard’s Castle Historical Park, and a visit to the Northern Beaches. St Maarten with its dual nationality (half is Dutch, half is French) was explored with a three hour guided tour of both halves, followed by several hours at the world famous Maho Beach – where aircraft fly low overhead and on takeoff even send foolish people flying into the water, causing injuries daily! Then there were three sea days on the ship to travel the 1500km each direction from Miami, which enabled us to enjoy formal dining, succulent buffets and of course all the sun tanning one could stand!
After the cruise, before returning to Europe we had the chance to enjoy one more day in South Florida – this time spending more time in Shopping Centers to purchase more christmas presents!