Thursday, January 24, 2013

Celebrity Constellation – Two Days, Too Short

Nassau sand

More than any Christmas present under the tree, I love taking a weekend getaway with my hubby. So our gift to each other this year was a 2-day cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. It was cloudy and gloomy when we got to Miami around noon on Saturday. Traffic was at a standstill, and as we drove over the bridge to the cruise terminals we could see why – there were seven ships in port! Because the Constellation wasn't on its normal schedule, we were docked at a temporary terminal, which was basically a big, dark tent. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to go through security and check-in, and we were soon on the ship with the whole afternoon to explore.

The Constellation was built in 2002 but for an "older ship", I thought it was beautiful. Well, the outside did look a bit blocky. I heard someone describe it as looking like it was made out of Legos. But the inside was elegantly modern. The hub of the ship was the 3-story atrium with a backlit marble staircase, a specialty coffee shop and a very popular martini bar. One of my favorite parts of the ship was the gorgeous Chihuly glass sculpture that hung outside the Reflections Lounge. With only two days, we didn't even see the whole ship before the cruise was over!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue sign

Yesterday I visited Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. The 50-acre educational sanctuary is home to over 100 cats, including lions, tigers, leopards, cougars and bobcats. BCR takes in cats that have been injured by cars, have gotten too old for performing, or have been abandoned by people who mistakenly thought that a big cat would make a good pet.

Not far from busy Citrus Park Mall, BCR is tucked away at the end of a dirt road. It’s hard to believe such a quiet, natural spot still exists in this part of Florida. During the one-and-a-half hour tour, our guide Vanessa gave our group lots of information about the sanctuary’s residents and the difference between “big cats” and “lesser cats” (big cats roar and their babies are called cubs while lesser cats don’t roar but can purr and their babies are called kittens).

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Favorite Pictures of 2012

Before we begin another year of traveling, I thought I would share some of my favorite pictures from the past year.

Port of Tampa
1. Leaving the Port of Tampa on the Jewel of the Seas