My Bonding Vacation - My Family Travels

I have taken many great vacations with my family, but the vacation that we took in March of 2012 changed my life forever.  My parents booked our Spring Break vacation from March 10 – 17, 2012 with Celebrity Cruises and we sailed for the first time on the luxurious Celebrity Eclipse with my brother and sister-in-law.  We had previously sailed on Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and Princess Cruises; however, our experience on the Eclipse was indeed monumental. The service was wonderful and the ship is spectacular.

After the embarkation process, we were greeted with champagne and, since I am a minor, I was served a chilled glass of orange juice in a champagne glass. We were then escorted to the Ocean View Café where we had a delicious lunch buffet while we waited for our cabins to be ready. The presentation of the food in the buffet was done very articulately, and there was a great deal of variety of delicious food to choose from.

When we were notified that our staterooms were ready, we started making our way to find where we would be living for the next seven days. The stateroom was slightly roomier than the staterooms on the other ships we have sailed on. We had a balcony and could just simply slide open the door and see Miami becoming smaller and smaller as the ship took off. We were ready to start enjoying our vacation!

Usually, my father and I explore the ship while we wait for the luggage to get delivered to our stateroom. Since my brother and his wife were with us on this vacation, we all explored the ship. The advantage of arriving early is that we get the chance to have the ship almost to ourselves.   We went from deck to deck and toured the gym, spa, pool areas, and restaurants. The Eclipse is not ostentatiously ornamented in any way, as some of the other ships we have seen in the past.  We were awed by the magnificence and quiet elegance of this ship.

Our first port of call was San Juan, Puerto Rico. We walked to “Castillo San Felipe del Morro” and paid an entrance fee so we could go inside to see the fort.   El Morro is one of the main visitor attractions in San Juan. We were able to see this historical fort where its first lighthouse was built in 1846. This fort was designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay and defend the city of Old San Juan from seaborne enemies.  It was an amazing experience and we all learned a great deal about the fort in the few hours that we were there.

The next port of call was St. Maarten and we relaxed and enjoyed the breathtaking beach with its fine sand and turquoise water. We snorkeled, ate lunch at the beach and, of course, we sunbathed to our hearts content. I will not forget the color of that gorgeous blue water for as long as I live.

Besides the fabulous vacation and the beautiful ship and its surroundings, the most important part of this vacation is that I got very close to my brother. My brother and I are 14 years apart, and when he married, I was 7 years old. I was not able to enjoy a close relationship with him due to the difference in years. Thanks to this vacation, my brother and I are closer than we have ever been, and I can honestly say that he is not just my brother: he is my best friend.

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