Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous- Key West, FL

"The End of the Road"

Monday, March 9, 2015 

The alarm went off at 7AM (EST... Because we lost another hour) and both of us got up to get dressed after a good nights sleep. Chris went jogging and I went to watch sunrise on the upper decks. I tried the helicopter pad but no luck because it was closed for "helicopter operations only". The wind was just as bad, if not worse, than yesterday so maybe that had something to do with it. I went to deck 12 behind Sky Bar and saw Chris jogging along the path. I took several pictures just seconds and minutes apart which proved the awe-inspiring and breath taking views I was experiencing of God's creation. I kept singing the song "For the Beauty of the Earth" as the sun came out. 

The 1st glimpse of the sun at 7:35AM.

This 2nd picture was taken at 7:40AM.

This was at 7:43 after the sun had fully come out!The best feeling in the world is to watch the sunrise or sunset knowing WHO created it all! 

It's going to be a GREAT day!

Wow wow wow... it was just incredible! I watched for a while then Chris went to shower and I walked around the ship and took pictures. I stopped to get  my favorite breakfast item, a vanilla pastry, in Windjammer then went to Vortex Lounge on deck 13  where the mighty wind was NOT blowing as hard (still approximately 35 mph). It was here that I noticed the Windjammer Buffet  ALWAYS has a person giving out Germ-X at the entrance... Pretty much making people clean their hands. We really appreciated this and made us feel a little better about the overall buffet process. After Chris got ready we went to breakfast in the MDR at 8:20AM and had a wonderful time with the same waiter from Turkey as day 2.

I love this and wish all ships would do this! Clean is best! 

After breakfast we went back to the room to get all of our shore excursion supplies and the tickets and then go watch our arrival in Key West. We did this from Deck 12 as the helicopter pad on Deck 5 was once again closed. While approaching Key West  and captain calls over speaker "kids please do not climb on side of ship". Sure enough, there were some teenagers down on the helicopter pad looking over the edge. Then an officer came to get them off the helicopter pad. We had never seen or heard anything like it and it was quite humorous! 

Beautiful Key West, FL as we came in for the approach around 10AM. 

A smaller private island, "for rich people", we were told in the background. 

While we waited for the final tug and rope to be tied we called kids since we were in the USA and Luke said "I love you daddy". This made us both cry and miss our babies! The Serenade of the Seas arrived at the Key West pier at 10:37AM and got clearance around 10:55AM. We then waited in the Tropical Theater until our excursion group was called, which was only about 15 minutes. 

Waiting in the Tropical Theater for our excursion group to be called. 

Around 11:15AM they called for our group and we were off the ship at 11:20AM. We met the bike tour guides right outside the dock and were put in group 2 departing after about 10 minutes. We walked about 1/2 mile to the
Key Lime Pie Shop for our bikes. We got our helmets and bikes secured (and sanitized of course) then began our tour.

The gorgeous Serenade of the Seas in port at Key West, FL. 

Our Bike Tour starting point!

 We are ready to go on our Bike Tour around the island!

Our tour guide was layed back and relaxed and literally just took off on his bike and rarely looked back to see where his guests were. Luckily, Chris and I both wanted to be at the very front of the pack for informational purposes but we also had some older (70+) guests in our tour and we did not want to get slowed down. 

Biking down the narrow streets of Key West, FL. 

Our tour took us to some really interesting places including the following:

1-Gulf of Mexico beaches.
Our tour guide explained the early history on how the island was founded. Basically the Spanish found and Americans took it over because of piracy.

The Gulf of Mexico in Key West, FL. 

2- Fine Arts Museum
Here our tour guide completed the history of island itself and included interesting facts such as presidents who visited and the presidential visitors house.

At the Fine Arts Museum in Key West, FL. 

3- US Post Office and mile 0 and highway 1
It is here where the famous Highway 1 Ends. This highway runs 2043 miles to Maine. It's "The End of the Road". This is where we also learned and saw that chickens run freely all over the island. This was neat and creepy at the same time!

It was REALLY weird to be on a cruise and see the postman!
Kinda cool at the same time!

Chickens OWN the island and literally just wander free!

The historic "End of the Road" and mile marker 0!

4- Earnest Hemingway House
We learned that Hemingway didn't write any books there but lived here for 7 yrs while on the island. It was a beautiful residence and well toured on this particular day.

If time allowed I would have like to gone inside this home. 

5- Southern-Most Point in the US
There was a line to take pictures but we jumped to the front in worries that our tour would leave without us. Chris touched the Atlantic for the 1st time. We also learned that this infamous Bouy is NOT the Southern Most point in the United States but a Naval base just 1/4 mile past that is actually the Southern-Most point in the continental US. Also the bouy lists Cuba as 90 miles away but according to our guide it is 97 miles away. We also were able to get a real coconut and drink the amazing vitamin packed coconut water! YUMMY!

This was a sight we were DYING to see! It was pretty awesome!

"The Atlantic Ocean, ladies and gentleman". This was the very 1st time Chris experienced the Atlantic Ocean and he put his hand in for the record. 

Not the 1st time for me but worth a picture!

The fresh coconut water was awesome and had more electrolytes than Gatorade!

6- Higgs Beach
We were able to park our bikes for about 20-30 minutes and walk along the Atlantic ocean! It was GORGEOUS and only wish we would have been able to stay longer.

A beautiful day in Key West, FL! 

Chris finally arrived at the Atlantic Ocean and put his feet in. 

Higgs Beach, Key West, FL. 

7- Famous Cemetery
 Our guide discussed the sea levels and Coral rock being underneath. It reminded me of the cemeteries in NOLA. 

8- Local Fisherman Owned restaurants and eateries
We wanted to try some local eateries but since our stop in port was shortened time we chose to eat closer to the ship. 

9- The End AND Key Lime Pie
This was back at the Key Lime Pie Shop and the key lime pie was delicious and especially satisfying after a 2.5 hour bike tour!

Wow... This was some GOOD pie!

So good, in fact, that is was featured on THROWDOWN with Bobby Flay!
We are still looking up who won that Throwdown!

We then walked to the original Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and took pictures. Then got souvenirs and walked up and down Duval street. I went to Kino's Sandal Shop where I was able to get a pair of famous sandals while Chris texted his parents. Right before we boarded the ship we got a final taste of Key West with a famous Belgium chocolate dipped Key Lime pie. It was one of the best things I ate the entire cruise! 

The Original Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville... I really wish we would have had time to go in and sit down to eat!

Kermit's Key Lime Pie Shop- Key West, FL. 

This was to die for!

 We then headed back to ship to find a line at 3:15PM for a 5:00PM departure. This was ironic since this was the smallest ship we have ever been on with the smallest passenger capacity and the 1st time to have to wait in line. 

Goodbye Key West... It's been real!


We then went to our room and took showers to freshen up for our AMAZING evening and meal at Chops Grill. We also called the kids one more time before we sailed. Chops Grill was beyond amazing and we loved EVERY minute of it. "One of everything" was our motto and as embarrassing as it was it was still worth it. You can find more about that experience HERE on our food blog!

On our way to Chops Grille!

The Shrimp Cocktail was incredible!

After dinner we got some refreshments and then we went to the show in Topical Theater featuring John Ferrintino who was hilarious and lame at the same time but provided for good entertainment none the less. We also stayed for the Love and Marriage GAMESHOW but despite being on a cruise for our anniversary we were not chosen. The night ended with some more refreshments and rest after a long and eventful day! 

Stay tuned for Day 4 in Nassau! 

God is good... ALL the time! 

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