After an 8 hour flight, we arrived in Miami, Florida. We were completely jet-lagged but at least we had a nice ride to pick us up from the airport. A lovely black Escalade awaited us and drove us to our hotel. We were staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, located on one of the keys jutting out of the mainland. Being so jet-lagged, I couldn't stay awake and fell asleep pretty quickly after arriving.
The next day I was feeling much better and was keen to explore the hotel. Immediately I was drawn to the pool where I lay down on a sun-lounger and worked on my tan. The sun scorched down on us, sweltering even in early April.
The hotel was lovely. It was fairly busy but the atmosphere was calm and relaxed. I was able to sunbathe and even nap in the sun without much interruption. At one point, I was in fact interrupted by a massive green lizard, casually strolling past through the grass. I think it was a green iguana, but I can't say for sure.
Iguana-like lizard casually strolling past the pool
After several hours of tanning, we decided to pay a visit to Aventura mall. Oh, my, I have never gone so crazy in a shopping mall before! Normally, I absolutely hate shopping but the clothing style in Miami was right up my street and I went crazy, mostly in Victoria's Secret and Love Pink. At this point, these shops didn't exist in the UK so it was amazing. I may have bought majority of the store but the clothes were not super expensive so it was all good. I also bought a personalised snapback which I was absolutely in love with. I got my name engraved in the side - woop, woop!
After a great day in Miami, we ate at Hakisan restaurant which was delicious.
Our second day in Miami was a lot calmer. I did more sunbathing before we ate at a restaurant within the 'W' hotel.
As the sun rose for a third time in Miami, it was time for us to leave and for the real adventures to begin. We were about to partake in a Caribbean cruise, hitting 4 different islands before finally arriving in Barbados. I had been to the Caribbean many times before but never been on a cruise. Honestly, a cruise had never appealed to me much before as I get sea-sick and they just seem too busy. However, the cruise we had booked was on a very small ship which housed 500 people - that's small for a cruise. I was so excited but at the same time, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
As our Escalade dropped us off at Fort Lauderdale, my heart leapt in excitement. In front of us, I could see the boat. To me it looked massive - a towering 7 storey ship, glistening in the sunlight. It was time to board our home for the next week.
We entered our rooms. The rooms looked great, just like a fancy hotel-room. They were kitted with beds, a sofa, a flat-screen TV, an ensuite and shower and, the pièce de résistance, our own private balcony! We unpacked our clothes into the wardrobes and waited for the boat to set off. But then we were introduced to Chantelle, our own private butler. Wow - the rooms come with a butler! That was insane. Chantelle was also really sweet. I had a feeling we would be becoming friends with her throughout the journey. Food was all-inclusive (except the ship's restaurants), so if we ever wanted anything, Chantelle was on hand to get it for us. She immediately offered us popcorn which seemed like a great idea.
Then there was the loud blare of a horn and the boat juddered. We were leaving Miami. We rushed out onto the balcony, the glare of the setting sun in our eyes. The sky was a deep red colour, vivid beams of yellow cutting through the rosy haze. Tall un-finished buildings were turned black with the sun behind them.
The boat churned out foamy white water and pale grey smoke rose from top of the boat. Racing alongside us was the tug boat, carefully guiding us safely out of the port. The tug boat bobbed uncomfortably beside us, taking on our massive foaming waves.
We said farewell to Miami. I just couldn't wait for the next part of our adventure.