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Copyright © 1995-2001 
Linda Coffman


Back-to-Back Cruises, A Comparison
February 3-17, 2002

by Sherry Lauson

My husband, Gary, and I enjoyed back to back Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises aboard the Celebrity Millennium and the Grand Princess beginning on February 3, 2002 and ending on February 17, 2002. Since we traveled on 2 different lines Iím going to approach this review as a comparison between them as well as a general review. I also want to insert a disclaimer here--my husband and I are not veteran cruisers. Our last cruise prior to this was on our honeymoon 17 1/2 years ago. Everybody is different and what we liked or disliked you may totally disagree with. I will say that we had a fantastic time on both ships--far better than we would have imagined (and I did a lot of imagining).

Here is a little background on us to help you see where we are coming from. My husband and I are in our mid forties. We donít have children, unless you include our dogs, which we do. My husband is a licensed Civil Engineer and I am a stay at home wife. We are primarily homebodies. We love to eat out, but our tastes are pretty simple. We do not do what would be considered fine dining very often. Since this was the first real vacation we had taken in a very long time, we planned and discussed it thoroughly. We decided on cruising for several reasons. First, I believe cruising gives more value for vacation dollars than any other type of vacation. It allowed us to have a good idea how much it would all cost before we left home (I didnít figure in the spa treatments, but more on that later). We wanted to be pampered and fed and entertained in beautiful surroundings and we wanted to visit places and try things we never had before. I found my first cruise board and review site in June and began feeding what quickly became a daily habit. I got a lot of great advice from all your reviews and questions I asked on the boards, especially the wonderful Cruise @ddicts site. Thanks so much because I truly believe our trip was much enhanced because of all of you. Iíll start out by rating each category (10 meaning the item surpassed our every expectation). That way if you donít want to read my rather lengthy comments, you can still quickly get an idea about how we compared these two lines. For those who get through the whole thing, I hope my review will serve to help you and other potential cruisers out there, so here we go...

Embarkation/Debarkation

  • Millie 10
  • Grand 10

  Staterooms

  • Millie 9
  • Grand 7

  Dining

  • Millie 6
  • Grand 9

  Ship Atmosphere/Style

  • Millie 7
  • Grand 10

  Captain/Officers

  • Millie 2
  • Grand 10

  Service

  • Millie 9
  • Grand 10

  Ship Arrangement

  • Millie 9
  • Grand 7

  Cruise Director/Staff

  • Millie 8
  • Grand 10

  Entertainment

  • Millie 9
  • Grand 7.5

  Spa/Pool Area

  • Millie 6
  • Grand 10

   Overall Totals

  • Millie 7.5
  • Grand 9.05

 Cruise Statistics

Celebrity Millennium 2/3/02-2/10/02

  • 91000 GRT, Room 7108-Double with balcony
  • Ft Lauderdale, San Juan, Catalina Island, St. Thomas, Nassau, 2 days at sea.

Grand Princess 2/10/02-2/17/02

  • 102000 GRT, Room C607-Double with huge balcony
  • Ft Lauderdale, Princess Cays, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, 2 days at sea.

The weather was terrific. If itís always like this in February then this is the time to sail. We had enough movement to know we were on a ship, and a couple of overcast days. Otherwise... great!! I will mention I took a bonine every day and wore a patch (I wanted to take no chances of missing a minute of fun). My husband did neither of these things and had no problem whatsoever.

Embarkation/Disembarkation
Very smooth on both lines. We had actually flown into Miami on the 2nd and stayed overnight at the Airport Marriott. We rented a car from Avis at the airport. Sunday morning we checked out at 9, loaded up the car and drove straight to Port Everglades.

We offloaded our luggage at the Celebrity dock, dropped off our car with Avis at the airport, caught a shuttle back to the dock, filled out some little paperwork and were checked in and aboard the Millie by 11:15. Easy, easy, easy. Boarding the Grand was basically the same. Disembarkation on both ships was a bit more of struggle, but I donít see how that can be avoided. We had to wait a bit before being allowed to disembark and finding luggage in a huge warehouse is no picnic, but not a really big deal. Everyone was friendly and helpful and we got where we needed to be on time with no stress. I will say Avis did not seem to be as well organized. We waited over 3 hours to pick up a (reserved) car to drive back to Miami. Enough said.

First Impressions
Both of these ships are incredibly impressive on first sight. They were actually docked very close to one another so we could see the top of the Grand as we drove up to the Millie. The Millie stands out, not just because of her size, but her dark blue hull and the large X on her stack. When we boarded the Millie we went to the stern of the ship and got a great view of the Grand. She is so lovely and so different because of her "spoiler." What fun to know we would be sailing her the next week.

I am not going to describe the ships interiors in detail. Many others have done that and far better than I could (see reviews by Vincent Finelli). What I will do is break down the review into categories that were important to us and I hope to you as well.

Staterooms
Our staterooms on both ships were more than adequate as far as space for clothing and such (and, baby, I packed a lot!!! of clothes). I utilized a lot of great tips from cruisediva.com. Among the best--a hanging shoe bag for the closet and a plastic divider to hang on the bathroom door to store cosmetic items. Thanks, Linda!! The staterooms were comparable in size, but I thought the stateroom on the Millie was more attractive and better utilized space. The closet on the Grand did not have a door. Not that big a deal, but it made the room feel less... nice. The bathroom on the Millie was slightly bigger. The shower was more spacious, all the plumbing was covered and the waste basket folded into the vanity. The bathroom on the Grand felt like a cheap motel bathroom. Picky, picky I know, but these things matter to me and probably to a lot of you, too. 

I do want to say both staterooms were kept immaculately clean by Arnel on the Millie and by Virgil on the Grand. I never ceased to be amazed at the extra mile these young men went to make our cruise an even more enjoyable experience. Another thing Celebrity did that I really appreciated was to place a carafe of fresh water on a tray each time the ice was refilled. Such a small thing, but I really missed that carafe of water on the Grand. The last thing I want to address in this section is the balconies. We had one on both ships and they were wonderful. We didnít spend a lot of time on them, but it was nice to take pictures of the sunsets, to see and listen to the water and to just feel the gentle sea breezes on your face. They are not very private as far as conversation, though, so we really didnít spend a lot of time sitting out there. Having said that, I would prefer to have a balcony in the future, but it would not be a deal breaker.

Ship Atmosphere/Style
Millennium-very formal, elegant ship. Floral arrangements throughout the ship are absolutely spectacular. A lot of modern art/photographic art. Low lighting, graceful furnishings and lots of soft, beautiful music everywhere you went. Just a beautiful ship.

Grand Princess-also a very beautiful ship, but with a very different feel. The colors were brighter, the music more upbeat (and there was more variety). Not as formal, but still stunningly beautiful. Both my husband and I felt the Grand had a distinctly friendly feel to it. Just one of those intangibles.

Passengers
Older, more refined crowd on the Millie. Median age seemed to be mid 60s. A lot of Canadians and people from the UK. Lovely. We met the most wonderful people on the Millie. At tea, I had an extended conversation with a gentleman from England. We had very little in common, but a love for scones and Devonshire cream. We sure laughed a lot, though, for being strangers. My husband sat next to a businessman from Canada named Chris and enjoyed hearing about his aircraft maintenance business. We truly made friends, though, with a lovely family from New York. We sat with them the first 2 nights for dinner and had such wonderful conversation. They moved to the earlier dinner seating on the third night, so we were unable to dine with them again until the last night of the cruise when they invited us to join them at their table. What a rare treat to meet people you almost immediately connect with. Thank you Sharyn, Peter and Rosalind for helping to make our cruise on the Millie extra special. We hope to see you again in the near future.

The median age of the folks on the Grand seemed slightly lower, maybe mid 50s. It seemed to be a more high-spirited crowd and less formal to go along with the mood of the ship. Because we had personal choice dining we met far fewer people, but that was okay. One of our vacation goals was to spend a lot of time alone. My husband had been cloistered in his study for months, working on a couple of special projects. We needed to reconnect. We had originally requested a table for 2 on the Millie, for that reason. And we felt it might be uncomfortable to eat with people we didnít know and might not have anything in common with. The maitreíd was unwilling to do that for us, so we ended up at a table for 10. This turned out to be a good experience for us. We would never had met Sharyn and her family or our other charming dinner companions if we had eaten alone every night.

Dining
Since weíre on the subject of dinner...
Our dining experiences were totally different on the two ships. The Millennium is a very traditional ship with completely traditional meal schedules. Although there are some alternatives to eating in the dining room, they are not always convenient to your particular schedule. Many mornings we wanted to sleep in a little. This offered us very little choice for breakfast, so we usually just waited for lunch in the buffet area. The buffet was very good, although we thought the choices a little limited. We ate lunch by the pool one day and while the fries were great, the hamburger was so over done it reminded me of a hockey puck. That was the last time we ate by the pool. And we never did eat breakfast or lunch in the dining room. We did attend the formal tea toward the end of the week and that was delightful. I have to say neither my husband nor I were very impressed with the food. After all the positive comments we had read about the food, we were kind of disappointed. Maybe we just have unsophisticated palates, but nothing really stands out in my mind as being excellent. Everything was good, though, and the cold soups were a real novelty for me.

The Grand was a much better fit for us in many ways, but the food and dining options has to be one of the main reasons why. Personal Choice Cruising is a much more relaxed, convenient style of cruising. Basically it boils down to being able to do what you want when you want to. The buffet was always open and had multiple, delicious, hot and cold items to choose from. Fresh, delicious fruit all day and evening. I ate fresh pineapple and watermelon for breakfast lunch and dinner almost every day. Heaven. Since we had to dress for dinner almost every night on the Millie, we really stayed pretty casual on the Grand. We dressed for both formal nights (once for dinner in the dining room and once for dinner at Sabatiniís), otherwise we ate at the buffet. I really donít feel that we missed out at all. The buffet had so many choices and the Horizon Court was a lovely dining venue. I loved the wall murals and the ceiling had tiny lights that made it look like it was sprinkled with stars (this was true in many areas of the ship). As opposed to the Millie buffet, the Horizon Court was self-serve. We could eat whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, however much we wanted and have 5 desserts without anybody noticing (of course we never did that J and Iím sure we didnít gain more weight on the Grand--yeah, right). I never would have felt comfortable on the Millie asking for more of anything, even though our waiter was an absolute sweetie. My husband also mentioned he felt the preparation of the food on the Grand was more Americanized, versus being more European, on the Millie. Bottom line--while the food on the Millie was good, we liked the food and dining options much more on the Grand.

Alternate Restaurants - We didnít eat in the Olympic on the Millie. We did eat at both The Painted Desert and Sabatiniís on the Grand. The Painted Desert has a Tex/Mex menu. It was good, but we prefer (crave) traditional Mexican food, so it left a little to be desired. Sabatiniís was very good, but youíd better like seafood. Itís a long meal, but the service and presentation is excellent. Still, we wouldnít do it again. There is a $15 p/p surcharge and we probably would have been happier at the buffet. (Arenít we just too provincial? What can I say?)

Service
I donít feel commenting on the dining room service on the Grand would be fair since we ate there only once. Otherwise the service was very good. Friendly people in the buffet to answer your questions, wonderful bar service (neither of us cares for alcohol, but we drank our weight in "virgin" frozen thingees which, by the way, were half as expensive as those on the Millie, which charged the same as the ones with alcohol), always a smile from every crew member we met.

The service on the Millie is just a whole different subject. It was out the roof. Our dining room waiter, Vlaho, and his assistant, Jose were just unbelievable. Their smiling faces and incredible attitudes made us look forward to seeing them every evening. The first night I requested an iced tea from Jose. I had iced tea every evening after that without having to ask. Iíve never been in a five star restaurant, but I truly believe we got five star service every night at dinner. Having said all that, although the service was wonderful, it made us a little uncomfortable. Itís like going to a really nice restaurant for dinner at home. We enjoy our evening, but wouldnít want to do it every night. Again, just not our style.

I do want to mention a wonderful young woman from Romania named Andreea. She served us our frozen thingees in the Celebrity Theater. I canít say enough about this sweet, lovely young woman. Although she didnít have much time to talk (very hard working and a lot of the time she worked in the dark) she always had a smile and kind words. She answered any questions we had about her family, homeland and her job. When I sought her out on the last evening to say goodbye and show her our appreciation, she set her tray down in an inconspicuous spot and gave me a hug. I will always remember her.

When it came to cabin service, I would be hard pressed to choose which cabin attendant was better. Arnel, on the Millie and Virgil, on the Grand were both just wonderful. You know those little elves we talk about? The ones we wish would make our beds and clean our baths and put little sweets out for us. They are on cruise ships and two of them are Arnel and Virgil. I wanted to bring both of them home with me. Virgil will soon move to the new Star Princess. We hope to sail the Star in the near future and it would be wonderful to see Virgil again.

The only real negative I have regarding the service on the Millie was the head waiter we saw upon boarding. We were among the first to board and went straight to the head waiter to confirm our table for 2 at the early seating. He was not at all helpful, and in fact was rather brusque. He said he had no tables for two available at either seating, but that he would write our name down and if anything came up, he would let us know. I think he was waiting for a little incentive. Of course he never called and there were several empty tables for two when we went to dinner that night. I noticed the next evening as we entered the dining room that a man was slipping the maitreíd some cash. Lo and behold, they were escorted to one of the empty tables for two. Imagine that. We only had a short glimpse of our maitreíd once or twice. I donít know why the cruise lines expect us to give a gratuity to someone who does absolutely nothing to earn it. In our case the suggested gratuity for the maitreíd went to Vlaho and Jose in addition to their recommended tips. They more than deserved it.

Captain/Officers
This might be one of those picky little things, but Iím going to share it anyway. I plan to send a copy of this review to both Celebrity and Princess, and I want them to know that even small things are noted by their customers.

Millennium-We never heard from the Captain. No messages about the weather, no welcome aboard, nothing. At one point during the week, we had been waiting through several elevator cycles to go up to our room. A mostly empty elevator finally stopped at our floor, but before we had a chance to go inside, it was literally closed in our faces by one of the 3 officers aboard. A young man who was polishing the staircase said they didnít hold it because the Captain was on board. I was never greeted by any officer I passed on the ship. It was as if I didnít exist. Excuse me, gentlemen. I am part of the reason you have a job. Would a little hello kill you?

Grand-Totally different experience. The Commodore addressed us often in a very funny, friendly manner. Every officer I saw greeted me with a smile and a cheery hello. Everybody, from the room stewards, to the waiters in the buffet, to the folks serving the drinks, to the people cleaning the public areas, to the officers, were friendly and pleasant. It made the cruise just that much better.

Ship Arrangement
The Millie is much easier to get around. Itís set out in a logical way. Maybe Iím a little slow, but it took me a couple of days to figure out how to navigate the Grand. Even after that I sometimes took the wrong elevator. All I can say to help out on the Grand is take the little direction card they leave in the stateroom. I kept forgetting mine and thatís when Iíd get turned around.

Cruise Director/Cruise Staff
What can I say? I love a British sense of humor. The Monty Python guys, Benny Hill, and Are You Being Served? make me howl! So Graham Seymour and his band of asylum escapees were right up my alley. By the way, he is the Cruise Director on the Grand. He had a morning show that was way too funny to watch first thing in the a.m. My husband even won a thermal logo mug for getting one of the music questions right. OK, we bribed Graham a little bit by sending the answer attached to a tiny stuffed bear, but Gary did have the right answer. Grahamís cohorts were just as great. Especially James. I only got to see a bit of the Pub Night Show (I was just exhausted from a very full day in Cozumel) and I missed one particular part that I heard about the next day. Graham, I know I missed the chance of a lifetime. Perhaps another time. The last night of the cruise I had a pic taken with Graham and James. James smiled his lovely smile. You wouldnít believe the face Graham made. Talk about the inmates running the asylum. These guys and gals were a hoot and I miss them.

On the Millie the Cruise Director is Eric Bohus. He is also very good, but as different as... well the Millennium is from the Grand. He is handsome, suave, witty and, I understand, quite a wonderful tenor. We always enjoyed him, but as host of the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed Game, he was just too funny. His reactions to some of the answers he was getting were wonderful. I donít know how he kept his composure. Also, his disembarkation talk was very enjoyable (if you can believe that). My favorite part was a story he read about a lady that was moving to Bermuda. If you see him, ask him about it. It is just a hysterical story. A delightful and capable gentleman.

Entertainment
The entertainment was very good on both ships, but I think the Millie has a slight edge in this department.

Production Shows-Far better on the Millie. The music was well selected and the singers were especially talented. I was familiar with most of the music and that always makes it more fun. The dancers were so, so good. I canít imagine that most of these young people will not go on to bigger and better things. A word about the costumes--too much sparkle. Just tone it down a little. Thereís a lot to be said for subtly.

The Grandís production shows were just not as good. The music did not seem to flow together, much of it was unfamiliar and although the featured singers were good, they did not have the level of professionalism as the singers on the Millie. I will say I loved the costumes. Just the right amount of sparkle, very elegant

Comedians Millie-Thien Fu, a juggling comedian. This man is a comic genius. And, boy, can he juggle. If you skip every other show on the Millie, donít miss Thien Fu.

Beni Mason-Mr. Mason was OK, his comedy seemed a little dated, but some of it was very funny.

The Grand, as I mentioned before, had so much more to pick from as far as entertainment went. Scott Wyler is a phenomenal comedian. We saw both of his shows. The Grand also had a juggling comic. He has a ways to go before heíll measure up to Thien Fu. The Grand also has a unique combination of song and comedy in the married duo Kimika. They are from the UK and have that deliciously bawdy humor. He plays a mean guitar and she has a great voice and she is VERY funny.

Iím only touching on the variety on the Grand. There was almost too much to choose from, causing me to feel like I missed out on a lot. Iím just going to have to go back and see what I missed.

I do want to talk about the show venues a little bit. Both the Celebrity and Princess Theaters are spacious and have good sight lines. The Princess Theater has theater seating, while the Celebrity Theater has little couches. There is no drink service in the Princess Theater, while the Celebrity Theater not only has drink service, but elegant little lighted tables to set them on. The Celebrity Theater is more dramatically decorated and just has a more comfortable feel. Many of the better shows on the Grand were held in the Vista Lounge. It is too small, cramped, has lousy sight lines and the only way you can be halfway comfortable is to get there 45 minutes before the show to get a good seat. That, of course, is usually impossible. The rows of chairs and couches are so close together, the servers can barely get down the aisle. I donít know what can be done about this and it looks like the Golden and the Star have identical Vista Lounges. I guess weíre just going to have to live with it if we want to cruise the Grand class ships.

I guess what pushed the Millie over the top here was the quality of the production shows and the lounge we saw them in.

Spas/Pool Areas
This is a topic I didnít imagine I would have a lot to say about before we left on the cruise. Wrong!! Gary and I donít like to lie in the sun. I sunburn very easily and itís just something he has never enjoyed, so we just didnít plan on using the pools. Then we discovered the hydra pool on the Millie. Itís in a beautiful, glass domed area by the Aqua Spa. There are teak loungers and fruit trees and lots of towels. And the pool. Just warm enough, filtered salt water and lots of bubbles. And these beds you can lie on and have your whole, submerged body massaged with bubbles. I canít begin to describe how relaxing it is. Lets just say we spent quite a bit of time here. I didnít go inside the Aqua Spa so I canít comment on that. And the main pool area was not really noteworthy. Kind of bland.

And then thereís the Grand. The Neptune and the Calypso pool areas are just beautiful. There are good pictures of them in the Princess Caribbean brochure. They really are lovely. The lap pool in the spa area is very nice too. Not very crowded and a nice place to hot tub. Now about the spa... Most of the reviews I read had warned about the spa. Very expensive, people pressuring you to buy product, etc., so I had no intention of getting any spa treatments. We were met, however, by a lovely young lady from the spa staff as we boarded. She handed us an invitation to tour the spa early that afternoon. We really didnít have anything else to do after we grazed the buffet so I talked Gary into going on the tour with me. So far so good. The tour was led by a young woman from Jamaica named Simone. We saw several different treatments demonstrated from a facial to a stone massage. Suffice it to say my husband and I discovered we are closet pleasure hounds. He got a massage with warm oils and heated stones and used the Alpha Capsule which involved music, aromatherapy, warmth and vibration. He said the massage was heavenly, and the Alpha Capsule was pleasant, but over-rated. As for me, over the course of the week, I got a deluxe manicure and pedicure, a facial, Ionothermie (itís too complicated to explain) and a deep conditioning scalp treatment complete with scalp and shoulder massage. In fact, with the exception of the Ionothermie, all the treatments came with a shoulder massage. The four delightful ladies who pampered me so well are Breege, Louise, Simone, and Betty. Lovely ladies, all. Oh and Gary got his wonderful massage from Maggie. All of these ladies politely offered us products to buy, but at no time did we feel at all pressured. Folks, if at all possible, treat yourself to at least one spa treatment. I have never felt so relaxed and pampered. It added to an all ready fabulous vacation experience.

Ports
Iím not going to go into great depth here. The ports on the Millie:

  • San Juan-Weíd been and decided to stay on the ship.
  • Catalina Island-This is Celebrityís private island and since weíre not really beach goers, we stayed on the ship again.
  • St Thomas-Had been here before, as well, so we got off, went downtown to shop for gold and watches, bought what we wanted, and went back to the ship.
  • Nassau-Gary had been, but I hadnít and we both wanted to see the fabled Atlantis Hotel. We took a harbor tour and a great tour of the hotels grounds and aquarium. Fabulous resort. Fun tour.

The ports on the Grand:

  • Princess Cays-Beautiful island, nicely developed by Princess. We snorkeled awhile, had lunch, lounged under some shady palms. Very nice.
  • Grand Cayman-One of our favorite days. We booked a full day tour with Captain Marvinís (thanks to all who recommended them). We snorkeled in several different locations and then did the stingray thing. Wow, wow, wow!!! That has got to be one of the most thrilling times of my life. They swam around me, they swam between my legs, one even tried to crawl up the front of me. It was as if I was all alone with these awesomely beautiful creatures. We had to leave much too soon. We actually had the real Captain Marvin as our pilot and a wonderfully knowledgeable crewman named Eric. It was a great, great day!!
  • Costa Maya-Stayed on the ship (did a couple of spa treatments).
  • Cozumel-Okay I said so much about the stingrays, how am I going to communicate my experience with the dolphins. I have always loved dolphins, ever since the first time I went to Marineland in California when I was a child. Marineland is no longer in business, but I go to Sea World in San Diego every chance I get (which is often since my whole family lives in California). There is just something about dolphins. The closest I ever came to a dolphin before this trip was the petting pool at Sea World. Whoever I was there with usually had to drag me away or I wouldíve stayed all day. We booked the Dolphin Swim on Princessí online site as soon as they would let us. It sells out very quickly. This is not the Dolphin Encounter. You donít actually get to swim with the dolphins in the Encounter. So make sure you know which one youíre booking. This was so wonderful-you get a kiss, you get to kiss them, you shake "hands" with them. You hold on to the dorsal fin of two dolphins and they pull you through the water. You hold a pole up with a partner and they jump over, they push you by the soles of your feet through the water. And then after all that you actually get to swim with them in the water. They swim all around and under you. It really is quite humbling to be able to interact so closely with these magnificent creatures. I canít wait to do it again. The absolute highlight of our trip.

Summing Up
We had an absolutely fabulous time on this vacation. Overall, my expectations (which were quite high) were significantly exceeded. We spent the first week relaxing and unwinding. We were a lot more active on the Grand (more shore excursions, etc.). We booked our own air and hotels (through priceline.com) and booked our cruises through icruise.com. Just looking strictly at the cost of the cruises, we actually paid less for the Millie. We paid about $43/night more on The Grand. We also spent more while aboard the Grand, mostly due to spa treatments. As youíve all ready seen above we preferred the Grand over the Millie, but please, please donít misunderstand, we loved the Millie. We were just more comfortable on the Grand. And that carries a lot of weight for us. 

One thing I havenít addressed and something my husband noticed, is how much better the communication between crew and passengers was on the Grand. Everything was easily understood from the lifeboat drill to the disembarkation process. We found out there had been a tour of the Aqua Spa on the Millie, but we were unaware of it until days later. Little things like that. Also, the atmosphere on the Grand allowed for a lot less formal interaction between passenger and crew as well as a much more relaxed and friendlier environment. We felt freer to ask questions and joke with the crew, and that is important to us. We had such a good time on the Grand that we deposited toward another cruise. Not sure when weíll take it, but hopefully it wonít be long! Both Gary and I agree, if we could, weíd turn right around and sail another week on the Grand. We feel we really just scratched the surface both on the ship and in the ports.

Off Topic - A Little Something Extra
About priceline.com. This was an invaluable tool for us as we planned this vacation. There is a site called biddingfortravel.com that has great instructions on how best to utilize priceline. We saved so much on hotel rooms and our flight. Our round-trip, non-stop Denver-Miami airfare was only $150p/p and we saved bunches on our hotels. Our night at the ***Miami Airport Marriott was only $45/$5 to park, a very good value. A word of warning though. I was so excited about getting a room at the ****Sheraton Bal Harbor Resort for only $85/night (rack rate starts at $270/night) for the last two nights of our vacation, that it didnít occur to me how much everything else at this hotel would cost. Example-Parking $17/day plus tip for valet every time you went in or out. Shrimp Cocktail w/5 shrimps-$16.50. Haagen Daz ice cream bar-$4.50. I think you get the idea. You even had to pay to use the gym. This is a beautiful, well located hotel, but buyer beware!

And finally, the last day of our vacation we went to Parrot Jungle in Miami. This was such a fun day, I canít tell you. We saw beautiful birds galore and 2 very interesting shows. We even got our pics taken with 2 Macaws on each of our shudders and 2 huge parrots, on their backs in our arms. They also have an albino alligator that is just fascinating. We loved it all!


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