With shouts of “Merry Christmas” and “It’s great to see you again”, STI members descended on Miami’s South Beach to begin our New Year’s Eve adventure. It was exciting to see friends that we had traveled with on other singles vacations and singles cruises and to greet new faces. The site where we began our 20th Anniversary New Year’s Eve extravaganza was the Lord Balfour Hotel, an art deco gem in the midst of bustling South Beach. After a breakfast together in the unique lobby, STI members set out for their own pursuits with new and old friends. That evening STI treated us to a Prosecco Welcome in the Lobby. We then walked together to our own private room at Lario’s on the Beach, Gloria Estefan’s Cuban Eatery in South Beach. Dinner included many Cuban treats, including fried plantains. After dinner, it was off to a VIP entrance to Mango’s Night Club. We bypassed the line and the rope opened for us allowing us red carpet access to one of the most exciting dance and show venues in South Beach.
When we boarded our ship, the Norwegian Getaway, there were many more reunions and the meetings of friends, old and new. After our STI Welcome Reception with open bar in the ship’s Bliss Ultra Lounge, a highlight of the evening was STI’s Welcome Dinner in La Cucina. STI treated all members to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of STI. We topped off the evening in the dueling piano bar with “Howl at the Moon”.
Sunday was a day at sea. STI members stayed busy exploring the huge ship and working on their suntans. Following STI tradition, all first time STI members were invited for lunch in “Taste”. STI activities also included a Photo Scavenger Hunt and a Battle of the Sexes, where guys competed against girls in Caribbean trivia. The guys won! STI had reserved seats for all members at Levity and, after dinner, we enjoyed this comedy show together.
Our second day at sea brought the much anticipated 20th Anniversary Presentation and Ceremony. A loyalty program was introduced and our past STI travelers were honored with special, fun and useful gifts. Tammy also presented our most traveled guests with special awards, including $500 Tifffany certificates to 2 female travelers with over 20 STI vacations! The afternoon was rounded out by Artie reading a poem he had written for this special occasion.
To commemorate the momentous occasion of 20 STI years, we celebrated that night with a Roaring 20’s Party. The site of the festivities was the Sugarcane Mojito Bar and gangsters and flappers came from all corners of the ship to party together. It was fantastic to see the many variations of gangsters and flappers. Even non-STI passengers were coming by to take photos of all of us! We continued the evening by watching the Latin dance-inspired show “Burn the Floor”. Again, STI had reserved seats for everyone. All agreed that the show featured some of the most energetic and amazing dancing that we had seen. Our night ended on deck at Spice H20 dancing to the music of the 70’s and celebrating the disco era.
On Tuesday,the Getaway docked in St. Maarten and STI members disembarked for Shore Trips featuring an island tour, including beach time, or a hiking tour. Some STI members met at the Guavaberry Emporium to sample this special St. Maarten treat. The evening brought another fun night of dancing at the 80’s themed party on deck.
New Year’s Eve found us spending the day in St. Thomas. Again, STI members enjoyed Shore Trips of either an island and beach tour or a kayak, hike and snorkel adventure. New Year’s Eve was an extra special celebration for STI members as we sat at specially decorated tables in the prime area of the Tropicana Restaurant. We enjoyed pink sparkling wine in our specially etched champagne glasses, compliments of STI, while the band played. The glasses with the etching, ”Singles Travel International”, the STI logo and “Happy New Year” were ours to keep. STI had reservations for the show “Legally Blonde”. Then the excitement began. We met on the outdoor deck of Spice H20 to celebrate the ringing out of 2014 and the ringing in of 2015. We all wore blue neon glow sticks so it was fun and easy to find each other on the crowded dance floor. Under a huge screen counting down the final minutes of 2014, we danced to fantastic music with our STI friends. The New Year was celebrated in grand fashion with a fireworks show lighting up the sky above the Getaway.
New Year’s Day was a Sea Day. We started off the New Year with breakfast together in “Taste”. The day had a decidedly Latin feel as we feasted on Cuban specialties at the Flamingo Grill for lunch and were treated to private salsa dance lessons by Sergio in the afternoon. Our evening’s theme was Togas and T’s. Again, it was fun to see the different costumes that our members had come up with, as we enjoyed each other’s company for Happy Hour in the Sugarcane Bar. Later that evening we enjoyed another night of celebration on the open deck with NCL’s Glow Party. The deck was dark, except for the glow sticks that passengers had. Most passengers were dressed in white or neon, so the effect was magical and the dancing was fantastic, as always.
Our last day on board, we docked in the Bahamas in the port of Nassau. Some STI members went on a“Tasting Nassau”tour, others chose the sailing trip, some went to the beach or shopping and the rest enjoyed the amenities of the ship without the crowds. Our last evening together brought one last happy hour, followed by a Farewell Dinner in Tropicana.
Many new friendships were formed and existing friendships were deepened. We laughed, we played , we ate, we danced and we rang in the New Year in style. Those of us lucky enough to celebrate STI’s 20th Anniversary together aboard the Getaway will have fond memories of this special time. Happy New Year and Happy 20th STI! Here’s to the next 20!
Join us to ring in 2016 with 100s of singles, aboard the luxurious Celebrity Silhouette, December 27-January 3!