Route 66 2015
Who: Jelle Collignon and Heidi Willekens
States: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California
When: Juli 2015
Destinations: Chicago, Springfield (Illinois), St. Louis, Springfield (Missouri), Branson, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Holbrook, Needles, Anaheim, Los Angeles
Sights: Willis Tower, Magnificent Mile, Shedd Aquarium, Trump Tower, Lou Mitchell's, Joliet Prison, Lincoln Memorial, Chain of Rocks Bridge, Gateway Arch, Cozy Dog Drive In, Silver Dollar City, Big Texan Steak Ranch, Cadillac Ranch, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Los Alamos, Bandelier National Monument, El Morro National Monument, Seligman, Oatman, Disneyland, Santa Monica
Day 1: Brussels – JFK (New York) - Chicago (Illinois)
We flew from Brussels to Chicago, with a layover in New York JFK. It was very busy at JFK! Luckily we had already visited the USA before, so we were allowed to skip the lines and head to the self-service kiosks instead of passing by a Border Control officer. On the flight to JFK we were in Economy Plus on a large plane and the service of Delta Airlines was excellent. The flight to Chicago was a little different. It was a very small plane, with just 4 seats per row.
Once landed in Chicago O'Hare we took a cap to our hotel, Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, which is very nice.
Day 2: Chicago (Illinois)
When we arrived yesterday it was raining and quite cold, but today was a hot day. At 9am temperatures were already reaching 27°C with a high humidity.
We woke up early at 6am due to the time difference of 7 hours with Belgium. Ideal because we were going to have breakfast at Lou Mitchell's. We arrived at this authentic Route 66 diner at 8am and we were just in time. There were only a few tables left. Heidi tried the Banana Pancakes and Jelle ate a Belgium Bacon Waffle. After all these calories we walked to Willis Tower.
At 9am we were at the entrance of Willis Tower to visit the Skydeck on the 103th floor. The view of Chicago at 430m above ground level is amazing, but less spectacular than the view of New York on top of the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock. The main attraction of Skydeck is 'The Ledge', where you can stand on a platform with a glass floor, 430m in the air. Frightful!
We took the L-train to Adams Street, the starting point of Route 66. We took some photos and continued on foot. We passed Buckingham Fountain while going to Shedd Aquarium. This enormous fountain is world-famous due to the intro of Married, With Children.
Shedd Aquarium was a little dissapointing. There are some good exhibits, but is was very busy and we expected to see more large animals. We also visited the Adler Planetarium, a lot more interesting and less busy!
Enough education in 1 day, time for shopping and a drink in the sun! We took a bus to Navy Pier. On this very long pier there are a lot of shops and café's.
It is already a tradition, if there is a Rainforest Café in town, we have dinner there. We did pass for the Volcano, a very high calorie dessert with ice cream, brownies and chocolate sauce.
Day 3: Chicago (Illinois)
We had breakfast at a local coffee-shop and left for a walk in the city center. We saw the Thomson Center, the Chicago Theatre and even a parade for the recording of a tv-commercial. We also went to Macy's. After 1h30 of shopping we continued our walk to Millennium Park. Here we could admire ourselves in Cloud Gate, an enormous, shiny bean.
From Millennium Park we crossed the DuSable Bridge to go to the Magnificant Mile. This is a very busy street with lots of shops and restaurant. After a quick lunch we ended up in a second Macy's store with a large shopping mall next to it.
At a small church we saw a couple that was getting married. A little further Heidi saw the shop of her dreams: Hershey's Chocolate World!
When we were almost back at the beginning of the Magnificent Mile a thunderstorm broke loose. Rain poured down, lightning illuminated the city and thunder echoed between the skyscrapers. Luckily everything was over in half an hour. On the way back to the hotel we made reservations for dinner at a Mexican restaurant.
After a little rest at the hotel we went for dinner where we had tapas.
Day 4: Chicago (Illinois)-Springfield (Illinois)
We got up early to take a cap to the Alama Car Rental Center at the airport. It was an interesting ride... Our driver didn't speak much English and didn't know where he was going. Once we got near the airport we had to tell him where to go.. When we didn't know either he called a colleague.. We took the right road, but he drove passed the entrance of the Alamo parking lot and ended up on another lot. Luckily there was someone that could tell the driver where to go.. The driver had already stopped the meter when he started making mistakes...
At alamo everything went a lot faster. They tried selling us an upgrade to a Chevrolet Camaro, for $15 per day extra.. But we declined, because we already saw there was still a Dodge Charger on the lot in the Fullsize category! We put everything in the car and started our trip along Route 66.
First stop was the birth house of Walt Disney. Heidi wasn't feeling very safe in the neighbourhood, but everything went fine. We took some photos and drove to the Museum of Science and Industry.
This museum is very interesting with many experiments like a giant Tesla-coil to produce lightning bolts and a real tornado. Highlight of our visit was the submarine U-505. It was captured from the Germans in 1944. We also had tickets for the extra exhibit by Google: Robots. Nice to see, but i could have been better.
Normally we would have lunch at Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket, but we spent too much time in the museum and were hungry so we ate at the museum.
Next stop was Joliet Prison. This prison was closed years ago, but it has been the decor for many movies and series. The most famous are The blues Brothers and Prison Break.
A little further we met the first of the 'Muffler Men', Gemini Giant. These giants were placed alongside highways in the 50's to promote a carparts shop. In their hands they carried a muffler. Some owners put clothes on the giants. The owners of Gemini Giant replaced the muffler by a rocket en dressed him as an astronaut to promote the now closed Launching Pad Drive-in.
Next stop was the Polk-A-Dot Drive-Inn, with life-size statues of famous people. After some photos we drove to Gardner to go see the Two-Cell Jail. This prison only had 2 cells. We have also picked up a geocache here.
After that we passed 2 old gas stations, The Dwight Texaco Station and The Odell Station.
Not a lot further we passed the Old Log Cabin Inn. This wooden building was turned arout 180° when Route 66 was rerouted to the other side of the restaurant.
In Pontiac we stopped at the famous murals. After some photos we drove to Atlanta, where we saw the 2nd of the Muffler Men, The Bunyon Giant. The muffler was replaced by a hotdog. We met another couple. They came from London and were also driving Route 66.
It was getting late. Because we had always followed the original Route 66 and never took a shortcut we were 3 hours behind schedule.. We arrived at the hotel at 8.30pm. We stayed in the Baymont Inn & Suites Springfield. We ate in a very cozy and cheap restaurant. Eleven dollars for 6 gigantic ribs with fries and a salad. Heidi also liked her chicken.. ;-)
Day 5: Springfied (Illinois)
After a nice breakfast we left for a day full of American history. Springfield is the hometown of President Lincoln. He lived here untill he was elected President and moved to the White House.
First we visited Lincoln's Tomb State Historic Site. This impressive monument is the tombe of President Abraham Lincoln. Many people come here to honor Lincoln.
We then visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. This small but interesting museum lets you relive all the important phases in the life of Lincoln, with emphasis on his presidency and his role in the Civil War. In 2 great shows his story is told. In the museum we also saw an Amish family in traditional clothing, but with fancy Nike shoes.
From the museum we drove to the Lincoln Home National Historic District. The area around the home of Lincoln is managed by the National Park Service en is traffic-free. The environment makes you feel like walking in the 1860's.
Meanwhile it was already passed noon so we were getting hungry. The ideal time to drive to the Cozy Dog Drive-In! The Cozy Dog Drive-in is home to the one and only 'Cozy Dog'. A Cozy Dog is actually a corndog. Delicious! In the Cozy Dog we met the same couple from London we saw yesterday.
The rest of the day we relaxed at White Oaks Mall.
Day 6: Springfield (Illinois) – St. Louis (Missouri)
Today we had planned a short drive, only 150km. The first stop was the Ariston Café, the oldest restaurant along Route 66. The first meals were cooked here in 1935. On the heydays of the Mother Road there was also a gas station and a shop. The restaurant is now know for its good quality. We didn't eat here since it was too early to have lunch.
We drove passed the Soulby Shell Station, and old gas station, on our way to Chain of Rocks Bridge. This bridge crosses the Mississippi and is famous for the 30° bend in the middle. The bridge is now closed for car traffic, but you can cross it by bike or on foot. We walked to the middle of the bridge and then went back to our car to continue our drive to St. Louis.
Our hotel, the Omni Majestic Hotel, is in the center of St. Louis. It's a beautiful hotel with very nice rooms. We walked to the Gateway Arch for a ride to the top of the monument. The 192 meter high arch is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, in honor of the expansion of the USA to the West. A special tram with tiny carts for 5 persons each is taking passengers to the top of the arch. The view was magnificent!
From the arch we walked to the St. Louis Union station. This once was the world's largest and busiest train terminal, but due to the rise of airtravel the station was decommissioned because it became too expensive to maintain. It was converted to a Double Tree hotel, a shopping mall and an entertainment location. We still had 2 hours before we were having dinner, so we spent some time at the St. Louis Galleria Mall.
We ate at Sweetie Pie's. The food here is Real Mississippi Style Cooking. The restaurant is owned by a former backingvocal of Ike & Tina Turner. There was no table service. We had to stand in line at the buffet where we could choose from all the dishes. The food didn't look very good, but appearances can be deceptive! Everything tasted great! Especially the sweet potatoes with cinnamon!
Day 7: St. Louis (Missouri) – Springfield (Missouri)
We had a long drive today. First stop was Ted Drewes, where you can eat delicious frozen custard. Well, we heard it's delicious, because it was still closed when we arrived early in the morning. ;-) Maybe a good thing. Frozen custard at 10am...
Once we left St. Louis we set course for the Meramec Caverns. The gps said we were there, but no cave... We stopped at a gas station and they told us we had to drive another 30km.. Back to the car and yes, a little further we saw a sign, directing us to the caves. Once we arrived we went to the entrance and saw it would be 21 dollars to look inside. We thought this was a little expensive so we only visited the shop and returned to the car to continue our drive to the Wagon Wheel Motel. This beautiful motel consists of many small houses in a nice landscape. We took some photos and drove to the next stop.
At the Totem Pole Trading Post the owner was curious where we were from. He asked us to sign the guestbook. We had a look in the guestbook and a lot of Belgians were here before us. The last stop we had planned was the Stony Dell Resort. This abandonned resort is a great photo-op. The houses are overtaken by plants. Time seems to have stopped around the main building.
They weren't on our list: World's Largest Gift Store and Candy Factory. But we stopped nonetheless. ;-) A little further we stopped at a Summer Fresh Market to buy discounted tickets for Silver Dollar City. We would visit the park the next day.
It rained a lot during the last part of the trip, so we couldn't drive very fast. Near the hotel we made a quick stop at Walmart to buy food for dinner.
We slept at a real Route 66 classic, Route 66 Rail Haven in Springfield. This motel is already 75 years old. Elvis has slept here, but apparently he had already left the building...
Day 8: Springfield (Missouri) – Branson (Missouri)
We slept at Route 66 Rail Haven, a classic, but we were disappointed. The motel is nice and clean, but the airco couldn't keep the room cool and the bed was too small for 2. At 6.30am we were waked by thunder. A thunderstorm was passing over Springfield. Jelle even got a flood warning on his cellphone.
Breakfast was very good (what do you need more besides Belgian waffles!?). Today we would leave Route 66 and follow Route 65 toward the south. About an hour later we were on the parking lot of Silver Dollar City, a theme park.
Silver Dollar City was founded at the entrance to a cave that can already be visited since 1900. Highlight of the park is Outlaw Run, a wooden rollarcoaster that reaches 109km/h and is inverted 3 times.
Shorty after noon we had done all attractions we wanted, so we left te park and went to our hotel, Best Western Branson Inn, to check in. We rested a little and then drove to Branson Landing. This is a boulevard at a lake with shops and restaurants. In the middle of the boulevard there was a fountain show every hour. The show was created by the same people that created the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas. In the evening we had dinner in the White River Fish House, a restaurant on large floating structure. The food was delicious!
Day 9: Branson (Missouri) – Oklahoma City (Oklahoma)
We had a long trip today, about 600km. We left in Branson at 8.45am and arrived in Oklahoma City around 6.20pm.
After an extensive breakfast we started driving to Gary's Gay Parita. Gary and his wife Lena used to operate a Sinclair gas station and their son, Steve Turner, is still maintaining it. He was at the gas station when we were there. He told us he would like to reopen the shop, together with his sister. We said it was looking great, but according to Steve a lot of signs and other things were stolen since his parents stopped operating the station.
Next stop was a drive-in theatre that was still being operated. Every weekend you can enjoy movies from the comfort of you car in the theatre here in Carthage.
A little further we crossed the border into the third state of our trip, Kansas. But just 21km later we were already in the 4th state, Oklahoma. Our first stop in Oklahoma was the McDonalds in Vinita. The restaurant is housed in a former Glass House Restaurant, that spans I-44.
After we had lunch at McDonalds we drove to the Blue Whale of Catoosa. Hugh Davis built the concrete whale as a birthday present for his wife. Nowadays it's one of the most recognised icons of Route 66.
The last stop on our list was Rock Creek Bridge. This bridge was built even before there were plans for Route 66.It was part of the Ozark Trail. In 1926 this part of the Ozark Trail became part of Route 66. Close to the bridge you can see the remnants of the abandoned Teepee Drive-in Theatre.
We didn't have any more stops planned for the last 160km of the trip, but we did see some beautiful gas stations and mainstreets.
After checking in at Best Western Saddleback Inn we had dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Day 10: Oklahoma City (Oklahoma) – Almarillo (Texas)
Because the trips of the previous days all took more time than planned, we decided to skip the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum and immediately continued on Route 66. The end of our trip will be the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Amarillo.
We could add another state to our list today, Texas. Heidi was delighted when she saw someone with a cowboyhat and boots! We had already seen enough cows, so they weren't that impressive.. ;-)
After a short stop at Luccille's Gas Station we arrived at the Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford. Thomas Stafford came from Weatherford and was commander on flights of Gemini and Apollo spacecrafts for NASA. During the Apollo X mission he orbited the moon to prepare the moonlanding. The museum was small but very interesting. There were airplanes from different era's and models of some spacecrafts. We met a German couple that was also travelling on Route 66.
At U-Drop-In we took time for some photos. The building is really beautiful. Some buildings in the Pixar movie Cars were based on U-Drop-In. We could see in the guestbook that a lot of people stopped here today. Also Belgians, from Antwerp.
In Groom we saw the Leaning Watertower of, yes, Groom. It was built this way to attract people to the town. A little further we visited Groom Cross, the largest crusifix of the western hemisphere. The cross is 58m high and can be seen from 32km away.
Last stop of the day was Bug Farm. This is a parody of Cadillac Ranch. Five VW Beetles were buried nose down in the ground.
It was too late to go to the rodeo we planned to see, we decided to drive to the Big Texan Steak Ranch today instead of tomorrow. The Big Texan Steak Ranch is world famous for the legendary steak of 2kg. The steak is for free if you can eat it within the hour, together with a potato and a salad. If you can't it will cost you 72 dollars and a walk of shame! The restaurant is very popular, with an average waitingtime of 45 minutes. While we were waiting someone from the restaurant showed us the rattlesnake that was kept in the giftshop.
We saw people putting salt and pepper in their beer. The bartender said Americans put the stranges things in their beer, like salt and tomato juice. According to him they did it because American beer is no good. ;-)
The food was definintely worth the wait!
Day 11: Amarillo (Texas)
We hadn't planned much for today, so we could rest a little now we were about halfway our trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. In the morning we were going for a walk in Palo Duro Canyon and in the after noon we would go to Westgate Mall.
The hike in Palo Duro State Park didn't go as planned. There are no paved walkways, only narrow paths through the wilderniss. No problem for us. The real problem were the bugs! They were all around and were hungry! On the parking lot a woman asked us if we had an anti-bug spray. We said no, so she offered to use hers, because we would need it! We took the offer and started our hike. Already on the first 50m on the path we were bitten multiple times, so we decided to walk along the road that winds through the park.
We saw a centipede and another fluffy animal. About 1km and 5 painful stings further we turned around and returned to the car to see the park from the many viewpoints.
We took a shower in the hotel and went to Westgate Mall in the afternoon.
Day 12: Amarillo (Texas) – Santa Fe (New Mexico)
Again we could add a state to our list for this trip, New Mexico. We drove from Amarillo, Texas, to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A few kilometers from our hotel we stopped for the first time at Cadillac Ranch. This work of art is built with 10 Cadillacs, buried nose down in the ground. The cars are ordered chronologically, with an example of every design of tailfinn. Everyone was busy spraying graffiti on the cars. (which is allowed and even encouraged!)
After a short stop at the Vega Motel we reached the midpoint of Route 66, at the MidPoint Café. The bar is right in the middle between Chicago and Los angeles. We still had 1139 miles to go.
Next stop was Glenrio. This town was founded on the border between Texas and New Mexico in 1903. But when the interstate was opened just a few 100m further, the town was abandoned. Even the road to New Mexico is only a dirt road. We turned around and drove a few miles on the interstate, untill Route 66 was a paved road again.
In Santa Rosa we had lunch at the Silver Moon diner. They serve delicious Mexican-American food. Heidi liked the cheese sticks!
After lunch we stopped at the Route 66 Auto Museum. They have a very nice collection of historic cars, like Corvettes, Fords and a few Hotrods.
From the museum we drove to Santa Fe, where we made a walk in the historical center.
Before dinner we went to the shops at Santa Fe Place. We had the impression that the region around Santa Fe is quite poor and that there are more crimes commited. In one store we had to wait at the check-out because the employees were watching some people till security came. We think they were known thieves. Also in the nearby supermarket security escorted a young man to the exit.
Day 13: Santa Fe (New Mexico) – Albuquerque (New Mexico)
It was an active and educative day.
In the morning we hiked in Bandelier National Monument. Since a large flood damaged some services in the park cars are no longer allowed in the park. So we had to park about 15km from the park, at a new visitor center, and take a shuttle bus to the park. The park is managed by the National Park Service and was inhabited by the ancesters of the Native Americans about 11.000 years ago.
The remnants of their houses and caves can be seen on a nice 4km hike through the valley.
Two years ago there was a flood in the valley. This can still be seen. There were dead trees everywhere in the valley. They were ripped from the ground by the water. A ranger told us that some path were flushed away. During our hike we also saw some wildlife: a lot of lizards, and some deer. Heidi read about tarantulas in a travel guid, but we didn't see them.
We returned to the car at 12.30pm. We drove to Los Alamos and ate at Subway before going to the Bradbury Science Museum. The museum documents the history and future of Los Alamos. In 1943 Los Alamos was a top-secret town. It didn't exist for the outside world. Reason for all this secrecy was the development of the atomic bombs that were eventually dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
After a drive of 2.5 hours we arrived at Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn in Albuquerque. We had dinner in the Coronado Center before returning to the hotel to write this report.
Day 14: Albuquerque (New Mexico) – Holbrook (Arizona)
We had planned a nice hike for today too. We didn't follow Route 66 entirely between Albuquerque and Gallup. We made a detour via El Morro National Monument. This was an important place in the history of the USA. There is a pond at the base of the rock. So people migrating to the west knew there would be water. The indians already came here in the 1200's. The rocks at the base are filled with petroglyphs and texts.
We hiked the trail that took us to the top of the rock. The park ranger, Jaremy Maybee, told us to follow the trail in reverse order. There was bad weather heading towards us and this way we would get to the ruins on the top the fastet, and back down should it start to rain. We were lucky, no rain! We could hike the whole trail.
On the top we had an amazing view of the surrounding area. The park isn't very known, but definitely worth visiting when travelling through New Mexico.
By the time we were back at the car it was already 1pm, and we were hungry. We meant to stop in the next town for lunch, but there was only one town before we reached Gallup and there was no place to eat.. So we continued to Gallup, where we had lunch around 2.15pm.
In Gallup we stopped at the El Rancho hotel. This hotel is a classic along Route 66. Many western actors stayed here when they were shooting movies in the surroundings. A little further we saw a 3rd Muffler Man. This giant didn't have anything in it's hands and stood on top of a car shop.
We didn't have planned stops between Gallup and Holbrook, since we had already visited Petrified Forest last year. We tried to follow the original Route 66, but for the last miles we had to take the interstate before arriving at Best Western Arizonian Inn.
Day 15: Holbrook (Arizona) – Needles (Californië)
The first day we didn't need our sunglasses. When we went to the restaurant for breakfast it was raining a little bit, but when we were ready to go the rain stopped. First stop was just a few hundred meter further, the Wigwam Motel.
We had lunch in an authentic diner in Williams. When we started driving again, it was raining.
It was still raining when we arrived in Seligman. So we just made a quick stop for photos and some souvenirs. We were lucky and met the legendary Angel Delgadillo in his barbershop.
The stretch of Route 66 between Seligman and Kingman is Jelle's favorite part off Route 66! 140km of relaxed driving.
The road from Kingman to Oatman, a winding mountain road, is also fun to drive, at least when it isn't raining.. Rain was pouring down and we could see lighting on the horizon. Luckily it stopped raining halfway up the mountain. It was dry when we arrived in Oatman. In this authentic western town burrows roam the streets. They are the offsprings of the burrows that were used in the mines. When the mines were closed, the burrows were released on the mountain.
Suddenly all shops started closing. In one store they told us that a thunderstorm was coming. We still had to drive some kilometers to Needles, so we decided to leave Oatman and start driving. The drive from Oatman to the interstate seemed to last forever. Lighting was coming close, too close.. Jelle also received a warning for floods on his cellphone. And yes, we already saw a lot of warning signs saying "Flash Floods"! We were very happy when we finally reached our hotel, Best Western Colorado River Inn.
By the time we had checked in and put everything in our room, the rain stopped. Just in time, because we were going to Laughlin. This is a mini Las Vegas. We went to the Aquarius Resort. Once inside the resort it is just the same as Las Vegas, an enormous casino!
Day 16: Needles (Californië) – Los Angeles (Californië)
The last long drive of our trip took us from Needles to Los Angeles. We should have arrived at the Best Western Plus Stovall's Inn Anaheim around 2.30pm. But it wasn't our day...
We almost had to take a detour of about 80km because the road was flooded. Two large pick-ups had already driven through the water, but we doubted if we could do it with our car. When we saw another car pass the water in the other direction we decided to try it. Luckily the water wasn't as deep as it looked.
Then suddenly the road was closed.. We searched for an alternative route, but also that road was closed.. A second alternative took us around the closed roads and we could continue our drive.
We ate at McDonalds in Barstow before driving the last part of Route 66 before taking the interstate to Los Angeles.
Bad luck for the third time.. A traffic jam. We drove 25km in 2h30..
Normally we would go to Santa Monica before going to Hollywood for a concert of The Offspring, but since we arrived at the hotel 3 hours later than planned we went directly to Hollywood. And again we were in a traffic jam.
We bought a snack for dinner and headed to the Hollywood Palladium for the concert. We didn't like the pre-show. The band F.E.A.R is old and the lead-singer had clearly overused his voice.. The Offspring was good, but a little dissapointing. They played to many songs one after another and had no interaction with the audience. The were a lot better when we saw them at Groezrock. And it was loud, very loud.
And yes, a traffic jam! at 12am!
Day 17: Anaheim (Californië)
Today we visited Disneyland! In 2012 we already visited both parks, so now we only went to Disneyland Park. It was hot and busy, but we could ride all attractions and see all shows we wanted to.
Day 18: Los Angeles (Californië)
On our last full day in the USA we drove the very last part of Route 66 to Santa Monica. We did it, we drove along Route 66, all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles!
We started the day in a nearby shopping mall and shortly after noon we drove to Santa Monica. And yes, even on a Sunday there are traffic jams in Los Angeles..
We made walk on the Santa Monica Pier to reach the official end of the trail. From the pier we walked to Third Street Promenade for some more shopping.
We slept at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Airport.
Our trip was over and we could start preparing for the flights back to Belgium. It will be a short night, since we have to get up at 4am to head to the airport for our flight to Atlanta.
Day 19: Los Angeles (Californië) – Atlanta (Georgia) – Brussel
We flew with Delta Airlines. We were lucky. We were upgraded to economy plus on both flights since the airplanes weren't fully booked and we had asked for an exit seat.
Back home we could start looking forward to our next trip, in March 2016: a cruise on the Navigator of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale to the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Haiti.