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Day 7 - Key West, FL
Saturday, November 21, 2015  

Key West is the southernmost city in the USA, and only 90 miles from Cuba. Today, Nieuw Amsterdam is docked here. When we step out onto our balcony this morning, it is as if Nieuw Amsterdam is right in the middle of town! As this is the first US port after visiting foreign ports, we are required to check-in with U.S. Immigration on Deck 2 before disembarking in Key West. Guests are summoned to the Northern Lights disco and asked to bring their passports and stateroom keys. This was done on a deck-by-deck basis to maintain some sort of order and efficiency. Guests with Global Entry were allowed to "cut in line" to speed the process. After Immigration officers checked the passports, room key cards are punched with a special punch to indicate that you have passed through Immigration. No punchy, no disembarky in Key West.


Key West from our balcony

We were off the ship by 8:45am and local businesses were already open, even on Saturday, to lift as much money from cruise passengers (and other tourists) as possible. The shopping begins just 100 yards from the ship. There are lots of dive ships, clothing stores, jewelry shops, etc. After only a short walk into town, we noticed that rain was starting to fall. We took refuge inside Clinton Square Market (look for the U.S. Coast Guard sign) in an old stone building. By the time we got inside, the rain was pouring.



Clinton Square Market

This "market" is sort of a small shopping mall consisting of souvenir shops, t-shirt shops, etc. Most are selling cheesy Chinese-made souvenirs, with one exception. If you wander up the escalator to the second floor, you will find it to be virtually empty, except for one very interesting shop: 3D Mini Me. This is a 3D printing company selling a very unique souvenir. Basically, they make a 3-dimensional scan of your entire body (or your head), and using 3D printing technology, can "print" a smaller version of you in full color! I was very intrigued by this technology. Chad Remert and his father, Kelly, run the small business and took the time to explain the entire process.



Kelly shows the miniature statue of himself

You can choose to have a full body scan resulting in a head-to-toe mini-statue in full color. The "printing" of the statues takes quite a bit of time, but 3D Mini Me ships the completed statue to you within a couple of weeks. You can have a statue from 3" all the way up to 15" tall, and of course, the taller the statue, the more detail. From the examples we saw, the detail is pretty amazing.


This 3D Scan of me took only 2 minutes


Another option is to have your upper body scanned and have a bust printed. The result is what looks like a sculpture. A bronze finish can even be applied to make it appear like a bronze sculpture.


Bronze bust


For as little as $40 you can have a replica of yourself, or you and your loved one, to place on a mantle at home, or give as a gift. It is like a picture of yourself that you can pick up and hold! Very cool. So, if you are visiting Key West on a cruise, make sure to stop by 3D Mini Me and check it out. You can visit their website at 3Dminimekeywest.com.

After getting scanned, we noticed the rain had subsided, so we decided to walk further into town to explore. On Greene St., we saw the sign for Key West Key Lime Pie Co. Rickee and I are big fans of the TV show, "The Profit," on CNBC and remember watching the episode where Marcus Lemonis invested in this small, struggling retail operation and turned it around. So, we thought we would stop in for a visit and a slice of pie.

 

Key Lime Pie Company


We were greeted by a lady offering us a sample of their sea salt caramel candy, which just happens to be Rickee's favorite. After purchasing a box of the caramels to take home with us, we ordered a slice of the key lime pie to share. It was delicious! Key West Key Lime Pie Co. is located at 511 Greene St. in Key West, so make sure to visit and enjoy a slice, or take home an entire pie!



Slice of key lime pie


After our pie endeavor, we decided to do a little shopping. Rickee was looking for a t-shirt for an upcoming trip to Hawaii where we will be doing some snorkeling. There is no shortage of stores in Key West selling all sorts of dive gear and related clothing. After about an hour of shopping, it was time for lunch. We decided to visit a local Thai restaurant in town and sit out the rain, which had started to fall again.


Thai restaurant in Key West


After lunch, we had little choice but to brave the rain and walk back to the ship. By the time we boarded, we were pretty soaked. Helpful tip: Packing an umbrella does no good if you don't carry it with you off the ship. When we returned to our stateroom, it was time to pack for the trip home. Tomorrow, we arrive back in Ft. Lauderdale and must say goodbye to Nieuw Amsterdam.

     
     
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