We had priority embarkation, so even though it said we were to arrive at 1, we arrived at 10. Dropped our luggage, parked the car, and entered the cattle call.
We were a bit nervous being this was the first time sailing without passports. Ours expired 5 years ago. Showed the lady our BC and DL, and we went through. I mentioned that I didn't know if it mattered if we were Concierge Class. She said YOU KNOW IT MATTERS and led us right to the second row of seats.
They started boarding at 11:15 and we were on that ship in minutes. Went straight to our room, dropped our stuff, evaluated the room and balcony, and it was off to the Lido. Well, sadly, no lido. Just "DEAK TEN". Eventually, we made it to the OC.
Although we were offered sit down lunch, my group decided we would do the Buffet. Usually I prefer to head straight there AFTER checking out my room and then having my first FOO FOO, my party sort of disseminated, so first in line never happened. I found the quality of the food to be a bit sub par, but ample. That changed as the week proceeded luckily. After lunch, I was pleased to see our luggage outside our cabin, so I donned my suit and made it up to that VERY LOUD pool.
- Muster Drill
Now this was interesting. Having done 24 previous drills, I knew what to expect, but I would have been lost if I never had. It was kind of a big secret. It was also the first time I didn't need to don a jacket or put one on. I've known about this for a few years reading CC. But it was interesting how they scanned everyone's card, making sure EVERYONE attended. My wife was one of those that never went, and ended up hiding in the bathroom or the balcony. But she went to this one.
And although our muster station was in the vicinity of our cabin down a few decks, I found it odd having a lifeboat completely fore, when our cabin was completely aft.
No clue what time it was scheduled for, but I was sitting on my balcony around 3:45 when I noticed we were moving. There was some announcement that we were to be sailing past the SOL. I thought I heard it wrong, and thought they were using extreme language knowing she was hanging out there on the left, but sure enough, we made a left hand turn and sailed UP the Hudson to the Statue. The QM2 was also in Red Hook, so we got some good views of her as well. We stopped for photo ops of Ms. Liberty, then suddenly we were turning 180 degrees and were now facing the VNB, with a bunch of educated cruisers on this sailing. Not one person was heard calling it the GWB. And shortly thereafter, out to sea. - DINNER: We were scheduled for early seating at 6, but somehow, that first night, was at 5:15. A bit early, but we went at that scheduled time, and the doors were closed with a long line. Eventually they opened, and we were led to our table, rear aft port, in the center of that area. Had great views port and aft when the shades were up. It was also the first time we noticed a bit of rocking. Odd that we watched people arriving at their table past 6. But our service was never interrupted, so I didn't have an issue. I also noticed that, although it specifically said no ball caps or shorts allowed, every night, except chic, shorts seemed to be allowed or unnoticed. Personally, I would have loved to be wearing shorts all those non chic nights. I had asked prior to my cruise if you could order multiple starters and entrees, and was told yes. So that first meal I did, and boy was I glad. Celebrities portions are SMALL! And I never left the table hungry. Service was GREAT. We had both an efficient waiter and busboy/assistant. In fact, watching all the servers, they all hustled their butts off. We also had a pleasant somalier and bar waiter, but they were inconsistent in charging for Cappuccinos. The rest of the week's dining time was listed as 5:30. Second night, again, doors closed with a long line. The rest of the week we showed up at 5:45, and never waited in line again. Still also observed people showing up extremely late, but no bother to my service, so I didn't care. Following dinner we noticed the entertainment was already engaged in the theatre. Somehow, the concept of early dinner syncing with late show escaped us. We tried so hard to go with the X app, but were so happy when we started getting hard copy event listings.
BTW, while home, my wife asked if I wanted to throw a bottle of Bacardi in the suitcase. I told her I assumed Celebrity was strict, and kept the alcohol if found.
When we were unpacking, my wife pulled out a full bottle of Tito's. I guess she showed me.
It was refreshing to see live entertainment once again. And a live band.
The only thing we thought was poor was the dancers. The choreo was good, but the execution, not so good. The singers were all fabulous. The acrobats were also excellent.
The rest of the week we had a repeat of the first group doing a different show (SOUNDTRACK), a singer (Laura Wright) from Vegas, A singer/comedian named Jesse Hamilton Jr.,, and another comedian who I found to be a bit racist. He was also unaware (I hope) of the El Paso shooting, while making jokes about Walmart. I wish I had walked out when I first had the inclination.
Drink service was good, and there wasn't a bad bottle neck at shows end, although we did run when the lights came on. Although I was disappointed there were no broadcast TV available, I was thrilled they offered FoxNews. They also offered MSNBC.There was no CNN to be found. - DAY 2 SEA DAY
Early morning and first day at sea found our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. It was actually the first one I signed up for and attended. Not sure what to expect, but I was quite surprised at the poor turnout. I don’t think more than ten of the registered 45 people even showed up. But more surprising was finding the Captain, the officers, and the Cruise Director all in attendance. Rich spoke of Celebrity things, and coffee and light refreshments were served. There was one woman visiting each of the guests, who stated she was an active poster in CC as well as a contributor to the CC roll call.
Being this was our first Celebrity cruise, I wanted to check out the MDR breakfast that first morning. I was quite pleased with the service and selections, including the made to order omelet option.
Having done that, the rest of the week we did breakfast in the cafe
After breakfast, and every sea day, we set up camp at the raised area between the two pools. Also, by now, I would have explored all corners of the ship, but that just never happened. It even took leaving Bermuda to make it up to deck 12, but got there during the non crowd times. Got some nice views of one set set, and the sail in under the bridge.
But I never found the heart of the ship. To me it's the casino area
(although not a gambler) or a promenade, which doesn't exist. I did resort to using the outside promenade on deck 4, but that was quick lonely, as well as a partial smoking area. An odd design of these pools is the loud skimmers of the filtration system. Quite annoying and over the top noisy, especially when IN the pool. My party was thrilled to find a service ice station upon boarding, and even more thrilled and shocked to see it open and serving the whole week! A nice touch I may add. I visited it myself a few times in the course of the week. Upon returning to our cabin that night, my daughter, who was sleeping in the pull out, was a bit distressed to find a bug in her "bed". I went over, and found a second. I collected them and went to the concierge. Emotionless, she picks up the phone and tells someone we have bed bugs. "Someone will come to our room." Some 30 to 60 minutes later someone shows up, and immediately starts telling me how bugs can get in the room. Then he starts educating me about bedbugs. I let him quickly know IT WAS HIS PERSON BEHIND THE COUNTER that called them that. I guess he thought I needed an education. Never once asked to see the bugs, he gets someone to come and change the sheets and examine the couch. I requested they do the same to our bed, which they did. The bugs remained in the glass for the duration of our cruise. By now, I was surprised how smooth sailing this class ship was. We were however going very slow, but even on the return trip, the ship and seas were smooth as glass. We also were following some ship off in the distance, mysteriously and silently leading the way. We eventually came to understand this was the Norwegian Escape. Their passengers told us they were curious as well as to who was following them. They were in port with us in Bermuda the entire 3 days.
- DINNER CHIC NIGHT
Kinda glad to see formal gone. No suit. Not Tux. No tie. LOVED IT. At least we knew beforehand what was expected.
- DAY 3 SEA DAY
CHILL OUT DAY. Calm before the storm. Tomorrow: BERMUDA!