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Everything posted by zdad59

  1. Our gang usually have matching shirts for day 1. Last year it was these....
  2. But I saw it on the interweb, so it has to be true. 😲
  3. Thanks for such detailed input. Helps a lot. Your trip report is very good as well.
  4. My gang of 8 is sailing on Summit in February, to the ABCs. We are staying in Aqua class. This will be our first time on Celebrity. We usually sail on Royal Caribbean. We are used to the bigger ships so the smaller, more intimate Summit is something we are excited about. I have begun my OCD planning so I have a couple of general questions.... SHOWS......I realize that the shows on Summit won't be the big Broadway or even large scale RCL shows, but what can we expect? In particular what's the timing (early or late?), frequency (is there something every night?) and preparedness (I'm sure there are no reservations but how early show we expect to gt to a show?). We don't have a dinner seating as Blu will be our regular dinner restaurant. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS.....What specialty restaurants are the best to consider? We'll eat in Blu or the MDR each night, except for the last night, when we usually go to a specialty restaurant for a "Last Supper" as a group. Experienced Summit/Celebrity cruiser opinions are appreciated. We are looking to a more intimate and quiet experience, compared to RCL Symphony/Allure/Harmony, which were our last three cruises together. LOVED them all but are looking forward to this new experience. Any Summit tips, tricks, expectations are appreciated.
  5. Just thought I’d follow up. I sent an email to Mr. Bayley yesterday and cc’ed others. It was mostly heaping praise on certain staff on Symphony but it did bring up a concern about wait times at the thrill park at CoCo Cay. To my surprise, I got a call today from the RCL Executive offices. A gentleman, who said he was an assistant to Mr. Bayley, said Mr. Bayley read the email and wanted him to respond personally. We had a nice chat about things. I was assured they are very aware of the queue issues at CoCo Cay and have a team working to come up with a resolution. He also noted that the message was forwarded directly to the ship as well as the Dining, CoCo Cay, and Entertainment Executive staff. Now they may may have been blowing smoke up my skirt but I was very favorably impressed that I got a personal call response less than 24 hours after I sent the note. Nicely done RCL.
  6. Check the calendar. Miami boat show is in February every year. We hit it with our Feb cruise this year. Hotel are scarce and very expensive that week. We stayed at Hampton Inn - Brickell, using a points stay.
  7. Already got that. He's been very responsive in the past too.
  8. We love staying at the Casablanca Hotel in Old San Juan. An eclectic, funky, hotel, very different than your typical hotel stay. And its in a great location for sightseeing in OSJ.
  9. I have a good news note to send, and would love to get it to the right person in charge of dining. Would the Hotels VP, Mark Tamis be the right POC? My wise and all knowing friends here at CC would surely know. TIA, Z
  10. If you are going to get it for sure, its almost always better to get it before. On embarkation day its usually $70 for the first person, 50% off for the 2nd ($35). Plus 18%gratuity of course. That's exactly how it was two weeks ago on Symphony. You can usually do at least that good before boarding. And keep an eye on it. IF the price goes down, cancel and rebuy. That's exactly how it was two weeks ago on Symphony.
  11. We didn't see a movie so not 100% sure what was showing. They do have pretty recent movies though. And yes, on night when there is no aqua show, they have a movie in the evening in the Aqua theater.
  12. We're just off Symphony a week ago. Didn't miss not having a headliner. Towards the latter part of the week you get the second, non reservable ice show, you get FLIGHT, and frankly there is so much other entertainment on the ship, not having a headliner is no big deal.
  13. You read my thread. There are two formal nights on a 7 night cruise. There is no "theme" advertised by RCL. My groups dress theme was chosen by the matriarch of the family. She chose "Black, White, and a touch of Red" for the first formal night, and "tropical" as the theme for the second. Also know that formal dress is completely optional. Not everyone participates. We usually don't but we were tag a longs on this cruise so I went all out.
  14. Thanks......with all the comments here and on the ship, that jacket will become a regular part of my cruise wardrobe.
  15. Its less about which dining room you are in than where in the dining room you are. Off to the sides, close to the front for us, tends to be quieter. In the middle of the dining room seems to allow the din from levels above or below to filter down. DO yourself a favor. When you board the ship, make a trip to the MDR and check out your seat assignment. If you don't like the location the matre di staff may be able to reseat you somewhere more favorable....unless you have a very large group, which makes it difficult.
  16. DAY 7 and saying goodbye..... Day 7 was our chance to go to Co Co Cay. We had high expectations, based on RCL's advertising. For us, it met or exceeded all expectations. Symphony was the only ship there. Even with 6000+ guests, it never felt crowded for us. Well, except for the 15 minutes getting off the ship. When they announced we were cleared to leave the ship, I think EVERYONE on the ship headed for the gangway. Elevators were clogged. The hallways on deck 3 were clogged. It was pandalerium. We got off into the crowd on deck 3 but after a couple of minutes we realized we could just go down the stairwell to deck 2 and go straight to the exit. Turns out all the traffic on deck 3 was funneling onto the on escalator to the gangway area. Once on the dock, its a short walk to the entrance to Perfect Day. It's really not an expansive place, so getting around isn't that bad. Oasis Lagoon is the first thing you pass, with the thrill park off to the left. We walked on and went to the big fresh water pool. It is very large, as they advertise, with a significant number of loungers available all around it. Loungers are grouped in 2s and 4s, with each grouping having its own umbrella. This area is all free of charge. There are also in-pool loungers off to the left (as you enter) side of the pool. The pool has a swim up bar, and in-pool tables and seats available for relaxing while you drink. We found this area a truly wonderful place to relax. Food is readily available. We went to the Snack Shack for lunch. We found the food to be very tasty. We mixed it up so we could try several different things. The burgers, chicken sandwich, fries, mozzarella sticks, and funnel cake were all very tasty. The chill island area also looked very nice. We walked around there but didn't hang out. The only downer for CoCo Cay was encountered by our group that went to the thrill park. The queues for the big water slides were super long...1.5 -2 hour kind of wait long. They really didn't feel they got any value for what they paid and that it was way too crowded. That evening we had a group "Last Supper" at Chops. A table for 11 was ready for us at our reservation time. As noted in my food review, it was quite tasty. The only downer was a long gap between finishing our main courses and getting dessert. Still not sure why it took so long. After dinner, Mama and I went to the 2nd ice show, iSkate 2.0. Like the 2nd ice show on other ships, the performers were a little looser, and the show was therefore a bit more fun. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Sadly, at the end of the evening, we had to pack. The saddest part of the week. Upon leaving day, we went for a quick breakfast in the main dining room at about 7:45am. We were tagged as Group 38. We go the ok to leave the ship at 8:15. We were off the ship in short order. As we always do, we grabbed a porter. He got us thru customs and to the UBER station in 5 minutes. Our UBER for 2 (and 4 full sized bags) was $37 to FLL. We were at the airport by 9:30. Our 1:20 flight was on time and we were back in the oppressive heat of Baltimore and Philadelphia in no time. Well, that does it for my review. I hope you enjoyed it. I am available to answer any questions you may have. HAPPY SAILING !!! Mama and our MDR assistant waiter Janita. She was awesome all week. the iSkate show #1 iSkate #2 iSkate #3 The whole gang on Tropical formal nght Mama, Papa and niece at CoCo Cay pool
  17. Yes, its is a buffet. Think of it as a mini Windjammer, without the sea of humanity. Hot and cold food items. Always a seafood option. A dessert table. Our preferred area to eat over Windjammer. If you are in a cabin on the forward half of the ship, its a great option for breakfast and lunch. It can get a little crowded but the workers that greet you are wired to folks in the seating area, always working to have tables ready. It is indoors and air conditions but it is on deck 15 forward. Seats nearest the Solarium window can get warm.
  18. You can send an email to rcldining@rccl.com They are pretty responsive.
  19. DAY 5....A lazy St. Thomas day, Day 6 at sea and the FLIGHT show, and my food review. On day 5 we docked at St. Thomas. Had been there before and we didn't want to do an island tour, and we didn't want another beach day with Nevis behind us and CoCo Cay ahead of us. So we slept in late, went to the gym (can't believe I did that) and a quick stroll down the main drag in Charlotte Amalie. We stopped at our go to jeweler the, House of Rajah. I usually buy a watch each cruise but nothing struck my fancy. Mama bought a nice (and thank you...inexpensive) necklace. We had no show in the evening, so after dinner, we hit the Solarium Bar for a drink. Mama called it an early night and I went and played cards for a bit. Frankly, I love one lazy day like this each cruise. Day 6 was a sea day. It was also formal night #2. The matriarch chose a tropical night. I killed it. Even had teens high fiving me and telling me I "looked fresh". Quite proud of my outfit. After dinner we went to the show, FLIGHT. It was good, but I've seen better shows on RCL ships. Planet Earth on Allure comes to mind. Enjoyable but the music didn't really mesh with the story well, and the going backward in time seemed odd to us. And now my food review. I usually do hits and misses. We are primarily MDR folk, so the only specialty restaurant in the review is Chops. So here it goes.... HITS The bone in Rib Eye at Chops. Done medium. Maybe the best piece of cow I've ever eaten. And this is after a poor performance by Chops the last time we tried it. The Poblano Pepper soup. The best thing they have in the MDR. The Vidalia onion tart. I had three ! The beef carpaccio in both the MDR and Chops. SO TASTY !!!! The beef medallions in the MDR The hot dogs for lunch at the solarium bistro. Really tasty. Not there every day, so be on the look out. The Maryland Crab Cake appetizer in the MDR. We used to live in Baltimore and Mama is a crab cake snob. She gave it the highest review. The lasagna entrée in the MDR. It was a miss in February, but this time it was very good. The lamb chops in the MDR. Mama had them in both the MDR and Chops and said the ones in the MDR were head and shoulders better than the ones in Chops. My orange sherbet for dessert each night. It's not on the menu, but I got a little note to the MDR the week before sailing and they had it ready for me each night. YUMMY Misses The French onion soup. If you read my February Allure review, this is a sore spot for us. I know they have to make it for the masses, but it is so bland. (Allure review link is below) MDR NY strip steak....made medium. I found out that medium to the MDR means medium well. I had it on another night and asked for it medium rare, and it came out fine. Not a fan of the peppercorn sauce either. The bacon appetizer in Chops. Sounds good, but it was pretty fatty and the sauce tasted like simple BBQ sauce. I'd rather seem them offer Millionaire's Bacon. Prime Rib in MDR. It was OK but you want a piece of prime rib to be memorable. It wasn't. Potato and leek soup in the MDR. Like in February it was kind of grainy. Now I call these items misses simply because they just didn't hit the mark for us. We truly had no bad meals, just an item or two here and there that weren't quite up to snuff. NEXT: CoCo Cay and saying good bye Feb 2019 Allure review..... https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2635989-hens-on-the-high-seasallure-ots-feb-17/ Stylin' and Profilin' on Tropical formal night Flight Flight (that's Edna from Hairspray) Raj, our MDR waiter, came up to Chops to bring me my daily special dessert !! A phenomenal piece of cow !!
  20. It's a Blue Hawaiian. A Pina Colada with Blue Curacao in it. And you are correct.....we're a lot of fun. Join our football gang in February on Celebrity Summit. You'll have a great time.
  21. It depends. If you like bottled water and specialty coffees too, then its usually an easy yes. Bottled water runs $3. Specialty coffees run $5-$7. So a few bottles of water a day, a specialty coffee in the morning or after dinner, and 3-4 drinks throughout the day...…….and you're there. Also add that you can try new things without the worry of the cost. You don't like it? Put it down and get something else. But in the end its all about your fluid consumption.
  22. Day 4......Great Excursion in St.Kitts Day 4 was our first stop, St. Kitts. We had been there before and had done Thenford Gray's Grand Island Tour (it was great by the way), so this time we took to the water with my niece and her husband. We took the Fant-a-sea catamaran and snorkel trip. A very good trip. The boat was a good sized cat, with plenty of room for the people they had on board. Took about an hour or so to get to the snorkel sight. I, myself, am not big on snorkeling. Mama, niece, and nephew in law, took to the water and said it was a very good snorkeling spot. I did venture out for a grand total of 5 minutes, but at least I can say I snorkeled. Once everyone was back on board, they served a refreshing lunch, a few salads, a chicken & pasta dish, and with snorkeling complete, the rum punch began to flow. From the snorkeling locale, we sailed to a beach on Nevis, where they let us off for about 90 minutes of beach time. A very nice beach. Walkable and very nice to swim in. Once we were picked up, we let out the sails for a 90 minute cruise back to the St. Kitts port. That ride back was 90 minutes of drunk white people dancing, It was quite a sight. I enjoyed the hell out of watching it. I was just sober enough to not participate. That evening, we had a nice dinner in the MDR. They had my favorite appetizer that night...Poblano Pepper soup. I had the waiter bring mine in a Caesar salad bowl. SO YUMMY. That night was the comedy show. One very good comedian. One so so one. Found out this night that the Solarium Bar closed nightly at 9pm. I was bummed. It was my favorite hangout. SO our late night drinks were at the Trellis Bar in Central Park. A very peaceful place, especially when the classical guitarist is playing. Next: Strolling through St, Thomas, and my food review. Most nights ended with a good cigar on deck 15. A session we called "Solving the World's Problems. Ma & Pa on the catamaran. On of my favorite pics. I always look bigger and stronger when I can hide my belly below the water line.
  23. Days 2 & 3....casual time at Sea with a great tour. Ma & Pa dress up Days 2 & 3 we very casual. Slept in a little. Spent time each day in the Solarium having summer drinks and reading. Did a few fun things..... Saw the Aqua Show, Hiro on day 2. It was good. Mama liked it more than me. I love the guys in the slack lines. We sit towards the back. The most fun was watching people scatter when a brief rainstorm passed over the ship. People run funny. Got dressed up for Formal night for the first time in a long time. The matriarch of the group chose black & white with touches of red as the style. I overachieved. Got a great private behind the scenes tour of Hairspray. My niece knows a guy who knows a guy. We got the tour by the lead rigger for the show, who by chance grew up in Pittsburgh, my home town. We also had the chance to meet the actor that played Little Inez. She plays a 12 year old in the show but she is actually 27. Also got to try on Edna's shoes. The actor that plays Edna is 6'5" tall and wear a size 16 EEE. Saw the Ice show, 1977, on night 3. Always a good show. The 48 drones that opened the show were very cool. Coming up.....A GREAT excursion in St. Kitts. Scuba, catamaran, and drunk white people dancing. I went with ALOT of red ! The beginnings of our backstage tour The youngster in our group with some Ultra Clutch Edna's pump next to my size 12 boat shoe. Tracey's wigs (sorry, that's not her real hair) Some skating action There's a theme here... The bad guy !
  24. We flew back home from FLL yesterday. We were on Symphony and disembarked in Miami. We were group 38, left the ship about 8:20am. Grabbed a porter once off. At the UBER station by 8:35am. In the UBER at 8:45. At FLL by 9:30. Our 2nd time disembarking in Miami and flying out of Miami. Have gotten to FLL by 9:30 am each time.
  25. IT's CRUISE DAY !! A great day 1...once we got there ! We got up early, eager to leave the Motel 6 section of the Bahia Mar. We met my niece and her hubby for an UBER XL ride to Terminal A in Miami. The UBER XL fare was $87....~$22ea for door to door service. Our ride was an Infiniti QX60, a very comfortable ride for the 4 of us and all our luggage. The ride down was uneventful. We did hit heavy traffic as we neared Miami but our driver got off 95 early and went thru downtown and actually got us there before others that left at the same time. As we got to the terminal around 10:30 though, the one design flaw of Terminal A reared its head. The loop to get into the terminal is a driving nightmare. Many people disembarking that are trying to get transportation, crew trying to get out for the day, and people trying to get to the ship all meet at one choke point. Took our driver a good 15 minutes to go a short distance to get us to a place we could get us and our luggage out. Once out of the UBER good things started. A porter met us immediately and took our luggage. We were able to walk straight into the terminal and up the escalator. Took less than 2 minutes to get thru check in and security screening. Terminal A (excluding the drive in loop) is perfectly designed for these big ships. Been thru twice now and its been easy peasy both times. We did have about a 15 minute wait until the ship was ready to board, but once open we were right on and headed to the Solarium Bar. At the Solarium Bar we met my new best friend for the week...Samuel the Bartender. He was a more senior bartender, wearing a white shite and epaulets. He made our traditional first drink, a Blue Hawaiian, exactly how we like it. YUMMY. Once we had our first drink, we went into the Solarium Bistro for a very nice lunch. Quiet, tasty, and not the Windjammer. After lunch we took a stroll until our rooms were ready at 1. Ours was an ocean view balcony room on deck 14 aft. 14672. A nice room, bed near the balcony. We felt there wasn't as much storage as on Allure and Harmony, but it was fine. We would find later that the cabin location wasn't the best. Deck 14 is just below the pool deck and out room was right under the ice cream machine just outside El Loco Fresh. Late at night it was mostly quiet but until the kids on board settled down you could hear feet running around. Dinner was in the Main Dining Room. We met our waiter Raj, and Assistant Waiter Janita. In the end, they were probably the best serving team we've ever had. Attentive, they worked very well together, and they were quite pleasant. Later in the thread, I'll give a run down of hits and misses in the food category. Mostly hits, with a miss or two. Overall, we were pleased with the food quality and service. After dinner, we made our way to the theater for our first show.....Hairspray. Mama and I love Hairspray, having seen it on Broadway and watching it frequently on DVD at home. Lets just say...…..THIS WAS THE BEST LIVE VERSION OF HAIRSPRAY WE HAVE EVER SEEN. The musicality, the staging, the dancing...everything was just top notch. There was even a mid show standing ovation after one epic song (if you know the show, you know which song). Just not enough words to say how good this show was. Later I'll discuss an impromptu backstage tour we got because of my nieces connections. After a nightcap, we called it a night. Great first day. NEXT: A couple of relaxing days at sea. The Promenade all dressed up to welcome us Samuel, the bartender. A great mate. Our customary 1st drink ! Sailing away Mama enjoying the view from the fly bridge. Hairspray Main Stage A close up from our behind the scenes tour.
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