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abbydancer

Live report from the Reflection

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I'm back on the second of my month apart Celebrity cruise - this time with my husband.

 

On Friday, we board the Reflection for an eastern Med cruise. I've got both a camera (not just a phone), and a husband with a new camera, so I really will try to both post pictures and post in a timely manner (I don't think he'll run around with a tablemate until 2 am like my sister and I did on the Equinox a few weeks ago).

 

So where am I now? It's about 11:45 pm and I'm in an airport hotel in San Francisco. The hotel is located right by the runway, and thus every 3 minutes it gets very loud in the outside. It's not the hotel we usually stay at and an experiment with a Starwood property (I'm a Marriott person). So far, pre cruise Starwood is 0 for 2. I usually stay at the Marriott, a couple of miles away, but they were very expensive for tonight.

 

We leave at 8:30 tomorrow Am, hence the hotel tonight, arriving in Rome via Chicago (so glad I didn't connect through Houston) at about 11:00 am Thursday. I may post from Chicago tomorrow, but hopefully with nothing particularly exciting to report. I'll also bring back my thread on the Princess board if I notice anything new and different. And last but not least, I'll also put this on my blog.

 

Good night all. Any typos are due to husband distracting me by putting pillows over the computer. Apparently he wants the lights out. Too bad, I had two cups of coffee and one ice tea at dinner.

 

Good night all.

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My wife and I did the Western Med on Reflection three weeks ago. And last year, we did the Eastern Med on Reflection. She is our favorite ship. You will love your cruise. Hope you have a free day or two in Rome. Incredible city. Our favorite international city in the world.

 

 

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My wife and I did the Western Med on Reflection three weeks ago. And last year, we did the Eastern Med on Reflection. She is our favorite ship. You will love your cruise. Hope you have a free day or two in Rome. Incredible city. Our favorite international city in the world.

 

 

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Thanks. This time, we arrive the day before the cruise. We've both been to Rome before, and DH didn't want to take that much time off work.

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Can you let us know who is working the martini bar plèase, photo would be the icing on the cake. Trying to find out who,is there before we board our cruise on reflection. Thanks in advance

 

 

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Can you let us know who is working the martini bar plèase, photo would be the icing on the cake. Trying to find out who,is there before we board our cruise on reflection. Thanks in advance

 

 

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I'll give it my best shot.

 

I'm sure I'll be at the Martini bar, we loved it last time.

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Sitting in a lounge in O'Hare right now - we're going to be late, but only about 1/2 hour I think. Nothing interesting happened on the flight here, fortunately.

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Whoever were the Martini Bar bartenders during our 7/31/17 Western Mediterranean cruise were very good. Had a number of martinis there.

 

 

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Happy sailing! Looking forward to your updates.

 

 

 

See you tomorrow at sail away Abby. We've been in Rome for a few days. It is very hot and they are forcing way too much wine on us - oh well, I guess somebody has to drink all this lovely wine!

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See you tomorrow at sail away Abby. We've been in Rome for a few days. It is very hot and they are forcing way too much wine on us - oh well, I guess somebody has to drink all this lovely wine!

 

Not long now. It was hot, but not overwhelmingly today - might be because we went in late afternoon.

 

Car comes at 10:15 - I think since Tuesday I've had about 4 hours sleep so looking forward to a halfway good nights sleep.

 

See you tomorrow.

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Woo-hoo we're in Rome!

 

Our flight to Rome was uneventful. Long, but uneventful. I watched Hacksaw Ridge and tried to nap. I may have slept some.

 

Our flight left Chicago 20 minutes but arrived only one minute late. Processing at the airport was fast, at least when we got there (being at the front of the plane helps) - it took about an hour from pulling into the gate to arriving at our room. We're staying at the Rome Park Marriott, listed as an airport hotel. It turns out that it's about 1/2 way between the airport and the city. They have a shuttle that's 5 Euro per person to the hotel. They recommend booking the shuttle in advance for going back to the airport, but of course we're not doing that. We have a car coming at 10:15 directly to the port.

 

When I contacted the hotel and asked about the shuttle, I also asked about the easiest way into the city - although both of us have been to Rome before, it seemed a shame to just hang out in a hotel. They also have a bus to the Piazza dei Tribunale - on the Tiber near St. Peter's and the Pantheon. It's 6 E each way, or 10 round trip. We decided to reserve for 6 pm and set up a dinner with some from our roll call.

 

Once we arrived at the hotel, we got settled, and decided to go in at 4pm instead of 6 pm - after a power nap and showers.

 

On our way to the Shuttle, we asked the concierge what we should do with a couple of hours to sightsee. He gave what we called a circle tour of 4 sites walking distance from the shuttle. We called it the "place you don't need to go into" tour. We went to the Spanish Steps (got hustled for money but didn't bite), Trevi Fountain (I don't recall being there before, the Pantheon (we did go in - I didn't know it's a church) and Piazza Navone. It took just under two hours and then we had about 90 minutes before our dinner meeting time. We headed to Campo d' Fiore and found the restaurant nearby. We then went back to a bakery we'd seen called Il Forniao. We know it just means the baker, but the font is similar to that of the restaurant chain near us. We had coffees and a bottle of water. I decided I don't really like Evain water, but I'm not sure why.

 

We still had some time so we wandered a bit more and found a grocery store. Glen needed toothpaste, so we got some. We then decided to go to the hotel next door to the restaurant, which is where our friends were staying, and hange out in the lobby for a half hour.

 

It was airconditioned and pleasent and after a while JoEllen and Alan came down, and we joined the others for dinner.

 

It had been a bit of a problem trying to get the dinner reservation, as I'd asked the concierge to call and they couldn't reach them. JoEllen had the American Express conceirge call, and they called the hotel next door, which said that the restaurant was closed for vacation through much of September. We made other arrangeements, but about three days ago the restaurant confirmed. It came highly recommended, so we were thrilled they were open.

 

JoEllen and Alan had taken a food tour this morning and the guide said that while one of Rome's specialties is Jewish fried artichokes, they are out of season, so restaurants shouldn't have them. If they do, they are suspect as to their freshness. The guide also said to beware of large menus. This restaurant had both. Oh well.

 

The food was good, but not great after that. The company, however was fun and we spent about 2 hours enjoying dinner together. We had to catch the 11 pm shuttle back to the hotel, so we said goodbye until tomorrow. We used google maps to get to the shuttle (During our touring we were having fun following the map the hotel gave us, but at night google seemed easier).

 

We had enough time to stop and take some picutres, and still make the 30 minute shuttle back to the hotel.

 

And then it was write this, call my mom who's visiting France with my sister (yes, that sister from the Equinox trip), and now to get more than a few hours of sleep - the first time since Monday. I will have some pictures tomorrow.

 

up next - the ship!

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Whoever were the Martini Bar bartenders during our 7/31/17 Western Mediterranean cruise were very good. Had a number of martinis there.

 

 

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Imade should be there great bartender from Bali. Please say hello from Norma6aef57f69ebe4da396f27d9d94392e9f.jpg45a61cef0b9fe9f61e5d9c486ea965b5.jpg

 

 

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Imade should be there great bartender from Bali. Please say hello from Norma

 

 

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Will do. Next post coming now, I will try for pictures tomorrow.

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So, at long last it was time to board the ship. WE tried to sleep until 9 am and Glen did. Was up at 7 for a while, but then went back to sleep until the alarm went off. We dressed and packed, and went down for breakfast. After breakfast, it was 10am, and we went up to get the bags and check out.

 

Our driver was supposed to arrive at 10:15. 10:15 came and went. At about 10:20, I asked the front desk to call the number on the confirmation. She said it didn't work. Slight panic set in, and I emailed the contact. A couple of minutes later I got a text saying the car had broken down and they were sending a new car in 15 minutes. Ok, not what I wanted. About 10:44 I sent another text, and then the driver pulled up. We loaded the bags and away we went. About 1/2 there, he stopped for gas. Then it started pouring with a full out thunderstorm. That didn't delay us much (I was, for grins, running waze on the route) and about 11:45 we pulled into the port (about 40 minutes after I wanted to).

 

It was still pouring so we waited until he could pull up close to the covered area. He helped us with our bags and then when we went to pay, he couldn't break a 50. Total was 125, and given how late it was, and the gas stop (also he was taking pictures with his phone and such while driving - completely illegal where I live), we didn't want to give a 25 Euro tip. Finally, he found a friend to break it, and we paid him and said good bye.

 

Next up was to figure out where to put the luggage - there were a bunch of bags out front, and then, inside the building (there was a covered area in front) there was a sign directing those with luggage tags to the right, without to the left. We went to the right, and an authority there told us to go to the left and opened a rope to let us through. We gave our bags to someone who was handing them to the porters and hoped we'd see them again.

 

Next, trying to get to checkin, the entire way was blocked by bags. I really wish I had a picture to share. Finally we squeezed our way through, and entered the building. We were given what they called an embarkation number - we apparently were in group 91. Hopefully they'd started by now.

 

As I put my stuff through security, they held the line, because the line to move through the room to check in had extended to security. Glen suggested a sing along while we waited. After a couple of minutes, the line moved and we got in line. It took about 15 minutes, and once we got our room cards they let us go directly onto the shop. I think it took about 30 minutes total.

 

First stop was Michael's Club. We have a minisuite (called a Sky Suite) and we get some suite privileges, including Michael's Club lounge and the suite restaurant. We went to Michaels to work out our specialty dining with our friends, and just ourselves.

 

It took a few minutes but we were able to work out Qsine with our friends Adele and Frank for the time they'd selected. It got a bit more complicated for Jo and Alan at the Lawn club because her original reservation had been for the same day as our Qsine, so she changed it online, but the ship never got the message. So I had to call and ask her to come down to Michaels. We got it all straightened out. She mentioned they wanted to try the Porch, but since that's sea food, we passed. The concierge there was happy to help her out. They also let her know that because she's in Aqua, she can use the Concierge class concierge. After that, I booked Murano and Tuscan and we were set. At this point, they announced the rooms were ready, so we said goodby for now and headed to our room.

 

We dropped our bags, and headed to Luminae for lunch. We had a nice lunch (a few pictures coming soon) and I tried the famed Luminae burger. It was good. After lunch, we did some ship exploration, until time for Muster drill.

 

At some point, we stopped int the room and met our room steward. He was vary nice. Just before the muster drill our butler stopped by to introduce himself. Since it was just before Muster, we agreed he'd come back later.

 

Soon the alarm sounded and off we went to the Tuscan grill for Muster. We found some seats, but then noticed they were behind the single screen. There were many people behind the screen, but the crew in the room didn't require them to move to see it. After the video we expected a life jacket demo but nothing, except saying the station leader would take over. Ours just said let us know if you have questions. Then dead silence for about 5-10 minutes. I believe that they were waiting for the bigger muster stations to call out the names of the people who weren't checked off. Then the captain made a brief have fun announcement and we were done. Honestly? This was a total waste of time. In the event of an actual emergency any new cruisers on this ship would have no clue what to do. As many know I mostly sail Princess, and they take their saftely drill very seriously. I felt this ship only did one because they had to, and did as little possible to say they did it. Maybe the Carnival Corp ships take it more seriously because they lost a billion dollar ship in 2012. Off my soapbox now.

 

After muster, we went to the Cruise Critic sailaway party at the sunset bar. For whatever reason we were on the smoking side, but it was still fun.

 

At 6, we headed down to unpack and meet our butler. He explained the room lights, and a few other things, and what he could do for us. Anything, apparently.

 

After that, we dressed for dinner and went to the Grand Foyer to dance to the orchestra. We danced through their set, and then went over to guest relations so Glen could fix his internet package (he'd signed up for the 90 minute plan rather than waiting for his code for unlimited).

 

We then stopped in Michael's club just to see it when it wasn't packed, and ended up staying for a drink. It was then getting on dinner time. I'd looked at the Blu menu and the appetizers looked good, so I decided to see if we could eat there instead. The host told me probably not since it was very busy. So off we went to Lumenae. we had the same waiter for dinner as lunch, and it was enjoyable and good. During dinner, I got a text from JoEllen that they were at Blu at 8:50 and there was a wait.

 

We finished dinner just before 10, and since there was nothing interesting going on, we came back here to call it a night.

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Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Looking forward to reading all about it.

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Love your writing style! Thanks for sharing your adventure as this wets my appetite for our Oct 20 TA aboard Reflection! Counting down days now rather than weeks! Looking forward to the next installment!

 

Brian

 

 

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ef69a94742afbfbd155a8282ea6daeaf.jpg

 

I think I just figured out how to upload pictures. This is us at the Pantheon. Not bad for being up most of the previous 36 hours

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Today was our first of many port days. We woke up at 8 to get to breakfast before they closed at 9. At that time, we were sailing into Messina Sicily, accompanied by the pilot boat. We were scheduled to dock at 10. Breakfast was in Lumenae again, and we finally got a window table. yay.

 

Following that, we headed up to the room to gather our stuff (money, etc). While there, I called our lovely butler and asked him to switch around some reservations - go to Tuscan before Murano. He said he'd take care of it.

 

For Sicily, we'd booked a tour with some cruise critic friends that included driving to Mt. Etna. We met at a bar at 10:15 and headed out. Our guide, Ignatio (aka Iggy) was waiting for us at the pier, and we headed to his van, and drove out of town.

 

Our first stop was Savoka, a small arty town, most famous for being a filming location for the Godfather. It hosted the church where Michael Corleone got married. Also we encountered a local resident who as an extra in the movie, played his wife's mother. She still lives there.

 

We also tasted olive oil and almond cookies and wine. It was good, but not, in my opinion only, as good as the olive oil we get in Napa. We did walk to the church as well.

 

Back into the van and then off to Mt. Etna. We drove to 6000 feet, stopping on the way at another tasting room. We tried a wide variety of wine, olive oils and honey. We also learned about the honey making process. We thought about buying some, but honestly, it would just probably go bad.

 

Next we went up to an area at 6000 feet. From there, we could see the actives craters of the volcano. It is the largest active volcano in Europe. At that location there were several restaurants, Also there were several craters which had previously been eruptions. We did walk up to them and peered in, but it was very windy and hard to walk around. Iggys original plan was that we'd have our lunch there (a capresse sandwich and pastry) but it was too windy. So we drove to Taormina, a nearby municipality known for it's views and old churches. We had our lunch and walked the main street which was a lot of shops and old churches. We even watched part of a wedding. Glen and I wandered the streets, looked at the old theatre (probably Roman), and some interesting streets. We thought the two hours we had there were too long, so we stopped at a bar and had some Gelato. It was the messiest ice cream we've ever had, as it was melting pretty continuously. By this time, we had about 20 minutes until our meeting time so we headed to Porto Messina to wait for the others. We'd had two hours, which we thought was about 1/2 hour too long. At about 8 minutes early everyone else, including Iggy arrived and we headed back to Messina and the ship.

 

When we got to Messina we had time to goto an overlook to see a view of the city, as well as some remnants of old forts, etc. After that, we stopped at the Cathedral that features a clock tower with moving figures, that move at noon. It was, of course well past noon when we got there, so I guess we'll go to You Tube to see it.

 

Following that we went back to the ship, arriving either before or after the busses, since it was quick to get on the ship.

 

After a rest, we headed to the theater to see Elysium, which I'd seen on the Equinox. It was pretty much the same, even the lead girls looked similar. The acrobats were very good, the dancers just a touch out of sync. We then headed to the restaurant for dinner. It was packed, with no good location for a table for 2. The hostess said she had a couple of people leaving soon, so suggested we go to Michaels club for a drink, and she'd come and get us when a table was ready. It ended up taking about 40 minutes, but we did get a window table (not sure why I need one at dinner since it's dark out).

 

Dinner was good, although about midway through our waiter disappeared and someone who seemed to be a maitre'd (but not the restaurant maitre'd) finished up. The service was good, but not as good as the night before - as we left I asked the hostess, and she said that because of the late port, everyone came at the same time. Usually, it's more spread out.

 

From there, we went to Silent disco. It was packed, but we were able to get headphones right away. The dance floor was packed, so we went over to a seating area with some space and danced a few swings and went back to the room.

 

My key got demagnetized, so I went down to guest services and had a very nice chat with the agent there. I asked about some of her strangest requests and she gave me one that I have to share.

 

A guest came down to complain about her room. She said she'd paid for an ocean view, and now didn't have one. The agent asked if she'd moved rooms, and the guest said no. She said that yesterday she'd had an ocean view, but now she just had a view of the port.

 

I leave you tonight with that one. Today was crazy busy, but I did figure out how to put pictures on cruise critic. I have some on my phone that I will upload tomorrow. At some point, maybe on the sea day, I hope to figure out how to get Glen's pictures to the phone so I can upload some of his much better ones. Good night.

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Thank you for sharing! We're following the same itinerary (on the same ship) next summer with our kids.

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A guest came down to complain about her room. She said she'd paid for an ocean view, and now didn't have one. The agent asked if she'd moved rooms, and the guest said no. She said that yesterday she'd had an ocean view, but now she just had a view of the port.

 

I leave you tonight with that one.

 

Maybe she thought they would turn the ship around for her so she could see the water. We were on a cruise years ago where a passenger in one of the most expensive suites was complaining that the ship was docked so that his room overlooked a trash dump on shore. He thought they should dock the ship facing the other way so he could have a better view.

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