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LIVE!!!!! From the REFLECTION TRANSATLANTIC - CHICAGOPAUL -

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Hello Everyone! It has been a few months since I've been on here but it is that time again for me to start another live blog and I am thrilled to be doing so.

 

Today is Thursday April 12th and Edward and I will be flying out this evening to FLL in order to join the Reflection tomorrow morning for her Atlantic crossing.

 

This will be our 3rd transatlantic cruise and 2nd one going eastbound. In total this makes our 14th....I think 14th...Celebrity Cruise. For what it is worth, we are Elite Plus on Celebrity. For those of you who do not know us, we are in our 30s which would make us on the "younger" end of the age spectrum with regard to transatlantic cruises. We're from Chicago so even though it might be a little cool towards the end of the cruise in Europe it will definitely be better than the weather we're currently having here.

 

If you followed my last cruise blog in December you would know that we stayed in a Royal Suite. Unfortunately that was not in the cards for us this time and we're staying in a regular verandah cabin :eek:

 

Add Ons Purchased

Premium Drink Package for both of us

9 Night Specialty Dining Package

Once on board we will purchased the unlimited internet for both of us

 

We have not eaten in the MDR in quite some time, but we definitely will this cruise and we will be sure to report back and give you our unbiased opinions. We also haven't stayed in a standard balcony cabin in a couple years so it will be interesting to see if we notice any changes.

 

As usual my goal is to post 10 photos each day along with the daily program as well. I'll also be posting photos and video more instantly to my Instagram account, so if you have Instagram you can follow me. My name on there is PaulKBlackburn if you see a guy in a suit as a main photo and then a bunch of photos of liquor and food you've found the right profile!

 

I want to encourage all of you to ask as many questions as possible! What I have really enjoyed about writing these live blogs is it forces me to sit down and recount my previous day. I find that in doing so I appreciate my vacation more and find that I "slow down" just a little bit to take a look around and realize how lucky we are to be on such an amazing holiday. So please ask away! If you want to know what type of merlot they have by the glass, just ask. If you want to know who is working at a certain venue just ask.

 

If you're reading this and you are going to be on the cruise PLEASE STOP BY AND SAY HELLO! We love talking to everyone and I really enjoy gaining everyone's insights into cruising and of course life in general.

 

Below is a quick little youtube video of me explaining what I wrote above and a good way for you to put a face and voice to this live blog. Thank you to everyone who follows along!

 

 

 

[YOUTUBE]

[/YOUTUBE]

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I am curious, too, how it goes, especially with all the sea days and the weather on the high seas. And how does the itinerary look like?

 

Have a great and safe cruise! :-)

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I am so jealous but since I can't go I'm so glad for you, have a great cruise!!!

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Paul and Edward:

 

You have Got to stop following us! This has got to be the 5th cruise you have followed....No stalking! :):):hearteyes:Hahaha. Glad to see you are once again onboard.....I am hopeful for better weather though with what this year brought.....we are ready for a wild ride.

 

Cheers! ERF

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Thank you everyone for the well wishes! So do you think we over pack much? ebda7c24015586526cd8f5bfd7b763e7.jpg

 

 

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Thank you everyone for the well wishes! So do you think we over pack much? ebda7c24015586526cd8f5bfd7b763e7.jpg

 

 

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I think we packed that much for a 7 day cruise. I might need to join overpackers anonymous...

 

Sent from while daydreaming I am in Luminae

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We have done a bunch of cruises and have not done a transatlantic yet, but are thinking of booking on on-board our next cruise in May. I'm looking forward to reading your blog and reading the questions/answers. So I'm going to start things off with this question for you:

 

Since you have done transatlantic cruises in both directions, what is your pro/con list for east vs. west? I know benefit of going west-bound to get the extra hour each day, but I wonder if the weather/seas would be worse for west-bound cruises because they tend to be in the fall? What is your experience with each, and what made you decide to take an east-bound this time? Itinerary?

 

Sue

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I love reading your reports. I am thinking of a transatlantic maybe next year

 

 

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Ahhhh just what I need to take my mind off taxes, another fabulous chicagopaul live review:D I hope you guys have a wonderful crossing. We’ll board Reflection again later this year, so I’m following your review with great interest.

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We have done a bunch of cruises and have not done a transatlantic yet, but are thinking of booking on on-board our next cruise in May. I'm looking forward to reading your blog and reading the questions/answers. So I'm going to start things off with this question for you:

 

 

 

Since you have done transatlantic cruises in both directions, what is your pro/con list for east vs. west? I know benefit of going west-bound to get the extra hour each day, but I wonder if the weather/seas would be worse for west-bound cruises because they tend to be in the fall? What is your experience with each, and what made you decide to take an east-bound this time? Itinerary?

 

 

 

Sue

 

 

 

Great question Sue. So for us both of our past two TAs were very calm. No weather issues at all. I suppose doing a westbound could technically run into some hurricane weather at the end of hurricane season. For us the biggest advantage of the westbound was the extra hour and the shorter flight home after cruise when we were tired. We ended up booking this one mainly because we wanted a longer cruise at this time of year and we wanted a lot of sea days. For us we will enjoy some warm days to start and then can enjoy some slightly cooler weather as we get closer to Europe.

 

We have heard that the winds have been stronger this year so it will be interesting to see if we feel a difference.

 

 

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Ahhhh just what I need to take my mind off taxes, another fabulous chicagopaul live review:D I hope you guys have a wonderful crossing. We’ll board Reflection again later this year, so I’m following your review with great interest.

 

 

 

Haha, thank you! Just filed mine the other day and it will be much easier seeing such a large withdraw out of my account if I’m sitting at a bar on a ship as opposed to sitting at the office.

 

 

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I was hoping that you would be doing a "Live" blog. Looking forward to it. Wishing you both a wonderful sailing!

Patty

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We were on Reflection TA eastbound 2 years ago. They had a 30% off sale on the Classic drink package not too many days after leaving would you advise if that shows up on the Daily?

Thank you, we will be on the Sihouette leaving Sunday and wondering if they will be doing similar.

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We will be glad to meet you on board! [emoji1303]

We will be hanging at Martini bar at night... one of our favorite spot!

 

 

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We will be glad to meet you on board! [emoji1303]

We will be hanging at Martini bar at night... one of our favorite spot!

 

 

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That is ours too. You’ll see us there!

 

 

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So Edward was working today and if you know Edward he believes I never work, so it was my job to lug the luggage (pun intended) down to the lobby and into the Uber. We had get an SUV for all the luggage. We had a very nice driver and Escalade who had no problem doing a little shoulder riding around traffic. We arrived at the airport in great time. We’re flying Southwest so we self tagged our bags and dropped them in under a few minutes. TSA pre check took us only about 7 minutes which is very quick at Midway for a Thursday afternoon.

 

We’re sitting at the bar now with our first drink. Boarding is just over an hour away and our flight is on time. So far so good!

 

7b48ee2fc6a470c39fd448408860ff12.jpg

 

I get in the Uber and then get a text from my neighbor. Apparently he spied me leaving.

 

a44637fc206e0f89b342d0381544fd7c.jpg

 

 

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Super excited for your blog. I’ve followed them all. DH and I love cruises as well. If you see Putu tell him hello!

 

 

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Hello Everyone! It has been a few months since I've been on here but it is that time again for me to start another live blog and I am thrilled to be doing so.

 

Today is Thursday April 12th and Edward and I will be flying out this evening to FLL in order to join the Reflection tomorrow morning for her Atlantic crossing.

 

This will be our 3rd transatlantic cruise and 2nd one going eastbound. In total this makes our 14th....I think 14th...Celebrity Cruise. For what it is worth, we are Elite Plus on Celebrity. For those of you who do not know us, we are in our 30s which would make us on the "younger" end of the age spectrum with regard to transatlantic cruises. We're from Chicago so even though it might be a little cool towards the end of the cruise in Europe it will definitely be better than the weather we're currently having here.

 

If you followed my last cruise blog in December you would know that we stayed in a Royal Suite. Unfortunately that was not in the cards for us this time and we're staying in a regular verandah cabin :eek:

 

Add Ons Purchased

Premium Drink Package for both of us

9 Night Specialty Dining Package

Once on board we will purchased the unlimited internet for both of us

 

We have not eaten in the MDR in quite some time, but we definitely will this cruise and we will be sure to report back and give you our unbiased opinions. We also haven't stayed in a standard balcony cabin in a couple years so it will be interesting to see if we notice any changes.

 

As usual my goal is to post 10 photos each day along with the daily program as well. I'll also be posting photos and video more instantly to my Instagram account, so if you have Instagram you can follow me. My name on there is PaulKBlackburn if you see a guy in a suit as a main photo and then a bunch of photos of liquor and food you've found the right profile!

 

I want to encourage all of you to ask as many questions as possible! What I have really enjoyed about writing these live blogs is it forces me to sit down and recount my previous day. I find that in doing so I appreciate my vacation more and find that I "slow down" just a little bit to take a look around and realize how lucky we are to be on such an amazing holiday. So please ask away! If you want to know what type of merlot they have by the glass, just ask. If you want to know who is working at a certain venue just ask.

 

If you're reading this and you are going to be on the cruise PLEASE STOP BY AND SAY HELLO! We love talking to everyone and I really enjoy gaining everyone's insights into cruising and of course life in general.

 

Below is a quick little youtube video of me explaining what I wrote above and a good way for you to put a face and voice to this live blog. Thank you to everyone who follows along!

 

 

 

 

On the Reflection now — last day of the cruise :( There are about 50 people sailing back to back for the transatlantic. The crew seem to be excited for the crossing. Have fun!

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Enjoying your blog once again! We did the TA from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale last October and had a wonderful time! Loved the Sunset Bar and of course all the others as well. We had a Concierge Stateroom and it served us fine. Weather was great and seas were calm. Can't wait to see your photos!

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Looking forward to following along, not sure when it will be, but planning a TA someday so this might spur us along!

 

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I am also very excited to book a TA hopefully the next couple years! Would also love to hear the pros and cons and see some of your great pictures!!! Also hear how hard it is going from an RS to regular balcony!! LOL !we’ve done CC ,a couple SS and on Monday we are Lucky enough to upgrade ourselves to an RS extremely excited but worried about the aftermath of having to move to a smaller room again!! LOL !!Any cruise is a great cruise!!!

 

 

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We're doing the Reflection TA in October so I'm excited to follow your TA journey to Europe.

 

Elise

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Enjoying another blog of yours. I'm looking forward to the pix on the ship as Reflection is the only S class we have not sailed on. Doing the westbound on Silhouette in Nov.

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I look forward reading your blog and hope you have a wonderful time.

 

We'll be on Reflection in July and my particular concern is whether to upgrade my classic alcohol package so I'll be keen to know what white wines I may be limited to if I don't.

 

There's also the small matter of my daughter currently working on board! Communication with her is very infrequent (internet speed, time difference and work commitments) so any insight from passengers is great.

 

Wishing you calm seas

 

Peter

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Looking forward to your blog - I have enjoyed your previous ones. Been thinking of a TA so this is especially exciting!

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Good morning,

Glad to have found you at the beginning of your latest adventure. I was a little concerned this morning when I didn't see any Instagram updates...most recent was the "first official drink of vacation" from Midway yesterday afternoon.

My friends and I just got off of our 14-night Princess cruise (our first after multiple Celebrity sailings)...I am in serious cruise withdrawal already...your report will keep me in a cruise state of mind.

Enjoy!

Susan

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Paul & Edward,

Have a GREAT time.

Transatlantic is on our bucket list for future.

Looking forward to your posts.

We will end up on a cruise with you one of these days.

Have a SAFE cruise.

ENJOY !!!!

Bob & Terry

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Good Morning Everyone! Well it is embarkation day! Last night tour flight arrived right on time. Overall we had a very pleasant flight. We flew Southwest and had A29/A30 boarding and were able to get exit row. We had a couple of drinks on the flight, watched some TV and before we knew it we were landing. As typical with FLL our luggage arrived very quick. I’m always impressed with how quickly our luggage comes out. We grabbed all three checked pieces and decided to use Uber for the first time from FLL. The rude sharing pick up is just down to the right out of terminal 1 (between terminal 1 and 2 or between 3 and 4 if you’re arriving on the other side of FLL). It took our driver about 7 minutes to show up because there was an unusual amount of traffic both around the airport and in the arrivals terminal. It took just over 12 minutes for us to arrive at our hotel, Hyatt Place FLL Airport hotel in Dania Beach.

 

Why did we choose this hotel? Well it’s a far cry from The Four Seasons that is for sure. But we were arriving at 11pm and simply needed something close to the airport and port. We booked this using 8,000 Hyatt points transferred from Chase, so roughly $120 worth of points. The room was selling for over $190/nt at the time of booking so it was a good deal. This hotel also has 24/7 small restaurant / bar. Last night after getting in we ordered food around 11:45. There aren’t many choice but as you can see below the 5 basic options are quite nice.

 

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I wanted the Mediterranean bowl but they were out so we opted for a couple flat breads and had a beer. Service was very friendly and the food was pretty good for what it was.

 

d2c1b7c8a3c2642eda6e5c95ccb8722c.jpg

 

ed0af298b66371645181316a8f98c086.jpg

 

The rooms themselves are a bit dated and starting to show some signs of wear but they are very clean and spacious. I would like to add that they have very soft towels, better than the towels I had at the Aria in Vegas last weekend. They also have extra blankets which are cleaned and wrapped (so you know they’ve been cleaned). The HVAC is a bit wonky to control but definitely works well and the room is quiet.

 

Is this a luxury hotel? Hell no. But it checked the boxes for what we needed and given the deal we got on it and what the hotel is meant to be we would recommend it for a late night stay.

 

 

 

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I am excited to follow along!! I just left the Reflection this morning. We had a wonderful Southern Caribbean cruise and we’re heading home now. :(

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Enjoy your TA! I love TAs. Tried very hard to hook one up with our Med cruises this year, but they didn't work with the preferred itineraries, so it's flying both ways. :( I'll pretend I'm sailing with you.

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Cheers everyone from the pool bar! Embarkation was fantastic. No line and because of Elite Plus we were able to board right away (about 11:10am). Very smooth process. The suite line was longer than the regular line!

 

021dea7afd8396e4b301eefd3f198cdc.jpg

 

2905271c0d6e3b98ac8f87bf1ee890c5.jpg

 

Stay tuned for a room tour and I’ll keep everyone posted if I see any of our regular bartenders.

 

 

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