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CHICAGOPAUL LIVE!!!! Our First ALASKA CRUISE on the ECLIPSE!!! May 19th Sailing

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14 hours ago, JennAngel9 said:

Thank you so much for this comprehensive review ChicagoPaul!

 

I just now read the whole thread trying to see if you mentioned the hostess in Luminae and the Michael's Club concierge.  We sailed on the Eclipse back in December and were told Bianca would still be the Michael's Club hostess and that Katya would remain a hostess in Luminae.  Have you seen either of them on board?  If so, please let them know that Elizabeth (4) and Stanley (2) who fell in love with them over Christmas are still thinking of them.  

We are considering booking a last minute suite for July, but probably won't do it unless they are still around. 🙂

 

Thank you again, and have a wonderful trip!

 

I know John is in Michaels but I’ll ask about Bianca and Katya for you when we are in Michael’s waiting to disembark. 

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Good Morning. Well it is time for us to leave the beautiful Eclipse and this gorgeous suite. It’s 7:40am now. In 20 minutes we will be making our way down to Michaels Club yo wait until they kick us off the ship. We’re staying at the Hyatt which is pretty close so we will

walk our luggage there. I’ll be sure to recap everything from last night, post lots more photos, and give you my final review plus review our last day and night in Vancouver. Thanks again for following along. 

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On 5/24/2019 at 2:43 PM, chicagopaul said:

 

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Us having our champagne from our suite and cheering to our good friend’s birthday back home who is also a cruise critic member. He’s 32 today. We made sure to cheers at exactly midnight back home in Chicago. 

 

 

 

Thank you for the shoutout! Boarding my birthday cruise to Cuba tomorrow!!

 

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6 hours ago, chicagopaul said:

Good Morning. Well it is time for us to leave the beautiful Eclipse and this gorgeous suite. It’s 7:40am now. In 20 minutes we will be making our way down to Michaels Club yo wait until they kick us off the ship. We’re staying at the Hyatt which is pretty close so we will

walk our luggage there. I’ll be sure to recap everything from last night, post lots more photos, and give you my final review plus review our last day and night in Vancouver. Thanks again for following along. 

 

Staying at the Hyatt overnight before our Millie cruise on Aug. 2. We don't have any special status and booked on Hotwire but I would love any local restaurant reviews or places we must stop. We will be landing at 3:30pm and coming from Pennsylvania so we are going to be beat. I really want to explore a bit so I am going to  try for a LONG nap on the plane. 

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18 hours ago, musik07 said:

 

Staying at the Hyatt overnight before our Millie cruise on Aug. 2. We don't have any special status and booked on Hotwire but I would love any local restaurant reviews or places we must stop. We will be landing at 3:30pm and coming from Pennsylvania so we are going to be beat. I really want to explore a bit so I am going to  try for a LONG nap on the plane. 

 

The Hyatt was nice. Recently updated rooms. Very clean. Nice modern colors. Plenty of outlets and USB plugs. I was able to charge 2 phones, 2 laptops, an iPad, kindle, plus two backup chargers at the same time with still empty outlets.

 

However if you saw my Instagram story you know we were awoken at just before 5am to a fire alarm. Oh joy. And yes everyone evacuated the hotel and poured out onto the sidewalks. Thankfully it was a false alarm. As soon as I saw the firemen start to lean towards the outside we rushed back in. We were staying on 29 so wanted to snag an elevator right away. Thankfully we did. 

 

We had no problem getting a cab this morning. No traffic. Arrival to airport only took about 20/25 minutes. Once we got there we weighed our bags since we’re bringing back the two bottle of liquor in our room. We were decently under the limit thankfully. Air Canada check in was not crowded at all. Very easy process and very friendly gate staff. Used global entry for the priority security. Unfortunately no TSA pre check as this is not the US but we were able to leave shoes on. 

 

For those of you who do not know you go through customs at YVR. At least for Air Canada. Global entry had a decently long line but it moved quickly. We left our hotel at 6:45am and we were settled into our Amex partner lounge by a little before 8:00am. 

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Clearing US customs/immigration at most all Canadian airports is great, IMO. Sure, it adds to the overall time at the originating airport, but the advantage is upon arrival in the US your flight is designated as a domestic arrival. Claim your bags and GO!

 

Glad the Hyatt served you well, aside from the unfortunate fire alarm! We’ve stayed there many times over the past 15 or so years. But now we get the addition of the Regency Club, thanks again to your live threads and explaining the relationship between the Captain’s Club, MLife and World of Hyatt! 

 

Thanks again for another live thread. And enjoy the Millie Transpacific this Fall. Be sure and watch closely for those Suite prices after final payment time. We’ve done the TP in both directions and have scored Suites and price drops both times after final payment. 

 

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18 minutes ago, chicagopaul said:

 

The Hyatt was nice. Recently updated rooms. Very clean. Nice modern colors. Plenty of outlets and USB plugs. I was able to charge 2 phones, 2 laptops, an iPad, kindle, plus two backup chargers at the same time with still empty outlets.

 

However if you saw my Instagram story you know we were awoken at just before 5am to a fire alarm. Oh joy. And yes everyone evacuated the hotel and poured out onto the sidewalks. Thankfully it was a false alarm. As soon as I saw the firemen start to lean towards the outside we rushed back in. We were staying on 29 so wanted to snag an elevator right away. Thankfully we did. 

 

We had no problem getting a cab this morning. No traffic. Arrival to airport only took about 20/25 minutes. Once we got there we weighed our bags since we’re bringing back the two bottle of liquor in our room. We were decently under the limit thankfully. Air Canada check in was not crowded at all. Very easy process and very friendly gate staff. Used global entry for the priority security. Unfortunately no TSA pre check as this is not the US but we were able to leave shoes on. 

 

For those of you who do not know you go through customs at YVR. At least for Air Canada. Global entry had a decently long line but it moved quickly. We left our hotel at 6:45am and we were settled into our Amex partner lounge by a little before 8:00am. 

 

I saw your story. Glad it wasn't anything major. We are only flying into Vancouver (home from Anchorage) so we will be doing Canadian customs there and US customs at Canada Place. We are flying United through Chicago out so no customs until we have landed.  Glad to know it was nice and that there were enough outlets. I bring a USB brick when we cruise but there is always more to plug in! 

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So, Paul, are you returning to Vancouver to embark on your Trans Pacific?

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I am so sad, besides having withdrawal from my 21 days on the Millie, I was getting a fix from you and Edwards cruise.  Now what to do, what to do?

Always love your reviews and attention to detail. Can't wait for September.....

Safe travels home.

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7 minutes ago, h20cruzer said:

I am so sad, besides having withdrawal from my 21 days on the Millie, I was getting a fix from you and Edwards cruise.  Now what to do, what to do?

Always love your reviews and attention to detail. Can't wait for September.....

Safe travels home.

 

I still have lots and lots of photos to post plus full review. I’ll probably write it while I’m on the flight home so it should be ready soon. 

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23 minutes ago, chicagopaul said:

 

I still have lots and lots of photos to post plus full review. I’ll probably write it while I’m on the flight home so it should be ready soon. 

I have to emerge from my lurking position (finally). I've enjoyed many of your travels and thank you for your detailed reports, especially divulging the costs that you've encountered. They've been extremely helpful in my plans.

 

But, of course, I'm also coming forward to beg a favor! Please, please could you post the recipe for the Moroccan Chicken? You made it sound mouthwateringly delicious and I would love to experiment with it in my kitchen.

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Agree on all of the above. I truly enjoy not just the trip reports, but your talent as a writer. So talented. And that picture of you toasting at dinner, you look like the CEO.

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1 hour ago, chicagopaul said:

 

I still have lots and lots of photos to post plus full review. I’ll probably write it while I’m on the flight home so it should be ready soon. 

Noticed that one night there some type of fudge for desert.  Did you boys get it?

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We are on the Equinox right now. A couple of pictures from last night. Hope I’m not hijacking the thread. 

 

Past the Lions Gate Bridge. 

 

Diver Scallops Wellington in the Murano. 

2629F378-D498-4CAA-BFB7-F42E55C1D34A.jpeg

BE65C02F-F1CA-4393-BDB1-8C4B7F3BDD50.jpeg

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Hi again-- didn't want to bother you again during the final hours of your trip, but I thought I'd ask again just in case you learned the whereabouts of Katya or Bianca while your memory was fresh, jet-lag not withstanding. :)

 

No worries if not.  Thanks again for sharing your lovely trip and spectacular photos.

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Thank you so much ChicagoPaul! I found your review so helpful, particularly as I boarded the Eclipse right after you disembarked. We are also in an RS, so I feel like you wrote your review just for us! Very grateful for your generosity. 

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On 5/25/2019 at 11:45 PM, JennAngel9 said:

Thank you so much for this comprehensive review ChicagoPaul!

 

I just now read the whole thread trying to see if you mentioned the hostess in Luminae and the Michael's Club concierge.  We sailed on the Eclipse back in December and were told Bianca would still be the Michael's Club hostess and that Katya would remain a hostess in Luminae.  Have you seen either of them on board?  If so, please let them know that Elizabeth (4) and Stanley (2) who fell in love with them over Christmas are still thinking of them.  

We are considering booking a last minute suite for July, but probably won't do it unless they are still around. 🙂

 

Thank you again, and have a wonderful trip!

Hello Jenn,  This is John, current MCC on the Eclipse. Bianca is indeed amazing. She is currently on a well earned vacation and will be back in 2/3 weeks. Bianca will be here as Suite Manager so many congratulations to her!

Katya went on vacation a little while ago, unfortunately I'm not sure what her next assignment will be.

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On 5/27/2019 at 12:28 PM, Locksmth said:

We are on the Equinox right now. A couple of pictures from last night. Hope I’m not hijacking the thread. 

 

Past the Lions Gate Bridge. 

 

Diver Scallops Wellington in the Murano. 

2629F378-D498-4CAA-BFB7-F42E55C1D34A.jpeg

BE65C02F-F1CA-4393-BDB1-8C4B7F3BDD50.jpeg

 

 

Yum! That is one thing we didn't get this cruise but usually one of us at least does once! It's fantastic. 

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19 hours ago, jaeg1982 said:

Hello Jenn,  This is John, current MCC on the Eclipse. Bianca is indeed amazing. She is currently on a well earned vacation and will be back in 2/3 weeks. Bianca will be here as Suite Manager so many congratulations to her!

Katya went on vacation a little while ago, unfortunately I'm not sure what her next assignment will be.

 

Thanks John for commenting! And thanks for everything on board, even though we weren't in Michael's much it was a pleasure the time we did spend with you. Hope this cruise is off to a great start. 

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Now that I am on my flight back home I figured I would use the next few hours to recap everything, discuss a few things I forgot to talk about and of course give you a full recap. I will also post lots of photos when I’m back at home as well as put together all my videos into youtube videos. I’m excited to share that all with you!

 

On a quick comment about this current flight, however. I checked the flight plan that was filed and I saw we are taking a slightly unusual course to chicago. There are some storms in Chicago and North West of Illinois so they’re doing the best to avoid them. We are carrying an extra fuel load (not sure how much extra fuel they can carry as we’re basically pushing the max on this CRJ anyway with this distance) and it’s definitely a full flight. Glad they didn’t have to bump anyone for the plane being overweighted. Hopefully we land without too many delays in Chicago, but by the time this is posted we will have already landed. OK, let us get back to Celebrity.

 

So let’s start with my last day or so on board since I really did not cover that with you. Our last day on board was a sea day. The sea was calm. We received an invitation for a bridge tour on the last day of the cruise. This took place at 11:30am and then some of us on the tour were invited to lunch with the captain and other senior officers. We arrived at deck 10 forward, checked in with John (Michael’s club concierge) and went through out little security check. This was our second time on the bridge and ironically our first time was also on the Eclipse. The bridge tour is always fun. It’s fun to ask questions to the captain, to see the view, and take pictures. This day was a picture perfect day so it was a wonderful time to be on the bridge. We even saw some dolphins (well what looked like dolphins) right at the front of the ship jumping along with us. Captain Michael gave a quick talk about the facts of the ship and a little about himself and then he just opened it up to questions.

 

When everyone was done asking questions, we made our way down to Tuscan for the lunch. When we arrived some chairs / couches were set up in front of Tuscan and we all took a picture with the senior officers and Captain (I’ll post this later). When we entered the restaurant  there was a long table for around 20 people set up directly in the back center of the restaurant. The table was sitting in front of the large windows overlooking the ocean. A beautiful sight for a last lunch on board. Appetizers were set up family style already and the table looked beautiful. Name place cards were at each seat. We started from one end of the table to the other looking for our names and to our surprise we are seated directly next to the captain and across from hotel director Dan. At first the conversation is a little awkward…everyone is a little shy (with the exception of the officers who are leading the conversation). But once the wine started to flow everyone opened up, just like the win - pun intended (ok that was a really bad joke). I chatted with the captain about how he got started in the business. He worked on cargo ships for 18 years prior to joining passenger cruising. His longest time at sea, without any ports, was 52 days! Now that is a long time at sea. I believe he said there was a crew of 20 on that ship so provisioning for 52 days isn’t as bad as you might think except at the end you’re just eating potatoes and pasta. We spoke to hotel director Dan about other ships, other cruises. We spoke of his family and his young daughter who is 5 months old that he is oh so proud of. He asked us about the food in Luminae. I told him we only had one dinner there, but the Moroccan chicken we had was out of this world. I told him it was the best chicken I think I had. So without any delay he pulls out his phone, makes a phone call and a couple minutes later Sasha (the head manger of the specialty restaurants) comes by with a copy of the recipe for me. I’ll post this for all of you as well. It really was amazing chicken.

 

The food itself at lunch was a great menu and plenty of it. Family style appetizers was a couscous salad, a greek salad, and burrata with tomatoes. The second course was a small portion of risotto with a nice piece of lobster and asparagus. Very creamy….very very good. We then had 3 options. One a vegetable option, one was the filet, and the other was the branzino (sea bass). Edward, myself, the captain and Dan had the sea bass. It was fantastic. It had a great smokey grill flavor, the vegetables had a great char on them, and everything was seasoned very well. I guess when you cook for the senior officers everything better be on point and it was! The couple across from us both had the filet, medium rare. It looked perfect and they said it was excellent. We finished the meal with a trio of desserts which included a creme brûlée, a chocolate cake, and a chocolate / coffee moose? After lunch we shook hands with everyone, thanked them, and we were off to unfortunately start packing.

 

When we got back to the room we started doing some packing and skipped having a nap that day. We took our time packing, watching a little TV, checking up on my e-mails, etc. Spent a little bit on the balcony for one last time. Our butler Hilario called around 4:30 or so asking if we needed anything and telling us our dry cleaning was ready which he wanted to bring by. That was the last thing we needed to pack and his timing was perfect. We gave him a card with his tip and an obligatory hug. Hilario is a hugger haha, and we’ve had him before so a hug was more than appropriate. As a butler the one thing I really appreciated about him is he would always offer suggestions for things, but never overwhelmed us or bothered us more than we wanted. He knew how to keep appropriate distance if that makes any sense? For example he asked us mid cruise if we wanted anything to nibble on in the room, something sweet perhaps? We told him no, but he had suggested some jelly bean type of candy on board so we said sure. When wh arrived he had a big bowl of jelly bean candy, a big bowl of what are essentially sour patch kids, and some cookies. All nicely wrapped so they stay fresh and we can have them for a few days. Sure enough every now and then we’d have a little. One morning he asked me how everything was going and in a joking matter I said I was a little hungover and he suggested he bring me a special green drink that is very good for hangovers. He always offered other things too such as cheese plates, tea, wine and cheese, etc. Occasionally we took him up on it and had a cheese plate delivered. One time we came back from port and found some shrimp and even a plate of donuts. Nothing crazy or over the top, but nicely put together and something we enjoyed nibbling on. On this cruise they decided to change the formal night (forgive me evening chic, haha…I still call it formal) for some reason and while it was in the daily changed I didn’t even notice it. Hilario made sure that knew and even rushed a shirt back from the cleaners so we’d have it for that night. We didn’t use him for anything crazy, but if we did I’m pretty confident he would have done a great job. Given that he is servicing the Royal / Penthouse and he was on the Edge servicing the Iconic Suites I think he is one of their top people and his personality and dedication proves that.

 

After packing and getting ready we headed to the Martini Bar. Our plan was first to book a future cruise but internet was spotty during the day (hence my limited posting during the last day) but started to pick up during martini time. We figured we’d use this time at the martini bar to double check a couple itineraries before going to future cruises. I think we got to the Martini Bar around 5:45pm. Grabbed a couple seats and ordered one of our last drinks on board. A couple people around the bar had ordered martini flights. Wayan asked us if we’d like one but we declined. We stuck to our regular Ketel One up with a twist. We looked up some pricing and itineraries, chatted with a nice couple next to us, then went to book another cruise. Future cruises had a few passengers there booking cruises but one person, Tanika from Jamaica (well now she lives in Pensacola, FL) was free to help. She was an absolute delight and a true salesperson (in the good way, not that bad way). We ended up booking the Dec 6th, 2020 cruise on the Silhouette out of Buenos Aires. It looks like a fantastic itinerary with all brand new ports for us and I finally get to see the penguins! I have an obsession (Edward may call it an unhealthy obsession) with penguins so this will be a trip that we very much look forward to. After booking Tanika even gave us a couple Celebrity goodies. One was a very nice Celebrity pen (I collect their pens). And the other was travel adapters for international outlets. She was very sweet so if you’re on the Eclipse and need to book a future cruise ask for her. She knew her cabin choices extremely well, ship design, etc. We felt like we were talking to someone just as obsessed with cruising as we are which isn’t always the case with future cruise staff.

 

After booking we headed back to the Martini Bar where we ordered a drink on the rocks this time (usually thats a bit less liquor at the martini bar we find and a little more water haha). We again chatted a bit at the bar and started to say goodbyes. At 8:30 we headed to Murano for our final dinner. That night we were having steak Diane in Murano, one of our favorite dishes. We were seated at table 5 (a large table in the far back right corner) which is probably one of the best tables in the restaurant in my opinion. We started with an appetizer; we both had the risotto, and then went right into the main course of steak diane. I’m usually a pretty simple person when it comes to steak. I believe the only thing that should ever touch a steak is salt and pepper (lots of pepper) and just a little olive oil and/or butter. But, since the first time we’ve had it as an off menu item in Murano we’ve been hooked and usually order it once per cruise if we’re in Murano frequently. Each waiter or manager makes it ever so slightly different as they seem to put their own little twist on it. This is mainly because they’re tasting the sauce multiple times as they’re making it. In this case the steak was pounded pretty thin (first time we’ve had this in Murano) and cooked rare, but finished off in the sauce bring it to a perfect medium rare. The steak was very tender, the sauce was extremely well balanced. Usually I prefer the sauce to go a little more in one direction or the other (meaning either slightly extra dijon or slightly more brandy), but in this case the sauce was really a perfect diane sauce. We ended up skipping dessert. We said goodbye our sommelier and the staff and headed to Martini Bar just to say final goodbyes. We gave them another extra tip, shook their hands and wished them well. Putu Putra was leaving to go home the next day and you could tell he was very excited, but also a little bittersweet feeling.

 

We then went up to the World Class bar to have a final drink with Nicholas and Salvador. Edward ordered a very special Gin Fizz (with egg whites) from Salvador and Nicholas made me my usual Zacapa above the clouds. We stayed there for a little while so we could run into a few other people to say goodbye. Nicholas gave me a very generous pour on my drink so it was going to take me a while to finish it anyway.

 

We said our goodbyes to passengers we met and then to Nicholas and Salvador. Nicholas will be leaving for the Silhouette soon (not sure exactly when) but you might see him there. He is the very good looking guy from Italy, but living in the UK for some time which is why his accent sounds unique (more Swedish in my opinion). He is always smiling like a big kid who is seeing his best friend after a family getaway. If you see Salvador (he is from Mexico) he will likely be a wearing a very stylish hat and always moving with a sort of quick, defined purpose. Salvador has a true obsession for mixology. He knows a great deal about every spirit it seems and he trains other bartenders on the ship about specialty cocktails. If you ever want to know more about anything regarding liquor, but especially tequila since I think that is his favorite, he would be more than willing talk about it.

 

After our goodbyes we walked back to our room. You know the walk…the walk where you find yourself thinking “didn’t we just board this ship?” We got back to our suite, set our alarms and off to sleep we reluctantly went knowing that when we awoke the cruise would be over.

 

We woke around 6:45 / 7:00am. We took our time showering and packed the final things in our carryon luggage. As usual, OCD me made multiple passes through the cabin making sure we didn’t leave anything behind all the while asking Edward if he had his passport at least 5 or 6 times. I stepped out onto the balcony, took a couple final pictures and we left at 8am sharp to go to Michael’s Club to wait to disembark. Michaels’ club was crowded with every seat taken so we stood near the door for a bit and then noticed an open seat at the bar. We sat there and figured…well the cruise isn’t technically over yet. Perhaps one more drink? Juli, a friendly young gentleman bartender from the Philippines was working behind the bar today which much too enthusiasm for this early in the morning (I say this in a nice way). People were ordering coffees, some were ordering beers, some were asking for pastries. Edward and I both ordered a Ketel One and orange juice since they did not have grapefruit juice. We just sat there near the bar and looked at excursions for our next cruise. The port was having some issues getting bags off the ship. John walked around proficiently checking on people and apologizing for the wait. He called into his radio in a very polite but stern tone “Michaels Club is full, is the suite luggage ready yet?” While I’m sure he wanted to use several expletives, he of course kept his composure. I think finally around 8:25am or so the red tags (suites / zenith) were called. We could have gotten off then but we were staying one night at the Hyatt and figured there was no need to rush. We ordered a second drink and Michael’s Club started to clear out. John came over and even during busy debarkation showed us some pictures of penguins and the Antarctica cruise that he said we should book. After we finished the last of our drinks it was around 9:30 and John escorted us out to the outside deck on 5 where he moved a few barricades and right to the front of the line to leave the ship. We bid our farewells, heard that ding for the last time, and walked down away from the ship off to retrieve our luggage.

 

Off the Ship

 

The luggage at Vancouver port wasn’t set up perfectly, but not poorly either. Once we finally found the Suites / Zenith area (which we honestly shouldn’t have missed) we saw our bags neatly together and off we went. Passport control was a breeze. We decided to walk to the Hyatt; no need for a taxi. But if you had booked transportation through a ship…My goodness…those lines looked beyond long. Not chaotic, because you know, it’s Canada they know how to organize lines (but if it was the US it would have been madness). I don’t know if these were lines for Celebrity or other ships in port but I knew it was not a line I wanted to wait in. We walked ourselves over to the Hyatt on Burrard which was slightly uphill but not too bad despite Edward complaining most of the way.

 

We got to the hotel and the check in line was empty. We checked in and our room was available. We were upgraded to the 29th floor and away we went to the room. After we checked in I noticed a couple tour buses pull up and lots of people in line to check in. When I mean a lot… I mean a lot. The line snaked around the lobby. So if you are booked on a transfer that brings you here, sit at the front of the bus. When we came back later to the hotel the line was even longer! HOWEVER, if you have Hyatt status guess what…there is a little separate line at the very front. This is for Discoverist, Explorist, and Globalist of Hyatt’s loyalty program. Part of me sort of wishes that the line was very long when we got there just so we could go right up to the front but that is the sadistic part of my personality showing. But hey, like George Clooney said in the movie Up in the Air; loyalty has its privileges.

 

After we checked into the hotel we relaxed a little. I charged some tech pieces, checked some e-mails, and caught up on Instagram. The room itself had a very nice view and was recently remodeled. The hotel itself is older (at least as far as high rise hotels are concerned) but you’d never really know it from the recent renovations. Elevators are quick, hallways are bright, airy, and beautiful designed and the room itself has more plugs and USB outlets that you could open a small Apple or Samsung store.

 

 

Extra Costs on Board:

 

Premium Wine Tasting: $50 per person. I was hoping we’d have more wine per variety to drink but this wine was pretty expensive so I guess I shouldn’t complain. Fredrice ran this class and it was extremely informative and included some cheeses and learning about the pairings. His amount of wine knowledge is immense, he speaks with a very nice accent, and likes to tell some jokes here and there so it was quite entertaining.

 

Extra drink costs: I think we spent around $80 to $90 total or so in up-charges for wine at dinner and up-charges for cocktails at World Class bar.

 

Excursions: The only excursion we booked was the Pilot’s Choice helicopter tour to two glaciers. This cost, WITH the 20% discount we received for booking online was $798.00 We used all of our OBC from Celebrity for this booking and had to come out of pocket around $148 I believe. We had additional OBC from our TA which we had left over. I think we had $120 or so left over and this will be refunded to our credit card. THIS WAS DEFINITELY WORTH IT IN OUR OPINION! HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP! 

 

Service Bars & Restaurants

 

We were happy with everyone on board. Service was always great at our favorite Martini Bar but given this cruise, we didn’t find it that crowded. The few times it was busy the bartenders turned out drinks pretty quick. They still were doing their fun martini flights, practicing some of the flare bartending and in general just having a good time with guests. Cafe bacio was prepared for the crowds. We only stopped there a couple times, but they had a rope set up to help with the lines and always at least 3 or 4 people working behind the counter (plus people taking orders by the tables). Given the colder weather this proved a busy place. But I was only there a few times, so I can only mention what I witnessed when I was there.

 

World Class bar always had some decent crowds, which is rare! A lot of it has to do with the team working the bar. I really can’t say enough about Nicholas and Salvador. They really ran a great operation and work extremely well together. They are the reason the bar always had some people sitting at it and in some cases multiple tables full as well.

 

We were extremely pleased with the Murano staff. From the waitstaff to the maitre d, it was very well run, food preparation and timing was excellent, and it had exactly the type of atmosphere I come to expect from Murano.

 

Cleanliness on board the ship was great. The bathrooms we used mostly, which were the ones near the theater (world class), martini bar, and the bathroom near Ensemble Lounge were always very clean, plenty of cloth towels, etc.

 

Royal Suite & Michaels The suite was in great shape. We didn't notice much of any wear or tear in the cabin. As we requested (you'll see this from my room tour video when booked) our liquor was correct in the room, the mini bar was filled with the items we wanted, etc. We didn't utilize Michael's Club much this cruise mainly because we wanted to be outside. But the staff we encountered were fantastic (special shout out to Dimen we met on the first day and Arlene who we saw at Michaels and around the ship - bartenders). 

 

John the MCC was very nice and gracious. As you saw he even answered a question on here! He was prim and proper as you'd expect him to be, but still had a laid back attitude so he was very approachable. He was great to talk to when we did occasionally pop into Michaels and gave us some advice on the cruise we ended up booking on board. We didn't need to utilize him for much since we went to our butler for basic items but it was good knowing he was there for whatever was needed. 

 

Live Music - Unfortunately we didn’t hear much live music on board. We are used to hearing the band play in the atrium at least at some point from maybe a little after 6 to 8:00pm or perhaps a DJ or the guitarist but not much this cruise. Mostly just the music piped through the system near the martini bar. I did notice the solo guitarist was in Ensemble lounge very frequently and someone commented that the 2 piece (I believe it was a 2 piece) that was playing around the ship was very good. Just wish they had a little more of something between 6 and 8. Or maybe there was and we just missed it because we were lost in conversation? Could be the case honestly, I’ll need to check the daily.

 

Entertainment: We only saw one show in the main theater and that was the production show Topper. We’ve seen it plenty of times before. Always a fun little show. This time around I thought the dancing was very good, but the vocals were not the best during the show. Granted there are some high pitched portions of the show which are always difficult but I would say I’ve heard this show sung better before. We missed the comedian (we really should have seen his late night show) but we heard from multiple people that he was very funny.

 

Milos the naturist on board was great! We never saw him in the theater in person but they’d replay his shows on the TV and I found myself watching them while relaxing or getting ready for dinner. They also had him narrate the Hubbard Glacier while we were there and I really enjoyed his input and relaxed manner in which he spoke and explained things. So if you’re on board and looking for something to do during the day check out his showings in the theater or simply catch them on your TV later.

 

Activities during the day. We don’t participate in many “Celebrity Life” activities but it seems like archery was popular and I saw a lot of people at the dance class in the foyer on the first sea day. Martini Bar and World Class bar were conducting their classes this cruise and while they didn’t have a big turnout we knew some people who went to them that really enjoyed them. There were a handful of wine tastings as well. Keep in mind these liquor tastings do have an extra fee with the exception of the free wine tasting which I believe is for Elite members or maybe it is for Select as well. I’ll have to take a look at my info when I’m back at home. I didn't pay particular attention to trivia, etc. but that is why I uploaded the daily papers for everyone! As a side note I am going to compile them all in one downloadable file. 

 

We finally took the galley tour! We did the free tour which was offered I believe on the first sea day. It was very informative and while there were a lot of people going on the tour they broke it up into small groups. While others waited to take the tour the head sous chef and Lazo, the head of F&B (Food & Beverage) answered questions. It was actually just as entertaining as the galley tour so we’re very glad we went. This was a free tour.

 

Passengers: I would like to take a moment and talk about the passengers on this cruise because something definitely needs to be said. I’ve seen several posts on cruise critic talking about some passengers becoming problematic recently. Some will say this is who Celebrity is marketing too.  They’ve also talked about issues with some passengers just being rude in general, etc. Personally I’ve rarely seen this. One interesting fact about this cruise is that very few cruisers had cruises Celebrity before. I believe the number was only a little over 400. The rest were new to Celebrity and many were new to cruising in general.

 

We’ve always been happy with passengers we meet on board. Sometimes some are little less desirable than others and we find this mostly with the 7 day Caribbean cruises, but in general we really like the passengers on Celebrity and find that they greatly enhance the cruise experience for us. This cruise I found the passengers to be even that much nicer and even more pleasant. Everyone was friendly. No one seemed to be in a major rush. Everyone was in a good mood and polite to staff (with the exception of one thing I overheard but we don’t need to discuss that now). Overall, I was very much impressed by the passengers. We had met so many people we were talking to around the ship that I easily started forgetting names and even admittedly faces at times. We met many great couples and people traveling with friends and family. Everyone on this ship had a genuine interest in travel and in seeing Alaska. Maybe we need to cruise here more often?

 

OK, quick side note as I’m still typing this on the plane. The FA just passed through again for probably the 6th time in economy asking if anyone would like anything? So far I continue to be impressed with Air Canada in economy. We’re flying them again to Vancouver in September (same exact flight actually) and very glad we booked them. Why can’t the legacy carriers in the states have this service in economy?

 

Would we cruise Alaska again? Absolutely! We will keep an eye on future cruises and will consider them. For some reason before I always dismissed them. I had this idea that it would be too cold, but even in the cold temps we had (really not that cold) found it most enjoyable and visually stunning. Plus the fresh air could wake you up regardless of how tired you may have been from the night before.

 

I always say that the most important thing about cruising are the people we meet. There is no denying that was true this time around but this time around we had such stunning scenery that the scenery matched the beauty of the people we met.

 

As always thank you for coming along on our journey with us. Thank you so much for all your Vancouver recommendations! Many of you not only commented on here but also reached out via Instagram and some on Facebook to give us tips, tricks, and restaurant recommends and we’re very much appreciative. If any of you, at any time, are ever visiting Chicago please feel free to reach out to me. I am more than happy to give you whatever recommendations I can, point you in the right direction, or even give you a tour myself if I have time. Fee free to direct message me here (if that is still a feature on CC?) or on Instagram PaulKBlackburn

 

In the coming days I’ll be posting as many photos as possible. Between Edward and I we took hundreds upon hundreds plus lots of video. I’ll compile that all for you and have it posted this week on here.

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Great trip review. One question. Did they have a 3 night dining plan for sale during the 1st day.

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Following and enjoying your review as always.  Wanted to say that one of the highlights for me is when you write your "Moment of reflection."  Sage advice worth pondering.  Thank you.

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