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Summit 1-25-2020 Sailing – "Live" Blog, Cat Blog, Vlogs


David Kane
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Reminds me  of out last cat..Patches.  So loving...but a bit of a brat.  They  say they are "money cats"  that bring good  $$ luck to their people.. We never won the lotto and the only money involved was the care and feeding of her Majesty! Miss her greatly.

 

Looks like Misty Knight is doing quite well!

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Love your writing style and will be following along.  We don't cruise until May 9th out of Barcelona. 

 

We have 2 cats and 2 dogs and once they see the suitcases .. the four of them start conspiring -- maybe if I throw up -- they won't go ... maybe if I start shedding all my hair --- they won't go.  Never mind that they actually love their sitter who spoils them rotten while we are away! 

 

 

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Summit 1/25/2020 Sailing – Live Blog, Cat Blog, Vlogs!

Good Evening.

After a year away from Celebrity, mostly involving a summer trip to Yellowstone to commemorate my mother’s 75th (!) birthday (complete with a room in the Historic Lodge with a Geyser-View – sadly, the 4 perks were not included – and the memorable theft/gift of a bar glass) we are once again ready to get back on Board and see what has changed. Lingering suspicions remain that this ‘Live’ Blog will quickly become a ‘Recap’ after day 3 as is usually the case, but until then, we’ll try to keep things tight.

I’d like to give a big thank you and shout out to Arno, ChicagoPaul, DRJKRetired, HCat, Bo1953, Jim_Lain, Patty Knapp, and all the other frequent Celebrity posters who provide far more accurate commentary than I ever will.

Note: This Blog is rated H for hu-mor. Curmudgeons are hereby advised.

Background

DW (who I will refer to by her initials XZ just to circumvent convention) and I are mid 30’s/early 40’s with no kids and one cat who hates it when we go cruising. We were big Disney Park fans until their pricing structure got WAY out of whack and made the spontaneous experience entirely unenjoyable and, for my 40th, we decided to give cruising a try.

Our first trip was in an RS on the Infinity for Halloween in 2015. We came right back for more, booking a RS on the Summit for 2016, an SS guarantee on the Reflection and another SS on the Summit, both in 2017. Starting 2018 we did an SS Aft on the Equinox, and SS on the Summit and, in 2019, an SS on the Equinox.

This time, we are back for yet another SS with yet *another* set of move-up bids which we suspect will amount to nothing. As near as we can tell, these bids are like job interviews – if you don’t hear back within the first few days, you aren’t getting it, despite Celebrity’s stated policy to tell you 2 days before sailing. (I will note that the whole thing feels kind of weird – waiting and hoping for the opportunity to pay someone more money. That said, the move up bids are *so much less* than the initial prices of the upper tier suites when we booked a year ago it makes such forlorn hopes worth it).

This Trip

We booked this vacation a year ago on the Equinox and continue to benefit from cruising on the least popular week of the entire year. For an added discount, we are sailing from Puerto Rico, and with the OBC offered this was perhaps the best rate we have ever received.

A note on PR; a few trips ago a snowstorm took out a good chunk of the Mid West on the day of our return flight and we got an extended vacation in the Old City (along with about 6,000 other people) for a few days. We really enjoyed our time there and can’t wait to spend a few pre-cruise days there this go around at El Convento. These will likely be briefly summarized as other people’s pre-cruise pictures are always the ‘scroll throughs’ for me; it’s not that I don’t find the Newark Radisson interesting…it’s just that I don’t.

 

Goals this go around include:

--The Edge-i-Fi-Cation, also known as ‘The Hoppening’ – since we were last on our favorite ship has been dry-docked and then wet-docked. We can’t wait to see and document the changes! From the Retreat Lounge to the…whatever they call the thing at the Front? The Sun Deck at the Retreat? The Retreat at the Lounge? to the un-themed Casino, to all the little differences in-between. We’ve heard of some pretty hilarious changes on these boards and, puns in hand, we are ready to experience them. After all, what’s the worst that could Hoppen?

  --Truffle-Shuffle: So this is an interesting one. Last time on the Summit the Shuffle Board equipment was basically two sticks without pushers and 3 disks, one of which may have been a drink coaster. Since we enjoying Shuffling so much XZ got me a professional, collapse-able, travel shuffleboard set (the pucks weigh like 20 lbs. in total and absolutely do not look like landmines…that should be fun to explain to airport security). The one question remains…did they tear up the playing surface? Or is it still there, abandoned and un-used. (If it’s gone, we’ve brought painter’s tape to mark out our own course – one way or another, there will be a Shuffle-Off!).

The Cat

Unfortunately to report, we have had a significant shift in cattitude. Our previous Cat Complainer vanished sometime last March, presumably and hopefully to live out the rest of her days as a free range mouser in a neighbor’s barn. We managed to make it an entire two weeks before one of us had 6 shots of Buffalo Trace at the local biker bar and then noticed we were passing by the town animal shelter on the drive home. We’re always had a fine tradition of adopting the unadoptable and it just so happened they had this chubby Tortoiseshell locked up for far too long.

So, for the first time, we exposed ‘Misty Knight’ to the worst reviews that CC (and another site) had to offer and, aside from still being somewhat bitey (gotta love that Tortitude), she is ready to take up the mantle as our new official ‘Cat Complainer.’ Each day we will review one “Cat Complaint” about Cruising and see, in person, if it’s valid. This little tradition of ours comes from our very first cruise, where, during a thoroughly enjoyable Q & A session with the Senior Officers on stage, a guest took a little bit of everyone’s time to complain to the Captain about how there wasn’t enough Diet Coke on board which isn’t even possible. This section is a far more politic way of noting my displeasure with other rude and entitled passengers than inviting them to get off the ship for a self-guided tour on sea days.

Social

Our vlog site is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcTrwSLzNW8FzVVdyz3yC4w

 

XZ’s new, almost-ready personal blog site for cruising advice for Gen Xer’s is www.poshcruise.blog

 

We are also making an attempt to step into the vastness of Celebrity’s own social media sites, including Instaspam, Twiffer, and Facebag.

We draw inspiration for our begrudging social media efforts from:

 

Bill Raffel (Gooooood Morning!): https://www.youtube.com/user/billwi

 

Overy Joy’d (Isaac Matthews – Celebrity Activities Manager): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm9zd-ZqvFtaV83qPKMu8iw

 

Alex Codd Choreography: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgPCPqYTj5pfqMJVVRdHQkQ

 

Duo Destiny (ship’s aerial act, currently on America’s Got Talent 2!): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjZQneUlKSAsJvf1CjDp9Bw

 

A Note on Questions

One of the most enjoyable features of CC is answering questions for future cruisers. However, to add a wrinkle of unhelpfulness, I will endeavor to ask the least appropriate people I can find. Want to know if Sky Vodka is on the Premium Package? I’ll find one of the Celebrity Singers to pose that question to! Interested in Debarkation Times? Perhaps the Chief Engineer will have some insights. All kidding aside, I’ll do my best to respond for at least the first 3 days, after which the ‘LIVE’ part of this blog becomes increasingly inaccurate.

The Self-Indulgent Nature of this Blog

“But wait! Where are the pictures of food? Sunsets? That Café El Bacio Frappa-dappa-Chino-meano that everyone uses their macro-zoom on? All I see are pictures of your wife in funny hats…what gives?”

We continue to have our running debate about photographing meals. On one hand, we love to see pictures of plated meals, especially in Luminae. On the other hand, it feels…I don’t know…somehow a little weird to us to be photographing away instead of enjoying the dining experience.

 

And Here We Go, the luggage has been spotted and the cat is…angrily ignoring us.

 

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Oh that cat. I am so sorry your last one got wanderlust; we have had that happen and it's not happy. But Misty Knight! This photo looks exactly like our late Jenny, who was more than half Siamese. Same "apple head" profile and dainty gams. She could cuss us out in 6 or 7 languages, and also apparently thought of us as her kittens-- her language of love was that of the mama cat.
Enjoying your humor immensely. For accents and whatnot, try a long press on the letter key. My iPhone has had that for several OS's now. Kinda fun! Uūîįß (ess-zed!) étć ętč!¡


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On 1/22/2020 at 5:16 PM, David Kane said:

These will likely be briefly summarized as other people’s pre-cruise pictures are always the ‘scroll throughs’ for me; it’s not that I don’t find the Newark Radisson interesting…it’s just that I don’t.

 

 

OK, this is the most entertaining trip report I've read yet.  Literally laughed (possibly snorted) out loud at the above.  Can't wait for the rest, including from the lovely Queen Tortitude.

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Hello fellow Rhode Islander!  We tried our first Celebrity cruise last March on the Summit out of San Juan.  We loved the ship and I think I am hooked on Celebrity!  We have a cruise scheduled on Royal's Symphony of the Seas in May and then a Celebrity Equinox cruise booked for October.  It will be a good comparison for us.  I am really a smaller ship kind of gal.  The Symphony wouldn't be my pick, but I am cruising with my brother and his family, so....I am sure we will have fun.

Enjoy PR and if you visit Condado, Orozco's is a fab restaurant with the best tri-fongo!

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Cruise Day –1


San Juan Day 2


This morning began rather nicely after getting a good 10 hours of sleep needed to shake off the fuzzy headedness of travel coupled with having the hotel bar positioned not more than 18 steps from the door to our room. Hotel El Convento is interesting. The building itself is striking and so picturesque I’m surprised there isn’t a Kardashian permanently lounging in the central courtyard. Other aspects of it display the puzzling oddness one encounters and occasionally thrives on during vacation – for instance, the Manager’s Wine and Cheese Hour. In most hotels, the complimentary drink social is a is a rather reserved event, with several selections of cocktails available and the occasional plated canape.

 

Here, on the 3rd floor, they have opted to place a dozen opened bottles of wine in an ice bucket next to a  pyramid of cubed cheese and let the retirees have it for as long as it lasts. Despite my best efforts and having to stiff arm Eustice off of the Pinot Noir (and watching cubed cheese become a cartoon-esque disaster as Milton accidentally knocks over the pyramid and then slips on it when it hits the floor) I managed to come away with a single glass which made for a rather lovely, but rather sober, evening.


After having breakfast in Courtyard, a lovely interior-tented affair with a combination of fresh area and a tiny bird that screams as if the world is coming to and end, we set out to photograph the hotel as that’s what one does here. I don’t know if we’ll ever have the time to post these to the 17 difference boards and sites so I’ll only include a few here, to attempt to remain on topic.

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Upon achieving the roof of the Hotel we were able to gaze out over Old San Juan and take in…all the graffiti from last evening’s protest. They spray painted the streets, the sides of the Hotel and even the 600 year old church across the way which puts in a more serious light the amount of public displeasure. However, by 8am the paint buckets (and heavy police presence) was already in evidence and by 11am all of the graffiti was painted over in stroke of civil and civic pride.

 

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We decided to briefly venture out, first to a tapas bar we remembered from the last time we were here that had a pleasant bar and a sunken garden for a back patio with jugs of Sangria which had become, since then, an Argentine Pizza Kitchen? I suppose that’s what a few years does in the passing. From there, we went across town to the Supermarket to buy some flowers for the Retreat Lounge Concierge, a friend of XZ’s from the last time we were on the Summit.


The undertone about the city was definitely tense, with graffiti from the previous night covering many of the chain stores (Subway had broken windows)and targeting businesses that tended to cater expressly to tourists. Local stores were seemingly spared any defacement at all which, while nice to see, certainly spoke volumes about the current sentiment about town. While a very, very heavy police presence, in the cafes and on the corners, had us feeling almost too safe, we decided that it would best to be off the streets before the sun even thought about setting.

 

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Luckily, the service at the Hotel continued to be flawless, and I was even able to fight off Ester for a split of the Brut tonight.
 

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Misty Knight - Day 3

 

After enjoying a splendid meal of flaked chicken in gravy provided to me by the temporary food giver, I am now curled up on her lap, purring loudly, and licking her hand.
 

I hope my affection will make her give me more wet food. I do not enjoy the dried crunchy bits the permanent food givers have left for me.  

 

It is warm yet cloudy, so there is no wildlife for me to observe from my fortress of solitude, and this makes me sad. Perhaps I will flick some of my toys around to break up the monotony. 
 

But for now, I will rest on the temporary food giver. 

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Onboarding - the Actual Cruise Day 1

 

We were up and at 'em at...6am, because of course we were. Breakfast was potatoes and toast, to not only lay down a good base for the rest of the day but to desperately try to keep gluttony at bay.

 

From there, we eyed the now quiet streets of the Old City, still diligently patrolled by more police than one tends to see, you know, on live PD. But it seemed the disquiet of the city had thankfully parted with the coming of Saturday.

 

After breakfast and saying goodbye to the Prioress (the skeptical, one eyed cat who governs the Hotel) we took a cab to the Pan American Pier which, as described, was 22 minutes from the hotel but, again, when you have a Taxi driver who cares less for all his tomorrows than one might for all their todays, one can make it in 11 minutes...or less.

 

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The Pan American pier is...rather different than those we have queued up for before. The brutal efficency and general anger at the port of Bayonne was replaced by the calm demeanor of the attendants at the Pan American pier. For the first time in 6 cruises we actually had to wait an entire 23 minutes to board the ship!

 

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Once set, however, we were quickly through the queue and on board, enjoying the absolute mayhem that the newly re-edge-i-fied Retreat Lounge (Michael's Club) could bring, as follows:

 

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Onboarding Day 1

 

Usually, once onboard, suite guests were escorted to Michael's Club to await cabins and luggage. However, in the post Egde-i-fi-cation, one now goes directly to the room to drop off your carry-ons and heads to Michael....er, the 'Retreat Lounge' from there.

 

I have to admit, the brutal efficency of not hauling baggage is actually nice, but there is something small lost in translation. Regardless, baggage dropped and, as previously recorded, Retreat Lounge visited, we set out to see the ship. BUT FIRST, some notes; Rob and Susan, who we have cruised with numerous times before, are back on the Summit, which is delightful. And poor Mr. Albert, who has been slowing down for a number of years, is longer. A sad day for the old guard.

 

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Despite intentions we were immediately ushered into Luminae for lunch which, despite avowing pictures of food of any kind, is described below:

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16 hours ago, David Kane said:

Onboarding Day 1

 

Usually, once onboard, suite guests were escorted to Michael's Club to await cabins and luggage. However, in the post Egde-i-fi-cation, one now goes directly to the room to drop off your carry-ons and heads to Michael....er, the 'Retreat Lounge' from there.

 

I have to admit, the brutal efficency of not hauling baggage is actually nice, but there is something small lost in translation. Regardless, baggage dropped and, as previously recorded, Retreat Lounge visited, we set out to see the ship. BUT FIRST, some notes; Rob and Susan, who we have cruised with numerous times before, are back on the Summit, which is delightful. And poor Mr. Albert, who has been slowing down for a number of years, is longer. A sad day for the old guard.

 

20200125_115233.thumb.jpg.db337de710871ef4f1a9b582a71b5219.jpg

 

Despite intentions we were immediately ushered into Luminae for lunch which, despite avowing pictures of food of any kind, is described below:

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great review ! love xz's suit where can get something similar?

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Hi David - I'm enjoying following you and XZ on this sailing.  Just disembarked Summit 1/25 and we loved it!  Wishing you both a wonderful cruise!  
Patty  (thanks for the shout out on your intro ❤️)

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Cruise Day 1 - Continued and Concluded

 

As previously noted, the muster drill smashed directly into sail away AND the opening of Luminae. In our experience, it is important to get to Luminae early on day 1 as that's the time the servers are assigned to tables for the rest of the week and the tables are assigned to guests. Now, see, this isn't really a thing, but it TOTALLY is. On a previous cruise, we had booked Specialty Dining the first three nights and when we finally made it to Luminae we were stuck in the dead center of the room for the rest of the week, instead of one of the porthole tables which are the most desireable.

 

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I could conclude the night rather succiently here, but it would gloss over what has, within 24 hours, because the absolute best part of the trip - the Staff. We have always had a fondness for whatever pixie dust they sprinkle on the Summit and this cruise the magic has apparently been air-dropped because the staff is. freaking. adorable.

 

First off, Anatasiia has been promoted from MCC to the Suites Manager. We onboarded with roses and a gift for her and she returned the favor with a Whisky Service set wrapped up in dailies for us which is beyond what we have ever seen before.

 

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Next up, we had heard the rumor of 'Alexandra the Great,' the bartender in Micha...er, the Retreat. Now, we have had a lot of bartenders in this location over the years, including Norbert, he of the Hungarian Curse, and Bloody-Mary Marco. I am astounded to report that Alexandra does them all one better. She is charming, witty, quick, personable and everything that one would ever want for in a bartender. Her only shortcoming is apparently she didn't want to see me more than once during the evening, because the amount of Whisky she poured me....put it like this; I didn't wake up drunk, I woke up still drinking.

 

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Finally, let's hear from the Fuzzy Meance with her first cat complaint:

 

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So, myth BUSTED on this one. We saw Anu, the butler who also had the penthouse and royal suites to attend, twice during the first 4 hours on board. We were so engaged talking to him he almost ended up at dinner with us!

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Cruise Day 2 - Paper. Work.

 

As previously noted, I woke up not just half in the bag, but with the bag entirely over my head, at 6am, because of course we woke up at 6am. *sigh*. Before we attend to the day, let's do some paperwork from onboarding and today's dailies. Of note! The Officer's pages are gone! Here is what remains:

 

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Cruise Day 2 - Up. And at 'em.

 

After a quick breakfast at the new buffet (a note on that buffet - we enjoyed the previous layout just fine and didn't harbor the extended grudge that many others did with the MC Escher-esque line that resulted in you either getting pizza OR desert, you never really knew until you got to the front, and don't you DARE cut in because someone's Italian Grandmother with cut you with a prison shank BUT the new layout is fantastic! The cut-out stations make it 100% less stabby to get food) involving an Eggs Benedict Station (!) we decided to Retreat to the, uh, Retreat (still need to come up with a better name for it; currently in the running 'Anatasiia's Lounge' or 'they literally just spray painted it white, didn't they?') and from there to the Retreat Sundeck where one of us went tubbing and the other presumably fell asleep because where did those 2 hours go?

 

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The Retreat Sundeck requires some more consideration, but along with the cruise critic's mild hatred of the Hoppen-Stance that has spilled all over the suites room and Anatasiia's Club, the space is clearly call the Retreat SunDeck, not the Retreat Shade Deck, for a reason. Aside from that, the initial impression is that the space is large and wondeful, with multiple levels and a bevy of lounge options available. It also appears continually empty, which, from the dude who doesn't know what ports we are going to because he doesn't plan on getting off the ship, is fantastic.

 

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From there, we waited out that odd 1/2 an hour between 11:00am and 11:30 where there is no food available and then re-descended on the buffet which now features a Vegetarian Station, a Vegan Station, 4 different types of Fried Rice, and 6 Indian Dishes. Celebrity has absolutely upp'd their game here. Previously it was rather good, but this new offering goes above and beyond. How good? So good I forgot to take pictures, which I will remedy shortly enough.

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Day 2 - on through the night!

 

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After relaxing for the better part of the day we had a quick change and then a sail away on the Retreat Sundeck - say what you will, they are finding ways to utlize this space more than ever. We had enjoyabe time with Sophie, Toni and Anatasiia (the Michael's Clu, er, Retreat Concierges). This night was evening Chic and for the first time the guests did not disappoint. There is a group onboard known as Team Cocktail who decided to get their 30+ staterooms all dressed in 1920s chic for the evening which was fantastic to see!

 

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Dinner was excellent per the usual, with the ability to order off the MDR and BLU quite enjoyable. Interestingly enough, the staff of Luminae has entirely entirely turned over and we are getting to know the new staff at a fantastic pace - they are certainly a gang of characters!

 

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After dinner, we took in Soundtrack, one of the longer running shows. What to say, what to say. Let's see. The Singers and especially the Dancers are a fantastic ensemble. There is one blond fellow who moves in ways that I have never seen before - I hope to be able to get a picture with him at the next show. Also of note, the Specialty hand-balancing act has what appears to be a giant professional wreslter as 1/2 of the act - if you painted this guy green he'd pass as the incredible hunk. Aside from that, unless you really enjoyed the musical 'Newsies' you could comfortably spend the first 17 minutes in an alcoholic stupor - the last 30 minutes, however, features modern music, including a fantastic rendition of Roxanne and a great 5 minute James Bond mash-up which transitions from Goldfinger (the movie, not that SKA band) to a View to a Kill, so it's nice to see Duran Duran still getting a payday all these years later.

 

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After the show we briefly stopped by the Anatasiia's Club for a few pictures before calling it an early evening - haing book a snorkel tour for the next day.

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Day 3 - Keeping House

 

Before we progress any furthur (Ken Kesey joke for those playing along at home) let's take a brief moment for some general observations:

 

1) The Bvulgari Bvnefit is Bover. See, I never did really care about the Bvlgari bvth products in the Sky Suites, because I never really knew how to prvounce them. Bulgari? Vulgari? Belugea? I'm an Ivory Bar Soap man myself, so I never did really give much for the upgraded soaps (note, if you can pronounce Bvlgari...how has it colored youe preception of other words, such as uvula? or Venezuela?) Anyways, the Vulgari is no more in the Sky Suites. How could this Hoppen, you ask? No idea, but we're on to pump products now - and a solitary bar soap for the sink that comes in its own little tray that I carry everywhere so I stop confusing the conditioner for the body wash - did that once and never again.

 

2) The Retreat and all suites have been re-themed and, to give a World-Class Designer her credit (as opposed to the World Class Bar, which we so miss from the S Class ships) the Theme is strong. Everything is a sedate grey and white tone, which brightens up certain aspects of the rooms and the lounges considerably. In addition the...what is it...palm? leaf? Fern? Frond? that they have imprinted on darn near everything, from the napkin wrappers to the slippers to the towels is very noticeable and I like it very much. It's on the stained glass, all the doors. Heck, it's probably on the life preservers outside of Anatasiia's clu...

 

...and we interrupt this update to bring you the latest update from the patchwork colored cat-astrophe:

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Well, well, well...I am uncertain what even to say here. I love this little comment because of course someone offered it up as a heartful criticism but really? I don't even know how that would be possible. I can't even throw away *trash* on this ship without having to guiltity hand it to an attendant. I could only imagine if you tried to make your own Caeser Salad a server would immediately appear, apologetically nudge you out of the way, and make you the most amazing Caesar Salad you ever had. This little criticism is so beyond the pale it's essentially comedy - so nice try kitty!

 

After that minor but significant pause we will return you to your regularly scheduled blog, when we actually, finally, get off the ship. But first greetings from the best MCC Crew we've had to date:

 

20200127_130358.thumb.jpg.8332f4447f1adca568b95e96b627d202.jpg

 

 

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We sailed with Anastasia and Alexandra in Michael’s Club on Summit in April 2018. 
 

Alexandra made the best “Brandy Alexandra.” She also made a mean Sangria.
 

We too would be interested in knowing if Anastasia and Alexandra will be on Summit August 30/20. We would be absolutely thrilled to see them both again.

 

Randy and Connie

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Misty Knight - Day 4

 

Episode I - The Fuzzy Menace 

 

Day 3 disappeared because the temporary food giver had to leave me to take care of her own fur baby. Sorry to say it was the worst day ever, I only ever saw the temporary food giver twice. 
 

Fortunately for me, I do not have thumbs, so I did not have to make my own Cesar salad. I was fed a delicious turkey feast. Now, I will guilt the temporary food giver into letting me drink from the faucet by being my sweetest, most adorable self. 
 

Bring me back a fish from your excursion!

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