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LIVE BLOG - First time Celebrity Cruiser - Reflection 1/31-2/10/2020


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Greetings fellow cruise travelers! 


My name is Tom - welcome to my first ever live blog!  My wife, Elle, and I will be on the Celebrity Reflection from January 31 to February 10.  You might be asking yourself “why is this noob doing a live blog?”  Well, allow me to answer.  This will be my second cruise EVER, and our first on Celebrity (our first cruise was a Royal Caribbean cruise in the Med, and Elle recently went on a Princess cruise to Alaska).  I’ve also never followed anything here on cruise critic, though Elle has. We are 34 and 40 year-old professionals with no kids, and a little bird told me we *may* be Celebrity’s current target demographic (marketing tricks, am I right?).  I’m hoping that this blog provides you with a slightly different perspective than you’re used to reading around here!  Though I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my decision to do this blog is also a little self-serving in that I’m hoping that it will encourage me to notice all of the details, document notable moments, and really focus on the experience.  I remember very few ship details or moments from our first cruise in 2013, and I don’t want to forget this one!


OK, so I’ll be honest - I DID look at cruise critic a teeny tiny bit to get some inspiration for how to write a live blog (thanks to my wife for sending me some examples).  ChicagoPaul and Mr_T provided some great inspiration and I plan on borrowing bits of their formats…thanks guys!  But don’t expect the same level of awesomeness that they provide(d); I am a noob, after all.  In fact, lower your expectations immediately and maybe, just maybe, you won’t be disappointed. ;)




A little bit about Elle and I - we live in San Jose, CA and, as previously mentioned, we are child-free by choice.  However, we DO have three amazing rescue cats, around whom our world revolves and we’re going to miss them so much!  I’m a USAF veteran and currently work in law enforcement.  Elle and I love to travel and have travelled around the world extensively (I’ve been to 6/7 continents…I’m missing South America!).  More often than not you’ll find us scuba diving in exotic locales, but for this trip we wanted to try something different.  In lieu of gifts we always take a trip for our anniversary, which we are celebrating on this cruise.  It was planned a little less than a year ago, after our last anniversary trip, and we’ve been looking forward to it ever since!




We booked our trip through a TA and got ourselves a 2B standard veranda.  We paid $1670pp with two perks included.  We chose the classic beverage package and $300 on board credit (OBC apparently for you CC vets), and our TA threw in an additional $50 OBC.  We prepaid gratuities on our own and purchased a four night specialty dining package.  This trip coincides with the Super Bowl (as do all of our anniversary trips), so we’re looking forward to all of the on-board festivities!  Elle is a 49ers fan (grumble grumble..Go Seahawks!) and apparently, now I am too.  We also purchased a single-device internet package because one of our kitties has been having some serious ongoing medical issues, and neither of us will be able to relax without daily updates on him.  And, duh, I needed an internet package to do this live blog.


Elle and I are self-admitted wine snobs; we live pretty much in the middle of two amazing CA wine regions (1.5 hours from Napa to the north, and 2 hours from Paso Robles to the south) and belong to WAY TOO MANY wine clubs, so we are qualified.  As such, we upgraded to the premium beverage package because Elle says that we wouldn’t be happy with the wine selection on the CBP.  Plus, let’s be real, we want those martinis.  I’m hoping that some of this blog will be a review of the food and wine.  We hope to attend the Veuve Clicquot Dinner and attend the Riedel tasting class for funsies (ironically, I’m drinking wine out of a Riedel as I type…I’m so spoiled). 


While I’m not a millennial by any stretch of the imagination I will be supplementing my blog on my Instagram stories.  Please give me a follow at cf_coach_tom.  I will keep any expired stories in highlights so you can catch up anytime. 


You’ll find that I’m fair in my reviews and observations, and I have a reputation for being brutally honest.  As this is our first Celebrity cruise I have absolutely zero expectations and don’t know what I’m missing from the Celebrity of old (which Elle tells me is a contentious topic on these boards), so we’ll see what happens!  Feel to ask me any questions, tell me you think I'm stupid or sing my praises.  I welcome it all.  


I’ll post more about our itinerary tomorrow, and some excursions we’ll be doing.  We head out of here on Wednesday 1/29 on a red eye, arriving in Ft Lauderdale early Thursday morning.  We have a dear friend who lives in FLL so we’ll spend the day with her and crash at her house Thursday night before embarkation on Friday morning. 


For now, I am glad to meet you!  Also, a hearty greeting from Blackie, Jasmine, and Miso! 






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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome!  I look forward to getting to know all of you and sharing our journey. 


1 hour ago, Jim_Iain said:

Howdy from a neighbor in Sunnyvale.    I pulled up a chair and looking forward to your blog. 


Greetings fellow South Bay-er!  Elle has told me about your live blogs in the past.  Sounds like you're quite the seasoned cruiser.  I hope to live up to your greatness 😁


31 minutes ago, hcat said:

Will be following with interest.

Pls do not judge Celebrity (X) overall by one ship or cruise...experiences vary .


Hope your sick kitty improves..


Thank you!  We just got some new meds for His Highness the King.  👑 


I've traveled enough to know problems/issues are to be expected.  The absolute perfect trip doesn't exist, but my measurement is based on how a company/hotel/airline/restaurant responds to the problems that arise.    I will be sure to mention Celebrity's ( or anyone else's) efforts at resolutions if/when something comes up.  

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Suitcases are out and packing has commenced!!  We already have a stowaway!  Princess Jasmine would like to join us on the Reflection (Mighty Miso is also thinking about it) 😻


Edited by Scuba_Tom
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I am following with interest too. We are booked on our first Celebrity cruise in over 10 years on the Infinity next year. Our first cruise was on the old Century in 2008 and this from what I have heard is not the same Celebrity as 2008. We hope this is the case since we were not too impressed with the Celebrity and the Century in 2008. Since 2009 all of our cruises have been with HAL but they have nothing to compare with the benefits of booking cabins in AQ Class and CC.  We have gotten bored with HAL and are looking forward to the Infinity in Spain and Portugal next year. This year we are trying out Viking Ocean so we can compare if the Premium lines are really better than the more mainstream cruise lines for the higher costs.


BTW my wife and I are also wine snobs and we will be upgrading to the Premium BP from the CBP perk we have. We have spent time in Paso, Napa and the Russian River wine countries and we loved Paso Robles the best. Our one remaining wine club is from Paso.


I would never guess this is your first live blog since it is already very professionally written, have a great cruise and I am looking forward to your complete blog.


Terry in San Antonio

Edited by terrydtx
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Hi Tom,


Welcome to Cruise Critic. Nice first post !

We're on this sailing too. Celebrating a BIG birthday for My incredible Mom. My Sister & Nephew are joining us. Hope to meet you onboard. Will you be attending the Meet & Mingle ? Safe travels to Sunny Florida. It's a beautiful Morning here !

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Hello, all of you friendly and attentive people following this blog!  I’m currently sitting in my office, unable to actually get any work done.  We leave tomorrow on a red-eye, which means one more day of “suffering” to get through.  I saw a quote the other day that said “Nothing lasts forever, except the day before you start your vacation.”  Boy, ain’t that the truth! 


As promised yesterday, today I wanted to comment a bit on our itinerary and excursions.  BUT, before we get to that, I have to address a lie I told you all.  Apparently we are no longer booked into a 2B room on deck 7, but we’ve been upgraded to a C2 on deck 11.  My memory is a little foggy (too much wine over the holiday season?), but Elle tells me “we” put in a Movie Up bid and we found out an hour ago that it was successful.  I can tell you one thing for sure - my bald head is excited to try out that extra hair dryer. 


Ok…onto the trip details!

Below is a screen shot of our itinerary.  I will go into more detail about each excursion on the day of so that folks don’t have to jump back and forth, but here is a little snippet about our port days:


Antigua – Adventure eco tour

Barbados – Silver Moon catamaran that we booked with fellow CCers from our Roll Call

St. Lucia – Beach and snorkeling

St. Kitts – Island tour

St. Maarten – Food tour!  We’re huge foodies, so are very much looking forward to this one.


All excursions except for one (St Maarten) were booked independently.


Ok, back to work for now…or at the very least staring at my computer screen dreaming about martinis and beaches. 





Edited by Scuba_Tom
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6 hours ago, terrydtx said:

BTW my wife and I are also wine snobs and we will be upgrading to the Premium BP from the CBP perk we have. We have spent time in Paso, Napa and the Russian River wine countries and we loved Paso Robles the best. Our one remaining wine club is from Paso.



I'll let you know how the premium package ends up working out for from a wine standpoint.  Which wine club do you belong to in Paso?  We're members at Adelaida...yum!


4 hours ago, Andy said:

We're on this sailing too. Celebrating a BIG birthday for My incredible Mom. My Sister & Nephew are joining us. Hope to meet you onboard. Will you be attending the Meet & Mingle ? Safe travels to Sunny Florida. It's a beautiful Morning here !


Happy birthday to your mom!  Elle says she signed us up for the Meet & Mingle, so we'll see you there!


4 hours ago, JacJacAttack said:

Following along...this is for the Ultimate Caribbean itinerary, correct?


We are doing this itinerary in March and it's our first time on the Reflection so we're very interested in your observations and experiences! 


Yes, the Ultimate Caribbean itinerary.

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