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TRIP REPORT - Summit Feb 15 - ABCs in Aqua


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Hi all.     I'll take my annual stab at a trip report.    I hope it's informative and fun.   I'll try and answer any questions you may have.    I'll post a lot of pics from my pone as well.

 

Background:    We were a group of 8.   Four couples, all parents of former Delaware Blue Hen football players.    We do a cruise annually to gather again.   We try to have lots of fun and sometimes have a little too much.   3 of the 4 couples stayed in Aqua class rooms (9084-9086-9088) and on couple slept in "Steerge", an inside cabin on Deck 2.   We also pre-gamed for a few days in Old San Juan before the sailing.

 

I always start with a three word summary of stops and key items. So here it goes.....

  • Pre-gamimg in Old San Juan:   Beautiful, Bacardi, Flamenco
  • Embarkation Day:    Easy, Night Sailing
  • St. Kitts:   Rainy, Thenford, Batik
  • Aruba:   Windy, Great Beach
  • Curacao:   Colorful, Caves, Cordials
  • Bonaire:  Carts, Flamingos, Salt
  • The Ship:     Beautiful, Small, Friendly
  • Entertainment:   Fun, Varied, Immersive
  • Food:   Hits and Misses
  • Staff:   Mostly VERY good.

 

Next Entry:   PRE-GAMIMG IN SAN JUAN

 

 

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PRE GAMING IN SAN JUAN

 

We all got in on the Thursday afternoon before the sailing.   We always like to stay at the Casablanca Hotel in OSJ and again it did not disappoint.     With a long travel day under our belt we took it easy.   Our first stop was just down Fortaleza Street at the Parrot Club Lounge for a drink and some light snacks.    All was good there but its not the Parrot club of a few years ago.    Different management I think,    The drinks and food were good, but not memorable.    We left there to stroll the streets, thinking about a dinner choice for later that evening.    Our lead investigator talked to a young lady at the Triana Restaurant.    She promised good food and great Flamenco Entertainment.    We took a leap of faith and booked a table for later that evening.   When we went back for dinner we were amazed.    The food was very good but the entertainment was AMAZING.     The Flamenco guitar player was a gent named Juan Carlos.    He was 80 years old but had the energy of a teen.   He was an accomplished guitarist and had a great resume of performing in the 60s and 70s.     It was a fantastic evening and well worth it.    We recommend Triana and their show to anyone that spends some time in OSJ.

 

Day two was a lazy day, so we just decided to go tour the Barcardi factory.    We just did the little tour and it was actually better than I expected    A lot of fun.    That Friday was also Valentine's Day and we had a great dinner planned at Sofia's, a very nice Italian restaurant in OSJ.      It came highly rated and it did not disappoint.    Several others that were sailing on Summit were at the restaurant as well.    It was a great chance to meet some fine folks.   

 

We were supposed to have a rooftop meet and greet at Casablanca later that evening, but rain squashed that event.   Several folks met in the bar of the hotel and we still had a real good time chatting with new friends and sailing mates.

 

Next Episode:    EMBARKATION DAY AND MEETING THE SHIP

Edited by zdad59
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First drink at The Parrot Club

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The Girls

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The Boys

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Juan Carlos

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A video of the show

 

The Flamenco dancers

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Bacardi factory with the fort in the bckground

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The boys annual "Behind the Bar" pic

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That's some good pasta !

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Dinner at Sofia's

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Edited by zdad59
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Looking forward to your review. We are a group of six on the 3/14 sailing, same itinerary and in Aqua.😀Less than 3 weeks, we want to hear everything-enjoying your photos too.

 

Thank you for taking the time to post a review-

 

Paula

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EMBARKATION  DAY:

 

The day of the sailing we slept in a bit, and made our way a block or two from the hotel to La Bombonera, a little breakfast shop in OSJ.    Great food.   Service was a bit odd as the waiters were also the cooks.    They made whatever you ordered.   So in the end, they were running like crazy.      We eventually got our cabs/Ubers to the ship around 11, and got to the ship around 1115.    We had Expedited Arrival, so getting on the ship was super easy.    Maybe  5 minutes until we were on board.    We had lots of time on our hands before sail away at 830pm so we just eased our way into things.   The first thing we did was drop our things in our room.    This is a great thing Celebrity does.....getting access to the room right away.    Then to the Mast Bar for our traditional first drink...a frozen Blue Hawaiian.

 

After our first drink, we took advantage of a ship tour that was offered.    It's not the pay for it behind the scenes tour, but rather a familiarization tour of the ship, helping you get your bearings.    If its your first time on Summit, I highly recommend taking the guided tour.

 

A note about the Aqua class rooms.      We were very favorably impressed with the layout and appointments in the room.    Light and airy colors.   Nice furniture......yes even the over sized chair instead of a couch.    There was a small table by the chair.    The chairs on the balcony were also very nice.    The bedding and pillows were to die for.   SOOOOO comfortable.   There were a couple of small pet peeves.    No electrical outlets on one side of the bed.    We overcame this by having the steward put an extension cord in behind the bed.   Also, no easy way to turn off the reading light that is wall mounted on one side of the bed.  I wasn't a fan of the inward opening door to the shower.     Made getting in and out for a big guy like me a little awkward.   All in all though, we really liked the Aqua class room.

 

After the ship tour, we all went our separate ways.   Some rested, some exercised, some went to drink some more.     Those us in Aqua met at 6pm for dinner in Blu.     We met Christian, the maitre d'.    Man was he fantastic.      Probably the best restaurant manager  on any ship we've ever been on.      Eating at 6pm made it easy to get the same table and same servers each night, which we prefer.    things got a little backed up in Blu if you arrived at 7 or later.

 

After dinner, we went to the Sunset Bar for sail away.    Always beautiful leaving San Juan at night.    After that we caught the late show in the theater.   A comdeian, whose name I forget   He was quite good.   A great way to end the evening.

 

Next Installment:    A great day in St. Kitts with Mr. Thenford Grey.

 

 

Edited by zdad59
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B3192B84-C12F-4884-9831-38B15795B500.jpeg

 

Room view from Balcony door

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Room view from cabin door

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View from balcony  (we really liked the overhang)

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Our traditional first drink on board

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Ready for sail away in the Sunset Bar

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Me and Blu maitre d' Christian.

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Edited by zdad59
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Day 2:   St. Kitts

 

Our first stop of the cruise was on day 2, and St' Kitts was the destination.    We really like the island and all the varied things to do.    When we were there last July on Symphony of the Seas, we did a catamaran sail, snorkel, and beach time excursion that was a lot of fun.    This time though, we went back to our first ever stop on St. Kitts and we booked the Grand Island tour with none other than Mr. Thenford Grey.    As I noted, we did this tour several years ago and loved it, mainly because of Thenford.    A few in our gang missed that tour last time so we booked it again.   We had stops at Caribelle Batik, Brimstone Fortress, and a roadside mountaintop.    But its Thenford Grey's passion for his island, story telling, and ability to point out the smallest things about the island that makes the tour wonderful.   Even with the on and off rain, it was a spectacular day on the island.

 

The evening was another dinner in Blu, again with incredible service.    This is though a chance for me to comment on the food.     I loved the portion sizes in Blu.   Slightly smaller, and they aren't trying to impress you with loads of food.   At the same time, if you want more of something, they'll gladly get it for you.   The quality of the food in Blu though was only marginally better than MDR food.   In fact, several of us ordered from the MDR menu while in Blu a few times during the week.   This isn't a knock on the Blu food, it just wasn't head over heels better than the MDR to our gang.    

 

The evening shows are at 7 and 9.    With our dining time at 6pm, were able to casually walk around after dinner before heading to the 9 o'clock show.    We usually got to the theater around 835-840, and had no trouble finding a good seat.   We always sat on the main floor, right center, about 6-7 rows back.     The production shows were much better than I expected on a small ship.    Good singing and dancing, and the specialty act was a strength couple that were also very good.    We made a point to see the show each night and were never disappointed.   (A special note to look out for discussion of a show later in the week that featured a certain audience member.)

 

A final note for the day.   In Blu, at the shows, and just walking around the ship we had a chance to meet many great people.    Two gents stand out though.   Mark and Tim  (we called him "High" Mark because of his height) are just two wonderful people we met and hung out with that we are so glad to call friends now.    They're just a fun couple of Yinzers from Pittsburgh and we were lucky to bump into them.     My point here is...don't hesitate to say hi and meet new people.   Every once in a while you meet some special people.    We were fortunate to do so this trip.

 

Next up:    A sea day then on to Aruba

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St. Kitts flora

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THE MAN......Mr. Thenford Grey

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The tour always includes detailed discussions of the surroundings.

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The Batik and how its made is amazing.

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Ma and Pa under a 400 year old Saman tree

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One of many local churches.    In the grave yard here rest Thomas Jefferson's Great Great Granddad. 

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The Blue Hen crew in St.Kitts

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A great pic (if I do say so) at Brimstone Fortress.

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At the tip of St. Kitts

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Looking down at the Marriott resort area.

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"High" Mark and Tim

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Edited by zdad59
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Sea Day......

 

Day 3 was a sea day.   I love sea days.    24 hours of brain emptiness.     I actually woke up at a reasonable hour and headed for the Persian Garden and the gym.    While small, I enjoyed the Persian Garden.    It's quiet, very relaxing place.   We had access because of our Aqua Class room.    Not sure I'd pay for it otherwise, but it was fun to use.   After exercising, it was time to sit by the pool and relax, um  I mean drink.   Some in our gang had scoped out some chairs on Deck 11, over looking the pool.   It was a great place to relax and people watch.   Made for a good afternoon.

 

That evening, Christian, our Blu maitre d' made arrangements for our group to have dinner at La Petit Chef, in Qsine Restaurant.    I was styling in my pink sport coat and everyone in the gang cleaned up nice.   The show, and the food, at La Petit Chef was fantastic.   Well worth it.    The hologram show was unique and memorable.

 

As usual, we strolled the ship before the evening show.     This night was a specialty show, NYC3, a cover group singing popular contemporary songs.   While in the shopping area, we were chatting about it and someone walked up and said "They suck."    Turns out that person was one of the singers in the band.   He was joking of course.   Had a fun conversation with him, and he was eyeing my pink jacket.     During the show, he looked over and motioned that he was still looking at my jacket.     The next song needed "audience participation".   a band member came down from the stage, walked up to me, and.......took my wife's hand and took her to the stage.    All three singers proceeded to sing a love song to my wife.     It was great fun, but I was sad he didn't ask for my jacket.

 

After some late night drinks and some casino time, it was off to bed.

 

Next:   A Beach Day in Aruba

Edited by zdad59
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F4AD6BAB-1F8B-49B2-98C7-30B95CBD6010.jpeg

 

The gang all cleaned up.

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Stylin' and profilin' in my pink sport coat.

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The boys with the real chef.

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The pink jacket and "The Ladies in Red".     Someone was grabbing my butt during the picture.  😈

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Me with two of the three NYC3 singers.

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Crooning to my wife.   She was a real sport.

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Edited by zdad59
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3 hours ago, zdad59 said:

  Two gents stand out though.   Mark and Tim  (we called him "High" Mark because of his height) are just two wonderful people we met and hung out with that we are so glad to call friends now.   

 

Sorry JIM.    It was a typo I missed.   Didn't see it until after it was too late to edit.

😢

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Day 4.....ARUBA:

 

We finally got to the ABCs on day 4.    The first stop was Aruba.     Our plan for the day was a beach day at a resort on Palm Beach,  The RIU Palace Antillas.     RIU has two hotels next to each other.   The Antillas is an adults only resort while the RIU Palace Aruba is a family resort.    The resort is a short $15 cab ride from the Cruise port.  

 

We docked around 8am.     The ship wasn't cleared to disembark until 830 or so.     We didn't rush as the plan for the day was a lazy one anyway.    Our gang split breakfast between the Ocean View Buffet and Blu.    Both places have their pluses and minuses.   The scrambled eggs in the Ocean View are so so at best.   The made to order eggs are great though.    In Blu, the menu is a tad limited but if an omelet is your thing (its mine) they have a made to order omelet that is awesome.   Pick your ingredients from a good list.  It comes out fresh, is the perfect size, and quite tasty.

 

After breakfast the gang split up.   Some of us went directly to the resort.   Some went shopping before heading to the resort.   Some overslept and missed breakfast and got to the resort a bit later.    Check in at the resort was easy, albeit a little cumbersome.   Once thru check in though, we headed to the beach side.    Someone met us as we got there, helped us find a great location under a palm tree, a set us up with loungers and tables.     The beach was in great shape.    The pools, with swim up bars were close by, and the lunch buffet location was a very short walk away.      You also didn't need to bring towels   They were provided there, free of charge.   Also free were any non motorized water sports.....snorkel gear, kayaks, paddle boards, etc.

 

It was a tough day relaxing on the beach.    We got spritzed for 5 minutes by rain    It as a tad windy and a couple drinks got tosses.   Oh the first world problems we had to endure.

 

Each couple in our gang went back to the ship at different times.    We left a tad early since mama wanted to shop a little.   Others, who came a little later, stayed late.   The cab ride back was 10 minutes tops and no issue getting there.   All board was 530, and the ship sailed at 6.    Dinner that evening was in Blu.    We went to the 9pm show again, and spent a casual evening on the ship relaxing.

 

Next stop:   Colorful Curacao

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We snagged a perfect location on the beach.

3A31D122-B713-4BCB-B41F-E5BA50AB97DD.jpeg

 

Some of the girls posing under a palm tree.

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Looking down Palm Beach

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An Aruba local checking things out on the beach.

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Beach days are hard work !!

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RIU Palace Antiallas (Adults only) in the foreground.

RIU Palace Aruba (Family Resort) in the background.

You can also see one of the pools and swim up bars in the foreground.

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Summit looking sharp at the dock.

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Edited by zdad59
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On 2/23/2020 at 7:44 PM, zdad59 said:

We all got in on the Thursday afternoon before the sailing.   We always like to stay at the Casablanca Hotel in OSJ and again it did not disappoint.     With a long travel day under our belt we took it easy.   Our first stop was just down Fortaleza Street at the Parrot Club Lounge for a drink and some light snacks.    All was good there but its not the Parrot club of a few years ago.    Different management I think,    The drinks and food were good, but not memorable.    We left there to stroll the streets, thinking about a dinner choice for later that evening.    Our lead investigator talked to a young lady at the Triana Restaurant.    She promised good food and great Flamenco Entertainment.    We took a leap of faith and booked a table for later that evening.   When we went back for dinner we were amazed.    The food was very good but the entertainment was AMAZING.     The Flamenco guitar player was a gent named Juan Carlos.    He was 80 years old but had the energy of a teen.   He was an accomplished guitarist and had a great resume of performing in the 60s and 70s.     It was a fantastic evening and well worth it.    We recommend Triana and their show to anyone that spends some time in OSJ.

 

Triana is one of our favorite restaurants in the world. Wonderful food and service. Enjoying your report!

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1 hour ago, dreadpirate3 said:

 

Triana is one of our favorite restaurants in the world. Wonderful food and service. Enjoying your report!

 

Did you go through Resorts for the Day for your passes to RIU or book directly with the resort?

Would you be kind enough to share the fee? Thank you

Edited by maxydu
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