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Marvy Mare

11 Night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise Photo Review - Celebrity Reflection

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I’m learning a lot about Curaçao from you.  I must admit, I didn’t do much planning for this trip as we booked pretty late.

 

 

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Enjoying your review and photos.  On this cruise the only new port for us would have been Cartagena. 

 

We did an overnight in Curacao a few years ago and were looking forward to returning.  We did a tour that took us to an area next to a refinery and then to a distillery who also made hand sanitizer.  Coming in handy now even if only a little bottle. 

 

Some years ago we had docked in St. Thomas and had a veranda.  When I opened the curtains that morning the Tatoosh was docked right out side our cabin.  I could not believe how big it was and all it carried!  When  I got back home (had no wifi on ship) I looked up to see who owned it.  Never saw passengers only the crew cleaning the ship.  I could not even get a photo of the entire ship from my vantage point.  Had to take sections.

 

In St. Kitts, The Freewinds ship was docked next to us this past December. IMHO it is old and in need of work. We were very curious about it.   Someone on board our ship - The Silhouette - told us it belongs to the Church of Scientology.  Did not see anyone on it.

 

Stay well,

Gail

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Hi Gail

 

Thanks for the information. A visit to that distillery would have been in order on this trip. Cool about the Tatoosh. Yes it was huge. I just Googled it too. It's the world's 60th largest superyacht. 303' long. The owner is Paul Allen, whoever he is?

 

Yes I did know that The Freewinds  does belong to the Church of Scientology. That's what our cab driver in Aruba told us. I keep meaning to read about Scientology. I think there is a video at the library I volunteer at. Someday when it opens again. For now it's Netflix and cloudLibrary.

 

Maris

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20 minutes ago, Marvy Mare said:

The owner is Paul Allen, whoever he is?

He is best known for co-founding Microsoft Corporation with childhood friend Bill Gates in 1975.

He died in 2018.

 

Thank you for that wonderful sunrise picture.

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5 minutes ago, cruisingxpert said:

He is best known for co-founding Microsoft Corporation with childhood friend Bill Gates in 1975.

He died in 2018.

 

Thank you for that wonderful sunrise picture.

Great. Thanks for that information. 
 

Maris

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loving your review!! can't wait to finish reading it all. 

 

this itinerary is on my bucket list. i'm in my early 20s, once i finish school (few more years left... hopefully going to medical school!) i can't wait to cruise off-peak outside of the school schedule! this itinerary looks perfect! I've always sailed royal caribbean but have been eyeing some celebrity sailings...this is definitely one of my top choices. thanks for posting such a great review! so looking forward to the rest!! 🙂

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Allison

Thanks for your kind comments.It was a great itinerary! We'd like to do it again someday when we could relax and not have to worry about getting home afterwards. We enjoy Celebrity but have nothing to compare it with. 

 

Maris

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33 minutes ago, Marvy Mare said:

Allison

Thanks for your kind comments.It was a great itinerary! We'd like to do it again someday when we could relax and not have to worry about getting home afterwards. We enjoy Celebrity but have nothing to compare it with. 

 

Maris

Maris, I’m so enjoying you writings, to take me away from the days of worry. I just want to say we too enjoy Celebrity, but you might consider Holland. Lots of extra touches Celebrity doesn’t have. And always a great crew!

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March 8 - DAY 7 - Curacao

 

We headed back to the ship around 10:30.

 

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Who takes pictures of garbage trucks? Me. I thought it looked a lot nicer than our garbage trucks. They need something to empty those hundreds of cans that we noticed on our walking tour.

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We checked text messages back in our room. People asking if 'are you still out there?', quoting recommendations 'do not go on a cruise', and all kinds of encouragement. Ken wasn't the only one worried by this time. I answered that we were having a great time & didn't let on that we were concerned. Our kids, I'm sure were anxious but tried not to let on. Did some family FaceTime and then headed up to Deck 15 above the pool. 

I had noticed that the Solarium pool wasn't busy at all and decided to try to go for a bit of a swim. Before we had cruised for the first time, I posted a question on Cruise Critic. Can you swim in the pools? The answer was 'No'. They may have even mocked me. But I did notice people really swimming when the pool first opened in the morning. I never got there early (I preferred to walk) but this morning I headed down.  There was hardly anyone in the room. I put my towel and cover up on a lounger. Within an instant three people sat right next to me. I guess people are just naturally attracted to where others are. Anyway, I got in the pool and was able to swim up and down for a number of lengths. No splashing but I got my hair wet. The only time I was really able to swim in a pool on a cruise ship.

Back on deck, we enjoyed the company of our Peterborough friends and our new friends from Virginia. Ken & I made one more trip back on shore to look for gifts for our youngest son and his girlfriend (for dog care) but I didn't take the camera.

Turns out that it was International Woman's Day. There were beautiful desserts in the Oceanview and a cake in the Grand Foyer.

 

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We had dinner reservations that evening for Murano. I had tried to schedule our specialty dinners for sea days or at least not during sail away or sunset. It turned out that I had two dinners scheduled for the same evening. I'm not sure if it was my mistake or theirs, but we ended up at Murano around 6:30 that evening. Missed the sunset and sail away, but had a fantastic dinner.

Sorry no pictures, though I did save a copy of part of the menu, so I could remember what I had. Ken had been talking about his appetizer that he had at Murano on our last cruise - Warm Goat Cheese Souffle. One of the best things that he'd ever tasted. I couldn't wait to try it. 

I did mention before that I suspect Ken of being a 'super taster'. This confirmed it. The soufflé' was ok but not amazing. My main course made up for it. Dover Sole Veronique. I asked our waiter for recommendations before I ordered. I did want seafood. This was his recommendation. The wait staff really appeared to enjoy their jobs and seemed especially pleased to do table preparation. He expertly filleted the sole right at the table. Impressive and entertaining. And I really should have had my camera or at least my phone. It came with beurre noisette. I can't remember what that was but it was all good. Amazingly good. But the Piece de resistance (it's a French restaurant after all), was the dessert - Crepe Ballon Rouge. Again on the waiter's recommendation. It was prepared at the table. Balsamic strawberries, vanilla ice cream and Chambertin sauce. First he wrapped vanilla ice cream in a crepe and then made a sauce in the pan and heated the strawberries in the sauce. Then on a plate went the crepe with ice cream. It may have been heated a bit too. The strawberries were placed on the crepe and the sauce poured over everything. It was so so good. I think I may have been drooling and sighing as I enjoyed my dessert. Like in When Harry Met Sally people around us were saying "I want what she's having." And I really don''t like drawing attention to myself. I just couldn't help it. My best meal of the entire trip. We will be back.

We had walked a new record number of steps that day and after a few more steps to wear off a bit of dinner, we headed to our room. Celebrity Showtime was an Elton John Tribute. We'd just seen the movie.

Next stop, Bonaire. Best day of our cruise and there is never a bad day on a cruise.Well maybe the last day. But on this cruise by the last day, we were anxious to get home.

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4 hours ago, sadie8 said:

Looking forward to Bonaire!  Janet

Hey Janet

 

How's it going? I will get in touch.

Maris

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Posted (edited)

March 9 - DAY 8 - Kralendijk, Bonaire

 

I woke up at 4am and was ready to get up but on checking with Ken, I realized that my phone and my Fitbit still hadn't switched back. It was 3am. A little too early to get up and head out for coffee so I got caught up on my reading. I'm not sure when I eventually headed out but by 6am land was visible.

 

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I went for a deck walk for just 1/2 hour and then was back in our room to watch the arrival/sunset. Arrival was set for 7am and sunrise at 6:43, so they coincided.

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Again, I don't think many neighbours were awake yet. Maybe they've been there before and were a little jaded. Or maybe just sensible and slept in.

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The dock was too short for our trip so pilot boats pulled the ropes out to platforms.

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The water was so clear. You could see the bottom.

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Here comes the sun. It was going to be a good one.

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I'm glad that I brought my tripod and we were on the port side.

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Bonaire - The best sunrise to start an amazing day.

Edited by Marvy Mare
corrections

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I know one of you neighbors didn't see any of these sunrises🙂  Thanks for the pictures.   We had Michael as well and thought he did a very good job.

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March 9 - DAY 8 -Kralenjijk - Bonaire

 

Kralenjijk. Now that one is as difficult to pronounce as it is to spell. Our excursion for Bonaire had been planned possibly a year before. When I see something that sounds like a great idea for an excursion, of course I always check with Ken. Often he hums & haws. Eventually that means 'No'. When I mentioned Bonaire Cruisers he was all for it. I was surprised. We are not golfers, though Ken has golfed a few times and is probably good at it. Ken and the kids are natural athletes. Me, not so much but I sure try. Bonaire Cruisers was a golf cart rental. You rent the golf cart, they give you a map and off you go. Driving on strange roads in a vehicle that you've never driven with no real plan didn't sound like Ken's dream day. Turns out that it was our favourite experience on our trip.

We were off the ship by 7:45. We had a short day in Bonaire (7 - 3) so we wanted to get an early start.

And from what I can remember, we had to get our cart by 9am. Bonaire Cruisers is very popular and a number of people that I read about on Cruise Critic and spoke to on board were unable to get a booking. 

 

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As you come off the ship just to the left on shore were a series of small portable shelters. The last one was the check in for Bonaire Cruisers. We asked the woman checking names if our friends, Janet and Gary had arrived yet. I pointed out Janet's name on the list and the woman got a funny/hopeful smile on her face. Janet shares her name with a famous singer. What are the odds that a famous singer would be traveling on the Reflection, though on our last cruise I met a 'famous' Fox News guy. He said to me 'Don't you know who I am.' Like just out of the blue. Anyway back to our friend Janet. I had to tell the disappointed woman that "this Janet is blonde'".

The woman sitting on the bench in the picture above came over to talk to us. She was from the southern states and was now living in Bonaire and working as a tour guide. She noticed my camera and thought that maybe I'd want to get a picture of an osprey. She said that it's there all the time. I didn't have a zoom lens. Just too heavy to bring. Would have been fun though. Anyway, I snapped a distant photo. In a week or two I may be able to get a photo of an osprey right here at home.

 

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See that small shape on top of the light pole? They would have had a birds eye view from the bridge.

 

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One more look back at our cabin. A lot of curtains are still closed. It was 8am. I'd been up for 4 hours. All the time changes on this trip did cause some confusion though. You can see people having breakfast in the dining room.

We didn't have to wait long for our friends and then just wait for a few more minutes as we were guided as a group to the Cruisers. It was just a short walk to get there. I'm not sure if we had put a deposit down before, but we made our payment ($90 I think) plus a $100 refundable deposit and got instructions. 

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It's worth noting for anyone interested that can't get a booking that there were at least one or two people when we were there that managed to take advantage of a last minute cancelation. 

 

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The golf cart seemed pretty easy to use. I thought I might drive it a bit but Ken turned out to be a pro and Gary & Janet were both golfers (correct me if I'm wrong). We decided to take the southern route, past the salt flats and flamingo sanctuary. We had watched a video provide by Bonaire Cruisers. After watching it I thought neither the north or south looked interesting. I'll have to rewatch, because it turned out to be a great choice. Someone who is following along here took the northern route and didn't really enjoy it. Was it you, Bev? 

There was a bit of traffic at first, but it was easy to pull off the road if there was a line of traffic behind us. Our first point of interest was to find a bathroom.😁

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There was no bathroom here, but a great view of the ships.

 

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It was fairly early (around 8:30) but I wonder if this beach ever gets crowed.

 

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Dog barking for breakfast - till later

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Bonaire is a dessert island surrounded by coral reefs. Many of the beaches are made up of broken bits of coral. You would need water shoes if you planned to swim at many of the beaches. If we ever go back (I'd love to) I would love to try snorkelling there.

 

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At our next stop we did find a bathroom. There were the ruins of a resort next door. Fire maybe. 

 

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This place was a restaurant/day resort. Looks like a nice place to stop. There was no-one there yet. Maybe some cruise excursions were heading there. There were only the two ships in port - The Reflection & the Aida.

 

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Janet took a couple of photos of us with my camera. She said "I think I got it. I did a great job." She's a better portrait photographer than I am. And this is proof that Ken & I were there together.

 

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The cover up that I'm wearing is the one I bought in Jamaica on our first cruise when I thought I had lost all my bathing suits and cover ups. On our last cruise I was wearing this in every picture of me. You can see behind us how it would be difficult to get into the water. 

 In one of the photos above there is a man made lagoon for swimming or wading. I don't know how deep it would be. 

Taking a break now. Off to walk the dogs in our park. Hoping they don't close it, but it's usually empty, so I doubt it. I'm having trouble with copying some of these photos. I'll have to contact my Photo Cruise Report expert and probably reload a bunch of photos.

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April 1 - I was hoping to wake up this morning and find out that the current situation had been an elaborate extended joke.

No such luck but yesterday was a very exciting day for us. I've mentioned before in the review that our son and daughter in law were expecting a baby, due April 6. We were all worried about them. But yesterday all went well. They left home around 9:30am and returned before 2pm with a healthy 8# 5oz baby girl. They were understandably concerned about a hospital visit, but as it turned out they stopped to check in with their midwife on the way to the hospital and the baby was born at the midwives shortly after they got there. Didn't have to go the the hospital at all. All are well and glad that this perfect baby was born on March 31 and not April 1. There is a running joke in our family, that March is my birthday month. I haven't had to share it with any other family member until now, and I really don't mind. She can have the second half of March. And no one  will every forget the year that this little girl was born.

Maris

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12 hours ago, bunnyette said:

Fantastic review so far!  Takes me away from all the Pandemic madness

Thanks Bunnyette from somewhere in Canada. I had a great day yesterday. Didn't turn on the news all day for a refreshing change. 

 

Maris

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March 9 - DAY 8 - Kralendijk, Bonaire

 

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Inside the restaurant looking out. Nice view.

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In retrospect, I should have put this picture at the start of the pictures of the Ocean Oasis. And we did find a bathroom here. Very nice too. All in all it looked like it might have been a nice spot to spend part of the day. Not the bathroom, the resort. 🤣

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The solar salt facility in Bonaire is owned by a company form Minnesota of all places. It covers 13% of the island and we drove around all of it.  Saltwater is drawn into condenser ponds, where eventually the water evaporates. The process from water to salt takes about a year. The salt produced is formed in crystals that are used in water softeners and swimming pools. Bonaire salt also has other uses including table salt.

 

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This box was sitting outside the gate of the facility. Janet and I each took a sample. Ken made me throw it out. He was afraid that we might get stopped by the border patrol for drug dealing . I just looked up crack cocaine images. Eerily similar. In this case, though it's tough for me to admit, Ken may have been right. Janet's travel home was to the States so she would avoid customs (right?).

 

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I'm not sure if this structure, removed the water or returned the salt for shipping. Anyone go on a guided tour?

At this point, a questions for Cruise Critic aficionados. Is there anyway to keep the print in colour without having to go back to the top every time? Sometimes I just leave black for a short passage, as it's easier, but I'd rather stick to blue.

 

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More salt ponds. These aren't as pink as some of the images I've seen. From what I understand, the higher salinity of the pond, the pinker it is. Brine shrimp (they are pink in colour) live in these ponds and in turn are fed on by flamingos. 

 

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We met another couple here (they were English), friends of Gary and Janet, who were also Cruisers - Bonaire & Reflection Cruisers.

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There are those cool little carts. They looked brand new. Well maintained and easy to operate. By the time we got to the southern part of the island, by the salt flats, there was very little traffic. Some of the roads were so narrow, that someone had to give if traffic was coming the other way.

 

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Janet got a way better photos of us than I got of them - 😁 See all the broken coral on the beach. No bare feet there.

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Ken and cart. You can see by his glasses string, that it was windy. Not windy like Aruba but windy enough for great water sports. Our youngest, Mac would love it there.

 

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Now this bird was weird. It's a pelican, right. And pelicans aren't green. I tried all kinds of editing, but unless I used b & w, it was still green. Maybe a reflection from the water. Highly cropped too, as I didn't have my zoom zoom lens.

 

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Maris. We are so enjoying reliving the cruise through this wonderful thread. We also had a golf cart in Bonaire. 4 of them in convoy. You might have seen us. Boy was that a hot day. We just went back to the ship after we handed back the cart. 
By the way, I’m with your hubbie on the soufflé in Murano. Loved it. Looking forward to the next post.  Regards, Elaine 

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Hi again Elaine

 

We did see a lot of other carts on the road, so one of them may have been yours. It was a hot day, but we did manage to get in the water to get cooled off and had plenty of water with us to drink.

We just headed back to the ship after turning in our cart, as well. I'll let Ken know that you enjoyed the soufflé' too.

 

Maris

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Enjoying your review. Reading because I was supposed to sail on Reflection in July, sadly I don’t think that is happening.

Congratulations on your new granddaughter 🧸.

 

stay safe and healthy

elaine

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