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11 Night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise Photo Review - Celebrity Reflection


Marvy Mare
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Hcat 

 

Passions was beautiful. It was the experience. Priceless. 😎 Yes, it was expensive. More details in my next post. Yes, I think everyone enjoyed the outing. We went with a group of strangers and made some new friends. As for toes in the water, I got my whole body in the next day and it was perfect. 
 

Thanks for still following along. I love questions. Once a teacher......

 

Maris

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March 6, DAY 5 - Oranjestad, Aruba

 

More about Passions on the Beach. As you can see from the menu, it was fairly expensive. I had the Grouper Latin Meuniere with green beans and potatoes. Ken, I think had steak (again). It wouldn't have been the chicken because of the Jalapeños. I think Ken must be what is called a super taster. He don't like spicy and in his case seafood as well. Limits food options. Especially at a seafood restaurant. 😂. Portions were generous. I really enjoyed my meal. We didn't have salad or appetizers. The couple next to us had the Caesar salad. They took one to share and there was plenty for both of them. The only complaint from our group was one woman who ordered a coffee and it was 'cold'. Minor complaint. 

It was a fun experience meeting a new group like that. Thanks again to Judi, our organizer. Judi was retired teacher and educational consultant. I imagine that she was a great teacher. No foolishness in her class. We all behaved. There was an area with chairs and couches, where we sat when we first arrived. Judi wasn't in a hurry to get us to our table. It would have been an opportunity to get to know each other better but staff wanted to move us along. With the table set up we really could only talk to the people next to us. Fortunately, we hit it off with our neighbours. A couple from Long Island, JoAnn and Frank. They were both teachers as well, and if I remember correctly, Frank had been a superintendent. We learned a bit more about Long Island and casinos. One of the things that we said we were going to do on this cruise was loose (or win) a bit of money in the casino. The only time we have ever been in a casino was walking through one on a cruise. This time turned out to be no different. As Ken said, we would have not idea what to do. We are not gamblers. Well, I guess we are. We buy lottery tickets.

During dinner musical entertainment was provided by a young woman playing a saxophone. It did all seem like a dream. No one ordered dessert. Dessert was very expensive and a great dessert could be found at Cafe al Bacio on the ship, at no additional cost. 

One down side. I don't like to use public bathrooms. Ken usually makes at least one visit to the facilities on an outing. He said that the bathrooms were pretty much outhouses and not the cleanest at that. I'm sure there were better bathrooms across the street at the hotel, but that would mean crossing a fairly busy road, by this time in the dark. That may be another reason why no one ordered dessert. I certainly sighed with relief when the woman who got the cold coffee didn't ask for a warm refill. 

 

 

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It was easy getting taxis back to the ship. The cab drivers can take you right into the cruise port which is great. I think I heard that not all cab drivers could and to check before taking a cab, but I'm not sure about that. We had to flash our Sea Pass cards to get back into the port area.

We didn't go to the show again. We got back on board right at 9pm.The Showtime entertainer was an Impressionist, Jason Neistadt. I didn't hear whether anyone was impressed or not. 

We picked up our cookies from the Cookie/Ice Cream girl for the morning and each took a glass of wine up out to our own balcony. On a hot Caribbean evening, we had all the entertainment we needed right there. Other than the wood stealers and the car dancer things were really quite quiet for a Friday night. Only 13,700 steps that day. I'd have to pick up the pace.

 

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23 minutes ago, Belgian fry said:

Thanks for sharing this. We are in confinement in Belgium after returning from a HAL cruise on 16 March, so your pictures are taking us right back. Looking forward to the rest.

Alice

Hi Alice

 

Thanks for following along from Belgium. Today is our last official day of self isolation & I’m quite nervous about going out there but we do need food & wine. What ports did your HAL cruise stop at? Did you fly home out of Fort Lauderdale directly to 🇧🇪? The flight home & the airports were the scariest part of our vacation. 
 

Matis

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Hi Marvy Mare!

We cruised Koninsgam 4-15 March. Our ports were St Maarten, Martinique, Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts (skipped), St Thomas and Halfmoon Cay.

We flew Miami-Dublin-Brussels

Like you, we were horrified at the airports. Our ship had felt like such a safe, clean, calm, sane bubble. Coming back to reality was such a shock!

Belgium has confinement until 5 April. We can only leave our homes for essential food supplies, pharmacy visits and daily exercise. Essential workers can also go to work. Everyone else is teleworking or on temporary unemployment.

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Alice 

That sounds a lot like here. We are under self isolation until tomorrow. which is two weeks after returning from our cruise. Anyone returning from out of the country as of midnight last night is under mandatory self-isolation and could be charged for going out, though that will be difficult to reinforce. Our ship did feel very safe and clean too. No reports of any illness on board. 

We have been going out to walk our dogs. There is a park near us that is closed in the winter. We rarely ever encounter anyone there, so it's perfect. Tomorrow, just out for essentials.

 

Keep healthy.

Maris

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March 7 - DAY 6 - Oranjestad, Aruba (day 2)

 

This was the only day of our cruise that I didn't walk up on Deck 15 in the morning. We had a view of the sunrise over Oranjestad from our deck. 

 

 

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Not many neighbours out enjoying the view. - Sunrise 6:52am

 

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It's going to be a hot one. Wonderful!!

 

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March 7 - DAY 6 - Oranjestad, Aruba

 

Before we went out for the day, we FaceTimed our daughter and our grandson. He was quite adamant that he would join us on the boat. Then we also FaceTimed with our son, Mac. He was at our house filling in between dog caregivers. We chatted with our dogs as well, much to their confusion. They looked well, so one less thing for us to worry about. 

 

Not long before our cruise I started to rethink our choices for our stops. We were just going to take a cab to a beach in Aruba and find a chair. In retrospect, that is probably what we should have done. It would have saved us a bit of money. Checking through our Roll Call, I noticed a some people (a few of them were people that we had joined for dinner at Passions) were going to the Rui Palace for the day. It looked quite expensive, but I noticed a more recent post. One couple was going to the Barcelo Occidental Grand with a day pass. I contacted the Barcelo. It was $85 each for the day, I think. That included all drinks, food and a lounge and umbrella (though that was first come, first serve). We put down a small deposit and were in. Again, it was so easy to get a taxi. Someone else that we spoke to said that they took a taxi with a random couple waiting. The couple was just dropped off at another resort and they all saved money. Anyway, it was just us and the cab cost was $15 I think. 

The resort was very nice. 

 

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Look at the colour of that water and the sand was so white it never got hot.

 

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That's the Rui Palace in the distance. The beaches in Aruba are public. You could walk for miles on the beach.

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Our cab driver dropped us off at the door of the Barcelo. We checked in at the desk and were given a bracelet to wear and a slip to take to a booth outside. We were supplied with a towel in exchange for the slip. An employee showed us to lounges in the shade under a palm. Bigger spenders or hotel guests got chairs under the Plapas. 

 

 

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Part of the hotel. On the main floor was a restaurant where we could dine. We were also able to use the buffet which was in another building.

 

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The pool looked gorgeous, but I don't often get the opportunity to swim in the ocean.

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It doesn't look busy. We were there by about 9 in the morning. Things started to get busy later.

 

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The patio to the left was outside the buffet, where I had lunch later.

 

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The swim up bar. Another reason I didn't swim in the pool, though at this time it wasn't open.

 

More later. Time to take the dogs for a walk between showers.

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March 7 - DAY 6 - Aruba

 

As it turned out there were also two other couples at the Barcelo that had been on our Dora Tour. The Refection was becoming like a small town. Everywhere you went, you knew somebody. Chris and Charlie were sun worshipers and had amazing tans by the end of the cruise. By the time people see me again they will never be able to tell that I have been away. Maybe that's a good thing. Travellers are pariah right now. It was Chris who originally posted on Cruise Critic that her mom had stayed at the Barcelo. We had chatted with the other couple, Terri and Tom on the Dora tour. They were from Atlanta. My travel memory of Atlanta is driving through there once on the way to Florida. Terrifying and it was at about 6:30 in the morning. It's not just that we are small town. We commuted into Toronto for a number of years. After our first trip through Atlanta, we detoured around it on subsequent trips. The detour was beautiful. Probably the nicest part of our trip and bonus, we saw where The Walking Dead was filmed. But I digress, Tom and Terri were also dog lovers. We exchanged photos of our dogs, like others show grandkid pics (I have lots of those too). We admitted to Terri that we had FaceTimed with our dogs. After laughing, a short time later Terri was on her phone with her confused dog as well. 

While sitting in our quiet shaded spot, my phone rang. It was our daughter with her two little ones. We had FaceTimed earlier that morning from the ship, but Henry (our 2 1/2 year old grandson) wanted to see the beach. We showed them all around; the palm trees, the white sand, the turquoise water. Henry wanted to be there. We talked for a little while but he became unconsolable. "I want to be there!" Finally we just had to hang up. Maddie sent a still of a still sobbing little guy a short time later.

 

 

 

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The water temperature was perfect. You could swim or just stand and talk without getting a chill. Almost as warm as our little lake back home in the summer, but a much nicer shade of green. 

 

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Paradise!

 

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Ken. As you can see, he doesn't like having his picture taken, but I think he looks quite handsome and relaxed here. The t-shirt is his Bridgenorth one. Our mailing address is the small town of Lakefield. Lakefield's claim to fame is the now infamous Prince Andrew went to school at Lakefield College. Bridgenorth, even smaller than Lakefield is the town we identify with. 

 

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I went for a long walk down the beach. That's me adjusting my bikini top (I wish). My top hasn't seen a bikini in 40 years. I would love to return to Aruba and walk that beach daily. 

 

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A platform well off shore. Looks like the top floor of a Carnival Cruise ship.

 

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My view from our lounger. Keeping an eye on Ken.

 

We had lunch separately. We didn't want to take everything with us or lose our nicely situated lounge chair. It was definitely too hot to sit right in the sun. I went in to the buffet. It was quite extensive. Lots of hot food. Mostly seafood again. I hope Ken managed to find something to his taste. I enjoyed my lunch at a table on the patio, overlooking the pool. By this time the pool was getting more crowded and the swim up bar was standing room only. 

 

 

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A few people had those turquoise floaters, like the one in the centre of the picture. A perfect day to just lounge in the water. Next time I'll have to pick one of those up.

 

I was warned by my brother and I think maybe other people on the ship that Aruba taxi drivers don't tolerate wet bathing suits in their vehicles so we made sure that we had a change of clothes. We changed back into our street clothes in the very clean bathrooms, turned in our towels for towel tickets and headed out back to catch a cab. We had considered sharing a cab with Terri & Tom, but since we had arrived at the Barcelo at about 9am by 2 we were ready to head back. They decided to stay a little longer. And sure enough, the cab driver asked us if we had on dry clothes. 

 

 

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March 7 - DAY 6 - Oranjestad - Aruba

Is anyone there? I know this is taking a long time and people are wandering off, but if you are there, feel free to say hi. I will read this over myself in the future, and I know a few people are following, though probably not right now. I've been at this for an hour and it's 4:30am. I am cursed with bering an early bird, but my brain works best before 7am. Made it a bit difficult out in the work force. Maybe that's why I became a teacher. You definitely can't fall asleep at your desk mid afternoon, though I do remember a case of a supply teacher.....

 

 

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In my street clothes. Just to prove that I was there too. We had the cab driver drop us off outside the port area so we could wander a bit.

 

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The Aida. They were neighbours of ours at all of the ABC islands. Mostly Germans on board.

 

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That's the Scientology ship. It would be interesting to know what goes on there.  I don't think it would be as fun as the Reflection, though Tom Cruise looked like a fun guy when he jumped on Oprah's couch. Some things you just can't live down. 

 

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I was going to try to figure a way to mark where our room was on this pic, but I think it would involve sending the photo to my phone & back and it just seemed like too much work. Anyway, our room is in the bottom row that you can see at the back. It's tough to tell from the photo but our balcony juts out a bit like the balconies on the hump.

 

We spent some quality time with our friends up on deck 15 overlooking the pool before sail away. We had been invited to go to the Helipad to watch the departure, which was at 6pm. On our last cruise we didn't go but Neil (my brother) said that it was worthwhile so off we went.

 

 

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As you can see it wasn't an exclusive invitation. You can see my shadow.

 

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Ken. At first glance it looks as though he has hair. That would be a really weird cut.

 

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One glass down and one to go. Their 'champagne' is not too good but I hate to let anything go to waste. Note the matching Fitbit 15,490 steps that day.

 

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It felt we were at one of those awkward parties where you don't know anyone. There was one couple there from our dinner at Passions but they didn't hang around for long. I see them in this photo. I also see our shadows again. 24 hours earlier we had been dining on the beach. We were going to miss Aruba but on the other exciting places.

 

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It doesn't look like they are watching where they are going.

 

Oops dogs barking for breakfast. Gotta go. Today is the day we have been waiting for. We are allowed to go out. Not really looking forward to it. My purse is filled with hand sanitizer and wipes. We will make it quick.

Edited by Marvy Mare
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Hi Maris.  

Still following along and lurking as usual.  I found me in one of your photos.  That is me in the white pants.🤪.  Also, in response to one of your earlier questions about Cartagena, the Princess ship left before us.  I finally was able to enjoy the view of the city on my balcony!

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Maris, loving your review, especially the pictures. Les & I we’re at the Aruba helipad Sailaway also. Didn’t see us in the pictures. We’re finishing our 14 self quarantine tomorrow, but Colorado is on shutdown (Only out for essentials...liquor stores are considered essential) until April 10!  Guess I’ll have to clean closets out!  Here’s us at the Sailaway. Melody

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Still following along.

The  Barcelo looks like a nice hotel.

For some vacation variety  in the future,  we are thinking of going  back to a Sandals Resort after travel resumes, but have also wanted to do a land based vacation on Aruba.    Did you enjoy the buffet there?

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16 minutes ago, awhfy said:

Maris, loving your review, especially the pictures. Les & I we’re at the Aruba helipad Sailaway also. Didn’t see us in the pictures. We’re finishing our 14 self quarantine tomorrow, but Colorado is on shutdown (Only out for essentials...liquor stores are considered essential) until April 10!  Guess I’ll have to clean closets out!  Here’s us at the Sailaway. Melody

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Great photo..  looks like you folks are enjoying the bubbly!

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1 hour ago, long time lurker said:

Hi Maris.  

Still following along and lurking as usual.  I found me in one of your photos.  That is me in the white pants.🤪.  Also, in response to one of your earlier questions about Cartagena, the Princess ship left before us.  I finally was able to enjoy the view of the city on my balcony!

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Hi Crystal. Nice to see you after all the lurking. I think you are walking over my shadow! lol! Glad you could enjoy the view in Cartagena. We were on the port side so had a bit of a view. I do remember, that we couldn't see the dock and I didn't realize until I went up to the pool deck that we had docked. 

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42 minutes ago, awhfy said:

Maris, loving your review, especially the pictures. Les & I we’re at the Aruba helipad Sailaway also. Didn’t see us in the pictures. We’re finishing our 14 self quarantine tomorrow, but Colorado is on shutdown (Only out for essentials...liquor stores are considered essential) until April 10!  Guess I’ll have to clean closets out!  Here’s us at the Sailaway. Melody

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Thanks Melody! I think that maybe I did have you in a photo. I checked back but I have deleted some photos. Hard to believe as I'm posting so many . Nice to see you.

 

Maris

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31 minutes ago, hcat said:

Still following along.

The  Barcelo looks like a nice hotel.

For some vacation variety  in the future,  we are thinking of going  back to a Sandals Resort after travel resumes, but have also wanted to do a land based vacation on Aruba.    Did you enjoy the buffet there?

The Barcelo was very nice. I think it was expensive, but don't quote me. The buffet was good. There was also at least one restaurant and maybe more. I wasn't actually sure where the property ended.  

 

Maris

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Hi!  Yes, following and enjoying your review.  We were at the sail-away from Aruba on the helipad too but don’t. remember seeing you.  I’ll have to check our photos.  A lot of people!

 

Hubby likes to take lots of pictures too, but we didn’t take many of the ship this time.

 

I love your photos from Passions. Curious to know if you would go to the Barcelona again?  We did a ship’s excursion in the morning, came back for lunch and went to the beach in the afternoon.  We had walked through the port area the night before and were disappointed to hear that many shops were leaving the port area to be closer to the resorts.

 

We are looking forward to getting out tomorrow after our 14 day self-isolation.  Apart from going for walks, we have not been out.  

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Summer1961

 

The Barcelo was very nice but fairly expensive. If we were to make a stop in Aruba again I think we'd just find a spot on the beach and rent a lounger and umbrella if possible. It would be nice to be close to facilities that you could use. How was your ship's excursion?

 

I think I asked you at one time - way back in Roll Call, where in Canada you were from? You will find a very changed world out there today. Yesterday, was our first day out. Couldn't get home fast enough. Though the stores are doing a great job of cleaning and keeping people apart, I had a purse full of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer and used them constantly. I almost cried when the store clerks welcomed us back. It's a small town and we know most of them by name. Ken more than me. He's the friendly one on our team. Those store employees were all still smiling and welcoming . They must be so afraid. They don't make a huge income, but have become front line essential workers in a crisis. I'm sure they are wishing they could be told to stay home and still get paid. 

 

As our daughter (an amazing nurse) advised us - When you are out behave as if everyone you see has the Virus. 

 

It was certainly a beautiful day yesterday. Almost felt like we were back in the Caribbean when we sat on our deck. Well, not quite.😎

Maris

Edited by Marvy Mare
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Very good advice from your dtr..We live in suburban NY,  and made one last grocery run yesterday. We plan to stay inside except for  2 walks a day,   when it's not raining. We miss our grandsons...they live close by but for now we stay distant.

 

Checked the website for the Barcelo,  not the easiest to follow.   It is expensive but is an all inclusive plan from what I gathered.   Bet travel agents always have good deals... Maybe after things are better next yr.   The airfare is also a big chunk of change! That's one reason why cruising has been such a good value

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March 7 - DAY 6 - Oranjestad, Aruba 

Goodbye Aruba!

 

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The boat heading right into a parking area under the Resort & Casino.

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Looking up at Deck 16 and the basketball courts. I didn't see a lot of people using the courts. Maybe because it was so hot. Flying above is a Frigatebird. Wish I had my zoom-zoom lens for that one.

 

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The bridge.

 

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Me again with only one drink this time. 

 

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I think this handsome man in uniform was the Hotel Director. I forgot to bring home the sheet that lists all the officers.

 

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This resort looked nice, with it's manmade oceanside pool.

 

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It was fairly crowded up on the helipad and tough to find a space at the rail for taking photos, so we headed back to our own balcony, stopping for a couple glasses of wine on the way.

 

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Bye!!

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Back later. There is an amazing sunrise happening here.

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