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Would anyone be interested in reading a Celebrity Reflection review from a newbie?


anniedave
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10 hours ago, anniedave said:

Thanks Jim, you were one of the people who inspired me to write a review. I was really looking forward to reading your latest one and was so sorry your cruise got cancelled just as you were about to start it. Hopefully it wont be too long before you get to start cruising and writing reviews again 

Thanks you Annie.

 

I am really enjoying your review.   You and Dave sound like you are really settling in nicely.  I was chuckling at all the things you had originally planned and never found the time to do.   People always ask us -  don't you get bored?    I always respond I never get bored and do as much or as little as we want.   We also settle into daily  afternoon naps and eat late and stay out much later than when at home. 

 

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Day 5 Aruba Day 2

So, for our daytime activity in Aruba there weren’t really any of the Celebrity excursions that stood out. Even through Dave had minimal involvement in the planning I did take him into consideration when booking the trips. I found a trip through viator called Aruba’s secret beach and cave pool UTV adventure. The info said that you would drive your own UTV round the island as part of a small group, with a guide and  visit the volcanic side of the island, 3 bridges , a natural cave pool, the natural bridge, a secret beach ,a light house, black shore  and Andiari beach and Bushirahama goldmine. It sounded like a fun way to see the Island and I knew Dave would love the opportunity to drive the UTV.

So, we were up breakfasted and ready to go with the beach bag packed and left the ship for the meeting point. A bus turned up and we discovered there was another couple from the ship, Shawn and Ben who were also on the excursion. There was also another couple from New York who were on holiday in Aruba. When we arrived at the place to pick up the UTVs we were given some waiver forms to sign and given bandanas, snacks and drinks, then the drivers were given a basic guide to driving the UTVs. We got chatting to Shawn and Ben who told us that although they were retired, they weren’t a couple who enjoyed lying about on a beach and a few weeks previously whilst on a cruise they had been abseiling down a waterfall. And I thought I was being brave doing the UTV ride!  Then we set off. Now Dave doesn’t like being a passenger and for the last week that was what he had done. He couldn’t fly the plane or captain the ship… although if given the opportunity he would have given it a go !!! but what he could do was off road in the UTV. There was the let’s follow the guide way of doing it …as the couple from New York in front of us did…. And then there was let’s follow the guide but pick a route that gives us extra opportunities to bump and spin which was Dave’s way of doing it … it was also Ben’s way of doing it, who was following us. For the rest of the cruise every time we bumped into them onboard Dave was affectionately referred to as ‘the mad Brit’. I will add that when I suggested we might accidently roll the UTV the response was ‘oh no don’t worry it has a roll cage so we won’t get hurt’… very reassuring !!!

The excursion was a really good mix of driving, stopping to look at the sights and rest stops. After a rest stop to change into swimwear  we arrived at the cave pool…now I think I was expecting a pool on the beach surrounded by rocks what I wasn’t expecting was to climb up some rocks and then have to jump into the water below – a drop of about 15-20ft. I had two worries… one I knew Dave wouldn’t be able to resist and I was worried he would injure his back… two I was worried I would jump and die! I don’t like heights… I don’t really like going under water…. But it was a once in a life time experience and I knew if I didn’t do it, I would regret it so I did. The jumping wasn’t too bad… the pain in my ears as I went under the water wasn’t the greatest… but I did it and survived. Dave did it and didn’t hurt his back… see it was all good… famous last words!! So, whilst Shawn and Ben happily spent the next few minutes jumping in and out of the pool, once was enough for me. I clambered out and began climbing across the slippery coral back onto the beach. Then I slipped… instinctively I put my hand out to save myself and its true what they say… coral is razor sharp! I was shaken up and in a bit of pain but got given a plaster and some water to drink and received sympathy off others in the group. Dave meanwhile began to make jokes about the situation… it is his way of showing me affection and to be honest I wouldn’t expect anything else from the man who a few years before had witnessed the camel I was on start to fall over and immediately whipped out the camera to get some photos!

Anyway, back on the UTV and we headed to the old gold mine, still a bit shaken I stayed in the UTV whilst the others had a quick look round. I can’t remember what order but during the excursion we visited the lighthouse where there were stalls selling fresh coconut milk straight from the shells and we also visited and got some great photos of the natural bridge.

At the end of the excursion we got taken back to the starting point and then got a lift back to port. We had a quick look round the gift shops and bought a couple of souvenirs but were so dusty and hot we just wanted to get back onboard. The iced towels we used to wipe our faces turned brown with dust.

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Day 5 Aruba Day 2 cont/

Once back onboard we had a much need shower and a quick bite to eat and then went to Celebrity Central to watch JoJo Rabbit , a film I had seen the trailer for and I knew Dave would love..  Dave has a very strange ( some would say warped) sense of humour and after incidents during both The Green Mile and Hannibal, when he was in hysterical laughter whilst other people were crying ,  we now have a rule, that I will only go to the cinema with him to watch comedy films.. to save my embarrassment !!.

After the film we had a nap and then got ready for dinner and the white deck party. Im sure we had a nice dinner in Blu and a couple of drinks at one of the bars … I was slowly working my way through the bar list! Then we went to the white party. Now we had had a really busy couple of days and the music wasn’t really our thing… and Dave was quite happy to call it a night. The thing was I had bought a white dress especially… not only had I bought a white dress I had spent a couple of weeks searching ebay to find a cheap white dress as its not usually  a colour I wear … and I wasn’t going to spend a fortune on one. I was really please with my purchase, I had also packed Dave a white shirt and some pale trousers… so I didn’t care if I was tired…my hand hurt… my ears hurt … It wasn’t really our type of music I had planned and packed for a white party…. A white party was on my ‘list’ so we were going… and we did. We didn’t stay for the whole evening… we didn’t dance …  eventually we went and sat upstairs at the Mast Bar so Dave could smoke and I could look down at the white party…but I had a drink and was there wearing white… so I had been to the white party and I was satisfied.

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10 hours ago, anniedave said:

Thankyou . The funny thing is that in the UK champagne & orange juice is called Bucks Fizz...I'm sure there is a story behind it ??? Anyway on the cruise I decided that as it contained orange juice it was perfectly acceptable as my morning tipple after breakfast. I just had to keep remembering to ask for a Mimosa when I ordered or they didnt know what I was talking about !!! By the third day the staff at the Sunset bar knew to give me mine in a large wine glass, as it saved them having to pour me a second one !!!  .. .but as I said earlier...alcohol on holiday doesnt really count ! 

We are kindred spirits. On our last cruise, other bartenders in Michael's just started pouring it in large wineglasses. I swear each held 1/2 of a bottle! Sigh.....

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8 hours ago, anniedave said:

My favourite drink of all time is a Porn Star Martini … I have no idea how it got its name but it is very popular in the UK. Its a passion fruit martini that comes with a shot of prosecco... although I am never sure whether to drink the shot separately or pour into the drink.

I would love to try this!

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Day 6 Curacao

 

Nobody had told me how exhausting this cruising really is. We awoke about 6.30am just as we were docking in Curacao. For the first time since starting the holiday I didn’t have a great nights sleep, my hand was throbbing, I'd woken in the middle of the night with a pain in my ears and to top it all despite using lots of sunscreen I'd managed to get sunburnt the previous day. Before we had gone to sleep the previous night I had done our usual post to FB telling everyone about our day and uploading the pictures of our days adventures.. including a picture of my cut hand and an explanation of how I had done it. We  also have a WhatsApp group with some very close friends who have become family that I'd shared the info with. One of our friends on FB is a paramedic working in Australia and during the night he had messaged me to say he had treated some nasty coral infections and was concerned that I needed to get my hand checked out. At the same time one of our friends on the WhatsApp group who is a GP had also messaged to say that he was concerned about my hand and thought I should get it looked it. We weren’t sure what to do, we had a private excursion booked that morning in Curacao and we didn’t have time to go to the medical centre before the excursion. In the end I decided that although it throbbed and was a bit painful, it didn’t look infected and we would go on the excursion and I would visit the medical centre later in the day. The excursion was called A Breath of Curacao eco jeep tour and was a half day tour visiting Shete Boka National Park, the Suplado (natural jacuzzi), Boka Tabla (cave with waters thundering in) Boka pistol (natural water cannon) . This was an excursion I had found on trip advisor with really good reviews. The plan was to spend the morning doing the tour then as we weren’t leaving port until 7pm, to spend a couple of hours looking round Curacao. Dave’s dad and stepmum Jean had done several cruises round the Caribbean and I knew this was Jean’s favourite port and really wanted to take her a souvenir back, as well as see the floating bridge and buy some Curacao liqueur..

We got ready and had a quick breakfast …this morning my preparations included antiseptic cream and a plaster over my cut hand. Some soothing moisturiser on my sunburn… before applying extra sunscreen …. and taking a couple of pain killers. Once ready we went off to meet the excursion.

Okay well I think this is a difficult one to give a fair review to. 1. I wasn’t feeling my best 2. After enjoying driving the UTV so much the previous day Dave didn’t enjoy being driven around in a jeep. 3. The landscape of Curacao is actually very similar to the Canary Islands we have visited many times before… there are only so many rocks and cactus’s you can enjoy before it starts to get boring 4. The dramatic combination of the waves crashing against the rocks is very dependent on the wind .. the guide told us that day was the least wind they had had in years. It  was fun to watch the waves against the rocks but I don’t think we were feeling it that day. It wasn't the excursions fault, it wasn't Curacao's fault ..Dave was shocked when I told him it wasn't even his fault … apparently usually things are ! 

After the tour we got dropped off in town and walked over the bridge and found a nice shaded bar to have a cold drink and a snack. We did a bit of souvenir shopping and I randomly remember that Dave bought himself a hat. When we got back to the ship we went to the medical centre and I was prescribed some anti biotics and some anti sickness medication to take with the anti-biotics. I was reassured that I didn’t appear to have an infection and the meds were just a precaution. I was very relieved when the doctor confirmed it would still be okay to still have a few drinks whilst on the medication! . We were getting ready to leave the medical centre when we were told we needed to wait to see the incident investigator???  A gentleman came along and asked if he could take us to one of the bars to sit somewhere quiet and discussed the incident. We explained that it didn’t happen on the ship, it also didn’t happen on a ship excursion and that we didn’t think anyone had done anything wrong I had just slipped over. He still insisted.. very bemused we followed him as requested and he then proceeded to fill out a very long form and asked me to describe exactly what happened ‘ I was walking on some slippery coral, I stumbled… put my hand out to save myself and cut it on the coral’ it felt like he was disappointed there wasn’t more to the story... I almost wanted to embellish it to help him out ( I didn't ) … I sensed he was having a quiet week!  Anyway he finished his report, took some photos of my injury and that was it. For the next 2 days both morning and evening I got a phone call from the someone? Asking how I was feeling and checking on me, which was nice. When we got home, I managed to claim most of the cost back from our insurance company and my hand healed up nicely within a few days, no harm done. 

The other thing that happened that afternoon was an amusing facetime call with my dad. So, we had kept in regular contact with family via social media whilst we were away, with a couple of phone calls to Dave’s mum who doesn’t do social media. My dad is 92 and he lives in a nursing home about a 3 hour round trip from where we live. We usually visit about once every 3 weeks. We had explained to him that we were going on holiday, where we were going and how long for. We also explained it would mean there would be a bit of a longer gap between our visits. My brother and his family visit him once or twice a week and had been showing him some of the photos of the holiday. As it was a Sunday and they were visiting him they decided to try a facetime call. Dad had never done face time, didn’t really understand it, couldn’t work out why he could see me when my brother had told him I was half way round the world. Kept pressing buttons on the phone… it led to an amusing few minutes.  It was nice to know my dad was doing okay as he had been quite ill a few weeks previously and I was worried something would happen whilst we were away.

Im guessing that at some point that evening we had gone to Blu for dinner and probably had a couple of drinks at the sunset bar. I think we then had an early night ready for our final ABC.

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2 hours ago, anniedave said:

A white party was on my ‘list’ so we were going

We've done a couple of those "must do's" - and left after 5 or 10 minutes!  Loved the humor in how you described your experience.😊

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Day 7 Bonaire

 

We  had an early start in Bonaire and I had booked a celebrity excursion. It was a Mangrove Eco Cruise by RIB at Lac Bay national park. Okay now either I read the info about the excursion incorrectly or it wasn't described very well.. going on the fact  that Im never wrong Im gonna go with the second one. Our experience of RIBs has always been a kind of inflatable speed boat. The info about the excursion mentioned flamingos. Our daughter has always love flamingos.. admittedly she has gone from Flamingo headbands and pencil cases to flamingo gin ( Takes after her father) but the theme is still the same. Once we had convinced her it really wasn’t practical to bring a flamingo home we agreed upon a flamingo themed gift  ( shot glasses for the flamingo gin ) and some close up photo’s. My understanding of the excursion was we were basically going on a speedboat ride through the mangroves to see some Flamingos. This incorporated photos of flamingos with Dave’s love of racing in a speedboat… see again I'm thinking of him when booking excursions despite his  lack of planning participation. Anyway I was wrong.

We set off in an open sided jeep with about 14 people, sat on 2 benches – one each side facing outwards.and I was surprised when we then stopped along the way to pick up and  hook  an inflatable boat onto the back of the jeep. We then travelled a few miles, quickly passing several groups of flamingos… not really close up but close enough for me to hope they were the ones we were going to see in the boat. I wasn’t too fussed we didn’t stop as they were on the opposite side to the side we were sat so I didn’t get a clear view anyway.

 

So we stopped at Lac Bay and had a short safety briefing, were given life jackets and told to store anything not waterproof in a locakable storage container on shore. We all then had to get into the boat two at a time so not to unbalance it, and set off on a very slow almost ‘float’ around the bay to learn all about Mangrove trees. I did learn there were 3 types of Mangroves and how important they were to our eco system,  but I did switch off after about  the first 20 minutes… I kept hoping that we would come across some flamingos… but there was no flamingos and definitely no speed boat either ! Every so often the guide would say …'oh theres some interesting ….birds…insects…etc here…but they aren’t here today'.... Eventually we returned to shore and were given half an hour to swim in the bay, this was rather nice and peaceful  with some interesting fish to look at whilst swimming in the clear water. Wanting to salavage the lack of Flamingo pictures I got Dave to ask the driver if on the way back we could stop for a few minutes to take some pictures of them. I had figured out that on the way back I would be the right side of the jeep to get some pictures and if I used the zoom on my phone at least I would have something to show . Okay all of you who think I’m a good person may want to skip the next bit as I am about to show my mean streak…. Actually I think we will just call it determination. When I went to get back on the jeep a lady who had been sitting the other side was now in my seat… now normally I really wouldn’t care…but photos of flamingos were on my list and more than that I had promised my daughter… and actually it was us who had organised the stop to take photos. I did say very nicely’ excuse me I think that’s my seat'… she said 'oh no its mine'… I said 'actually your seat is the other side and the driver has said we need to sit in the same seats' … well he may have said it very quietly ! Anyway reluctantly she moved … the jeep stopped for a few minutes and I got my flamingo photos. Once I had enough I did ask if the lady wanted  to come over to take photos… so I’m not all bad.

 

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1 hour ago, anniedave said:

I was walking on some slippery coral, I stumbled… put my hand out to save myself and cut it on the coral’ it felt like he was disappointed there wasn’t more to the story... I almost wanted to embellish it to help him out ( I didn't ) …

😂Best belly laugh in a while!!!  Poor you, though!

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I have learned after my first cruise to stop really over planning on things that want to be done.  I learned Im content on a chaise, sun, ocean and a drink.  The other activities are great but do as they come up.  I now go with a general idea of what I want to do.  Yes new places islands, locals I will research and see what is interesting but ship activities, parties, food etc go with the flow.  

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We arrived back at the ship and went to the sunset bar for a drink and a video of Dave in his band     t-shirt for one of our friends. The band play a song called Bong On Captain so he played that in the background whilst I videoed… it kept him entertained. We were enjoying the sunshine and one drink turned into two and the next thing we realised it was 4pm and we hadn’t had any lunch. We went to the afternoon tea buffet, piled our plates with lots of nice salad and sandwiches and took it back to eat on the balcony. Then we decided to have a little nap before dinner. Well the little nap turned into quite a long nap and when we woke it was nearly 10pm! 

We decided we were still full from the late lunch so we got ready , grabbed a drink from a bar and went to watch the marriage show. It was hilarious. We visited a couple more of the bars on my list…one more and then we had done them all. I discovered I liked a cocktail called No 10… I cant remember which bar it was from though! We went to the casino and kindly donated some funds, Dave playing craps and me playing roulette. We also went to the late night buffet and got Pizza …trying late night pizza was on my list!  We did eventually go to bed about 1am.

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Loved your mani with martini pic- you did a great job showing off your nails!

 

Very interesting about the incident investigator. I ripped my feet open on some coral and sharp rocks on a private excursion in Indonesia while sailing with Celebrity, and when I went to medical, they said I could have some free band aids & antibacterial ointment, or I could wait and pay for the doctor to look at them, who would probably give me the same thing. So I took the free stuff and left. No one from the ship ever followed up.  I also was one of the dreaded Flip-Flops in the MDR cruisers, because I couldn't get my feet into any other shoes. The staff never said a word to me- and if a fellow cruiser was upset about it, they never mentioned it to me.

 

Glad to hear you didn't let the injury get you down!

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On 4/23/2020 at 8:04 PM, anniedave said:

Day 2 - Sea Day

I had read a lot about sea days and there was lots I wanted to try - trivia ( never did). Bingo ( never did) the casino ( I played roulette a few times) the outdoor pool ( never made it as it was always so busy) the solarium ( became one of my favourite places on the ship ) Persian Gardens ( eventually on the last day) 

 

 On the first morning on board, Dave woke up quite early, went for a cigarette and bought coffees and pastries back from Al Bacio.  Lucky for me this became his morning routine for the rest of the cruise. 

Hi Annie

 

Enjoying your review. You have a great memory for detail. I got a kick out of a couple of things here. One, all the things that you wanted to try & didn’t and that Dave made a habit of getting the coffee each morning. We did the same cruise in March (the Reflection’s last cruise). I made a note of all the things I wanted to do & didn’t do them and I made a habit of getting the coffee in the morning. Never went to Al Bacio though. I loved the cruise and I’m looking forward to reading all about your experience. 
 

Maris

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12 hours ago, pattyj 1204 said:

I remember that bridge from our cruise to Aruba. Also the lighthouse. Have to go through my pictures, but I think DH was the only one on the bridge,  Just call Me Chicken .Loving your review. Thanks for taking the time to post.  

Thankyou glad you are enjoying it. I amazed myself on this trip. I dont really like heights ...but on the day in Aruba  I did the cave pool and stood on the bridge . 

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7 hours ago, vms said:

Loved your mani with martini pic- you did a great job showing off your nails!

 

Very interesting about the incident investigator. I ripped my feet open on some coral and sharp rocks on a private excursion in Indonesia while sailing with Celebrity, and when I went to medical, they said I could have some free band aids & antibacterial ointment, or I could wait and pay for the doctor to look at them, who would probably give me the same thing. So I took the free stuff and left. No one from the ship ever followed up.  I also was one of the dreaded Flip-Flops in the MDR cruisers, because I couldn't get my feet into any other shoes. The staff never said a word to me- and if a fellow cruiser was upset about it, they never mentioned it to me.

 

Glad to hear you didn't let the injury get you down!

Thankyou.

Sorry to hear about your injury, hope your feet didnt take too long to heal. 

By the time I  went to the medical centre I had already put  band aids and anti bac ointment on the injury as I had some with me and in all honesty I only saw the doctor because of the advice given by our medic friends. 

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14 hours ago, hcat said:

Following along ,..great review...great wit, humor, whimsy  and chock full of info!

 

Enjoyed hearing about Cartagena.  Sadly, we recently cancelled a cruise where we were looking forward to that port so we really appreciated  your photos.

 

From the Aruba photos,  we saw you had a nice pedi  to match that mani! Hope you post some photos on the Fav Cruise Photo thread.....the Sunset Catamaran shot is  outstanding

Thankyou glad you are enjoying the review.

To be honest, whilst I was glad we got to visit Cartagena , all the street vendors did make the experience stressful. I was glad we were in the carriage for most of it.

All the photos were taken on our phones- I'm not sure which one of us took the catamaran photo as the photos are now all mixed up together. 

We did take a camera with us, but mainly so we could get some underwater shots - we didnt take many but there will be a few at the end of the review.

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5 hours ago, Marvy Mare said:

Hi Annie

 

Enjoying your review. You have a great memory for detail. I got a kick out of a couple of things here. One, all the things that you wanted to try & didn’t and that Dave made a habit of getting the coffee each morning. We did the same cruise in March (the Reflection’s last cruise). I made a note of all the things I wanted to do & didn’t do them and I made a habit of getting the coffee in the morning. Never went to Al Bacio though. I loved the cruise and I’m looking forward to reading all about your experience. 

Thanks Maris, hope you read near the beginning that you were one of the people who inspired me to the write the review! as I really enjoyed reading the ones you did .  Glad you got to have your cruise before lockdown 

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