I know there have been a number of postings from others on this cruise, but I wanted to share my thoughts. We had a lot of CCers on this cruise so the number and varying appraisals are not surprising and it's good to get others take on things. I for one have enjoyed reading them.
First of all I have to say this was probably my most enjoyable cruise yet. I know. I probably say that after every cruise, but the experience of crossing the Atlantic, a real journey in my eyes, made it very special. The large group from our roll call also added to the fun and walking around the ship became an exercise in waving and saying "hi".
Embarkation was a breeze and Dover has a really nice cruise ship terminal. This was a surprise to me as my recollections of cross channel ferry rides painted a different picture. The weather was wonderful when we left as it had been for many staying pre-cruise in the UK. I have never seen the Channel so calm. The setting sun reflecting off the water could have been the South Pacific, except there are no White Cliffs there.
We had a fun day in France. Le Havre is a pretty uninteresting port, but nearby Honfleur is a gem even if the World and his wife were there that Sunday. A trip to the US beaches of Normandy was both interesting and humbling. Thanks Bob, for arranging this great tour.
Falmouth. What a tendering mess. It seemed that Celebrity's idea of letting passengers with X excursions go first would have worked had there been enough tenders. I had arranged a tour and managed to get on the first one out, but then after the next arrived at the dock it was another twenty five minutes before the next arrived. It is the longest tender ride I have done too. Eventually our group were together by 11.05am (we arrived at 8.30am) and we had a very enjoyable if somewhat curtailed excursion. I heard that one of the coaches on a tour hit another vehicle whilst maneuvering and also knocked someone down. Some didn't get off the ship until 1pm. Not much time to see anything of a truly lovely English county. The weather was kind to us again. It rained on the tender going over, but then cleared. Lizard Point looked beautiful.
Dublin was a tour to Malahide Castle (cute and very beautiful) and the Guinness factory with a lovely lunch at the Brazen Head. Thanks Mary for putting this tour together for us. The weather was once again kind.
Cork was a trip out to Blarney Castle, once again very picturesque and a walk to the top to kiss the Blarney Stone. I passed on that. I was told that the stories of people peeing on it is a myth from the land of the bogs and the little people, but it kind of put me off the idea as did the height up there. Kinsale was wonderful to visit and we had a very nice lunch at the White House served by the most miserable barmaid. She was so bad it was funny!
Three days at sea next and because of all the pre-cruise trips to London and lack of sea days at the beginning it was a nice time to unwind from a busy schedule. I thought the weather overall was very good, but it got rough for a bit once we were three or four hundred miles off the coast of Ireland. I really enjoyed the ride, but I know others were quite sick. I witnessed my cabin steward bang his head on the wall outside my cabin during one particularly large lurch, but he was OK. We were able to use the balcony quite a bit, wrapped up like Ma and Pa Kettle with our blankets. I lucked out on 9197 being released just before the cruise, one of those corner FVs and it was great. The aft facing aspect protected you from wind and spray and the wide angle of view both aft and port side was nice. Being on this side of the ship also meant we got to see the sun in the morning, which was good for balcony breakfasts. There was one day when it was too cold for breakfast out there, but that was it.
We had a really nice stop in St Johns, Newfoundland and did a puffin and whale watching tour. A few puffins, lots of seagulls, but no whales. We were a week late, but the stunning coastline made up for this. Others have reported that we were 13 hours late leaving St Johns because of high winds making the exiting of the narrow harbour entrance dangerous and on the sea day that followed it was announced we would call at Halifax instead of St John, NB. Celebrity are to be commended for coming up with this solution at such short notice and finding us a spot to dock when we arrived.
After our sea day, Halifax loomed and was a very nice ride into the harbour. We had a planned trip in St John arranged by Joan who had also sorted out the puffin and whale watching tour so on the hoof we found a few of us in a stretched limo on our way to the Titanic cemetery and Peggy's Cove. We had a great time and a nice lunch. Good job on that transport, Joanie
Our final sea day and it was arrival in a muggy and hazy NYC. It had been warming up all day at sea from being in the cooler waters of Nova Scotia and the different feeling in the air was very noticeable. Time to get off The shuttle service that took us to our private coach was a mess and there had been a delay in starting disembarkation, but Michaels Club was as good a place as any to wait our turn to walk the gangplank.
Some final thoughts. I felt the food was great. I never had a meal I didn't like and the burgers, pizzas and sandwiches were very tasty. Service as I have always experienced was Xcellent. Our waiter, Olman was always spot on with his recommendations and very professional and assistant Mariano was great too. Very polite and friendly. Steward and assistant Tondy and Novie were great too, as was Leslie who brought the breakfast. We did breakfast in the dining room a couple of times. I felt this was all a bit disorganized and took the gloss of having it served to you. The first time I felt the service was lacking at our table and I didn't get what I asked for (although what I actually received was quite sufficient in hindsight ). The second time we did a kind of tour of the restaurant to get to our table. Not sure what that was all about. Perhaps at the end of the day I am better off just having it served in cabin or out on the balcony so that I can please myself and there is no misunderstanding with regard to the strawberry smoothie. A bowl of strawberries just doesn't cut it! I love those smoothies........
Lunch was a much better affair. I did that once and honestly had a meal that could have stood up very well against an evening meal. Delicious! And I had the Mohr im Hemd which has to be good, doesn't it? Our Assistant Maitre d' heard us all talking about the Mohr im Hemd at the lunch table and arranged for it to be served to us at dinner another night, which I thought was a nice touch
John Maxtone-Graham, I have heard a lot about and was delighted to hear that he would be on board. He didn't disappoint. I only missed the final lecture of five (being somewhat under the weather from late night Martinis), but his other lectures were informative, funny in many parts and beautifully paced.
The ship was clean and my cabin was in great shape.
It was great to see JoAn make the ship in Dublin. I have wanted to meet her for some time and it genuinely lifted peoples spirits when we saw her make it with passport finally found.
So all in all it was a great cruise and I am looking forward to repeating a TA on Constellation from Barcelona next year
There were a couple of med evacs on this trip. One in Falmouth whilst tendered (I think our tour may have seen the helicopter take off from Culdrose) and one at sea about 250 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. I hope that all concerned in these are making a healthy recovery. Frances, one of our fellow CCers also had to leave the ship early because of a family crisis. Frances, I wish you well.