Embarkation was a breeze, our flight out of cleveland was delayed 2hours due to closing the airport for plowing snow, but we still made it to San Juan by 3:15. Had our luggage by the time we reached the luggage carousel, all three pieces, and were in our taxi by 3:35. $19 + $1 per bag plus tip to get us to the Pan American pier by 3:50. Dropped off our two large bags (They wrote out the luggage tags and attached for us) then through the embarkation process with our pre-printed check-in passes, and we were on the ship around 4:10. Downed the free champagne and headed to our room. Met our room steward, unpacked our carry-ons and garment bag with formals, freshened up and headed for our impromptu CC meeting on the deck 10 aft deck for a pre dinner drink at 5PM. Met some of our fellow CC cruisers and discussed travel horror stories, then off to dinner.
We noticed the soft spots in the dining room carpeting right away, just an amusing annoyance every night. Met our table mates, all about our age 50-60ish and our table waiter and assistant. The waiting staff was as good as we've ever had and anticipated our needs daily, always brought us iced tea when our glasses emptied, brought me extra portion of the lobster without asking and accommodated my wife by serving her the viener snitczle two nights in a row when she didn't like any of the main selections announced the night before. We always use the main restaurant and always found the food delicious and the deserts even better. The tables were laid out with all the silverware for the dinner present and they took it away as the courses progressed as opposed to other lines that only brought you the silverware as you used it.
Ports: St Maarten was a $6/person taxi ride to Orient beach. Got Chairs/umbrella and two free drinks at the Mexicano for $14. Very relaxing day at the beach people watching and some swimming. Beer was $3 and margaritas $7, (everything seemed to go up $1 from when we were here last in Dec07) Dominica: Booked Levi bumping tour $47/person went to a cool pool and cave swimming with a hot water fall coming down on top of you, then swam through the canyon to another water fall feeling like a salmon swimming up stream. Next to the Trafagla falls and swimming in the hot sulfa springs, very relaxing and hot tub like, next through the botanical gardens and then to Champaign reef for snorkeling. This was better than expected as the bubbles were amazing and the fish better than average. Grenada: Took the water taxi ($4/person across to Anse beach and went to the right. Negotiated two chairs and an umbrella for $17 and then ran up a tab with one of the locals who brought me beers and my wife 'Ting and rums" $3 beer and $4 for her drinks. She was feeling good for the $30 we spent. Bonnaire. Took the ship tour for the water taxi to Klain Bonaire for snorkeling. Even got two free drinks that we didn't expect. The reef wasn't as good as the first time we snorkeled there a year ago. Still real nice but could see the hurricane damage. A storm passed by while we were out in the water that clouded it a bit and took away the sunshine for an hour. But I enjoyed it anyways. Aruba: Rented a car through Hertz for the third time, found the Casiberri rock formations which we'd never seen in our 8 times to Aruba. Really a great view off the huge top rock and nicely kept walking paths through the arizona-like vegetation. I'd recommend finding this and exploring for an hour or so..and it's free. Went to the donkey sanctuary to walk among the donkeys, feed them and talk to the people who run it, then off to the now collapsed natural bridge to se how it's further eroding and get some drinks at the bar there. (a must for us) Then it was off to Eagle beach for the rest of the day to relax and enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches and get in some last swimming in the warm waters.
Back on board we played a couple of the trivia games and won our first place luggage tags(woohoo) Took the dance lesson on Friday afternoon and worked up a sweat (salsa dancing) and basically avoided the top deck and relaxed all afternoon. We booked the Bacardi rum tour after debarkation since it only was twice the price of the taxi anyways and took that tour. I think we broke even at the casinos, what I won at roulette we lost in the slots. It was annoying that they only had one packed $5 blackjack table and four unused $10 tables with the dealers just standing around bored. I heard they opened another $5 table later.
Overall we had a typically great time, we just love cruising and have found great things and annotating things about every cruise we've been on. Celebrity was great in not being pushy with sales as Carnival is and not having Bingo before the shows so you don't have to sit through the agony of bingo sales if you want a seat for the show.
As for the shows, they were typically good and great, Two of the three production numbers were great, the middle so-so, The comedian juggler bust my gut laughing, but he suited my sense of humor, the pianist was very entertaining and put on an enjoyable, relaxing show.