Links to pictures and daily schedule
Caught a flight from BWI to MIA. Uneventful; departed on time. Landed fifteen minutes early. Retrieved luggage and caught a cab to the cruise terminal. The cab fare was twenty-five dollars (flat rate). I always ask before I get into the cab. Once we arrived at the cruise terminal, I promptly placed two dollars in the hand of the porter and along with a short exchange of pleasantries and then proceeded to terminal G. The boarding process was smooth as usual. I did notice one change, the photo ID was taken at the check-in desk. This does appear to streamline the boarding process by a few minutes. Upon entering the ship, there is still the customary champagne and/or mimosa. Once on board, the first stop was the Oceanview Cafe. This usually is the time of highest occupancy. The food was good and a nice variety. One interesting observation, the plates are square instead of round. I was used to the round plates on Royal Caribbean. Just something I notice; not a major point of contention.
The plates are also larger but I did not see the usual food hording and waste. We had the late dinning. This was only the second time in ten cruises that this has occurred. It turns out to be a pretty good situation. I was able to see many more sunsets than usual and I could also catch a short nap before dinner. The main dining room menu has two components (one left and one right). The menu on the right side of the dinner menu holder remains the same the entire week. The menu on the right side of the holder changes each night. My initial cruise was on the Celebrity Galaxy in 2003. The food on that cruise was EXCELLENT. The next nine cruises were with Royal Caribbean. Their dinning experience was slightly lower. Now, returning to Celebrity, and after reading many reviews about cruise food, my observations are as follows:
The first and most noticeable change is that the portions have been reduced on both ships (Celebrity and Royal). This does not preclude one from eating what they feel they can consume. It does however; reduce the amount of food waste.
In my opinion, Celebrity caters to an older crowd. With this in mind, there is the need to balance seasoning and taste. I think they have done a very good job with both considering they have to find the common ground for 2800 people at a time. My first main entree was the prime rib (medium). It was tender, pink, juicy and tasty. Surprisingly, the portion almost filled the plate. One night I had the Fillet Mignon. It was so tender I could cut it with my fork. I am a Caesar salad person, midway through the cruise I asked the waiter to double the portion of salad and add blue cheese to the salad. It was great. Every night after that request, my salad was delivered as requested. Each night I had at least 3-4 appetizers from the menu. My favorite drink for the week was the orange passion fruit guava cocktail. I probably drank almost of a gallon each day. Those small cups add up (smile), not to mention the large glasses at dinner.
We are in cabin 7132 (forward Starboard (right) side)). The bed is close to the bathroom. . The room next door to us (7130) was the opposite of our room. Their bed was closest to the room exit door. Our room attendant was top notch. He was very polite and very attentive. If you have any problems, all you have to do is call is cell phone number during the hours of 9am-9 pm (using the room phone). The first leg of the cruise from Miami to San Juan Puerto Rico was very windy. The wind created enough sea spray to render the balcony unusable while at sea unless you enjoy salty sea spray. The room has ample space and storage for two people.
I believe each room has one white bath robe for each guest and one umbrella. Also, as you get closer to your first port, large Celebrity bath towels will magically appear in your room (one per guest). No one had to swipe their seapass card to acquire a towel. The pool towel exchange was executed on the honor system. Each night a piece of flavored chocolate was placed on each guest's pillow. That is still a nice touch. The best change for a regular stateroom is the increased shower stall size. Celebrity still provides cool face cloths and a refreshing drink before boarding the ship at the end of each port of call.
This cruise had a majority of seniors. One must always be on the lookout for the on-board motorized scooter. Most passengers were well behaved. I did witness a passenger complaining about missed finger prints on the wall in his cabin. Really??? He complained for a full ten (10) minutes to the supervisor.
The Oceanview cafÃ© served the same basic food each day. The food was good with adequate seasoning. A few of my favorite items were the mushy peas, string beans and ginger infused broccoli. The daily assortment of deserts was adequately portioned and tasty. My favorite stop after lunch was the ice cream station for two scoops. They also served the soft frozen yogurt. If you want hamburgers and hotdogs, you have to go to the Mast Grill outside on Dec. 14. The burgers are actually one quarter pound patties and they were very good.
All ports of call were uneventful. We have been to San Juan and St. Martin several times. This was our first time going to St Kitts. We docked at 0800. Looking over the horizon, we could see the rain storms come through until about 0930. The rain clouds lingered over the top of the mountains in the rain forest all day. We departed the ship and headed to the port shopping area at the end of the pier. The one thing that I really dislike is the constant bombardment of vendors. Normally we book a tour through the cruise ship, but this time we did not.
One vendor had a unique approach so I listened to his short to the point presentation. I kindly asked him to make his presentation to two additional members in my group (6 people total). He made the presentation without variation in details. We all agreed that he seemed reasonable and started our full island three hour tour. His tour was very informative and filled with humor. If you are ever in St. Kitts and need an Island tour, check out the Fighting Cock Taxi service. He provided a very good tour at a very reasonable price. Two thumbs up for the tour.
After St. Kitts, the remaining two sea days were uneventful but relaxing. I spent many hours studying the on board art. Before we knew it the cruise was over and we were sailing back in Miami. I was on deck at 0430 capturing pictures of our return. We were tied up to the dock by 5:45 and people were leaving the ship at 0600. Getting off the boat was as easy as getting on the boat. They really have mastered this process. Two thumbs up to Celebrity.