27.03.2011 - 27.03.2011 25 °C
Well here we are again, back on the road so to speak. Several friends have asked us recently what do we ever find to do on the days when we are not off on some shore adventure exploring or snorkeling. How do we pass the time at sea. Neither of us are good beach sitters so it would stand to reason that unlike a lot of our ship mates we are not good deck sitters. So for today’s blog we thought we would give you a fairly typical day in a life at sea while on our way to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
On a day at sea our day usually starts off fairly late with us rousing around 8:00 am. For the first few minutes we will often go out on our balcony and admire the bright blue sea and marvel at the weather – always warm and always sunny. Frequently when we are in the busier sea lanes we can see a ship off on the horizon. Once fully awake we jump in the shower and do the usual morning things. We quickly scan the daily program called Celebrity Today for events that may interest us. This daily itinerary is a nicely laid out program for every day and is delivered to our rooms the evening before. It contains a listing of all the activities for the day, write ups on special events, weather forecast and often does a short feature story on one of the facilities on the ship such as the Internet Café or similar items. It is a must read every evening or morning
With our morning primping completed we head on up to Deck 14 where we walk towards the aft end of the ship along the open air jogging track to the Oceanview Café at the stern of the ship. The Oceanview Café is Celebrity’s main buffet area. Although there are numerous eating venues including the elegant main dining area on Decks 3 and 4 we tend to like to go to the buffet for breakfast and lunch. The Oceanview is set up in a Marché fashion with probably 8 different food stations set up in the center of a large open area. On either side of the open area is seating with floor to ceiling windows lining the entire length of the area. There is everything you can possibly imagine for breakfast from bakery stations to hot food stations to egg prep stations, to cold meat stations to fresh fruit stations and of course two beverage stations stocking coffee, tea and juce dispensers. We like the buffet for breakfast as we can pick away and custom build our light breakfast of yogurt, fruit and nuts etc. It is easy to see why people gain an average of 7 pounds on one of these cruises with the volume, variety and quality of food at every turn. We are bound to keep our weight gain to a minimum so are watching our consumption carefully. We have only eaten breakfast in the main dining room once when we treated our selves to a full breakfast of eggs Benedict and the usual croissants and baked goods. The service at all of the food outlets is impeccable.
After breakfast we head down to the Guest Relations area on Deck 3 amidships to pick up a copy of the daily Canadian news bulletin. This is a daily publication that is done for a number of countries. It is not much but it does give us the high points on news, financial markets and sports. We found out that Canada is going to have another federal election – just what we need. We could use the ship’s satellite Internet service but as we have said earlier it is very slow (2Mps) and expensive – 65 cents a minute. For our second week we did breakdown and buy an Internet package but even with the package it is 50 cents per minute.
We will often sit out on deck for 15 minutes or so and read the Canadian news. Our next task this morning was to go down to Deck 6 to the iLounge to get our Internet wireless account set up. The iLounge is a lovely spot about the size of a small classroom set up like a classroom and equipped with a dozen or more Apple computers set up at workstations. In addition to the usual IT tech support for everyone onboard ship (Mac or Windows) they conduct different classes using the Mac system every day. The center is open 9-5 and 7-9 every day.
Next we headed up to the quiet sun deck on Deck 16. We have not spent much time this trip sitting on deck sunning but it was so nice outside with a lovely breeze blowing we decided to sit for an hour listening to our Harry Potter audio book on the iPod.
By 11:00 am we were off on the go again to Deck 15 amidships to the big grassy area – yes much of deck 15 is a sodded manicured lawn. It is funny to watch them watering and trimming the grass on a ship but it is nice to walk across the grass in your bare feet on a hot afternoon. At one end of the big lawn area is the Corning Museum’s Glass Blowing demonstration area. As I have said earlier this is a sizable area permanent installation of glass furnaces etc. Today we wanted to stop in to see them creating some exotic blown glass creations.
Once the glass blowing demo was over we headed back to Deck 3 where Sarah Moulton of Food Network TV was giving a big presentation in the big central display area. It was quite a show with TV cameras and the whole nine yards. They also had a demonstration of the tricks of several of the ships star bartenders with bottles twirling and lots of fancy handwork in drink mixing. All in all it was quite entertaining.
Once the cooking and bartending presentations were over we walked over to the small theatre to see a hour long Powerpoint presentation by one of the ships officers on the who navigation and trip planning process used by Celebrity to get these monster ships in and out of port as well as along their voyages. It was our second time seeing this presentation and the questions from the audience and the subsequent answers on a range of ship topics were as interesting as the main presentation.
After the ships presentation we made our way up to Deck 14 again for a late light lunch at the Oceanview Café. Again lunch is a buffet and there is tremendous variety at all the food stations including a Mexican food station and an Indian food station which David likes to frequent.
With a late lunch behind us we decided to head back to our cabin for an hour or two and sit out on our own balcony and watch the ocean go by while we got in another couple of chapters of our Harry Potter story. We are now on the last half of book seven (the final book in the series) and finding it very enjoyable. The audio book format is much slower than reading to yourself but allows your imagination to roam more freely as the narrator reads.
By late afternoon it was time to get showered and primped for tonight’s formal dress-up dinner. We are having an early dinner tonight as the main stage show starts a little earlier. Since we have selected open seating we often have new people sitting with us and lots of great conversation which extends dinner out for a couple of hours. Around 6:30 pm we headed down to Deck 4 for dinner. Tonight we were seated by a big window at a table for 6 and once again tonight we had Fran and Jack from Long Island sitting at our table. We met them last night and enjoyed their company. They own a small business installing and maintaining garage doors and related equipment on both commercial and residential properties. The business has been in the family now for two generations and sounds like they have enjoyed running the business for 30 odd years.
After dinner we head down to the main stage theatre which is packed tonight with I suspect well over 1000 people. Tonight the Captain introduces all the senior officers prior to the main entertainment. The entertainment is sort of a bit of a Vegas style review of song and dance numbers ranging from Tommy by the Who to West Side Story to Cats to Phantom. We find one of the female lead singers in this production particularly irritating as she is a bit of a screamer when she sings in some of these numbers so we had decided earlier to leave the show once we got to the more irritating portion. Besides we have already seen this show a week ago.
We headed off to Deck 5 and the Ensemble Lounge where there was a great light jazz guitarist /singer (Jonny Matra) performing light jazz and popular music all week. The Ensemble Lounge is a small dark quiet intimate lounge and bar with seating for possibly 25-35 in deep comfortable lounge chairs.
After the set ended in the Ensemble lounge set ended we walked back to Deck 4 where the classic rock band D’Revelation were playing in the main foyer which is at the bottom of the 15 story high main atrium. They are a great six piece band (all Malaysian) who are extremely versatile and do great covers of everything from the Righteous Brothers to classic 60’s rock to cross over country like Shania Twain to current classic rock. They are an audience favourite and the towering atrium of the grand foyer gives them great acoustics. They also play in a variety of other venues throughout the week. They truly work their entertainers on this cruise. By now it was 11:00 pm and time to head off to our cabin catch a little TV news from CNN or MSNBC or the BBC World News and catch some shut eye. Tomorrow we’ll have a busy day as we dock in San Juan about noon.
Some of the activities we passed on this evening included the big casino, the college kids social, the singles mingle activity, the all request dance hour in the beautiful Sky Lounge at the front of the ship, the almost nightly Karaoke at one of the other bars or the late night dance club that goes to the wee hours.