Posts Tagged ‘Celebrity’



Dining in the Olympic Restaurant

Apparently it is going to be a while before we eat, so perhaps an overview of the Olympic dining facility and its operating philosophy will help pass the time…

The restaurant is finished with the interior paneling from the a la carte dining room originally installed on R.M.S. Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic. The paneling sat disassembled in a private English residence for many decades, and was purchased by Celebrity Cruises when it was sold by Sotheby’s.

Outside the Olympic’s entrance is a lobby containing historic artifacts, pictures, and a continuous-play video. There are actually three rooms inside the…

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St. Thomas (3)

I took a seat on a stool at the counter near Kris.

“Look at this. Isn’t it beautiful?”

I disguised my grimace as a smile and nodded subtly. From the other end of the counter, a well-dressed man who I took to be the storeowner studied me. We locked eyes as he strode over to my resting place.

I have to admit that what he said to me was sheer marketing genius. I was caught completely off guard.

“Would you like a beer, sir?” he asked.

We were doomed…

I smelled the trap, but was too weak to resist….

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St. Thomas (2)

Coki Beach may be a surprise to some. It is relatively small — intimate almost — wedged between Coral World and some densely packed residential areas. The vista looking seaward is gorgeous. Turn around, and the view takes in a line of brightly painted tumbledown shacks housing vendors of all sorts. This is not a quiet stretch of sand.

Wells and Dan took off through the trees toward the beach as the adults took their sweet time retrieving towels and the like from the back of the truck. The sky was steadily darkening.

“I hope we get some snorkeling in…

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St. Thomas (1)

Sleep was fitful for me. I was excited at the prospect of returning to St. Thomas, where we lived from 1977-80. As a cruise destination, St. Thomas has taken some heat lately on the boards. For us, it will always be fondly remembered as ‘home’. I hadn’t been home in 24 years, and today was the day.

The wakeup call came at 6:30, and it was just in time. St. Thomas was already sliding by the window, and the sun was just starting to rise. Our view was to the aft, and I did not recognize anything in particular. The…

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San Juan

Millennium was already docked by the time we woke up. San Juan spread out before us through the windows, partially blocked by HAL’s Maasdam, which was tied to a nearby pier.

Paul brought a pot of coffee, and we lounged in the living room watching the sights. Kris wore one of the Celebrity bathrobes, a garment that would serve nicely as winter outerwear in New Hampshire. I wore a pair of shorts. The sun was shining so brightly through the window that I thought it might be wise to put on some sunscreen. A bead of sweat trickled from my…

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Casa de Campo

Our line, the one for the shuttle to Altos de Chavon, began moving forward. A dispatcher was counting heads as we filed toward the bus. She stopped the flow just when Kris and I reached the head of the line.

Before I could comment on our bad luck, we were signaled to proceed. Inside the bus, Kris plopped into a single empty seat. I thought I might have to stand for the trip, but then spotted a vacant seat in the rear corner. It was a tight squeeze to get in and I stepped on at least one foot in…

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Celebrity Suite

The plan for Tuesday was simple — sleep late, have a leisurely breakfast, attend the CruiseCritic party at 11:00, go to the beach at Casa de Campo and return to the ship for the evening. I had planned to just take a cab to the beach in the Dominican Republic, but after breakfast I decided to be safe and book the beach excursion through the ship. Information about this stop was pretty sketchy, and we could live without unpleasant surprises.

The television booking system was unresponsive, so I went down to the excursion desk and stood in a long, slow-moving…

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Formal Charges

After a couple of ring tones, a voice with an unidentifiable accent came on the line.

“Mr. X, we have been watching your habits.”

What the heck…

“I think we have a way to save you some money,” the message continued.

Now you’re talkin’.

“Please come to the Beta Computer Center on deck 3.”

Kris was hovering nearby as I hung up the phone.

“What is it? What did they do? Are they in the brig?”

I tried not to smile, but I couldn’t play it straight. “It’s nothing. The computer people want to sell me a package deal, that’s…

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Into the Night

We held our collective breath as the unsuspecting cruisers joined us. We had already met Albert, our waiter for the duration, and Geri, his able assistant. Albert rushed to meet and seat the latest arrivals.

The four appeared to know each other well, and I correctly surmised that they were traveling together. One of the men looked us over with striking, piercing eyes. Oh, oh. He turned to Dan and asked, “Where’s the wine. Are you buying the wine?”

This was Kent, and he led the introductions — wife Nickie, and their friends Betsy & David. In a sudden rush…

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Settling In

I opened my eyes and turned to see Kris marching down the hall lined with images of Japanese ladies to open the door.

PICT0130Standing outside was Paul, the butler. Behind him were Wells and Dan, and the three appeared to be acquainted already. They all marched in to the room, chatting away.

Paul formally introduced himself, and I admitted ownership of the boys.

“You’ll probably be seeing a lot of these two,” I told him.

“Certainly sir. They are most welcome.”

Paul gave us a quick tour of the room and its features. He was pointing out the cupboard full…

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