November 30, 2016

Two Days At Sea

Last night we set our clocks ahead one hour. This morning the skies are mostly sunny with a few high clouds. The wind is on the stern at 11 knots as we head towards Oranjestad, Aruba at about 16 knots. The temperature will remain at 77 most of the day.

As I leave my cabin I meet my stateroom attendant, Ovidio. He is very pleasant, but speaks little English. I tell him about the TV. I think he understands, but I'm not sure.

Two eggs cooked to order, and a glass of apple juice for breakfast. Seating is limited, but I am able to find a table quickly. After breakfast I go to the "shore excursions presentation". I quickly remember that I have done the tours of our first three ports that would interest me the most.

The Corning Museum Of Glass has glass blowing demonstrations on three Celebrity ships. I always find them interesting, and the artists are very talented. I probably watch for an hour and a half. It is very comfortable on the 15th deck, and today the seats are all in the shade. The two gals and a guy take turns making vases, cups, and a water pitcher. Now don't think the pitcher is for display, it is for them to keep water in while they are working. The one they are currently using is cracked, and slowly leaks, so they need a new one. So they do as any good glass blowing artist would do, they just make one.

It needs to sit in the annealing oven for many hours, so they won't be able to use it for a few days.

Usually glass blowing ovens are gas fired, but being on a ship they are all electric. Designed specifically for the Celebrity ships at a cost exceeding two million dollars, only 5 sets of these furnaces have ever been made. Three are on ships and the other two are at the Corning Glass Museum. They need to be rebuilt once a year, these were done last week, a week long process as it takes several days for them to cool, and sevral more to be reheated.

I head back to my cabin. The TV still does not work, so I call the front desk. Within an hour the cabin attendant comes to put new batteries in the remote. That obviously does nothing. He calls the "tech" guy. Within 20 minutes the technician calls me and says he was in my cabin earlier, and the TV worked fine. I politely disagree and he says he will be here in ten minutes.

As I let him in the cabin, he apologizes and says he was sent to cabin 9160 not 9260 earlier. And yes, the TV in 9160 works just fine. Again fresh batteries don't help. The cabin attendant should have given me a new remote, but didn't, so the technician gives me the remote from his cabin. He also explains that the buttons on the TV are all disconnected because they found many guests would get confused and switch the TV to an input that didn't exist and then wonder why nothing worked. I can now turn the TV off without having to unplug it.

Celebrity no longer has "formal" nights. Today the wording is: "Say goodby to Formal Night, and hello to Evening Chic. While dressier than smart casual, Evening Chic is intended to be less dressy than Formal attire." In yesterday's "Celebrity Today" evening chic was defined as: "Tuxedo, suit, or dinner jacket"....sounds like formal to me. When our waiter was asked, his interpretation is that jackets are no longer required in the dining room, period. I'm sure that is all clear. I'll let you know how the passengers interpret this.

Celebrity uses the entire Sky Lounge for complimentary cocktail hour from 5 to 7 for their best guests. No getting a jump start here, the doors remained locked until after 5:00 as the crowd of thirsty passengers gather in anticipation. The beverage selection is similar to what is offered on Royal ships. Personally I notice Beefeater is used as their bar gin, fine with me.

I leave just before 6:00 to be at the dining room on time. I have a long wait for the elevators and arrive a few minutes late. All 8 chairs are empty, I settle into my spot next to the window. George greets me with a complimentary gin and tonic in hand. Data mining at its best, or a big coincidence. No one else shows up. I have a salad and sliced duck, and no desert. I am out of the dining room in time to catch the 7:00 show.

It is a production show tonight. I will assume it is new since I was here in March of 2014, as I do not remember a bit of it. After the show I decide to walk thru the buffet on my way to listen to the piano player. Of course this means walking the length of the ship twice, that's just the way life is on a ship. Wherever you are going it is always on the opposite end of the ship from where you are.

The buffet is busy but not crowded. Many of the staff are having dinner as well as a number of passengers probably including those that have never showed in the dining room. The entree selection is quite varied. Kobe beef patties, sliced leg of lamb, steak, chicken, and the usual pasta to order, pizza, large salad selection, etc. There is even a choice of about 10 flavors of hand dipped ice cream with a multitude of available toppings.

I listen to the piano player for about an hour and then call it a night.

The next morning finds the weather basically unchanged. The wind is now on our port side at 13 knots, the seas have calmed a little, and the temperature has warmed to the low 80's. Very typical weather for this time of year in the Caribbean.

Many people are already burning themselves around the pool. I am surprised at the number of "lobsters" I see, probably shouldn't be as there are quite a few Europeans and Canadians on the ship, and they probably just don't realize how easy it is to burn in the southern sun.

At noon time today there is the "Captain's Club Appreciation" in the Sky Lounge. Many officers are in attendance along with the Captain. He is just returning from vacation time, and appears to be fairly young compared to many captains. The high point cruiser is recognized, a gentleman with over 4000 points with Celebrity. (basically days) No bottle of wine or any other gift, just a picture with the captain.

I spend the afternoon reading the shore excursion brochure.

There are a few that I will consider, but I still have time to make any decisions.

After taking a good look at how passengers dressed in the dining room last night, I come away with the conclusion that regardless of what Celebrity may be saying, the passengers are focusing on "less formal". Tuxedos were few and far between. Probably only half of the men wore any jacket, and only a small fraction of them wore a tie. Many passengers wore no jacket at all. Typically the dress tends to go down as the cruise goes on. It will be interesting to see the third "Evening Chic". FYI 2 years ago on this same ship and same itinerary you were not allowed in the dining room without a jacket, and Celebrity enforced that rule, even loaning you a jacket if needed.

At 5:00 I head to the Sky Lounge for free cocktails. I expect I will go to the buffet tonight. One of my reasons to go to the dining room is to chat with other passengers, but that plan isn't working as my mind hasn't yet deteriorated to the point that I talk to myself.

Tonight's show is Doug Cameron playing the violin, a show that is very familiar to me. He does a good show and I have heard him on at least two previous cruises, I just can't tell you which ones.

Tomorrow we arrive in Aruba at 8:00 AM.

No comments: