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Trish Traveler

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  1. gerelmex: Hi friends from last year's March Silhouette sailing. Mardi Gras cruise looks like great fun!! Great pictures!! Sorry we missed you by one sailing...we board Reflection on March 2! Pat & Rick
  2. Oh, you don't know what you are missing. I hope it's not true that they are doing away with it. I had it several times on the Silhouette last month 😍 It has the most amazing creme topped with perfectly hardened carmalized sugar crust. YUM! Now, I want it...😞... but I'm not on a Celebrity cruise 😂
  3. Thanks Laurie. It was great meeting you guys and sharing Cosol's tour. I think I may have you to thank for my love of the mango daiquiris, when I believe I saw you drinking it at Sailaway and decided to try it next time I ordered a drink! OV is definitely much less crowded for dinner, as passengers have so many other choices of places to dine. And I noticed one side of the seating area had dimmer lights in the evening (for more romantic atmosphere I presume??) We usually peruse the entire buffet before making choices (which helps also with not overeating) and then eat our cold and hot courses separately. However, it is still a trade off from being served in a sit down MDR, with attentive waiters. It just seemed to work out this time to use OV some evenings and not get all dressed up.
  4. Thank you all. Ontario Cruiser - I'm sure we crossed paths at some point on the cruise. Hope your group had a great time also. Glad I could provide some photo memories 😎
  5. Let's just say we are not Celebrity's best customers in that regard. We didn't have all that many drinks on the ship. I just find it hard to pay their prices (= I'm frugal 😉, and we pretty much feel this way on all our cruises). We also had more affordable alcohol on the islands or included in tours during the day and didn't really care for more in the evening. And we like that we can bring aboard the two bottles of wine for the cabin - although that doesn't last 12 days. And one thing I like about cruising is that you can sit in a bar, or entertainment venue and enjoy it without ordering a drink. Of course, I would never sit on an actual bar stool and take up space without ordering a drink. Obviously everyone is different and this doesn't work for some. I can see where a drink package works well for many cruisers, and saw many happily enjoying theirs. And although, I did enjoy the mango daiquiris, I didn't have that many. It will be my new tropical summer drink though as I quickly made one the other night by blending a mango, some orange juice, ice and Meyers rum. Pretty close in taste. Brought me right back to the Sunset Bar and the tropical views...😎 🍹
  6. Thank you all! Happy to share and re-live it as we are briefly back to winter in Chicago - it is snowing right now! 😞 DH said it is because Game of Thrones new season begins tonight and WINTER IS HERE! 😂 Hopefully, it will return to spring this week. After doing this photo review for the first time, I all the more really appreciate the detailed photo reviews I have read here on CC which have been helpful to me. It was more work than I realized, but it forced me to organize my photos. ENJOY!
  7. SEA DAY – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3 – CHIC NIGHT (LOBSTER) After 7 ports in a row, it was great to have two sea days at the end of this cruise. Also nice to be able to sleep in, although not too late because we wanted a sit-down breakfast in the MDR and the hours are 7:30-9:00am. It was nice to be served my delicious hot eggs benedict. My husband liked his bacon and eggs, but wished they offered steak and eggs, with those minute steaks from OV lunch and dinner buffets. We attended another Beyond the Podium talk, and morning trivia. We had a complimentary $5 credit at the Casino that could only be used for one hour. We are not gamblers so that was a funny experience. The last time I used a slot machine you put a coin in and pulled the lever. None of this complicated digital stuff with 10 choices of options! DH did win $10. WooHoo …he can buy one beer! The day was mostly sunny, with a brief shower, but otherwise perfect for those hanging poolside, and enjoying the officers vs. guests volleyball. The OV lunch theme of the day was Pub Lunch – We sampled many of the tasty offerings including freshly fried fish and chips (very popular), shepherd’s pie, and numerous British meat pies. All really good. More afternoon trivia in the Sky Lounge where we all needed to pause to see a pod of whales out the window! That was exciting! They didn’t really photograph well as they were too far from the ship, but you could see their backs and spouts of water while viewing them. We ate early in the MDR for our last chic night to enjoy the lobster. I think they are pretty good (not the best I’ve ever had), but I still had two! We made sure we got good seats tonight for the Uptown show as we have seen them twice, but they are definitely worth repeating. High energy trio dancing, and singing soul and R&B, including lots of Motown. We love their act. LAST SEA DAY (for this cruise anyway) – THURSDAY, APRIL 4 One last early morning soak in the peaceful Solarium hot tub, before breakfast. Since it was the dreaded packing day, we interspersed that with other fun activities all day long. We finally won a trivia game with some CC friends this morning! Since I love snorkeling so much, I purchased one of the WWF fundraiser t-shirts which helps to save our oceans. They also had a walk-a-mile to go along with that, but I was packing instead. Today, was the Lunch Buffet EXTRAVAGANZA in Oceanview Café!! Lots of extra special offerings including several stations of carved meats including turkey, pork and prime rib. Shish kebabs and grilled veggies. Fried chicken and corn on the cob. Lots of fancy dessert cakes, which they were serving for you. And a chocolate fountain for dipping fruit, cake and churros. And some fancy carved displayed items like shown in the cheese photo. And fluffy, scrumptious cream filled swans. Sorry I couldn’t get many pictures as it was too crowded. The rest of the afternoon was more relaxing on a hammock bed on deck 12 while enjoying the music of Ocean’s 5, until it was time for our final trivia games with our CC friends. Afterwards we went to redeem our prize tickets for a sunglass case. Managed to get our checked luggage outside our door before dinner, even though you have until 10pm, it is helpful to the crew. One more mango daiquiri at Sunset Bar before heading to the hilarious comedy show of Dan Wilson. Also one last casual dinner in the OV, before enjoying more string music in Ensemble where the gals thrilled my husband by playing the Game of Thrones theme song. DEBARKATION – FT. LAUDERDALE - FRIDAY, APRIL 5 After our last buffet breakfast, we grabbed our carry-ons and headed to the Silhouette Theatre to wait for our group #11 to be called (scheduled for about 8:20). We were called at 8:15am and easily exited the ship. We arrived in the new terminal 25 which had facial recognition. Quickly found our luggage and sailed through the customs area without even having to stop and show passports. Easy-Peasy! Walked to the cab line which was moving quickly and arrived at the Ft. Lauderdale airport by 9am. Of course, being a Friday, there were only two ships in port. We had plenty of time to relax before our 12:25pm flight. FINAL THOUGHTS Fantastic cruise! And we really like the longer cruise. We will definitely consider Celebrity again in the future. There were plenty more activities available each day that I didn’t list. We enjoyed all of the rotating musicians on the ship. We appreciate the live Silhouette Theatre orchestra as we hear some cruiselines are going to do away with those. Sometimes we felt the music in the Atrium was too loud (eek…now I sound old!) as it traveled all the way up to the library and card room. I understand the point is to draw people into the action down there, but that’s just my opinion. The entertainment staff was very good, including cruise director Rich Clesen, who seemed to be everywhere and was very down to earth. In general, we don’t really care that much about who our CD is unless they are annoying, but he is not that. All of the crew on the ship were friendly and hard-working from our observations. As always it was great to meet crew and passengers from all around the world, as well as the lovely people of all the Caribbean islands that we visited. So once again, I wish to thank all of you on CC who have given great advice to make my cruise more enjoyable. I hope you enjoy my review and learn something from reading it. I learned I use the word enjoy too much!! But what can I say…I love cruising and really ENJOY it!!!
  8. CONTINUED - ST. KITTS – TUESDAY, APRIL 2 - THENFORD GREY TOUR On the return journey the last highlight was the amazing view from Timothy Hill where you see the “backbone” of St. Kitts beautiful volcanic mountains and the Caribbean and Atlantic seas at the same time. Gorgeous! Great photo opportunities here and on the other side of the parking lot. We quickly returned to port where we still had some time to explore. The port area here is very nice with a variety of shops. They are building a new pier which will accommodate two more cruise ships, so I imagine eventually we will see St. Kitts on more itineraries. We loved our visit to St. Kitts and the Thenford Grey tour. Would definitely recommend him! After getting some late lunch at the Mast Grill and OV tea time, we enjoyed the relaxing scenic sailaway from lounge chairs on deck 5. After sailaway we enjoyed a hot tub as others prepared for dinner. Another casual dinner for us in the OV where I had another delicious made-to-order stir fry, rather than the “meatball” theme of the day. We once more skipped the main show Cosmopolitan, because it is a rerun for us. Enjoyed the Renaissance Modern String Duo in the Ensemble Lounge.
  9. CONTINUED - ST. KITTS – TUESDAY, APRIL 2 - THENFORD GREY TOUR St. Kitts is roughly oval in shape except for a long, narrow peninsula to the southeast. We had explored the northwestern end and were now back to the southeastern narrow section of the island where you find many of the upscale resorts and golf courses, and popular beaches. Our tour included a visit to a beach. We took a bumpy short road down to the small beach area of South Friars Beach with gold/black sand. This is where the Shipwreck Bar is located. Shipwreck is a very Caribbean, laid-back, pirate/parrothead, sand under your feet, open-air type of bar. It was pretty quiet the day we were there. You will also see monkeys here, on the rocks behind the bar. The beach here is a very narrow strip, not the most scenic, but some were enjoying it. We had already had quality beach time on this cruise so it didn’t matter to us, but it wouldn’t be my choice for a beach day. According to the tour description they sometimes go to Cockleshell beach (which looks prettier), but our port time departure was a little early (all aboard 3:30), so I think that is why we went to South Friars which is closer. The tour offered the option of spending an hour here or going back to the ship. Our whole group decided to go back, but we got to enjoy exploring the area and taking photos for about 15 minutes.
  10. CONTINUED - ST. KITTS – TUESDAY, APRIL 2 - THENFORD GREY TOUR We traveled onward and upward to the impressive Brimstone Hill Fortress which is really interesting and has awesome views of the ocean and neighboring islands (St. Eustatius and Saba). The fort is a 300-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site. The road up has a very narrow arch which requires awesome driving skills to navigate through without taking off the mirrors. After some commentary from Thenford, we were free to roam the grounds ourselves, as there are several levels. The walk up to the highest level is quite steep, and a good workout, but worth the views! We were even lucky enough to be there on the parking lot level for the changing of the guard. There is also a snack shop here.
  11. CONTINUED - ST. KITTS – TUESDAY, APRIL 2 - THENFORD GREY TOUR Onto the beautiful, lush Romney Gardens where Thenford walked with us and explained the lush flora that we were seeing. Although not real large, this is a true botanic garden. We also visited the Batik shop here for a quick demo. Very photogenic, colorful place, some with ocean views. We learned this info from Thenford, and found this on his website: Visit the vestiges of the 17th century manor of Capt. Samuel Jefferson, great-great-great grandfather of President Thomas Jefferson, and today home to a batik studio whose artisans produce prints and apparel of vibrant tropical themes and colors. Stroll the stately grounds and admire beautiful botanical specimens collected from the four corners of the world, including groves of Bismark Palms, Traveler Palms and a magnificent 370-year-old African Saman Tree. We also learned: Alexander Hamilton was born and spent part of his childhood in Charlestown, the capital of the island of Nevis in the Leeward Islands (then part of the British West Indies). Nevis is the smaller of the 2 islands comprising the nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean. There is also a snack shop if you need refreshment such as a Carib Beer or a “Ting with a Zing” which is Ting grapefruit soda and CSR spirit which is similar to white rum. We usually just bring a bag of nuts or granola bars from home to hold us over on tours like this that don’t include meals (as it is a no-no to take cruise food off the ship).
  12. ST. KITTS – TUESDAY, APRIL 2 - THENFORD GREY TOUR We arrived to our last port of call to another beautiful day, and colorful port. This would be our only new port on this cruise, so we were happy that it was last and gave us something extra special to look forward to. Having never been here, we wanted to do an overview of the island, so based on research here and on TripAdvisor, we booked the Thenford Grey “Grand Tour of St. Kitts” online, payable the day of the tour. Our ship arrived at 7am, but we didn’t need to meet until 8:30am. We got off about 7:45am to explore a bit, but the shops naturally we all still closed. We just hung out in the large open air building (which has a tourist info booth, and nice bathrooms). The calypso guys began playing at 8am. Ahh….my favorite Caribbean sound…”down in Kokomo…” Just a note: our Today newsletter had advised us to avoid contact with animals including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds and bats. Practice caution and avoid carrying monkeys because they might be aggressive and bite. There are locals with monkeys on leashes who want payment for photos, so avoid that. We saw the monkeys at South Friars Beach, but they stayed on the rocks, and are fed by the bar personnel only. The only other animal we saw besides birds was a small mongoose (who eats snakes). Soon it was time to check in for our tour. There were 2 mini-buses doing this tour and we were luckily enough to get Thenford himself as our most excellent tour guide. His nice nephew drove the bus which is modern with good A/C and viewing windows. I believe most of the bus where CC members, although we had only previously met one. A nice group. Thenford is such a nice gentleman, with a wealth of knowledge, love for his country, sense of humor and a deep James Earl Jone’s voice. He even sang for us a couple of times, and quoted poetry! The Grand Tour gives you a great overview of many of the highlights of the island. We briefly toured the town of Basseterre: Among the highlights: Berkeley Memorial set amid the hustle and bustle of The Circus (patterned after Piccadilly Circus in London), Independence Square (formerly the site of a slave market), St. George's Anglican Church and the Co-Cathedral of Saint Johns/Basseterre. Visit shops. Snap photos. Experience city life Caribbean style! After seeing the downtown area, we stopped for a pretty overlook of a bay with a view of our cruise ship. Continuing along the coast past several villages and international medical and vet schools, we stopped briefly to see a memorial to the original inhabitants, the Carib natives, with a replicated petroglyph rock. There was one of those monkey photo guys here that we avoided, he was not pushy, just asked politely (the man that is, not the monkey…he didn’t talk…or I would have paid for a video of that!)
  13. CONTINUED - DOMINICA – MONDAY, APRIL 1 – THE NATURE ISLE Heading back down to town, we stopped at the beautiful overlook of Morne Bruce, with a view of Roseau and the Silhouette. Time for a local Kabuli brewski, which was sold up here. In the next picture of Roseau you can see their cricket stadium. And the area in the bottom of the photo is the Botanical Garden. We did a drive through again, but as you can see it was really dry because they haven’t hit rainy season yet. The rainforest in the mountains gets enough rain, so that is quite lush, but not in the city. I imagine it also took a big hit from the hurricane. They even lost their small aviary that housed Sisserou parrots, the national bird of Dominica, which are an endangered species. But, even before the hurricane, the botanical garden is more of a park than what we think of as a traditional botanical garden. It is a nice large area of “green space” for their town residents, but it is rather sad as a botanical garden. I wish some special interest group with a grant could take it on and make it into something more tropical and enjoyable for the residents, as well as tourists. There is an interesting large banyan tree with multiple hanging roots that forms a room where weddings are sometimes held. And the Baobab tree continues to grow despite being toppled onto a bus during a hurricane back in 1979. So don’t go to the Botanical Garden and expect to see the magnificent flora of Dominica, get into the rainforest to see that! In town, we saw the “other White House” for the President of Dominica. Next photo is a colorful market and bar, which had live music in the afternoon. It was sad to see their public library and a church in town that were heavily damaged from the hurricane. It was another more relaxed day for us and it was heating up so we returned to the ship for lunch. We were happy to be able to enjoy this beautiful tropical island again while helping to support their economy. I would definitely recommend Fredos for your private tour. He will work with you or your small group. He also said he offers guided hikes. Be sure to ask him to hear a sample of his awesome calypso singing! Enjoyed another scenic sailaway while standing on the grass on Deck 15 near the Sunset Bar. We were entertained this evening in the Silhouette Theatre by Donovan and Rebecca with a combo of dance, vocals and amazing acrobatics. They are also Guinness World Record holders and were in the top ten on the TV show AGT.
  14. DOMINICA – MONDAY, APRIL 1 – THE NATURE ISLE Our daily newsletter was called “Yesterday” for the Celebrity Apex dated Monday, April 1st, 2063!! April Fools!! HaHa We arrived to colorful Dominica with partly cloudy skies, and some ominous clouds over the mountains, but that’s pretty common. We have been to the beautiful, lush, tropical island of Dominica twice before and have enjoyed many of the highlights including Trafalgar Falls, Titou Gorge, Emerald Pool, Mr. Nice Fruit Stand, and Champagne Snorkeling. There is a popular saying stating that if Christopher Columbus were to return to the Caribbean one day, Dominica would be the only island he would still recognize. We were happy to see Dominica on our itinerary, knowing that their tourism which is so important for their economy was returning after the devastating 2017 Hurricane Maria. We wanted to do our own thing, so we looked up the guide we had used previously, Fredos Taxi & Tours. This is the third time we have used Fredos Taxis & Tours while on cruise ship port visits: 2007, 2010 and now 2019. We used him for private tours with the things we wanted to do and he is very accommodating to your wishes. He is a genuine, nice guy that shows the love for his country of Dominica. He shares his wealth of knowledge about the nature and history of his island during his time with you. We were quickly off the ship and down the short pier to be greeted by Fredos. A short walk to his van which is slightly worn, but safe, with seatbelts and excellent A/C. He also now has a larger tour bus, which you can see on his FB page. We were so happy to see the island recovering from the devastating hurricane of 2017. The rainforest still looked pristine as it heals itself. Many repairs to buildings especially roofs have taken place, although you still see some that are in need of repair. Fredos recalled how traumatizing the hurricane was for everyone on the island as their first recorded cat 5 (which he said felt like 15). It hit overnight, which made it more terrifyingin the dark. About 65 people lost their lives, including a family of 7 whose house was washed away. They were without electricity and running water for months. Obviously, more work needs to be done, but he said they did get a lot of outside assistance in the months after. Along the way, we saw this interesting wooden statue in a yard. Fredos said it pays homage to the now deceased, longest living resident of Dominica at 128!! He said the island has a higher average life expectancy, so I did a little online research at home and found this interesting info: Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean, is gaining recognition as a modern day “Fountain of Youth.” The island was home to Elizabeth “Ma Pampo” Israel who died in October 2003 at the age of 128. At the time, she was considered by many to be the world’s oldest living person. Dominica has the second highest longevity in the western hemisphere, second only to Canada and above the United States, according to Janice Jackson, Executive Director of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. “If this is juxtaposed with the major difference in health care expenditures – less than $200 per resident in Dominica, compared with over $3500 in the US, this figure becomes even more significant.” Jackson said. Worldwide, average life expectancy for women is 64 to 67 and for men it is 61. In Dominica the average life expectancy for women is 78 to 81 and for men it is 75 (2001). There is clearly something special about Dominica – an island with a population of 70,000 (2010 Census) which is home to twenty-two recorded centenarians. We were thrilled to be the first visitors to arrive at Trafalgar Falls. So nice to feel the peace of the rainforest as we hiked up to the viewing platform (which has been rebuilt) to view the amazing Father & Mother Falls cascading down. Still as beautiful as I remembered. Soon others began to arrive, just as a quick rain shower also arrived. We put our ponchos on and headed back down. It ended as quickly as it began.
  15. BARBADOS – SUNDAY, MARCH 31 Yay, another sunny day! We received the following information: “The Celebrity Silhouette has been assigned to Break Water South berth located approx. 0.2 miles from the terminal building or 6-8 minutes walk – a comfortable walking distance. The Port Authority will provide a complimentary shuttle service from the pier to the cruise terminal for guests with walking difficulties……Please be advised the shuttles are limited and only one of the buses is wheelchair accessible…..” We departed the ship as soon as the all clear announcement was made and there were about 3 shuttles waiting. We did walk, but be advised it is a raised walkway and does have a few stairs several times. It took less than ten minutes to walk but is in full sun. At the pier near the terminal building was the smaller Marella Explorer ship which I had never heard of. Anyway, not a big inconvenience and not sure if they use this pier all the time or not. Again, having been to Barbados previously and exploring a lot of the beautiful island, we decided to do something different this time. We have never really done a true catamaran, so we did our research online and decided to reserve the extremely well-reviewed Silvermoon. They require a 50% online deposit. There cats are all a maximum of 12 passengers which is one of the many great selling points. Originally, we booked the Silvermoon II and were notified well in advance that it would no longer be available due to being off-island (they do sometimes charter the whole boat), and we accepted the switch to the Moondance. Once we arrived at the pier, we were told we were back on the Silvermoon II which was fine with us. Just be aware, that they can make changes. Other than that, everything ran perfect from the pick up at the cruise ship dock in the morning to the drop off in the afternoon. They also have the more upscale, and more expensive Silvermoon catamaran which offers a more deluxe boat, food and the guarantee of adults only. There was another group of CC passengers that were booked on that one, and I heard great reviews of that also. They pick you up in a van right outside the cruise terminal for a short ride to their pier for check in. The catamaran is spotless and just as pictured on the website. We loved that it is limited to only 12 people and is definitely worth the price, when you see some of the other catamarans and boats full of people out on the water. We were with another couple, and a family of 8, that we met onboard and enjoyed sharing the day with. We were greeted in the morning with an option of drinks and chose fresh pineapple juice. Later we had a snack of fruit kabob. The crew was wonderful: Luke, our excellent captain who is a wealth of info on all things Bajan; Chris who is a fish in the water and assisted us in snorkeling and onboard the cat and sailing; and Jamar who assisted us on the cat with food and drinks and sailing. After some safety and snorkeling instructions we were on our way motoring right past the Silhouette. The snorkeling sites aren’t that far as they are off of Carlisle Beach. We were impressed that they were able to get us quickly to the snorkeling areas as they can get busy with other boats. We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day, with smooth seas and crystal clear waters. Snorkel equipment is provided, but we brought our own to use, and the crew was happy to apply no-fog to our masks. You are not allowed to wear fins with the turtles so you don’t injure them. There are steps and a ladder on the back of the cat, which makes it easy to exit/enter. Chris was our fishlike guide in the water. We were delighted to see the green turtle who swam among us as that was one of the selling points for me! I could see the beautiful pattern of its shell which looked like a quilt (it looked like the one I have posted below which is a picture off the internet). We also enjoyed seeing several large rays swimming in that area. Back on the cat to snorkel the shipwreck area, which is not far away. We had never snorkeled shipwrecks, so again highly impressed with being so close to them to see such detail and very impressive sea life! We viewed the Berwyn (Berwind), Bajan Queen, and the Eillon. Again, we beat the crowds, but by the time we were leaving, many were arriving. So be sure to stay near your guide to stay safe in the water. Chris did a great job of keeping track of us in the water. I was bummed that my water camera had died the day before, so I couldn't get any underwater photos. I will just have to find some on the internet. Once we were finished snorkeling it was time for their delicious rum punch. Be careful, it is strong. They also offered a variety of drinks: water, soda, Barbados Banks beer, wine, and other choices of alcohol. An empanada-like snack was served as an appetizer to lunch. It was so relaxing to enjoy sitting out on the front deck and nets as we sailed, enjoying the sites of the Barbados coastline. When I had enough sun, there was plenty of shade inside. Soon it was time for a delicious Bajan buffet lunch of flying fish, chicken, salad, cole slaw, macaroni & cheese, rice and bread. So great to try the tasty local dishes. While anchored we had time to jump in the water to swim and cool off. DH had to try his usual cannon ball jump with large splash! Being so far south, the water was noticeably warmer than our first snorkel day back in St. Thomas. As we neared the end of our 5 hour tour we sailed back to their pier, while sipping a refreshing pina colada. Once again, we boarded the van for our short trip back to the Silhouette. Such a perfect day to be pampered in style while enjoying beautiful Barbados aboard a stylish Silvermoon catamaran. It is definitely worth the price and we would highly recommend it. It was one of the top highlights of our 7 port cruise for sure! The first three photos below are from their website so you can better see the Silvermoon II. The 5th picture is from our cat looking out at one of their competitors, Calabaza, which also looked nice. After that amazing experience, we were definitely ready for an afternoon nap to recharge ourselves for the evening. We opted for another casual dinner in the OV, as we always find plenty of tasty food choices. It was UK Mother’s Day per the Today newsletter and I noticed a few desserts dedicated to them. Later we enjoyed the “seriously ridiculous” Aaron Bonk, who is a Guinness World Record setting Whip Artist and Juggler. Highly entertaining.
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