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Scuba_Tom

LIVE BLOG - First time Celebrity Cruiser - Reflection 1/31-2/10/2020

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5 hours ago, terrydtx said:

I see you have St Maarten on your cruise. On our last cruise there we did an excursion with Rhino Boats that included snorkeling and swimming on a private beach.  It was one of the best shore excursions we have ever done in the Caribbean.

 

We too did the Rhino excursion in St. Maarten and it was fantastic.   It is the closest thing to high speed adult bumper boats you will ever see, but there is no bumping allowed.  They are basically 2-person wave runners with big raft like bumpers so it is really hard to tip over and they go fast.   You have to maintain the posted speeds as you travel through the harbor/lagoon to the open beaches and you will see dozens of shipwrecked yachts and boats still capsized and stranded in the harbor from the hurricane.

The damage to the waterfront homes is unbelievably extensive and some parts seem post-apocalyptic.

 

We too agree it was one of the best excursions we have ever done.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Scuba_Tom said:

 

This looks like an absolute blast, thanks for sharing.  We won't be able to do it this time as we're booked for an island food tour on St. Maarten, but we'll put it on the list for next time.

We have done that food tour, and you will have a great time!

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Following along with delight.  We were on the Reflection (Ultimate Caribbean) 10-20 January and it was too windy to dock in Antigua, which was a shame as it's one of my favourite ports, but safety comes first of course.  Overall it was a good cruise with our only (minor) gripes being the Beyond the Podium guest speakers, who we thought poor and one of the ship's excursions really packing 'em into the small bus to a degree I've never witnessed before!  Small stuff though.  Enjoy, and as a cat lover myself, wishing you no cat traumas during your vacation.

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23 hours ago, Scuba_Tom said:

Barbados – Silver Moon catamaran that we booked with fellow CCers from our Roll Call

You will love this - we've done twice and hard to imagine not doing when in Barbados.  Wonderful and first class treatment.

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I'm following along.  Will be on Reflection with the same itinerary in December.  Happy Anniversary and have a great cruise.  Your fur babies are so cute.

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Following, I will be on the Reflection Trans Atlantic in April. Also working the World Class Bar is Santos from Peru, also a great guy. Met him many many years ago. I also went to WSU, and I live in Marin now. All the Martini Bar bartenders are great.

If you find wines that are not on the premium package you can pay the difference between the premium package and an the wine you want to drink.

Safe travels.

Norma

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5 hours ago, breezer said:

I'm following along.  Will be on Reflection with the same itinerary in December.  Happy Anniversary and have a great cruise.  Your fur babies are so cute.

 

Thank you so much!  I agree they are adorable, even right now when they are running around the house at full speed while we are trying to finish packing up!  😻

 

6 hours ago, mrsgoggins said:

Following along with delight.  We were on the Reflection (Ultimate Caribbean) 10-20 January and it was too windy to dock in Antigua, which was a shame as it's one of my favorite ports, but safety comes first of course.  Overall it was a good cruise with our only (minor) gripes being the Beyond the Podium guest speakers, who we thought poor and one of the ship's excursions really packing 'em into the small bus to a degree I've never witnessed before!  Small stuff though.  Enjoy, and as a cat lover myself, wishing you no cat traumas during your vacation.

 

Sorry you had a bad experience.  :classic_sad:  I think our Beyond the Podium events might be Super Bowl related.  I'll keep you posted about the subjects and their...ahem...enjoyability. 

 

4 hours ago, h20cruzer said:

Following, I will be on the Reflection Trans Atlantic in April. Also working the World Class Bar is Santos from Peru, also a great guy. Met him many many years ago. I also went to WSU, and I live in Marin now. All the Martini Bar bartenders are great.

If you find wines that are not on the premium package you can pay the difference between the premium package and an the wine you want to drink.

Safe travels.

Norma

Go Cougs!  I'll keep an eye out for Santos and tell him that you are coming soon!  I'm sure I will have to try some of those higher end wines...you know...in the interest of science 👨‍🔬

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Greetings land dwellers!
 

In the words of John Denver: All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.  However, I am not outside your door because that would be weird…we just met!!  Elle and I are headed out to the airport soon!  We’re flying coach and we both snagged window seats so I’m hoping to grab some shuteye.  I don’t tend to sleep well on planes so we will see how it goes (odd for an Air Force vet, huh??).  

 

Red-eye direct from San Francisco to Miami.  We arrive early tomorrow morning and plan on catching the train up to Ft. Lauderdale where we will meet up with a good friend of ours who is also a seasoned traveler and diver who we met on a dive trip nearly 5 years ago.  As I mentioned in my first post, Elle and I often travel to scuba dive and we tend to lean towards liveaboard diving.  Liveaboards are like teeny tiny cruise ships (OK, actually, no…they are nothing like them except they both involve a ship.  Or in the case of dive liveaboards, a yacht).  Our Ft. Lauderdale friend has been with us on three trips and we have another planned for next year with our little motley crew of divers we seem to pick up on each new trip.  We are excited to see her again. 😊  Ironically, we are not diving on this cruise at all 🤷🏻‍♂️ 
 

It is looking like tomorrow will spent exploring the Everglades via airboat.  Stay tuned for details and a review tomorrow afternoon/night.  I’ve never been to the Everglades nor on an airboat so I’m looking forward to it.  

 

I’m hoping you all are enjoying the blog and I can promise you…like fine wine…it will only get better as time goes on!!

 

BTW - the only bad part about winning the Move Up bid is that the luggage tags Elle ordered from the Celebrity site are now useless, and she’s currently at the table doing what looks like some complicated origami with new tags she printed off today.

 

-T

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Edited by Scuba_Tom

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 Have a wonderful time! Love the ship, we just got off of it on January 3.  

 

Not sure if you have select dining or not,  but if you get the chance, try to see yourself with Basilio, Singh and Basel (Somm). Great service. Also, we got in the habit of stopping in Cellar Masters before dinner to grab a glass of Caymus to bring in with us, needed to burn some OBC. 

 

 Looking forward to following along with your review! 

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Great job so far with your blog!  I'll be extremely interested in following along each day since my husband and I will be getting on the Reflection the day you depart.

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Thank you so much for taking time to write this thoroughly entertaining blog. Looking so forward to continuous installments. Your three fur kids are beautiful. Safe travels

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Made it to the airport safe and sound.  No lines here at SFO and the American Airlines computer system worked great.  TSA Pre Check no line, walked right through.  
 

We are now sitting down to have our pre-flight flights (get it...flight...see what I did there). Curb to wine in hand: 9 minutes
 

Next time you hear from me will be from Florida! Cheers!

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5 hours ago, Scuba_Tom said:

Made it to the airport safe and sound.  No lines here at SFO and the American Airlines computer system worked great.  TSA Pre Check no line, walked right through.  
 

We are now sitting down to have our pre-flight flights (get it...flight...see what I did there). Curb to wine in hand: 9 minutes
 

Next time you hear from me will be from Florida! Cheers!

BCF88C31-8AEC-4BE2-9E28-C1EFEBD49D06.jpeg

Nice pre-flight flights, safe travels.

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Ok!  Made it to Miami where The Super Bowl Pre-party is in full swing.  I’m like a kid in a football candy store constantly looking at the newest shiny thing.  Didn’t help that we flew direct from SFO so the flight was packed with 49ers fans.  
 

Flight was uneventful, couple of bumps and we got some sleep.  I missed the drink service entirely.   Luggage retrieval was quick with no issues.
 

So, when we booked our flights it was significantly cheaper to book to Miami than to Ft.  Lauderdale.  We’re currently on the Tri-rail train from MIA, headed to Ft Lauderdale Airport to meet up with our travel buddy.  Elle is teaching me the ways of using public transportation.  You know us Californians and the environment.  I can’t complain, it only cost $7.50 for two so we’re winning there! The walk from baggage claim to train took about 10 minutes with a few moving walkways.  
 

Expect another post tonight regarding our activities here in Florida.  This time tomorrow we will getting ready to check in to our ship! 🤩

 

-T

 

📷: The amazing Elle

 

 

 

 

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Glad you arrived safe!  I could never take a train as we typically have too much luggage and since we aren't 21, too difficult to maneuver.  Great that you were able to save the money and help the environment!

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3 hours ago, Scuba_Tom said:

We’re currently on the Tri-rail train from MIA, headed to Ft Lauderdale Airport to meet up with our travel buddy.  Elle is teaching me the ways of using public transportation.  You know us Californians and the environment.  I can’t complain, it only cost $7.50 for two so we’re winning there

I love the Tri-rail myself. I fly into Ft Lauderdale and use it to get to Miami. And the price is right !

I won't get to use it this up coming trip. Mom doesn't walk that well, so not going to push it. 

 

But it is a great way to get between cities down there !

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Welcome aboard Tom. Looking forward to your Blog. We are sailing to the ABC Islands on the Reflection at Easter. So following along with interest. 

Have also signed up to your instagram page

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Community Friends!

 

Day 0 is in the books!  We slept minimally on the plane and are both exhausted, but  before I pass out cartoon style with my legs half on/half off the bed I wanted to give y’all an update on our day.  After meeting up with our friend and partaking in a mimosa (or twelve), we headed out for an Everglades tour

 

Everglades

 

We used Everglades Swamptours (www.evergladesswamptours.com) for our tour.  We did not pre-book, nor we did not reserve ahead of time.  We literally just showed up 15 minutes before a scheduled tour and booked it. Disclaimer:  I do not recommend this way of doing things, and it is not our normal style (remember those mimosas). We got lucky, they had 4 openings available so we snagged 3 of them.  It was $50 per person for about an hour trip on the airboat.  We actually spent about 1:15 on the boat.  

 

After our obligatory safety briefing, we were off with our guide Tyler.  These trips are always a gamble because you can’t predict nature, but this trip was amazing and worth the cost.  Tons of wildlife from fish, to alligators, to birds, to turtles.  Tyler was great and pointed out wildlife and fauna, taught us about the Everglades, talked about conservation, and told us the history of the area.  We cruised along pointing out the gators and skimming over the water at 30-40 mph.  Ear muffs are provided but if I had one piece of advice, it would be to double up on ear protection.  Bring along a pair of soft ear plugs to use along with the provided muffs -  that boat can get LOUD!  We added a $10 tip per person because Tyler was knowledgeable and fun and let us join on the tour last minute.  Overall, I’d give it 5 pythons out of 5.

 

After the tour it was off to Publix to pick up a couple of bottles of wine to take onboard the ship.  We do have the Premium beverage package, but we wanted some bottles for the room.  

 

Dinner

 

For dinner, our friend recommended Giorgio’s Bakery and Bistro in Hollywood, FL.  It’s an Italian and Greek place whose motto is “never cook again.”. I can get behind that!  We elected to sit outside and enjoy the action on the intercoastal waterway.  The drink menu is beer and wine only, and we had some Pinot Grigio and Yuengling.  Because we sat outside we made a lot of new friends in the form of bugs...so if tiny creatures in your beer/wine or food (or up your nose, as happened to Elle) bother you, maybe sit inside.  I don’t mind, I’m a weightlifter and can use the extra protein.  

 

We shared some appetizers of Spanakopita and Steamed Mussels.  Both were delicious but the sauce used for the mussels was to die for.  Take the bread they give you and mop that stuff up!  There may have been a conversation about whether grabbing the bowl of sauce and drinking it all was appropriate or not.  Don’t judge.

 

For dinner we had flatbread pizza, a souvlaki platter with chicken, and a chicken pita. The food was delicious, and of course we ate too much.  Overall the food was good, we will go with 4.00 Greek temples out of 5.  Service was a bit slow and we had to do a lot of the work ourselves (passing out plates to each other around the table), so in that category we’ll go with 3.5 temples out of 5.  There is a slight “Vacation Time” mentality around here, but it did not impact our evening much.  

 

Well, it is way past my bedtime and we want to be fully rested for day 1 tomorrow.  I’ll provide some updates throughout the day!  

 

Catch you tomorrow...

 

-T

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Really enjoying your blog.  I'm all caught up.  This will hopefully tide me over until we board the Summit on 2/8.

Lorie

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You will have a great time on Silvermoon, and don’t forget you are able to have lunch in the dining room because you are Concierge level.

Great to read along feel as though we are sailing with you

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Happy Cruise Day! Thank you for taking us a long! I have learned so much from the nice folks on CC and look forward to hearing about your experience. My hubby and I will leave our three fur babies home in March as we set out on our first cruise so I understand missing them. By the way, I am an Air Force brat who married an Army man (now ret). 

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17 hours ago, bluwes said:

Welcome aboard Tom. Looking forward to your Blog. We are sailing to the ABC Islands on the Reflection at Easter. So following along with interest. 

Have also signed up to your instagram page


how fun!  The ABC islands are on our short list for sure.  We have a lot of interest in diving in Bonaire.  I hope you enjoy your trip!

 

11 hours ago, parrothead33 said:

Enjoying your blog and love your writing style.  Have a great cruise.

 

Thank you so much for the kind words!

 

11 hours ago, lkj1301 said:

Really enjoying your blog.  I'm all caught up.  This will hopefully tide me over until we board the Summit on 2/8.

Lorie

 

So close...your trip is almost here.  Try to enjoy what will be the longest week ever leading up to your cruise 😂

 

6 hours ago, swigso said:

You will have a great time on Silvermoon, and don’t forget you are able to have lunch in the dining room because you are Concierge level.

Great to read along feel as though we are sailing with you

 

Elle told me something about that and I’m looking forward to it for sure.  I may even go light on breakfast to make sure I have room for a good lunch 😋

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