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Scuba_Tom

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

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Not a heck of lot going on today...except the SUPER BOWL!!

 

Our day started out with room service again where we both ordered an omelette and assorted pastries.  

 

This morning we also opted to try out the Concierge class champagne.  This bottle was actually decent for a budget bottle of bubbles (say that 10 times fast..).  This wine is French but not made in the Champagne region. Fermentation occurs inside of steel tanks instead of the bottle (charmat method vs traditional).  This allows a longer fermentation process with softer bubbles, and some say it also allows the wine to have more aroma. I didn’t really notice much. Enough about the production, how did it taste, Tom??

 

Nose: Ripe sweet apple, hint of a lime afterthought.

Taste: Lemon zest and toasted bread, with a subtle fruitiness.  

 

We ordered a small glass of orange juice with our breakfast and after our first sip of the bubbles, decided to make mimosas instead (just a splash of OJ).  This wine is typical of what you’d see at a “bottomless mimosa” type of brunch. While it is ok on its own, it is better suited for mixing (French 75, anyone?!)

 

We didn’t really progress past that :). Lunch was in the buffet where we got yummy junk food of tacos, nachos, fried fish, and chips.  We sat out back and enjoyed the view. As expected on a sold out cruise the buffet was busy, but not ridiculous when we arrived at 12:05pm.  

 

Later we noticed some billing and reservation errors on our onboard account (via the app) so we decided to take a trip to visit the Concierge, Ross.  He was personable, friendly, helpful, and vowed to follow up on the issues we presented to him. I’ll keep you posted on when we hear back about a resolution.  

 

We relaxed on our balcony all afternoon, reading and napping.  After yesterday’s canapés, we requested a cheese plate for today that arrived at 4:00ish.  The cheese was decent, but the crackers were a bit stale and soft.  

 

After that we headed to the Martini Bar for a martini (it was packed already with no seats when we arrived at 5pm), then to Cellar Masters for a few glasses of wine.  I’ll write up a review of those wines and post the menus tomorrow.  

 

After the wine, we headed into the theatre for the Super Bowl!  The ship provided a full spread of tailgate food to include a nacho bar, salad bar, sliders, pastry-wrapped hotdogs, wings, and various desserts.  The atmosphere, the food, and the host provided a great environment to watch the game. It was a memorable experience but unfortunately my team didn’t win.

 

Below is the review of my drink during the game:

 

Bud Light, Anheisuer-Busch, St. Louis, MO

Non-vintage

Nose: water

Flavor: water

 

Good night, all!

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Good Morning!  Today is our first port day and were are about to head onto the shores of Antigua.  Before we do, I wanted to provide an update of last nights Cellar Master wines as promised.  Please find the wine lists attached as well.  

 

We showed up at 5:40p to a mostly empty room.  Part of the room was blocked off for some sort of wine tasting event.  Our server came by quickly and we had wine in hand in about 7 minutes. The wine tasting event broke up close to 6:00p.  

 

Elle started out with an Elk Grove Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley.  Elle said that this was her favorite wine on the ship so far. The nose had aromas of honey and melon.  Taste was pear with some green apple on the back end. The wine had some minerality and a smooth finish.  This is a great sitting around and drinking for fun sort of wine.  

 

I had the Condrum Red Blend from California.  This wine was another favorite between the two of us with chocolate and blueberry on the nose and a smoky afterthought.  The taste was fruity and velvety with hints of vanilla and chocolate. This wine would do very well up against the normal meats but I’d love to try this with a chicken mole.  

 

Round 2 consisted of a Navarro Gewuztraminer from California.  On the nose was grapefruit and honeysuckle. The taste had grapefruit with ginger on the back end.  Elle didn’t personally enjoy this wine on its own, but did say she thought it was made well. I think it would do better paired up to something spicy like Thai food.  

 

I ended with the Villa Nozzole Chianti Classico from Tuscany.  The nose had a funky, earthy aroma with hints of leather. Taste was cherry and oak with a bit of tobacco.  It was full-bodied, with medium to high tannins. This also wasn’t my favorite wine of the day but I’d like to try it again with some food pairing to see if it would settle down.  

 

We just got a knock on our door which is my cue for breakfast.  Enjoy your day and I’ll talk to y’all later!

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While by far, Celebrity is our favorite cruise line- so much of the Dallies are devoted to upcharge and for purchase goods and services- a little annoying after so so many cruises.  Wish they would do a daily spotlight on different employees, the ship, etc giving us intersting information.  Also more information about each port.   the Highlights  talks aren't usually well attended and often push retail shopping.  

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30 minutes ago, Cruise a holic said:

Also more information about each port.   the Highlights  talks aren't usually well attended and often push retail shopping.

That's what all cruise lines do, i push the locations at ports that sell jewelry and gems  that pay kick backs back to the cruise line. And what about all the paper that is wasted in the Dallies?

 

BTW I love the OP's blog

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50 minutes ago, Cruise a holic said:

 the Highlights  talks aren't usually well attended and often push retail shopping.  

 

Which is why seasoned cruisers avoid them like the plague.

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1 hour ago, Cruise a holic said:

While by far, Celebrity is our favorite cruise line- so much of the Dallies are devoted to upcharge and for purchase goods and services- a little annoying after so so many cruises.  Wish they would do a daily spotlight on different employees, the ship, etc giving us intersting information.  Also more information about each port.   the Highlights  talks aren't usually well attended and often push retail shopping.  

Unfortunately, the printed insert to the Celebrity today which spotlights top crew and officers for each cruise, has been discontinued.  It is now on the TV in a hard to follow horizontal format and possibly available at Guest Rel if you beg.

 

We enjoyed that insert and saved them. Kind of a disrespect to officers and staff...Guess their stories and resumes are not of interest to mgmnt...I can think of some ad inserts that are much less necessary!

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3 hours ago, hcat said:

Unfortunately, the printed insert to the Celebrity today which spotlights top crew and officers for each cruise, has been discontinued.  It is now on the TV in a hard to follow horizontal format and possibly available at Guest Rel if you beg.

 

We enjoyed that insert and saved them. Kind of a disrespect to officers and staff...Guess their stories and resumes are not of interest to mgmnt...I can think of some ad inserts that are much less necessary!

The spotlights only talked about top level employees.  I would like to know more information about a special bartender, cabin attendant-waiter etc.  They work so hard and deserve recognition!  Perhaps the passengers would walk up to them and say hello!  

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Recently on Summit they have been honoring certain employees during the Captains Club celebration.  Things like 10 years with Celebrity and some special awards.   One was a laundry employee who was rewarded for integrity for returning a large sum of money he found in a passengers clothing.   He received a GoPro and a certificate as well as a standing ovation from the passengers in attendance.

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Greetings!!  
 

We’ve returned from our shore excursion on time and still in one piece.  You’ll be happy to known that I have an obvious patch on my face where I missed my sunscreen.  I call it my Sun Tattoo.  
 

Todays excursion was an eco tour with Adventure Antigua:

 

https://adventureantigua.com/the-eco-tour/


This was a boat tour with hiking, snorkeling, lunch, and a visit to Hell’s Gate, which is on the border of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.  The tour also consisted of mini talks about Antigua’s land development, its impact on the island and its conservation efforts.

 

 I’m not going to spend a lot of time reviewing private shore excursions here as I feel that is better suited to TripAdvisor.  But overall it was fun, educational, and we saw a bunch of turtles.  The tour was $90 each which I thought was slighty overpriced by about $15.  Overall, 9 out of 10 rum punches.

 

After returning, we had drinks at the  Sunset Bar for sail away.  The place was very busy and I think we grabbed a couple of the last few seats.  The Sunset Bar is utilizing paper straws.   As a SCUBA diver I’m very conscious of the ocean and her health.  I appreciate Celebrity being considerate of ocean conservation

 

Elle tells me this issue is causing some controversy here at CC and I may have opened a can of worms.  #scandal

 

I thought the straw was fine and held its integrity very well.  If you find yourself with a disintegrating straw, I’d recommend drinking faster and getting a new straw with round 2 😂🍹
 

Tonight is our first night in the MDR, so stay tuned for information about that!  For now...it’s off to the <fill in the blank> bar!!
 

-T

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Was Eli your tour director for the Antigua tour, please? We took this tour with Eli about 10 years ago. It is one of the top 4 or 5 private tours we have taken over about 20 years.

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27 minutes ago, Scuba_Tom said:

If you find yourself with a disintegrating straw, I’d recommend drinking faster and getting a new straw with round 2 😂🍹

 

Yes!! 🤣🤣

Really enjoying your updates.

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57 minutes ago, Scuba_Tom said:

Todays excursion was an eco tour with Adventure Antigua:

 

Sounds fun! How many were with you on this tour? You mentioned hiking; how long was that and its difficulty?  

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2 hours ago, wrk2cruise said:

Recently on Summit they have been honoring certain employees during the Captains Club celebration.  Things like 10 years with Celebrity and some special awards.   One was a laundry employee who was rewarded for integrity for returning a large sum of money he found in a passengers clothing.   He received a GoPro and a certificate as well as a standing ovation from the passengers in attendance.

Great

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I'm joining late.  I just checked out your IG and your cats are adorable.  My wife is also a USAF veteran and a Sgt with LAPD. Oh and we're booked on Reflection in 2021.  The hardest part about going on vacation is leaving our 4 dogs : (.  

 

Ok, back to the beginning. 

Edited by calicakes

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This is where my palate had left the restaurant, walked to the rail, and jumped overboard.“

 

Got a good laugh out of that hilarious statement in your blog!  😆. It is really fun to read, and full of some great info, even for those of us who are longtime Celebrity fans.  You are doing better with wines than we did....taking notes!

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On 2/1/2020 at 6:01 PM, Scuba_Tom said:


Olexi says hello!  He thinks he’ll be here to share in your Marci Gras happiness!  
 

 


Santos just informed me that in March he will be moving over to Apex!  He says to all his fans to join him there!!!      

Please tell Oleksi and Santos hello from Jill andJoe!  We just got off on 1/31.  Have known Santos for a long time.  They were both so much fun.

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Sorry for the late post about last night!  

 

As I mentioned previously, dinner was in the MDR.  Our evening started in the WCB where the bar seating was completely full, but the tables and chairs around were empty so we had a seat.  Oleksi brought over some delicious cocktails and while we enjoyed them, I dreamed of one day owning the marvelous Breitling watch that was staring at me and taunting me through the window of the Breitling store.

 

After drinks it was off to the MDR.  We waited in line for about 5 minutes and we were seated at a nice window table by an employee wearing a Qsine chef coat.  She immediately tried selling us a dining package or a night at Qsine, and we told her we already had a package and were pretty much fully booked for the rest of the cruise.  She kept rambling on about lobster and how tomorrow would be the last night, and blah blah blah. I found this very unprofessional as we were literally just sitting down to eat.  She finally got the hint that we were not interested and moved on.  

 

Bread and sparkling water came quickly, as did our server.  The sommelier stopped by and asked for our drink orders. Elle chose the sauvignon blanc and I chose the reisling.  We ordered appetizers of a Thai crispy spring roll and chilled coconut soup and the chilled shrimp Louis. After we ordered, the sommelier came back and warned me that riesling may be a bit sweet for my dish.  He let me try, where I agreed with him, and he suggested the same sauvignon blanc that Elle was having. He even left to bring me a new glass so the reisling coating in the glass didn’t misflavor my sauvignon blanc.  Bravo to him! The appetizers were delicious, well made, and full of flavor. While chilled soups are not my thing at all, Elle enjoyed it.  

 

This is where I must pause the review.  You see, between the full day in the sun, the hiking, caving, and snorkeling, the pre-dinner cocktails, and the heavy wine pours that were happening in the MDR, Elle and I stopped doing a review and just enjoyed our night 🙂 (#sorrynotsorry).  I will say this, dinner was veal and beef spaghetti bolognese for Elle while I had the prime rib. The prime rib was the perfect temperature although I’d like just a touch more meat (notice I said “like”...not need 🙂 ). Wine was the Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir for Elle and the K.J. Cab for me.  No notes...just that we enjoyed the wine too much, went very well with our dishes, and had a lot of fun.  

 

Before Elle and I rate the MDR, let me provide some perspective.  We have dined in some of the best restaurants in the world and enjoyed the cooking of some amazing chefs to include Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Joel Robuchon, and Eric Ripert.  Does the MDR stand up to the likes of the French Laundry or Le Bernardin? Absolutely not. Is the MDR better than McDonalds? Absolutely. Please keep this in mind when comparing apples to oranges. That said, the MDR gets 8 napkins out of 10 from us, because we realize its place in the dining universe and think it did very well for a mass-dining restaurant at sea.  We enjoyed our experience (maybe too much) and are ok going back.  

 

And with that it's off to Barbados we go.  Tonight is the Veuve Cliquot Dinner and I promise that I will get to your questions when we get back!

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Hi Scuba_Tom, thanks a lot for your great posts and the outstanding style in writing. I really enjoy it very much. As we will be on Reflection in March we're interested in informations regarding The Porch. Can you maybe post the lunch menu? Enjoy your cruise and the drinks 

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I would love to hear you had for a sommelier. We will be on the cruise right after you and want to get a good sommelier. We always dine in the MDR and the staff really do make a huge difference in the experience. 

 

Thank you for your great detail!

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On 2/2/2020 at 9:13 AM, cangelmd said:

My question back to you is it true that the wine pairings for the Chef's Table/Daniel Boulud dinner/whatever they are calling it now are being charged extra? This is the dinner that is at least $250 per couple. we did Chef's Table on Equinox and those were by far the best wines we had the entire week, but we wouldn't do the dinner again, and I certainly wouldn't do it if the wine pairings were extra - even with Boulud recipes, the constraints they have with fresh food, make the dinner not as fab as you would expect. Now if they opened the wine pairings to the dining rooms - we would likely pay  $60 a piece to do the wines again

 

I have not seen the propaganda for the chef’s table yet on this cruise.  I’ll keep an eye out and ask around.  From what I’ve heard/read it is still 149.00 per person, $249.00 per couple for 5 courses with pairings.  I’ll keep you posted.  

 

On 2/2/2020 at 10:06 AM, laurajc said:

We sail the same itinerary in March.  It will be our first time on Reflection.  We sailed the Silhouette a few years ago.  We are not huge night life people, but found Silent Disco to be big fun.  I wondered if it is a thing on Reflection??   If you have a chance, would love to know if/how it happens during your trip.  Wishing you a wonderful sea day!

 

 

Silent Disco is awesome!  They had it on our second night and I’m hoping they do it again 🙂

 

23 hours ago, 39august said:

Was Eli your tour director for the Antigua tour, please? We took this tour with Eli about 10 years ago. It is one of the top 4 or 5 private tours we have taken over about 20 years.

 

No, it wasn’t Eli.  I think our tour director was named Trevor.  We really enjoyed the tour.  

 

22 hours ago, lemons said:

 

Sounds fun! How many were with you on this tour? You mentioned hiking; how long was that and its difficulty?  

 

There was about 20-25 people on the boat.  The hike was no very long at all and I’d say easy to easy-medium difficulty.  The hike is on a island where you walk up to the top of the hill and there narrow and rocky spots along the way.  The hike took less than 10 minutes to walk it out.  

 

55 minutes ago, StephSch said:

I would love to hear you had for a sommelier. We will be on the cruise right after you and want to get a good sommelier. We always dine in the MDR and the staff really do make a huge difference in the experience. 

 

Thank you for your great detail!

 

Our sommelier was Gajetan.  I’ll keep you updated on if we have him again and/or others that might be excellent wine connoisseurs

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Hello!  We are back from Barbados.  Getting off the ship this morning was an ordeal.  The captain announced that the ship was running late because they were awaiting clearance from the Barbados authorities and when we got downstairs, there was a line to exit that went up the stairs to the third floor, through the main foyer, past the passport lounge and down the hall through the rooms.  CRAZY! 😮Once they allowed us to leave the line moved along at a good pace and we got off the ship. This put us about 30 minutes behind from and for those that know Barbados it's a bit of a walk to the cruise ship terminal.   

 

https://silvermoonbarbados.com

 

Because our ship was scheduled to dock a little later, a wonderful CCer managed to secure an excursion on the Silver Moon catamaran for just us folks on Reflection (thanks Jan!!).  Our trip started with a short bus trip to the Silver Moon dock. An exit from the dock, a quick safety briefing, and the bar was open! There were 12 of us which I believe is the max the boat takes on these trips.  There was plenty of room to stretch out, sit in the sun or, if you are like me, hide away in the shade. Elle started a trend by grabbing a glass of prosecco and we all introduced ourselves.  

 

A short trip around the pier and we were snorkeling with green turtles, sting rays, trumpet fish, ballyhoo, and the flying fish.  There are also a couple of shipwrecks to explore. After getting back on board there were more beverages and appetizers while sailing along the coast of Barbados.  We enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared right there on the boat, a leisurely swim to cool off, then a sail back to the dock.  

 

Getting back on the Reflection was infinitely easier than exiting was.  We are now getting ready for our Veuve Clicquot dinner and I promise I’ll take better notes tonight!  


Seems like everyone’s got there favorite bar on the ship.   What’s your favorite bar and why?!?!  Share you secrets 🤫

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I'm following and enjoying your writing style and emphasis on the wines available.  Be sure to ask your sommelier for a private tour of the Wine Tower in the MDR.  That is a special treat.

 

I am anxiously awaiting your impressions of the Veuve Clicquot dinner.   If this dinner is the current incarnation of the Gourmet Dinner it's a lovely experience that I have enjoyed several times.  I am hoping Reflection has one on the March 13th sailing.

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1 hour ago, Scuba_Tom said:

 Seems like everyone’s got there favorite bar on the ship.   What’s your favorite bar and why?!?!  Share you secrets 🤫

 

On the S class ships, it is the World Class Bar. I like imaginative cocktails and this place has it. And they have bartenders that are not afraid to change things up. So if you don't like what they have, you can ask they will make you something else. One night on Reflection I asked for something special and the bartender (yes, it was Olexi) handed me two glasses and a list of liquors. He said he had something special in mind for me but didn't have what he needed for it so take these two glasses down to the Martini Bar (directly below) and give the bartender a note. I did and they sent me back with two full glasses which Olexi turned into an amazing cocktail (much dryer than the usual onboard cocktail). 

 

Jim

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