Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 1 and 2 - Southern Caribbean





Hi from the ocean blue!
The first and second day of vacation are over – but there’s still plenty to look forward to!
We decided to fly to San Juan a day early, so that there would be a mad rush to the cruise ship pier on Monday afternoon. At the airport we were able to upgrade to first class seats for DH and I – what luxury! I was always one of those folks who said “First class – what’s the point? Economy class gets there at the same time.” Well, let me tell you that there is quite a difference. You aren’t squashed next to your neighbors like sardines, no one climbing over you every time they need to use the restroom, no one jostling you on their travels up and down the aisle. The seats reclined until you could lie flat and sleep as though you were home in your own bed! Well, you probably have a much better mattress, but you get the idea. Flight attendants really do bring you hot towels in first class – I thought that was a movie thing! Snacks and meals you don’t see in economy (I had 3 cheese quiche with turkey sausage for breakfast) were a very pleasant surprise. My husband is really spoiling me! Upon landing and claiming our baggage we were taken by taxi to the Caribe Hilton hotel in Old San Juan. What a beautiful place! The grounds are fantastic, there is a beach and at least 3 pools that I saw. Our room had the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in and a comforter type blanket to die for! There was a wedding reception held there during our stay on Sunday, and the bride and groom have to have the loveliest photos ever. I can’t imagine a wedding held in a tropical setting like this. One caveat – food is expensive (VERY EXPENSIVE!). I did leave there with the idea that I might like to visit again. The room did have a refrigerator, and staying for a week might involve doing your own shopping and eating sandwiches! LOL!
On Monday, after checking out, we were taxied to the pier. The Celebrity Millenium is beautiful! Luck was with us when we made our reservations. We have become spoiled cruisers and prefer to book a balcony cabin now. A month or so before the cruise, we were notified that we had been upgraded to what Celebrity calls their concierge class. It’s still a balcony cabin and has extra perks like fresh fruit every day, robes to use on your vacation and priority check-in. About a week before the cruise our travel agent called us to say that we were asked if we wanted to upgrade again, at no cost, to a sky suite! That made check-in a breeze. With our documentation in hand, we were sent to the representative at the desk who took a few minutes to process the paperwork and then escorted us to a gentleman who welcomed us personally and offered us a free dinner in the specialty restaurant, the Olympic. We booked our dinner reservation and then boarded the ship. While waiting for access to the stateroom, we wandered the ship from top to bottom, and had lunch at the buffet. There were mimosas offered to the boarding passengers, and everywhere we went, employees welcomed us aboard with a smile.
Our stateroom is marvelous. When we were offered the suite the cruise line advised us that the suite was handicapped accessible. It had remained unsold, which was the reason it was available for upgrade. The stateroom is huge, compared to previous staterooms we’ve had. We settled in, and our butler appeared to introduce himself and see if we needed any assistance unpacking! Yes, our butler! In addition to the stateroom attendant, we have a butler!

Our dinner was fantastic. We had a waiter named Made (Mar-day) from Bali and he was so helpful to us, a couple of hicks from Pennsylvania. I’m afraid I had to ask him which forks to use at dinner (I’m not too proud to ask for help). We really liked him a lot. DH had the duck for dinner and raved about it. I chose seafood risotto. It was delicious, but whereas I was expecting jumbo shrimp and scallops, the dish also included oysters – EWWWWWW! I shoved them to the side of the plate and ate the rest, Overall each and every course of the meal was great, and I would eat there again.
The ship departed San Juan at approximately 8:45 and I have to tell you that it is as smooth as can be. It is now 6:55 am on Tuesday and I was up early to watch the sunrise from my veranda. The ocean is so calm – you can hardly tell the ship is moving. I’m looking forward to a good day in St. Croix.

2 comments:

  1. Oh Jeannie, I am absolutely tickled pink for you!!!.. so happy to hear you're having a wonderful time!! Enjoy! ~tina

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  2. Really enjoyed the travelogue! (I can't believe you're blogging on vacation!). So glad you're having such a nice time.

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