Panama Canal Cruise on the Celebrity Infinity
11/4/14 to 11/19/14

Due to the length of the review, it is in three parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top and bottom of each page. 

Page 1  - Embarkation, Ship, Dining, Entertainment and Activities

Page 2  - Ports of Call: Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Panama Canal; Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Page 3  -  Ports of Call:  Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Ports of Call:  Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Panama Canal; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; San Diego, California 


We have been cruising with some friends since 2005.  We call ourselves the Martini Mates, since we met in the Martini Bar each evening on the Infinity while on a Pacific Coast repositioning cruise.  We have done several cruises together since then, and have added several members along the way.
One of the original couples, Jim and Kathleen, took their very first cruise on November 4, 2004 on the Infinity.  It was also a Panama Canal cruise.  Since this cruise was starting on the same date, same ship, same destination, ten years later, they booked the same aft cabin they had previously stayed in.  They also thought it would be a great opportunity to have a reunion cruise of the Martini Mates.
Since we had already booked a European cruise that ended on October 30, we would only have five days to get ready to cruise again.  Although we knew it would be a challenge, we had to do it.  We really wanted to spend some time with our friends and we had previously only done a partial transit of the canal.  Sadly, we had lost one of our original Martini Mates, Judy, a few months before the cruise; but were so glad that her husband, Bob, was still going to join us for this adventure.

The night before the cruise a dinner was arranged by Jim at the Bravo Italiano Ristorante for people on the Cruise Critic roll call that wanted to meet before the cruise.   We had over 20 people attend and it was a most enjoyable evening.  We were ready to cruise!


We arrived at the port at about 10:45AM, earlier than we normally do.  The security process appeared to be more thorough than in the past, so it took a bit longer than usual.  After a quick visit to the check in counter, we found a place to sit down in the terminal to wait, but we had to get right back up since we were told we could board.  This was a very fast and early embarkation. 

After boarding the ship and eating at the Bistro on 5 with our Martini Mate friends, we were able to get in our cabin.  It had been a quick turnaround for housekeeping.  As I usually do, I went to the upper decks to start taking ship photos.  I was surprised to see the Princess Cruise Lines newest ship, Regal Princess, docked close to the Infinity, since we had just docked next to her in Madeira, Portugal a couple of weeks earlier on our previous cruise.

After the muster drill, many people from our roll call went up to the Sunset Bar for sail away. We had a very friendly group to sail with. 

Although there had been a little rain driving to the port, it had cleared up for a nice sail away.  It is always such a pleasure to leave through the Port Everglades inlet.  In addition to it being a nice view, there are lots of people waving at the ship from the condos.  The weather forecast for the ports was not good, and we hoped that it wouldn’t rain as much as was forecasted. 



The Infinity had been Solsticized in 2011 shortly after we were on her for our South America cruise.  We were looking forward to seeing the many changes.  The various public rooms are shown below by category.

Dining Rooms -
Trellis Restaurant – This is the main dining room and is located on two decks.  Deck 4 is for fixed seating guests and deck 5 is for select seating; which is anytime.  We ate all but two dinners in the Trellis.  We only had a few lunches and one breakfast there.  I have always thought that the dining rooms were very elegant on this class ship, with the open two story room and the large windows across the back.  It is just a lovely room. 




Oceanview Café - This buffet is of the old style rather than the island style that we prefer on Celebrity’s S Class ships, yet like the Solstice ships, no trays are used.  With it being a very long room, it required a lot of walking from one end to the other to see what was available.  After a few days, we knew where different types of foods were; but it was still a hassle to walk the full length of the restaurant to see what specific items they were serving.  Carol found it especially aggravating since she was using a cane due to an injury and had only one hand to carry items.



The buffet seemed to be crowded most of the day, since there was some food always available.  Although it was always crowded at lunch and breakfast, we could normally find some place to sit.  Sometimes we just had to ask to share a table.  With the weather being quite nice for the cruise, the tables outside the back of the restaurant in the Sunset Bar area got used a lot.  That took some of the load off of the inside area.



There was an area at the front of the buffet for ice cream that was very popular.  There was a line most of the day waiting to get either hard or soft serve ice cream.  On the S Class ships, there is a self-serve soft serve ice cream dispenser at the hamburger grill.  Since there was no other self-serve ice cream on this ship, everyone had to wait in line to order some.  It was most inconvenient.

Bistro on Five – This specialty restaurant was added during the Infinity renovation.  It used to be part of the Martini Bar.  We enjoy the food selection in this restaurant because it is totally different from any of the other food venues.  They have a nice selection of Paninis and crepes.  The charge per person to eat there was recently raised from $5 to $7.  We like to eat there after we board the ship, since the buffet can get so crowded on boarding day.


Blu – This is the restaurant used by Aqua Class passengers.  It was also added in the renovation.  To make space, the area of the Trellis Restaurant near the port entrance on Deck 5 was walled off.  After seeing the lovely Blu’s on the S Class ships, this one seemed pretty small and plain.

Qsine - Celebrity describes specialty restaurant Qsine as “a culinary journey that delivers elements of surprise and delight.”  We had thoroughly enjoyed Qsine while on the Eclipse in 2013, so we looked forward to going again.  In order to make room for Qsine, they eliminated the seldom used flower shop on Deck 11.  It was nicely done and the room looked quite inviting.  With the $45 per person charge to eat at Qsine, this was a revenue producing renovation.  We were very glad that it had been added to Infinity, since we enjoy it so much.


SS United States Restaurant – This is the Infinity’s upscale restaurant with a $50 per person up charge.  It is defined as “Classic World Continental Cuisine with European Style Service”.  We normally like to go to SS United States or its counterpart Murano on the S Class ships, since besides the different menus, it is a much quieter eating venue.  It is so nice to be able to easily hear your table mates.  Frequently there are very good discounts available during the cruise and we had a two for one offer that the group couldn’t pass up.


The SS United States was also where the passengers who had reached the Elite level with Celebrity were able to have a light breakfast each morning.  Since there were only 200 Elite passengers on this cruise, it was never crowded. 

AquaSpa Café - This restaurant has healthier food.  The serving area is broken out into two separate sections.  I have used it several times on our previous cruises; but didn’t visit there at all for this cruise because we went to the Elite breakfast many mornings. 


Pool Grill – This popular venue is located behind the buffet in the pool area.  The hamburgers and hot dogs were good; and the French fries were especially good.  There was normally a line of people waiting to get served.  The combination of understaffing and slow workers sometimes made it take a long time to get served. 

Lounges (Link to Menus)-

Cellar Masters - This is a nice sized bar dedicated to wine that was added during the renovation.  It used to be the Champagne Bar.  Since we aren’t big wine drinkers, we have never been in a Cellar Masters other than to pass through or take photos.



Constellation Lounge - This is a large venue in front of the ship on deck 11.  It is a wonderful place to go during the day to read while getting the best view from the ship.  In addition to being a bar, many activities took place there, since it does hold a lot of people.  Unfortunately when the ship was updated, they made the room smaller, taking away a section from the port side for other venues, but it’s still the largest gathering space other than the Celebrity Theater.




Martini Bar & Crush – This is where you can get fancy martinis.  When Infinity was renovated, they moved it to a different section of the ship. They also changed the look to that of the S Class with the Crush section and bar area with the frozen tops.  It looked nice; but the seating area was much smaller than the previous Martini Bar. 


Our group would meet here each night after dinner.  Our waiter Carl from Jamaica took very good care of us.  We even gave him a flashing martini pin like we all wore during the cruise.  We were impressed when Carl gave us ten free martini samples that he poured all at once

Mast Bar – The Mast Bar is the bar for people sunning themselves on deck 11.

Michael's Club – This venue was originally a cigar bar; but has been changed over the years to try to make it more utilized.  It is still underutilized, since it was empty most of the time I went by it.  It is currently a private club for suite guests and the highest Celebrity loyalty level, Zenith.  I was able to sneak in one day to take photos.


Rendez Vous Lounge – This is the perfect lounge for before dinner drinks since it is located on deck 4 just in front of the main dining room.  The house band played there most nights to a good audience.  During the day, it was used for the art auctions.


Sunset Bar – Located at the back of the buffet on deck 10, it is a great place to come to eat your meal from the buffet.  The view is very nice and a great place to spend time.  It is a very popular place for Cruise Critic roll call attendees to meet for sail away; which our group did when we left Port Everglades.


Café al Bacio & Gelateria – This is the extra charge premium coffee and ice cream area.  It is a very popular place most of the day.  Solo performers would perform during the day and evening.  I normally wouldn’t purchase ice cream; but since I had a free coupon, I had to try it.  The ice cream in the Gelateria wasn’t any better than what they had in the buffet; but there was a better selection.  But one thing that was worth trying was the waffle cones.  They made them individually when you ordered one.  They were so delicious. 



Pool Bar – This is the main bar for the pool area.  With the beautiful weather we had, there were lots of people by the pool; resulting in lots of customers for the Pool Bar.


Entertainment -
Celebrity Theater - This is a very nice entertainment venue.  There are no obstructed view seats and they have first class lighting and audio equipment.  There was plenty of room between the seats.  We liked the way the little glass drink tables rotated and turned sideways to allow the audience to have more room at their seats.



Cinema and Conference Center – I had no reason to use these during the cruise; but was curious as to where they were.  The Alpha and Beta rooms were easy to find close to the main foyer on deck 3.  They are small conference rooms used for various meetings. 


The Gamma Room was difficult to find.  They had put a map on the wall near the Alpha Room to help people find it.  Since it was used as the Cinema, it was important for people to be able to locate.

Fortune's Casinos - On this class ship, we had to go through the Casino to get to the front of the ship, so we had to pass through many times.  They had the normal gaming equipment and plenty of customers; but it was by no means full when we were there.  



Library – Before the renovations, it was a two deck library with a circular staircase.  Now it is on one level on deck 8 and it shares the space with the Concierge Desk. 

Celebrity iLounge – The former second floor of the Library is now the computer center on deck 9.  It is set up very nicely for their classes and the Apple equipment is a pleasure to use.  I was able to print my airline boarding passes there the day before our flights. 


The system for logging on to the Wi-Fi network has been greatly improved by making it very simple.  We used to have to bother one of the iLounge staff to turn in our coupon for internet minutes and have him set up our iPhones to use.  Now it is easy to do everything on our own in the privacy of our cabin.  A great improvement and I am sure the staff is very happy about it too.

Shops - There were lots of shops on the ship, primarily on the 5th deck.  Since they are pretty much the same stores as are found on every Celebrity ship, I didn’t bother taking many photos of the stores. 

The Emporium – This is the main shopping area where they would have sales in front of the various stores.

Photo Gallery - The Infiniti’s photo gallery was a beehive of activity when new photos were displayed.  They have a machine that you can stick your room key into that will show you all of your pictures.  If there's one there that you couldn't find on display, the attendant can look at the code on the screen and take you to the correct picture area.  The photographers did a good job on this cruise; but we didn’t need another photo of ourselves this time.


Other -
AquaSpa by Elemis – A large area is devoted to providing massages and other body treatments.  It also contains the beauty parlor and nail salon.


Art Gallery – There was a small room for the art gallery; but their art was displayed on easels all around the public area to encourage purchasing it.

Fitness Center – The fitness center is a reasonably equipped gym.  I had planned on using it and had my workout garb; but didn’t use it again.  We were getting a lot of exercise walking on our tours, so I didn’t bother going to the gym.  Maybe next time.



Grand Foyer – Like most ships, the Grand Foyer is an impressive area.  There are dramatic views down to it as well as from it.  The grand staircase is always a center piece.



Persian Garden – There is a charge to use this area of the spa; but the room was rather small and didn’t look that appealing to me like those on the S Class ships.

Upper Decks – There are lots of areas for sunning on the upper decks.  For this cruise, it was a great viewing area for going through the Panama Canal.



Promenade Deck - The deck 4 promenade is not desireable for walkers since it does not go totally around the ship.  But it is an enjoyable area to chill out on the loungers.

Solarium – The Solarium is a covered swimming area with comfortable chairs.  The highlight is the Thalassotherapy Pool.  It is a heated pool with large whirlpool loungers and pipes pumping out streams of water to relax your back.  For some reason these types of pools aren’t on the newer S Class ships, so we were glad that they weren’t changed when the ships were renovated.



Pool Deck – There are two swimming pools and four large hot tubs on deck 10.  The renovation in this area made it look much nicer with the addition of the large pool beds and couches.  With the weather being so good, the lounge chairs were full most of the time.



Basketball Court -



There are 8 cabins on either side of deck 6 near the front of the ship referred to as the “Sweet 16”.  They are desirable cabins because not only do they look directly down to the water with no obstructions, they also have balconies that are twice as big as the standard balcony.  Our cabin, number 6030, is the first extended balcony next to the lifeboat in the below photo.  Five of the cabins on each side have half open and half covered balconies.  The others are fully covered.




They are very desirable cabins.  Surprisingly they are the lowest price balcony classification, 2C.  What is strange is if you try to book one of them, they will tell you that they have obstructed views.  Ours certainly had no obstructions; however the occupants of the cabin next to us and above us certainly thought we obstructed their unobstructed view.


The arrangement of the room was just like it had been in 2011; which was good, since it was a very functional arrangement.  There had been three upgrades that we were pleased with.  The bed was much more comfortable.  So much so that we didn’t need to ask for an egg crate topper like we normally need.  Also the cabins now had flat screen TVs rather than the old CRT sets and a nightlight in the bathroom.  


Our three large suitcases fit under the bed with no problem.  The desk had two US and two European electric outlets.  We usually bring European adapter plugs to double the capacity if needed.


The bathroom is a nice size with adequate storage.  The shower is quite nice and relatively large for a cruise ship.  The bathrooms are now equipped with automatic nightlights, which Carol really liked.  Since the nightlight replaced the hair dryer that used to be installed on the bathroom wall, the electric outlet was eliminated.  It had been integrated into the hair dryer holder.  There is a hair dryer available in the room.  


We had two outstanding room attendants, Alfred and Redford, both from the Philippines.  They were so friendly and couldn’t help us out enough.  They were as good attendants as we have ever had.

Alfred                        Redford

Dining (Link to Menus )

I have included copies of the menus for the main dining room along with photos of some of the food items at the Menus link just above and at the top of each page of the review.

One reason we cruise with Celebrity is because in our opinion, they have the best food of the mainstream cruise lines.  We have noticed the cost cutting in the dining areas; but for the most part the food was very good. 

The main problem we had was that we were put at a table in the deck 5 anytime dining room, when we were supposed to be assigned to fixed 1st seating, which is on deck 4.  Apparently first seating was overbooked and a few tables were assigned upstairs.  This proved to be a big problem since we were a group of nine passengers and apparently they aren’t set up to handle a large table.  We had been assigned a table that was only set up for seven people.  There was no way we were going to seat 9 people at a table for 7 for the duration of the cruise.  We had a very good Assistant Maitre D, Jason from the Philippines.  He promised that if we could handle being crowded for one night, he would fix the problem by the next night.  He was able to arrange for us to have a much larger table for the rest of the cruise and was even able to set it up for eleven on a few nights when we wanted other friends to join us.

The service was terribly slow and we never finished our 6:00 PM seating dinner until after 8:15 PM.  This would never happen on deck 4, since the 2nd seating starts at 8:30 PM.  We never received our appetizers until at least 6:45 PM.  Our Waiter, Richie from India and Assistant Waiter Mahesh from Mauritius, were very nice and we enjoyed their company.  They tried very hard to please us; but something was preventing them from being able to speed up the meal’s pace.

Richie                                             Mahesh

Although the service was slow, it did allow us that much more time to enjoy the company of our table mates, who are our friends.  Even though we have cruised with them before, we don’t get to see them regularly since we come from all over the U.S., Canada, and England. 

Kathleen and Jim                                                            My Carol with Bob

Danny and Carole                                               Sandra and Bill

Paul and Gail                                                            Michelle and David

On a bright note we had an excellent Sommelier, Katarina from Croatia.  We don’t drink wine; but we thoroughly enjoyed her coming to the table.  The wine lovers at the table thought she was the best they ever had.

The food in the buffet was good; but the main thing we ate there was lunch.  Having been on a Celebrity cruise just 5 days before this cruise, we were trying to eat less to keep our weight gain down.  We mainly had salads for lunch, which were quite good, since the vegetables were fresh.  I was thrilled that the egg salad was very good after having terrible egg salad on the Eclipse cruise just before this cruise.

The breakfasts in the buffet were quite good; but we normally ate in the United States restaurant where each morning they had a breakfast for Elite level guests.  The breakfast format had recently changed from mini-buffet style to a short menu.  We preferred the new format and ate there regularly.  Below is the menu and a photo of the Ultimate Breakfast.  Quite tasty!


One night we ate at the specialty restaurant Qsine.  The eleven Martini Mates filled up the large table in the middle of the room.  It was nice to be able to have Paul and Gail, who prefer late seating, to be able to join our group for dinner.  Due to the style of serving, going to Qsine with a large group is advisable and makes for so much more fun.  Once again we thoroughly enjoyed the unique style and flavors of Qsine.  There are many photos of the type food served in last year’s Eclipse Baltic review.

We also ate at the SS United States restaurant.  Once again the eleven Martini Mates took over the largest table in the restaurant.  We always enjoy this restaurant, since the food seems to be a cut above with a higher level of service.  We enjoyed watching the waiter prepare some of the flaming dishes, especially our dessert Crepe Ballon Rouge.  It was just too good.  Will definitely have to get it again.



Our Cruise Director was Alejandro from Argentina.  He was quite a character.  He was very active and always available to talk with the passengers.  During his morning TV show discussing the activities for the day; which he did with Activities Director, Rachel; he would go on about how much he loved her and wanted to marry her.  She would make faces of disgust.  It would probably have been OK for a 7 day cruise; but since he talked about it every day, it did get a little old during a 15 day cruise.


I did like how he had organized entertainment before the evening shows for people who arrived in the theater early to get a seat.  He would have games between the guests and staff.  I almost looked forward to them more than the show itself.  Alejandro was quite entertaining with a great sense of humor.  Overall, we really enjoyed him and appreciate the effort he put into his job.  I just don’t understand where he gets all of the energy!  He made even me tired!


The show for the first night normally gives a preview of coming attractions.  I normally don’t write about them, since I discuss the performers separately; however this one was quite good and worth sharing.  The lead singer of the house band D’Revelations was really good and we would enjoy them during the cruise.  I would stop and listen to them if I was just passing through a venue where they were playing.  I also enjoyed soloist Charlie Butler.  He would normally be playing in Café al Bacio.  I would sit down to listen to him even if I didn’t order anything.  He was quite talented.


We also had some solo performances by the female lead singers for the production show.  They were also very good.


The acrobats who would perform during the production shows did some amazing displays of what they can do.  Very impressive. 


The contracts for the production show cast were coming to an end and this would be their last cruise together.  They did a nice routine.

Later during the cruise the singers gave an afternoon performance of songs they like to sing.  You could tell that they really enjoyed working together and were going to miss being with each other.

This cruise was filled with entertainment, with Alejandro providing several afternoon encore shows in the theater.  We liked that idea because on a couple of occasions it gave us the opportunity to tell our friends about a really good show they missed, and they got to catch it at the matinee.  

Performers –
Fred Klett  - Fred was probably one of the funniest comedians we have seen on a cruise.  His dry presentation of observations from his life kept the audience roaring.  If someone came into the show late, Fred would thoroughly embarrass them, sometimes bringing them on stage.  He even picked on an officer who arrived late.  The passengers enjoyed him so much, Alejandro set aside time later in the cruise for an afternoon show.  It was standing room only.  He also did some other late night activities that I missed out on.


Pamala Stanley  -  She was supposed to be an international recording artist with four top ten hits.  She played a video of the most popular hit; but I had never heard it.  I think she must have been more popular in Europe.  Also, I didn’t recognize her from the video, since it has been quite a while since she had a hit; but she still could sing well.  She was also quite funny and frequently made jokes about her weight.  What was amazing was that she had her hip replaced just six weeks before her show.  She was all over the stage and even laying on the stage to do antics.  That was most impressive.  I am not sure her doctor would agree though.



Garin Bader – Garin put on what was called a musical magic show.  He first came out and played the piano for a while and then performed some magic tricks.  His best trick was when he was tied up with rope and quickly escaped while with an audience member in an enclosure.  He really didn’t need to do the magic, since he is a world class pianist who has won awards all over the world; but it did add some variety to his show.



Minda Larsen – Minda is an opera singer, who sang a variety of different types of music.  She must not have left much of an impression on me, good or bad, since I don’t remember if I enjoyed her performance.


Paul Pappas – His show was described as a dynamic and upbeat piano act.  With Garin Bader performing so well a couple days before him, he had a hard act to follow.  He just wasn’t as good.  His personality was totally different from Garin, with Paul adding lots of humor to his performance.  He was a nice guy; but shouldn’t have been scheduled on the same cruise as another pianist.  He also did an afternoon encore performance.


Jack Walker – Jack is a Scottish singer.  His claim to fame is that he does his show in three different languages.  I didn’t care for his song selection, so I didn’t stay for his whole performance.


Scotty Cavanaugh – He was listed as an action comedy juggler.  That pretty much describes what he did.  He was quite a good juggler; but a little juggling goes a long way.  For each type of object he would juggle, he would start with a small number and increase it to more.  It got a bit boring.  He would throw in some comedy that he thought was pretty funny.  He didn’t understand why he wasn’t getting more laughter.  I was impressed with his talent; but wasn’t crazy about his personality.


Gary Arbuthnot – Gary is a very talented flautist.  We had seen Gary last year on our Baltic cruise; and once again he was described in the activity listing as an international virtuoso, as though people wouldn’t come to a flautist show.  Could be right.  I didn’t go to the show because we were busy with our friends; but I know that Gary puts on an outstanding show.  Below is a photo of Gary from last year.

The Pampas Devils - When I saw that this was going to be a gaucho show, I chose to pass on it; since we have seen many of these and didn’t need to see another one.  I did hear from people for the rest of the cruise how good they were.  I guess I should have gone to see them.


Production Shows –
iBroadway - This was the 1st sea day and the Captain and his staff were present for the welcome aboard toast before the show. 



iBroadway was advertised as the very best of Broadway.  It was most enjoyable with music from a nice variety of shows.  The acrobats also performed for us.





Star Factory – It was described as a musical journey of hits.  They performed popular music from the past and present.  It was a good show.  The dancers and singers on the Infinity were very good, so whatever they did was most enjoyable.





Boogie Wonderland – This was a very upbeat show that included what they said were favorite disco hits.  They had a bunch of them, even some Village People songs.







Cruise Critic Meet and Greet ( - We always look forward to the Connections Party, where the people we have been communicating with for many months on our roll call get to meet each other.  This one was even more special, since it was a reunion of the Martini Mates.  The party was scheduled for 10:00 AM on the first sea day in the Constellation Lounge.  We were happy to see a large turnout of 56 people.  We had a big roll call on Cruise Critic, and a number of them were there to meet other new friends.  We had also met many of them at the sail away get together on the first day, so many were familiar to us already.  Cruise Director, Alejandro, hosted the event.  He introduced 6 ship officers that attended.  We were having such a good time talking with everyone, that they had to remind us that another event was planned for the room and we needed to vacate.



Beyond the Podium Speakers – I enjoy going to the enrichment lectures, since I like to learn about the places we are going to see as well as learn new things.  We had three speakers during the cruise that provided many different talks to attend, depending on your interest.

Brent Nixon – Naturalist Brent Nixon was by far the most popular speaker.  His presentations were standing room only.  He has a unique way of presenting his information that you will never forget.  He would make noises like the creatures he was discussing, and move on the stage like he was one of them.  His excitement about his topics was quite infectious and really kept everyone very interested in what was coming next.  He also taught us quite a bit, while encouraging everyone to help save the environment.

Thomas Judson – He gave information on the different ports we would be visiting, including history and general information.  He provided a lot of information; but most of the photos he showed were of the people in the ports we were visiting, rather than the tourist attractions.

Fred Saxon – Fred had been in the entertainment business for a long time as an award winning actor and entertainer.  He was CNN’s first entertainment reporter. He discussed celebrities in the TV and movie business.  We only had time to go to one of his presentations, which was about special effects.  Since we had seen the type things he was showing before, it wasn’t that interesting for us.  With so many activities scheduled during the day, attendance at his talks were pretty small.

Remembrance Day – Remembrance Day is the Memorial Day that has been observed by the Commonwealth of Nations or former British Commonwealth since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty in conflicts past and present.  Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918.  Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month".  It coincides with Veterans Day in the U.S. which honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.  The red poppy has become the emblem for the holiday, due to the poem In Flanders Field

Our Canadian friend Bob told Rachel that they have had Remembrance Day ceremonies on prior Celebrity cruises and asked if she could arrange it.  She thought it was a great idea and worked with Bob on the program’s format.  Bob had brought over 200 poppy pins with him to give away at the ceremony.  The response was huge, the Constellation Lounge was full.  He actually ran out of pins.


Alejandro and an officer officiated at the ceremony.  Michael Hankins from the Celebrity band played “The Last Post” on the trumpet.  Some touching poems were read including In Flanders Field. It was quite a moving ceremony.  At the end Alejandro asked if anyone wanted to say anything.  A couple of people did and then a man came up and surprised the audience by singing the beautiful song “My Buddy”.  It was a fitting end to a lovely ceremony.

Dancing with the Officers – I had never attended this type show before.  Since they are normally done late in the evening, I didn’t have the slightest idea what it was going to be like.  Since this one was in the afternoon, I decided to drop in to the packed theater.  I assumed it was going to be a real dancing show between the officers and passengers.  Boy was I wrong!  An officer and passenger would be paired up.  All of the pairs were on the stage at one time.  When the music started, the pair that made the biggest fools of themselves got to keep dancing while the others were eliminated.  It was totally ridiculous and fun.  Had I realized what it was, I would have brought my camera, since one of our friends, Sheri, was in it and won along with three other pairs.

Guest talent show – This was also a very well attended afternoon show.  There were some quite talented staff and passengers that performed for the audience, including our friend Sheri who danced with one of the ship’s dancers.  She did a great job. 


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