Spain & Canary Islands Cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse
10/19/14 to 10/30/14
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 - Pre-Cruise in England, Ship, Dining, Entertainment and Activities
Page 2 - Ports of Call: Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Page 3 - Ports of Call: Tenerife, Canary Islands; Madeira, Portugal; La Coruna, Spain
Ports of Call: Southampton, England; Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Gran Canaria, Canary Islands; Tenerife, Canary Islands; Madeira, Portugal; La Coruna, Spain; Southampton, England
We are always trying to find a cruise that visits ports that we have not been to before. When we found a cruise that visited ports in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands that would all be new to us, we were thrilled. Plus, since the cruise started in Southampton, we would be able to spend time visiting some of England. When we showed the itinerary to our neighbors and past cruising buddies Hans and Barbara, they booked it as well. Since we had booked the cruise as soon as the itinerary came out, we would have to wait 19 months; but it was well worth the wait.
Pre-cruise in England
We had spent 10 days driving around England before our 2013 Baltic cruise. We had thoroughly enjoyed our visit and wanted to see a few places we weren’t able to get to in 2013; so we planned to arrive this time three days before the cruise.
Our flight to London landed at 6:30 AM, so we would be able to tour around London for part of that day. I had researched the numerous transfer companies for our transfers from Heathrow to our hotel. The company with the best price and very positive reviews was 247 Airport Transfer (www.247airporttransfers.com). I ordered the Estate vehicle, since we were traveling with two large suitcases, two carry-ons, large purse and camera case. We had been warned to make sure we specified a large enough vehicle; since most taxis don’t have much luggage capacity. The vehicle was just the right size and the driver was quite friendly. We will use them again the next time we visit London. It cost £38 or $61.00 US. Since I had not had the best experience driving on the left side of the street last year, I was so glad that our driver was able to fight the horrid London rush hour traffic, rather than me.
Our hotel for two nights would be the Premier Inn at Earl’s Court in Kensington (www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/LONKEN/london-kensington-earls-court). I chose it since we had enjoyed a different Premier Inn the prior year. Plus it was reasonably priced for London; but most importantly, the location was just outstanding. Kensington is a very nice area of London. It should be since royalty has lived in Kensington Palace since it was built hundreds of years ago. It appeared that many wealthy commoners also thought it was a good place for their humble homes.
The hotel is located in two separate buildings connected by a walkway over the street. With our arriving very early, we didn’t expect to be able to check in. The front desk attendant was very helpful and stored our luggage for us. He also provided us with some other info that we would need for our touring and visit.
With our not renting a car, it was a big plus that the hotel was a short walk to the Earl’s Court tube station. I had previously used a very nice iPhone app called Metro to help me navigate the Paris subways, so I was well prepared for London, I thought. The ticket counter attendant sold us two all day passes, since it would allow us to get on and off the trains all day while we were touring London. The cost was £8.40 each or approximately $13.50 US. Not bad for all day transportation. One side of the station was for eastbound trains and the other was for westbound. I smugly led Carol to the train waiting on the track for us; since I was confident on where to go. I couldn’t see a name on the train; but I knew it was the right one. We boarded and sat down. When I looked up at the route map posted on the train, I saw two different tracks. One went straight east to London, the other went east then north. Of course, I had picked the wrong eastbound train. After suffering a serious blow to my confidence we were able to switch back to a different train and return to Earl’s Court where we found the correct train. It wasn’t too much of a detour; but I learned to watch for the name on the front of the train before getting on one.
It is so enjoyable to walk around London. We love the architecture and things are so charming and just so British. We had arrived in downtown London close to our first destination, St. Paul’s Cathedral. We had not had time to visit the cathedral when we visited London in 2004, so we were determined to do so this time.
As we approached St. Paul’s, we could see its massive dome. The cathedral is 300 years old and sits on the highest point in the City of London. The front of the building was large and impressive. The Statue of Queen Anne in front of the church added a lovely touch.
We wanted to visit the interior; but there was a lot of renovation work going on. That coupled with a $27 charge per person helped us to decide to come back when the work was completed. We knew that we would be returning to London; and have already booked another cruise out of Southampton for 2016.
To get to our next destination, we would have to again take the Tube, as well as transfer between lines this time. The Metro app made the trip very easy and we were there with no hassle. We were quite impressed with the improvements made to the Tube stations over the ten years since our first visit. It was much more handicap accessible with elevators, escalators and even some moving sidewalks. It was a relatively pleasant experience compared to our previous visit.
The main attraction we were interested in for the day was to finally get to ride on the London Eye. Even though it isn’t the largest Ferris wheel in the world anymore, 443 feet tall, it is still probably the best known and recognized.
When we were in London in 2004, just four years after it opened, it was very difficult to get tickets to ride it; so we didn’t even try to experience it then. This time, we were able to buy tickets relatively fast and wait in a very short line to board the ride. There was a senior discount, so the tickets cost $28 each. The Eye moves very slowly, taking 30 minutes for a complete rotation. This makes it easy to enter one of the 32 capsules while the Eye keeps moving. The capsules can hold 25 people each and have seating in the middle. We only had 15 in our capsule. They are air conditioned and very comfortable.
We were very fortunate to have nice weather to be able to get great views of the city. The only problem with sunny weather is that the capsules do pick up a lot of reflection making it challenging to get good photos from some angles. But since the capsule is constantly moving, eventually you can get most of the shots you want.
We were most impressed with the view of the beautiful buildings from above. We were so glad that we had finally been able to experienced it.
After leaving the Eye, it was close to 1:00 PM and we were ready for lunch. There were some bars near the Eye, but no restaurants. We know that since we walked all around the area looking for one. After a long flight, little sleep and walking around London, we really wanted to find a restaurant where we could just sit down and relax. Carol is not able to walk as far I can, so we try to limit our walking, and rest when we can. We had passed what we thought were restaurants when we came from the tube station to the Eye; so we tried to find the way back. I thought I knew a shorter way back to the area than Carol; but after walking for a while, it turned out to be a more scenic, longer route than Carol’s. My bad!
When we got back to where there were places to eat, every place was grab-and-go, rather than eat-in. It was getting most frustrating, especially since we needed to stop and rest. Finally we found an Indian restaurant where we could sit down to enjoy a nice meal. We like Indian food; but there aren’t many restaurants where we live that serve it. Unfortunately, the food wasn’t that great; but being able to rest and get some cold drinks brought us back to life to take the Tube back to the hotel.
When we got back to the Premier Inn, we were assigned a room in the other building; which meant that we had to take the elevator to the 2nd floor, walk across the connecting walkway, get on that elevator to go to the 6th floor and walk down the hall to our room. Within all that walking there were 4 sets of doors we had to walk through while carrying all our luggage. It was really a pain and Carol was not happy. The room was fine; but more importantly, the beds were comfortable. In 2013 we had experienced firmer beds than we liked in a couple of B&Bs. Apparently very firm is desirable in England.
While Carol unpacked some, I went out to explore the area. I needed to find the other hotel where we would be picked up for the next day’s tour; as well as just general exploring. When I got back, we decided to just eat in the hotel and go to bed early. The food was quite good and the service was super friendly. We needed to stay up as long as possible to get acclimated to the five hour time difference. We tried as long as we could. Sleep came quickly.
We had booked a tour with Viator that would take us to several places we had been looking forward to visiting. The tour was actually with the tour company Evan Evans; but by booking through Viator, it was cheaper due to some good promotions Viator had when we booked. Although the bus didn’t’ pick up passengers at the Premier Inn, it did pick up at the Marriott Kensington, which was only a short block and a half away.
The next morning we waited in the Marriott lobby until the bus arrived at 8:00 AM. Since this bus was just a transfer bus to the Victoria Coach Station, there was no guide. We stopped at a couple of other hotels before heading into London. Once at the station, we had to leave the bus and stay in a waiting room until our actual tour bus arrived.
It was a full size bus; but since there were only 24 of us on the tour, there was plenty of room for everyone. Our tour guide for the day was Monica. She was a wealth of information and just a very pleasant person to spend the day with. That was a good thing, since the tour would be nine hours long.
It took about an hour and a half drive to get to our first stop, Leeds Castle (www.leeds-castle.com). During the drive we passed through some interesting towns and Monica pointed out many points of interest. At last we drove into the extensive castle property and could see what the castle website says is “The Loveliest Castle in the World”. It is quite a place. There has been a castle there for over 900 years. There have obviously been many renovations; but it is a beautiful exterior. Many famous people used the castle as a residence including Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon.
To enter the grounds, we crossed a bridge over a moat. There was an older section of the wall near the bridge.
We had to walk around the castle to get to the entrance. We actually passed through a tunnel that was used as a wine/beer cellar. It is the oldest surviving section of the castle and dates back to 1100.
We entered a waiting room where a guide told us some general information on the castle and how we should do the self-guided tour. I took a photo of the photo on the wall that showed the castle from above. I knew I couldn’t get a shot like that.
There are many lovely rooms on the first floor. The paintings, statues and furnishings are just gorgeous. I could have stayed for a long time reading about each of the rooms and examining each of the many treasured items; but we didn’t have that much time to spend.
The largest room in the castle is the Henry VIII Banqueting Hall, where Henry entertained.
The second floor is mainly beautifully decorated bedrooms.
We could have spent much more than the allocated time to exploring the lovely rooms in the castle. Lady Baillie purchased the castle in 1924 and completely restored it.
The upstairs Lady Bailllie’s Bathroom is made of Russian Onyx. The Baillie's were the last private owners of the castle. Upon Lady Baillie's death in 1974, she bequeathed the castle and grounds to the public through a charitable foundation. She lived longer in the castle than any previous owner.
After finishing the tour of the castle, we had a little time to explore the grounds. They were well maintained and just lovely. Both Carol and I were fascinated with the mushrooms that had popped up in one area.
I had hoped to be able to see the very popular maze that was constructed using 2,400 yew trees. With the grounds being so large, I just didn’t have time to walk to the other side of the property where it was located along with other attractions. I can understand why Leeds Castle is so popular, since families can easily spend days there and have a great time. The annual passes aren’t much more expensive than a single ticket.
After Monica rustled up a few tourists who were taking too long to get back to the bus, we headed to our next stop, the Canterbury Cathedral (www.canterbury-cathedral.org/visit/). It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the leader of the Church of England and symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. This has been on Carol’s bucket list for quite a while. She took a course in college on Chaucer, and studied The Canterbury Tales.
We stopped in the town of Canterbury for lunch before going to the cathedral. It was a rather quaint town with lots of tourists. They had an interesting looking market going on, but we didn’t have time to investigate. We were given the option to get lunch on our own or have lunch at a restaurant that Monica was able to place orders with ahead of time, Pantelli’s of Canterbury. Only seven of us chose Pantelli’s. I am glad we did, since it was good and relatively fast.
After lunch we all met up with Monica to continue the tour. On our walk there, we passed under the Christ Church Gate. Then we got our first glimpse of the magnificent cathedral that was originally constructed in the 12th century.
The detail on the exterior was just exquisite. We enjoy visiting religious sites and rarely get churched out, like many people do.
The interior is highlighted by the Gothic nave and very high vaulted ceiling.
With the cathedral being so tall, the view at that crossing of the four arms of the cruciform was most impressive.
It is quite a lovely building with many religious artifacts and gorgeous views from every angle. Between Leeds Castle and Canterbury Cathedral we were getting an overdose of eye candy; as you can tell by the number of photos I have included.
I love stained glass windows and was pleased to see some really gorgeous ones with brighter colors than we are accustomed to seeing.
The other more traditional windows were also very nice.
After leaving the cathedral, we drove to our last stop, the White Cliffs of Dover. On our Baltic cruise in 2013, we cruised past the White Cliffs and could see them in the distance. So this time I was expecting to see the large expanse of white cliffs much closer. Well, it wasn’t quite what I expected. Since we went to the town of Dover to see the cliffs, there were buildings in front of them. Condos and hotels were pretty much lined the base of the cliffs. Very disappointing. They were still quite a site; but I was hoping for an unobstructed view. I think it might be best to view the white cliffs somewhere other than Dover, and probably best viewed from the water.
On our way out of Dover to head back to London, we passed by Dover Castle; which was on the top of one of the cliffs.
Since the tour ended at the Victoria Coach Station, we would have to find our own way back to the hotel. Monica told everyone which Tube stop they would need to get off at, to get back to where they were staying. We could take a direct train back to Earl’s Court. The only thing I needed to do was buy the tickets. Unfortunately, since I didn’t have a refillable card, I couldn’t use the vending machines and had to wait in a line. It wasn’t that long of a line; but there was only one person on duty. A woman was having a lot of difficulty and it took her over 10 minutes to complete her transaction. When I finally got to the counter, I found out that a single one way ride was £4.70 or about $7.50 US. That was more than half of an all-day pass; but it was well worth it to be able to get back to the hotel quickly.
When we left the Earl’s Court station, we found a hamburger place named Byron Burgers. Being American, we were very skeptical about ordering a hamburger while overseas. They had a sign saying that they used Scottish beef. We didn’t know before if that was a good thing or not. It turned out to be a very good thing. We hadn’t expected to find such an outstanding hamburger in London.
We had a very full touring day and were ready to relax in our room.
We had arranged to be picked up at 11:00 AM to be taken to Southampton, so we had plenty of time to finish packing and just piddle around. Since we weren’t in a rush to get to Southampton, it made a lot of sense to totally avoid the London rush hours. I had thought about walking over to the Kensington Palace Gardens to see them; but there was a chance of rain, so I passed on that idea. While walking around, I noticed that the bicycle stands in front of the hotel were bikes for rent. It only cost £2 or $3.20 US to use a bike for 24 hours. It would have been a great way to tour the Kensington area.
For our transfer to Southampton, we used a different company than the one we used to get to our hotel, Smiths for Airports (www.smithsforairports.com). Their pricing between London and Southampton is reasonable; plus they have an outstanding reputation. It cost £112 or $179.00 US. It costs much more to go to Southampton from a hotel in the city. The driver, a pleasant chap, arrived early. As usual we were ready and waiting.
We had an enjoyable conversation with the driver during the 1 ¾ hour drive. We were glad we were using the same company to take us back to Heathrow after the cruise. After fighting the city traffic, I understood why the transfer from town cost so much more than from Heathrow. We had chosen the Premier Inn Southampton West Quay (http://www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/SOUQUA/southampton-west-quay) for the night. We had booked the room as soon as pricing became available a year earlier. It is one of the most popular hotels for cruisers and gets sold out early. It is a modern hotel in a great location. It is a short walk to the very popular West Quay Mall.
Looking the other way, you can see your cruise ship on the morning of your cruise. Unfortunately, it would be a long walk to the ship due to fences around the parking lots. But that wasn’t a problem, since we used a cab. The fare to the port was only £5.80 ($9.28 US) plus tip.
We walked to the mall for lunch and couldn’t believe how crowded it was. It was literally wall to wall people. I can’t imagine how packed it must be during the Christmas season. After lunch we walked around a small festival that was taking place outside the mall.
We were very excited about our Southampton visit because we were meeting friends for dinner. Three of our table mates from our 2013 Baltic cruise (Ken, June and Hillary) lived within driving distance of Southampton. We really liked them and had kept in touch over the last year. When we told them we were coming, they wanted to join us for dinner. We couldn’t wait to enjoy their company again. They had made reservations at an Italian restaurant, La Tavernetta (www.latavernetta.co.uk). The owners are from Rome and the restaurant was just outstanding. But being able to visit with our friends again was the highlight of the evening. Hilary had brought her husband Peter with her, whom we hadn’t met because Hillary had cruised the Baltic with her daughter Andrea. We had a most enjoyable evening of fun and laughter. We really hate that we can’t visit with them more frequently.
When we cruised out of Southampton the prior year, there had been long delays due to the ship having to do a deep cleaning from a norovirus outbreak. So when we arrived at the terminal this time at 11:08 AM, I didn’t know what to expect. The process couldn’t have been smoother. The porters took our bags and we were directed into the building’s security area. We then went into the main terminal area where we quickly completed our health questionnaire and received our key cards. We were directed up the escalator to board the Eclipse. We were handed our glasses of champagne at 11:20 AM. Just outstanding! The cruise had started.
Since we just did a complete review of the Eclipse public areas in 2013, I am not going to include it for this review, since no changes have been made to the ship. If you want to see what the ship looks like, you can click HERE to go to the Baltic review page.
We booked cabin 8257, which is on the hump in the middle of the ship. Its location is perfect in that it is close to the midship elevators. This is important on the Solstice Class ships, since there is no aft elevator. Cabins near the back of the ship require much more walking to get to different areas of the ship. Cabin 8257 also has a balcony that is 3 times larger than the standard balcony. Since we had 8257 on the Silhouette in 2012 and the cabin right above it on the Eclipse in 2013, we knew we would be very happy with it again. We have since booked 8257 again on the Eclipse for a 2016 cruise.
The cabin is nicely arranged and relatively roomy for a non-suite cruise ship cabin. Unlike some of our previous cruises, the air conditioning worked very well. We had plenty of storage space and the luggage fit nicely under the beds. Carol utilized the above bed storage cabinets by storing the wooden hangers that were in the closet. She brings wire hangers that don’t take up so much room, so she can hang a lot more clothes. There is a coffee / tea maker that takes up most of the space on top of the desk area. We knew that we would not be using it, so we asked our attendants to remove it, which they gladly did.
The bathroom is adequately sized and there is plenty of storage space.
With the cabin veranda being about 3 times the size of a standard veranda, it was a real pleasure on this cruise, since the weather was so nice and we could spend more time out there.
The view down to the water is pretty much unobstructed. The view to the front and back of the ship is also nice.
We had two very good cabin attendants, Sofia from Nicaragua and Komang from Indonesia.
Dining (Link to Menus )
I have included copies of the bar menus and 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. Please note that the bar prices include the tip, so they are approximately 15% higher than US menus. Unlike most Celebrity cruises, those starting in England do not have a separate line for adding the tips on food or drink.
We selected fixed early seating that started at 6:00 PM. We had a table for four that we shared with our friends Hans and Barbara.
As usual, we were quite pleased with the dining room food. So much so, that we didn’t go to any of the specialty restaurants on this cruise. With the cruise starting in Southampton, England, the food selections were slightly different than we are used to. The left side of the menu, which is for standard food items that are available every day, usually stays the same every day. On this cruise, however, instead of the normal everyday entrée Sirloin Steak, it was replaced with Irish stew on some nights and grilled calves liver on others. Yorkshire pudding was an addition as one of the everyday side items.
Our waiter, Norman and assistant waiter, Joseph were both from the Philippines. They were friendly and competent; which made our evening meal most enjoyable.
The buffet wasn’t as good as most Celebrity cruises we have been on. Perhaps they prepared food more for the British tastes. I am not sure that is a good assumption, since the Brits I know don’t like bad tasting food. Perhaps it was because this cruise had a different chef from our Baltic cruise the year before on the Eclipse. Most items were quite edible; but we tried to avoid the buffet when we could. We would either eat lunch in the dining room or just have a salad in the buffet. For example, I love having egg salad for lunch. The egg salad on the Eclipse was absolutely terrible. There didn’t appear to be any real egg in it. It was just a runny, blended slop. Carol thought that it might have been made with powdered eggs. We were also quite disappointed in the Caesar dressing in the buffet and main dining room. It had the consistency of water and just didn’t taste like Caesar dressing. In fact it didn’t have any taste at all.
As part of Celebrity’s loyalty program, each morning we could have breakfast in the Tuscan Grill with other Elite level guests. Previously the breakfast was set up like a mini buffet. It had recently changed to where you place orders from the below menu.
We enjoyed the new menu system quite a bit. We were also able to have specialty coffees and some alcohol breakfast drinks if we wanted them. The Ultimate Breakfast had a bit of everything on it. The service at the Elite breakfast was exceptional.
As always, the Mast Grill had very good hamburgers and hot dogs when we wanted some basic food. Having the soft serve ice cream dispenser next to the grill was also a plus. For this cruise there was a large selection of British beers including: London Pride, Pedigree, John Smiths, Boddington’s, Strongbow and Old Pickled Hen.
We have always heard about Cruise Director Sue Denning from England. We had hoped to have her on our 2013 Baltic cruise on the Eclipse; but she left right before our cruise. We are so glad that we finally got to experience one of Celebrity’s finest. She was a gem! She was involved in everything and always had time to chat with the guests. I don’t know where she found all the energy. Unlike some CD’s, she is humble and not full of herself. She is also quite a good singer. She only sang on the first and last evening’s shows, which made it special. I liked her so much, I put 3 photos of her here.
The musical entertainers around the ship were quite good. I would find myself stopping regularly to listen to them, especially the house band Vibes. The female lead singer was very good.
There was a nice variety of individual performers on the cruise. It meant that I attended almost all of the evening shows.
Nicola Loud – Nicola is a gifted violinist. She played all kinds of music and thrilled the audience with each piece. She won the British television competition BBC Young Musicians in 2008. She has played all over the world. It was a treat to have her on the cruise.
Mel Mellers – What a splendid comedian! His dry British sense of humor and quick wit kept the audience rolling for the whole show. His routine with two young brothers from the audience was just amazing. If you see his name as a performer on a future cruise, don’t miss him.
Lindsay Hamilton – Lindsay is a gifted singer who has performed many times on the West End. I have previously seen her three times and was going to pass, since she normally does the same songs and jokes each time. I decide to go and take some photos and leave; but I just couldn’t. She is such a pleasure to listen to that I had to stay till the end.
Brooks Aehron – I had seen Brooks on the Infinity in 2011 and remember that he put on a very good show. In addition to playing the piano quite well, I like the stories that he tells about pieces he is playing and their composers. It is quite an educational event. He puts on quite a show. He also moderated and accompanied clarinetist Victor de la Rosa later in the cruise.
Peng Fei Su - Peng is a man of many talents. In addition to his solo contemporary Chinese magic show he performed one evening, he is an acrobat performing in the production shows. We had seen him last year during one of the shows where he rode a bike on a rope along with other routines. He did the same routine this year. Some of the magic tricks he performed during his solo show seemed impossible to do. You know that they are tricks; but he does them so well and with a cute comedic flair.
Sam Kane – Sam is a British singer who has had leading roles in West End productions. One of his roles was Dean Martin in “The Rat Pack”. He tried to act like Dean for way too long during the performance. His drunk antics weren’t funny and they just went on and on. I guess alcoholism isn’t considered a funny subject anymore. It really turned me off, so I left the show early. I had had enough of him.
Victor de la Rosa – Celebrity has started a program called Cruising the Classics, where they bring in classical musicians during the cruise. On the 3rd sea day at 2:00 PM, pianist Brooks Aehron introduced Victor. He is a Spanish clarinet player who has won many competitions and played in Carnegie Hall. Brooks could not speak highly enough about his talents. He played to a full house in the middle of the day. He was just marvelous. The audience gave him a standing ovation and cheered for a very long time after he finished.
Production Shows –
We had seen the exact same shows on the Eclipse last year; but we still enjoyed them. It seemed like they were slightly different; but it must have just been that it was a different cast. I also thought the individual singers were better this year, which helped.
The Edge - Captain Panagiotis Skuylogiannis came out before the show to welcome the passengers to the cruise.
The first production show was Edge and was supposed to be “...a classic Rock and Pop meet cutting edge technology.” The singers were very good. The bright flashing lights were distracting like they were the prior year; but it seemed to be toned down some. At least it didn’t bother me as much this year.
During the show, the acrobats would perform amazing feats of strength and ability; and the aerialists would suspend above the stage.
The Show - The next production was named The Show. It was supposed to be a European style theatrical circus. Most of the acrobatic performers we had seen on the first production show did similar routines again. There was no singing; but dancers did perform in the background to the loud pumping music. Once again, the performers were extremely talented and the audience was thrilled with the show.
Ovations - The last production show, Ovations was a Broadway and West End music show; which is more of the traditional type cruise production show. There was some more gymnastic routines and aerialists; but they played a much smaller role.
Cruise Critic Connections Party (www.cruisecritic.com) - 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. The party was scheduled for 11:00 AM on the first sea day in Cellar Masters. We had almost 100 people on our roll call; but the turnout wasn’t as good as expected, since some other popular activities were also scheduled at that time. We were very pleased that Cruise Director, Sue Denning, hosted the event. It was also very nice to have Captain Skuylogiannis, Hotel Director Darren Tiller and other staff members attend.
Beyond the Podium Speaker - Danielle Barnett is the lead singer for the popular British group Urban Cookie Collective. She also managed two top ten worldwide chart groups and has written 20 top 40 hits. Danielle had four separate presentations including topics like the ups and downs of her becoming a popular singer, the rise and fall of the successful boy band she developed and managed, and her developing a new technology for use in the music industry. She was a real pleasure to listen to. She had so many misfortunes in her life; but she didn’t let them stop her. Her upbeat personality made for fun sessions. She is very smart and has been able to be successful in many areas of the music industry. I really liked her and her presentations.
How to Cook the Perfect Steak – On the 2nd sea day, the Executive Chef had a demonstration of how to cook the perfect steak. He started off with several large different steak cuts and showed us different ways to prepare them. At the end we were able to try a sample. It was very tasty.
Hot Glass Show – I usually try to go to the Corning Hot Glass Show at least once during a cruise. I had missed not having them when cruising on the Silhouette and Reflection, since the glass furnaces had been replaced with restaurants on those ships.
It always amazes me to watch these artists work with the red hot glass as though it is modeling clay.
I really liked the fish that one of the artists made. After the glass cools down the colors look much prettier; but that can take 24 hours. It turned out to have beautiful shades of blue. At the auction where several pieces were sold, it went for around $600.
We are frequently asked questions after we publish a review, so I want to provide some information below that will provide those answers.
Celebrity has a program where you can obtain all of your printed photos; as well as digital copies on a CD. Below is the literature about the program.
The Celebrity loyalty program has several levels. We are Elite Plus, so we receive all the benefits of Elite as well as some extras. Below is the letter received by all Elite and Elite Plus members detailing the special events staged just for them.
We also received the below coupon page for each of us to use. This is for Elite Plus passengers. The Elite coupons are similar but not as generous in some categories.
Below is a page listing all of the key people on the ship.
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