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Sunday, November 25, 2012

LIVE Onboard the Celebrity Summit: Day 1 of Our Cruise


As the sun started peeking in through the curtains, we knew it was time to start our day and prepare for our much anticipated cruise on the Celebrity Summit.  Luckily, there was a Starbucks across the street from the Conrad Hotel and so we were able to start our day with coffee.  I ordered my usual (extra hot soy caramel macchiato in case we ever should meet and you want to buy me a cup!) and my husband and son each had a Coquito Frappuccino.  Every Christmas I make up large batches of Coquito, a traditional Puerto Rican holiday drink that is rich in taste and full of rum and oh so good. Think Puerto Rican eggnog and you might get close.  Now imagine that as a cold Frappuccino and my husband has already said he has to have one when we get off the ship!

We arrived at the port around 12:15 pm and started the check in process.  We were surprised to see so many people already there and we were glad that employees were actively tagging everyone’s bags with luggage tags.  The porter advised us that our bags would get x-rayed and then left in our rooms in about two hours.  I had originally booked us for a Sky Suite, but was able to upgrade our cabin to a Royal Suite, but I didn’t tell my husband.  The whole check-in process was going to have to be top secret to keep him out of the loop until we got to our cabin.  We found the Suite check in lane and unfortunately, we waited far longer than one might expect as we waited 25 minutes before getting moved to a window.  You can’t just walk up to the next available agent as you have to be directed to one and the person doing that seemed oblivious to us being there at all.

Finally, we were able to check in with Adriana and I provided her with our passports, my credit card, and our paperwork.  A first for me was that she had to “clear” something with the employee next to her: She had to verify that my husband was my son’s father before allowing us to completely check in.  After all of the cruises we have done, it’s nice to see that check in place, but it is a somewhat out of date type of policy as she didn’t verify that I was his mother since I have a different last name than my husband and son and focused only on the fact that my husband and son share a name.  

Adriana then asked us to go to the end of the counters where we would pick up our cabin cards.  An employee from Qsine, Lazarro from Goa, India, was there to help passengers make reservations.  We received our cabin card and made our Qsine reservation and then headed toward the ship.  Apparently, the gangway leading onto the ship, including the escalators, was closed and we ended up walking an alternate way outside to embark onto the ship.  Once we entered the ship, we then had to present our cabin cards and our pictures were taken by the security officer, Anil, before we were allowed onto the ship.

We headed up to deck 10 to the Oceanview CafĂ© to grab a quick lunch.  They were serving a smaller version of their regular buffet with only a few hot items, salad, fruit, and dessert, but we were still able to grab something.  I chatted with the young woman from Russia who decided to work on a cruise ship to improve her English.  This was her first contract and after only four months on the ship, I have to say her English was very good.

At 1:30 pm our rooms were made available and we walked down to deck six to check out our Royal Suite, cabin 6133.  You know it’s special when you have a doorbell outside your cabin.  This 538 square foot cabin has a separate bedroom and dining area as well as a whirlpool tub in the bathroom and a hot tub on the 195 square foot balcony.  We also have our own private butler, Santoso from Indonesia, who is an absolute dream.  He epitomizes the word service as well as professionalism, dedication, and even happiness.

Although we weren’t departing San Juan until 8:30 pm, our muster drill was still going to take place at 4:45 pm.  We headed downstairs and it turned out that our muster drill instruction was in the Rendezvous Lounge deck 4.  Believe it or not, people still show up late to these despite the importance of receiving instruction on what to do in the case of an emergency.  There are quite a few families on board with young children, which we didn't expect, but it's nice to have a great mix of passengers onboard. 

After the drill we returned to the cabin to sit and relax before dinner.  We met one of our Cruise Critic fellow members, Janet, and had a chance to chat with her before preparing to leave.  Our dinner reservation was for 8 pm at Qsine, but for the life of us, we couldn’t seem to locate it.  Tucked away on deck 11, we were excited to sit down and experience another wonderful dining experience like the one we had on the Celebrity Eclipse.  Sean, our maitre d’, quickly seated us and so began our meal with Luther, our server, guiding us throughout the process.  First up?  Drinks and we didn't hesitate to order the Pineapple Julep Punch.  

Since neither my husband nor I eat meat, it might have been a difficult experience, but Luther made sure we were well taken care of throughout the meal.  We once again utilized our tableside iPads to place our orders and chose a variety to satisfy everyone’s needs.  This includes the Taj Mahal, M’s Favorites (Share for two or more Patlican Salata - Mixed Olives – Tzatziki – Eggplant Imambiyaldi Tabbouleh – Hummus – Chicken Kofta – Zathaar Lamb Chops – Kibbeh Mediterranean Chili – Falafel – Goat Cheese Cigars), Persian Kebobs, and many others.  One of the ones I couldn't have, but my son did was the Sushi Lollipops that consisted of Nigiri Sushi like Spicy Tuna, Salmon, and Crab and Egg as well Tuna Tartare with wasabi mayo and pickled ginger-radish salad.  We were stuffed to the gills and yet, each additional dish would come and spark more of our interest.  The chef came out to speak with us to discuss how the food was before and after our meal, which was extra special, especially since Luther had taken such great care to accommodate our dietary needs. If you haven’t tried Qsine or if you are on the fence about trying it, you have to!  There really is nothing else that can possible compare to a night in Qsine.

After dinner we headed back to our cabin to drop a few things off and our son decided to go up to the Sports Deck to play basketball, but as expected, no one was there but him on the first night of the cruise after 10 pm.  We chose to visit the Fortune’s Casino to try our hand with Lady Luck, but apparently, she also decided to elude us as well.

Tomorrow we are off to St. Croix so stay tuned!

Marian Krueger

4 comments:

  1. Holy Moly...that sounds like an amazing room! Can't wait to see pictures!

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  2. Wow it sounds so amaaaaazing! I love that you and your hubby don't eat meat.

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  3. Room sounds amazing! And I wish I could go back to Qsine, so good!

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  4. This cruise sounds amazing and I too would love to see cabin suite pics! Its funny you wrote about the Russian staffer, b/c I remeber on a singles cruise w/ Celebrity that all the Americans were swearing to sign-up for the cruise service lifestyle toward the end...I even spied a few w/ Celebrity Employment applications! But I wonder how many actually followed through/were as committed as the woman you encountered.

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