Sunday, October 5
We were picked up right on time by the limo service we use for airport runs, etc. It was a nice smooth 2 ½ hour drive. We were finally off to our much anticipated 14 day cruise.
We had expedited check in as members of the Captain’s club. From there it was onto to the shuttles that transported passengers to the ship. The step from the ground into the shuttle was very high. I could just barely get up into the shuttle. I had to pull myself up with the hand rail. I’m 5’4” so a pretty average height.
Because the ship was not in turn around mode, we were able to go directly to our cabin. It was really nice to not have to lug carry-ons around.
After finding our cabin it was off to the Ocean View Café using the pocket size map of the ship that we were given at check-in. It came in handy a number of times.
When we finally found a seat, we went to the buffet one at a time so we wouldn’t loose our table. The table next to ours put sweaters on the table to make it look taken and someone sat down there anyway.
The selection of food was not very appealing unless you wanted a heavy meal. Salads were being made 1 at time with a line of about 50 people waiting. We had heard that the food on Celebrity was very good. We were not impressed.
We unpacked and were pleasantly surprised with the amount of storage space we had in an ocean view cabin. Our cabin was about in the middle of forward part of the ship on deck 2. Our travel agent had recommended a lower deck and there were days that we were glad she did.
We explored the ship and then rested until show time at 7. We had requested a late dinner seating so went to the early show. It was nice to be able to order a drink before the show and have a small table to put it on.
The show was excellent with a little bit of most of the upcoming shows so that we could get an idea of what we would like see.
The line after the show into the dining room stretched from midship to the dining room because everyone was being personally escorted to their tables.
We were shown to a table for 8. We’d requested a table for 6. Maria and Oscar were the only other couple at the table. Communication as mentioned earlier was a problem.
The food at dinner was a vast improvement from lunch.
Monday, October 6
Clock turned forward 1 hour
This was our first at sea day out of 5 at sea days.
We took care of multiple pieces of paperwork: Canadian immigration form, disembarkation form and a waiver for a tour.
We also met our contact for Distinctive Voyages. Shortly before we left Gretchen, our travel agent, called to say she needed to discuss some things with us and everything was fine. Before I called her I found an e-mail telling us that through Distinctive Voyages we would be given a complimentary excursion in Halifax and to Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia.
Lunch was in the main dining room. It was very good, but the selection was limited.
This was the first formal night of 3. We attended a cocktail party given by Distinctive Voyages. We missed the Captain’s Gala Toast and the production show because the times overlapped.
At dinner we now had 6 chairs at the table. Diane and Ross from Vancouver joined us. So now we were a table of 6.
Dinner was okay, but not great.
Tuesday, October 7
Partly Cloudy 63
St. John, New Brunswick
We ordered room service for breakfast rather than dealing with the café. That worked very well for timing, etc. We used room service several mornings.
The Celebrity Theater was the gathering place for excursions. We checked in and got our numbered sticker for our excursion. Groups were being called by number as soon as everyone had checked in.
This often caused a big traffic jam at the elevators to the gangway. Usually the gangway was only a deck or two down, so we took the stairs.
We booked the Fundy Scenic Railway that goes over the Reversing Falls at the Bay of Fundy and the Big Pink Hop on Hop Off Bus.
The train excursion was first. It goes through a very industrial area, and we were surprised that the falls were surrounded by industry. I think, but am not sure if we had been at the actual bay that would not have been the case.
We were there at high tide. The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world. The figure varies a little from 52 to 56 feet at high tide. You could see the water swirling to change directions. There was a small tour boat that we could see from the train. It was having a very hard time moving forward. We also saw a couple of people with kayaks. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been to paddle.
Our guide was excellent and provided and interesting commentary about the falls and the history of the area.
After the train excursion, we were dropped off at the ship. We had a late lunch in the café. By then we decided if we took the bus we might not get back to ship by 3 o’clock.
We took a nap instead. That became a part of our daily routine.
This evening’s show was The Music and Humor of Doug Cameron. His violin is a brilliant blue. The music ranges from classical to jazz to country to Celtic. His playing of all genres was superb.
When we got to our dinner table only Diane and Ross was there. Maria and Oscar arrived an hour late. Diane loudly announced, “How rude!” without having any idea of why they were late.
Because they were unable to read “Celebrity Today” they were not aware of the time change. I told them I would try to find a way to help them because there were 4 time changes over the course of the cruise.
I don’t remember much about our meal. It was another just okay dinner.
Wednesday, October 8
At Sea Day
We tried to go to a presentation called Charlottetown in 15 Minutes. We got there 15 minutes early. There were no seats left and there was barely room to stand. We left.
We thought that it was poor planning because it was held in the conference room Something else was going on in the theater so it couldn’t be used.
During the day we sat in a lounge and just looked out the window, read and generally just relaxed.
We did attend a Captain's Club Celebration in the afternoon.
Dinner was interesting. We had a sizeable on-board credit and decided that we would use some of it for the specialty restaurants. We usually don’t bother.
We went to Qsine.
A big deal is made about the fact that you order from and i-Pad. Actually, the menu is on an i-Pad. That was fun to use. There is a huge selection and variety to choose from. When you are ready to order, the wait staff takes your order. Service was extremely slow.
Paul had orange chicken for his first course. Our waitress told him it would make a good appetizer. It was enough for a meal.
Presentation of some things is very unique. I had a chilled soup that was served in what looked like 3 lab beakers. A straw was used to drink it.
For our main courses Paul ordered a trio of meatballs and I ordered tacos.
Paul was expecting a serving of normal sized meatballs. What he got was 3 softball size meatballs: one pork, one veal, and one beef. He said they were good, but couldn’t finish them.
My tacos had a base of steak and came in a delicious flakey taco shell. Condiments were served separately. Gazpacho was a mortar filled with avocado and an array of numerous things that you could add and mash with a pestle. There was also salsa and sour cream.
When we said that we were too full for dessert, our waitress suggested we share a layered gelato. It was the perfect ending.
It was an interesting experience, but we probably would not go there again.
This evening’s show featured a group called “These Guys Acapella.” They did everything from pop to barbershop to rock. They reminded us of the group “Straight No Chaser.” We think that they may have been on the TV show “The Sing Off”, but didn’t win from various comments they made. I enjoyed them more than Paul did which only reflects our age difference and nothing else.
Thursday, October 9
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
This is where I stopped taking notes. So what follows is from memory with the help of Paul and the “Celebrity Today” handouts.
We booked a tour called “Trot about Town.” There were several people in our group walking with canes and I wondered how in the world they would get in a carriage because it is usually a big step up. This carriage had 2 small steps and was easy to access.
The horses were black Clydesdales. They are only 2 of 10 registered black Clydesdales in the world. (I think that’s right). Our driver said that sometimes she had to intervene because they are brother and sister. They are beautiful animals.
Our guide was very knowledgeable and had a great sense of ironic humor in her commentary. Charlottetown apparently attracts a lot of retirees because of a relatively low cost of living.
The carriage ride was a great way to visit this beautiful and charming town.
After we got back to the dock, I asked if I could pet the horses. (You always ask first). She was just fine with that. I knew they were well taken care of when both of them went snuffling in my purse for carrots in addition to being impeccably groomed. I jokingly said, “I can tell you never give them carrots.” She just laughed and said, “No never. Can’t you tell?”
After getting back to the pier, we had lunch at a restaurant recommended by our carriage driver. We had clam chowder, lobster rolls and a carrot cake that was a bit different from any we’d had.
We walked around for a little bit, did some shopping, and took some photos.
Entertainment was Band Artistique, a husband and wife duo that do hilarious spoofs of opera and ballet. They have performed with Cirque du Soliel.
At dinner I gave Maria and Oscar a chart I made with the port of call or at sea day when time changes needed to be made and a clock face with an arrow showing whether to turn the clock forward or back. They were very appreciative and showed us that they had changed the time each time we had a time change.
Friday, October 10
Weather cloudy no idea what the temperature was.
At Sea Day
I think this is when we discovered the Café Al Bacio and Gelateria. For the rest of the cruise we had croissants and coffee here. The coffee was an extra cost, but we didn’t care because we enjoyed this peaceful start to our day. I felt great during the cruise and had lots of energy. I drank a Café Americano almost every morning only to find out that I was getting double shot of espresso. Paul stuck to his English Breakfast tea.
Up until now the ocean had been very calm. Today it was very rough. Some of the waves were breaking right below our porthole window. We felt very little motion in our cabin, but certainly could feel the ship rocking on the higher decks. Access to the outer decks was blocked because of high winds.
We attended “Beyond the Podium with Emile Baladi “His topic was “Quebec, Canada “.
There was a lot of historical information and some good insight into modern day Quebec.
We had lunch in the main dining room and spent the day reading, looking out the window and relaxing.
One of the presentations today was the History of Faberge. We didn’t catch it then, but we later saw it on the TV in our cabin. It was really informative and fascinating. We rarely watch TV when we are traveling.
This was the second formal night of 3.
Julie Reiber who played Elphaba in “Wicked” on Broadway, was in “Newsies” and more was the featured entertainer tonight.
Dinner was one of the best we had so far.
Saturday, October 11
Time changed to one hour back.
This was our first day in Quebec City. We booked a UNESCO World Heritage Tour. Once again we had an excellent guide with a great sense of humor.
Quebec has a very complicated history. We saw all of the major historical sites including the portions of the gates that were part of the city when it was walled. We stopped at the Plain of Abraham and were able to walk around. It is a significant battle ground high up on Cap Diamant . The view was beautiful.
We also stopped on a street right next to the Château Frontenac. The street was an unloading spot for tour buses. Our guide pointed out the Visitors Center, the hotel, and an artist alley. We had time to walk around and get a feel for the upper part of the city. We also found the funicular that travels from the lower city to the upper city. And back down.
After our tour we walked for a while in the lower part of Vieux-Québec. We found a nice café for lunch. I had a sandwich of smoked salmon, goat cheese, capers and red onion in a wonderful bread. Paul had a cheese sandwich with apples in the same wonderful bread. Both of our lunches came with a large mixed green salad and potatoes that had been brushed with duck fat and baked. They had to be some of the best potatoes we’ve ever had.
After lunch we went to a museum that our guide had recommended as in interesting interactive museum. It was neither interesting or interactive. The name completely escapes me.
When we would normally be heading for the show, we decided that we had no desire for a big dinner after our big lunch. We decided that we’d have some gelato in the Café Al Bacio and Gelateria instead.
We went to the late show that featured Rick Novell. The description from “Celebrity Today”: “No two shows are ever the same; each performance is packed with laughter and excitement, Side Splitting , Out Control Unicycling and Extreme Juggling.”
Paul didn’t want to go, but I talked him into it. It was really funny.
I got a kick out of Rick giggling and saying that he did a good job of entertaining himself when the audience was a little quiet. It turned out to be a fun and entertaining show.