The letter we’d all been given at check in said the bus would be there about 11.15-11.30am. I went earlier to check out and many people were waiting already. I asked a Celebrity rep who took me to a desk where I was ticked off the manifest, given ticket 80 for the bus, told it would be here about noon and told to drop my case off at the truck outside. It was absolute chaos. I checked out and waited outside for a bit, hoping my dad would try and phone me to see if there was something wrong with the stupid US transmitters. As I waited some of the NFL Raiders team came out of the ballroom entrance. I went in at 11.30am and sat by an American couple playing cards and going on Infinity. They too had been delayed by the Coastguard inspection. Eurodam, Oasis and even Infinity were called before us (the couple were taking a taxi). I would be on bus number 2, which left at 12.35pm. It was nice passing all the other ships to get to the prize down the end. We got off and headed inside to security where we had to show our Xpress pass and passport. After that wasn’t very good because the Captain’s Club check in wasn’t well signposted. Thankfully the queue was short. Up two floors where they grouped you then let you on. You could have a boarding photo or not. Made no difference since the queue was slow. I did then joined it, chatting to an elderly couple in wheelchairs whose 59th wedding anniversary it is on my birthday! I never understood why US security doesn’t allow you to take photos of the ship you’re boarding/leaving when you can from a boat or land. I sneaked one of my Connie baby anyway. I have her alongside when I sailed from Southampton and Barcelona and wanted one here too. We were on well before the 1.30pm time which was excellent, but the cabins wouldn’t be ready until 3pm. After changing my credit card I bought the soft drinks package and saw Mustafa from Facebook touting for business for the Tuscan Grille. I’m so pleased for him and Kirsty. Then I booked my shore excursions after discussing easy options. The only ports I don’t need to are St Maarten and St Thomas because Ken Maclean has booked ones there. I went walkies to get ships pics, since I knew the Seaside Café would be chocka.
I eventually got a cheeseburger from the Poolside Grill and managed to find a sea at a table with two old American dears called Blanche and Blanche. Then my dad called but I could barely hear him due to the music by the pool. The cabins were ready earlier than expected so I went to find mine, which is 2169 and right near the stern. I hadn’t been upgraded, even by one category – meanies!!!! But that’s okay. I don’t mind insides because they’re quite spacious on Connie.
Muster was 20 mins late at 4.05pm and my muster station was the Rendezvous Lounge. It was over fast and then sailaway – wooo! Now, as much as I LOVE Connie, her design for taking photos is crap. When she was Solsticized, I’d hoped they’d have removed half that annoying windscreen but no such luck. And, without a wraparound Prom deck, options for decent photos are slim, especially as the light fades. Neither Grand, Crown or the Carnival had moved, which I was relieved about. I waited on the port side of deck 11, really pissed off I was unable to get them heading into open sea, as I could have if you could snap over the windscreen. Crown left first half an hour late, the time we and Infinity were due, but we at least were still loading luggage and other things. Grand blasted and followed then the Carnival moved her bum.
Sometime during this were eight bells, I assume came from Oasis since it sounded like Royal Caribbean deep horn farting. Eurodam slipped out then Oasis. We singled up at 5.21pm, the final ropes going 10 mins later and we pushed away from the side with the help of a tooting tug. As we neared Infinity, we blasted to each other and where I was standing turned out to be a great spot for that alone! There was an announcement about sailing so I assume she’d not be long after us. A photographer came around to take sailaway pictures and managed to get one with Infinity behind.
As we turned into the inlet the wind whipped up, reminding me if the Solent after the shelter of Southampton Water, so I did a Marilyn Monroe impression more than once!
I went back in at 6.40pm and getting fed up with being covered in salty water. Infinity left at 10pm. Unusually for me, I forgot my cabin number so had to ask Guest Relations. I’d been trying 2159 so not far out! If the case had turned up Id have known. Shopping and the model! Okay it’s crap but cheap. My case was there – yay!!!! Dinner was 8.30pm in the San Marco. There was an American called Bill who liked a drink of few and British mother and daughter who had only done Royal Caribbean on the table. My dietary requirement hadn’t got through. With everything going on in the afternoon, I completely forgot to check. But my waiter was brilliant and made suggestions and where we could make adjustments to include things, such as steamed veg, to avoid salt. The head waiter was excellent too when he came around to discuss the following night’s menu. Because some foods are prepared in bulk, it’s difficult to avoid some, which adds to my thinking I DID get salt on QM2 thanks to just ticking options. Went to the photo shop and saw my sailaway pic. It was a little blurry but excellent considering the light was fading and he’d never taken one like that without flash before. He was very pleased with his efforts too. To bed!
Sunday the 4th December was a sea day and thank goodness! Mind you, my aircon was blowing cold air so I was beginning to get a sinus headache. I got up about 11am and as I was heading up, Mustafa was going past on deck 3 carrying a load of Celebrity Culinary cookbooks. He somehow managed to con me into buying one. LOL! He sent me up to Bistro on Five where I had breakfast, which was the hot and spicy crepe without bell peppers plus Italian for dessert. Well worth the $5 surcharge considering how much you get. I also booked the Tuscan Grille for the 14th at 7.30pm. I’d told him last year when I was on I’d go next time. Two weeks gives more time. The Xmas deccies were slowly going up! They had trees in the Grand Foyer.
On deck and it was very windy, F7, salt covered so much. On deck 11 I was doing a Monroe in that wind! No cruise ships in sight, even though Millennium with Ernie Roller onboard was around there somewhere.
I connected to the internet and the manager said there was no wifi at the Celebrity Online even though I was online. The maintenance man was outside my cabin when I returned and SAID he had increased heat so I had a nap. It was flipping freezing and my sinus headache was worse. I caught Blasido and told him. Even he could feel it so he called the engineer. I popped onto the Prom deck to find out what ship was in front. It was Carnival something but too windy to get a decent picture and I wasn’t going up top only to get my skirt over my head! Had a Coke and when I returned, the heating was fixed! It wasn’t hot hot but better. I filled in the disembarkation questionnaire then dropped it into Guest Relations before going to dinner. We had another British lady, Carmel, at the table. It’s her first cruise. At 10.45pm was Captain Pappas’ welcome followed at 11pm by the show, iHollywood which was excellent, especially Dirty Dancing and James Bond. We lose an hour – shame!
Another sea day and weather not much different. Slight sinus headache again when I got up at 11am. Went wandering, did a bit of shopping then saw dolphins from the Prom deck before the buggers hid. Rendezvous for a Coke as the Captain did his noon announcement as well as telling us about Aruba and pushing one particular tour. Went to the San Marco for lunch and sat with a load of Americans at the back by the window. Had the cheeseburger. When I got back to the cabin I noticed bites on my legs so bought insect repellent. At 1.30pm was the pool volleyball between marine and hotel crew with the Captain watching. Hotel won and will meet passengers later in the cruise.
The toilet flush broke but within 15 mins of my reporting it to Guest Relations, it was fixed. My first Senior Officers booze up at the Captain’s Club now I’m Select then dinner and bed.
Aruba in the morning and we were already in by the time I got on deck at 7am, while Caribbean Princess was coming up to us so I raced her to the front. Then I went back to bed after doing this blog since my tour wasn’t until 1pm.