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Thursday 6th December
This morning I woke early enough to watch the ship’s naming ceremony in Miami repeated on the cabin television, when Mr Richard Fain (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Caribbean International) introduced it. He mentioned that there are 42 ships in the group fleet, including CELEBRITY REFLECTION. There were 4 Godmothers and together they named the ship as the Champagne hit the side of the funnel.
Outside it was 72F at 7.34 a.m., we were doing 8 knots, with the wind at 10 knots from the NW, with sunset at 5.20 tonight. After breakfast we did a free short Galley Tour in groups, following an introduction in the Restaurant.
We next met in the Café al Bracio for late afternoon coffee/tea and cakes.
By this time there was torrential rain outside and no visibility, our speed had slowed, and water was swirling back and forth on the deck outside the Café with the movement of the ship. Soon after this there was an announcement from the Captain about the weather conditions and our port of call at Nassau. He told us that he had asked the Port Pilot to come on board and discuss the situation and it had been decided that the weather was too bad to get into Nassau, so we would continue our journey to Cococay. We were also told that there were 4 cruise ships already in Nassau and they were unable to get out. He added that, to avoid disappointment, all the drinks at the bars would be free of charge between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. We could hear the cheers throughout the Atrium, and soon after this the bar stewards starting coming round with trays of Champagne and other drinks to try and avoid the crush at the bars!
A little while later another announcement was made that the Bars would continue to be free from 6 to 6.30, and goodwill spread even further around the ship (judging by the noise volume in the Atrium).
Tonight we have dinner booked for 8 p.m. in the Qsine Restaurant which promises to be fun for the 3 of us, so free Champagne and a posh frock was an excellent start to the evening as far as I was concerned. Qsine promised a culinary journey that delivers elements of surprise and delight, and it was! It seemed like a theatrical production and it was huge fun, starting with choosing food from a menu on an iPad. Each course was delivered to the table with great drama and panache, and we could admire each presentation as it arrived. Taking photographs was a bit of a distraction…
The evening Show was again very enjoyable, with live music and dancing from many London shows.
Ships seen: on the horizon at 7.45 a.m. Majesty of the Seas, going in the opposite direction, Norwegian Sun at Great Stirrup Cay and Independence of the Seas at Cococay, both in the distance. I understand that Little Norway 1 and 2, the tenders off Norway, are still at Great Stirrup Cay. We must include the brave Pilot boat from Nassau
To be continued….
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Wednesday 5th December (continued)
After lunch and Boat Drill we met on Deck 15 aft at the Sunset Bar, ready for departure from Miami Cruise Terminal. The sun was shining, the sky was clear, a little sea plane was preparing to take off and all was well with my world. Standing near us in the Sunset Bar was a bride and groom, and many of their guests, all having a noisy and fun time;
the little sea plane headed from her land base towards her take-off point, but a little craft suddenly appeared in her path, so she had to do another circuit, and try again.
She headed west towards the turning circle and what in the 1930s were the finger piers, turned and was then able to take off. She gained height and flew away parallel with the MacArthur Causeway. We looked down in the water below our stern and saw a shark swimming along, towards the Causeway. When I later looked at my quickly-taken photo and zoomed in, I could see a patch of red on part of its body, so I wonder if it had been injured by one of the numerous pleasure boats. I shall never know of course.
Then it was time to watch our departure along Government Cut, past the sights I have come to recognise from my photographs and those of my Father. The ‘cut’ we could see may well be where the ARANDORA STAR berthed all those years ago
I subsequently located a fascinating web site of
Mr Don Boyd (http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/77354683)
with wonderful photos from many decades, and in particular this 1930 aerial view of Downtown looking east-northeast. Dodge Island and its cruise terminals didn’t exist then of course, so ships had to come up to the finger piers or anchor off.
What fun to compare my photos now and Father’s photos eighty years ago, and see the picture of G W Romer’s postcard of ARANDORA STAR departing Miami, sent by a friend.
We enjoyed our departure on CELEBRITY REFLECTION and sail down the Cut, although this will be my last proper sight of Miami Cruise Terminal and surroundings in daylight. Then came an announcement from the Captain that we could not call in daytime in Nassau, Bahamas, as there was a problem there, so it would be 6 pm arrival and departure at 11 pm.
We were disappointed at the Captain's news about Nassau but very happy to be on this new Celebrity ship. We are booked in Qsine Restaurant for dinner on Thursday night, which should be huge fun. The company says: “We call this the food palate pleasers. There are no courses. Guests are taking a culinary journey. The music will be vibrant and upbeat, the ambiance a bit whimsical and mysterious…. And it’s all about the food.”
Dinner in the Opus Restaurant was excellent, with a wide choice, as was the Show afterwards - with a real band, what a difference. The more we see on here, the more we think that CARNIVAL BREEZE has missed out.
Tomorrow we now have a day at sea, arriving in Nassau at 6 p.m. and leaving late, and on Friday we are due to visit Cococay. On Saturday we are due back in Miami and I have to disembark, but hope to be meeting another friend before flying home, so there is lots to enjoy on this lovely ship first.
Ships seen: Norwegian Sun
To be continued….
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Wednesday 5th December 2012
We went out for breakfast near the Park Central Hotel, had a walk on the beach, and then checked out of the hotel and took a taxi to the Cruise Terminal.
No sooner had we arrived than our luggage was taken care of and we were on board CELEBRITY REFLECTION within 15 minutes, and being welcomed with a glass of Mimosa (Champagne and a little orange juice). This is the ship’s inaugural cruise of 3 nights, sailing out of Miami. We are booked in the main Opus Restaurant for dinner. As we had checked in early, it was an ideal time to tour the ship and take photographs after we had left hand baggage in our cabins. I have an Ocean View Stateroom for sole use, which also has a spacious bathroom.
The ship was built in Papenburg, Germany, by Meyer Werft, at 122,400 gross tons, able to carry 2,886 passengers, and was handed over on 9th October 2012. This is a Solstice Class ship, the 5th and final one in the class, and she was formally named on 1st December in Miami, Florida.
This is a beautiful ship, with many Lapidus-style curves, and amazing artwork throughout, chosen for the Celebrity Art Collection. I later read that the Collection was started in the mid-1990s by Christina Chandris, wife of John Chandris, the then owner of the company. In the Murano Restaurant I was pleased to recognise several pieces by Nina Surel, the artist whose work I saw and admired at the Lincoln Art Center in Miami on Sunday.
There is real grass up on the Lawn, on Deck 15 aft, surrounding the Lawn Club and Lawn Club Grille, which made me wonder what my friend Cornelia would think of this.
It was soon time for lunch so we went down one deck to the Ocean View Café, to fortify ourselves ready for sailing from Miami later this afternoon after Boat Drill.
To be continued….