"" Writer's Wanderings: Celebrity Sostice--Day at Sea

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Celebrity Sostice--Day at Sea

Days at sea can be leisurely or they can be hectic depending upon how you spend them. There are a slew of activities to choose from if you are one who needs to be active all day long. Shopping seminars, trivia, wine tastings, art auctions, spa and fitness talks (A Younger Face in 10 Minutes—mine took 20), boat races (pool-sized), ballroom dance lessons, bridge, the ever popular casino and bingo, and the list goes on—including the ever popular WII for adults.
The alternative to hustling from one activity to another is to grab a good book and a lounge chair and find a spot by one of the pools or on the Solstice Deck and try to keep your eyes open as the warmth of the sun combines in a narcotic symbiosis with the gentle roll of the ship.

After our morning mile walk (8 times around this short jogging track—no full promenade deck) Bob went off to exercise and enjoy his time in the thermal suite while I attended a lecture on the Gershwin brothers. The lecture was as much entertainment as education with the husband/wife combo, Marlene and Chet Solender, who sang and played their illustrated songs.

While I’m not much of a shopper, there are lots of shops on decks 4 and 5. I loved the sign as you enter the area, “Retail Therapy.” Tables of specialty items lure you if you have a bent for shopping for a bargain.

Lunch (and breakfast) in the Oceanview CafĂ© buffet was a bit uncomfortable for me. I don’t do well with crowds and confusion and the buffet is not organized in (to me) a logical manner. There are “stations” dotted through the middle of the large room and you go from one to another in search of what you might want to eat playing “bumper plate” with the other guests. Toast was across the room from where the bread and rolls were. Several different types of scrambled eggs were to be had in different places. For lunch, salads were spread out in different areas, there was a grill and a place for sandwiches (no paninis). I never did figure out where the soup was. Then there was a section called “Chef’s Surprise.” I gave a cursory glance and decided I didn’t want to guess what was in it.

The most disappointing thing however, was to go all the way back to the Aqua Spa Grill and find that there was a very small selection of unappetizing cold dishes. The last time we cruised with Celebrity aboard the Century, I thoroughly enjoyed the lighter dishes and soups that were cooked in the Aqua Spa Grill. I’ll try again to see if I missed something but warm dishes were not readily apparent when we stopped by there. Our other option is to eat in the main dining room for lunch and breakfast and we will try that as well.

Please keep in mind that everyone has their own taste and what doesn’t appeal to me might be the best food someone else has ever tasted. And I’m not complaining (especially since I don’t have to do the cooking or the cleanup). But I am a bit disappointed since most of my bragging about Celebrity has been about their food.

The evening was full with dinner at the Murano specialty restaurant. We listened to the wonderful A Cappella Group Ocean’s Four in the Ensemble Lounge before going into the restaurant. (Also discovered that there are bird songs in the entryway to the lounge where the “ants” cross the tiled floor.) The Murano was every bit as good as promised. Its French cuisine was a delight. We tasted Dover Wellington (scallop in filo), lobster bisque, pear and Roquefort salad, and duck and rack of lamb. The presentation was wonderful and the taste divine. All of that was followed with flaming strawberry crepes and an assortment of apple desserts.

The evening’s fare in the theater was SOLSTICE: The Show. It was a fantasy-type theme with charactered circus performers much like Cirque du Soleil but they were careful not to draw that analogy. As always it is amazing to see anyone perform on stage when they have to dance or do anything that requires balance on a moving ship at sea. These performers were flawless in their acrobatics and balancing acts often suspended over the heads of the audience.

While the evening was still young, we were not and called it a night while others went on to enjoy the musicians in the lounges around ship as well as the late night comedian. As we opened the door to our room, we were greeted by turned-down sheets with two towel-swans adorned with rose petals and candy. A bud vase of roses sat on our coffee table from the Captain’s Club people. It was a warm touch to end a nice day. Smiling, we set clocks ahead one hour to match the time in San Juan our port of call for the next day.

Tomorrow: San Juan, Puerto Rico and more of the Solstice.

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