"" Writer's Wanderings: Cruise Journal: Chasing Fiona--Two Sea Days

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Cruise Journal: Chasing Fiona--Two Sea Days

The news was not good. We watched reports of severe damage to Sydney, Nova Scotia and Charlottetown, PEI. It was inevitable. There was another itinerary change. This one had good news along with the bad. We would obviously not be visiting Sydney and Charlottetown. But, we would stay longer, until four, in Quebec on day two and the captain put Halifax back on the itinerary.  During our sea days we had a Captain's Club (previous Celebrity guests) reception with the ship's officers. When it came time to greet Captain Dimitris Petras, I thanked him for the extra time in Quebec and putting Halifax back in which, I said, was on my bucket list. He grinned.

Now normally we enjoy sea days. In the past we've enjoyed Celebrity's lecture series that they usually have. I was expecting with some of the ports we were seeing there would have been ample topics for lectures. Not so. There was nothing scheduled like that. Instead there were all sorts of activities that involved the spa, the art auction, future cruise destinations (not the places we were seeing now), and the shops and boutiques merchandise and sales.

One of the spa seminars that would obviously encourage buying product was called "Go Home Looking 10 Years Younger." I heard a group of people discussing the possibility of attending and going home younger. One husband spoke up and said, "They're not dealing in miracles."

There was the usual trivia and some games like beanbag toss and everyday there was some kind of entertainment put on by the bartender at the Martini Bar. Not our cup of tea. Several arts and crafts times were available and I did try the adult coloring session. They handed out pictures to color and you could borrow colored pencils, sit anywhere in the big crowded Sky Lounge, color for 45 minutes and then turn in your pencils. I got half the picture of five parrots done. 

In all fairness, there were several groups and individual musicians that performed in various venues throughout the day. They were talented but it was often overcrowded where they performed. We did have a full ship.

And then there was the daily movie. The indoor theater that used to be on the ship is gone. Instead, there was an outdoor screen on the top deck of the ship. Not the warmest place to watch a movie although when Bob checked, there were a few brave souls wrapped in blankets watching the movie. 

We have been known to lay in bed and watch a movie on the TV but there was no opportunity to choose what you wanted to watch unless of course you wanted to rent the movie. One or two channels had old time movies running but there was no schedule and choice in what was playing. Other cruise ships let you choose free movies to view.

Thank goodness we'd brought our books. We spent most of our mornings in a lounge we found that was quiet, sipping a second (or third) cup of coffee. I was sorry we hadn't brought our decks of cards to play our favorite card game. 

The most exciting and fun thing we found to do was to accept the invitation by a group on Cruise Critic that were getting together to have a slot pull. Each participant put in $20 and individuals/teams got five or six pulls on a slot machine. The total of winnings would go up or down with each set of pulls. When everyone had a turn, the game was paused and the lady in charge handed out prizes supplied by the casino and some of the boutiques. Then we all voted on whether or not we wanted to continue or take what was left in the machine and divide it. There were about 20-25 people playing each day, cheering and encouraging. We got to meet new people. One day we got $10 back and another $40. By the time the cruise was over I think we broke even and I even came home with a casino trophy for getting the biggest hit.

I expected changes in the cruise line. All of the cruise lines have changed and they are still trying to get back to filling ships and moving on from the pandemic. I was just disappointed in the choices the line has made to cut costs.

What hasn't changed for Celebrity is their food. It was excellent in all the dining venues we tried. Prices have gone up for the specialty restaurants, almost double what I remember. And some of them were so out of sight in cost that I wouldn't consider them. The buffet, the Oceanview Cafe, was surprising. They had a great selection of foods, some prepared on the spot. We ate lunch there each day and actually chose that over the main dining room several nights and eventually made it the evening routine to go there for dessert and decaf coffee each night. 

The entertainment in the evenings was nothing short of perfect. Each night featured a different artist or group and the music was wonderful. 

We managed to survive. It was a cruise and we were on our way to a place I've wanted to visit for a long time, Quebec City.

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