Caribbean Trip 2013 Day 2 (March 30, 2013): What Line?

Today marked the real start of the trip and boy were we on vacation mode. We finally fell asleep at around 11PM last night and neither of us woke up before 9:30 this morning. Even when we did wake up we took it easy for a while and missed the breakfast time frame at the hotel altogether. Fret not though, we walked a couple of blocks a little before 11 and loaded up on Starbucks.

We got back to the Epic not to long after, finished packing, and were on our way. Most of the time we have everything booked ahead of time. But since we are just traveling the two of us we figured most of the transportation could be figured out as we went, and so far that’s worked out nicely. We checked out from our room and headed down to the lobby, asked the valet for a taxi, and found one within a few minutes and were off to the cruise terminal.

The cruise terminal was only a five-minute taxi ride from our hotel. We gave our bags to the porters right out of the taxi and headed into the security checkpoints. For this cruise we booked what’s called an Aqua Class cabin. It’s a normal balcony room with a ton of extra amenities and perks. One of these said perks is priority check-in. We got to skip the massive lines for both security and check in and having looked at my watch when we reached the terminal and when we were on the boat, it all took less then ten minutes.

For our seven-day Caribbean cruise we chose the Celebrity Reflection, the newest Celebrity ships. We have always wanted to try Celebrity and why not go big when you can. One thing is for sure the boat is both new and gorgeous. Right when we stepped aboard we received welcome champagne. We went straight to our room and to our surprise our room was already made. We love so far how on top of everything Celebrity seems to be. Needless to say our room is great, we have some extra spa amenities upgraded shower, water bottles, tea, and even a welcome aboard bottle of champagne.

After we recorded the tour of our room we went exploring. That was a dangerous proposition. A couple of hundred bucks later we have all of our wine and dining needs. Not only do we get a specialty restaurant called Blu as our main dining experience (its exclusive for Aqua Class only) but we also bought a four-dinner package allowing us to try all four-specialty restaurants on the ship. After we booked our dining package and made said reservations we went to Wine Cellars a wine tasting bar where we ordered a $50 wine tasting voucher which when we booked then gave us an extra $10 for free. We also picked up the three-bottle premium wine package for our dinners as well. It was an expensive tour to say the least.

After we got done spending our life savings on food and wine (maybe not that much but close) we spent more money on food and ate at the Bistro on Five. It was only five bucks a person and was so worth it. We both started with a soup (Jenn Tomatoe and Chicken Consume for me) and had crepes for lunch. Jenn had an egg and cheese crepe while I had what was called the hot and spicy crepe that had steak, peppers, onions, and a very spicy sauce. They both were to die for. But that wasn’t even the best part we said we didn’t want desert but our waiter brought out a chocolate crepe with bananas inside which was unbelievable. We polished that off. It was a great meal.

After our amazing lunch it was time for the dreaded muster station drill. Once again we were shocked at how easy this was. We were directed down to the fifth floor (a lot of stairs considering we are on the 11th floor) and got to take a seat in the balcony of the theater. We checked in with the security person and watched some demonstrations and videos and were off. Super easy, and no more standing there with your orange vest looking uncomfortable while they blast the super loud horns. This was much better!

We headed back to our rooms, which now had luggage. We unpacked and tidied up quite a bit. We dropped off a ton of clothes to be pressed and went back up to the top decks to continue exploring. This was far less damaging to the wallet because instead of spending money we lounged on the sun chairs and enjoyed the breeze as we made our way out to sea.

When we got back to our room a little before 6PM we had afternoon snacks waiting for us. They were little cheese and ham and cheese and pepperoni appetizers and were quite good. Another perk of the aqua class stateroom. We then got ready for dinner and enjoyed our first meal in the Blu restaurant, which comes with our Aqua Class room. We got a lovely table for two sitting near the ocean but were still close to quite a few other tables for two. They definitely make it awkward not to talk to your neighbors but we managed to for the most part ignore everyone around us.

I had so much of the free champagne earlier I was done with alcohol for the day but Jenn didn’t partake in any of that so she had a nice glass of Pinot Noir for dinner. For starters Jenn got a yellow corn soup and I had blue cheese soufflé. For our main course we both had the Filet Mignon. The filet, which can be hit or miss on cruises, was actually super tender, and the sauce made it even better. For desert Jenn loved her crepe so much she got the blueberry, banana and chocolate crepe while I got the vanilla puffballs with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. Once again we didn’t ask for another desert but he brought out a third dish, the crème Brule that was great as well. It was actually a pretty great first meal for the cruise. Outside of having to sit in the vicinity of other people we really enjoyed getting out of the dining room and into the Blu restaurant.

We left Blu at close to 7:30 and walked around the ship. We found out the ship has a movie theater and we missed a showing of Dark Knight Rises which was a bummer, but exciting to know we might be able to catch a flick or two. We then went back to our room and sat on the balcony and talked and waited for tonight’s main event the Celebrity Showcase, oh yay.

The showcase was a brief snippet of a few of the acts we are going to see on this weeklong voyage. First up was a two man acoustic group, then a comedian/magician, and finished up with a four-guy singing group. None of the acts were bad and in fact I leaned over to Jenn with two overarching topics. First off I probably should order a drink for a couple of these shows, and secondly these acts are far better in bite size portions. The good news is unlike our last two cruises on Royal Caribbean, Rico is not our cruise director, its Paul and he seems leagues better.

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That capped off our day. After the show we were exhausted and called it a night. This seems like it’s the start of something great.