Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cruise 2017: Day 8, At Sea

Finally, a day to relax, right? Not quite! There's always stuff going on. I did try hard though, and I think we were fairly successful!

I have nothing highlighted in the daily planner, but I know we did stuff. Pictures don't lie!

Okay, so the only picture I have from the daytime was this one:

Taken in the Sky Lounge, I was there for the Music Trivia, Broadway edition. I did terrible! They were mainly newer shows that I haven't played the music from. Then we stayed for the Trivia Club: Afternoon Challenge. This was to be general knowledge. General, my foot. Oh well, it was fun.

Prior to this, we had gone to Celebrity Central at 3:00 for a presentation "Oceans Ahead with 2nd Engineer Giorgios: How The Ships Move". It was a good crowd. That waited, and waited, and waited. We were probably mainly Canadians, considering how long we waited. People started coming in for the 4:00 Bingo. A few staff members tried to find Giorgios, and eventually they said they'd try to reschedule and to check the planner. Never saw it listed for another time. Rob explained to me how ships move though. An engine turns a shaft which turns the propeller and the water displaced pushes the ship forward. So now you know too!

 It was "Evening Chic" night, and I wanted to get a picture of my dress that I made. So Rob posed so I could set up the self-timer

We've really slacked off on "formal" night. He didn't even wear a tie. In fact, when he was packing, he found a drink receipt in the jacket pocket from the last cruise in 2014. So, obviously, we're not dress up people. Well, I try to. Him, not so much.

 Random dining room shots. At the large table behind me was a great group. They weren't all together, and had a great time getting to know each other. I realized a few days ago (on the cruise) that "Kevin"---the taxi-driver finder from Grand Caymen--was at this table. Sounds like a fabulous guy.

 Seafood cocktail, I do believe. An appetizer.
 It was lobster night. I agreed to try lobster tail for real this time. On Royal, Rob always started with two and often got at least one more. This time, there was one lobster tail. It's pretty small once they take it out of the shell. It was okay. I wasn't crazy for it, but  I ate it. And was still hungry. Don't recall the dessert.
People always say that Celebrity is for old people and I know they're trying to appeal to younger folk too. But this was the scene in the ONE dining room every night. And there were more scooters outside the door, and of course, some guests needed them to get to their table. At least ten mobility devices were parked at the doors.

 The nice thing was though, the evenings were very quiet on the open decks. This tends to be true on other ships too, but much more so on this one. Still windy though.
 Awesome Curad bandaids I got from the Guest Relations desk before dinner (I didn't wear those shoes to dinner). I always get blisters on cruises cause I tend to get new shoes before we go LOL. Those bandaids stayed on for quite a while, even after swimming.
 The Solarium roof. We were trying to decide if these are mini-solar panels.
The evening show was a Tribute to Broadway. Well done, of course. There was another Silent Disco listed in the planner, but I don't think we went. No glass blowing show either. There was one at 3:00-5:00, but of course we went to the talk that never happened. So, it looks like it was a pretty low key day after all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cruise 2017: Day 7, Bonaire

Usually when you do an Eastern or Western Caribbean, you get a sea day in between port days. You might get two port days in a row, but just once. This cruise, like most Southern ones, has three port days in a row. It's tiring. If it weren't for the fact we're pale Canadians, we would do excursions later in the day, but for what we wanted to be doing, early morning was best.  Shortly before we left for the cruise I got referrals for snorkeling in Bonaire. Renee was said to be the best. I emailed, and we tentatively arranged for 8am. However, it wasn't totally finalized, and I still had questions but it was hard connecting through email during our few port stops. She said she'd meet us at the end of the pier. Never having been there, we just took people's word that it would be easy to find her at this small port.
One sailboat we saw in Bonaire...towing TWO Zodiacs!

We walked off the ship and down the pier. And looked around. I didn't see any sign with our name, or her name. I think I heard my name being called. Anyhow, we found a lady with another couple and she confirmed she was who we wanted, though she didn't say she was actually Renee. The other couple were also Canadian! We followed Renee, walking briskly, to her little minivan, got in, and off we went. She explained that we'd do a walk in drift float off the coast nearby, then travel to another spot and do a jump in off a dock. She drove around the downtown and came out to a street RIGHT NEXT to the water, with a gravel "beach". Totally unlike any snorkeling spots we've been too.

Renee explained that there was an annual sailing regatta going on, so kids were out of school, and that's why there were SO many sailboats.  I wish we could have found out before and maybe gotten to go for a sail! The plan was to put all our shoes in a mesh bag and she'd float them down current with us. Luckily, I had cheap sandals, though Rob had his new sandals and wasn't too thrilled about them soaking in salt water. But he also didn't want to walk back up the road in his bare feet!

Renee chooses this spot because there isn't a huge reef. That sounded odd to us, but she explained that in reefs, the fish hide and you don't get to see that many. Makes sense!

Can you see him in the rock? So cool!

Don't know what most of the fish were called, but this guy was cute!
A little creepy looking but cool to see!
This one was freaking me out a bit.

Renee got really excited at one spot. Usually she yells out "Yoo Hoo!" and you come up to hear what she found. But it was hard to hear, and a little challenging for me with her accent. She'd point into the water and I'd just try to figure out what was so exciting. This time, it was this baby blue tang. Usually they're out in deep water so this was a real treat. They're yellow when born and as they change to blue, they go through a greenish period.

This area was used to discard old engine blocks. We're unsure if this was to create reef like structures.
The little tiny sailboats!
This is where we put in. If you look on Google maps, you'll see two docks on the west shore. I think it was the north one.
A Royal Bank! Another neat thing we saw here was an electronic billboard that gave all the upcoming dates and ships that would be in port.
Hard to see the Equinox behind the scrub brushes

After snorkeling here for awhile, we got out and she offered us a cup of soda, if I remember correctly. Warm.  But appreciated! We headed through the town, further up the coast, past the Governor's house. We parked and walked through a resort(?) to a dock where we put in. 

This location has a deep drop off, though we didn't go over that far. She chose this location because the drop off brings certain fish. There were other reasons too...I think there was more coral here?

 As soon as we got in the water, it seemed blue-er, brighter. I realized it was because there were hardly any clouds left in the sky. I'm glad we went early, but it really is so much more vibrant with the sun out.

So many fish!  Below is some vehicles in the parking lot that Rob said "Take a picture of that!"

 I had let her know in my emails that although I really enjoy snorkeling, I don't seem to be very good at it. I tend to hold my breath! She was very encouraging, and checked in on me often. Learning that I had to get every strand of hair out of the mask was appreciated, and even more, learning how to quickly blow out any water that snuck into the mask, was a game-changer. It was still a challenge to remember to keep breathing LOL. I didn't get sea sick at all this time! I did have one time that I lowered my head too much and got a snorkel full of water LOL.  And Rob tried to adjust it once and broke the clip off. Renee was able to take a hair elastic and McGyver it back together.

She took us back to the ship and we went up to change and eat. Of course, eating, eating, eating. I convinced Rob to head back off the ship, since we'd never been here, might never get back, and it's still an "undeveloped" port.

 Such beautiful water, makes you want to just head in right there. Except for all those crabs.
 Colourful little buildings. It was a pretty short walk around since Rob wouldn't do any shopping. I wish I could have convinced him to go on the flamingo or salt mine tours!
 I assume these were locals, but next time...

 You can see the salt piles off in the distance. Looks like snow!

 Somewhere along there is the second place we went snorkeling
 Lagoon on Klein Bonaire...the island right off shore.

No giant resorts on this island

 The airport

 Closer view of the salt works. It's actually quite a distance aways. But so huge.

Rob went for a nap so I was just strolling the ship during sail away.

 This is a BBQ Pork Spring Roll, I do believe. Yummy, I could have eaten more. Not much to that Chipotle coleslaw! We also had a Crispy Thai Beef spring roll one night that was good. Not sure if I got a picture. Our menus didn't quite match up with the ones I'm linking to.
The most incredible Prime Rib! I've never cared about prime rib before, but after this? Oh man, it was so good. I did try the horseradish, and I'll pass on that.

This appears to be a souffle. Rob appears unimpressed, but I'm pretty sure it was delicious.

We often got back to our cabin just as our steward was finishing up (or even before, since we had no one to talk to during dinner). This night, we got in the cabin and Rob noticed a wet spot on the bedspread. For some reason, he sniffed it. It smelled like bleach!!!

We have no idea of what happened. I'm glad I didn't sit down there! A couple times we entered the corridor from the elevators and were overwhelmed with the smell of moth balls. We did complain about that but don't know what it was from.

The evening's show was "Derek Cameron & Specialty Acts". What was that?  OMG! I just googled "Derek Cameron Celebrity Equinox". Do NOT do it. What comes up (LOL) was NOT what we saw. Perhaps this was the night a couple of other other singers/groups came back for a brief act.

Anyway. There was an event up at the Glass Blowing Studio called "Hot Glass Cool Sounds with Sean Roach". We caught the last hour of that. It was really good. The glass artists took turns working on something, silently, while Sean Roach played acoustic guitar. Old folk, rock type songs. Like being at a campfire, except he can really sing, and the campfire was the gas powered furnace. Good grief, just Googled Sean Roach, and the dude's Canadian. No wonder he can rock the campfire. He looks a little rougher in that YouTube video from the club. We didn't see him on the theater stage, but here's some of his show on another ship.  I would definitely be excited to see him on another cruise. Or back here at home.
 See...just like a campfire!
 After a bit, the artists do a spiel while Sean takes a little break.
 This artist's father loves to fish for sailfish so she created this piece for him. Wow. So much work!
 This shell was passed around. I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was. It was going in the auction at the end of the cruise. I knew I couldn't afford it (though it went for a LOT less than I thought it should have).

 Some other pieces
And I don't think any day was complete without a trip to the custom pasta bar.

We were quite happy the next day was a sea day. We needed a rest!