Since I currently live in California, Mo and I planned our flights from San Francisco, flying to Miami to embark, returning to San Diego for our final port, then flying back to San Francisco. The South San Francisco Travelodge has a park, stay, and fly package that is a great deal for these kinds of trips. With a stay on either end of the trip included, and parking for the entire time we are away, the cost is much less than even the economy lots at the airport. The shuttle is free both ways as well. Our room was warm, roomy and comfortable. Especially with the cold, wet fog of San Francisco, we were happy to be cozied up in a decent place. Arriving in South San Francisco early in the day gave us some time to do some shopping, enjoying lunch and wine at the Maceroni Grill. Later in the evening we drove down to the wharf and had a great dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. I had to try the key lime pie, in preparation for our upcoming trip to the Florida Keys in March.
Our flight was scheduled for 11 pm so we went to the airport to wait. The red-eye flight was uneventful on American Airlines, and we had great seats again, on the 2 seats per row side of the airplane. I slept well and the flight went quickly. Morning in Miami was cool and sunny, and getting to the pier was uneventful, but the boarding of the Celebrity Constellation was really slow. With all the extra security due to the Christmas Day bomber, it took much longer to clear the incoming ship for immigration. The lines were long and the wait was more than a couple of hours. Very tiresome. We hoped this wasn’t setting the bar for the rest of our first Celebrity cruise!
Finally on board, we settled into our cabin. It was very roomy and comfortable, with a large bathroom and shower, the biggest yet in our experience. We decided to explore the ship and with only 11 decks, it seemed very small. For a moment, we wondered how it might be to have to spend 14 days on this smaller ship. This was my first cruise longer than 7 days, although Mo managed a 21 day cruise to China several years ago.
Our first evening in the dining room wasn’t especially memorable. Although we requested a private table for two, we were seated with two other people, an obnoxious woman and her husband who never stopped talking and carrying on a very negative conversation throughout the entire meal. However, after dinner we enjoyed the entertainment at the very lovely Celebrity Theater We explored the ship some more after the show and began to adjust to the size. It certainly didn’t take long to find our way around.
On Monday morning we arranged for a room service breakfast, served right on time, but decided we didn’t need to try that again. The food was very boring, with tasteless bacon and sausage and dry toast. Ugh. Since it was a sea day and we were exhausted from our previous travels, we snuggled back under the covers and slept in until 10 AM. The skies were cloudy and gray and I just watched the sea slide by my window for a long time. Amazingly, I wasn’t the least bit seasick and found myself really enjoying the gentle movement of the ship. When we got up we checked out the shops and computer lab. Sadly, my ACER Netbook refused to boot up, so all my plans for photo management and blog writing during the cruise were nipped in the bud.
Later we enjoyed a truly delightful lunch at the Seaside Buffet, eating by the main pool area. After checking out the spa on the 11th deck, we settled in to play cards in the game room, had a snack at the Kove Patisserie, played some bingo in the afternoon, went to the Casino, had a drink in the Rendezvous Bar, and again explored the top decks of the ship. Sounds like a typical cruise trip, doesn’t it!
The evening was formal, and again dinner was impressive. We insisted on our requested table for two, and after some confusion we settled in to a table in a narrow part of the dining room near the galley. Although not a perfect location, we never again had our dinner spoiled by irritating table mates. I especially enjoyed the many courses offered at dinner, with an amazing beef capriccio appetizer, cold fruit soup, spinach salad, sea bass, and cherries jubilee. Off to the theater for another Broadway type production with great music to end our first full sea day.