TRAVEL THERE: GETTING SETTLED ON CELEBRITY EDGE
Over a year of planning came to fruition. We sailed through customs almost too quickly to believe, thanks to the Celebrity App. Viktoriya was there to greet us. We threw our luggage in our stateroom and started enjoying our cruise.
With all my cruising, it was actually only a few years ago learned about embarkation buffets, but I’ve developed a love hate relationship with them. My first, on Norwegian, was memorable. We boarded too late for the Viking buffet. Then on the Royal Carribean cruise in 2017, the buffet was so bad, I felt like I was supposed to finish up all left over of the previous cruisers.
I expected more from Celebrity and they almost rose to the occasion. Concierge Class passengers on the Celebrity Edge are treated to a special luncheon in the Cosmopolitan Dining Room. I confess it wasn’t exactly a culinary triumph. I had Chicken Paillard, but the Home Chef version I’d made myself was better. It was served with French Fries. French Fries?!? Then the chocolate something for dessert was unremarkable.
Deborah, Viktoriya, Bill and I took our seats around the table and had just begun to order our meals, when to our utter delight I received a text letting us know Jim and Melanie had arrived at the dock. They weren’t expected for hours yet, but they’d decided to skip their morning excursion and join us on the ship instead.
I was so happy I was almost in tears as I sat at the table and observed the people who had paid so much and come so far to help me celebrate my special occasion.
A Whirlwind of Activity
The next few hours were insane, which means choosing to forego a tour of Rome had been a good idea. We did some reconnaissance around the ship, went to our rooms to unpack, did battle with the reservations people, had a lifeboat drill, checked out the sail away and generally tried to get plugged into everything so we could leave early in the morning on our first shore excursion.
The unpacking proved to be fairly pleasant. There was room to stow away all our belongings, even if my gown for the ceremony did take up an unreasonable amount of the room. Surprisingly, we had all kinds of gifts waiting for us in our cabin – flowers, wine and tapas from Rick Eberst, the Dallas-area sales rep for Celebrity, and chocolate-covered strawberries from our travel agency, CTC Travel.
There was a problem with a special meal the Bagleys and Viktoriya had booked. The evening of the meal had been changed for weather issues. They’d also been put on separate dining times by the ship’s crew and that just wasn’t right. Viktoriya nearly went ballistic on them, but Jim managed to calm her down and eventually everything worked out.
I imagined Concierge Class would include a concierge somewhere on our own levels who was available 24/7. Au Contrare! He had very limited hours and you needed a degree in spelunking to find his “office,” which was actually just a room of desks which were shared by several services. We had dinner reservations for the first night, but I had hoped to make reservations for the rest of the trip with our concierge – obviously it didn’t happen. My only other interaction with the concierge was daily phone calls to give us the weather, which might or might not be accurate, and to inform us of the hour (yes, hour) our concierge would be available to us up in that little room. None of his times of availability ever coincided with a time I was able to utilize.
I communicated with someone named Ranee Tin, the event coordinator. She wanted to meet me before dinner to discuss the arrangements for the ceremony. I should have known to worry when she acted as if it was no big thing.
The Sail Away was a non-event. Other cruise lines make a bigger deal of it and quite frankly, Civitavecchia is a pretty boring port. Somewhere along the way we visited the Art Gallery. It was the only visit I would make on this cruise, which is odd for me, because I usually attend several art events when cruising. It just wasn’t that sort of cruise for me, but Jim and Melanie almost lived down there and came home with several pieces of art.
Bill slept through most of this. Eventually, I returned to the room and got dressed for our 8:30 dinner reservations. Come back next week and we’ll have dinner in the Cyprus Restaurant.