Editorâ€™s Note: Sorry for the delayed updates here, but technical difficulties have prevented posting. Yes, even Internet Service Down issues apply while cruising. Hopefully back to normal now.
Yesterday morning we arrived at our first port of call, Malaga Spain. The town starts right on the sea and then extends up the hill side towards the mountains. The cruise ship terminal was located slightly away from the town with the pier extending about a Â½ mile from the shore. The weather has been unseasonably cold and yesterday had had a great deal of wind. We had a beautiful view of the city and the snow covered mountains in the distance right from our aft balcony. We could see one of the cityâ€™s most interesting and prominent attractions, a Moorish castle. We also knew from research that this castle and the Roman amphitheater next to it were closed to visitors on Mondays. With the late night before, the inclement weather, closed attraction, and long walk into town, we decided that the spectacular view from our balcony was enough so we enjoyed the day aboard the ship.
At 2:00 they had scheduled a game of â€œApples to Applesâ€ in the Fun Factory, so I accompanied the kids. The three of us had fun playing the game with the counselor who was on duty despite the fact that it was just my two children in the kids area. One of the fun things that happened when we were playing was that the counselor who was from Brazil mentioned in conversation that she had never seen snow. The three of us completely lit up and asked her if she had seen the snow in the mountains just outside. All four of us dropped every thing in the game and then headed out to the outside area where she could see the snow capped mountains in the distance. It was kind of fun to share a â€œfirstâ€ snow experience with this young lady.
After finishing the game with the kids I headed off to get a coffee in the Cova and ended up talking with some of my Cruise Critic friends for a few hours.
The scheduled entertainment was a concert pianist at 7:00 which we choose to skip to allow for more time to get ready for dinner. At 8:00 the fun factory had â€œFamily Karaokeâ€ which consisted of just our family playing the Play Station game â€œPop Star.â€ The songs were all contemporary pop hits. In this version of Karaoke, contestants battle to see who can match the words and music of the song the best. Savannah was much better at this game than me because she knew all the songs.
After the quick game the family headed off to dinner. This gives me an opportunity to give a little mini review of the dinner service and food. Last nights food was just to my liking with lots of seafood dishes. I enjoyed the Escargot Bourgogne, a Louisiana Gumbo (properly spicy), and a stuffed flounder. The three others enjoyed the Young Roasted Chicken for their entrÃ©e. The food quality seems to be consistent with all our past cruises; however we did notice that the food and beverage procedural changes implemented recently on Celebrity affected our service in the dining room in both positive and negative ways. The main change is that Bar Service in the dinning room, I.E. mixed drinks and soft drinks is now handled by the Sommeliers and Dinner waiters. This service had previously been done by bar waiter who would come around and get the drink orders separately. The effect this had on our dinner was that the table next to us ordered martinis first thing from the dinner waiter. This put him a few minutes behind in taking the dinner orders from all his tables. The area where they have improved a process is that after dinner they have given us the opportunity to preorder our wine for the next evening. They bring you the next eveningâ€™s menu so that you can consider what you might be eating when you order the wine. We have done this since the first night and it allowed to sommelier to have our wine waiting for us when we arrive at the table. We very much appreciate this service.
Near the end of dinner we passed through the straight of Gibraltar. We could clearly see the lights of Africa on one side of the ship and the lights of Gibraltar on the other side. We thought the Rock of Gibraltar might be illuminated, but we had to guess the big black block to the left of the lights must have been the rock.
We closed the evening with Karaoke. I have quite a collection of Broadway tunes and standards on CDG. I had inquired to the activities staff the previous night if they would be able to play them. They were so kind and said they would definitely try. When I arrived, one of the guys was nice enough to do a test run on my CDG and we were both happy to learn that they would be able to use my disks. The only draw back was that they didnâ€™t have a digital key changer hooked into that system. I was able to share my disks with a few friends who wanted to do other songs than what the ship offered. It was a lot of fun singing my favorite â€œThe Girl in 14 G, Steveâ€™s favorite â€œI Dreamed a Dreamâ€ and my friend Maraâ€™s favorite â€œMemory.â€
After dinner we enjoyed a night cap and a nice chat with some new friends.