I am aboard the Celebrity Summit enjoying my first full sea day. Hereâ€™s a little update on how our vacation has been thus far.
Pre-Cruise Stay in Barcelona
We decided to fly into Barcelona 3 days prior to the cruise in order to get the kids acclimated to time change and have them ready to go to the cruise in good spirits. Our days in Barcelona were long ones. We visited the major attraction in the old town area including the City Museum with plenty of archeological exhibit documenting the cityâ€™s history. We also saw the Cathedral, and walked down the famous Ramblas, to the Columbus Monument. We took the lift up inside where we got a nice view of the city. The next day we went to the Sagrada Familia and took a self guided tour along with another lift to the top of the towers on the Passion FaÃ§ade side of the church. After our church tour, we walked down the famous â€œRodeo Driveâ€ of Barcelona, Passeig de Gracia. It was actually dark at the time, so we got to take some great picture of the Casa Batlo at night.
On our third day, we went to Montjuic where we enjoyed some incredible views again of the entire city. During our visit we stayed at a vacation rental apartment rather than a hotel. Having a bit bigger room, washing machine and a full kitchen really made the apartment more convenient than a hotel. One surprising thing about visiting Barcelona was that they were having an unseasonal cold spell. My only disappointment in the visit was the food. Possibly we just didnâ€™t eat at the right places, but it just wasnâ€™t as good as I expected. We tried a couple of different Tapas and Catalan restaurants and found the food just OK. Our favorite place was a Chilean restaurant where I had wonderful Paella. My husband enjoyed a traditional Chilean steak with egg and onions, and my son had delicious sautÃ©ed prawns with butter, garlic and peppers.
Once again the Celebrity Embarkation process was very smooth. We unloaded our luggage from the taxi, went through security with ease and then proceeded to check-in where all we had to do was show our pre-printed online express boarding pass and our credit card for the onboard account. There is a nice little wine store in the terminal area where you board. We bought the 2 bottles officially allowed by Celebrity, but they never checked our bags again so had we had room in our carry on luggage. I think we could have brought more an no one would have said anything.
Once onboard, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then were able to go our state room. The family veranda cabins on the millennium class ships have no drawback what so ever. The main bed is a full size convertible king and faced out into the room unlike the queen size bed that lies between three walls on the Century class ships like the Mercury. There is ample storage space for 4 and the largest balcony Iâ€™ve ever seen for any thing other than a royal/penthouse suite. The dÃ©cor is pleasant. The cabin also has a little extra hallway leading to it which is very nice for storing our suit cases in a little alcove.
For this cruise we choose for the first time to do second seating dinner with the kids. When we have cruised with just the two of us, we have always done the later seating, but this is the first cruise where we felt like the kids were old enough to stay up a bit later and eat later. So far this has proven to be a good decision, with the first benefit being able to completely unpack before dinner. We were also able to enjoy the pre-dinner show at 7:00 pm. The short show was about 45 minutes and previewed so of the entertainment yet to come. I enjoyed all the acts including one of the Celebrity Singer, the a cappella group Boomers, and the party band â€œFrontlinersâ€. Their singer did a pretty darn good job with one of the hardest songs to sing â€œThe Power of Loveâ€ which has been recorded by both Jennifer Rush and Celine Dion. We also got to meet the cruise director Rich Clesen, who is back with Celebrity after a few years with NCL and time in Vegas working for â€œThe Blue Man Groupâ€.
Dinner service the first night was excellent. The waiters were friendly, prompt and very courteous. The food was fresh and nicely presented. I enjoyed a shrimp cocktail, salad, consommÃ© and as a main entre, chicken saltimbocca. The saltimbocca was my only complaint as it was heavy on the spinach and light on the sage, so much so that I couldnâ€™t taste the sage at all. This preparation would probably be fine for someone who prefers a lighter tasting dish, but I really like the strong flavor of fresh sage in my saltimbocca. The accompanying sauce was very tasty however. For dessert I requested a small bowl of berries. This is one of my tricks for not gaining weight on a cruise. I still feel like I am having a nice dessert, but the berries are very low in sugar and calories. The others at my table had wonderful salads, veal and spaghetti carbonarra. They also had crÃ¨me brule for dessert and a delicious chocolate napoleon.
After dinner we headed up to the disco for â€œ70â€™sâ€ night with the band. We had enjoyed the preview performance so much we thought weâ€™d go listen to them some more. They played a wide variety of music in their first set and then 70â€™s hits in their second. I even got my son to dance with me for a few songs. We did the Electric Slide together, which I think was the most fun for him.
A few other interesting points are that the cruise has only around 6 children on board including my own. The kids club staff has been fantastic so far playing games with them and keeping them having fun despite the fact that there are few other kids to play with. I think it will remind them that they are very lucky to have each other.