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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - [Day 2] At Sea

On our first sea day, we woke up to cloudy, drizzly weather.

We had planned to eat breakfast in the dining room at 9:30, but realized too late that we had confused the breakfast time with the Ocean View Cafe. The dining room was only open for breakfast from 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM. Ocean View Cafe was open for breakfast from 6:30 AM to 11:00 AM (includes "continental breakfast," "breakfast buffet," and "late breakfast").

So back to the buffet we went.


The breakfast food was okay. I don't have the patience to wait in the make-your-own-omelet line. It was unfortunate where they placed the omelet bar, though, because the line for omelets wrapped in front of the food stations, so you had to squeeze in through the people waiting for omelets just to get eggs.


While we were eating breakfast, there must have been a scavenger hunt going on for the kids clubs because a bunch of kids were running in with their lists and asking for plastic cups. One of the servers brought a reusable plastic cup to a kid, and the kid takes it and says, "Is this plastic??" and starts tapping on it which I thought was pretty funny. I used to be one of those kids playing the scavenger hunt games, so I understand the thrill of it, but I think the writers/schedulers of the scavenger hunt could be a little more mindful not to bombard the buffet team with kids searching for plastic cups during peak breakfast hours.


It was a little wet outside by the Sunset Bar -


A fun pastry Christmas display -


My original plan for the day was to lounge by the pool, but the rain put a bit of a damper on that. We decided to check out Deal or No Deal  in the theater. I wasn't sure if it would be a fun game to watch, or if it would be more like Bingo which isn't really a spectator game. It was fun to watch! They choose one card at a time to come to the stage and play Deal or No Deal, and everyone who purchased game boards can play at their seats for Casino Matchplay Credit.

I thought that the person playing on the stage got actual cash, but I heard another lady explaining that it was also just a casino matchplay credit. I'm not sure, so let me know if you do!


After the game, we did a little more wandering and stumbled upon the S.S. Normandie artifacts. When the Celebrity Summit debuted in 2001, it opened with The Normandie, a specialty restaurant paying tribute to the 1930s ship, adorned with gold lacquer panels from the historic transatlantic oceanliner.

In 2016, The Normandie was replaced with Celebrity's Italian specialty restaurant, Tuscan Grille.

Celebrity seems to really trying to unify and refresh their brand with the recent "Revolutionizations," but I think in the future, Celebrity should lean to the past. Something that I've learned as a "theme park architect" is that in recent years, digital media has rapidly increased the rate at which a trend takes off and then becomes old news. If you're designing the built environment for a trend today, by the time it's constructed, you're probably five years too late. And if the corporate world thinks it's trendy, then it is most likely already past its prime (I can't help but giggle inside when someone requests an "Instagram wall"). I think the key is not to design to trends, but commit to an era, theme, or place. A great example of how to preserve the past while refreshing the space so that it feels like you've been transported in time rather than entering a museum can be seen with the TWA Terminal (Hotel) at JFK.

Alright, enough of my good ideas, let's check out the S.S. Normandie -


I love the table setting. Seriously, Celebrity, for the next Revolution, can you bring back the Normandie Restaurant?


We walked outside on Deck 4. Unlike on the Disney ships, this is not the walking/jogging track.




See.... not a jogging track! No exercising. Go the distance all the way to Deck 11 and don't even think about jogging here. Thank you.




Not crowded at the Martini Bar... we should've taken advantage!


We decided instead to go up to the Mast Bar on Deck 11.




Aaron ordered two Bushwackers, but had to explain to the bartender how to make them. I guess that's more of a Norwegian specialty.


Something we noticed on Celebrity is that there were a lot of smoking sections... well, there were three, but I think they were noticeable because they were located in prominent areas on the ship. There was a smoking section on the port side of the Mast Bar, and something about how it was positioned or perhaps the direction of the wind that day made it waft over into the Mast Bar which made sitting there unpleasant for those of us who don't enjoy the smoke smell.


We couldn't stand the smoke smell, so we left the Mast Bar and went to the Pool Bar. This is when/where I finally learned that the cap for our Classic Drink Package was $9. I learned this because I tried to order a $10 beverage. I asked the bartender if he could make that drink with well liquor, and he said no. I think if I had listed the ingredients of the drink to him with well liquor instead of trying to order that drink, it may have worked with the Classic Package.

Interestingly, most of the drinks listed on the menu here were $10. I later learned that starting in 2023, the Classic Drink Package cap was increased to $9. I'm curious if the menu prices are going to increase again, or if we just happened to be on an untimely sailing with more expensive drinks but still a $9 limit. Sure, the drink is only an extra $1, but that's what was frustrating about it - why price most of the drinks at $10 if the Classic Package limit was $9? Were they trying to incentivize people to upgrade to Premium? Was there a disconnect between the menu pricing and the drink package? I've sailed on both Royal Caribbean and Norwegian with their basic drink packages, and I had never before been upcharged for so many basic beverages. I wasn't expecting to be nickel and dime'd on Royal Caribbean's "more refined" sister line.



We decided to put on our swimsuits and see if we could snag a spot in a hot tub in the Solarium. Both were full, but we went ahead and got in the pool so we'd be ready to pounce if a hot tub cleared out. The pool was heated, so it was comfortable to swim. And sure enough, some people got out of the hot tub so we were able to get in. The hot tubs were very hot which I think is a good thing because it keeps people from sitting in there too long. A bartender came over to take our order from the hot tub (so that's how you can get bar service!). By the time she returned with our drinks, I was really hot and ready to return to the pool.

5PM marked the start of Family Swim, and people were ready to enter the pool with their kids. We figured it was about time to go and get ready for the evening, so we left the pool shortly after.


Tonight's show was "Life" by The Summit Production Cast. Celebrity Today described it as "a euphoric feel good concert filled with a sense of Life, Light, and Love." I describe the show as completely random. Also, I did not take any photos because they played the notice that it was copyrighted and there should be no photography or video recording.

I thought that Life felt like a variety show. There was definitely talent among the Summit Production Team, but the show lacked cohesion. It looked like the dancers choreographed it themselves (I thought that may have been the case, but it looks like the choreography for "Life" is taught at the Royal Caribbean Production Studio in Miami). The costuming also looked very DIY. I thought that maybe they were told to bring their own black and white dresses. They were all different styles, some ill- fitting, and the fabrics didn't match. It was either a lackluster attempt at a mismatched look or a gap in the costuming budget.

In the very opening number, there was a pregnant dancer. Aaron leaned over to me and whispered, "is that dancer pregnant?" I thought either a member of the team became pregnant before her contract ended, or maybe it was part of the show. She could be a character. Well, the same dancer returned to the stage and was no longer pregnant, so I think it was part of the narrative, but they never explained it. My only guess is because the show is called "Life," and she was pregnant, so she was creating a Life? I'm not sure, but I think it was a bizarre creative decision.

The Production Team had two acrobats who totally stole the show - Mourad Miri and Olesia Pavlyshyna of Duo Miri, and husband and wife duo that perform hand to hand acrobatics and aerial straps. Olesia's aerial ring performance in this show was amazing.

The dancers and vocalists were talented as individuals, but in my opinion, really didn't work well together. The dancers certainly didn't look like a dance troupe. Everyone's style was different, and they had difficulty maintaining lines and spacing. From my research on Instagram (I stalked the Celebrity Cruises Entertainment account - this team is SM03), it looks like this production team's contract started in early October, so they've almost reached the halfway point of their contract.

After the show, we had half an hour to kill before dinner, and we assumed the Rendezvous Lounge would be way too crowded. We decided to go to the Martini Bar. Aaron and I sat at the bar, and we waited and waited and waited. I think maybe it was a shift change for them, so no one wanted to serve us. The lady sitting next to me noticed that we hadn't been served and attempted to wave down the bartender for me, but he ignored her too. Finally, after fifteen minutes (other people came after us and were served before us), a bartender came over to take our order. By the time we got our drinks, we only had a little bit of time to drink them down to a walking level.


Bathroom mirror selfie of tonight's fit/proof that Victoria is on Vacation -


At dinner, Aaron ordered the Asian Consomme (not pictured) to start and said that it was very good.

I got the Scallop Crudo which was refreshing, but a very small portion. I was glad that I also ordered a salad.


The Chicken Waldorf salad was just alright, but I was hungry, so alright was good enough for me.


Aaron had the Roasted Beef Flank Steak. It was a very small portion for an entree, and he described it as more of a brisket than steak. Per Aaron, it would be superb on a sandwich, but wasn't satisfying for a main course.


I got the Mediterranean Seafood Orzo. There was only one scallop in my serving. The shrimp was great, but the mussels were overcooked.


For dessert, I got the Chocolate Lava Cake which was very rich (to be expected) and very good. Again, the ice cream is necessary.


We were pretty exhausted after dinner and had an early morning in Cozumel the next day, so we decided to call it a night early.

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