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Celebrity SummitCelebrity Summit
Southern Caribbean, San Juan
April 4, 2009

by Joe Reynolds

We arrived in San Juan on April 3 and reached the Milano hotel, a very centrally located hotel in Old San Juan. The hotel was very comfortable and a good location. Rooms small but clean. We went up to Fort Morro in San Juan and it is a beautiful view from outside the fort even if you don’t go inside. We toured around San Juan on the free shuttles and the drivers will tell which bus to get on to get to where you want to go faster. We liked the open trolley the best since the weather was nice. We ate as guest of my son Joby at Carli’s and then went to Senor Frogs where we had a good time dancing.

We got up next morning leisurely and ate breakfast on the roof top of the Hotel Milano. We left the hotel in two vans with our party of 11 with a charge of $3/person plus $1/bag and went to the Pan American Pier (one of three piers in San Juan) and boarded a short time later around 12 noon. We met on deck 10 aft for awhile and then checked into our cabins. We all checked our table assignments location and there were two adjacent tables which was satisfactory. We would have preferred to have had a table for 12, but it was not available. Our waiter Anjoid from Jamaica and assist waiter Blakojck were excellent. Yusef from Turkey was our Asst. Maitre’d. We met Ruby from previous cruises with Celebrity and she is now the Restaurant manager. She had them fix a very good lamb Wellington just for me.

We ate the first night in the Normandie as a guest of Celebrity and then again Monday with 8 of us in the wine room and the three teens at a separate table outside. It was very enjoyable and the arrangements were as we wanted them. Everyone was most impressed with the service except they stopped doing the “voila” presentation which used to give a nice flair to the eating experience. In my opinion the turning away from the Michel Roux presentation and recipes has not been a plus to the restaurant. I, of course, would still eat there and still recommend it. The food was excellent.

The Cabin was a Royal Suite and was very nice and stateroom service was very good. The butler performed well and even delivered waffles to the room. for breakfast so I didn’t have to stand in line. On the full sea day there was a brunch in the main dining room that was excellent from 10:30 AM until 1:30 PM. They literally had everything laid out. The ship has stood up against the years very well. One could certainly find defects if one looked for them, but in general it looked very good.

St. Marten—we took a cab to Kawa on Orient Beach and it was very nice. Spent about 3-4 hours there and came back to the ship.

DominicaWe did Levi Baron Roseau Treasures tour and he performed according to his excellent reputation. His helper Gary was also very good. I think Dominica was the prettiest island of the trip and I also think it was prettier than Tahiti. We did the South Pacific last year and Tahiti was fresh in our mind. I think Dominica would be an island to go and spend a few days. The Titou Gorge experience was well worth the cold water that got warmer and going in the tunnel was really interesting. Jumping into the water following Levi’s lead was nice. We had safety vest on which was ok. The dog paddling up the cave area was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Morne Bruce was just a sightseeing view stop. The Champagne snorkel was as advertised and just pretty to see the bubbles (small) come up out of the ground with the fish swimming around. There was a $12/per set charge for snorkeling gear. You paid less if you had part of your equipment.

Grenada—Mandoo’s spice island tour was very informative and his presentation at Dougaldston’s Estate old work area was excellent. I don’t think the teenagers were impressed. We visited the Grand Etang Lake and the Annadale Falls. We learned about cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, coffee, and bay rum and other spices. Grenada is truly the spice island.

TobagoI had made arrangements for 9 of us to tour with Ted’s Sunshine tours but everyone was toured out by this time and I went alone. Ted arranged a taxicab for me, and I did the tour that had been planned for the 9 of us. Tobago is a poorer looking island than Barbados. The roads may be a slight bit better than on Dominica, but the rain forest is not as pretty. We visited the St. George’s fort in Scarborough the capital of Tobago and then went up the coast road past Mount St. George to Goodwood, Roxborough up to Speyside where we had lunch at Jennas Tree House Restaurant which was quite good eating. We (the cab driver & I) then came back down to Roxborough and crossed from the Atlantic side of the Island to the Caribbean side on a very curvey road coming out at bloody bay. We visited Parlatuvier Bay, Castara and then went inland some to Moriah coming back out to the coast at Plymouth. We could see Pigeon point and Buccoo point but it was too far to drive at this late time. It was getting close to 4:00 PM and we were to be aboard by 4:45 PM, so we proceeded back across the island to Scarborough on the Atlantic Ocean side and ended the tour.

BarbadosWe had planned a day at the Boatyard and this would have been a nice facility except that they didn’t have enough umbrellas and didn’t adjust their charge for not being able to supply them. I would not recommend the Boatyard if you expect to get what they offer in their advertisement. In quotations it does state on the sign when you check in (as long as supplies last). The loudness of the music wasn’t a problem as you could get far enough away from it for quiet. There were plenty people there when we arrived and they only had 8 umbrellas left. Two or three were broken and could have been fixed temporarily with some twist wire, but no one seemed interested in fixing them. Four of us left the Boatyard and went to visit a friend of a friend in our group who just happened to own The Crane House in Barbados. I had originally planned to just go to the Crane Beach Hotel for $25/per person for access to the beach. As it turned out I could get to the beach for no charge and take a picture of the hotel. Our host furnished flying fish sandwiches from Cutters which was on my original agenda. What a beautiful home and it was a most enjoyable day for the four of us and the 2-year old grandson who enjoyed the pool.

We only went to two shows aboard ship. The Karen Grainger show and the last show of the cruise which included a summary of the aerial artist, the comedian, and Karen Grainger’s show. Toward the end of her show she came out in the audience and got me up on stage. She was doing Cher and I was to do Sonny Bono. She put a little jacket on me and a wig—I can’t sing, but she did let me do some dancing and that went over better.

It was a good cruise. This time I’m the one that got hurt from a fall in Dominica, but it was very minor with only scratches on the knee and elbow. Three weeks later however I had to have Incision and Drainage under anesthesia of an arm abscess in the elbow area done yesterday. Doing well and should be good to go May 26 to Switzerland. Go while you can, because one day you can’t.


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