Starlight Traveler Feature: Jennifer & Paul
Our Starlight Travelers are Jennifer and Paul! Here's a bit about their vacation:
Cruise Ship: Celebrity Reflection
Travel Time: May 2022
Room Category: Balcony Cabin
Opting for the balcony cabin on a cruise ship is always recommended! The views, the extra space and the fresh air are always worth it.
How would you describe the dining and beverages during your vacation?
The meals were great. We had a special dinner at Tuscan (steak). It was excellent. The main room was also good. Everything was fresh, and the presentation of the entrée was very delightful. The buffet was good, but many repeated dishes. It would be great if they would introduce a new dish daily.
Every time, I always debate whether I should get the premium drink package because my wife and I have to get it even though my wife does not drink much at all. Based on my unscientific calculation, w/o the premium drink package, you will have to pay 20% gratuity on all drinks. A bottle of water is $3 + 20% tips. Coffee outside of the main dining room or buffet, is $5 (again, plus 20% tips). Cocktails are an average of $10 to $13. So, you add up the drinks you might have per day, the premium drink package is worth it. And you also can $400 OBC (on board credit) per person by adding the premium package. So, it is a huge benefit to use the extra OBC for excursions, shopping, and spa, etc.
The drinks were otherwise average. I (Paul) am a bourbon guy. They serve the typical ones such as Maker's Mark, Jack Daniels, Woodford reserve, etc. So, the selection of bourbon in my opinion was nothing spectacular for me.
Tell us more about the entertainment and activities onboard and offboard, please!
We did it every stop: Dubrovnik, Croatia Kotor, Montenegro Corfu, Greece Olympia, Greece Sicily, Italy Naples (Napoli), Italy Florence, Italy Rome, Italy the most memorable were Dubrovnik, Kotor, Herculaneum, and Olympia, and of course, Rome. Each one has so much history. We can easily spend an entire day at each one of those stops. Some of the excursions added a few stops just purely for local economy reasons and really had nothing to do with the excursion itself. For example, during our Kotor excursion, they took us to a beach. First, we were not dressed for beach activities, and second, we were only allowed to spend about 15 mins on the beach including bathroom break. It was a waste of time although Kotor was genuinely nice.
Since we did excursion at each stop, we did not really have a chance to enjoy too many amenities. When we came back from the excursion, we were so tired that we took a nap each time, lol. The pools are typical again as they are always packed. The main entertainment onboard was disappointing. I would rate them subpar. It could have been the fact that they just started back up and finding entertainers could be a challenge.
Dubrovnik was built (don’t quote me here, lol) around the 3rd century. The architecture of the town/fortress is incredible. I always marvel at the fact that they built it w/o our modern machines! The main street (there is only one) and many side (uphill) streets really take you back in time. Herculean is by far my most memorable stop. The history in books about Herculean is so different than when you actually see it/feel it yourself. We saw the skeletons that were buried 2000 years ago. You are able to see it, feel it and touch it of the buildings, the streets, the art, the painting, and the mosaic that were over 2000 years old. We say today, “money matters”, well back then, Money mattered as well. Some of the Villas in Herculean were so big that they can rival our modern-day mansions.
Did anything go wrong during your vacation?
There was a little chaos at the terminal about the Covid Test requirement. I called Celebrity 4 time prior to the cruise to confirm the covid requirement, and 4 times I was told,"no need to worry since you are fully vaccinated - 2 vaccines and 2 boosters. Your home Covid test kit is sufficient. We will test you at the terminal." Obviously, that was not the case. By the time I checked in, I was told there were over 260 passengers that were also having Covid verification issues. I did not want to delay any further since we were the last group to check in because the bus that was supposed to pick us up at 1:30 local time (the ship leaves at 4:00) got into a car accident, and they needed to send another bus. The bus arrived at the hotel around 2:30 PM and took about 1 hour to get to the terminal. So, we were cutting it close. Luckily, we went to the guest relations desk and disputed the covid charges ($130) by showing the staff my last email from Celebrity about the covid test. They were able to waive it. All was taken care of in the end!
Kim did a wonderful job for us. Can't say "Thank You" enough. This trip was actually our third try since Celebrity cancelled the last 2 trips due to the pandemic. Although we got our money back once they cancelled it, we lost all the special perks that we had from the first booking.
Kim stayed on the phone for a long time with Celebrity to get our perks back and reduced the overall cost of the trip significantly!!!
Thanks for taking this dream list cruise with S2T, Jennifer and Paul! You are star travelers! Cheers to your ongoing adventures!