Celebrity Constellation, Part 11
Day 9 and 10, November 17 & 18, Sea Day and Aruba
The Tuesday of our 2nd week onboard the Constellation was a sea day, enjoyed much like any other sea day, relaxing by the pool.
For some reason, lapse of memory perhaps, I have no notes written for that day, other than our evening visit to Constellation's specialty restaurant, Ocean Liners.
Ocean Liners is a beautiful and classy restaurant, reminiscent of the early days of ocean liners (as opposed to cruise ships).
As you enter there is a display of old china and silverware from classic liners, and the restaurant itself is decorated with paintings of many of those liners.
There is a separate room, actually, the wine room, with wall to wall, floor to ceiling wine racks, and one large, beautifully set table. I'd imagine that this is reserved for the Captain, or other V.I.P.s.
The main dining area is spacious, warmly carpeted, and comfortably appointed with tables and chairs. On this evening, we had booked as a group, about 12 of us, and unfortunately, we were divided up into 3 tables of 4. We didn't get to share any conversation with the most part of the group, but we did very much enjoy our tablemates, Joey and David.
The service in Ocean Liners was more than attentive, the staff couldn't do enough for you. Our meals were served "butterfly style", with a flourish of lifting the warming covers off all at the same time.
The meal itself was spectacular, from the amuse-bouche, to the appetizers, to the entrees, which for us were filet mignons and/or lobster done to perfection.
Everything went smoothly, like a well-oiled machine; the arrival of bread, the re-filling of wine, the arrival of our meals simultaneously, and the offering of desserts, which were out of this world!
James had the "sampling"; 6 little parfait glasses with a sample of different tasty desserts. I had a fine crepe with flambeed berries served with whipped cream, and our tablemates ordered delicious chocolate souffle.
We were very impressed with the food, the presentation, the exemplary service, and fully enjoyed the spirited conversation with our tablemates.
It was one of the best experiences with a specialty restaurant in many a cruise, and one we vowed to repeat before the cruise was over.
Day 10, Wednesday November 18, Aruba
This was our first ever visit to Aruba, and we had pre-booked a shore excursion to see the island, but received notice onboard the day before, that it had been canceled due to "lack of participation".
We'd immediately gone to the shore excursion desk and booked another one, called the "Fun Sail and Beach Tour"
, and I'm so glad we did, because it was one excursion I would highly recommend.
As we disembarked in Oranjestad, a short walk away was a large, cool, open and airy shopping plaza, a very pleasant place to shop for crafts and souvenirs while waiting for shore tours.
The tours themselves were well organized and groups divided and sent on their way with tour guides in very little time.
Outside, we boarded the Pelican Adventure
, a catamaran with a fun, friendly crew and an open bar.
We set sail for 45 minutes along the pretty coastline of Aruba, filled with white sand beaches and modern hotels.
As I tend be sensitive to motion sickness, sitting in the front is always a good idea, so I made my way onto the "trampoline" netting at the very front of the catamaran, and sat riding the waves with a wonderful view!
We arrived at Palm Beach, a beautiful spot, and chairs and thatched umbrellas were supplied at no extra charge. The crew from the catamaran served us free drinks right on the beach, talk about being spoiled!
The beach itself was lovely, clean white sand, and the water was warm and calm. I was surprised to see the beach being patrolled by Aruba Police on ATVs, apparently to keep vendors from pestering the tourists.
It was a very pleasant and relaxing hour and a half stay, I only wished it could have been longer. On the return journey I once again laid on the "hammock" up front, but this time we were heading into the wind and the waves, and it was a wild ride up and down and getting splashed. I was having too much fun to even think about being seasick!
Free drinks, including their specialty "Aruba Areeba" and great dance music made it a fun trip back, and we were sorry for the excursion to come to an end.
The afternoon was spent poolside, where there was plenty of room as it was a port day, and once again we had to tolerate the loud repetitive piped-in muzak.
The one thing we did enjoy was our sail away from Aruba, it was such a pretty, colourful island and we hope to be back again someday.
I made a note that this evening's dinner was very good, with choices of Honey-Crusted Chicken with Pecans, and Sirloin Steak, and a delicious Chocolate Chiffon Pie for dessert. Again, outstanding food on Constellation.
The evening's entertainment in the Celebrity Theatre was comedian Noodles Levenstein, who was good, but disappointing because the audience turn-out was very poor. It can't be easy to make people laugh when there are less than 20 people in the whole theatre.
This was a recurring problem onboard Constellation; we always arrived early to make sure we got seats to see a show, yet the theatre was always more than half empty, sometimes even less . I'm not sure if this was due to the poor quality of entertainment or because so many people were repeat passengers and they'd already seen all the shows.
Following Noodles Levenstein, there was a Late Show "Starring You", essentially an awards ceremony to recognize passengers who participated in and "starred" at such activities as Trivia, Line Dancing, and Karaoke.
We found the presentation very amateur and a bit cheesy, a desperate attempt to "entertain" by using passengers.
The ceremony was followed by an "after-party" in the Bar at the Edge of the World, where there was live entertainment by the band Sipra, and a late-night Chocolate Buffet, which offered a multitude of sinfully delicious choices.
Happily overdosed on chocolate, we headed off to bed, ready for our day tomorrow in Curacao.....