Re: the cova cafe, I understand that the coffee and tea are not free, but what about the pastries or chocolates. Are the only things included in the cruise breakfast, lunch and dinner in the free restaurant?
I'm not sure about the chocolates and pastries in the Cova Cafe, but most of your other food on board should be free (except for the Specialty Restaurant which requires reservations). All food in the dining room, in the grill at the aft of the ship, in the dining area near the pool, room service, afternoon tea, midnight buffets, mid-morning snacks, mid-afternoon pizza and ice-cream, it is all free. You will have no shortage of free food on board. I'm on the Summit in January. Can't wait to hear how you liked it!
Oops! I saw the other post from the other Carol about sailing on the Summit and thought the posts were made by the same person. I guess not! Sorry! But whatever ship you're sailing on, I'm sure you'll have a great time. I love Celebrity!
P.S.--I'm not a big coffee drinker, but the hot chocolate they serve in the Cova Cafe is to die for!
When you order an espresso in the Cova Cafe, they serve it with a Cova chocolate (one). The pastries that they have at tea time are complementary. I agree with the earlier post as well, there is food and some drinks in abundance almost all the time. They have all of this listed on a daily basis in the ship's newspaper so you know what is available at any given hour.
The pastries are definitely "free" in the Cova Cafe, but are only available during certain hours. I believe they are available for 2 hours in the morning either 9-11 or 10-12 and from 3 till 5 in the afternoon. I found pastries at Cova that I had not encountered on the buffets or at dinner; this is also the only place where I found chocolate chip cookies. I think the cookies must be a secret. I did not purchase coffee so I never experienced any "free" chocolates although they sell boxed Cova chocolate in the gift shop; of course.
Okay... here's the deal with the Cova Cafe. When they set out the pastries on the cart, they are free. late morning and mid afternoon - 3'ish. You can get regular coffee if they have it brewed. Sometimes they do not.
There is a charge for the espresso and capuccino. When you order a capuccino, they place a Cova chocolate on the saucer. Remove it quickly are else it will turn to schmush very quickly.
A word of advice, they tend to take the pastries out of walk-in way ahead of time for the Cova. This is good because it gives them an opportunity to achieve room temperature and enhance their flavor. If you go to the buffet at teatime.... they have not been brought up to room temperature... and definitely lack flavor.
Sometimes there are cookies... and sometimes there are not. If you really love desserts as do I, I would recommend going to the High Tea which is served in the Orion restaurant. The best meal of the cruise!!!!!
I don't know what ship Carol is on but Celebrity does not seem to do it the same way on all ships. On the Galaxy they set the pastries out on a tray. When I was on the Century they were inside of the counter and you had to ask for them. Now, I don't remember seeing these carts on the Millennium, there were pastries displayed behind the counter.
With the chocolates different cruises yield different results. I always received 2 pieces of chocolates, and I think the chocolates are wonderful, with my coffee, on both Galaxy and Century (and sometimes Zenith when I visit her). When I told the waitress I really like them, she would first give me 2, and then 2 more after I ate the first 2. And with every cup of coffee that my wife, or mother-in-law offered on the Century, we received lots of chocolate. Hope you get generous servers in the Cova like we did