Notes From The Boat…

Random thoughts and notes, after 14 days on the Celebrity Millennium, our first trip through the Panama Canal…
Celebrity’s Hotel Director, Andrew Harris, spent more than three decades in the hotel industry before the cruise line wisely convinced him to come aboard in 2009. After declining several times to go on a cruise and check it out, he finally relented and boarded a ship in Costa Rica, a little over a year ago. The ship was on its way west and by the time it reached Cabo San Lucas, he had decided to accept the Celebrity’s offer.

This, despite having a written offer in his pocket to re-enter the hotel business and end his three-month retirement. This, despite he had never been on a cruise! You think he ever could have imagined one day wearing a sombrero and serving Mexican buffet with his other senior officers?

Andrew’s wife’s name is Kim. They live in Orlando’s fashionable Windermere area, home of Tiger Woods. It was “Kim Harris” whose husband called 911 when Woods crashed his car in November. A few days later, Andrew’s wife received a phone call from Harpo Productions, owned by Oprah Winfrey, for an interview about the 911 call.

Right district. Right name. Wrong Kim Harris.

* * *
There are 11 sommeliers on the Millennium, now heading for Alaska, and one of the things they do is taste your wine before pouring it at dinner. After tasting a 2000 Bordeaux we brought on board and for which we paid $25 corkage, sommelier Isagani Natividad quipped: “I love my job!”

* * *
Tours to the bridge of a cruise ship are regular features for guests, and the Millennium is no exception. Technical jargon and security aside, the most impressive part of the visit is the wall-to-wall view of what lies ahead.

On the Millennium’s 14-day cruise from the Sans — Juan to Diego — about 400 passengers took advantage of the opportunity to see and hear about the operation of the ship. That number depends on the captain, and the Millennium’s Captain Zisis Taramas was generous with bridge visits, in part because of the number of sea days.

Of the 12 to 15 bridge crew members, there are at least three on duty 24/7. The captain, who keeps an eye on the bridge throughout the day, is always there when entering and leaving ports.

Interestingly enough, when the ship navigated the Panama Canal, where small trains are attached on both sides, it was still a manual operation when it comes to maneuvering the ship into position in the locks.

But that view…it’s just too bad they can’t sell suites above or below the bridge.

* * *
It appears that Celebrity will lean towards more seats for “Select Dining” in the main dining room, which is the same principle that Norwegian pioneered, calling it Freestyle Cruising. On this cruise, about 15% of the diners opted to pick their own time to dine, and whether to sit at a table for two or more.

Cruisers qualified for Select Dining by paying their gratuities in advance, or by applying at embarkation. It came as no surprise to those of us who like the concept that there was a waiting list.

* * *
Captain Taramas was asked if he has to file a sailing plan with authorities.

“We follow,” he replied, “the rules of the road.”

* * *
That’s it…we’re done.

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2 Responses
  1. Barbra Bishop says:

    Loved reading about/learning about the ship…and also about the ports. All great reading.

  2. Ronchetti says:

    Nice post,
    Thanks for the effort you took to expand upon this topic so thoroughly. I look forward to future posts.

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