My 7-night cruise began today as my friends picked me up to drive to Port of Miami. The drive went easy enough and upon arriving around 12:30pm, my group dropped our bags off with the porter and we went to check in. The Port of Miami had five lines for comparing IDs to cruise documents and five lines for baggage screening, so everything moved very quickly there. My friends and I were able to upgrade to a Concierge Class, which provides a priority check-in line. We were taken to the next available agent and checked-in for our cruise. Another benefit of Concierge Class is the fancy gold keycard we get for our rooms.
The ship was ready to board, so we walked right on. The crew member who handed us complimentary champagne also helped us to upgrade our drink packages. That saved us a lot of time from waiting in line at Guest Services. Celebrity has developed a way for (it seemed like) anyone who can sell you a drink can sell you a drink package.
With the ability to order premium beverages established, we went to the buffet. I sampled some curry, chicken tikka masala, and paella. There were two stations serving paella and I picked the one where everyone had already picked out the good stuff. Someone else in my group got hers from the other station and it had more seafood in it and a greater variety. I was not as pleased with the selection of curries as I have been on other cruises, but it was just lunch the first day. I’ll see what else they put out in the upcoming days.
Just as we were about to tour the ship, an announcement was made that the rooms were ready, so we decided to visit our rooms. One of the rooms is configured with the beds closer to the entrance with the seating area towards the balcony and the other is reversed with the beds closer to the balcony. I think if I were here as half of a romantic couple, I’d want the beds closer to the balcony, but as I’m here with a friend, I like having the seating area near the balcony. Our friends can join us in the room in the seating area and we can all still see the ocean.
After getting changed, we took a tour of the ship from Deck 3 up. We stopped by the Specialty Dining restaurants to see the decor. I don’t think we’ll eat at any of them on this trip, but there is some possibility my friend and I will try Qsine if we can get a discount.
I did not get any information in my stateroom about the internet package that I had pre-purchased, so I made a trip to the iLounge, Celebrity’s Apple co-ordinated Internet cafe, store, and education shop. I didn’t notice this on my last cruise with Celebrity, but this iLounge offers classes like “Introduction to iPad” throughout the day.
One odd thing happened with our keycards. For both rooms, one keycard worked, but the other didn’t. After getting replacement keys, we got things sorted out, but then later in the evening, my keycard stopped working. I don't know if this is an internal issue or we keep demagnetizing our keycards by putting them next to our cellphones. Either way, this is a good argument for RFID keys.
For Day 2, it’s a Sea Day! I’m looking forward to the Galley Tour in the morning and then spending a quiet day doing not much at all.