Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Rainy – 50s F

Embarkation Day

Note:  This is the actual Inaugural Cruise for the Celebrity Reflection.  The ship was built in Germany and finished in August 2012.  It sailed through a river to the Netherlands a few weeks ago and docked at a port near Amsterdam.  Three day prior to this cruise, it took travel agents and other interested persons on a mini-cruise to show off its facilities and capabilities.  Today, the crew is itching (I believe) to actually take real passengers on a real cruise.  The Reflection is slightly bigger than the Silhouette.  It has one more deck and carries about 150 more passengers.  The Sky Lounge is now on Deck 14 and the Spa is now on Deck 12.

2012-10-13.02.01.04 (Small) 

Reflection Inaugural Itinerary (Small)

A good day to get out of Amsterdam and be on our way – it is cloudy, gray, and rainy (a complete turnaround from yesterday thanks to the North Sea).

We almost slept through the breakfast at the hotel – got up at 9:00 AM – still feeling the ‘lag.  The faire was the same as last time – dry cereal and milk, various cheeses, various breads, and a host of nearly unidentifiable items in those sealed tins (e.g. jellies, other spreads). 

The desk called us a cab and 10 minutes and 10 Euros later we were at the PTA.  Funny (?) incident – as I got out of the cab (I tried to stop the door from hitting me as it tried to close), the panel that covered the speaker fell off.  The cabbie thought I took it off on purpose (I carry a tool kit for just that purpose) and was miffed.  If it came off easy, it will snap back on just as easy.  So much for Dutch coolness. 

The Security check was very fast as was the check in with the Pier Coordinator.  We were on the ship in no time and up in the Solarium resting. 

River Ij From Reflection 1 (Small)   River Ij From Reflection (Small)

The River IJ from the Reflection Solarium

Checking out our excursion options (below)

E in Solarium working on Excursions (Small)

First stop was the Dining Room where we signed up for Select Dining. 

While visiting the spa, Ellen found out that they needed a model for the shaving/facial package for men.  I was down there at light speed and had the best treatment – defoliation massage, shaved twice (lather and oil), two facial masques (one that came off in one piece like a real mask), two eye treatments, moisturizing treatment, hand and arm massage, and, finally, scalp massage with oil.  In between each step, hot towels followed by a cold town at the very end.  Very nice…

 Gettng Shave in Spa (Small)  Aneera Masque and Hand massage 1 (Small)

That’s me not King Tut (left); Aneera taking my pulse (actually a hand massage)

The ship pushed at 4:45 PM and headed down the River Ij, affording some views of activities along the river.

 Sail Away Amsterdam a (Small) Sail Away Bikes on Ferry (Small)

Bikes loading onto a Ferry Boat

Sail Away Canal with Lock (Small)

Canal Leading into River (a Lock)

Sail Away Hotel and Museum (Small)

Hotel with Museum

At 6:00 PM, I met with the entertainment staff to go over my schedule and to give them my revised list of topics.

Esperanza Gambroudes is the Activities Manager on the Reflection for our cruises.  Always great to work with her. The Cruise Director is Nick Weir.

The other speaker (History and Destination) is Lisa Didier, whom I know from Oasis.  Seriously small world. 

We filmed a video where Nick asked me questions off camera and I responded with a long description and answer.  These will be edited down to provide informative sound bites to be run during the day on ship TV.

We had dinner in the Opus Dining Room at 6:30 PM – herb crusted Haddock and Cesar Salad.  There were more people in the dining room at that time so it was a bit noisy.  We will look for a better seat tomorrow.

Our window seats gave us an excellent view of the trip down the Ij River on our way to the North Sea. 

 Amsterdam Sailaway (Small)  Amsterdam Sailaway 2 (Small)

When we did this sail away last time (Azamara Journey) we went right from the River to the Sea.  This time around, we stopped for about 30 minutes in a lock system, where the ship was raised several feet.  I believe Amsterdam is below sea level hence the raising of the ship to meet the level of the sea. 

The opening show is at 8:45 PM – Nick, the CD, started off the show with a song (another singing Cruise Director). 

CD Nick Weir Opening Show (Small)

Nick Weir Performing

The headliner, Pete Matthews – juggler comedian – as zany and funny.  He and Uncommon Ground comprise the whole show.

After the show, we found a quiet place to read and listed to soft music – The Ensemble Lounge.  The Jazz group did not have their AMPs up to full and the vocalist was very pleasant to listen to.

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