Monday, May 15, 2023

April 24 – April 29, 2023 – Atlantic Crossing – FLL to Ponta Delgada, Portugal

Since sea days are not very event heavy and somewhat repetitious, I thought I would summarize the entire half crossing in one post.

Weather.  The outside conditions were not conducive to deck time.  Although it rained occasionally, most of the time it was partly cloudy and in the high 50s to low 60s.  We spent our time indoors.  

Meals.  Breakfasts were either waffles or pancakes with cottage cheese and Jams along with scramble eggs (very good).  I set up an arrangement with the Head Waiter in the Oceanview Café for sour cream in the morning.  I usually brought Ellen her breakfast (lox, cream cheese, cucumbers, a cheese blintz (sometimes) and assorted fruit. Carmen has procured a hot water maker and that solved the problem of bringing down hot tea.

Had some dinners in the Normandie Restaurant because of the Brie appetizer and trout (sometimes). All of the restaurants have the broiled salmon with mashed potatoes and Hollandaise Sauce – a very reliable dish and not undercooked on this ship. As a result, we did not go to any of the other restaurants during this voyage.  We also ate dinner in the Oceanview Café – the pasta station is excellent – marinara sauce with veggies or spaghetti Olio (garlic and olive oil). Also, the Cafe provided a more peaceful environment for dinner as well as a good view every time. On two occasions, the Head Waiter arranged for those salmon dinners to be brought up to the Oceanview Cafe (verboten in the past); they were especially good since they had been cooked to order.  

Lunches were variable – the lunch in Eden was very good – the gorgonzola spinach salad with a lot of extra fixings and balsamic dressing is really good as is the tuna served as a scoop – if you get it on a pita you get a microscopic amount of tuna and some wonky sauce. If you ask, you can get fresh slices of sourdough bread and put together a sandwich or just each the yummy bread.  Lunch in the Spa Café was also good – I get the tuna “saucer” and the Caprese Salad.  Otherwise, it is the standard lunch in the Oceanview Café – they have a decent salad bar (with excellent Ranch and Thousand Island Dressings) and very good tuna and egg salad. If that doesn’t work out there is always pizza.

Some of the best items on the ship are found at lunch in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant (the only dining room open for lunch).  These include fried mushrooms in asparagus sauce and cold potato soup.  I also had a different version of the Celebrity Veggie Burger there – this burger was made from mushrooms and was really good.


Each day's entertainment is noted below.  I also attended Resident Artist's Paris Cepada's afternoon sketch class at 2 PM in Eden four times.  It was fun to watch his approach to sketching which is quite different from mine.  He had good turnouts. I had plenty of practice drawing hands (always a challenge). 

April 24, 2023 – For me there is something special about the first breakfast on board especially when you witness the sunrise. 

As I indicated, I did have a waffle with cottage cheese, strawberry jam and orange marmalade plus some scrambled eggs.  The coffee was very hot on this ship but had to be diluted 1:1 with hot water. I generally get two cups of coffee - I like a lot of coffee in the morning.  I found that the second cup gets cold so I started using two to-go cups (one as an insulator) for my coffee. They are bigger than regular cups so that problem was solved. 

Lecture 1 – “The CSI Phenomenon: Forensics on Television. My first talk was in the Theater at 10 AM.  The turnout was pretty good for an Edge Class ship.  It is hard to estimate the crowd but the bottom section was about half full.  Alexa gave me a nice introduction and the AV and sound were both great.  Positive feedback from some audience members.

First Production Show – “Arte” – Involves works of art that come to life using the super graphics on Beyond.  Also involved singers, dancers, and acrobats.  This was a new show for us and the sound was kept at a tolerable level.  I really enjoyed the show.

Time Change No. 1 - Clocks move forward one hour tonight.

April 25, 2023 – Lecture 2 – “DNA Testing: Cold Cases Closed” - was at 9:00 AM in the Theater.  Even though it was early, and we moved our clocks forward, there were more people attending than yesterday. 

The cruise doesn't officially start until I get my first Iced Decaf Mocha.  We found a nice seat in Cafe Al Baccio and enjoyed the iced coffee.  The barista did a really good job on this drink.  Don't know how many I will get on this ship but this was the one that counts.

I looked out the window and noticed that we were not moving.  The captain announced that we had a medical emergency on board, and we had diverted to Bermuda to disembark a passenger.  I had heard the "Star Code" announcement earlier on the PA so I knew something was up.  We anchored in Bermuda, 

and the passenger was transferred to another boat and taken ashore.  We were in the Oceanview Cafe when Beyond restarted her engines. 

and we were back on course for the Azores.  The captain said we would get to the Azores on time.

It was a cold and miserable day outside (went out on the pool deck just to take this picture) and also watched the rain from a seat in Eden.  Even the elephant on the pool deck looked cold.

So we spent most of the day in the Solarium – we had primo seats and kept them for the day. 

We took a break at 2:00 PM to see “Top Gun Maverick” on the 16 million pixel screen in the Theater.  I missed this movie while it was in the theaters, so this was a bonus.  I really liked it even thought it was a lot like the first movie.  And any movie with Jennifer Connolly is worth seeing – a terrific actress who wasn’t in the first movie but provided an important role in this one.

The headliners tonight were Branden and James – great singing duo (Branden does most of the singing and plays the piano; James plays the cello).  We had seen them before on Azamara and they continue to be terrific.



Time change No.2. 

April 26, 2023 – My third talk on The Romanovs was cancelled (no one told me, and it had been announced the evening before by Luigi) so that Captain Kate, who is vacationing on Beyond, and her dog could have a trivia show at 10 AM in the Theater.  Passengers were confused but that’s show biz. 

Ellen had gotten a complimentary tour of the bridge and other out of sight places on the ship.  While I was at the sketch class, she got an amazing behind the scenes look at Celebrity Beyond, She took some great pictures of the kitchen and bridge.  I'll try to caption the pictures.

Bridge Controls (Readouts)

The Bridge

Bridge Screens - Ship information

Engine Room Monitoring

Food Orders coming to the Kitchen 

Food Supplies

Kitchen Staff


Pictures of how food should look

Activity on the Bridge

View From the Bridge

The Headliner tonight was Saxophonist Julian Smith.  We passed on this show and went to Eden to watch the Acoustic Duo.  They were pretty good - other duos in Eden (there were several) were not as entertaining.

While there, we caught a "magic moment" as we continued our eastward crossing.

Time Change No. 3.

April 27, 2023 – My third talk, “Forensics and History: Search for the Unknown Titanic Child”, was at 11:00 AM in The Club.  I don’t know the capacity of The Club especially since the entire dance floor was now filled with chairs (set up by a whole army of crew members).  Every seat in the place - on both levels - was occupied and about 10 or so passengers were sitting on the stairs leading to the upper level.  The Club has screens everywhere so people can see wherever they are.  This ship doesn’t have its AV set up on a ledge overlooking the stage.  The AV crew set up a podium on the stage and my computer was set up on the stage. 

The talk ran long due to the fact that to my surprise, Andre from the Entertainment Department showed up to introduce me and that I had to add background slides from the Romanov’s talk so that people would understand the data shown.  The crowd loved the talk –great round of applause.  It was the largest turnout yet on one of these ships and the first time I had an SRO crowd in The Club.  Alexa was there, as well.

Branden and James are performing their Matinee Show at 2 PM in the Theater.  They were great again and this time outdid themselves with a music video of "Vincent".   

Tonight’s Main act was Jared Freiburg and the Vagabonds, a fifties music tribute group.

Jared looked young and he turned out to be just 27 years old.  He started off as a folk singer and now he is doing Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, etc.  He’s entertaining and is a good storyteller.  He is a bit loud, but we did stay for the entire performance. We got to the show just as it started so we sat in the back of the balcony.  Jan, an older woman and a passenger, danced to every one of this numbers just off to the left of the stage (Jared acknowledged her).  She was tireless.

Just a note - the "Odyssey" tunnel is now better lit - I wonder if someone tangled with one of the brass objects.  Also, as Ellen and I were headed to Eden for lunch, I found one particular statue interesting and familiar - is it Apollo?

April 28, 2023 – Gave my fourth talk – “Forensics and History: The Lost Dauphin of France” - today at 9:00 AM in the Theater.  The time change and the early time slot really affected the turnout.  It was difficult for me to get myself together to deliver the presentation.  Got a lot of nice feedback but I didn’t think I delivered it as well as I could have.  I did finish within the 45-minute limit because Jim Teslow was up next to talk about Moon Landings.   

One attendee asked me if Ellen and I could join them for lunch at the Cosmopolitan Restaurant at Noon.  We did have a nice lunch with him, his brother and their wives.  They are very interesting folks who are doing their first crossing.  We had a good time and they even bought me a margarita which was terrific. BTW, I had the mushroom soup (good), Iceberg wedge salad with Blue Cheese dressing (good), and filet of Mahi Mahi with quinoa (would not get it again).

Last night was a tough night as the banging in the room intensified to the point where the earplugs could not handle it.  I called Alexa about this and told me to go to Guest Relations and request a room change (as we were not sailing full).  Alexa said the banging was a result of the ship’s creaking – very loud for a creak but she was sure that was it.  I did go to Guest Relations, who told me that there had been a lot of room switching due to the creaking. After some research on the part of the agent she asked us to check out Cabin 9131, which is an infinite Veranda room forward port side.  We did and did not hear any banging, so we moved (Ellen and the two room attendants from our old room dragged our stuff to the Deck 9 – no carts available – while I was having lunch).  Ellen joined us for lunch and was able to get her meal.

Our new digs.

Tonight's Showtime is the Production Show "Elements", which will involve sequences involving earth, air, wind, and fire (those elements).  The show sounded familiar, but it was not the same show we had seen on other ships - upgraded for Beyond.  It was entertaining and not too loud.  Lots of strange effects and some wild aerial work.  Combine that with the amazing screen and you have an amazing show.

Time change No 4.   


April 29, 2023 – A nice day at sea (including a sunrise)

provided the backdrop for breakfast. To change things up, I tried fried eggs and pancakes.  They were OK but not as good as my standard items.   Ellen had the steel cut oats in Eden for something different. 

No BTP talks today. Our new room was so much quieter than the old one.  I only needed one earplug and that was close to morning, when the ship bounced around and a small creak appeared.  Not a big deal.   

Most of the day was spent in the Solarium.  

At 2 PM, we went to the Theater for Jared Freiburg’s Matinee Show.  

Different songs – same decibel level.  We did stay for the whole show.

Jesse Hamilton Jr. is the headliner tonight. We saw him on the Edge previously. His claim to fame is playing Simba in The Lion King for six years.  He was pretty loud but his Lion King Medley ("Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and "The Circle of Life") was a little less amped.  He also did a nice version of "Somewhere". 

Time change No. 5.

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