Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vacation bliss

Our very favorite cruise line for elegance and affordability is Celebrity!

You may remember that last October I wrote here about how Ted and I traveled roundtrip aboard Celebrity Solstice from Rome to Santorini, Ephesus, Istanbul and Athens. It would be hard to find a more enjoyable itinerary.

Now we’ve just returned from our second Celebrity cruise, this time aboard their newest ship the Eclipse--a voyage through the Baltics--roundtrip from London to St. Petersburg.

Being tall, Ted and I were both dreading our coach-fare flights roundtrip from Los Angeles to London aboard Continental. We were surprised at how super-comfortable they turned out because we purchased extra legroom seats for $49 each on all three flights by going online within 24 hours of departure.

Another advance arrangement worked well too. Through reservations made online, a driver picked us up at Heathrow airport and drove us through English countryside to the ship in Southampton with a one-hour detour to see the ancient, mystical site of Stonehenge and the little city of Salisbury.

Boarding the ship, we settled comfortably into verandah stateroom 7228, our home for the next two weeks.

Having requested a table for two slightly separated from other tables we were overjoyed to find ourselves dining solo next to a window. The quality of all Celebrity food is excellent and imaginatively presented--like this curried chicken salad served in a pineapple ring:

June is cool in the Baltics, 58-68 degrees, so we put on an extra layer for all our shore excursions and found all the ports fascinating. I have posted already our adventures in Stockholm, and will soon post more on Copenhagen and St. Petersburg as well.

But truthfully, we cherish sea days as much as port days because of the pure leisure, rest, reading time, and nurturing of having all our meals available whenever we desire. Add to that all the luxurious amenities on this latest ship in the Celebrity lineup, including Macintosh classes in the iLounge (Internet room). I attended every class and am now making a photo keepsake album on the new iMac I purchased on our return. In fact, I am so inspired that I am even blogging from my new iPad! Apple technology makes all my work feel like play!

Views from our verandah never darkened because the sun never really set! This is how it looks between 11:30 PM and 2:30 AM:

Here is a page from our trip's photo journal that shows a picturesque farm near Berlin where we feasted on a delicious lunch of grilled bratwurst:

The Eclipse Theater is such a delight every evening we have to remind ourselves we were actually at sea and not some venue in Vegas! I took the amazing photo below with the best camera I've used yet, my tiny Canon digital SD 960 IS that cost less than $250.

We returned so relaxed and well-rested that almost every week since I find myself yearning for just one more sea day aboard the Eclipse!


As I wrote in my last post, I've been teaching my granddaughters how to cook one day a week. I always introduce them to tasting and preparing a new food, so this week it was papaya. Then, I took one of my favorite ship memories and doctored up some Costco chicken salad with curry powder and dried cranberries and toasted almonds. and filled papaya halves with salad, garnished with sliced strawberries and nasturtiums from the garden and some Major Gray mango chutney.

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