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About chicagopaul

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    Chicago, IL
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  1. Glad to hear it. I'm happy to say we had the same experience in September on the Millennium. I've always found Tuscan a bit hit or miss, but we've enjoyed it. On the Millennium we loved it. The food was spot on, the pasta sauces finally were brought up to a standard I was expecting, specifically the marinara which wasn't overly sweet like we've had in the past. Service was excellent throughout the meals. Speaking with other friends on our cruise they all said the same exact thing and were very impressed. Hopefully whatever they're doing there can spread throughout the fleet!
  2. Deb thanks for writing this! We are on the Silhouette Dec 13th sailing and it's starting to snow and get cold here in Chicago so I'm lurking on here and counting down the days. Enjoy your cruise!
  3. Yes Bill was. I didn’t want to insinuate that but that crossed my mind too. Yes Edward was there when I left for the bathroom but he said he was talking to the shops manager and can’t remember anything strange from the other guests. Yes, you are right one of them might have been feeling ill. While I hope that wasn’t the case there was just this extra feeling or energy from them that made it seem like it was something else. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it though. Oh well I hope they had a wonderful time
  4. I’d hate to start of the Friday and go into the the weekend with the above post as I don’t think it’s quite positive enough so here is one picture I’d like to share. The above photo is of Owenn, one of our waiters in Blu, and a boy that he was teaching how to fold napkins into different shapes and animals. I wish I could’ve caught a photo a few moments before. Owenn was crouched down on his knees at the table to meet the boy eye level. He was explaining to the boy exactly everything he was doing with the napkin and Owenn had the biggest smile on his face. I’ve never seen him happier. The boy was holding his own napkin trying to do the same thing and the boy had this look of amazement yet concentration on his face as if he was learning a secret magic trick that no one else in the world knew. It was was such an innocent and beautiful moment at the end of a long day. Owenn I am sure wanted to just set his tables and get to bed (or maybe the crew bar) but he took some time to entertain a young boy and clearly it was just as rewarding for Owenn as it was exciting for the boy. Sometimes when service is a bit slow during dinner or drinks take a little longer than you want it’s easy to get a little frustrated or discouraged. But seeing wonderful moments like this help build a true human connection with the staff and let’s you see their true colors of who they really are. So on that note, have a wonderful Friday and start to the weekend. I’ll continue finishing up everything else this weekend and putting all the photos together in an Album for everyone plus all the daily’s in PDF etc.
  5. Veuve Clicquot dinner story. I suppose I might as well finally tell everyone the story! Now it’s not anything crazy, it was just…odd / interesting as you’ll see. As I mentioned early on in the blog our original Veuve dinner was suppose to be on September 14th. We received a call on September 12th at 3:00pm confirming our reservation for THAT evening, not the 14th. We had just returned from a late lunch so that was not going to work. After some back and forth with guest relations it was determined that the dinner was not happening that night and instead would be on the 18th, which was the other night it was available on the schedule. We arrived in Cellar Masters and met our other guests we were dining with. In total there was suppose to be 8 including us, however, there were only 3 sitting at the table when we arrived and that ended up being the only ones for dinner, with the exception of the on board shops manager who ended up joining us. So in total there were 5 guests including us and the shops manager. The other guests all knew each other and were traveling together. The man was in his early 60s. Lets call him Bill. That’s not his real name but it will suffice here. Bill was completing a very interesting task of traveling all the way around the world without flying. He started in Japan; Narita specifically, so this cruise was the last leg of his journey. In total he was traveling for a little over 100 days all around the world. Very cool concept I thought. Traveling with him was a friend who was in her late 40s and her mother since her husband had a last minute job change and couldn’t make the cruise. We sat in Cellar Masters with them for some champagne before heading to Tuscan. They seemed very nice and the conversation was the typical conversation about where we are from, what we do for a living, etc. We then chatted about the confusion of the date of the wine dinner. They were notified of the change, but apparently we weren’t. Once we got to Tuscan we were seated at a large table for 6 and were told that a Celebrity staff member was going to join us. Bill was greatly enjoying his champagne and was leading the conversation. The first odd statement came when he told us he met the captain around the ship the other day. He thought it would be funny to break the ice with the captain by saying “It would be great if you could do your morning announcements in English.” At first I thought he was joking. As a matter of fact I’ve heard cruise directors use this joke with select captains (Captain Tasos for example) when they’re roasting them on stage during Liars club or something like that. So because of this I thought Bill was kidding. Nope, he was completely serious and said that is what he said to the captain and he said he didn’t get the joke. OK, whatever, not something I would have ever said to the captain or anyone who I didn’t know personally, but you do you Bill. Lets continue with dinner. The shops manager joins us and she was very delightful. She was bubbly and friendly and was leading a great conversation going from each person asking questions while at the same time telling her story and how she started working on a cruise ship. The dinner was going well and we were all from different parts of the world in different stages of our life. Bill for instance had retired and moved to Bangkok. The two women lived in a small town, so small that there are more people who live in the two buildings surrounding mine than in their entire town. They wouldn’t want to live one day in my city and vice versa, yet here we are having a wonderful dinner together. I love situations like and another reason why I love cruising as it brings all walks of life together. The entree was mostly finished when I excused myself to use the restroom. Once I came back I sat myself and was excited for dessert and more champagne which was to come. It was at this point the two women (mother and daughter) abruptly got up and said they were going back to the cabin. Bill was a bit perplexed by this and questioned why, the daughter shot him a look and said very sternly that they were tired and had to leave. There was definitely another reason they were leaving. For starters it was only 8:30pm but more importantly there was just something in their look and body language that suggested this was not the reason why. I stood up, shook their hands, thanked them for a lovely evening and wished them a good night. They still seemed like they couldn’t get out of there fast enough. What the hell happened when I was in the restroom? The above made for an awkward next 30 seconds or so but the shops manager steered the conversation for us and Bill, at least she attempted to. She had opened the Edge and I was fascinated to learn that the opening of the Edge was her first introduction to cruise ships. She had opened many high end shops on land. She also worked in Saint Martin when it was hit by hurricane Irma and was stranded for some time there. It was quite the story. Bill, however, was more interested in knowing about the deals he could find on board and kept asking questions such as “When is the best day to buy something?” “What is the best value cologne on board?” She would respond and say something like “Well, it depends what you like…” and he would respond with “But what has the greatest discount?” and then questions along the line of “What would smell best on me? What do you recommend?” These questions kept being repeated and repeated and repeated. She would answer them in a different way but he’d ask them again. I was doing my best to try to move the conversation by asking her about something else or asking him about his recent travels but the conversation kept going back to the best deals he could find on board. Finally we finished dessert. Normally I would have stayed and kept chatting for an hour over more champagne (they were still pouring whatever you wanted!) but I just couldn’t handle this conversation. It felt embarrassing and was giving both of us a headache. We excused ourselves and we left. Now the “interesting” part was really the mother and daughter leaving. Now I told this story to a few of our friends on the ship. Their initial thought was maybe they left because they had a problem with us, with us being a couple. Ironically, just before I left for the restroom Bill had asked if we were a couple and how long we’ve been together. However, that I suspect was just coincidence. I don’t think it was that at all. I think it was obvious we were together since we met them and they were from the Northeast, a quite liberal part of the states so I don’t think it was that at all. I don’t think it was motion sickness as the waters were smooth that night and we had already discussed that issue earlier on in the dinner. What do I think it was? Well, Bill was enjoying his drinking and I think they could tell he was on the edge of maybe annoying them? Maybe they knew he was going to start asking a bad line of questions? Maybe he was drunk when he asked the captain the question about giving his announcements in English and they just wanted to disassociate themselves with him? I think that is exactly what it was, which I can respect, but still come on sit through dessert at least, especially considering it was paired with a nice Dem-Sec. That is pretty much the extent of my story of the dinner. I know it wasn’t as “juicy” or “gossipy” as many would have wanted, but I just found the above things odd. I’m usually pretty good at figuring out what makes people tick and understanding their dynamic with others (it’s what I do for a living) but for the life of me I just couldn’t figure out the dynamic between Bill and the younger of the two women, especially the glare she gave him when she was leaving the table. Oh well, I at least hope they had a lovely time even though they missed dessert, especially considering the cost of the dinner ($150 a person). I think the overall disappointment of the evening was it just felt a bit disjointed? Usually we find ourselves having to be pried away from the dinner table because of the conversation we’re having with guests. This was just not one of those times!
  6. You actually made me remember one more thing with your comment, the balcony doors! Agreed ours looked older and painted over, but instead of being hard to open they were too easy to open! So much so that it sometimes caused a draft because the of the improper seal. Two people we spoke to on our cruise had theirs come off the track. One person, during strong winds had theirs blow mostly off and when they returned back to their suite at 2:30am they had rain water coming in.
  7. OK so I have finally finished my cabin review. You can follow the link below where you will see the full Blu review I posted before as well as now the cabin review complete with photos. I go into a little more explanation this time around versus when I was writing my live review. Also below is the link to my cabin tour video. Aqua Class Cabin 9042 https://cruisingoncelebrity.com/millennium-transpacific https://youtu.be/Xpncu3wz8l8
  8. Thank you so much for answering Joel's question as it completely slipped my mind to check that afternoon!
  9. OK I promise tomorrow I will get to this at some point since so many have been asking haha. It wasn't that crazy of a situation, just...interesting? I'll share a few other interesting stories at the same time. In the meantime I've been working on putting together all the dailys into one file along with finishing my cabin review complete with proper photos detailing the pluses and minus. I also should have the cabin tour video uploaded as well.
  10. For those of you cruising with Norma on the upcoming cruise I must say you are very lucky. She is such a wonderful and sweet person, always has a smile and is a joy to cruise with. Just ask any of the staff about her too, they all know her! Haha...Norma hopefully our paths cross again in the near future!
  11. I definitely have! Look forward to meeting and cruising with you in April as well! It will be our first time in Hawaii so we're very excited. Though not too excited to lose a few hours on the cruise heading east. We got spoiled gaining an hour almost every night on this cruise!
  12. Happy Friday Everyone! I hope everyone is having a great day / evening depending on where you are in the world. Here is a link to the page where I will be posting the final recap reviews on different topics. I will let you all know here when each section is finished. If you have a second check this out now and let me know if this format is easy for you all to access and read or if I should change it. You'll see I posted all the photos and menus I collected from Blu along with my final review of Blu and a few random comments as well. Hopefully you like this setup and if so I'll continue it for all other aspects of my recap just to make it easy for everyone to follow along. Blu Dining Review if the link doesn't work you can copy and past the following: https://cruisingoncelebrity.com/millennium-transpacific
  13. Final thoughts before I start my full recap Before I go into the full cruise recap and yes answer the gossip about our Champagne dinner…I’d like to recap with a few wonderful thoughts. I specifically want to mention one crew member we met on this cruise, Amitava. Amitava as you may remember was the bartender at the Casino bar but would work at Sunset when casino bar was closed. The crew would call him “Pappa” because he was older and had been with the company for so long. I remember asking him once about his nickname one night. He had explained that he likes it and thinks of it as a sign of respect. He said he was with the company for years and years. His wife had gotten sick so he left for a few years to help take care of her and spend time with her. I never asked what the outcome was, I was hope it was positive but my gut tells me it was not. After that he said he came back to what he knew, Celebrity, because he considers it his family. Watching him work, watching his interaction with guests, as simple as it may be, I can tell you he is a truly genuinely good good person. There are not many people I can say that about. I know I surely do not fall into that category. Most people don’t. But I am sure all of you randomly run into someone and it may be someone who you know or someone you met in passing; that is a genuine person down to their very core. You might not be able to explain how you know this, but you just know. You can feel it. He is one of these people. While he may not be a spring chicken anymore, he works his ass off, he knows more history about whiskey than wikipedia, and he truly cares about all his guests. Every time we cruise I always say cruising is about the people for us. The destinations are wonderful, but it is the people on the ship and at those destinations we visit that are the impetus for our travel…it’s the impetus for living life. On this cruise we were so very fortunate to meet up with some wonderful friends we’ve cruised with before and met new friends as well. Nina, Eric, and Stephanie thank you so very much for making this cruise such a wonderful experience for us. You have no idea how much we enjoyed your company over drinks and dinner during our cruise and how much you helped turn this cruise into memories we will cherish forever. Nina thanks again for all the fun in the casino too! To some new people we met such as Phyllis and Alby (Albert), it was an absolute pleasure and honor to chat with you and learn about you. Thank you for always smiling and bringing a smile to our faces. Brad, Andrew, Rodney (Namaste Rodney), and Nigel….we had an absolute blast with you guys both on the ship and in port. I still find myself laughing at some of the crazy comments, jokes, and drunken nights. It’s a pleasure to consider you all friends. James & Dean though we didn’t end up seeing you all that much it was a pleasure meeting you and we hope to see you in Australia sometime! Today I found myself talking to some friends at work and the inevitable question came up asking me “What was the best part of the trip.” The best part of the trip is not something that you can properly convey to someone. It is not something that I can even convey to you avid cruisers properly. I may not remember every conversation or everything I ate during the cruise. I may not remember every monument we saw or historic site. What I will remember is how everyone mentioned above, everyone we met from crew to guests, made me feel. That I will never forget and just as it is true with every cruise, that is the best and most amazing part of the trip. You can’t take a photo of it and you can’t show it off to your friends, but you’ll have it with you forever. Thank you all so very much for following along and being with us on our journey. I feel as if I have hundreds (or possibly more) friends I had the opportunity to share every moment with and that means a lot to Edward and myself. I also feel like if we ever needed advice we could lean on all of you and that we greatly appreciate. At this point I’m going to start putting together summaries of all aspects of the cruise and putting them in neat little PDF files complete with photos. I am also going to start uploading videos to YouTube including some videos from port, Tada’s magic tricks, and of course our cabin tour video. As always if you ANY questions at all please feel free to still ask away!
  14. AA premium economy pre-departure water Asian Vegetarian dinner Asian Vegetarian breakfast
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