As mentioned in our previous blog, after a harrowing travel ordeal getting to the Celebrity Silhouette, our cruise only really started to feel like a vacation on Days 2 and 3 when we were at sea. We over-indulged in long sleeps (until 11 in some cases), explored nooks and crannies on the ship, and even went to the gym – all around finding a good food routine (big breakfast, late lunch, late dinner vs small breakfast, normal lunch, early dinner vs big breakfast, no lunch, early dinner). We still haven’t figured it out yet. It also gave Brendan a chance to rest and recover from his cold turned ear pressure issues. We also went to the headliner evening performances both nights, and we enjoyed them immensely. I of course went it as the Debbie Downer thinking the shows would be terrible (based on what I saw two decades ago when I was cruising more regularly with my grandparents). They were anything but. The first night the Celebrity cast put together a storyline montage of great songs (including contemporary), with live vocals and exceptional dancing. As borderline millennials, we ate that shit up like candy. Oh, and did I mention the….
We made the most of our first few days on the Celebrity Silhouette as we were cruising to our first port of call, St. Croix, USVI. Mostly we relaxed – Brendan slept a lot and I gambled a lot – and we did many, many laps around the Celebrity Silhouette on a voyage of discovery. Here is a picture of the ship (which we took in St. Croix): Our first meal on the cruise ship was around noon where we took in the lunch buffet and were impressed with the “build your own” options – salad, pasta, stir fry – as well as the copious variety of different types of cuisines. Despite that I went with a soup and salad for lunch. There was certainly something for everybody. The Celebrity Silhouette also emphasized sanitation, which we appreciated. Many a squirt of hand sanitizer was aggressively placed on our hands by eager crew members prior to walking in to any eating area. Also, there was an established etiquette for refilling water bottles at the water/juice stations – rather than put your bottle up to the dispenser, you’d use a clean glass to get water and then fill your water bottle with….
We spent the start of our Thanksgiving holiday getting to FLL so catch our Caribbean cruise with Celebrity. Opting out of Thanksgiving and going on vacation instead has become a Jacobs-Heck tradition, started last year on our trip to Morocco, where we got in engaged. After a hell week for both of us at working tying up loose ends (and Brendan getting sick), we were ready for a full two weeks off sipping fruity drinks with umbrellas in them on the beach or by the pool. Our journey began the Saturday morning before Thanksgiving with a Lyft picking us up to take us to DEN at 8AM. We flying American Airlines on some frequent flier miles I was trying to dump, and were flying DEN-DFW-FLL a day in advance of our cruise to give ourselves plenty of time in case something went awry. Everything was on time when we left the house, but as soon as we got to the American check-in counter to drop our bag, the delays from the winter storm system sweeping the country just as wintry mix Denver weather began. We had a tight connection (45 minutes) in DFW on an all AA itinerary without split….
I traveled to Latvia for a work trip with Travelport and decided to extend and spend the weekend in Riga to see the city and an old friend. I left on Halloween (had a kitchen pass from Brendan) and arrived the next day, Thursday, November 1 on a DEN-ORD-BRU-RIX 2 stopover itinerary on United and Air Baltic for the final leg. I easily grabbed a taxi for about 30 Euros at RIX and arrived at my luxurious home for the next 4 nights – the Grand Kempinski Riga hotel. I promptly took a nap, and then by the time I woke up it was time for dinner with some work colleagues at a restaurant near the square with the Laima clock meeting point, across from a popup Christmas market. It was only a few minutes walk from the hotel. It was a very pleasant evening and we enjoyed the walk over to Livu Square. The food was delicious (I ordered a caprese salad and a vegetarian stew – I was delighted to find more than a few vegetarian options in this part of the world, which was a difference from when I used to live in Prague). The highlight was….