Thursday, June 30, 2011

So, who dines at The Captain's Table?

Have you ever been on a cruise and wondered who was dining at "The Captain's Table"?
I have.

My curiosity came long before I ever cruised. . .way back when I'd watch the rich and famous munching along with Captain Merrill Stubing on the Love Boat , the popular American TV sitcom that aired from 1977-1986. (Click the link for a taste of the show)

Now many cruises -- and dinners -- under our belts later, we still don’t know who dines with ‘the’ Captain, but we've got a better idea of who dines at the Captain’s Table, at least on Celebrity cruises: they are normal people just like us!  In fact it was us.  . .not once, but twice, on the Solstice. And this is how we ended up there:

Prior to our sailing, I had arranged to interview some of the ship's staff for this blog. Celebrity reps also arranged (unbeknownst to me) for us to participate in activities and events usually available to those in Celebrity's frequent cruiser loyalty program, Captain's Club (think perks, like airline frequent flyer). Among the invites was one to dine at  the Captain’s Table being hosted by Environmental Officer James Mitchell (center of table below).

solsticetransatlantic 013We joined three other couples -- all who had logged many cruises in their travel journals and who kept the conversations lively with travel tales, restaurant and destination recommendations and of course, cruise stories. Officer Mitchell met us in a lounge where we sipped pre-dinner champagne and then led us to The Captain's Table which on the Solstice was in the middle of the main Grand Epernay dining room. (pictured above).
solsticetransatlantic 022  A few nights later at a cocktail party for Captain’s Club  members we met Staff Captain Panagiotis Kiousis, the second in command of the ship and part of the Bridge Team.  He divides his time between the ship, his California home and his home in Spetses, one of Greece's Saronic Islands; an island where we had spent a few days last fall. 

We three decided to meet for coffee some time during our Atlantic crossing to talk more about Spetses. Instead, Captain Kiousis called and asked us to join him at the Captain’s Table the night he hosted it. 

We'd learned that on long sailings like the one we were on, the officers all take turns hosting the table at each of the evening's two seatings and guests at the tables are invited for any number of reasons. 

On the appointed night we joined other invitees for pre-dinner drinks; among them, a lady born in Greece, and a couple who’d dined with the Captain on a previous cruise. But our host was a no-show. . .thanks to the Spaniards work slow down in Malaga that day:

Donna Trembath, who organized all these type functions on the Solstice, explained that our host was on shore with the Captain trying to get our remaining passengers there back on board and through some dreadfully long - purposefully s-l-o-w - security lines.
solsticetransatlanticSo, in stepped our Associate Hotel Director Tom Brady at a moment’s notice to host our group. The ship's operations are divided between the Captain's 'get us there' side and the Hotel side to keep us comfortable and busy while getting there. Tom was second in command of the Hotel side of the cruise operation.  

While we're sorry we didn’t get to 'talk Greece', but we, again, had great dinner companions and a fabulous time.

Now that we've completed our first cruise on Celebrity, we are members of the Captain's Club. . .and it will take a few more cruises with them to get us back to the Captain's table but we will get there one day. And someday I will answer the question, "Who dines with the Captain?"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

D2G: The Gourmet Galley Gauntlet

“Homemade meatballs and fettuccine, hold the fettuccine, and a side of broccoli, please,”  I said one evening to our waiter in the Celebrity Solstice Grand Epernay dining room.
He lowered his notepad and asked, “Hold the fettuccine? You don’t want the pasta?!” 

He'd heard me correctly.  Our D2G, (Diet to Go) had met its challenge with the gourmet (mouth-watering-want-one-of-everything) array of food we had on our transatlantic crossing.

Before you start rolling your eyes, about passing up that pasta, let me assure you we ate. . .and ate. . .and ate a lot on the cruise.  Celebrity -- perhaps even more than other cruise lines we've been on -- seemed to emphasize quality – not quantity. Although we could have ordered multiples of each meal and been served them, (that's the way it works on cruise ships) we opted for single servings; each which appeared looking like a culinary work of art (lamb shank below):

solsticetransatlantic 007
But our Diet to Go, D2G(see earlier posts for D2G details) made it easy to navigate through the gourmet gauntlet the culinary staff created.  All we did was to modify some little things:
  • like sending away the basket of bread that appeared at dinner and skipping pastas every so often;
  • skipping the 'traditional' brewskie we shared before dinner on previous cruises;
  • and skipping dessert most nights and satisfying the sweet tooth with the candy we found on our pillow each night;
  • ordering breakfast from room service for automatic portion control (no temptations from the Lido buffet).
What we did do:
  • we drank wine – lots of wine,( more than we would have at home).  
  • We ate chocolate and nuts.
  • We visited the Gelateria - once - each ordering one scoop and several times drank luscious latte's at the adjacent coffee shop, Al Bacio, next door.
  • Actually ate the fruit from that bottomless fruit basket they provided in our cabin
  • We headed to the Lido deck's salad bars for lunch.
  • And we ate huge amounts in the two specialty restaurants we tried while on board (these places have a surcharge). The photo below was taken in Murano as the sommelier advised us on the wine we should drink with our meal.
solsticetransatlantic 011 That Cote du Rhone she recommended paired perfectly with Murano’s fillet Mignon:
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We dined so well in the regular dining room (like frog leg appetizers) that it was hard to leave for another specialty place but we did; and, in the Tuscan Grill, restaurant had fillet Mignon with horseradish flavored mashed potatoes (yes, we each ate some of the potato - not to mention a dessert).

While in port it was easy to get the 35 minutes a day of exercise that we needed on 'the diet' but we had nine days at sea so we made this place a regular morning stop.
  solsticetransatlantic 003

So six-months into our culinary journey. . . we report SUCCESS: 
  • Joel came back from the trip weighing 2 pounds less and I had lost 1 pound. 
  • Total pounds lost: Jackie 12 and Joel 6. (We would likely have lost more had we not been traveling and 'fudging a bit' but then that wasn't the purpose of the D2G anyway).
In full disclosure, Celebrity hosted our dinner  in Murano – we paid only for the wine. We paid the full tab in  Tuscan Grill.
Those wanting to know more about the basis of the D2G, should check the Glycemic Load Diet book by Dr. Rob Thompson on the Amazon carousel on the right hand corner of the blog homepage. (More disclosure: if you buy the book from the carousel, we make 40-cents!)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Celebrity’s Captain Quipster

It’s been a month and we are still talking about the guy.solsticetransatlantic 030
And maybe it is because we liked him so much – although we never really met, beyond a handshake or two, that is; like when he and his top brass welcomed us back from a day in Lisbon.

I am talking about our Solstice cruise ship Master: Captain Gerry Larsson-Fedde, (furthest left in photo). 

Larsson-Fedde, a graduate of the Norwegian Naval Academy,  served in the Norwegian Navy, and held officer positions within Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Celebrity’s parent company, before taking over as Master of the Solstice.

Master is a good way to describe him, as he has mastered the art of being the ship's commander, an obvious inspirational member of the team and having a great since of humor as well.

Remembersolsticetransatlantic 025, I told you he stole the show one night when he rocked out on stage with his guitar? (post: Entertainment with a Capital E!)
 solsticetransatlantic 036

 On the last sea day, somewhere in the Mediterranean, he led the crew team in a fast-paced water volleyball game against a team of passengers. When they announced his name the audience went wild as did the ship itself.  Cheers and horn blasts echoed across the water.

This game took place the day after he’d had to show his serious side, when he took charge of a situation on shore in Malaga, getting us all back aboard when the locals decided to pull a ‘work slowdown’ protest of some sort. 
solsticetransatlantic 035 
‘Captain Quipster’s Sense of Humor

A cruise  ritual we’ve come to enjoy – no matter what the ship -- is the noon announcements usually projected throughout the ship in a rather serious tone, beginning with, “Good day, this is your Captain speaking. . .”  then updates on our location, distance traveled and that left to go, and weather/wind conditions.

At noon on the Solstice, our captain began, “Hi. It is me again. . .” followed by the updates.  But what caused everyone to stop talking and listen each day was his closing quip:

This sampler is best read out loud:
Why are ships referred to as ‘she’?  
Day 1: “It takes a strong man to handle her.”  Day 2: “Because when they arrive in port they head to the buoys.”\
Another day: “Man who eat many prunes, get a good run for the money.”
And: “A man who fight with wife all day, get no peace at night.” (Think about it – there was a moment of silence and then a burst of laughter throughout the ship).

When we sail Celebrity again we hope to have Captain Quipster at the helm. . .and the microphone!

Monday, June 20, 2011

No Mingling in Iceland!

Or Sub-title: “Why Me?”
Yes, even on the best of trips, the kind that ‘don’t get any better’ something can happen to take that perky “Miss PR”  smile off my face.

This time it happened in Iceland.
Map picture
When you fly Iceland Air to Seattle from Europe, as we have twice done, you stop in Iceland. (BTW, Iceland’s a good airline – and it had the best one-way fare price that we could find from Europe.)

Last year's stop was unremarkable. This year's won't soon be forgotten.

I can finally write about it now, nearly a month later, because I've quit chanting, “I never want to go back.” and I am beginning to see the keystone cop humor of the experience.

It all began  . . .

When going through Passport Control from one plane's gate to the other, an attractive 30-something blond in a form-fitting uniform flashed a big smile at me and said, as if I had won a prize, “You’ve been selected for additional security screening!”
cretan peoplenplaces 014
So I flashed a big smile back (similar to the one at the left) and said to myself, “My lucky day!”

We followed her down the escalator to a cordoned off holding area where I and a handful of others would be checked. (Joel was allowed to come in.)

From armpits to arches, breasts to buttocks I was rubbed, patted and 'wanded'.  Guess I was ‘dusted’ too because I had to sit and wait for something they got off me to be tested.

“You may go,” announced another form-fitting uniform with a bright smile.

We started to leave. . .

“Oh no,” said another, with a little less smile, “you are not free to go, you must follow me.” When we asked why, still smiling, she said, “You are not allowed to mingle with the other passengers.” 

(Okay, did I miss something or had I just gotten off a flight on Iceland Air from Paris, where security had deemed me safe? Joel, by the way, could have mingled but, being the good guy he is, stuck by his outcast wife).
We were taken to another secure holding area where we joined (I counted) 20 others. Most of whom looked like us: middle-aged, Anglo-Saxons heading to the US. It was here we would wait until another uniform came to lead us to the flight – we wouldn’t be allowed to leave until they came to get us: 
No restroom run.
No souvenir shops.
No food purchase.
No Mingling!

Our detention. . .

. . .livened  a bit when an older lady began sobbing and moaning  – bringing a swarm of uniforms to quickly lead her out of the area.

When the couple across from us, again politely asked why we were being held, the smiling uniform said it was the United States who made them do it. Her explanation tapered off, she shook her head and looked at the floor.

Finally another uniform arrived and called out for those heading to Seattle. A young woman and the two of us were led through the swarm of passengers at our gate and told to sit in yet another secure area between the crowd of our soon-to-be-fellow passengers and the plane.

I was relieved to see the sobbing lady now calmly sitting with her traveling companion.  The five of us boarded the plane before the other passengers were allowed to approach it.

I wanted to believe this 'early boarding' was an attempt to make us feel special. . .but I suspect it was to keep us from mingling for five minutes longer.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Volcano Didn't Blow the Vacation

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in London when the first reports of Iceland’s volcanic eruption flashed across the television screen. I suppose we should have started fretting about the affect it might have on our flight home – via Iceland – later in the week. 

You know us better than that by now:  we started thinking that we might have to stay in Europe longer: Tough duty! 

cretan peoplenplaces 002 Meanwhile in Greece, our friends, Bill and Val Kitson were trying to return to England. . .and this is their story:


Having lost 10 days of our holiday to the volcanic ash cloud last year, we couldn’t believe it when our travel plans were disrupted again. This time it was the return journey, however, and the delay was only 24-hours.

Having said that, we were uncertain whether or not the flight was going until check-in time at the Heraklion, Crete airport.

Having learned that nobody was flying to Newcastle that night, our next concern was, what would happen during the delay?

As independent travelers, we had booked “flight only” on a plane carrying mostly package holidaymakers. They would be catered for, but what of the independents?
crete 2010 003 We needn’t have worried.

We were with Thomas Cook, the oldest travel agents in the world. Instead of a night in the Crete airport lounge, we were taken by coach to a resort complex twenty minutes away to Gouves Park Resort complex, an all-inclusive center catering for mostly family holidays.

Although it was way past the normal hour, a buffet-style evening meal awaited us. Then we checked in to a comfortable ground floor room. Because of the distance from reception, there was a golf buggy to take our luggage. Breakfast and lunch next day were provided, and when we returned to the airport, we were at last able to set off home, even though we’d a wait while they sorted a small technical problem with the plane.

On arrival at Newcastle, we were handed a letter by Thomas Cook’s representative, confirming details of the delay, should we wish to claim on our insurance. Although some travelers might have had to do this, with connecting flights, or lost working time, as all we’d had to pay for was one glass of beer and one glass of wine, we didn’t think it worth bothering!

Full marks to the Thomas Cook team at Heraklion airport and the staff at Gouves Park Resort, for turning what could have been a highly stressful experience into a relaxed end to the holiday.

Note:  Click the link to read an article that outlines EU airline responsibilities in event Mother Nature vents her pent up steam.

To those of you wanting to find Bill Kitson’s novels: go to the Amazon carousel on our home page and click on either of his books to get to the full list.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bill Kitson: On Vacation from Crime

We thank Bill Kitson, our English crime writer friend, for this report of his trip to Greece last month:   

We visited  Athens en route to Crete. Our itinerary was to fly there, spend a couple of days in the capital, before taking the overnight ferry from Piraeus to Chania. That left us with one decision, where to stay?
folenaxosathens 022 The hotel I’d used in the past was proving more expensive than we were prepared to pay, added to which, the reviews were less than encouraging. After searching the internet (taking Joel’s tip), we settled on the Hotel Kimon, a boutique hotel close to the Plaka and the cathedral, within easy distance of the Acropolis.

One of the disadvantages was the lack of an elevator, but the stairs were quite manageable, even for us oldsters. The reward on climbing them was a comfortable, well appointed room with TV, air conditioning and wi-fi.

Continental breakfast, included in the cost, is served on the roof terrace, where early diners can grab one of the tables with a view of the Acropolis. On hearing I’m an author, the waitress asked for my autograph, saying that she would put it on her wall, next to that of Bono!

The roof terrace is also open in the evening, and although the hotel does not serve evening meals, you might want to take a bottle of wine up there as the capital drifts off to sleep, and sit looking at the magnificent spectacle of the Parthenon bathed in the glow from the floodlights on all sides.
The cathedral is close by, a fact that you should be aware of, as the bells will ring at 7am. No need to pack an alarm clock, though.

There is considerable noise from the large number of motorbikes using the narrow streets of the old town, but I suspect that will be the case wherever you stay. A combination of the lack of space in the streets, and the high price of gasoline has resulted in these being the most popular mode of transport.

Accommodation in a superior double room with 2 occupants at the Kimon Hotel in early May, was  €80 per night (approx. $116)

cretan peoplenplaces 002
Our flight time for the return journey had been changed, so we left Loutro, the village on Crete’s southern coast (where we met Joel and Jackie last year), a day early and spend a night in Chania on the way to the airport. This enabled us to avoid a very long day’s travelling.

On the advice of our friend Pavlos, (pictured above with Bill and Val Kitson) we’d asked him to book us a room at the Hotel Nefeli, close to the bus station, and directly opposite his cousin’s fish and vegetarian restaurant, reputed to be one of the best in town.

The Nefeli is beautifully appointed, with a high standard of cleanliness and decor. There is an elevator to all floors, rooms have TV, air conditioning, balconies, wired broadband and a mini-bar. The breakfast dining room is on the first floor, and on the ground floor there is a bar and lounge. There is also a roof terrace, but we didn’t venture onto that.

This is five star accommodation at less than five star prices, and having sampled the cousin’s restaurant (His name is George, by the way, which made it tricky, because Pavlos has somewhere in the region of six cousins called George), we can vouch for the quality of the food. Try the salt cod and chips, but only if you’re real hungry.

The old town is within easy walking distance, as is the harbour area, and there’s a superb market close by, where you can buy all manner of herbs, spices, gifts and food of all descriptions.

Accommodation at the Hotel Nefeli in May cost a mere €55 (approx $80) for a double room with 2 occupants. That, we considered to be a bargain.

So what happened to Bill and Val when Iceland’s volcano blew about the same time they were heading home? He’ll tell you in the next post.  Bill’s fourth book is out and the fifth in the Mike Nash detective series is slated for release this fall. It is also Crime Writers Week in England - June 13 - 19. Those of you living there may be lucky enough to see Bill at one of his speaking engagements.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vancouver B.C.’s gone Canuck Crazy

vancouver2011 002 When the city’s public buses start cheering for the team, you know the place has gone nuts over its ice hockey heroes.

The Canucks are in the playoffs to win the coveted Stanley Cup and the seven game race peaked Friday night in the neighbor to the north.

We arrived mid-day Friday and roads in the central area were already being closed for anticipated fans. (We are here so that I can attend TBEX 11, a writing conference for travel bloggers).

The town’s decked out in Canuck Blue – from flags on buildings to people wearing jerseys. Wafting scents of marijuana punctuated our stroll along the waterfront and around our hotel. 
 vancouver2011 001
 The craziness peaked Friday night when the Canucks managed to score the only point in the game against Boston.  Even the diners/drinkers in the Renaissance Harbor side's restaurant/ bar went nuts when the buzzer marked the end of play – and we cheered right along with them.
vancouver2011 003
An estimated 70,000 jammed the streets surrounding the rink and many didn’t leave until police shoo-ed them away at 4 a.m. to re-open roads.

It’s a great time to be here.  I’ll get back to cruise and Madrid tales soon, but not until after I tell you five ways to get high in Vancouver,  B.C. – that’s coming next.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tapas: A Taste of Madrid

madrid2011 010After filling our days with on-foot explorations, we couldn’t stay awake long enough to try out  Madrid’s Midnight dining hour but then we wouldn’t have had room for it after conducting our regular tapeo.
Tapeo, the early evening stroll between tapas bars for glasses of Spanish wine and tapas, for which the stroll is named,  is intended to provide sustenance until dinner – but we made it dinner.
madrid2011 023 At home we’d call these small plates’ appetizers’. In Madrid they were tapas, or canapes, a slice of bread with a tasty, cheese, meat or seafood topping, and larger servings of each being called  a ‘racion’.
We’d studied up on this practice of cheap eats  by reading advice of  foodies who had gone before us; learning the wine servings were small – allowing for a half dozen stops before feeling its impact – and tips for tapa-eating etiquette like ‘throwing used napkins on the floor and keeping toothpicks to show the bartender how much you’ve consumed.”
We quickly learned don’t believe everything you read. Savvy shop owners poured large glasses of wine as pictured (which I think they’ve learned keeps you eating there longer). And they’ve gotten tired of cleaning up dirty napkins – as every place we visited had strategically placed garbage cans at the bar.
The food was good – but it wasn’t always cheap eats by any means. Part of that impact of the U.S. dollars’ weakness to Spain’s currency, the Euro).  The rate of exchange was  1-Euro=$1.45US.
Too late we learned that Manchego, their famous cheese is about as high priced as is their famous Iberico acorn-fed ham.
madrid2011 001 Our first night out we each had two glasses of wine, a shared a ‘tortilla’ – a thick open faced omelette stuffed with potatoes --and then ordered a cheese and ham plate (both are pictured here).
Our bill was $27-euros or about $43US.madrid2011 002
At one place we tried the 2-euro ($3.20) tapa of the day and received a toothpick on which two bite-sized green peppers were wrapped in an  anchovy.  The most economical was the canape – most of which were $2.50-euro, depending on the topping chosen.
madrid2011 029
Note:  If these make your mouth water, just wait until I tell you about Celebrity’s Gourmet Galley. . . and then I’ll give you an update on D2G, our Diet to Go. . .

Monday, June 6, 2011

Madrid: Si, Muchas Alegre!

madrid2011 008 I’d spotted our elderly neighbor up on her tiny balcony, tending her many plants as we walked home to our Moratin Apartment. I waved but she obviously didn’t recognize us  – we’d only been neighbors for three days and hadn’t yet met.

A few minutes later when I stepped onto our balcony and called out in Spanish how beautiful her flowers were, she flashed a big smile and we ‘chatted’ a bit ( as much as one can do with my halting, slowly enunciated Spanish). 

Then she picked something from one of her many pots and gestured it was for me.  Minutes later she was at our door, two stems of aromatic mint in hand. 

She spoke far too rapidly about the herb for me to understand all she said, but as she handed it to me with another big smile and concluded, “hay muchas alegre”  - I couldn’t have agreed more.
  • Alegre: to brighten, bring cheer or happiness.
Per the rental agreement we cleaned the apartment of all garbage the morning we left, but I couldn’t bring myself to toss the mint; I couldn’t toss the alegre. It represented the many kindnesses we experienced during our far-too-short-a-week in Madrid.
madrid2011 011 The first kindness we experienced was from a couple who’d stopped at the cerveceria we were at for a glass of wine before they headed to Saturday evening church services across the street. 

In our halting Spanish we chatted with them – where we were from, where they were from. . .and as they left they told the bartender to pour two glasses of wine for us – on them. 

Another evening in the midst of our tapeo, we struck up a conversation with a young couple. When their plate of shrimp was served, another plate of shrimp was placed in front of us. . .from them, of course.

Time and time again we were reminded that  travel opens the door to so many interesting places, but it really is the people you meet along the way that make those places memorable.

Note: We rented the Moratin Apartment from Spain Select, a company with properties in Seville, Valencia and Madrid.  The cost of our two-bedroom, one bath apartment was about 127-Euros a night – far less than hotel rates during this festival week we had chosen for our visit. We had to make a 250-Euro damage deposit which was promptly re-credited back to our account within the seven days after our stay, just as outlined in the rental agreement. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

We ARE ‘cruise people’

After our Black Sea cruise last year, we weren’t sure this mode of travel still appealed to us. . . now, after our trip across the Atlantic, I can tell you that it does!  We’ve decided that we most certainly are ‘cruise people’ 
solsticetransatlantic 016 But we are still neophytes when compared to others we meet on these voyages.  One couple with whom we dined one night was on their 36th Celebrity cruise and had also logged 11 on other ships. . .another woman announced at breakfast that this was her 53rd cruise and she wasn’t going ashore in the Azores – she’d been there before.

Booking a cruise:
We were so taken with this cruise – and Celebrity cruise line – that we did visit the ‘future cruises’ desk our first morning on board. . .and we’ve tentatively booked ourselves on this same ship for a cruise in November 2012.

We’d booked the transatlantic crossing through  CruCon Cruise Outlet, and were continually impressed with the attention to detail and service they provided.

Example, we wanted ‘anytime dining’ and not a set seating. We didn’t make the cut-off for that so they got us a table for two at a window. . .a nice touch, indeed!
solsticetransatlantic 034
CruCon had some 500 people on this cruise of 2,700+ which is why we got such a good rate; as it was sold as a group rate – with the only ‘group’ part being in numbers.  So large were our numbers that the agency had three staff members (‘Ambassadors’) sailing with us, who set up a desk in the ship’s lobby and attended to our needs as readily as ship’s staff.

Our ‘ambassadors’  hosted a cocktail party for us and sponsored a variety of other on-board activities – so many that we skipped several of them.  Their service was great and we are using them as our travel agents for the upcoming cruise.

Note: If you are considering a cruise – on any cruise line – and want to contact CruCon their US toll free number is 800-493-6609,  If you book a cruise for the first-time with them, mention referral  Number 45617, for an additional $25 off whatever other discounts they provide. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Celebrity’s Oceans Ahead: ‘Save the Waves’

From the shopping list of things to keep passengers entertained on one of our lazy sea days, I chose to attend a presentation called “Carbon Footprint” or some such thing.

And let me make it clear here, I am not some over-zealous environmental advocate. . .I had another reason.

We’d been invited to dine at The Captain’s Table that night and our host was our ship’s Environmental Officer James Mitchell . . .the one doing the presentation.  I decided it would be good to be able to chitchat about , well, carbon footprints. . .the greening of the fleet. . .yes, the environment, by golly!

So off I wesolsticetransatlantic 014nt, notepad in hand, just in case something might be interesting enough for a post. . .and it wasn’t too long before I couldn’t keep up with all the facts and figures I was hearing.

Not only did I chat about them at dinner, but Joel and I also had coffee with James to continue the discussion a few days later.

A sample of what we’ve learned:

-- In the first three months of 2011 Solstice recycled  163,000 pounds of glass and all proceeds from its sale went to the Crew’s Welfare Fund.

--In  2010 the ship’s total fuel consumption was used 60% for propulsion and 40% for the hotel operations.

--Water from the faucets on the ship is drinkable and meets EPA standards. . .and it is processed on board from seawater.

--The cost of fuel for a 7-day cruise was $750,000. . .let’s see, we sailed almost twice that long. . .

--Solar films used on the ship can generate enough energy to run the ship’s central elevators for a 24-hour period.

--There are ice makers that use less water and light bulbs that generate less heat therefore requiring less use of airconditioning. . .things we’d never before noticed.
solsticetransatlantic 005
Celebrity’s parent company, Royal Caribbean, began an  Ocean Fund back in 1996 and since its inception has contributed $11 million to support marine science, education and conservation initiatives.

Officer Mitchell, a graduate of the Massachusetts's Maritime Academy, has been in charge of monitoring environmental compliance on the Solstice for two years.

His presentation was part of a series of such lectures given on ships in the Solstice Class fleet as part of the cruise line’s “Celebrity Life” series designed to give passengers a somewhat behind the scenes look at ship operations and sustainability.

(Did we talk about the environment at dinner? Sure did. But the conversations also ranged from  favorite wines and food to travel destinations.)

Note:  I’ve invited James to write a guest post and tell us more about this topic any time he wants.


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