“You are invited. . .” began the note tucked inside it.
|Savoring one of those 'days at sea'|
Those unexpected invitations were how we found ourselves among randomly convened small groups of fellow passengers at some on-board event or some ‘behind the scenes’ place.
A regular part of these gatherings were the speculations about why we had been invited. There was never an apparent common denominator: some guests were long-time loyal cruisers, some were on their first voyage, others were staying in suites, some celebrating special occasions and many were like us, simply cruise enthusiasts with several cruises in our travel history.
|The normally off-limits heli-pad cocktail party|
|The heli-pad as seen from the bridge|
Another invitation took us to the bridge for a quick tour with an even smaller group of fellow passengers. Invitations, passports and handbags were checked before we stepped past the security door into the bridge.
The photo of the heli-pad above, I took from the bridge and the photos of the bridge below, I took from the heli-pad.
|The bridge and officers in it as seen from the heli-pad many stories below it|
While on the bridge, we were allowed to take photos of and ask questions about this high-tech computerized center. (The old ship’s wheels of yore now serve as wall displays (this one in a Maui hotel) and the new version comes with a cushioned driver’s seat.
|Navigational tools have changed|
Our visit was brief but not rushed – and there was time for a photo with the ship’s Master (captain). As we exited the bridge, another small group was waiting to enter.
|The TravelnWrite Scout and Scribe post with our ship's Master|
[One interesting thing about cruising -- and the above photo illustrates it well -- are the steps taken to prevent the spread of germs, particularly Norovirus, (should there be any lurking on the ship). At all gatherings – cocktail parties, meet the officer parties, or tours like this – guests and crew were discouraged from shaking hands or making any body contact – you’ll notice we all were abiding by those rules.]
|My place setting at the Captain's Table|
We told you in earlier posts about dining at The Captain’s Table, which is also a ‘by invitation only’ event. Again, each time we’ve been fortunate enough to be invited, we’ve found a mix of travel and cruise enthusiasts – all most interesting conversationalists – but who shared no other ‘common denominator’ to which the invitation could be linked. (Thank goodness, I remembered Miss Manner’s rule: eat from the outside – what a set of flatware!)
Just like airlines, cruise lines have customer loyalty programs. On Celebrity, the line we’ve sailed most often in recent years, it is called “Captain’s Club”.
The more cruises you take on the same cruise line the more ‘rewards’ you receive. . .like invitations to afternoon cocktail parties for returning guests. There you sip champagne, nibble appetizers and mingle with the ship’s officers with entertainment provided.
|Celebrity's Captain's Club offered entertainment at the afternoon cocktail party|
These events are also ‘by invitation only’ and on most cruise lines, the invitations to such events begin with your second voyage.
These festive gatherings also draw hundreds of returning guests.
|Solstice-class ship's theatre|
The ‘by invitation only’ events often include behind-the-scenes tours that take guests back stage to see the behind the scenes workings in the enormously large theatre or through the galley to see the precision movements required of the kitchen staff who serves thousands three times (and more) during the day.
That’s it for today’s tale. Photos used in this post were taken on three recent Celebrity cruises.
If you have cruised have you also received those unexpected invitations? If so, where did they take you?
We are heading out: It won’t be long before we are off to Greece for another adventure going ‘where the winds blow us’ and – if the techno gods and travel gods synchronize -- we will begin reporting from Greece soon. Hope you’ll come along with us.
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And, as always thanks for the time you spend with us. We wish you safe and satisfying travels~
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