Ashcroft to Coquitlam BC

We live in such an amazing province. One day I am walking through the desert-like countryside of Ashcroft while breathing in the ultra-dry air.

Ashcroft
Ashcroft

 

And the next day I am walking through the urban rain forest of Mundy Park in Coquitlam.

I love British Columbia!!

Mundy Park
Mundy Park

Day Two aboard the Celebrity Century

Day Two aboard the Celebrity Century started for me at 4:16am when the ship gave out a mighty groan and moan while violently listing to the port side and then back to starboard. It settled down basically immediately so I went back to sleep until my internal alarm clock awoke me at 10:30am.

I’m not the kind of person who gets up and eats right away. I need a cup of coffee or two and a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood (usually with a dog) before I am ready to eat. So this morning I went up to the buffet, poured myself a coffee from the 45-gallon drum of coffee that was available and went for a walk.

I walked around the buffet admiring the unique breakfasts available to every ethnic group.

American breakfast photo If sausages and carved roast beast are not to your liking, try the English breakfast photo Blood sausage, kippers and beans not to your liking?

The Asian breakfast photo offers up congee with beef or without. Or perhaps you would prefer some stir fried tofu and potatoes with cheese. Or Miso soup.

Also at each station is someone ready and willing to make you an omelette with whatever you want in it.

Once my veins were re-caffeinated I went back to the room, got properly attired and then headed back to the Grand Dining room. I really do prefer sitting down and having someone bring my meal to me than the free for all of the buffet. And the thing is that you can order whatever you want off the menu and get it made to suit your tastes.

I ordered the Eggs Benedict. On the menu was smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers. I asked for that to be added to my plate so that could create my very own Westcoast Benedict. (photo) As soon as I placed my breakfast order the other people sitting at my table commented that my order was a very “westcoast” style. The truth then came out that all of us were from Vancouver, albeit two of them were from Vancouver, Washington.

Knowing that the kitchen was seriously under the gun with breakfast orders coming in, I was very pleasantly surprised to have my Bennies arrive very quyickly with the eggs cooked to perfection. The egg yolks were the classic egg porn-look as I broke the yolks open. A very pleasant way to begin the day.

After breakfast was done I returned to my room, freshened up and prepared myself for lunch.

Before going for lunch my travel companion and I elected to attend a food demonstration in the Murano restaurant. The Murano is the restaurant that you have to pay to eat in. Always being ready to enjoy a food-prep demonstration, we thought this would be a fun event.

Honestly, it was more like being on the midway at the PNE. The demo consisted of 25 minutes of encouraging the attendees to book for a lunch, a dinner event, a Champagne tea service and a hands-on cooking event in which if you booked early, for $100, they would give you the accompanying cookbook at no additional charge. By the end of the demonstration I was bracing myself for a pitch to buy into a timeshare opportunity on the ship.

The fun part of the demonstration was when the chef flambéed the filet mignon while the restaurant manager was furiously shouting “no-no-no” and phoning the ship’s bridge to keep them from activating the sprinkler system in the room full of spectators.

After that demonstration lunch back in the Grand was uneventful. A non-descript potato and leek bisque followed by prawns and butterfly pasta. A little dash of salt and a grind of pepper added some life to the bisque. I have noticed that the food is light on the garlic. The prawns would have benefited from a heavier hand on the garlic throttle. I wonder of that is to avoid too strong of a flavour for the majority of the passengers? I’m not sure.

Post-lunch snacks were compliments of the Cova Café, a little coffee shop in the middle of the ship. They have the most adorable little sandwiches that you just want to hug and cuddle. (photo)

At 2:30 they pull the sandwiches and offer equally as adorable pastries. Very quickly I realized that it is better to take small portions and return for more if you like. This is ion contrast to the people in front of me at the Cova Café who kept saying, “oh, one more of those…” until their plate was stacked with 12 sandwiches.

Next up is dinner, which if memory serves me correctly is formal night so I may be pulling out the matching Puma tracksuit.

I suppose it is important to note that I am enjoying EVERYTHING about this northern adventure. Yes, there are people encouraging me to support the alcohol and boozer industry and yes there are people trying to have me purchase photos of me and my travel companion (special right now for $19.95) and all sorts of other amazing services and products but this cruising business, it is FABULOUS!!

 

Day One Celebrity Century to Alaska

Day One on the Celebrity Century cruise to Alaska, and back. As we boarded the ship a very lovely young lady handed us a glass of Champagne. I now realize this is likely the last free alcoholic drink I will find aboard this ship, although I will not stop searching.

Once aboard the ship we were encouraged to head to the pool deck.  (photo of pool) Like all the other passengers, we eventually found our way to the pool deck. No sooner were we on the deck than a very suave young man swooped down upon us and asked if we wanted a rum or vodka drink in a souvenir glass that we could keep. (photo of drinks) Still swooning after our free glass of Champagne, we readily agreed, grabbed a drink each and sat down.

The suave young man then asked who was going to pay for the drink, and could he please have our room card to bill us. Ah ha. $20 for two drinks, however, keep in mind you get to keep the cheap plastic Celebrity glass. Lesson learned.

Insert photo of no soliciting picture

Off to the Islands Café, a buffet by any other name is still a buffet. The people walking around here were like actors in role from the set of the Walking Dead; zombies in a post-apocalyptic world. All carrying food trays and looking lost.

I have to admit, I grabbed a tray and helped myself. Being a first time cruiser it was a little disconcerting taking food and not having to pay for it. (I have acclimatized myself since then).

Our dinner time was set for 6pm so we made our way to the Grand Restaurant (photo). Having assigned seats and dinner companions was another odd feeling. You are seated at a table with four or six other people who you do not know. I can only imagine what the conversation was like at the table nearby where a five hundred pound biker was seated. Alone.

Our tablemates are two elderly Japanese ladies. Dinner conversation was basically limited to hellos and lots of smiles and stiff sorts of bowing while staying seated.

Once our dinners did arrive, the Prime Rib listed under the chef’s recommendations, the conversation grew to include words I am roughly translating to be “Holy Crapola”. The slice of prime rib was, well, massive. And delicious. (photo) Sadly, our tablemates left more than 90% of their meal on their plates. Which got me to wondering what the ship does with all of the leftover food.

Later on that evening, after our prime rib had settled and digested we headed back up to the Islands Café buffet. Pizza, pasta, quiche, stir fry, sushi rolls, pastries and all other sorts of desserts…whatever moves you was there for the taking.

Other than the food (really though, what else is there on a cruise?), some random observations…

The two most noticeable groups of people working on this ship that we have seen on this ship are the people offering alcoholic beverages and people cleaning or polishing anything that does not move.

There is a serious shortage of electrical outlets on board; in our room there is one outlet. One. Well, there is a second one in the bathroom. Other than that, you are out of luck and out of power.

Which brings me to my next random observation; the shower, although my initial observation was that it looked like an upright coffin, is actually the nicest part of the room we are staying in. The water pressure is magnificent and the water gets as hot as I want. And hotter. Awesome.

And then it was off to sleep. Sleep.