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Celebrity Eclipse 2018 - Second Day At Sea

Another sea day so it was more of the same in the morning. Before lunch, there was family bingo at the Kids Club. Unlike the last trip where we totally cleaned up, only Teddy won a game. I have to admit that the kids weren’t super-gracious losers, and I was steamed at them in the moment. But later in the day I gathered a little perspective and put myself in their place, where it’s been two years of build up, then a day-and-a-half of wait—GO! wait—GO! between travel day and embarkation day, plus bedtimes thrown entirely out of whack – there were a lot of reasons for them not to be the best versions of themselves. By and large throughout the trip, they were good. We had a few random folks approach us at various times to say how well behaved the kids were, so let’s remember that and not the occasional descents into savagery.

After bingo and lunch, we went swimming, where some friends from the kids’ club showed up. And when I jumped into the hot-tub with my little dudes, about seven of t…
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Celebrity Eclipse 2018 - First Day At Sea

It’s a hell of a hike from Miami to St. Maarten, so the first two full days on the cruise were sea days. Some people hate sea days. Not sure who exactly – I’ve only heard of these people, never met them. Sea days are your excuse to lazy-it-up. These were a little more work in the past because we always had at least one kid to entertain all day long. But with Susannah being four, she could enroll in the Fun Factory with the others and we could really get our lazy on. Our sea day pattern was established on Day One: sleep in, get some breakfast, drop off the kids, do some lazy, pick up the kids, eat lunch, swim, drop off the kids, lazy, pick up the kids, dinner, drop off the kids, cafĂ© visit, pick up the kids, get the kids to bed, get lazy one last time. Said like that, it looks like we were using any excuse to offload the kids, but that’s not the case. They begged to be there. They nagged us through meals about when they could go back. I mean, we took full advantage of their absence, bu…

Celebrity Eclipse 2018 - Boarding

We had breakfast at the hotel and then went to Church nearby. Largely Spanish congregation, but we caught the English mass, which is good because the only Spanish I know is “Ay, ay, ay! No es bueno!”

Then it was back to the hotel to scoop up our bags and head out. Veronica, for whatever reason, fell in love with the smallest of our grey suitcases. She named it Buddy, and insisted that she alone would carry it. All well and good until we got to the ship and had to hand off all our bags to the porter. Tears were shed over her good friend Buddy, even though they’d only be separated for about two hours. Embarkation was an absolute breeze and we were on board before eleven. Having not been on a Celebrity ship for two years, I was excited to see what was new and what had changed. And I should have known better because the answer was: absolutely nothing! We were on board the Eclipse, but we’d already cruised on four other ships of the same class and by design they’re all basically the same.…

Celebrity Eclipse 2018 - Pre-embarkation

It had been two years since our last full family vacation, and two years since we’d flown with the kids. While some things get more challenging as the kids get older, flights just seem to get easier. No one throws up, the level of complaining is proportionate to the length of the journey, and none of the parents have to physically restrain any of the kids for two straight hours anymore. We flew Ottawa to Toronto, then Toronto to Miami, and other than having to inexplicably clear security at Pearson after we’d already done it in Ottawa, the whole thing was pretty painless.



Our hotel was just down the way from where we stayed in 2016, near to a park and shops, and a pretty short ride from the port. To keep things simple for dinner, we went to a nearby McDonald’s – which was probably the roughest McDonald’s I've ever been to: multiple homeless guys (one with no legs), a special needs dude trying to sell a flower to customers in line, an active squad car across the street. I don’t not…

New York 2017 - Day 5

We had a late afternoon flight back home, which gave us an extra half day in New York. We took the subway to Greenwich Village and went on a little eating tour that Sarah found online. First stop was Mamoun's Falafal, where was totally solid. We ate outside and walked around a little, discovering that the Comedy Cellar is literally right next door, and about two doors down is Cafe Wha? where I load of famous musicians (Dylan, Hendrix) hung out and/or were discovered back in the day. I think Artichoke Pizza was next on the list, but it was either rammed with tourist or not distinct enough for me to remember it in any way. We definitely did go to Bantum Bagels which was effin' delicious. (They're basically mini stuffed bagels, and you grab a mix and match pack of flavours: cinnamon bun, hot pretzel, raspberry, cookies and milk, etc). I remember being in a bad mood on the way in for some reason, and I was 100% unenthused about the idea of bagel bites, but holy cow and hot da…

New York 2017 - Day 4

In the morning, we took the subway up to The Cloistersm which is a museum dedicated to medieval architecture and sculpture. The collection was largely assembled by an American sculpture who brought various discarded artifacts home from World War I. It was later purchased by the Rockefeller family, who moved the artifacts to the current location and added to the collection. It's a pretty remarkable thing to see, especially in the way they incorporate these 500 year-old doorways and columns into the structure of the museum itself. Sarah was a little put-off by some of the descriptions of the artifacts -- where the historic significance is properly described but the religious significance is lacking. I wasn't bothered as much, but as I'm considered the world's hindmost religious scholar, Sarah should probably be considered as having the more informed opinion.

We took the subway halfway back and got off near the middle of Central Park. Sarah found a sandwich place called An…

New York 2017 - Day 3

Have I complained yet about the lack of free wifi at our hotel? Because that earned a big thumbs down. Tiny bathroom soaps, coffee-maker, HBO on demand, and free wifi: these are the standards that people expect from their hotels. I shouldn't really complain because the location was amazing and we paid on points, but $15 dollars a day for wifi - for realsies?  As a result, we started most mornings at either McDonald's or Starbucks to soak up that sweet, free wifi before starting each day (regarding the choice I'd always ask Sarah, "Where are we going: poor man's Starbucks or rich man's McDonalds?")
Once properly Interneted, we took a walk to East 34th and boarded the East River Ferry for a low-cost, no frills boat tour of the Brooklyn (and a smidge of Queens). In turn, we passed under the Williamsburg Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Brooklyn Bridge, all impressive, and enjoyed all the more for costing us a total of about six bucks. (Full…