Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mediterranean Cruise 2007 - Part I

Where shall I begin? How about a quick summary: With the exception of a room problem on board the Galaxy (story to follow below) and very cold weather in Odessa (about 47 degrees and windy), I had a fabulous time! I had a great time in Rome, as well as in the various ports. I met a lot of wonderful and fun people, and really enjoyed the food on board the ship. I could have used a few more days at sea, as it was quite a “port intensive” itinerary (Rome, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Istanbul (with an overnight stay), Yalta, Odessa, Ephesus, Athens, and Naples).

Before I begin, I know a lot of people are interested in hearing about the Galaxy ship than reading journals, so here’s a summary of the ship:

Condition of the Galaxy: The Galaxy, for her age, is in excellent condition. Yes, there are stains here and there on the carpets and some of the furniture is worn out and YES the windows in the stratosphere definitely need replacing, but overall the Galaxy is in great shape. My beds (in three different rooms) were comfortable and since I was traveling alone, I had plenty of room.
Dining room food: Overall the food in the dining room was very good. Some dishes were excellent, especially the meat dishes. I think they did an excellent job in that arena. The soups were good too, although one or two were a little on the salty side. Salads were boring, so I ate mostly Caesar salads. Skip the tuna – it’s pre-cooked and you won’t get it seared and rare/raw on the inside. The chicken dishes were very good. The vegetarian dishes weren’t that great according to my friend Deb. I’m not big on desserts but the sherbets were delicious, especially the guava and raspberry flavors.

Buffet food: Average, although I enjoyed the lamb curry, turkey cutlets, and seafood salads at lunch. Breakfast was the norm: assorted fruits, lox/cream cheese, pickled herring, scrambled eggs, daily egg specials (such as eggs benedict), pancakes, waffles, breads, pastries, etc. They did a great job at the German Oktoberfest on one of the sea days. I dined in the dining room only one time.

Sushi: Excellent! However, I only ate there one time. I’m surprised at myself because I love sushi. I did ask for sashimi and got a huge portion. They even have the tobiko (flying fish roe) that I topped my California rolls with.

Ice cream bar: Usually several choices with various toppings, but I didn’t have any.

Grill: I saw lots of people lining up to have burgers. I heard mixed reviews.

Pizza and Pasta station: Pretty good pizza for a cruise. I didn’t have any of the pasta, although a few people stated they enjoyed it.

Entertainment: I went to just a couple of shows and they were very good. I also went to a lecture, which was interesting.

Service: A lot of us felt that service has gone down. We wondered if it was because Celebrity is about to put the Galaxy in dry dock. We didn’t see employees polishing and cleaning like on our other cruises. Trays in the buffet area on tables sat for a while before being picked up. I will say our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent and attentive. They knew what we liked and Jesso would always guide me through the menu, as he knew how I liked my meats. Both of my room attendants were great and anytime I asked for something I got it right away.

Officers: Claudio was in charge of managing the entertainment programs. About ¼ of the way through the cruise I talked to him and had him change the time set for the Friends of Dorothy gatherings. They were set for 8:30pm, which was dinnertime, so he changed it to 8pm. Claudio was very prompt in responding to my change request and he always had a smile on his face. Anytime he saw me he said hello. As for two other officers I met in person – well, read the story…

Now onto the journal.

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