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Celebrity Galaxy Transatlantic eastbound 6th May 2006

SarahB

Deckhand
5th May

Arrived at Houston airport after a 10 ½ hour flight from Gatwick. We took a taxi to Galveston and checked in at the Holiday Inn on Seawall Blvd. As we were only staying the one night there was little unpacking to do, so we took a walk along the seafront then had a delicious meal in Salsa’s Mexican restaurant before heading off to bed to catch up on some sleep after our long day travelling.

6th May

Woke early on my Birthday due to the 6 hour time difference to find it was raining outside. We found a local weather channel on the TV and saw that Galveston was under a tornado warning until 8am. After a while the sky outside went darker until it looked like the middle of night again and all the street lights came on. We watched from the balcony as the storm battered the island.
We went down for breakfast and gradually the sky brightened and the storm cleared away. After about an hour or so it was dry enough to go for a walk on the seafront before checking out of the hotel at midday.

We took the hotel’s free shuttle bus to the port and were given instructions by the driver of where to meet the bus on our return. (nice of him to offer but I didn’t expect to see him in Rome!!) After some amusement we explained to him that the ship was not returning to Galveston then he duly dropped us of at pier 2 of the cruise terminal.

The check in procedure was very smooth as we’d already completed the documentation online and printed our express boarding pass. There was also no queue as we had booked a concierge class cabin had a separate line for priority boarding.
As we were fairly early embarking, they had not quite finished preparing our staterooms so in the meantime we went for lunch in the Oasis café.

We went to our stateroom 1069 on Penthouse deck midship port side. We were introduced to our stateroom attendant Alexander, who informed us that shortly he would deliver our welcome bottle of champagne, and canapés which we would receive every day at around 3pm. He also delivered fresh fruit and flowers to our room and replenished them accordingly throughout the cruise.

After unpacking we went up on deck where we waited to see our sail away. There had been an announcement that due to the bad weather that morning, many passengers were delayed getting into Houston airport. The captain had therefore decided to delay our departure for approx 1 hour in order for all passengers to arrive. They also decided to postpone the life boat drill until the following morning.

We eventually set sail around 7pm and then headed off for our first evening meal. We had booked late seating for dinner and were shown to table 650 in the Orion restaurant and introduced to our waiter Joaquim, and asst. waiter Putu. As there were 4 of us and we were seated together on a table for 4 this worked out perfectly.


7th May – At Sea

After attending the re-scheduled lifeboat drill at 10:15am, we browsed the Galaxy shops and checked out all the other facilities on board. Spent some time in the afternoon sunbathing, then had our 1st formal dinner followed by a show in the theatre.

8th May – Key West

We docked in Key West behind Carnival Celebration and went ashore for our excursion. We were met on the pier by our guide who took us to the Conch train a couple of blocks away. The tour which lasted approx 1 ½ hours, took in the main sights of Key West and ended with a trip down Duval Street. We then headed off to sample some Key Lime pie, and spent the afternoon shopping before returning to the ship. Later that evening we had a poolside party with a fruit themed buffet.

9th May – Nassau

Our excursion here was Nassau & Paradise Island Tour. This took us to FortCharlotte where you get a stunning view across the island, then on to the Queen’s staircase where thankfully we only had to climb down! (the bus dropped us off at the top then drove round and waited at the bottom) It’s well worth it though as there is a lovely kind of oasis at the bottom with a waterfall, which is not visible from the road so it’s a wonderful surprise. After driving through the centre of town, we crossed the bridge to ParadiseIsland and had a 30 minute stop to look around the Spa Atlantis resort which is quite stunning. I’d heard a lot about it so to have the chance to look round was amazing. We then returned to the ship and waved goodbye to land for the next 6 days.

10th – 15th May – At Sea

We had an amazingly calm crossing of the Atlantic and mainly spent these 6 days at sea relaxing, reading and sunbathing. Oh and not to mention eating!!!!
We did however try to work some of it off and learned how to play shuffleboard which turned out to be highly addictive. We also went to a food & wine seminar (yet more food!!) in the Orion restaurant which was really interesting as it was about trying certain types of wines with different foods and learning how they complement eachother.

16th May – Ponta Delgada

Our first European port of call!
We arrived at 7am in pouring rain, met up for our excursion armed with raincoats and umbrellas. We started off by visiting a lush tropical garden, then it was on to a pineapple plantation before the highlight of our tour which was to see the Sete Cidades crater lakes. Fortunately by the time we reached the lakes the sun was shining and we had a wonderful view from the top of 2 lakes, 1 blue and the other green.
We returned to the ship for elegant afternoon tea served in the Orion restaurant for captains club members, delicious!


17th May – At Sea

Another lazy day at sea spent relaxing in the beautiful sunshine.

18th May – Lisbon

Took a city tour by tram where we were taken through the narrow streets, over the hills and around the old part of town. This was a real fun way to see the city and on the tram they served us with a glass of port and delicious local pastries. Then we drove to the Jerónimos Monastery which has beautifully laid out gardens, and finished up at the Belém tower on the edge of the river. Back on the ship we went up on deck for our sail away under the Tagus bridge.


19th May – At Sea

A very scenic sea day sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar.
In the evening we had our farewell formal dinner and Le Grande Buffet in the Orion Restaurant.



20th May – Palma de Mallorca

We were scheduled to arrive at 12 noon, but due to a high amount of port traffic the authorities delayed our arrival. This didn’t worry us as we had no tour booked here and when we finally docked around 2pm, the captain announced that he’d extended our departure time by 2 hours. We spent our time here exploring the city on foot, then after visiting the cathedral we took a horse and cart ride around the old town and had a glimpse into some of the ancient buildings and palaces tucked away down a maze of narrow streets.

21st May – At Sea

Our last sea day which took in the scenery of Corsica and Sardinia when we sailed through the Strait of Bonifacio.

22nd May – Civitavecchia

A very smooth disembarkation with no immigration/ passport checks as we were in Europe. We took a taxi from the port into Rome where we checked in for a 2 night stay at the hotel Concordia.



Overall I’d rate this cruise as excellent as I could find little to complain about. Could not fault the service and quality of food. The hygiene standards are excellent and in particular we noticed the hand sanitizer in the restaurants. We did not have this last year on Infinity so it’s a great idea.
The only comment I would make to anyone thinking of booking a transatlantic cruise is that time in port can be very limited. Most of our stops were only 6 hours long so you need to plan your time wisely.
 

Dani

Deckhand
Thank you for the review. :clap:

A transatlantic cruise is one that is very tempting.

Great way to adjust to the time difference, many sea days :luv: and a few interesting ports.

We sailed on the Galaxy her first year in service and I still remember how proud her crew were of her beauty.

She is an example of the size ships that they have stopped commissioning.

Glad you had a good time. :)
 

SarahB

Deckhand
Yes definitely a ship they should be proud of :D

Sorry for all the editing btw, just trying to fix all the fonts....the joys of cut & paste!
 

joespit

Deckhand
SarahB Thanks for the report. Sounds like you had a wonderful cruise. Glad you enjoyed the ship and crew.:joy:
 

Liz

Deckhand
Wonderful report, Sarah....you know, I could feel myself relaxing as I read it:clap: :clap: Something about the sea days.....sigh
 

Jackie

Deckhand
Sarah,
I had no complaints when on Galaxy; but true to form there were those who thought up reasons for refunds- mainly the wear & tear on the pool deck.
I wonder if she will be in for a re- furb soon.

You were lucky, Sarah with your Atlantic crossing.
I have heard of a neighbour who sailed through the Bay of Biscay last week in a Force 11 gale.( on Sea Princess) They were unable to get into La Cruna, but managed Bilbao.
The Staff Captain told them that the ship was very difficult to handle & when he went back to his cabin, it was flooded and trashed, even the TV was in the water. The cabins in the centre , low down in the ship escaped without damage, but those on the outside bore the brunt of the storm damage.
 

Dani

Deckhand
I just read that Celebrity is doing a roll-out of new bedding for all their ships. :joy:

It is going to start and take until sometime in 2007.

But it means new pillowtop mattress, high thread count sheets, etc. So Galaxy will certainly benefit from that fix up.

If the beds will be like Holland....Heavenly.
 

SarahB

Deckhand
Jackie said:
Sarah,
I had no complaints when on Galaxy; but true to form there were those who thought up reasons for refunds- mainly the wear & tear on the pool deck.
I wonder if she will be in for a re- furb soon.

You were lucky, Sarah with your Atlantic crossing.
I have heard of a neighbour who sailed through the Bay of Biscay last week in a Force 11 gale.( on Sea Princess) They were unable to get into La Cruna, but managed Bilbao.
The Staff Captain told them that the ship was very difficult to handle & when he went back to his cabin, it was flooded and trashed, even the TV was in the water. The cabins in the centre , low down in the ship escaped without damage, but those on the outside bore the brunt of the storm damage.
Jackie I know what you mean about the wear and tear, but I was quite impressed with Galaxy's condition overall considering she's 10 years old now and never had a major refit. We did hear someone talking on the ship that said she was booked in for a refit before her Transatlantic sailing back in December.
I doubt this true though her schedule is full up to then with Medditeranean cruises, but it will be interesting to see what they do with her as you say.

Regarding the crossing: we were lucky it was so smooth as we heard a lot of stories about when Century sailed over just before us. Apparantly the sea was so rough there were waves reaching deck 7 :shock:
 
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