The Eclipse was only due to arrive in San Juan around 3 PM so that meant the morning was full of potential on-board activities. The time zone changed to Atlantic time, an hour ahead of Eastern Standard. I really intended to sleep a bit longer anyway, but no luck. We have had our sliding door onto to the verandah open each night so we get lots of fresh air so I wake to the sound of the sea. I took my laptop out onto my “office with a view” and caught up on writing till the coffee arrived at 7 am.
I am actually quite impressed with the wireless internet access on this ship compared to my experience on previous cruise ships. They must have some very powerful routers on board as the wireless access in really good even in the cabin and on the verandah. Hopefully on my next cruises coming up on the Sapphire Princess and the Queen Mary II, they will have improved the strength of their wireless signals too.
Sunday morning early - the first full day on board and I was so eager to find out about the Celebrity Life Activities that I woke up before sunrise. It was 6 am and the Eclipse was moving swiftly but smoothly on her way to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was writing my travelblogue from the spacious balcony of our cabin, seated in a comfortable chair with a strong breeze whipping up my hair, and listening to the sound of the water rushing by against the hull of the ship. It seems that my internal clock wakes me at 6 regardless of the time zone.
We had ordered room service breakfast for later this morning – coffee for me, tea for Pat, and some fruit. As well I thought I would try out their plain yogurt. The tray arrived on time. The yogurt however was a no-fat variety and had that slimy texture that comes from thickeners. That’s why at home I love the thick Greek style yogurt that has no additives. Crossed this brand of yogurt off my list for the rest of this trip. But the sliced pineapple was sweet and delicious. And the coffee was hot.
Today was my first opportunity to check out the Celebrity Activity Lets Dance Program. The dancers who perform in the shows teach these lessons. The first one listed was a waltz lesson with Vitaliy and Anna. It was held in the stunning Sky Lounge at the front of the ship on deck 14. There is a medium sized circular dance floor there. It’s a marble floor – so not great for the legs but certainly a nice space. The problem is that it does not come with dance partners!
Maybe twenty-six people showed up for the lesson. I was curious to see what they would cover in the time allowed. They demonstrated a basic box and a turning box, a hesitation step forward and sideways, and a promenade step. At the end they played one waltz for people to practice what they had learned and I sat and watched. It was fascinating to see the difference in what people had picked up and how they moved in time to the music – or not.
Shortly after that the next class was scheduled in the Foyer on deck 3, which also has a marble floor. This class was cha cha cha with Philippe and Remy. About the same number of people crowded onto the floor.
Remy, who is English, said that they would be teaching International style cha cha cha and indeed they taught the basic step, the New York step and an underarm turn. I decided I could lead those steps so I partnered with Pat to practice.I am not a very good leader though as I have not developed that aspect of my dancing and in fact, my main objective these days is to be able to follow anyone on the dance floor easily.
This is my first time aboard a Celebrity Cruise Ship, and the first cruise I have taken in recent years that has not been with my favorite ballroom dance group, Dancers at Sea. My cruises in the past three years have been on the Princess and Cunard lines, with one New Year Cruise in the Caribbean on Costa.
As this is my first cruise on Celebrity and each cruise line has its own unique flavour, I an really curious to see how Celebrity compares with my previous experiences. As a food writer and foodie, the culinary aspects of the cruise are really important to me. And of course, I am also especially interested in the aspect of dance opportunities on the Celebrity fleet. As well, on the dance cruises I am usually more interested in dancing myself than seeing the dancers and singers in the shows, so this time, I will have the time to get to see each of the shows on board too. So on-board food and wine experiences, music and dance, and the production shows are the aspects to which I will pay particular attention on this cruise.
Friday, January 1st, 2010 Dance workshops while cruising back through the East Caribbean
Last night we had a raucous and fun-filled New Year's Eve party. Despite only a couple of hours sleep I was as energetic as usual when I woke up - though I was really craving coffee. i think Mike got to bed about the time I usually wake up at home so I didn't think he would make it to the workshop at 10 am. When our coffee and breakfast did not arrive at the expected time I called to find out where it was. Apparently some yoyos had taken the room service card off our door - it later turned up outside the door of an empty cabin further up the corridor.
Jeoffrey however worked his magic with the kitchen staff and a tray of coffees arrived quickly. We poured cups of coffee, expresso and cappucino down our throats - and "presto- we were dancing fools". That's a great quickstep number by the way - "Dancing Fool" by Manilow - the version I have is really nice but a very quick quickstep!
By the time we had to assemble for the workshops we were all ready to go. Surprisingly considering last night was a wild party, almost everyone turned up for the workshops. And they concentrated.
Here are some of the guys learning their parts.
Wendy had scheduled Robert to teach a tango workshop first. He showed us the sequence, dancing it with Wendy.
Starting in promenade position it was a walk to a ronde, fallaway to two pivots and then - tango close. Huh! I think I actually used correct terminology. I also wrote down the timing because that makes it easier for me to think about it.
So it is
SQQS(ronde with right foot)
QQS& (thats the fallaway- step pivot)
S& (that's the next step pivot)