Baltics Cruise June 2014 - Day 1 Sailaway

Check in was relatively easy even though I'd forgotten the tickets, what did amuse me was that I used my phone to show security whereas mum had printed hers out. Scary technology, he wasn't happy with mine and we had to show extra ID. Love the fact that paper printout is seen as more secure than showing the tickets on a mobile.
So far we are probably skewing the age range significantly, cruising is still very much an older person holiday and as such I got told off for not standing forward on the escalator as I turned to talk to mum, I guess older people can't turn as quick or something and might fall or something silly, hopefully that's a one off safety warning as I am capable of using escalators.

First impressions of the ship are that it is nice but doesn't quite have the class of the P&O Arcadia. This is our first time on the celebrity brand of ships and when it comes to cruising I do enjoy the formal side of it but this seems a bit more casual. So we grab some lunch, loads to choose from but I'm going to start easy, we have 14 days of this and we were told later on that night people can gain one pound a day which seems excessive, a whole stone on a two week holiday, I'm not going to let that happen.

So after dumping our bags and unpacking we head to the Martini bar, now that I am impressed with, definitely trendier than the other cruise bars we’ve seen. Only trouble is that the drinks aren't included in the classic free drinks package but more on that later.

So we grab a couple of drinks then it's time for our safety briefing, following that we all head poolside where we watch the sail away and by some miracle the sun is shining.

Cocktail of the day is Pirates Punch, gold rum, dark rum, orange and pineapple, so we enjoy a few of those, next round I head to the bar to find out exactly what drinks are included in the classic package and the bar man kindly informs me that for an extra $10.50 a day we can upgrade to the premium package. Given we had the classic package as a free perk which is usually $50 each a day this is music to our ears since yes you can get a lot of drinks but practically all the good cocktails are more expensive. Given the premium cocktails are between $10 and $15 just having one a day makes the upgrade worth it. So I cancel my rum and coke order and try out a premium mojito, yummy.

We head back to the room to get ready for the evening then meet up with the parents to head down for food. To be honest I wasn't that impressed with the food, there was a large selection and it wasn't bad but either I'd remembered the previous cruise food as better than it was or so far this cruise just isn't as good. We skip dessert so we can catch the evening show.

As it turns out tonight is really only a preview of the acts that will be performing later in the week. First was a Chinese man displaying many faces, kind of a strange act where he has these masks that with slight of hand he appears to change without moving, quite hard to explain without seeing it. Next is a fantastic performance by a Ukrainian lady playing the violin and it ends with a show from the cabaret team.

We find a nice cocktail bar and I try out a pomegranate mojito and some ginger based drink then wander over to the top deck bar where mum and I have a boogie.
Seems other than the bars having live music or singers there isn't much entertainment going on tonight, apparently the first night is fairly quiet, seems I'm the only one who wants to go large to start the holiday :-)

We go out on deck for a couple of photos, its a lovely evening and sunset even if it is very windy.

As we head down to find a bar on a lower deck we come across the molecular bar, now if you know anything about me you know I'm a cocktail connoisseur, well this is like ending up in heaven. True mixology, the explanations sound like something you'd find on a Heston menu. Well 23 cocktails in total, 14 nights, by the end of this blog I will declare the winner. They do have a whole section dedicated to bourbon and whisky based drinks so between Al and I we'll divide and conquer.

Al starts with an Hawaiian lava, fig infused woodford reserve, navan, grilled grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, orange bitters and Hawaiian lava saffron spiced salt rim.

Al describes this as a complex blend of subtle flavours and gives it a high 9 out of 10.

I chose an avocado mezcal, scorpion blanco mezcal, Cointreau, midori, agave nectar, fresh lime juice, avocado, cactus and lemongrass salt. This comes as a blended frozen cocktail, I usually prefer sweet cocktails so yes this was good and the avocado worked so well but I can't see it winning the award for best cocktail of the holiday and I'd give it a 7.

Next up we share a Ginger mojito, Bacardi 8 rum, domain de canton, ginger liqueur, sugar cane juice, lime, mint, passion ginger foam. Well mojitos are one of a select few of favourites for me anyway and I'm also a huge fan of ginger so how could it not shoot right up to first place. Wow, now yes I have had quite a bit to drink already but I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say this is possibly the best cocktail I've ever tried, 10 out of 10 (photo of one later in the blog).

Well time to say good night to the parents and it's off to the nightclub Quasar for us to check it out. Needless to say it wasn't full but the tunes were surprisingly good so we had a boogie as slowly everyone left and we had the place to ourselves for a few songs.

This meant I got the opportunity to do a few dance floor burpees to add to my random collection of places to burpee. Before heading back to the room we headed up on deck and enjoyed milk and cookies in the deserted restaurant where we were the only people except a few of the staff. Early verdict, still a fan of cruising and despite the ship perhaps not being as grand nothing beats the bars here.