Monday, May 4, 2015

Celebrity Summit Day 5 - Antigua

Summit in Antigua

Ron and I hadn’t made any specific plans for the day in Antigua. After two full-day excursions, we thought we’d just keep things simple and take the local bus to either a nearby beach or to Nelson’s Dockyard, an 18th century British Naval dockyard on the south end of the island. Since we were both a little sunburned by then, we decided Nelson’s Dockyard would be the better option.

We got off the ship around 9:30, armed with walking directions to the bus depot that I’d found on Cruise Critic’s Antigua forum. First we had to get through the gauntlet of tour and taxi ride salesmen. And I thought the vendors in Nassau were bad. It wasn’t so much that they were aggressive; it was just that there were so many of them. After about a 10-minute walk, we finally made it to the depot where the bus was waiting. We sat for a few more minutes until the bus filled up and then we were on our way. It was quite a ride! The bus had a huge crack across the windshield and Ron’s jump seat leaned back so far that he was almost in my lap. As the bus wound over the hills, I could hear the gears grinding and screeching. I’m pretty sure a few parts fell off along the way. When we stepped off at Nelson’s Dockyard 30 minutes later, the two guys at the ticket booth said, “Oh, you took the bus. You’re adventurous.” Yes, a little more than we’d planned to be. :-)

We spent a couple of hours at the dockyard, wandering around the restored Georgian-period buildings and taking pictures. Antigua’s Sailing Week was about to start in a few days so the docks were filled with beautiful sailboats from all over the world. It was nice just sitting at the shady bar by the docks, listening to the sailors chat and sipping an ice cold Rum and Ting.

Nelson's Dockyard
Nelson's Dockyard

Nelson's Dockyard

Antigua sailboat

Nelson's Dockyard pillars

flowers in window

Summit and fishing boats

Ron wasn’t too excited about riding the bus again so when we were ready to go, we stopped at the taxi stand to see how much it would cost to get back to the port. The dispatchers said it would be $30. $30 vs $3, that was a big difference. We decided to take our chances with the bus. Fortunately, our bus back was much nicer with cushy seats and good air conditioning. I actually dozed off and slept the whole way back to town.

setting sail from Antigua

Susan before dinner

That night we had dinner reservations with Mama and Daddy at Qsine, described by Celebrity as “uniquely unordinary”. It was really more of an event than a dinner. The restaurant had an Alice in Wonderland feel, with whimsical orange and white chairs and lamps hanging upside down from the ceiling. Our waitress Cardini explained the process. There were 20 different items on the iPad menu, each represented by a different icon. The dishes were meant to be shared, and Cardini suggested that we choose 6 or 7 items and designate a “captain” to coordinate our choices. I volunteered to be the captain and added our selected items to our Favorites list. Once we had made all our selections, Cardini submitted the order. Then the food started arriving.

First up was the Disco Shrimp, tiger shrimp with avocado, cucumber and aioli which came in a glass bowl with a flashing blue disco light. Next was Lobster Escargot, pretty much like regular escargot only with lobster. Lava Crab, a ball of Alaskan king crab covered with crunchy kataifi noodles and an Old Bay lobster sauce, was one of my favorites. Daddy’s choice, Chitini, was a sampler of Chinese dishes (orange chicken, kung pao shrimp, stir-fry vegetables and sweet and sour pork with rice and dipping sauces). Then came the Taco Royale, a tower of grilled beef tacos, served with the ingredients to make our own guacamole. Since I was captain, I had the job of mixing the guacamole. Our last dish was one of the best – Painter’s Mignon, filet mignon that came on a plate shaped like a painter’s palette with five tiny side dishes. I don’t usually eat steak but the filet was perfectly seasoned and tender. Between courses, we really enjoyed seeing all the other tables’ dishes coming out of the kitchen. Each dish was so uniquely and creatively presented.
We were all pretty full by then but we made room for dessert, gelato with sliced fruit and cupcakes that we could decorate ourselves (Daddy did the honors of decorating). Finally Cardini brought out the Strawberry Fields Forever, a tray of chocolate covered strawberries on sticks in a bed of grass. It was really a fun and memorable meal.


Qsine table

Qsine ceiling lamps

Qsine dessert
Strawberry Fields Forever

After dinner, we all headed back to our respective cabins. We had an early tour to look forward to in the morning.

Day 6 - St Martin/St Maarten

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