Cruising in the Coral Sea...Photos of our cabin...Ironing out the wrinkles..Exceptional service...

Our cabin is comfortable and roomier than on some ships at 194 square feet (18 square meters).  The balcony is 54 square feet (5 square meters). We have plenty of storage space for our clothing and supplies when able to store our luggage under the bed, leaving ample walking space.
On day 10 of 14 days on a powerful course of antibiotics for Helicobactor Pylori, I've finally turned the corner.  I can't say how excited we are that the symptoms are finally abating a little each day. 

When we reviewed past posts and recalled I'd purchased "digestive enzymes" over a year ago while living in New Zealand, I realized this issue escalated over a period of 15 months. shortly after I consumed the squid and octopus in Fiji in 2015 with no ill effects at the time. 

Later in Bali, I was sickened by eating squid after which the symptoms further escalated.  It took us time to figure this out.  Travelers are highly prone to contracting intestinal bacteria.

Adding my nightly two glasses of wine during the 33 night cruise circumventing Australia in November, 2016, the symptoms exacerbated to the point where I became ill shortly after the cruise ended while we were living in Penguin, Tasmania beginning on December 3, 2016.

Alternative view of our cabin.  The closet has plenty of hangers, an umbrella, a safe and additional storage.  Twice daily our cabin steward delivers ice. In the afternoon, canapes are delivered which Tom enjoys.
Two factors beyond the medication that may have contributed to this recent improvement; eating very small meals with no starter, no salad and no cheese plate for dessert and; avoiding ice in my water and beverages which can irritate the intestinal tract. For now, only warm or room temperature beverages for me. I could jump for joy.
In the future when hopefully all the symptoms are gone, I may be able to eat enough to satisfy my appetite and also have a glass of iced tea from time to time.  But, if this is the way I have to eat going forward, I can live with it. 

Perhaps my days of one meal a day are over since at this time I can't eat enough for adequate nutrition in only one meal per day nor can I feel I've had enough to eat. 

View from our balcony prior to leaving Sydney.
As for drinking wine in the future, its totally "off the table" although my mouth watered last night at dinner when one of our table mates took the first sip of a glass of a fine Pinot Noir.  So it goes.  Feeling well and healthy is always more important to me than food or wine.

Speaking of cocktails, when we booked this cruise one of the perks was the Premium Drink Package for two which allows for upper end beverages, specialty coffees and bottled water.  For Tom, a died-in-the-wool Courvoisier aficionado, having the opportunity to order "VSOP" was high on his radar.

Once we were situated on the cruise and Tom placed his first drink order, he was told the VSOP was not included in our "Classic Beverage Package."  We were both surprised when we recalled the documents specifically stating we were entitled to the Premium Package.

Luna Park in the Sydney Harbour.
Once back in our cabin, we verified on our computers that our drink package was indeed the Premium Package and contacted the customer service department by phone.  Their records showed we had the "Classic" (basic) package. 

We had no choice but to contact Vacations To Go to see if they could help. Our rep, Shanon, contacted Celebrity directly to confirm we were correct in assuming we were entitled to the Premium package based on our documents. 

By this morning all was resolved and the Premium package would be would be honored.  Thanks to Shanon for quickly resolving this.  It was the first time we'd ever contacted VTG to assist us once we boarded a ship.  Any other inequities were easily resolved on our own. 

View of Sydney from the ship.
Another issue which may seem petty to some was the fact there was no sugar free vanilla syrup available in Cafe al Bacio which I'd been able to order on all past cruises, enabling me to enjoy a coffee beverage. I'd requested a decaf with sugar free vanilla syrup and heavy cream (instead of milk).  We asked several staff members to no simply wasn't on board and there was nothing they could do.

As many of our loyal members recall from past posts, one of the greatest pleasures we've enjoyed on a ship has been availability of these specialty coffees.  Feeling better today, I was longing for a cup.

This morning I noticed the beverage manager standing in the coffee service area and decided to see what he could do.  With 40 minutes, the chef made a batch of sugar free vanilla syrup from scratch using a high quality alcohol free vanilla and I was presented with the perfect Vanilla Macchioto.

Alternate view of the ship, Celebrity Solstice, one of our favorite ships.
This is why we love Celebrity.  They are exceptional in satisfying every passenger's desires and continue to provide me with small exceptional meals and now, my favorite coffee drink.  At this time, I'll have  only try one cup each day providing it doesn't have a negative impact on my digestive tract.  We'll see how it goes.  How I've missed coffee over these past many months!

Need I say, I'm floating only inches from the ceiling.  On top of it, I just spent US $129, AU $170 on four items of clothing in one of this ship's clothing stores; tow tops and two somewhat dressy zippered sweatshirts. 

They were having a sale with many items marked at 50% off.  Now, I'll have four long sleeve items to keep me warm which I've been longing for the past many months.  With our non-refundable cabin credit of US $375, AU $495 and the gratuities, Wi-Fi (for two) and beverages included in our fare, if we don't use the credit, we'll lose it at the end of the cruise.

Books with many newer titles are available at no cost in the ship's library.
I need to convince Tom to spend the remaining US $246, AU $325 on himself.  Mr. Hate-to-Shop needs to go on a little spending spree before all the good items are gone, gone, gone.

Today at 2:00 pm we'll attend Cruise Critic's arranged "cabin crawl" when the members tour a number of the more upscale cabins oohing and aahing over the luxurious staterooms.  Too much fun!

Have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 3, 2017:

Ellouise almost looked as if she was smiling as she watched her cria's birth, going as nature intended with the front legs first  We were also relieved and excited for the experience while the owners were away on holiday as we agreed to oversee the births.  Wonderful opportunity! Trish and Neal named him "Minnesota" for Tom.  An ealier cria who's birth we oversaw was a female they named "Miss Jessica" for me.  Each season they use the next letter in the alphabet and that season they we on "M"'s. For a video and the balance of these photos, please click here.


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