Rum Journal: Finding the Perfect Bar on a Caribbean Cruise Ship

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Above: the Ensemble Lounge (All photos by CJ)

MONDAY night in a dimly-lit bar. Slow jazz plays. There are high-backed chairs and muted conversations. The bartenders mix and pour and mix again.

Then the whole room moves.

Not a lot, but enough to remind you that you’re not in a jazz club in Midtown Manhattan — you’re in the middle of the Atlantic ocean en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

This is the Ensemble Lounge, an elegant, clubby, good-old-fashioned bar on the Celebrity Reflection cruise ship.

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The rum selection here is exclusive, with three primary choices: Ron Zacapa, Pyrat and Mount Gay Extra old, and the Bajan favourite often emerged victorious.

The skilled barman, Kavi, knows exactly when the glasses empty, always appearing with a replacement without the need for a cue — some kind of magician. It’s not magic, though, just the kind of service you wish you’d find on land.

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Each night here, the rum flows, and the bass line walks.

And sometimes, in this bar, the room moves. And it moves you, too.

That’s when you know you’re in the right place.

— CJ

 

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