About 90% of our cruise was really great, but I would be less than truthful if I left out the other 10%. We loved our stateroom and stewardess, our Spanish Creative Learning class (Larry was a natural), our dance lessons (Larry was not a natural at the rumba), Larry's golf games in port, my excursions in Mexico and our joint one in San Diego to the Oceanographic Center (GREAT), the food, the sommelier (Georgina) and the wine tasting in the Dining Room, our tablemates (four marvelous people we had a lot of fun with on the cruise expecially on the Lido Deck at the Sangria Sail Away party from Cobos San Lucas), the buffets and afternoon teas, the excellent job done by the photographers, the Captain (he wore a red sock and a green sock to tell port from starboard!!), and our waiter.
Now for the 10%. First, Larry runs five miles on the Promenade Deck every evening before dinner. On all of our other cruises, it has always been daylight. On this one it got dark around six. When he got to the aft portion of the deck, there were no lights. He said it really was dangerous because it was pitch black, and he reported it four times. No one ever responded to his reports. That bothered us. Near the end of the cruise, we spoke to the Assistant Chief Engineer. He checked into it and found out that it was bothersome to the navigation to have those lights on. I surely hope no one ever falls.
I never realized how much a great head waiter does to make our dinners exceptional -- until we didn't have one. I don't think I saw enough of him to identify him in a lineup. I never learned his name. He never asked if we would like a special pasta, dessert, salad, anything. One night he was making bananas foster for another table and our waiter asked if we would like some. We never got it. We didn't get our last night menus. Larry went to see the maitre d' on disembarkation day and got packets for me and another of our tablemates. We saw lots of other people with them. Our waiter was excellent but it was our assistant waiter's first cruise. Things got forgotten a few times or the wrong thing brought. By the end of the cruise, he had improved to "very good" status. A good head waiter would have helped there also.
The lecturers and variety entertainers were not up to the par we expect from Crystal. I felt that the bookings for this cruise fell in the crack between the Holiday Cruise and the World Cruise.
But like I said, that was only 10%. We had a super vacation and can't wait for the next two in 2005. We booked one already for 2006. The schedule looks great. Nikki Andrew, the sales representative was busy every moment with people booking. Our cruise had about 750-800 people with about 400 being Crystal Society members. The formal night cocktail parties and the informal night Crystal Society party were wonderful: we danced and the Captain was in rare form with his jokes. It was his last cruise on Serenity; he joins Symphony after a vacation.