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There's a very simple way to get 'Chrystalized!' All you need is one cruise during which the service people say 'It's my pleasure, sir' after they answer one of your questions. Food, Food, Food, Service, Service, Service!! Both the food and the service was exquisite! We enjoyed a Captain's welcome aboard party with open bar and food; a Captain's party for first time cruisers; and a Captain's farwell party--all with open bar and food. There many, many little touches which Chrystal provides and puts them into a six star category. Thanks to the info provided on this board we asked for caviar every day and got it. We had the pleasure of eating twice in both the Prego and Kyoto speciality restaurants. The quality of the entertainment on board is very high. Mary Lou Retton was a special speaker on our trip during which she described herself as a daughter of a coal miner and went on to be an olympic gold medalist. This incredible lady was on board with two of her four children--one of whom asked her Mom if she could do a back flip for the audience--her Mom said yes as long as she would only do one. I took a Yamahaw (sp) keyboard class for six sessions and now I can play a simplified version of Ode to Joy with two hands--how great is that? The grand buffet for lunch blew me away! There were to ice sculptures along with two margarine sculptures--one of a 4 foot high bird and another of a castle. The food display may have been beyond anything I have seen before. We entered Tracy Arm which had a large aount of ice flowing off from the Sawyer glacier. A Captain from a Holland America ship phoned our Captain and said he had to turn around because of the large amounts of ice. In spite of this fact, our Captain dealt with the ice and showed our passengers the Sawyer glacier. Your get what you pay for and six star is six star!!! Needless to say, my partner and I have been thoroughly Crystalized!!
Hey CrystalKid--Yes, of course. We booked a trip in October, 2005, from Rome to Barcelona on Serenity. However, we may or may not do this because it will depend on our getting a reaonably cost flight from SFO to Rome and back from Barcelona. We will start to look for flights tomorrow. However, of this trip turns out to be too clostly, we will book the value cruise on Serenity in December from Fort Lauderdale to LA thru the Panama Canal. IMPORTANT AND FORGET TO MENTION. We were told by the future sales person on Harmony that the STEX program will be continued for 2006 with a new program (as yet unnamed and as yet with no details) for 2007. Also important, in 2006 value cruises will be eligible for the On board booking discount and Crystal Society discount. How great is that? If anyone has questions regarding Harmony--I will be happy to try to answer.
You know you've been Crystalized when you hit the Cruise Critic boards merely hours after returning home from the ship!
Yes, it was a fantastic voyage and we really enjoyed the time spent with you both.
If you've booked Harmony to Alaska this summer, I doubt you'll be disappointed. From our experience, the crew maintains their usual high standards despite the fact that Harmony's days are coming to a close. In fact, the sailing seemed very festive to us with a number of impromptu things happening. For starters, one night while having pre-dinner cocktails in the Crystal Cove, pianist Richard Berman noticed Cody Gay, the lead male vocalist of the Crystal singer/dance team, sitting with his family. Richard approached Cody and asked him to sing a couple of numbers, with Richard accompanying on the piano. Cody agreed and the two performed as though they had rehearsed for days (they hadn't!). Crowds gathered and everything came to a grinding halt during the mini-concert. After a couple of numbers, the crowd rose to thundrous applause. A few nights later, Richard cornered Bernard Walz and the two of them performed piano duets. Richard Berman is Crystal Cove's senior pianist, and this closing season on Harmony is no doubt very sentimental to him. I'm sure impromptu things of this nature will continue aboard Harmony as employees reminisce with one another. They are having fun and we passengers get to reap the benefits as well.
It's difficult to pinpoint one highlight of this voyage because we had great weather, a superb cast of entertainers and speakers, and of course Crystal's signature service. But for us, the true highlight was stepping aboard ship and being recognized and greeted by SO MANY of the same employees we sailed with last year. We of course recognized them, but were dumbfounded when they would look at us, get that "I've seen that guy somewhere before" expression on their face, then make a bee-line to greet us with "welcome back". Priceless!
I'm sure I'll think of more to add later once my numbness wares off, but for now here's one story...
Thanks to Paws10 (Patty) and Cruzpro (Ernie) I was bound and determined to have the infamous Eduard as our waiter. So determined that I skipped dessert at embarkation lunch (heaven forbid missing ONE dessert!) so I could take my turn in line to meet w/Victor at 1:30pm. When my turn came in the inner sanctum (better known as the Century Lounge) Victor explained we were at a table for four on the window with our friends. I told Victor I was thrilled with the table location, however really wanted to be seated in Eduard's section. I was willing to give up our primo table and fully expected to have to do so. But Victor, being the great maitre'd he is, said he had no other special requests for Eduard, and would therefore assign Eduard to "our" section. Talk about having your cake and eat it too. But then, this IS Crystal, right?
Wecome home BEAV!! 12 days really flies doesn't it. You seemed to have a terrific cruise to Alaska sort of the norm for Crystal. Glad you insisted on Eduard he's one of the best waiters I've ever had and in the beginning Momma and I went down to dinner every night. BTW you didn't mention any cruise critic get togethers or parties up on deck 10. With this said I'm saving space for yall on November 8th thru the 18th to Mexico. Don't tell me it's too early I want to go back to Alaska right now on the Harmony of course.
Welcome home! Can't wait to hear all about your trip and read your review! How did you like Eduard? Was Samrat your assistant waiter as well? I hope you gave them my regards!
Missed the Harmony so much that I went to SF yesterday to catch a glimpse of her! Can't wait to get back on her again. I think the Harmony's webcam is messed up. Couldn't catch the sailaway; the date still says June 10th.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
For all of us eagerly awaiting the anticpated Beav etal reports from the Harmony seemed take FOREVER to post. I can only hope our 6/23 cruise moves at not too fast a pace once we board. Welcome home all and thanks for adding to our anticipation.
ijkh--I too, am waiting for BEAV to have time to report on our cruise with BEAV having such an excellent writing skill. In the meantime, if there is anything you would like to know, I will be happy to try to answer. We were very fortunate to have excellent weather in all but Glacier Bay where it rained all day--however, despite the rain, it was clear enough for everyone to enjoy two spectacular glaciers and many, many waterfalls. The night before we arrived there, all passengers were given a National Park Service map of Glacier Bay. Two female rangers were picked up on the morning of our trip into the bay and provided commentary. We traveled up John Hopkins inlet, then turned around and traveled up Tarr inlet and stopped at Margerie Glacier for some period of time. That glacier was described as about one mile wide and about 225 feet high. We were about 1/4 mile away from the glacier--it was spectacular. Most of the Margerie glacier showed beautiful blue white ice--the area to the extreme left looked dirty from the amount of rock and other sediment picked up by the glacier as it moved to the inlet. To the right of Margerie glacier was the Grand Pacific glacier which looked all 'dirty.' There was very little 'calving' from Margerie glacier but it was spectacular to see. Hope this info helps--but any questions, please ask.
Where did the rangers do the commentary -- Palm Court, loudspeaker system, etc. I want to be sure to hear it. On our first Alaska cruise (not on Crystal), there was no commentary or brochure. Were the brochures delivered to the clip outside your door or were they at the front desk? Thanks.
Judith--The night before our entrance into Glacier Bay, the Glacier Bay National Parki maps were placed on the clip outside all doors. The ranges got on the morning we entered Glacier Bay--I saw them having breakfast in the Lido cafeteria. They spoke from the bridge, one of them was available with a 'show and tell' information stand in the Palm Court which included various pieces of animal fur to touch, and they showed a movie about Glacier Bay in the Hollywood Theatre about 2:30PM. I think the movie lasted for 20 to 30 minutes. While they were stationed in the Palm Court, they were available for questions. I hope this info helps. I forgot to add in my previous posts that Harmony is a very, very beautiful ship--after having been on her, I am very sorry to see her leave the fleet for Japan. The fountain is still broken across from the main reception area on deck 5, but it is still beautiful to see.
More info--The ship's captain does a commentary almost every morning at 9AM. While it is not broadcast in staterooms, if you turn the TV on to channel 33 you can hear everything he has to say such as position of the ship, outside temperature, depth of the water under the ship, etc. We found it was easier to hear him in detail from the TV than attempting to hear him out on the balcony of our stateroom. The days the captain delivers this info will be listed in the daily paper called Reflections.