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About CharleMarg

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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    Brisbane Australia
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    Travel; fine dining; wine; beaches;
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  1. Reflections for today, here in Victoria, British Columbia (one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited!). Reflections 190819.pdf
  2. August 18 - Cruising Queen Charlotte Sound Sunday, 18 August 2019 5:30 PM I've just finished doing two loads of laundry (it's 5:30PM as I begin composingthis update), and now Margaret is in the laundrette, ironing a few items of clothing, which will cover us until we depart LAX on Friday evening, and arrive home in Brisbane early on Sunday morning. Today is the last sea day of our cruise, and it's been a thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable day for Margaret & me (even though both of us were awake before 5:00AM, and couldn't get back to sleep). Being a sea day, there were numerous activities and enrichment options available, as you can see by reading the Reflections daily newsletter for today: <<Reflections 190818.pdf>> As much as I wanted to hear Governor Tom Ridge speak again, I decided to go to the gym instead, because (due to a shoulder injury) I hadn’t lifted weights in over six weeks, and I felt like I needed a workout…BADLY. Crystal provides TechnoGym equipment onboard, which is the same brand (though different types of weight machines) as Margaret & I train on at the gym we go close to our home in Bulimba (Brisbane) Queensland Australia. The ocean was the roughest it has been during the cruise (to be expected, as we're no longer cruising the Inside Passage), though was very far from being the worst we've ever experienced during a cruise. However, Margaret was feeling a little seasick, so we went to the reception desk on Deck 5, where Margaret got some medication (which Crystal provides at no charge). Thankfully, within an hour, Margaret was feeling much better (thankfully, I've never suffered seasickness). Today was "Stateroom Open House" day, where Crystal has a few selected staterooms and suites open for inspection (a great marketing and "upsell" initiative!!), so Margaret & I went and viewed all of them. During our first four cruises on Crystal (two on Serenity, and two on Symphony), we had a Verandah stateroom, but on out last three cruises (including this one), we have chosen to book a Deluxe Stateroom with Large Picture Window, limited view (E1). This works for us, as we are only rarely in our stateroom during the day, and when we had a Verandah, we didn't take advantage of it all that often. Lunch was with our friend Penny (who has well and truly been "Crystallized"), and we are having dinner with Penny in Umi Um this evening. In relation to Penny having been Crystallized, this occurred early on the first day of the cruise, and if anything, Penny is now (exactly like Margaret & me) more than just a satisfied passenger, but a "raving fan" of Crystal Cruises. Example: On the second or third day of the cruise, Penny said to me over the phone from her stateroom "I've been trying to find something to criticise or complain about, and I finally did; they don’t provide shower caps". When I repeated this to Margaret, she took me by the arm, led me into the bathroom, and pointed to the two boxes od shower caps next to the soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc., in the rack on the wall above the toilet. I then let Penny know this, and she replied "faultless thus far". Margaret & I like being part of the "Crystal Family", and we both agree that we feel extremely appreciative, fortunate, and thankful that we are able to experience and enjoy a Crystal cruise every eighteen months or so, and we are already very much looking forward to boarding Crystal Symphony in Athens on September 20, 2020 for a twenty one day cruise (consisting of three separate seven day cruises) from Athens to Barcelona: https://www.crystalcruises.com/voyage/athens-to-barcelona-ocs200920-21#overview It's a Wonderful World!!
  3. With Microsoft OneNote, I have no way (that I am aware of) to see how many people are viewing my notebook for this Alaskan Grandeur cruise. If you don't mind doing so, I would appreciate you posting a reply here on Cruise Critic to let me know if you are (or have been) reading the notebook. Regards and many thanks, Charles
  4. I have now updated my Trip Report notebook for our day in Ketchikan yesterday (August 17): August 17 - Ketchikan, Alaska Sunday, 18 August 2019 4:30 PM Ketchikan, the "Salmon Capital of the World". Ketchikan is how I envisioned Alaska, and it certainly didn't disappoint in any way whatsoever. If you're interested in reading a little about Ketchikan, here is the Reflections daily newsletter for August 17: <<Reflections 190817.pdf>> There were three cruise ships (including Crystal Symphony) in port in Ketchikan: Disney Wonder (2,713 passengers; 950 crew) Grand Princess (2,100 passengers; 1,150 crew) And Crystal Symphony (848 passengers; 545 crew) Following are some photos and videos of our day exploring Ketchikan: Ketchikan Welcome Sign The History of Arctic Bar We Didn't See Any Bears in Ketchikan (other than the ones above) Before Margaret & I Were Married, Her Surname was Hopkins Salmon Capital of the World Immediately upstream from where the Salmon above is facing, Margaret & I stood above the running creek, and enjoyed watching the following: <<Salmon in Ketchikan.MOV>> About thirty metres/thirty two yards below where we were standing when I took the above video, we could see salmon in the water, waiting their turn to head upstream. Nature at its BEST!! Interesting Historical Sign in Ketchikan Chief Johnson Totem Pole in Ketchikan Chief Johnson Totem Pole Facts Margaret in Ketchikan Margaret & I had a truly wonderful time in Ketchikan, and were in agreement we were so pleased this port was part of our cruise itinerary. Photos and Videos don't copy and paste from my OneNote notebook to Cruise Critic, so you may access them here: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AmbYMPurTz3jhsd3KKKnjJhVQo2BSQ
  5. Thank you for the feedback Keith, as it makes me more motivated to include information on "local" activities and things to do in each unique port. The longer this cruise goes, the more Margaret & I are loving Alaska! We have friends who went on an Alaskan cruise (not Crystal) last year, and they've proposed we go together in four or five years; if Crystal is here in one of those years, we just might do so.
  6. Reflections newsletter for our day at sea today, August 18, en Route to Victoria, British Columbia. I have updated my OneNote notebook for our day in Sitka (Friday, August 16), and it has so many photos which won't copy and paste here on Cruise Critic, so please click the URL below if you'd like to read the notebook (no password required): https://1drv.ms/u/s!AmbYMPurTz3jhsd3KKKnjJhVQo2BSQ I will update the notebook later today to cover our day in Ketchikan yesterday. Reflections 190818.pdf
  7. August 15 - Hoonah, Alaska Saturday, 17 August 2019 6:30 AM From the Reflections daily newsletter for Thursday, August 15: After so many late nights, Margaret & I enjoyed sleeping in until around 9:00AM (we're usually early risers when home, often waking around 6:00AM), and then we watched a rebroadcast of "Symphony Today with Weather Updates" hosted by cruise director Russ Thomas Grieve and bandmaster David Price. The guest launderettes were reopened a day earlier than we had initially been told, so I went and put a load of whites in the washer around 11:30AM. Margaret & I met Penny at 12:15PM for lunch in Waterside, then we headed out to explore around Icy Strait Point: The View from Icy Strait Point/Hoonah Information on the Fire Which Destroyed Most of Hoonah in 1944 Bear Facts Alaska Facts I Didn't Eat the Reindeer Chili Dinner was again with Penny and Mike, this time in Waterside. Photos and Videos don't copy and paste from my OneNote notebook to Cruise Critic, so you may access them here: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AmbYMPurTz3jhsd3KKKnjJhVQo2BSQ
  8. Reflections daily newsletter for Saturday, August 17 in Ketchikan, Alaska. Reflections 190817.pdf
  9. Reflections for today, in Sitka, Alaska. Reflections 190816.pdf
  10. Hi Robin, During Crystal White Extravaganza last night, I read both your messages to Russ, and I could tell he was genuinely "touched". Russ then said "if you communicate with Robin tell her I send hugs and kisses to her". I took a photo of Russ for you, so if you'll message me your email address, I will send it to you.
  11. The cruise director is Russ Thomas Grieve, who joined Crystal from Azamara. He is FANTASTIC!!
  12. Reflections daily newsletter for Thursday, August 15 in Hoonah, Alaska. Reflections 190815.pdf
  13. August 14 - Juneau, Alaska Thursday, 15 August 2019 4:30 PM There are four cruise ships in port here in Juneau today, with a total capacity of 12,292: Royal Princess (3,600 passengers; 1,346 crew): Star Princess (2,100 passengers; 1,205 crew): Holland America Westerdam (1,848 passengers; 800 crew): And Crystal Symphony (848 passengers; 545 crew). Margaret & I took the complimentary shuttle bus from where Crystal Symphony was docked into "downtown" Juneau (the capital city of Alaska). John & Tony were on the bus, so we walked through Juneau with them. The four of us agreed Juneau was much more "touristy" than we had expected, with nothing much more than watch, jewellery, and souvenir shops, as well as a few bars and restaurants. Juneau We were back onboard Crystal Symphony less than ninety minutes after leaving the ship. Margaret & I went to Trident Grill and we shared a Margarita pizza. Margarita Pizza in Trident Grill We had a quiet and relaxing afternoon, then met Penny, and Mike (from Portland, who Penny had dined with for dinner on the Black Tie Optional evening) for drinks in Crystal Cove before the four of us went to dinner at Prego. Margaret & Charles in Prego The entire dining experience was exactly as nice and enjoyable as Margaret & I remembered from our previous cruises on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity (though we haven't been on Serenity since disembarking in Venice in May 2014). After dinner, the four of us went to the Avenue Saloon to me entertained by Mark Farris. I don't know how Mark does it, but he remembers the names of almost all the patrons, as well as where they are from. When we entered, Mark said "welcome Charles and Margaret from Brisbane". Mark then let everyone know Margaret & I have been married for twenty five years, and he then proceeded to get me up on stage with him, where he asked me a few questions about the sharing of Margaret's & my household duties. I believe I acquitted myself rather well, and it was nice to have been recognised and remembered by Mark. Since we last disembarked from Crystal Symphony on March 18, 2018, Margaret & I would not have partied and stayed awake past midnight more than four or five times. However, after five nights of this cruise, we have only gotten back to our room once before midnight.
  14. Thank you Keith for letting me know you are reading my Cruise Report online notebook, and I'm glad you're enjoying doing so. It truly is a "Wonderful World", and Margaret & I are so very thankful and appreciative to be on another cruise on Crystal Symphony...!!
  15. Photos and Videos don't copy and paste from my OneNote notebook to Cruise Critic, so you may access them here: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AmbYMPurTz3jhsd3KKKnjJhVQo2BSQ August 13 - Haines, Alaska Tuesday, 13 August 2019 3:00 PM Penny, Margaret & I were off the ship around 10:00AM, and we enjoyed a nice, leisurely walk around the quaint and picturesque town of Haines, Alaska: https://www.visithaines.com/ Here are some photos Margaret & I took here in Haines earlier today: Haines, Alaska, Viewed from Crystal Symphony Crystal Symphony Docked at Haines, Alaska Memorial in Haines, Alaska Charles in Downton Haines US Post Office in Haines Remains of Fort Seward Barracks (Destroyed by a Fire) Plenty of Firewood for the Coming Winter Margaret & Charles in Haines We were back onboard Crystal Symphony just before Noon, and soon on the Lido Deck, where I spent time updating this notebook with our activities from yesterday (and then started the update for today). Sailaway is scheduled for 6:00PM (one hour and twenty minutes from now), but since we left Vancouver about fifteen minutes early (I was still in our stateroom when we left, so missed hearing "What a Wonderful World), Margaret & I plan on being outside no later than 5:40PM. Update (3:30PM Wednesday, August 14): As you can see in the video, I made it to Sailaway: <<Sailaway from Haines.mp4>> We had a reservation to have dinner in Prego with Penny, but after having seen the menus for Waterside, the three of us agreed we would rather dine there instead: <<Crystal Modern 190813.jpeg>> <<Crystal Classics 190813.jpeg>> Unusually for us (though we share a love of good food & wine, Margaret & I aren't big eaters), we indulged in four courses each: Lobster appetizer Pork belly appetizer Duck consommé' Salmon After four days on the ship, Margaret & I have yet to eat anything for dessert (we only very rarely eat dessert when we are home in Brisbane). We went to the Starlight Club for an after dinner drink with Penny, where we bumped into John & Tony, who then "twisted our arms" to get us to join them in the Avenue Saloon for Karaoke, which was surprisingly enjoyable. Tony did a great job singing Whitney Houston's classic I Will Always Love You.
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