Gramd Alaska and Panama

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#61
Central Maryland
19,081 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Day GPC3, Sunday, August 12, 2018, At sea, Crystal Symphony

It is warming up. I started the morning with my gortex jacket but by mid walk I had to stop and take it back to my room. I believe the day’s temperature started about 73 and rose to about 77, cloudy in the morning but sunny in the afternoon. It was a pretty cloudy morning and the best of the morning colors actually came perhaps 20 minutes before sunrise.

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It was another busy sea day, this time starting with Fr. Lawler’s interdenominational service at 9. Attendance was pretty strong. The day’s lectures started with Jay Wolff at 10 on Mexico, “A Glittering Civilization Rises and Falls”.

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He was followed at 11 with Jon Bailey with “Give My Regards to Broadway”, a look at the impact of many of our musicals on our culture.

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In his noon update Captain Willheim indicated the warming trend would continue with a high of 88 in Cabo.

The afternoon lecture was by Jim Brochu on Kate Hepburn. The afternoon doldrums caught up with me and I watched again on replay in my room.

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There were 7 at the shared table but the dinner dragged on and on. I chose the chicken consume and (half) ribeye but gave up and left before desert to not be TOO late for the evening show. After the show I got room service desert, the pear upside down cake with ice cream.

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The featured entertainment was Broadway Singer Josh Young. I get the feeling many of these Broadway stars are more interested in showing their vocal range than in presenting the music and had almost decided not to go, After a quick look at my World Cruise blog I changed my mind. Young sings his songs beautifully, and has an engaging personality, often singing his commentary with telling but also humorous ditties. I even enjoyed his reference to his CD’s at Appropos.

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John Joseph had a comedy show at 10:30 but with an hour lost as we go to Mountain time I said “not going to happen”. I did share a few minutes with Jim Brochu, Steve, and Richard Caesar in the Avenue Saloon before going up to the Sun Deck where Jeff Hoffman was giving some tips on the Perseid Meteor Shower but it was too cloudy to really see anything.


My parting shot comes from Jeff Hoffman while we were up on the Sun Deck looking for meteors. He talked about the first one he saw from the Space Shuttle. He saw one and said “It can’t be a meteor; they’re supposed to be up not down. While a shooting star is the result of a meteor burning up in the atmosphere, and from space that actually is down. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Roy
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Currently enjoying: Crystal Symphony Grand Panama Canal

Future cruises:


11/10/18 Grandeur of the Seas Southern Caribbean
1/4/19 Prinsendam Grand South America
4/21/19 Nieuw Statendam Transatlantic>>>5/9/19 QV Kiel-Southampton>>5/12/19 QM2 Brugges-Gurernsey-New York
10/18/19 QM2 NY-Southampton>>Bach Rhine>>Serenity Barcelona-Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale
1/22/20 Crystal Serenity LA-Sydney>>>3/6/20 QM2 Sydney-New York
#62
Central Maryland
19,081 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Day GPC4, Monday, August 13, 2018, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

I had decided against resetting my clocks Sunday evening, giving me a respite from the official lost hour. With a port day I only walked 6 laps (just over 1 ½ miles). The sun actually came up over the bow near the end of my walk.

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We entered the harbor about 9 passing fairly close to ElArco, the rock formation with a big hole. We dropped anchor next to the Carnival Splendor.

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For much of the day I had a view out my window that should only happen at a tender port.

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I’m neither a beach nor a hot weather person and was not expecting to do a lot in ports. I’ve booked just 2 tours, a coffee plantation in Guatemala, and San Jose in Costa Rica; I hope ro recover at many of the ports from the pace of the sea days. I left about 10:30 for what I hoped would be a fairly short walk in town. There’s a boardwalk around the “marina” that I held for last and walked on the main street till I came to a little mall, stepping inside for a bottle of water.

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It was by straight line less than half a mile back along the marina to the tender dock but it has several twists and the actual walking distance is likely pretty close to that. A prominent landmark is a lighthouse but I don’t think it is authentic.

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I was back on the ship about 12:30, pretty well drained from the heat (almost 90 I believe). I spent some time catching up on the blog with things like posting menus but also snuck in a bit of a nap. I could hear a whirring sound about 5:30 that convinced me I was about to lose half my view.

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I opted this time for a table of my own, going down a little after 6. I was a few tables away from the shared table and noticed they were just getting their appetizers as I left. The last tender was due to leave shore at 6:30 bit I think everybody was back early and I could see out the window we were doing about 5 knots at 6:30. My choices for the evening were the pheasant essence, pasta, and pear cake.

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The featured entertainment was flautist Gary Arbuthnot with a program that was mostly movie music. He was very good but I don’t think quite a match for Neil Lockwood or Josh Young.

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I pretty much called it a night after the show writing about half this post and getting to bed a bit early.

I’ll take my parting shot from my walk. I usually carry 2 small water bottles that are short enough so they won’t slip out of the pockets on my day pack. I had forgotten them and thus had to buy a bottle of water at the mall. I will attribute to age the fact that I was extremely thirsty but had great difficulty getting the bottle of water open. After about 5 minutes of futile twisting I finally banged the neck on a little platform and finally broke the seals around the cap. Getting old is no fun but I still proclaim it beats the alternative.

Roy
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Currently enjoying: Crystal Symphony Grand Panama Canal

Future cruises:


11/10/18 Grandeur of the Seas Southern Caribbean
1/4/19 Prinsendam Grand South America
4/21/19 Nieuw Statendam Transatlantic>>>5/9/19 QV Kiel-Southampton>>5/12/19 QM2 Brugges-Gurernsey-New York
10/18/19 QM2 NY-Southampton>>Bach Rhine>>Serenity Barcelona-Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale
1/22/20 Crystal Serenity LA-Sydney>>>3/6/20 QM2 Sydney-New York
#63
Central Maryland
19,081 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Day GPC5, Tuesday, August 14, 2018, At sea, Crystal Symphony

Weather is always variable at sea. It appeared pretty dark when I went up to the lido at 5:30 for coffee, and in my 5-mile walk I never saw a real hint of the sun, although the temperature remained comfortable (low 70's morning with a mid-day high of 84).

My morning was mostly lectures. I watched the first one, Louis Rene Beres with “Understanding Espionage in the Middle East” in person from the Galaxy Lounge.

Next up at 11 was Dr. Jeff Hoffman with the story of the repair of the Hubble Telescope. I started watching that from my room but went to the Galaxy Lounge when Anastazja came to make up my room..

In his noon update Captain Willheim talked a bit about technical issues. We have 6 diesel generators and for most of the voyage we have been using 4, cruising at 19kt (22mph) and burning 1400 gallons of fuel per hour. By my calculations, that works out tp just under 12 passenger miles per gallon, and about 22 person miles per gallon including the crew.

While both of the morning speakers were making encore appearances on the cruise, Jack McManus had his first talk of the voyage at 1:30, an introductory look at social networking.

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I did not have much free time after McManus as the next agenda item was Magic Castle at Sea at 3PM. The magician put on a varied program including mind reading, card tricks, sleight of hand and memory tricks.

A 5PM cocktail party was scheduled with my travel consortium. As I walked across the pool deck it was striking how empty it was. With the sun out Sunday it had been crowded to the point I couldn’t find a table for lunch; a bit of a cooler temperature with little sun and occasional rain made a massive difference. The party itself did not amount to much for me.

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I opted again for dinner on my own with the vegetable minestrone, (half) ribeye, and ice cream. I was out before 7 even allowing for coffee with desert.

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The featured entertainment was much of the onboard entertainment team with one of the newer production shows, Crystal In Motion. While the stars of course were the Ensemble of Singers and Dancers we also had violinist Helen Kovalenko, the Latin dance quartet, and show band vocalist Zornitsa Petrova. I was struck by the brilliance of the LED screen that forms the new stage background.

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I’ll take my parting shot from Dr. Hoffman’s talk again. When I was active in fire department operations it was a struggle to do things as simple as tying a know with heavy gloves on. How that crew was able to accomplish that fine work on the Hubble Telescope while wearing heavy space suits just boggles my mind.

Roy
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Currently enjoying: Crystal Symphony Grand Panama Canal

Future cruises:


11/10/18 Grandeur of the Seas Southern Caribbean
1/4/19 Prinsendam Grand South America
4/21/19 Nieuw Statendam Transatlantic>>>5/9/19 QV Kiel-Southampton>>5/12/19 QM2 Brugges-Gurernsey-New York
10/18/19 QM2 NY-Southampton>>Bach Rhine>>Serenity Barcelona-Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale
1/22/20 Crystal Serenity LA-Sydney>>>3/6/20 QM2 Sydney-New York
#64
Central Maryland
19,081 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Day GPC6, Wednesday, August 15, 2018, At sea, Crystal Symphony

With the lost hour overnight I slept a little bit later but it was still very dark when I started my walk. In my first couple of laps I saw an orange glow on the horizon as I rounded the bow; I think it was the lights of Acapulco. It was by far the windiest morning of the cruise with a bit of extra effort required to force my way around the bow. The sun came up near the midpoint of my walk around 6:30. I was still a lap short of 5 miles when I went up to the lido for my first stage of breakfast at 8 but got that final lap in around 9.

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It was a pretty typical sea day with 2 morning and one afternoon lecture. Jay Wolff started things off at 10 with a talk on the early efforts to build a Panama Canal. He was followed at 11 by Jon Bailey on “South Pacific and Oklahoma: Some Enchanted Musicals”. In his noon update Captain Willhelm talked about the communications and emergency resources including EPIRB, satellite communications facilities, and several radio bands of differing wave lengths which vary by the distance needed to be covered.

I included a Portugese Tart in my lunch; while it’s tasty I think I’ll leave them to others who enjoy them more. I watched that presentation from my room as well.

I ventured up to the upper decks at tea time and joined bodogbodog from Cruise Critic at tea, having just tea. I actually think some of the treats at tea would have been better choices than the Portugese tart, but that’s water over the dam. Several of Terry’s friends are first timers on Crystal and have already booked a river cruise or two. On the way to tea I took a walk around the sun deck. The day had turned quite hazy but the wind at the bow had greatly diminished since my morning walk.

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I chose to dine on my own in Waterside once again. Something I’ve enjoyed on other cruise lines that is rarely offered on Crystal is the chilled fruit soups. They had a honeydew espuma on the Modern menu. Served in a glass it was not exactly what I was expecting but was delicious. I paired it with the roast turkey salad and ice cream. I had time to linger for coffee and be out before 7.

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The featured entertainment was a new act to the Symphony (and I think to Crystal) a male quartet, Emperors of Soul. They were quite a hit and Shane danced on the stage during the encore.

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My parting shot starts with a story by Jon Bailey. He talked of a couple who had purchased tickets to South Pacific. Unfortunately the husband died before the performance but the widow went anyway. She asked at the box office if there was anything she could do with his ticket and was told “couldn’t you invite a friend with you?” Her response was “they’re all at the funeral”. I’m sure that didn’t really happen but it is a good illustration of the power musicals can have over us and there is truth in it regardless of the facts. The time we can get into trouble (Bailey wasn’t going there) is when we confuse such an illustrative truth with factual truth.

PS: A note in Thursday’s Reflections warns of an afternoon internet outage 1:30 to 2:30 for a satellite system upgrade. I’m hoping for a more stable internet.

Roy
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Currently enjoying: Crystal Symphony Grand Panama Canal

Future cruises:


11/10/18 Grandeur of the Seas Southern Caribbean
1/4/19 Prinsendam Grand South America
4/21/19 Nieuw Statendam Transatlantic>>>5/9/19 QV Kiel-Southampton>>5/12/19 QM2 Brugges-Gurernsey-New York
10/18/19 QM2 NY-Southampton>>Bach Rhine>>Serenity Barcelona-Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale
1/22/20 Crystal Serenity LA-Sydney>>>3/6/20 QM2 Sydney-New York
#65
North Central Florida
5,590 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
That is interesting about the chilled soups, when I ordered - probably Westie [only time I ate a lot of MDR meals] I didn't appreciate that it was Cold. I like my soups hot and even though it tasted good, I never ordered the cold soup again. The only soups I won't eat are either full of onions or I'm allergic to one/some of the ingredients, And that is why food is so subjective.

Carole
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Carole

Cruising now: Not until - P'dam over Christmas/New Years

Prinsendam 14-DAY CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY Dec 2018
------------------ 2019
Oosterdam 7-DAY TROPICAL CARIBBEAN Jan 2019
Rotterdam 7-DAY WESTERN CARIBBEAN Jan 2019 (Tampa)

Past cruises:
Costa Flavia 1975 - 4 day Bahamas
Sarah - 2005 - 7 day Barge - W&S Netherlands [Road Scholar]
Maasdam Jan 2015 - 10 day Southern Caribbean B2B
Zuiderdam Jan 2015 - 10 day Southern Caribbean & Panama Canal Sunfarer [Road Scholar]
AmaCerto May 2015 - 14 day Amsterdam - Budapest [Road Scholar]
Brilliance otS Nov 2015 - 5 day Western Caribbean
Nieuw Amsterdam Dec 2015 - 7-day Western Caribbean;
Zuiderdam Dec 2015 14-day W/E Caribbean Holiday Collector
Oosterdam Jan 2016 21-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer/Wayfarer
Westerdam Mar 2016 21-day Panama Canal Fort Lauderdale to San Diego; B2B
Westerdam Apr 2016 35-day Circle Hawai`i, Tahiti & Marqueses: San Diego to Seattle [Road Scholar]
Prinsendam May 2016 16-day Azores and Normandy Explorer - FLL to IJmuiden [Amsterdam] Last HAL ship out
Avalon Tranquility II & Poetry II Jun 2016 16-day Rhine & Rhône Revealed/SB - Amsterdam to Côte d’Azur (Rhine, Saône & Rhône)
Queen Mary 2 June 2016 8-day Trans-Atlantic crossing Southampton - NYC
Zuiderdam Oct 2016 12-day The Atlantic Coast - Quebec City to FLL First HAL ship back
Amsterdam Dec 2016 14-day Panama Canal Holiday SD to FLL

Nieuw Amsterdam Jan 2017 21-Day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer/Seafarer
Koningsdam Feb 2017 7-Day Eastern Caribbean
Oosterdam Mar 2017 7-Day Western Caribbean [out of Tampa]
Nieuw Amsterdam - Dec 2017 17-Day Bahamas, W/E Caribbean Holiday Collector
Zaandam - Apr 2018 23-Day Repo FLL-Seattle
Maasdam June 2018 7-Day Canada & NE Discovery