Posted March 6th, 2014, 07:57 PM
Looks like the weather is finally breaking. Highs in the 40's and 50's coming up. Low's in the 30's. Enjoying your reports. Have fun!
Deirdra slowly recovering from her broken ankle, planning for Alaska in May on Rhaspody.
Rick and Deirdra
Glad to hear of both improvements.
The Crystal Serenity is in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Hong Kong to Singapore.
The day started like most recent days, warm with a ring of clouds around the horizon. The seas were calm but relative headwinds were approaching 30 knots during my 5-mile walk with occasional flashes of lightning. The sun brought out some nice colors about 15 minutes before sunrise but then hid behind the clouds for over half an hour.
The morning activities started off with a 10AM presentation by Dr. Lawrence Blair on "Strange Beasts" focusing on plant and animal life from the microscopic to the large including 4-inch intelligent primates and prehistoric 60-foot snakes. While we actually crossed the Equator mid-afternoon, the ceremony was held by the pool at 11:15.
A number of guest and crew "polliwogs", people who hadn't previously crossed the equator were led in joined by a rope and "tried" in groups. Each was charged with an offence (such as creating a stampede by announcing a free dryer in the laundry room), denied the charges but were pronounced "guilty" by the crowd. With musical support from the Galaxy Orchestra, they were then slimed, forced to kiss a fish, and pushed into the pool. On completion of the ceremony they were declared "shellbacks", veterans of an equator crossing. It was essentially the same ceremony we had when I was a polliwog 4 years ago. After the guests, crew members were led up by department, charged with a crime related to their department (housekeeping employees were charged with telling guests the red lifeboat blocking their view was actually a beautiful sunset), and paid the consequences. Finally Captain Symonds came up and complained about the resulting mess violating the Crystal Clean Policy. He was convicted of being a spoil-sport and suffered the fate of the polliwogs. I anticipate additional Equator Crossings March 12 on the Crystal Serenity and April 13 on the Amsterdam.
In his noon update Captain Symonds reported we were 30 nautical miles from Sulawesi, 80 from Borneo and it's a warm 30C(86F), We expect another warm one Saturday in Kota Kinabalu, with a temperature of 32C/90F. He estimated our actual Equator Crossing time at 3PM. In referring to his earlier dunking, he made a tongue in cheek suggestion that there might be an opening for Cruise Director.
There were 2 afternoon Crystal Visions presentations. At 1:30 Sir Michael Burton spoke on "The Defeat of Communism in Malaysia", suggesting that winning the hearts of the Malaysian people was a big component of the eventual victory. At 3:30 Jay Wolff continued his talks with the story of "Amelia Earhart Lost in the Pacific". That story ended just in time for me to get to the tail end of Mozart Tea. We also had the traditional open house of representative cabins. I have photographs of the view of 7045 from the tour and 7092 and 8111 courtesy of Cruise Critic member Bodogbodog, and will add them to my collection when internet conditions allow. I have now spoken for much of my excess credit with the purchase of what looks like a very nice camera.
We had 2 open seats at table 73 tonight and they were soon filled by Avenue Saloon pianist Joel Spier and his daughter. They may return tomorrow when several of the group will dine in Prego specialty restaurant.
The evening entertainment was Pianist Philip Wojciechowski. He has been chosen as Crystal Cruises Instrumentalist of the year for good reason. This is at least the 4th time I have heard him perform, and he was spectacular as always in a performance of music from Chopin to jazz, both as a soloist and with the Galaxy Orchestra.
I had intended today's parting shot to be congratulations to the new shellbacks, and that's still in order. The actual shot though will be a story Wojciechowski likes to tell. George Gershwin was in Paris and had asked Ravel to take him on as a student. Ravel refused with "Why would you want to be a second rate Reviewal when you're already a first rate Gershwin". Let us all be who we are and be the best we can be at it.
Grand Alaska Volendam-Denali-Westerdam
Index to active Crystal Roll Calls
Limited View Cabins
7/18/18 Volendam/Westerdam Alaska >>> 8/10/18 Crystal Symphony Panama Canal
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