2014 World Cruise Medley

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#21
11,000+ Club
11,277 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
Roy,

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
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MST USNS Gen.Walker 9/66,Chandris "X" Amerikanis 2/78,Viking Princess 1/89, Nordic Empress 12/94, Empress 8/95, NCL Leeward 8/98, DCL Magic 1/99, NCL Sun1/02, Sky1/03, CCL Triumph 11/03, Brilliance 1/3/05, BR 1/2/06, GR 11/19/06, MJ 1/8/07, Empress 10/6/07,JW 1/6/08, EN 10/23/08(B2B)EN 10/27/08,MN 1/9/09,VY 2/22/09, MJ 5/22/09, MJ 9/18/09,OA 11/30/09(B2B)OA 12/01/09, MR 2/14/10,MJ 5/14,MJ 08/27,RD 10/16/10,AL 12/5/10,MR Cape Horn 2/1/11,FR 5/8/11,MJ 8/22/11,MN 9/5/11,VY 10/22/11(B2B)VY TA 10/30/11,JW 1/12/12, MJ 4/23, MN 7/6, MN 8/24,FR 12/16(B2B)MN 12/24, NV 1/26/13,MN 2/18(B2B)MN 2/22,MN last RCL cruise 3/29, EN 6/21(B2B)6/24, EN 7/26,EN 8/23/13 (B2B) 8/26/13, EN 12/23 (B2B2B2B) 1/3/14,RH 5/30/14,EN 7/25/14,VS 8/18/14(B2B)8/28,JW 12/20/14(B2B)12/27/14,MJ 2/20/15(B2B)MJ 2/23, GR 6/19,SKY 7/20,INDY 8/23(B2B)INDY 8/30,SKY 11/23,JW 12/20 (B2B) 12/27, INDY 2/18/16, MJ 4/25 (B2B) MJ 4/29, GR 6/18, MJ 8/26 (B2B)MJ 8/29, SR 1/13/17, MJ 4/25(B2B)4/29, MJ 6/5, AL 7/16/17, HR 8/26/17, MJ 9/18/17, SR 1/5/18, AL 6/17, AN 7/21, MJ 8/20, AD 10/21, IN 1/25/19, OV 5/13/19, GR 8/3, EM 10/5, SR 1/20/2020.
#22
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by Pumbaamd
Roy,

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.

Roy
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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
#23
Maryland
1,166 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Roy,

Enjoyed your story about the equator crossing and the captain getting dunked. Funny line about the possible opening for a new Cruise Director!

Also enjoyed the story about Ravel and Gershwin. Good one!

Amy
#24
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Thanks, Amy.

The Crystal Serenity is in Ko Samui, Thailand. The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Hong Kong to Singapore.

It is becoming quite routine to say that the mornings are warm, windy, and have a horizon ringed with clouds. Today was no exception. It was a day I chose to do some laundry, getting it into the washer just after 5, moving it to the dryer at the 1/3 point of my walk, and emptying the dryer at the 2/3 point. With the extra activities my walk continued to about 7:15. The rest of the morning was fairly restful until the Crystal Visions Enrichment Program opened up at 10 with Dr. Lawrence Blair speaking on "Creatures of the Deep". The program ended in time to get up to the Trident Late Risers Breakfast and apricot french toast followed by a bit of reading.

At his midday update Captain Symonds predicted continuing warm temperatures, stiff breezes, and calm seas. We will round the Northern tip of Borneo in the late evening and start following the coast Southwesterly to Kota Kinabalu. He expects to enter the port about 6:45 and dock by 7. We can expect temperatures in the 90's in Kota Kinabalu.

There were 2 additional afternoon programs. Jay Wolff started things off at 1:30 with "Piracy is Alive and Well", followed at 3:30 by Sir Michael Burton with "The British Monarchy-Fit for Purpose in the 20th Century". I had to leave his upbeat presentation early due to reservations for the Magic Castle At Sea. This program brings close up and personal magic to small groups of about 20 people. Magician Dave Cox specialized in tricks of the mind. He was entertaining but I've preferred some of the other musicians. After the show I caught the remainder of Burton's talk on rerun on my cabin TV.

For the second of two Elegant Casual evenings most of table 73 had taken the evening to visit one of the specialty restaurants. The Ambassador Host (Michael) and I were joined by Rose who apparently has been assigned to our table all along but just getting over a virus she suffered on the way to Bali. Being in your room feeling lousy is not the best way spend the first week of your first Crystal Cruise. I hope she gets a better taste of shipboard life in the remaining days. She is returning to Florida from Singapore, meaning an awful lot of flying to enjoy less than a week of healthy time at sea.

The evening entertainment was Route 66 by the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers. This show really brought home to me how much the vocal talents of the “dancers”, both individually and especially as a group, add to the performances. There were a couple of numbers with no lead singers where the music was still superb. According to the new Reflections the cancelled performance of Imagine will be presented as we leave Kota Kinabalu.

Today's parting shot returns to things I am leaving behind at home. As part of my Fire Department responsibilities I am liaison to a Troop of Boy Scouts the Department sponsors. This relationship has brought me into contact with a number of superb young men, and a number of dedicated parents. The exact timing escapes me at the moment but this weekend one of these young men, Luke T, will be recognized as an Eagle Scout. Luke has been an inspiration to his peers, a dedicated leader, and a joy to be around. While he has done the work on his own, his parents have also been a support both to him and to the troop, helping in many ways. Luke, congratulations and well done.

Roy
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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
#25
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Ko Samui, Thailand to Singapore. The MS Amsterdam is in Singapore.

With our approach to Kota Kinabalu harbor we had diminished winds and clear skies this morning, but I walked only a mile on the promenade deck in anticipation of a busy day ashore. The Island of Borneo is divided into sections of Malaysia and Indonesia along with the Sultanate of Brunei. Kota Kinabalu is toward the northwest corner of the island and the dock is very close to the harbor entrance.

My tour today was "Mount Kinabalu Trail Trek". We left the Starlite Club just after 8 and boarded 2 quite nice coaches for about a 2-hour drive each way. Like islands of this area in general Borneo is volcanic and mountainous, and the tallest in the region is the 13,435 foot Mount Kinabalu. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is worshipped by the locals, and it is our destination.

An ascent to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu is about a 3-day affair (except for an annual race which runs just a few hours), and of course that was not our plan. We made a scenic and toilet stop at about the 3,300-foot level and then continued to the parks visitor center about a mile up. Our walk came in two parts.

Our first walk was around the botanical garden where we saw a number of plant specimens in a controlled environment from a paved walkway. The most prominent specimens were a number of variety of orchids, some with a value of about 3,000 pounds UK. The second stage of our walk was a path in a natural rain forest setting, with probably about a 200-foot climb on a fairly rough path. The wild life was really not showing itself with the exception of one cicada. We saw a number of varieties of trees, including a number of styles of rattan and bamboo and a large gum tree. The park is prime habitat for orangutans, but they were not in evidence today. An advantage to our elevation was cool temperatures in the 70F range, nearly 20 degrees cooler than at sea level.

The walk was a bit challenging especially in the thin air at a mile of elevation. When I capped my half empty water bottle it had substantially collapsed from the higher pressure when we returned to sea level. The walk also gave us an appetite for a nice lunch at a local resort. I especially enjoyed a lemon chicken dish.

In addition to it's natural wonders the park has a number of memorials , a World War II memorial, a prison camp memorial, and a memorial to Japanese sex slaves. We did not visit these but our guide pointed them out on our travels.

After a rest stop at a pottery outlet we returned to the ship just after 4. Preparations for sailaway started about 5:45, and Louis Sang at 5:55. It seemed a bit unusual for this port that the line handling crews made their way around the port on bicycles.

We had the usual 5 at table 73; our newcomer was not with us. 3 of us were on the Mt. Kinabalu hike while the other 2 had a pleasant day in town.

The evening entertainment was Imagine. Crystal's newest show has the cast in LED costumes dancing in a very dark room with special effects. Photography is strictly forbidden to maintain the darkness, but the cast posed for pictures in the lobby after the performance.

Today's parting shot will be a reminder for most readers to set their clocks forward. As close as I am to the equator my time will not change but without doing anything I'll go from exactly 12 hours out of sync with home to an 11 hour difference.

Roy
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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
#26
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
My next 2 ships, the Crystal Serenity and MS Amsterdam, are both in Singapore today. It turned out though that the Crystal Serenity was in a brand new terminal while the Amsterdam was in the traditional cruise terminal.

The morning started out very well with clear skies and modest wind and temperatures for my 2-mile walk on the promenade deck. Also becoming a part of my morning ritual, I checked the Crystal website for a cabin assignment, and as yet have not been given one.

Brunei shares a small portion of the Island of Borneo with Malaysia and Indonesia. The Sultanate is an absolute monarchy, although the population seems rather pleased with the way he has been taking the country. It is rich in oil and has a high standard of living with essentially no taxes. We pulled up to the dock in the port of Maura, about 18 miles from Bandar Seri Begawan, just before 7AM. The country has been a monarchy since the 14th century, and the current Sultan is the 29th ruler. He took over from his father in 1967.

My half day tour left at 8:15AM. Lim was the best guide I have seen on this voyage. He is a university student and ethnic Chinese; his grandparents immigrated to Brunei in the 1960's and he is a Brunei citizen. While Brunei is a pretty conservative Islamic country it is less restricted than some others, for example most women do drive there.

After a 30-minute drive to the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, we made our first stop at the Royal Regalia Center. Built in the wake of the Sultan's 25th anniversary in power, the large center has a central open lobby and a u-shaped ring of displays. Photography was forbidden except in the lobby. There were displays of many kinds of memorabilia including some of the Sultan's and family's garments but the most impressive were the coaches. The one used in the inauguration was on display in the lobby, and was powered by 24 attendants each behind and in front of the coach. An even bigger coach used for the 25th anniversary parade was in the private area, powered by an engine but with the 48 attendants pulling for show.

Our next visit was the Jame As'r Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque, built by the current sultan. We got a brief look inside (again without cameras) the large structure, an open space both ornate and simple. The Sultan seem to like building Mosques having features corresponding to their numerical position, this Mosque had 29 steps leading up to the prayer room, while the one built by his father had 28 minarets.

Our other major stop was Kampong Ayer, a 30,000 person community built on stilts on a river stretching along both shores. We boarded a water taxi for about a 10-minute ride to a local house where we were served tea and a snack. A network of walkways carries water and sewer connections, and has elevated bridges over passageways allowing boats access to the interior of the village. The village has typical services including mosques, schools, and a fire station with an apron for land based engines at one end and a boat slip at the other.

The Sultan's home sits on something like a 1.2 square kilometer parcel secluded in trees. It is open to the public a few days a year but our views were from a park at the edge of the grounds and from the water village. With the riches coming from oil, the Sultan is quite generous with the people, including free education and medical care and homes for people who cannot afford them.

We returned to the Symphony just after 1PM. The port was pretty busy with freighters loading, what looked like a training ship in port, and maintenance in progress on the Symphony's tenders. All aboard was 4:30 but the afternoon was more like a typical sea day. Jay Wolff gave a 4PM presentation on the founding of Singapore. I was out on deck just before sailaway. Louis sang at 4:50.

Lead singer Colleen Williamson gave her cabaret show "Life on the High C's" at 5. Regrettably, I only stayed for a few songs as the interdenominational worship service was at 5:15. All 6 of us were together today at table 73 for a lively dinner. As I was leaving for dinner I noticed disembarkation packets sitting on mail slots. I have not gotten any official instructions yet but see that the Symphony and Serenity will be very close together in Singapore.

The evening entertainment was a variety show combining the musical comedy of Steve Stevens followed by Philip Wojceichowski at the piano. I understand both will be going over to the Serenity with me.

Today's parting shot comes from the humor of Steve Stevens. He was talking about the differences in language between Brits and Americans. He started with a few like "I say lift while you say elevator" and "I say petrol while you say gasoline", and finally "I say eternity while you say Presidential Campaign". Sad but true.

Roy
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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
#28
11,000+ Club
11,277 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
This whole current political situation seems like a bad dream, domestically and internationally.
R&D
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MST USNS Gen.Walker 9/66,Chandris "X" Amerikanis 2/78,Viking Princess 1/89, Nordic Empress 12/94, Empress 8/95, NCL Leeward 8/98, DCL Magic 1/99, NCL Sun1/02, Sky1/03, CCL Triumph 11/03, Brilliance 1/3/05, BR 1/2/06, GR 11/19/06, MJ 1/8/07, Empress 10/6/07,JW 1/6/08, EN 10/23/08(B2B)EN 10/27/08,MN 1/9/09,VY 2/22/09, MJ 5/22/09, MJ 9/18/09,OA 11/30/09(B2B)OA 12/01/09, MR 2/14/10,MJ 5/14,MJ 08/27,RD 10/16/10,AL 12/5/10,MR Cape Horn 2/1/11,FR 5/8/11,MJ 8/22/11,MN 9/5/11,VY 10/22/11(B2B)VY TA 10/30/11,JW 1/12/12, MJ 4/23, MN 7/6, MN 8/24,FR 12/16(B2B)MN 12/24, NV 1/26/13,MN 2/18(B2B)MN 2/22,MN last RCL cruise 3/29, EN 6/21(B2B)6/24, EN 7/26,EN 8/23/13 (B2B) 8/26/13, EN 12/23 (B2B2B2B) 1/3/14,RH 5/30/14,EN 7/25/14,VS 8/18/14(B2B)8/28,JW 12/20/14(B2B)12/27/14,MJ 2/20/15(B2B)MJ 2/23, GR 6/19,SKY 7/20,INDY 8/23(B2B)INDY 8/30,SKY 11/23,JW 12/20 (B2B) 12/27, INDY 2/18/16, MJ 4/25 (B2B) MJ 4/29, GR 6/18, MJ 8/26 (B2B)MJ 8/29, SR 1/13/17, MJ 4/25(B2B)4/29, MJ 6/5, AL 7/16/17, HR 8/26/17, MJ 9/18/17, SR 1/5/18, AL 6/17, AN 7/21, MJ 8/20, AD 10/21, IN 1/25/19, OV 5/13/19, GR 8/3, EM 10/5, SR 1/20/2020.
#29
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Seems like I (or he) hit a nerve there.

The Crystal Serenity is in Singapore. The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Singapore to Phuket, Thailand.

It was another warm morning with clear skies overhead but clouds on the horizon, a pleasant morning for my 5-mile walk. There was a lovely sky ahead of sunrise, but as the moment came only one spot in the clouds revealed the actual event.

It was a very busy day at sea but I spent a lot of the time preparing to leave. There were 2 Crystal Visions presentations. Dr. Lawrence Blair spoke at 10AM on "Explorer's Tales". I had a lecture on Ipad tips and techniques but caught Blair's presentation later on TV. He recounted making a dangerous trip with his brother and losing him days later when he broke his leg in Bali on a defective manhole cover and died of complications. Following the Ipad class I went up to the Trident for my final Symphony Apricot French Toast.

In his final noon update Captain Symonds reported we will pick up the pilot about 7AM and back in across the Pier from the Crystal Serenity about 8AM. It looks like a very hot day in Singapore. Lunch today was in the main dining room.

The final Crystal Visions program was at 1:30 with Sir Michael Burton on Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore. The afternoon was time for behind the scenes tours with a Galaxy backstage tour at 3:15 and a galley tour at 4:30. I was busy preparing to leave and missed both.

All 6 of us were present at table 73 for the final Black Tie Optional dinner. I will be first to desert the group, with 2 people staying on for the next cruise and 3 leaving on Wednesday. I received and scanned a full set of dinner menus and will upload them as soon as possible. This was the night of the Crystal Society party and one of our cruise Critic members, Ter777, was recognized for 82 Crystal cruises.

The evening entertainment was the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers in Curtain Call. It's a great show but I've seen it twice this past November and decided to concentrate on getting ready to leave. As I write this I do hope to at least briefly get by the Avenue Saloon before retiring.

As today's parting shot there are things that you never expect to happen but they do anyway. I never expected to be excited about leaving a Crystal ship, but it has finally happened. All it takes is to have a sister ship parked across the dock.

Roy
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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
#30
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
The MS Amsterdam is in Phuket, Thailand.

All of my Symphony menus and Reflections should now be accessible on my blog site. I have an apology about the menus. When I first got my scanner I had found that it reproduced the green masthead on Reflections very poorly. I found a setting that corrected the issue and then Crystal changed the masthead so it was never an issue. The tweak I did then got lost in a system reload and the header on the new menus scans as poorly as that old masthead. I scanned the menus very quickly after getting the packet from Josef, and realized how poorly the top of the menus looks only after they were published. The menus themselves are fine so we will have to live with the ugly masthead.

I was up at 5 and walked 2 miles on a very dark Crystal Symphony, with sunrise coming about 7:10, not really shining through but producing some pretty colors in our wake. Although dark, it was easy to see that our approach to Singapore was on a very busy shipping channel. Freighters I could barely see were quite plainly silhouetted as they passed within a mile of the ship.

Our scheduled arrival was 8AM and around 7:30 we could see the bow of the Crystal Serenity in the distance. As we approached the terminal we turned with the port side to the Serenity sailing past the terminal and then backing in with our starboard side facing across the dock at Serenity's port. Our first lines went out about 7:55AM. Singapore's new cruise terminal is quite close to the downtown area. It is my 3rd visit to Singapore and 3rd docking location after being at an industrial pier on the Queen Victoria and the old cruise terminal on the Zaandam. By my GPS it was 2 miles from the central hotel where I stayed before the Zaandam, and most of it appeared to be going out on reclaimed land into the harbor. The dock has very good views of the new casino tower complex.

I got a leisurely final breakfast on the Symphony and went online to use the 20 minutes of internet we get at the end of each voyage. I left my room on the Symphony about 9:30. The 2 ships were only about 100 yards/meters apart and I thought it would be a breeze just to carry my stuff from one ship to the other. That plan did not take into account the Singapore bureaucracy. Once off the gangway there was a sloping ramp which rose about 10 feet, the first challenge in my trek with 110 pounds of stuff divided between my back and the suitcase I was pulling. Once in the terminal we waited for a passport check, across the terminal, and then down an escalator to a large baggage room. There were baggage carts on the lower level and I took advantage of one, proceeding to customs where everything had to come off the cart and through a scanner. Then it was back upstairs, and through a security check with everything coming off the cart again. They weren't going to let me take the cart any further, but finally relented with a cart and a porter. From here we went across the terminal again, through another passport control, and finally towards the ramp to the gangway.

At this time I still didn't have a cabin assignment. The gangway staff took my heavy bags and directed me down to the front desk for checkin. Conventional wisdom is that the later a guarantee gets assigned to a cabin, the better the chances are for an upgrade. Sadly, that was not the case here. I am in 7017, only the 8th cabin back from the bow, and possibly over the Galaxy Lounge. I am saying my prayers for calm seas lots of pre-dinner shows. Despite my luggage starting without a cabin number on the tag, the bags arrived quite quickly.

My major disappointment came soon after arriving. Despite having expressed my interests on PCPC and going to the computer center almost immediately after boarding, out of 16 classes listed on the schedule only 3 (and none of interest) were listed as open. This follows the Symphony where I went to register by 12:30 and got access only to 2 lectures in big rooms. There must be a better way to schedule and register the computer classes. I find the current setup essentially useless and FAR below what I expect from Crystal.

After that failed attempt it was time for a mixed lunch. I went up to the Trident for a sandwich, and eventually over to the Symphony for desert and coffee. The Singapore terminal had been billed to have fast and free wifi. I stopped in both directions and appreciated the free wifi but found it anything but fast, not much faster than on the ship. I did accomplish my primary goal of updating my antivirus definitions, on the laptop on the way to the Symphony and on my netbook on the return trip and accomplished a few other things, but the job took far longer than planned. My netbook work was a good hour, leaving me only about an hour to finish unpacking before the muster drill. On the way back to Serenity I passed Captain Symonds, just returning from his first closeup view of Serenity.

Muster stations on both the Symphony and the Amsterdam are on the promenade deck, but on Serenity they are in public rooms. My lifeboat number 1 met in the front of the Galaxy lounge, with the lifeboat right outside the Galaxy door.

Sailaway was scheduled for 6PM, and the Symphony usually got underway a few minutes early. When I went on deck about 5:45 there was no sign of activity; soon afterwards Captain Vorland came on the PA and announced we would be roughly a half hour late, as we were still waiting for a number of passengers to turn in their passports as required by Singapore before we could leave. I got a chance for a quick hello with Cruise Critic members Keith and Anne Marie at the cove before entering the dining room.

The delayed sailaway put any thoughts of being on deck out of my mind and I was the first by several minutes to arrive at table 102. We had one vacant seat at my 8-top with 6 women present, 2 each from Australi2, England, and Ireland. 5 are new this segment while one is doing the full world cruise. Our Senior Waiter is Peter assisted by Anita and I believe the Head Waiter is Agusto. My stewardess is Edisa. I first saw movement out the dining room windows about 6PM.

Dinner ran a bit late and I missed a couple minutes of the 7:45 Welcome Aboard show. It is very similar to the Symphony's with selections from Chorus Line and Grand Hotel and a number by the dance team. During the show I was struck by the fact that it was a long time before I heard a note from the lead singers but the talent of the singer-dancers really brought the vocals to life.

As today's parting shot this cruise is quite a mix of old and new. It is 3 years since I've sailed on the Crystal Serenity and I was really surprised at how different it is from the Symphony. I think in most ways I prefer the Symphony but Serenity is still feeling like home. My 3 previous Serenity Cruises have all had Gary Hunter as Cruise Director, this is only the second time I've sailed with Rick Spath; the first was on the SS Rotterdam in 1997. My first impression is that he is still trying too hard to tell us how great his product is instead of letting us come to that conclusion ourselves. Time will tell.

Roy
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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
#31
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Phuket to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Crystal Symphony's second day in Singapore is her turnaround day. Safe travels to my former shipmates and bon voyage to the newcomers.

I was actually up today about 4:45 and started a load of laundry by 5AM. My five mile walk has gone from 19 laps on the Symphony to 17 on Serenity. My walk got extended when towards the last lap I encountered Cruise Critic members Keith, Anne Marie, and Sea Lover and walked a few more laps.

New this year Crystal has implemented a feature on their login page to notify management about onboard problems. I used that facility about 10 this morning to express my disappointment in the way the computer classes were set up. I had a message from the computer center waiting when I returned from afternoon tea. The response so far has not been satisfactory and may not be but it is good that they at least took the issue seriously.

In the morning show Rick Spath mentioned that we have a full dozen Crystal Visions enrichment speakers. On this sea day there were 2 presentations. Crystal regular Ken Rees started things out at 10:15 with a talk on the history of Indonesia with emphasis on the period since independence. Before Ken's talk I visited Tastes for late risers breakfast. They did not have my beloved apricot french toast and I probably won't return to late risers breakfast but will certainly find some new favorites. I'm sure Cruise Critic member RuthC would appreciate the chocolate chip pancakes but it wasn't a combination I enjoyed. An Equator Crossing Ceremony was held in Palm Court at 11:15, (we actually crossed at 5AM) with a number of polliwogs coming before King Neptune to kiss the fish. It was not as much fun as the Symphony's ceremony, but I'm sure people appreciated not creating a mess in the pool in this equatorial heat.

I snacked my way through lunch getting soup in the dining room and later ice cream from Scoops and a snack at afternoon tea (accompanied by the Astoria Strings). Between soup and ice cream special interest lecturer Rick Senat, former Warner Brothers Vice President, spoke on the development of Warner Brothers from Nickelodeon to Rin Tin Tin.

I met fellow bloggers Ellie and Art on the way into the dining room this evening. All eight of us were present today at table 102. The newcomer is a woman from Houston, also just on the Singapore to Cape Town segment. Augusto made Grande Marnier Souffle for the table today. The Captain's Welcome was held between seatings at Palm Court. I don't think I have sailed with Captain Birger Vorland before but may have in 2004 on the Harmony. The evening entertainment was Broadway singer Christine Andreas. She was good but I don't think as good as the Symphony's Colleen Williamson.

My parting shots come from many sources, some based on current events and some planned in advance. Today's is a hybrid. I had written this before leaving home, planning to use it late in this voyage, but have embellished it and moved it to the present. It started this afternoon before Rick Senat's lecture. As I entered the Hollywood Theater Cruise Director Rick Spath was standing with Senat, preparing to introduce him to the audience. I think I mentioned last night that I sailed with Spath only once before, on the SS Rotterdam in 1997 and I don't think we ever met. As I passed them, Rick called to me by name, welcoming me back to the Serenity and to sailing with him again. He was a little off on the details but had the basics of our prior voyage right and mentioned our Captain Pieter Bos by name. Mr. Spath couldn't possibly have remembered me and was clearly tipped off by somebody (I suspect colleague Scott Peterson), but he made the effort to do his homework and learn to recognize me in a crowd and give me that welcome. In the "Mighty Ships" episode on the Crystal Serenity retired Captain Glenn Ed*****n's final comments included "People may not remember what we said, and they may not remember what we did, but they will never forget the way we make them feel". I had planned to use that quote in my final comments on this voyage, but I think it's more appropriate now. I am still not a fan of Rick's style behind the mike, but I saw him in a new light today. Rick, you have brought Captain Ed*****n's comments to life. Thank you.

Roy
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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
#32
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Phuket to Colombo, Sri Lanka. This is the Crystal Symphony's final day in Singapore.

I woke up with a pesky cough, sore throat, and headache, and cut my morning walk to 1 1/2 miles (5 laps). I think a salt water gargle has helped some, but it's still not right. When I got out on the Promenade deck at 5:30, we were quite close to Jakarta and put lines out at the dock about 7:30. The weather is pleasantly cool, but there is a substantial fog/smog. I try to do all my posting in ways that minimize my band width, and so far the internet has been working pretty well for me.

My tour today was "Obama's school and Jakarta Highlights". The school was interesting; most of the rest of the tour not so much. We had about 30 people on the tour, divided between 2 40-passenger buses. Our guide was rather poor in her English skills and pretty hard to understand. By GPS the school was 8 miles from the ship but the drive (with a police escort) was just over an hour.

The school is a pretty simple looking local elementary school with 2 levels of classrooms surrounding an open courtyard and game space. President Obama was a student there for about 3 years and a statue of him now sits in front of the school. When we went in students, all wearing uniforms, were exercising in the courtyard and we went into several classrooms. A table had been set out for us with coffee, tea, and snacks. Late in our visit a game of volleyball was being played in the courtyard.

Our next stop was an antique market. It has two long rows of stalls separated by a stream with very dirty water. It was an interesting collection of stuff, ranging from carvings to victrolas, telephones, instruments, and ship control panels. Our final stop was the "old port". With thousands of islands, much of the materials are moved around by boat. The classic Indonesian boat is a large wooden model with sails, still used today, although most of the boats appeared to be in rather rough shape. We returned to the Serenity just in time for lunch in the dining room.

The Jakarta "Cruise Terminal" was simply space in a freight port, with cranes and piles of cargo almost under our feet, but no tourist facilities within walking distance. Crystal ran a shuttle to town but it was about a 40-minute drive each way and I did not attempt to leave the ship after returning from the tour.

Published sailaway time was 6:00pm. Captain Vorland came on the PA about 5:25 and said everybody was on board and we would leave soon. Louis sang at 5:40.

Dinner ran a bit long, just giving me time to get to the Galaxy Lounge for the World Games opening ceremony at 7:45. It started with a trumpet flourish, a greeting from the Captain, and a parade of flags, covering most of the nations represented in the crew and passengers. The ceremony continued with songs, dances, and speeches, and wrapped up about 8:30

As today's parting shot, we are embarking on a string of 6 sea days as we make our way to Mauritius. Only once before have I experienced such a long time at sea on Crystal. With the World Games starting it will be an interesting week.

Roy
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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
#33
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Phuket to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Crystal Symphony is at sea from Singapore to Penang, Malaysia.

It was a lovely morning although I could feel the deck moving below my feet as I rounded the bow on my morning walk. With minimal breezes but clouds around the horizon, the sun found a weak spot in the haze about 10 minutes after sunrise.

I was back in my room in time for the Morning show with Rick Spath and World Cruise Hostess Stacey Houston, featuring a great segment on funny signs. I also talked with Crystal Society Hostess Jacqui Brown about the Sees Candies. The policy is that they are given when boarding a ship after the fifteen cruise milestone (ie, every cruise except a back to back). Wondering if I didn't get them because of my Symphony voyage she promptly apologized and they were delivered before lunch.

It was a very busy day with both the start of the World Cruise Games and 3 diverse Crystal Visions programs. Special Interest lecturer started things off at 10 with "A woman's Place" based on her experience in the UK House of Commons and as an author. Just an hour South African Diplomat Tony Leon described his service as an Ambassador to Brazil and described what goes on behind embassy walls. His great quote described a description of an Ambassador's role as "think twice before saying nothing".

In his noon update Captain Vorland mentioned that we had passed Mount Krakatoa overnight and that when it erupted the waves were noticed as far away as the United Kingdom. In a rare move for me, I had lunch in the Crystal Dining room a second consecutive day.

There was one afternoon Crystal Visions program. Crocodile hunter Mick Pitman told how he got started in the business, going from poaching in the early days to a career of capturing dangerous "problem" animals. While all the other activities were going on the World Games were also getting underway, with athletic events like men's and women's shuffle board and table tennis and more sedate events including bridge and cribbage.

We have lost one of our tablemates at table 102 but have a replacement, a woman who finalized plans for this voyage after progress in a bout with cancer. After dinner we had a reception hosted by the representative from our travel consortium.

The evening entertainment was violin virtuoso Ian Cooper. I recognized the name but can't place sailing with him before. We gain another hour tonight as we continue sailing close to due west. I was feeling a bit drowsy during the show and won't stay up late to take advantage of the change.

Today's parting shot is taken from an opening story told by Edwina Currie: "A personals ad appeared in the Atlanta Journal: 'Pretty, black female who loves to play looking for a gentleman, ethnicity does not matter. Rub me the right way and I'll eat out of your hand. I'll be waiting at the door when you come home work wearing only what nature gave me. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx and ask for Daisy.' 15,000 people answering the ad were promptly given full details about an 8-week-old black labrador" I love a surprising ending.

Roy
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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
#34
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
The MS Amsterdam is in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Crystal Symphony is in Penang, Malaysia.

I had a severe bout of coughing overnight which was mostly quieted by a salt water gargle, and the cough was completely absent during my five mile morning walk. After gaining an hour overnight sunrise was early, about 5:40. It was behind a large cloud but appeared about 5:55 and quickly became so intense that I reversed direction on my final lap and walked away from the sun on the sunny side. It was a very variable weather day, quite hot but with alternating periods of sun, clouds, and rain. Towards the end of the walk a school of dolphins was playing off the starboard side.

On most Crystal Cruises Catholic Priests do a fine job of covering interdenominational services, but on the world cruise there are both Protestant and Jewish chaplains. This is my second cruise with Pastor Ed Voosen and my 3rd with Rabbi Morris Hershman. They alternate with morning programs on most sea days and "Rap with the Rabbi is a program which welcomes all. The theme today was the book of Esther and preparation for the Jewish celebration of Purim. The Rabbi's explanation was good but quite a convoluted story and I had to read it a second time to really get it.

There was one each morning and afternoon Crystal Visions Enrichment presentations. At 10 Special Interest lecturer Bill Toone presented "Gorillas in our Midst", the story of the great apes living in the African Cloud Forest of Uganda. It is the second time I've sailed with Toone after my 2012 Panama Canal cruise.

The morning concluded with a dance session featuring the Galaxy Orchestra. In his noon update Captain Vorland indicated we were about 240 miles from the nearest land. My lunch today was in the Trident Grill.

The Crystal Visions afternoon presentation was explorer Rona Cant with a talk and video on her BT Challenge Round the World Yacht Race. I had a bit of time to relax until afternoon tea with the Astoria Strings. During the day the World Cruise Games were continuing with paddle tennis (during Toone's talk), table tennis, scrabble and a relay race that I didn't see in the schedule. The first awards ceremony was held in Victory Park (Crystal Plaza). I missed it due to having reservations for the Magic Castle at Sea in Pulse. Magician Debbie Leifer performed mostly card tricks. We had a light turnout at table 102 with several of our group dining in Prego.

The Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle was held in Palm Court between dinner seatings. There were about 20 members present and we were joined by Cruise Director Rick Spath, Hotel Director Josef Lumitzberger, Paula Jean Pfitzer, Food and Beverage Manager Typhoon, and the Activities Hostess.

The evening entertainment was the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers in Curtain Call. I believe this is the only show that is done on both ships. It was performed on the Symphony my last night on the ship but I skipped it in favor of packing. I have seen Curtain Call twice on the Symphony in the last 4 months but I enjoyed seeing it with a new to me cast.

Today's parting shot is a wish for a wonderful feast of Purim for those who observe it.

Roy
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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
#35
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
The Crystal Symphony is in Phuket, Thailand. The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Colombo to Maho, Seychelles.

I woke up about 4:30. Since I had not finished Saturday's post before retiring I processed my photos and went on line before starting my walk. It was a very cloudy morning, although a full moon did find a little break on lap 1 on it's way to the horizon. The sun was never visible until it was high in the sky on my final lap.

It was an extremely busy sea day, World Games Events included Basketball, Solitaire, Gin Rumnmy, and a Mixed Doubles Walking Relay. I missed most of the events due to conflicts with lectures.

My days events started with the Protestant Worship Service at 9 in the Hollywood Theater:
http://wcmedley2014.files.wordpress....sunday0316.pdf
The Crystal Visions Enrichment Program started at 10 with Clem Sumter with "A History of Scenario Planning and How it Has Evolved", discussing how his definition of options related to the end of Apartheid. That was followed at 11 with Ambassador Tony Leon on "Leadership Unusual".

In his noon update Captain Vorland reported we are continuing on 3 of our 6 generators and it will be a close call if we will need to use a 4th for a while. We are now over 600 miles from the nearest land. I enjoyed my usual lunch at the Trident Grill.

The afternoon lecture at 1:30 was former Warner Brothers executive with "Sound Comes to the Movies". Later in the afternoon the Mixed Relays were held on the Promenade Deck. Finally, the Festival of Purim was celebrated in the Stardust Club. The celebration is based on the Book of Esther and commemorates the undoing of an order by Haman to eliminate Mordecai and the Jews. Many people at the celebration were dressed in costumes, including Rabbi Hershman. As the book of Esther was read, each time the name Haman was mentioned, the people used noisemakers to create a raucous outpouring of sound. After the ceremony there was dancing and refreshments. Today, as often happens Rabbi Hershman and Pastor Voosen attended each other's services.

All were present at table 102 for dinner with people looking very sharp on this formal night. The entertainment was an excellent piano concert by Philip Wojciechowski in the Stardust Club.

Today's parting shot is a bit of a personal story about Philip Wojciechowski. I have sailed with him several times, including my 2011 New England Canada trip from Montreal to New York. The last morning, as we were sailing into New York, people were on deck and Wojciechowski asked me to take his picture with the statue of Liberty behind him. On this voyage we are assigned to the same lifeboat. I called to him after the Muster Drill and asked how long he would be on the ship. He told me Maritius, and said "I remember you from New York". I find him not only a great pianist but a wonderful human being.

Roy
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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
#36
11,000+ Club
11,277 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
Roy,
Continue to enjoy your reports. Thanks!
Seven inches of snow last night. You're not missing anything here in Maryland.
R&D
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MST USNS Gen.Walker 9/66,Chandris "X" Amerikanis 2/78,Viking Princess 1/89, Nordic Empress 12/94, Empress 8/95, NCL Leeward 8/98, DCL Magic 1/99, NCL Sun1/02, Sky1/03, CCL Triumph 11/03, Brilliance 1/3/05, BR 1/2/06, GR 11/19/06, MJ 1/8/07, Empress 10/6/07,JW 1/6/08, EN 10/23/08(B2B)EN 10/27/08,MN 1/9/09,VY 2/22/09, MJ 5/22/09, MJ 9/18/09,OA 11/30/09(B2B)OA 12/01/09, MR 2/14/10,MJ 5/14,MJ 08/27,RD 10/16/10,AL 12/5/10,MR Cape Horn 2/1/11,FR 5/8/11,MJ 8/22/11,MN 9/5/11,VY 10/22/11(B2B)VY TA 10/30/11,JW 1/12/12, MJ 4/23, MN 7/6, MN 8/24,FR 12/16(B2B)MN 12/24, NV 1/26/13,MN 2/18(B2B)MN 2/22,MN last RCL cruise 3/29, EN 6/21(B2B)6/24, EN 7/26,EN 8/23/13 (B2B) 8/26/13, EN 12/23 (B2B2B2B) 1/3/14,RH 5/30/14,EN 7/25/14,VS 8/18/14(B2B)8/28,JW 12/20/14(B2B)12/27/14,MJ 2/20/15(B2B)MJ 2/23, GR 6/19,SKY 7/20,INDY 8/23(B2B)INDY 8/30,SKY 11/23,JW 12/20 (B2B) 12/27, INDY 2/18/16, MJ 4/25 (B2B) MJ 4/29, GR 6/18, MJ 8/26 (B2B)MJ 8/29, SR 1/13/17, MJ 4/25(B2B)4/29, MJ 6/5, AL 7/16/17, HR 8/26/17, MJ 9/18/17, SR 1/5/18, AL 6/17, AN 7/21, MJ 8/20, AD 10/21, IN 1/25/19, OV 5/13/19, GR 8/3, EM 10/5, SR 1/20/2020.
#37
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by Pumbaamd
Roy,
Continue to enjoy your reports. Thanks!
Seven inches of snow last night. You're not missing anything here in Maryland.
R&D
Thank you and WOW!

The Crystal Symphony is at sea from Phuket to Yangon, Miramar. The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Colombo to Mahe, Seychelles.

St. Patricks day started cloudy but with less motion of the ship than the last couple of days. Towards the last half of the walk conditions got a bit iffy with periods of shower. There is a strip of a few feet of covered space all the way around the promenade deck under deck 8 verandas, making the walk possible with care.

My morning started off with Protestant Perspectives at 9AM. Pastor Voosen chose mostly Irish hymns to look at including Be Thou My Vision, What A Friend We Have in Jesus, and Come, Ye Disconsolate. We also looked at Lord of the Dance in honor of the theme of tonight's special show.

World Cruise Games events included FreeCell, Paddle Tennis, Backgammon, Shuffleboard, and Darts.

Three of our Crystal Visions Enrichment speakers made their second presentations today, Edwina Currie started things off with "Lessons Learned", covering her years in politics. Ken Rees soon followed with a presentation on Maritius.

By noon the day became mostly sunny. At his update Captain Vorland expected we will use a 4th generator (of 6) overnight. We are still far from land, the nearest being the island of Diego Garcia 644 (560 nautical) miles away. The afternoon speaker was Crocodile hunter Mick Pitman. His talk was listed as "Living in the Bush 16 Years Poaching Crocodiles". That label was a bit off since the actual presentation provided a description of his tanning process and additional videos of catching the animals. My afternoon concluded with a visit to Afternoon Tea, with music provided by pianist John Mentis.

The sun was just on the verge of setting as I went off to dinner. Unfortunately, one of my tablemates had a bit of a setback. She fell leaving an elevator and broke an ankle. The Doctor has prescribed 3 days of bed rest with the ankle elevated. Laurie, wishing you a quick recovery.

The Evening Entertainment was "The Lord of the Dance", a special show put together by the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers with help from guest artists Marty Silvestri, Christine Andreas, and Ian Cooper. The orchestra pit was moved in front of the stage starboard side with the combined forces of the Galaxy Orchestra and Astoria String Quartet. There was of course a lot of Celtic music with several clogging numbers led by Dmitri of the Ensemble, fiddle music combining Ian Cooper and the violinists from the Astoria Strings. Both the lead vocalists had great songs, and Tom sang Danny Boy accompanied by a dance performance by dance team Beverly and Curtis. The finale to the 45-minute extravaganza was a video recap of the World Cruise to date with a high energy clog by the Ensemble.

There was an Irish singalong in the Avenue Saloon. I stayed only briefly and the place was packed by the time I left. My first impression of Colin Salter was "pretty good".

Today's parting shot comes directly from Reflections. It has a list of Irish Drinking Toasts, and this one caught my fancy: "May misfortune follow you the rest of your life and never catch up."

Roy
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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
#38
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
The Crystal Symphony is in Yangon, Miramar. The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Colombo to Mahe, Seychelles.

I can't believe I've now been on the Crystal Serenity for a week. Where has the time gone?

I "cheat" a bit on my daily walks. I walk the entire distance but the first lap I walk from the forward stairs to the back of the ship on deck 12, stopping in the lido for coffee rather than on deck 7. I doubled on my cheating today as the Seahorse pool was thrashing violently as I passed, and at the end of my final lap I walked on deck 13 to have another look at the still stirring pool. I never understood what the pool water was doing since the ship didn't seem to be moving much, but the water was still sloshing badly. Reflections indicated lap swimming was continuing in the World Cruise Games but I never saw the pool opened.

The morning weather changed very rapidly. There was a shower on my first lap but by lap 4 the full moon was shining very nicely. There were clouds on the horizon but it didn't take the morning sun long to find an opening. Toward the end of the walk there was a rainbow off the starboard side.

I had a relaxing morning with no 9AM commitments. There were 3 Crystal Visions Enrichment Programs, as well as World Cruise Games events in Paddle Tennis, Chess, Sudoku, and Team Trivia. Rick Senat started things off with "Warner Brothers-The Assembly Line". Ambassador Tony Leon followed at 11 with "From Apartheid to Democracy and Beyond", actually starting with how Apartheid came to be and covering a full 100 years of South African History. We have (at least) 2 children on board and they were seen playing this morning in the Crystal Cove.

In his noon update Captain Vorland confirmed we are now running with a 4th generator. Based on our progress it wouldn't surprise me if we go back to 3 at some time but that wasn't mentioned. Our nearest land is Rodriguez Island. The afternoon Crystal Visions presentation was a complete change of pace, from a hundred years history to today's events. Special Interest Lecturer Carmin Romanelli presented "2014 Winter Olympic Photography from Sochi". He had some very nice shots and views of how the cameras were placed but also seemed more interested in selling his company than enlightening us. A fair presentation. My afternoon concluded with Mozart Tea in Palm Court, with both the waiters and the Astoria String Quartet in Period dress.

The second of 3 World Cruise Games medal presentations was made at 5:30 in the Crystal Cove. Unlike the regular Olympics most of the teams winning represented 2 nations on the team. Keith from Cruise Critic was awarded a silver medal in the Basketball Free Throw event.

http://wcmedley2014.files.wordpress..../medal0318.jpg

The Gold medal was presented by Olympian Dane Blanton, the Silver by Captain Vorland, and the Bronze by Rick Spath.

There were only 5 of us present at table 102 tonight as the other 3 were in Prego. Laurie, our injured member was out and around the ship by wheel chair and was in Prego. The evening entertainment was musical comedian Steve Stevens in the Stardust Club. I only caught the end of his first show after dinner; having seen him perform twice on the Symphony I did not feel the need of another full show. I was happy with that decision when I learned that he will be part of tomorrow's variety show. I did stop by the Avenue Saloon on my way back from the show, but hope to be in bed early tonight.

Today's parting shot will be a simple message of congratulations to all the World Cruise Games winners, but especially to Keith.

Roy
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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
#39
Maryland
1,166 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by Pumbaamd
Roy,
Continue to enjoy your reports. Thanks!
Seven inches of snow last night. You're not missing anything here in Maryland.
R&D
Seven inches of snow for you, maybe. Here in northern MoCo, we had 10" of the white stuff!

That groundhog is looking more and more like a sacrificial rodent.

Amy
#40
Central Maryland
19,426 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by amyk757
Seven inches of snow for you, maybe. Here in northern MoCo, we had 10" of the white stuff!

That groundhog is looking more and more like a sacrificial rodent.

Amy
Thank you and Ouch! Perhaps I should quit complaining about the heat.

The Crystal Symphony is in Yangon, Myanmar. The MS Amsterdam is in Mahe, Seychelles.

It was another laundry day, extending my walking time until close to 7:30. While we are slowly moving away from the equator we are still in the tropics and the morning weather was into the 80's with a high humidity. The moon is still quite full and was shining brightly ahead of the ship and just to starboard. The entire trip from Bali has been very smooth, although we have felt a bit of motion a couple of times on the Indian Ocean.

Captain Birger Vorland was the special guest on today's morning show, telling of his history at sea starting with sailing with his father as a young child on oil tankers. He commented very positively on regulations requiring regular rest periods for ships' officers, and on the benefits of having staff alert and ready for the job. He talked a little bit about the generators. With 6 generators on board the most we can actually use is 5, He suggested that fuel consumption is pretty much a multiple of the numbers of generators in use while there is diminishing returns in speed. Our minimum is 2 generators at sea and one in port, with 3 probably being the most common setup.

There was another trio of Crystal Visions Enrichment programs, all with people we have seen before. In the morning Bill Toone started things off with "A trek through the Madagascar Rain Forest". He hopes to be back for the 2015 World Cruise when the ship visits Madagascar. Edwina Currie followed with "My Life with Margaret Thatcher".

We are presently in a relatively lightly used area of the sea. In his noon announcement Captain Vorland pointed out that we were just meeting a tanker on her way to Singapore, one of only a few ships we have seen since leaving Jakarta. Walking through the Lido Cafe towards Trident for lunch I got distracted by a lovely turkey roast and decided on lunch there. The afternoon Crystal Visions presentation was Rona Cant with "Just Do It-Become the Best You Can Be" detailing how she got involved in unusual activities for a woman. We also picked up our passports in preparation for tomorrow's visit to Mauritius.

The World Cruise Games events today were in Shuffleboard, Golf Putting, and Table Tennis. I've had a major case of the drowsies today and didn't do much in the afternoon.

Almost everyone was present tonight at table 102. One of our members has a friend getting on in Mauritius and will likely move to another table for the remainder of the cruise.

The evening entertainment was a triple variety show with violinist Ian Cooper, musical comedian Steve Stevens, and singer Christine Andreas. There is also a late night Liars Club with Ken Rees, Rabbi Hershman, and Steve Stevens. I will probably wrap up my post early today. Despite gaining an hour tonight I still expect to retire early, but will report tomorrow if I do get to what looks like a great Liars Club.

As today's parting shot, by the calendar Spring is on the horizon. At least in Maryland it is quite elusive with one report of 10 inches of snow. Spring, we're ready for you.

Roy
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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