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rafinmd

2010 Successive Spring Cruises

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I hope this won’t stray too far from the purpose of this forum, but it looks like it may be the best place. I am preparing to leave on 2 successive cruises with different lines, and would like to share my experiences from the trip. I’ve seen similar things done on both the Cunard and Crystal boards, but this doesn’t fit there since there are 2 separate companies involved. I will eventually circle the globe in about 5 segments:

 

2/23 Train Baltimore to LAX

2/28 Crystal Symphony LAX to Sydney

3/19 Fly on to Bangkok

3/21 Queen Victoria Bangkok to Dubai

4/5 Fly home.

 

I’ll start off with a bit of the odyssey that got me to this point. Crystal has always been one of my favorite cruise lines. In 2007 I did my first QM2 crossing. I found the ship entirely too big and impersonal and was not very impressed. It was, however a far better way to get across the Atlantic than flying and while on board I booked my next crossing for the following summer as part of my return from a trip to Africa. In fall 2008, I was booked on a Crystal Serenity crossing and looked at the Cunard web site to see if I could get to Europe on QM2 rather than flying. In checking the schedule there was nothing appropriate, but I did notice and book the final QE2 crossing. By that time, I was getting to be a bit of a Cunard regular and felt it was time to try Cunard for a cruise. A segment of the QV World Cruise looked interesting and I booked it. Finally, while on the Serenity, Crystal’s 2010 schedule came out and I noticed I could get across the Pacific just in time to make the QV. Spending 17 nights on the Crystal Symphony and flying 6000 miles less than I would otherwise do was the virtual definition of a win-win, so here I am.

 

The time is getting close, but as the trip unfolds, I will try to post updates to this thread.

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Won't be long now. Right after I made the first posting my Queen Victoria cabin assignment came through. I had booked a "guarantee" cabin in D7, the second lowest inside category. My assignment was a D2, the second best inside grade, the same part of the ship but 4 decks higher.

 

I have also recently firmed up arrangements for the interlude in Bangkok between cruises. On the Cruise Critic message boards, I've had quite different experiences with "roll calls" for the 2 voyages.

 

The Crystal roll call has been very active with a lot of helpful people. In particular, one member in Australia has given great advise on arrangements for Sydney at the end of the voyage, and one person in Hawaii who will be boarding the ship has been great with information on Hawaii. The Symphony will be full on this cruise and there are over 50 people registered for a Meet and Mingle.

 

The Queen Victoria roll call has been much more subdued. Since there are people joining and leaving the World Cruise at many points, a cohesive group does not seem to have formed. A meet and mingle has been planned, but it is scheduled for the last segment of the voyage, after I get off.

 

It's getting real close now, a week and a half till I leave home, assuming Maryland winters return to something reasonable and I can actually get away.

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Packing is pretty well completed now. My normal packing mode is with a backpack with straps which can be stowed for use as a suitcase and airline checking, and a smaller pack worn backwards on the chest. With a 42-day trip ahead, my main pack is an Osprey Porter 90, quite a large pack. The second is a Rick Steve Convertible carryon, about the size of a large rollaboard. I like this format because it allows me to travel with significant luggage completely hands free. With all but a few last minute snacks packed, my total weight will be about 32 pounds for the large backpack, and 31 pounds for the smaller bag.

 

Dressing for the weather will also pose a bit of a challenge. It will be about 40degrees when I leave home Tuesday morning and much colder Wednesday when I change trains in Chicago. I’ll need to be prepared for those temperatures but will not see them on my journey or on my return home in April. I expect to start out in a lot of layers, probably a shirt, sweatshirt, sweater, vest, sports coat, and rain coat for the first part of the trip. Some of those layers will probably find their way either to the trash or Goodwill by the time I get to Los Angeles.

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It will be about 40degrees when I leave home Tuesday morning and much colder Wednesday when I change trains in Chicago.

 

Are you taking the Lake Shore Limited or Cardinal to Chicago and the Southwest Chief to Los Angeles?

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Are you taking the Lake Shore Limited or Cardinal to Chicago and the Southwest Chief to Los Angeles?

 

Capitol Limited and Southwest Chief

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I’ll start with a report entry from a recent passenger who was on a Crystal Symphony cruise which visited Antarctica around New Years:

 

At Palmer Station, Antarctica, we anchored while a group of young American scientists came onboard and gave a fascinating presentation about their research and Global Warming. If you have any doubts that this problem is a reality, you should have seen and he closes eacard their data. After they departed in their inflatables we set sail for Ushuaia...

Andrew

 

I think the issue climate change and is quite perplex, and especially the relationships of the fossil fuel used by cruise ships. In regards to my relationship to this issue, I work on the theory that the ships will be using pretty much the same amount of fuel whether I am on them or not. I try to respond to the issue by minimize my impact of putting additional vehicles on the road, and have planned the trip to utilize all shared transportation as far as Bangkok airport. To this end, I have used my local transit system as far as the train station, and plan to use the Los Angeles transit system between Los Angeles and Long Beach.

 

A blogger on the Crystal World Cruisem Keith1010, clooses each poost with a quote of the day. I don't have near Keith's talent, but I'll try to come up with something at least occasionally. As I am now in Union Station preparing to leave, I'm less than 25 miles from home. To modify an old standard, a journey of a thousand miles, or an epic journey, begins with a single step (or perhaps a routine bus ride).

 

Roy

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I left Washington yesterday afternoon following along the Potomac River and the towpath of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. This waterway served the region approximately 1820-1920 but was overtaken by the railroad and was never a great success. It did help open up our west and carried a lot of coal to the eastern seaboard. It was also plied by a number of "packet boats", very small, crude passenger vessels who transported settlers westward. How far we have come from these primitive vessels to today's luxury cruise ships. Darkness fell on us just past the historic town of Harpers Ferry.

 

I am booked for early seating on both the Symphony and Queen Victoria, and got into the rhythm of the ship with a 6:30 dinner in the dining car. I was joined by Janet, moving fron Connecticut to California, and Sandy and Phil from Michigan, returning from Phil's business trip to Washington. Earl served me a very nice steak, but it was on plastic ware and it will be a few days until comfort is replaced by luxury. The same is true of my roomette, which has comfortable accommodations but very limited space.

 

We are all familiar with the concept of adjusting our watches as we retire for the night when approaching a new time zone. Since these trains make many stops each day we don't have that luxury and must change at the first town in the new time zone. While we will follow cruise ship tradition the final night, today and tomorrow our time changes come in the middle of breakfast.

 

I started my day in Chicago with a walk at Navy Pier. I actually have 2 favorite cruise lines, and American Canadian Caribbean Lines makes it's Chicago home at Navy Pier. I prefer small ships and love ACCL's ships with double digit passenger capacity, although the amenities are very basic (the silverware at your table when you sit down for dinner will normally last the entire meal). What really makes them special for me is that from the moment I board any of their ships I feel valued and treated as an individual person. That is relatively easy on a small ship, but for me they do it better than others I have travelled in their size class. The only other company I've found where I feel the same way is my co-favorite, Crystal Cruises. That they can do it on a ship 10 times as big is for me an astounding accomplishment.

 

Navy Pier is also the closest thing in Chicago to a promenade deck and it is nice to be near the water again. After 2 laps around Navy Pier, I walked back to Union Station, a total walk of about 4 miles. It is probably 25F outside, with a few morning flurries, but much less snow on the ground than when I left home.

 

As a followup to yesterday's post, my thought of the day today will relate to a definition: Faith is believing in what you cannot see, for example global warming today in Chicago.

 

Roy

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Roy - As a fellow World Traveler, I must say that I am impressed with your ambitious journey. Sounds like something out of a John Candy movie. Enjoy safe, healthy travels and keep us posted. I'll be reading your blog and traveling with you in my mind.

Andrew

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I wanted to see you off on the Southwest Chief but it has already departed Union Station for the 2 1/2 day trip! Oh well, bon voyage from Chicago and hope your trip on an Amtrak Superliner is comfortable!

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Just checked on Amtrak.com and your train is on time for an arrival in Lamy, New Mexico at 2:20 PM MT. Hope you're enjoying your trip on the Southwest Limited. Only 19 hours left until LAX!

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Welcome to Los Angeles and we're glad your train was a bit early too. Look forward to an update on how your cross-country train trip went!

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Rolfecms, thank you for all the good wishes. I'm just getting back to internet access aboard Queen Mary and will post for today later, but here's what I composed on the train.

 

Dinner yesterday was with Ruth and Eloise, vacationing at the Grand Canyon, and Linda, returning to California from a family visit. My pasta was fair, but the Key Lime crumb cake was superb. The tracks were a bit rough last night and when the Pacific swells up I'll be well prepared.

 

Immediately after breakfast with Norma, John, and Barbara came the first opportunity to step off the train for a stroll in La Junta CO. At an elevation of 4000 feet, the temperature was a brisk but not cold 40, with just a few traces of left over snow,

 

In late morning we crossed Raton Pass (7588"). Elevation is a problem for trains. At the previous stop we passed a motel billboard advertising Raton 22 minutes. It took us an hour by train. I stepped off the train briefly in Raton, but it was quite cold.

 

I enjoyed a light lunch with Eloise, Ruth, and Merle. I had not planned on desert but could not pass up another crack at the Key Lime crumble cake.

 

In Albuquerque the weather was warm and pleasant, and I walked about 45 minutes, mostly on Historic Route 66.

 

I turned in fairly early after a final chicken dinner with Linda, Merle, and a short term passenger.

 

While I don't regret my previous thoughts of the day, I don't think they really rise to the level of the title. A talk show host I know closes his show with a "parting shot", and I think that fits what I've been doing. So as my last "Thought of the day" and first "Parting shot", I'll close with "The thought of the day is back in the hands of people who master it, and the parting shot is my new order".

 

Roy

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Roy, Glad to hear you arrived safely in LAX. Curious as to how you enjoyed your train trip and what/how your accommodations on the Southwest Chief were.

 

I'm sure whatever your experience was it won't compare to what you'll find when you step aboard the Symphony. I'm green with envy.

 

Enjoy your Saturday in LAX and let us know what you did there.

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I arrived in Los Angeles well ahead of schedule. My accommodations on the train were cozy to say the least, my room was basically the size of a cot with about 9 inches of closet and free space on the aisle side. The bed folds up to convert to 2 seats facing each other, with the mattress stowed daytime in the upper bunk.

 

Despite a published 8:15 arrival, I retrieved, rearranged my bags, and was on the subway by 8:05. The first short ride into Los Angeles was extremely crowded, but the longer ride to Long Beach was against the rush hour flow and there was ample space. The shuttle bus to the Queen Mary showed up within 2 minutes of my arrival at the bus stop.

 

I arrived at the Queen Mary just before 10, and they had a room ready for me despite the published 4PM checkin. I went back into town for some shopping but spent most of the day on the ship.

 

This is my second stay on the Queen Mary, but the first was before I had actually sailed a Cunard ship, so my point of view had changed a bit. I was struck by the statements that the various classes on the Queen Mary never mingled except at Sunday services and marvelled at how much that has changed. I have enjoyed the Queen Mary's wonderful Promenade and Sun decks, and wonder what it must have been like to be a second or third class passenger and have no access to them. It seems to be a steady transition. QE2 was pretty much an open ship, but I think I recall the entrance to the Grills cabins being through a dedicated lounge or restaurant, so the Grills were very private. QM2 is very open, and Grill and Britannia guests may be right across the hallway from each other. It appears from some of my wanderings that First Class passengers were actually placed in inside cabins. Today, buying an upgrade always does get you the best of facilities. Overall, I think it's a big improvement.

 

I had dinner last night in Sir Winstons Restaurant. It is on one of the upper decks and very nice location and finish. I am told it was originally part of the engineers living space. It appears that even the engineers enjoyed a very stylish life.

 

For my parting shot today, I am thinking of my sea itinerary, which is from Long Beach to Dubai, with a break in the middle. At each end of the journey sits a retired legendary ship. The ship at the start of my journey has gone on to serve in a stellar second life as a hotel. The fate of the ship at the end is now an open question, but I can hope it will eventually go on to an equally stellar second life.

 

Roy

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The weather was not very cooperative today. It rained all night and continued into the day. A morning visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific was aborted when it began to pour as I waited in the ticket line. A return visit in the afternoon was a bit more successful, but between the crowds and a lingering drizzle it was not great. Continued exploration of the ship revealed a few other changes over time. While we now usually consider the upper decks to be the premium space, the class spaces on the Queen Mary ran pretty much top to bottom, with First Class taking pretty much the midship half of the vessel, and the other classes at the ends. Surprisingly, while I think of "steerage" as the aft end of the vessel, third class on the Queen Mary was at the bow. I also noted that you cannot look the length of some of the longer hallways. There is enough bowing of the vessel that the midship ceiling obscures the opposite end of the hallway. Presumably, modern naval engineering has eliminated the need for such a pronounced vertical curve on modern cruise ships.

 

I had dinner tonight in the "Promenade Restaurant". The original Promenade deck was enclosed along the sides of the vessel. A section of the starboard promenade deck has been converted to a fairly nice but very linear restaurant.

 

 

 

I'll need to provide some background for my parting shot, which comes from an observation I made on a previous trip, and I think it's appropriate here as I transition from rail to sea. In 2003 I had intended to circle the world without flying. I had booked a freighter across the Atlantic, the Trans-Siberia railroad from Helsinki to Beijing, the Crystal Harmony across to Vancouver, and a train home. When I got to Beijing, most of Crystal's Asian itineraries had been cancelled due to SARS concerns. I had to fly home, but flew back to Beijing a year later and completed the trip. While on the Harmony, I took an excursion on a bullet train in Japan and rode a maglev in Shanghai. One of the enrichment speakers was Andy Mills, a Concorde pilot, speaking about his aircraft (I've also enjoyed a similar presentation on QM2). The following was written while on the way from Japan to Hawaii. Cunarders will immediately that QM2 is much faster than what I stated, but I don't think it really affects the point of the story:

 

A strange thought has come over me after my emerging experience with a multitude of transportation systems. It seems that for many major forms of transportation, the faster you can go a progressively shorter distance can be sustained. We had Captain Mills telling us of his experience flying the Concorde 3500 miles from London to New York at Mach 2 in less than 4 hours. When I flew from Chicago to Beijing it was 6500 miles in 14 hours at Mach 0.85. I would have really appreciated getting there in 7 hours but even in it's heyday, the Concorde could not have made the trip.

 

I rode a Maglev train from Shanghai to the airport at 240 mph, a saving of perhaps 15 minutes from the driving time. A train the length of Japan, one of the fastest in the world, goes 150 mph, but a rail crossing of Siberia, North America, or Australia, where speed could make a big difference, goes about 70 mph. Finally, I have crossed the English Channel on a high speed catamaran at about 35 mph, while the Crystal Harmony, crossing the Pacific Ocean, does barely 20 mph. At least here, the extra time in transit is anything but a hardship.

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While I am on the Symphony, I will post to both the Cruise Conversations and Crystal forums.

 

As I indicated on day 1, I have made it this far with shared transportation. I had booked Primetime shuttle with a pickup at 11:00 and estimated 12:00 dropoff. They called this morning and changed the pickup time to 10:40. When I walked off the Queen Mary at 10:38, the van was parked at the entrance. The actual ride to the ship, along with 2 passengers from the Mariner of the Seas, docked right behind the Symphony. Embarkation started out chaotic but quickly got better When I arrived at the entrance no one offered any help with my luggage, and there were 2 unmarked tables. I approached the first one and found out it was for visiting travel agents and told to sit with the other group. After about 5 minutes, an agent escorted me to the bag check area and set me up with the initial paperwork. Checkin started about 11:40, and by 12:05 I was getting a sandwich grilled at the Trident Grill.

 

I like to eat breakfast and lunch as a series of small snacks. The sandwiches at the Trident Grill are superb, but the selection of side dishes is limited, so I normally supplement them with selections from the Lido Cafe next door. The Lido is closed on embarkation day, so I walked a half hour on the Promenade deck and then went to the Crystal Dining room for soup and salad. The rest of the afternoon went to preparation of my laptop for the internet, unpacking, a walk into town(didn't seem to be much in San Pedro), high tea, and the muster drill. My room is a Category E, which has an obstructed view. Cabin 8063 looks directly out onto a boat, but it is a work boat rather than a lifeboat, and the highest point is about eye level when sitting, and for most directions there is minimal obstruction looking down.

 

I am booked for early seating in the Crystal Dining Room at a large table. We had 8 people for dinner with a capacity of 9. Two are part of the Cruise Critic roll call. My preferences run toward smaller ships, and a small group meeting together at dinner each night brings me a part of the small ship experience I love.

 

 

The evening was capped with the welcome aboard show featuring introductions to the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers and the professional dance team of Adam and Patricia.

 

For my parting shot today, just a quick reflection on the experience to come. I look forward with much anticipation to the chance to experience a new ship and new ports of call in a mere 3 weeks, but for now it's wonderful to be back "home" on the ship where my love of the Crystal experience began.

 

Roy

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Today started in a manner that is likely to become a pattern. I'm an early bird and on sea days like to walk 5 miles before breakfast, which is a real pleasure on Symphony's lovely Promenade Deck. I'll get my first cup of coffee right away and drink it over the first couple of laps, starting about 5:30am. If lucky, I'll get a lovely sunrise as part of the walk, but the weather was not cooperating today. Toward the end of the walk Crystal's special walking programs were initiated for this cruise. They have long had a "Walk on Water" program which uses walkvests, vests holding portable weights up to about 16 pounds as an enhancement to the benefits of walking, and the vests were distributed today. Crystal also has a new "Nordic walking" program using trekking poles to further enhance the benefits of walking. I walked 3 laps (.8 miles) using the poles. The sea was quite choppy today, and sliding the poles on the deck behind me as we went up and down around the bow with the waves proved quite a challenge.

 

Crystal's superb enrichment program got off to a superb start. In the morning, Charles Ziarko's topic was "On Location: The Fun and Games from Dawn to Dusk", an entertaining look at the behind the scenes life of a Director. This was part of the cruise theme "Film and Theater Festival" In the afternoon, Tony Soper presented a wonderful talk with beautiful pictures of "Oceans of Birds - A Round-the World Extravaganza.

 

At noon we had team trivia with an all Cruise Critic team. We were not terrible, with 8 out of 15 right, but we hope to get better in the future. Tea time was awesome as always, with superb music by the Crystal Trio, and the beautiful setting of Palm Court. Today we had a special show off the port bow with a school of jumping fish following us for several minutes.

 

Tonight was our first formal night with the Captain's Welcome Party followed by the superb Welcome Aboard dinner. The perfect finale to the evening was the spectacular performance of "Standing Room Only" by the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers. Tonight will be the first of two successive nights where we turn the clocks back for an extra hour of welcome sleep.

 

 

For my parting shot tonight, I discovered a way that even with a superb organization like Crystal, some things are not always what they seem. I stopped by the Trident Ice Cream Bar this afternoon for my daily fix. As I was finishing my treat, I was shocked to look at my cup and see the warning "Contents may be extremely hot" and got a good chuckle out of it. Fortunately, when it really counts, Crystal is much more true to it's word.

 

Roy

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Such an interesting trip you have planned out. I'll be reading your postings with much anticipation. Thanks for sharing.

Have fun...

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Really enjoying your journal. What a fun read first thing in the morning! 5 miles before breakfast. You put me to shame.

 

Acker

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The swells today are still quite large, but it was still an excellent morning on the Promenade deck. The sky was mostly clear and the moon was nearly full, leaving a delightful reflection on the water passing around the bow. I completed my five miles by 7, so the nordic walk was an additional 3 laps.

 

The Crystal Visions Enrichment program continued in excellent form with a morning presentation by destination lecturer Dr. James Valle on "Hawaii - The Big Island", covering the geology and history behind our first port call. In the afternoon, Charles Ziarko continued to give us insights into the life of a Hollywood Director, and Adam and Patricia exhibited the patience of Job as I attempted a Salsa lesson. Our noon trivia team improved it's performance with 11 out of 15, but another team completed a perfect score.

 

After a superb dinner in the main dining room, the evening's entertainment was "Hollywood Revisited: A Tribute in Costume and Song", a part of the Film and Theatre Festival theme. Greg Schreiner has collected hundreds of costumes from the glory days of Hollywood, and with a cast of singer/models has recreated the roles where these elaborate costumes were used. Pianist Greg and the Galaxy Orchestra provided accompaniment and members of the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers presented additional costumes.

 

I am not an adventurous eater and to this point have never dined in any of Crystal's specialty restaurants. Crystal has a new program called "Table for Eight" which appears to be a smashing success. One night each of the restaurants has a large open table taking reservations for a community table. My first choice was Prego, but when I inquired Monday, the table was already fully booked, and I am on a wait list. I called today for Silk Road and received the last available seat.

 

As an early bird, I normally retire soon after the evening show. With our second time change moving us to Hawaii time, I took advantage of part of the hour gained to listen to the superb music of Larry Dunsmore in the Avenue Saloon. I will try to stop by more frequently, most likely between dinner and the show.

 

My parting shot today will be more in the framework of a thought of the day. This was posted on one of the doors I passed walking around the ship: "Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they're always there".

 

Roy

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Today was as beautiful outdoors on deck as it always is inside the Crystal Symphony. Swells and chop we have been fighting most of the way since Los Angeles had mostly subsided by morning and were essentially gone in the afternoon. The wind was about 20 knots and following the ship, so the apparent wind on deck was calm, making ideal walking conditions, and it was easy to keep the Nordic poles on the deck behind me. A very extensive selection of Enrichment presenters were recruited for this crossing, including 2 I had sailed with in the past. Unfortunately, Rocket Scientist Tom Logston will not be able to be with us, and I will miss him and his wife Cindy. Political affairs commentator Professor Louis Rene Beres is on board, and I briefly walked with him on the Promenade Deck this morning. He is getting a bit of a vacation; our program is so packed he will not be giving his first presentation until March 9.

We had 3 presentations in the Crystal Visions Enrichment Program today. In the morning Greg Shreiner presented more of his costumes, this time through a slide show, including accounts of the unusual ways they were sometimes recycled to serve multiple actresses in unexpected ways. There were 2 presentations in the afternoon. Destination lecturer Dr. James E. Valle gave an introduction to the history of Maui and the whaling culture, and Scott Peterson joined vocalist Karen Morrow in a Q&A session on her theatrical career. Ms. Morrow was one of the performers and models in Greg Shreiner's performance last night. Between lectures Dance Instructors Adam and Patricia again proved their patience as they taught the Tango, while I proved my incompetence.

Tonight's entertainment was a spectacular performance by violin virtuoso Ian Cooper with the superb support of the Galaxy orchestra.

It has been some time since I last sailed the Symphony, and it is more beautiful then ever, especially since it's last refit. The entire Lido deck is spectacular, especially the area around the Trident Grill, and the Lido Cafe is both visually spectacular and functionally perfect. I am also surprised to keep learning new things about a ship I thought I knew pretty well. As an early bird, I had never paid much attention to the Trident Grill's late risers breakfast, but I stopped there for coffee and got a good look at the menu. While I really shouldn't eat any more breakfast, some of the selections, like the apricot french toast look just too wonderful to pass up. I think one of these days I will have to forgo lunch in favor of a late morning brunch.

Our Cruise Critic meet and mingle is scheduled for tomorrow as we leave Hilo. There are about 60 people registered.

Finally, an event today left me feeling a bit embarrassed but very impressed. This is the first time I have sailed with Captain Ralf Zander. This evening my travel agency held a cocktail party and Captain Zander attended. As he came around the tables he commented on encountering me earlier in the day on the Promenade Deck. When he made the comment, I remember him saying hello to me but at the time I had no idea that it was the Captain talking to me. On a ship with nearly 900 passengers, the Captain's remembering and thinking of one individual he had never met before made a tremendous impression on me.

Roy

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The last of our sea days enroute to Hilo was spectacular. The weather was warm as we crossed the Tropic of Cancer overnight, and a 20-knot tailwind provided calm air on deck.

 

I attended 3 presentations today, after my early 5-mile walk, the Nordic walk (much better when the deck stays at a constant level, allowing the poles to drag smoothly) and the morning show with Scott Peterson and Lead Singer Colleen Williamson. In the morning, Dr. James E. Valley spoke on "Oahu - The Gathering Place" in preparation for our visit to Honolulu on Sunday.

 

In the afternoon Charles Ziarko presented his final talk, "What you don't know about the History of Hollywood" describing many of the award winning performances that went to second choice performers in a number of roles, which propelled a number of people to stardom, including the selection of Crystal Symphony Godmother Angela Lansbury as a second choice lead for her role in Murder She Wrote. This was immediately followed by a matinee performance of Greg Schreiner and more of his costume collection featuring songs performed by Karen Morrow, Joshua Finkel, and Jill Burke, and dances by Crystal Ensemble performers Olga Marakenko and Eric Anson. Today's busy schedule did not allow time for Adam and Patricia's Swing class, during Greg Schreiner's performance, or for Joe Kita's class in Memoir Writing.

 

Good news came tonight when I was informed that there will be a second evening of "Table for Eight" in Prego, and I will be dining there on the 14th. I enjoyed a casual dinner tonight in the Lido tonight, and had some time afterwards for a visit to the Avenue Saloon for more of Larry Dunsmore's music.

 

This evening's entertainment was an excellent performance by West End vocalist Mark O'Malley with a wide variety of music including swing, rock, folk, and selections from musicals.

 

As my parting shot tonight, we are coming into Hilo tomorrow, and I am thinking of the chain of events that got me to this point. When I booked my Cunard World Cruise segment a year and a half ago, I had no idea the Symphony would be making an ideally timed crossing of the Pacific. I might not have noticed the possibility of making this connection if I had not been on board Serenity when Crystal's 2010 schedule was announced, and if we arrived in Sydney just 1 or 2 days later, the connection would not have been possible. Finally, I have been to Hawaii several times but it has been many years since my last visit to Maui or the Big Island. Our original itinerary called for an overnight in Honolulu, but a narrow docking window there apparently was the reason for our visit to two of the outer islands, rather than just one. Sometimes it takes a major chain of events to produce wonderful results.

 

Roy

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