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2018 Crystal World Cruise as seen by a 4-Star Mariner

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Roy, I loved your Cannibal Soup picture! Maybe a bit cheesy, but where else could you ever bet a picture like that?

 

I'm glad you got in the water in the South Pacific. If I ever get there, I will have to be pulled kicking and screaming out of the water. Diving in the South Pacific is a bucket list activity/destination for me, so I will do what I can to make it happen.

 

I hope you are able to make all of your ports, stay clear from all storms, and have a smooth transfer is Sidney.

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Thanks erewhon and perfect match. Since we're going to Tonga, it would be great if Crystal would establish a relief fund and I could use some of my onboard credit for that.

 

A few of the questions from yesterday’s final (Wednesday) regular trivia:

 

1. What is the largest landlocked country (It’s in Asia)?

5. What African animal has markings as unique as fingerprints?

9. What does the computer acronym CRT stand for?

13. What is the leftmost key on a piano?

 

Today I did something that I haven’t seen since the Zaandam, 6 years ago. An in person disembarkation talk. Crystal doesn’t normally do it but most normal disembarkations do not include leaving the ship on a tender boat, transferring to a sister ship, all in the context of dealing with Australian quarantine regulations. There are about 44 full world cruisers doing that plus probably at least as many going on to one or more segments on the Symphony.

 

I think there were a lot of confused people; it wasn’t really that different from a normal disembarkation but there are a few twists. Since all bags will come off while we are docked at Circular Quay they are due to be out by 8:30 instead of the usual midnight or so. It looks like we will be among the last off the ship, leaving the movie theater at 9:15 and clearing customs about 10:15. We will have nearly an hour to chill out in the terminal before we can board the Symphony. We will apparently have our bags inspected both leaving Serenity for Australia and again an hour later leaving Australia. Overall, with a little luck, it shouldn’t be too bad.

 

Our trivia today was musical and not amenable to writing questions and answers, so here are yesterday’s answers:

 

1. Kazakstan (most people guessed Mongolia)

5. Zebra (I first guessed leopard but changed my guess before the answers came.

9. Cathode Ray Tube (or terminal)

13. A

 

Roy

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Hope your turn a round day and transfer to the new ship go smoothly, Roy.

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Good luck with the transition to your new ship Roy!!

What an adventure you are having! I’m learning a lot with your travels and getting better with trivia👍

Denise:)

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Thank you Keith, Krazy Kruizers, Jacqui, and Denise.

 

Some “lost” photos

 

Sometimes a bit of persistence pays off. Over a week ago, back when we were in Suva, one of my cameras went missing. I checked the next day at the lost and found and they had not seen it. I pretty much figured the camera was history. I just took a gamble today and tried once more, 10 days after the fact, and voila!. As we get into the bustle of a turnaround day I’ll probably get far behind in posting but here are a few of the “lost” photos from Suva.

 

First the town square.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/suvasquare.jpg

 

Inside the Fiji Museum there were some huge bugs,

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/bigbugs.jpg

 

some very nice coral,

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/coral.jpg

 

and a couple of boats.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/fijiboats.jpg

 

The final 2 pictures are from sailaway, a sunken derelict fishing boat that was leaking oil and creating a nasty odor,

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/derelict.jpg

 

Finally, the inter-island ferry Lomaiviti Princess, formerly the Queen of Prince Rupert.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/lomaiviti.jpg

 

Roy

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:DStrange to see the BC ferry with a new retirement location, lol! Like So many of us Canadians!

 

Bon voyage on your new ship!

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You know Roy great luck 10 days later and your camera shows up at front office!!!! OMG I would of been so upset.

I am happy a good soul found it and good Karma for them to bring it in. 10 days and counting for our cruise on Maasdam to Peru! We have WiFi so I will be on CC to read how your doing.

Take care Roy and enjoy your adventures!

Denise:)

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Great reports.

Do you travel to White Bay by land or sea?

By sea. We move to a bouy further from the bridge at 4AM, then Ferry to White Bay ferry dock, and finally a 5-minute shuttle bus.

 

Roy

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Thank you Krazy Kruizers. OK, while I could have been working on yesterday's post I've been on deck instead. The Symphony is in Sydney:

attachment.php?attachmentid=414596

attachment.php?attachmentid=414596

 

I had hoped to get the Symphony going under the Harbor Bridge but at just that time the lights went out. A few minutes later the Carnival Spirit came by to fill the space we just left at Circular Quay.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=414597

 

Roy

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Thank you Krazy Kruizers and erewhon. It was slower than expected but no real stress.

 

Day Serenity42, Friday, February 16, 2018, Arrive Sydney

 

The Crystal Symphony is at sea from Hobart, 569 miles away, to Sydney

 

While it had been brutally hot in Sydney, the weather was very nice for our arrival. I walked a couple of early laps around the promenade deck while getting coffee and a few more as the sun came up.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/dawn0216.jpg

 

Our rendevous with the pilot was scheduled for 9AM. I went on deck a little before that and the boat was already well away from us. I got my first good view of the Sydney skyline about 9:15.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/skyline1.jpg

 

Rick Spath had recommend we be on deck 13 forward for the sail-in. I found it awfully crowded but the walkways above the pool had plenty of room and it was easy to move from side to side, always with a good vantage point. We passed the light house at the entrance to the harbor about 9:20.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/entrylight.jpg

 

By 9:30 we were close enough to have a good view of Sydney’s 2 iconic landmarks together with the ferry terminal in between.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/2icons.jpg

 

We pulled up to Circular Quay, almost directly across the Opera House, and our first lines went out just after 10.

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/circular.jpg

 

I had booked a morning tour of “the Rocks”. It was unfortunately one of the least satisfying tours I can remember. I don’t think it was billed as a walking tour but it was sort of–actually more of a standing tour. In the hour plus I was on the tour we walked no more than half a mile and the guide spent most of his time talking about things not well related to the few things we were seeing. I think I’d have gotten more from an hour lecture in the Hollywood Theater even without slides. The one interesting thing I did see was the clock tower.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/clocktower.jpg

 

After lunch back on the ship I walked the Harbor Bridge. Not “THE” bridge walk, just a regular walk. Starting at sea level there were still some climbing (both hills and steps) involved to get up to the roadway but it was a nice walk. There was grating and fencing but the view was still quite nice.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/bridgeview.jpg

 

There was an observation point in one of the towers, another 200 steps up. I passed on it. I did have my laptops with me and looked for wifi after the walk but nothing looked inviting.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/bridgetower.jpg

 

I was back on the ship about 3. As I stopped for the final time at the Bistro for coffee Dennis asked me to pose for a picture with him to show to his Brother In Law Noel on the Symphony.

 

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/dennis1.jpg

 

I continued with packing through the afternoon having just a few things to throw in after dinner. There were just 3 of us at Table 51, another WC4 cruiser and an Ambassador Host. One of our members lives in Sydney and was already home. My final dinner on the Serenity was the chicken consume, fillet steak, and strawberry ice cream.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/dishes0217.jpg

 

My bags were in the hallway well before the suggested time of 8:30. There was no show on the ship but the start of the Chinese New Year brought a promise of fireworks. Unless I missed the boat there was not much to them.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/fireworks.jpg

 

The prime advantage of having the fireworks was being at the stern after dark. The Harbor Bridge is lit up beautifully in the evening (not sure how long it was lit; it was dark at 4AM).

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/bridgeevening.jpg

 

I did make one final brief visit to the Avenue Saloon. People continuing on to Manila are in for a continuing treat. I was in bed by 10.

 

My parting shot; 42 days is the longest I have been on a ship but I seem to be getting used to long stays. I used to think 30 days would be as long as I’d want to be on a single ship but I had 38 days on the Symphony 2 years ago and will be on her for 73 days beginning now. I think I’m ready for longer stays.

 

Roy

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Enjoy the next 73 days Roy!!!! I sure would. Loved the parting shots you took!

Thanks for great writings and I so enjoy reading!

Denise:)

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Thank you Denise, Krazy Kruizers, and bennybear. 73 days probably won't stand too long as my longest time on a single ship. I'm booked on Prinsendam's 80-day Grand South America next year although I may leave the ship for a while midway through if an attractive option opens up for Lake Titicaca.

 

Day Symphony1, Saturday, February 17, 2018, Transition to Crystal Symphony, Sydney

 

The Crystal Serenity is at Athol Buoy, 2 ½ miles from White Bay.

 

I was up extra early, setting the alarm for 3:30 and being on the promenade deck when we backed away from Circular Quay. The bridge was dark except for some warning markers for aircraft and the lighting for the roadway.

 

I was watching Marine Traffic and was up on deck 13 about 5 watching for the Symphony’s arrival. She came gliding by just after 5, followed about a half hour later by the Carnival Spirit.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/symphonyhere.jpg

 

I returned to the Lido for my final meal on Serenity just after 6:30 as the sun was coming up over our stern.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/dawn0217.jpg

 

All disembarking passengers were taken by Captain Cook Ferry to White Bay Cruise Terminal. General disembarkation ran about 7-9 AM while passengers with continuing Crystal arrangements (Serenity of Hotel) were due to leave last at 9:15. In transit passengers also used Captain Cook Ferry but were taken to Dawes Point, under the Harbor Bridge.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/caphcook.jpg

 

The process ran just a little bit behind schedule and at 9:15 a call was made for “All disembarking passengers to leave now”. That got a bit confusing as it was really meant for those on general disembarkation and we were quickly called back to the Hollywood Theater. Our call came about a half hour later and my last close up look at Serenity was from the upper deck of the ferry. Just before passing under the Harbor Bridge we passed the Carnival Spirit, now at our dock.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/departure.jpg

 

After about 20 minutes on the ferry we sailed past the Symphony and disembarked at a landing in a secure area where we rode a shuttle bus to the terminal.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/symphonywaits.jpg

 

There were both trolleys and porters waiting at baggage claim. I had a LOT of snacks and stuff and was pretty much expecting to need to open up my bags at Customs but the guy just asked what I had (no meat, no fresh fruit, etc.), and I was quickly on my way to the bag drop.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/declared.jpg

 

Both Symphony World Cruise Hostess Sarah Hayes and Cruise Director Shane Morley were in the terminal to greet us. We had a longer wait than I expected to board the ship but made it aboard a little after 11:30. Checkin was in the Starlite Club.

 

We had been told that rooms would be ready at 3. (How I love Holland America’s Stateroom Direct with rooms ready on embarkation). We were directed up to the Palm Court where there was a reception with refreshments.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/hospitality.jpg

 

I was just ordering coffee (12:07) when a nice surprise came; our rooms were ready. I went down to my room, set up my laptop, and got a quick look at the obstruction caused by the gangway in front of my window. A bit more limited than on Serenity but not bad at all.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/7050view.jpg

 

The Trident Grill had changed more than I expected from the drydock but I was recognized by staff and my grilled ham and cheese was soon ready. From the back deck I could see people heading for the ferry on the way to board Crystal Serenity.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/toserenity.jpg

 

My bags started to arrive soon after I returned from lunch. For the most part my stuff was in packing cubes and most of what I did was getting the cubes out fo the bag and into the closet, opening only the ones I needed immediately. The second bag and the carryon I left at the checkin counter arrived about 1:30 and unpacking continued, but one bag was still missing. It was the last bag I put out Friday evening and of course the stuff I use most was the last to go into the bag, so it was wanted quite eagerly. I checked with the Concierge about 2:30. They called back and said a bag had been held up by port security because of a knife. They said they would call and I would have to go down and open the bag for a closer inspection. I carry a paring knife that I use to slice up apples but didn’t think it should have been an issue. In fact, with a basket of fruit Crystal furnishes a much bigger knife (steel handle vs my white handle) so I was rather stunned that it would have been a problem Time to go to the Gala passed and still no followup call about the bag. Fortunately, I had packed something to wear to the Gala in each of the bags.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/knives.jpg

 

We met at 4:30 for the ride to Sydney Town Hall where the World Cruise Gala (for all full World Cruise Passengers on either/both ships) was held.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/townhall.jpg

 

After a short cocktail time a curtain opened and we entered the main hall where tables were set up.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/townhall2.jpg

 

There were several entertainment features starting with a selection of “Welcome to Country” dances by local entertainers.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/localshow.jpg

 

Crystal Cruises President Tom Wolber greeted us and called all the chief officers from both ships up to the stage. He presented a short video introducing the 2020 World Cruise.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/wober.jpg

 

I first saw organist Hector Olivera perform with Crystal on the 2016 Northwest Passage cruise. At his first performance after a couple of selections he ran a slide show of some of the organs he has performed on including the Grand Organ at Sydney Town Hall.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/grandorgan.jpg

 

I immediately thought then that it would be magical if he could play for us at the World Cruise Gala. He did and it was.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/hector2.jpg

 

A camera at Town Hall can look down at the organ providing a great view of all 4 manuals, the panels of stops and the pedals. Hector played 4 selections covering a range of the instrument’s range starting with the Hallelujah Chorus, going to the instrument’s very soft side with Ave Maria, Music of the Night, and finally pulling out all the stops with the Toccata from Widor’s 5th Symphony.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/hector1.jpg

 

A separate view gives a close up of the pedalboard.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/footaction.jpg

 

I was quite surprised that at a number of points in the performance Hector payed with his wrists crossed, quite an interesting bit of technique.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/crossed.jpg

 

The program continued with a number of selections by the Sydney Youth Orchestra, musicians aged 6 to 24. The conductor appeared to be a peer of the rest of the musicians, quite a polished young man.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/youth.jpg

 

The youthful side of the entertainment continued with the Australian Girls Choir, another tribute to what’s good about the youth of Australia. We had started to have dinner about the time either the Symphony or the Choir was playing.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/girls.jpg

 

The final performer was Australian Actor and Singer Philip Mark Quast with a selection of songs.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/quast.jpg

 

We left Town Hall a little after 9 and were back at the ship around 10. A White Party had just begun in the Crystal Cove. I had noticed on leaving Serenity that their Crystal Cove was decorated almost identically. When I returned to my room my missing bag was there. A phone message indicated that the bag with the knife was one bound for Serenity. I’m still not quite sure what caused the hold up in my bag.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/whiteparty.jpg

 

My parting shot will be a now very belated Happy Birthday to Hector Olivera.

 

Roy

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Good to know you are aboard the Symphony.

That was a long wait for your last luggage.

 

Received your message, have sent you two messages this afternoon/evening. Both with the information you mentioned.

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