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

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Thank you Jacqui.

Day Symphony70, Thursday, April 26, 2018, Leave St. Barts


The Crystal Serenity is in Dubai, 6372 miles away. The sun rose at 5:48and set at 6:30. The moon set at 3:31AM and rose at 3:41PM. The weather was mostly sunny and 27/81.


There’s a real dummy on this ship. It was sitting out on the promenade deck as I started my morning walk, accompanied by the training liferaft nearby.




I headed inside for the morning show before the sun actually rose but it produced some nice color over Saint Bartheleme as my walk ended.




By the time I went to the Lido for breakfast tendering was started with one in the water and a couple of others partially lowered and nearing readiness.




I have a feeling not too many people went ashore the second day. I left about 8:30 Gustavia is a town which surrounds on 3 sides a rectangular harbor with the tender pier/ferry dock in the lower right corner of the map. There is frequent ferry service to St. Maarten, 12 miles away.




I had no tour for the day and again walked the 3 sides of the town, stopping first at the Anglican Church which faces the inner end of the harbor.




The Catholic church is now larger than the Anglican and sits a block or 2 behind the Anglican. The outside is pretty plain but the sanctuary is nice.




The most prominent traces of the old forts are Fort Oscar which sits majestically above the harbor in the upper right corner of the map. Unfortunately, when I approached it I found it is now a police station and off limits to civilians.




Heading back towards the ferry terminal I swung by Shell Beach. I had seen it Wednesday from Fort Carl but not up close then.




For most of the 19th century St. Barthelemy was under Swedish rule. Few reminders of that period remain with the most prominent one being a bell tower. The information indicated that an old Swedish jail was nearby. That may be a bit misleading, and the signs on the building indicated it served many purposes, primarily as a meeting place and a school.




Just below it was the bell tower which at one time was attached to a Swedish Church. The tower sits on “Church Street” (Rue de l’Eglise) which at that point was actually a very rustic and uneven staircase. I descended quite carefully.




I was back on the ship just in time for the end of the Trident Late Risers Breakfast. I don’t think there were as many as 5 passengers on either of my tender rides for the day.


All aboard was 1:30. Louis sang as the anchor ball was being taken down from the mast at 2 and we departed our last foreign port. A bird was resting on the forward mast.




With most of the afternoon at sea we had a 3:30 presentation in the Starlite Club. William Fowler talked about Pirates from the earliest days to the present. He included the Somali perspective on the piracy situation there. When the country collapsed fishermen from other nations started impinging on Somali waters, depriving Somali fisherman of their livelihoods. With their seafaring skills and without their traditional income stream, piracy became the natural result. Not an excuse but it does help with understanding, and hopefully a lesson to head off other piracy outbreaks.


The shared table filled in slowly over time but service continued uninterrupted for the early people, and I had a bit of time to return to my room and peruse Reflections before the show.




While the sun had already set when I left the dining room there was still quite a bit of color in the sky, even as the moon was shining brightly above the lifeboats.




The featured entertainment was another great double bill. It started off with “The Speakeasy” by the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers at 7:30 in the Galaxy Lounge followed at 8:30 by comedian John Joseph. The shows repeated at 9:30 and 10:30.




Today’s parting shot is from John Joseph, something many of us getting up in years can relate to. “I need these glasses to find THESE glasses”. While it doesn’t exactly apply to me since I never take mine off I can certainly relate.



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Wonderful reports.

You are lucky that you got to spend a full day and the next morning at St Barts.

When we were scheduled to be there, 2 other ships were also scheduled to be there and HAL decided to give us an extra sea day. BOO HAL!!

Great pictures.

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Roy, thanks for another great update.


There is a lovely thread thanking the World Cruise Bloggers - I hope you get a chance to see it.

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Roy, I echo the others who have thanked you for this blog. It takes time and work, and your efforts are most appreciated.


BTW, re your comment about not wanting to be away more than 100 days, do I remember correctly that you have been on a ship since October 1, 2017, on the Grand Asia?

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Roy, I echo the others who have thanked you for this blog. It takes time and work, and your efforts are most appreciated.


BTW, re your comment about not wanting to be away more than 100 days, do I remember correctly that you have been on a ship since October 1, 2017, on the Grand Asia?


Thank you. Actually, no, I only did the first leg of the Grand Asia, then the Prinsendam transatlantic, and was home the second half of November and all of December.



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Thanks Roy for taking us along on your great cruise. Enjoyed reading your blog as you traveled the world. Really enjoyed reading about Tahiti & the Marquesas as we visit them next year.


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Thank you Krazy Kruizers, Tampa Girl, Jacqui, and Allan.


Day Symphony71, Friday, April27,2018. At Sea, Crystal Symphony


The Crystal Serenity is in Al Fujairah, 6,646 miles away. The sun rose at 6:03 and set at 7:05. The moon set at 4:32AM and rose at 6:03PM. It was mostly sunny with a daytime temperature of 31/88.


I’ll start with the second of the photos taken at the equator crossing ceremony.




My post today is quite a bit different from the one on the Crystal Forum.


Team trivia apparently went very quickly today and I was there only for the answers which went so quickly I really didn’t have a fair chance to think about my responses.:


2. Who wrote the Symphony of 1000?

3. Who was the only boxer to knock out Mohamed Ali?

5. In what country was Simon Bolivar born?

7. Where is the Mona Lisa displayed?

11. What is the highest point in Britain.?




In the afternoon the dreaded disembarkation packet arrived. I will need to leave the ship about 9:30. Two of my big bags will go home via Luggage Concierge; the remaining one goes home with me.


There was a farewell cocktail party in the Silk Lounge for those on the full world cruise. Several of the Crystal Senior Staff currently on board for a meeting were also there to greet us.



Trivia answers


2. Mahler wrote the Symphony of 1000

3. Only Larry Holmes has knocked out Mohamed Ali.

5. Simon Bolivar was born in Venezuela.

7. The Mona Lisa hangs in the Louvre.

11. The highest mountain in Britain is Ben Nevis.


The musical selection was “The Great Pretender” by the Platters on Mercury Records with a total of 3 points for the song, artist, and label. The winners had 15 of 18 possible points.


My parting shot will be about how time flies. I have long known that I would be on the Prinsendam’s Grand South America Cruise next year. I am posting this on the 28th. It has just dawned on my that one year I will not only have been back from the Prinsendam but April 28 2019 will have been home from that for nearly a month and will be visiting the Azores on the Nieuw Statendam. Time really flies.



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Catching up with your interesting reports.


It's always sad to receive the disembarkation packet.

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Thank you Erewhon and Krazy Kruizers.


Day Symphony72. Saturday, April 28, 2018, At Sea, Crystal Symphony, Black Tie Optional


The Crystal Serenity is in Al Fujairah, 6,890 miles away. The sun rose at 6:27 and set at 7:40. The moon set at 5:44 and rose at 5:52. It was hazy with a temperature of 28/82.


I’ll start with another photo from the last Black Tie Optional night.




I needed to take care of some internet business before heading out on deck. I got up to the pool deck about 3 minutes before the moon set but didn’t see anything. The sky started turning beautiful colors well before sunrise.




The sun actually came up behind us just past the midpoint of my walk.




I was the winner in the World Cruise’s final morning show trivia. “Which major airline was founded in 1926 in Key West as a seaplane service?”


The final sea morning’s 2 lectures were both in the Starlite Club as there was a sales meeting in the Galaxy Lounge. Bob Aalberts started things off with his talk on Key West followed by Tom Faranda and his predictions for medicine in the next 10 years.


I decided to participate in the final team trivia.


2. What Color is Geography in Trivial Pursuit?

3. Who discovered 1gravity after being hit in the head by an apple?

7. In what house was King Henry VIII?

9. What explorer introduced Spaghetti to Italy?

14. What animal is “Earth Pig” in Dutch?


Lunch came after trivia and a sprinkle on the pool deck drove me to the side where the tables were covered. We were about 25 miles from the Cuban Coast but I never really saw it.


There was one afternoon lecture, William Fowler on “Steam Titans”.


Those on the full world cruise gathered at 4 in the Hollywood Theater for the preview of the World Cruise Video. We will get copies before leaving the ship. Those of us who switched ships in Sydney will get copies of the other ship’s video after we return home.




My penultimate dinner was a bit strange. Two of us sat at one end of the table followed by another couple who sat at the very opposite end of the table. People did eventually fill in the seats in between. Service on this segment has continued uninterrupted for the early people rather than sitting around while the later people were catching up. I chose half portions of the pasta, New York Sirloin, and Cherry Garcia ice cream.




I dozed off a bit after dinner and nearly missed the farewell and Crystal Society party arriving just as my chief TV trivia competitor was recognized as the senior cruiser.




The featured entertainment was “The Symphony – A Concord of Sound” featuring virtually all the onboard entertainers and singer Emily Lundstedt O’Neill. It was a bit of a let down for me; it felt at times like the emphasis was on going to extremes of technical and difficulty more than an entertaining product.




Trivia Answers:


The airline founded in Key West was Pan Am.


2. Blue is the color for geography questions in Trivial Pursuit.

3. Isaac Newton discovered gravity.

7. Henry VIII was part of the house of Tutor.

9. Marco Polo introduced spaghetti to Italy.

14. Dutch for “earth pig” is Aardvark.


The musical selection was “A Man and A Woman” from the movie of the same name. My team had 7 right while the winners had 13.


While the Key West schedule had us at Outer Mole it sounds like we will probably be docked at Mallory Square. We sail from Key West at 5:00.


My parting shot comes from William Fowler’s talks. Sometimes we long for the “good old days”. Fowler reminded us that in the period of greatest Transatlantic service a typical ship had perhaps 150 people in luxury while 1500 were confined to the bowels of the ship in dormitories and little chance to get some fresh air. No desire for the good old days.



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Thank you Krazy Kruizers and erewhon. Sadly, we are docked and what remains is a day of inelegant travel.


Day Symphony73, Sunday, April 29,2018, Key West


The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Al Fujairah (6969 miles away) to Salalah, Oman (6269 miles). The sun rose at 6:54 and set at :55. The moon set at 6:50 and rose at 7:47. The weather was sunny and 78/26.


First, a photo from the Farewell gathering for Full World Cruisers in the Silk Lounge.




I decided to start one last load of laundry before heading up for coffee. I finished my walk just before the morning show with the moon shining brightly just ahead of us.




I had almost forgotten about sunrise but got out on deck just as it was




We arrived in Key West around 8:30, docking in Mallory Square, a nice change from the old Navy dock the last few times.




I have been to Key West many times and did not take a tour. I had 3 goals for the day, a real church service, updating my laptop, and finishing packing. The first order of business was US Immigration. It was held in the Galaxy Lounge. Group 1 was called about 9; I was in group 3 and that came about 9:30. It was very quick and I was back in my room about 9:35. I had not really noticed the origins of some of the old buildings but 2 of them were formerly the Customs House and Coast Guard Headquarters. I think Key West missed the worst of last fall’s hurricanes but there were some derelict buildings, I presume from storm damage.




I looked at both the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches and finally settled on Key West United Methodist for the 11AM service.




I would normally go to the Key West Library for internet but it is closed on Sundays and I ended up at Starbucks. On my travels I passed the Keys’ oldest school house which didn’t really look much like a school. My last stop before returning to the ship was to buy a slice of Key Lime pie. Not a very healthy lunch but irresistible.




While I did get to a real church the Hollywood Theater has been my spiritual center for almost 4 months and I made one final visit there. Unfortunately there were only 3 of us present for Fr, Klemmer’s final service.


All aboard was 4:30 but there were several late arrivals. Captain Willheim’s sailaway message came just as the Interdenominational service was about to start. If Louis sang it did not get into the Hollywood Theater. As the service ended we were turned around and just passing the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham.




The shared table filled over about a half hour but service was uninterrupted for the early arrivals. My final meal was Slow Roasted Vegetable Soup, Black Angus Steak and Strawberry ice cream.




The final show in the Galaxy Lounge was a variety show that I did not attend. Before that there was a closing celebration in the Crystal Cove. After about a half hour of music and dancing Captain Willheim, Pau McFarland, Jonathan Hawkins, and Sarah Hayes all spoke briefly.




There was a massive balloon drop about 8:30. While people were popping them madly they settled everywhere including dozens in the orchestra space.




I had almost finished my packing during the afternoon. The 2 bags that will go with Luggage Concierge (50 pounds each) were out by 9:15 with the one that will go on the plane with me (41 pounds) by 9:30. The hallway was cleared by about 10.




I worked on organizing photos until about 10:30 and called it a night. All that’s left to pack in the morning is computers and medicines.


My parting shot will be a Bon Voyage wish for those on the Westbound Panama Canal journey. I’m passing the torch to Pete and Judy. Have a wonderful first Crystal Cruise.



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Sorry that you are almost done, it has been fun following you every day. I'm surprised that you are flying home, I would have thoiught the train would be your chosen option.


Safe travels anyway.


I probably won't be on anymore 'R' ships unless I can get a separate shower. The sides of the regular tubs are as high or higher than the whirlpool tubs in veranda rooms - not good choice for someone 5 foot tall and with bad knees. other than that, I like the Zaandam. It's a good size.



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Our last couple of stops at Key West were horrible. We were docked at B pier and there was a massive parade going through all the streets. With a walker, I couldn't handle the crowds. The next time we were at the Outer Mole and the lines for the handicapped were long and we were told that it would be over an 1 1/2 hours before we would get into town. So we just got back on the ship, made cocktails, got some food from the Lido and settled down on our verandah.

I really enjoyed your daily reports, trivia questions and pictures.

Have a safe journey home.

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Thank you Carole and Krazy Kruizers.


Day Symphony74, Monday, April 30, 2018, Disembark and Home


The Crystal Serenity is in Salalah, 6143 miles away. In Ft. Lauderdale the sun rose at 6:44 and the moon set at 7:21. The sunset in Baltimore at 7:59PM. The weather was sunny, 24/75 in Ft. Lauderdale and 66/19 in Baltimore.


One final professional photo, this one from the last Black Tie Optional Night.




When I went on deck just after 5 the moon was shining above us and the lights of Ft. Lauderdale were getting pretty close.




As I finished my final (7-lap) walk it was still some time until sunrise but the sky was bright red behind the ship.




We started to back into terminal 4 about 6:30.




I went up to the lido about 8 for my final omelet. From that point there was a pretty good view of the new terminal being built to accommodate Celebrity’s edge.




I went down to the Hollywood theater about 9. My green 4 color was called just a little ahead of the 9:30 schedule. Things went very quickly through the terminal and I was in the private car Crystal provided about 9:35 for the short drive to Ft. Lauderdale Airport.




I might have been better off using Crystal’s regular shared transfer which provided a hospitality venue to those with afternoon flights. As it was I was at the airport about 9:50 and Southwest would not take my checked bags until 11:20. After a little online time and working a few Sudokus the time finally came and I breezed through TSA precheck.


From the gate area I had one last look at the tail of the Symphony rising over several airplanes. My 3:20 flight was listed as late but left almost on time and actually arrived a little early. I was in the Airport shuttle within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival and home just before 7.




My parting shot will be a bit visual. How much mail is accumulated over the course of a 4-month cruise. For me it was 5 stuffed UPS large envelopes weighing about 22 pounds. I needed 2 trips to carry it all out to my truck. I noted that Linblad has been replaced as my largest junk mail source; it was only 2 pounds vs 4 for the new “champ” Viking cruises. There will be a lot to go out to the recycling collection in the morning.





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Another great picture of you all dressed up.

We are fortunate. Our mail goes directly into the garage via a mail slot. Our next door neighbor checks the house once in a while even though we have an alarm system. He puts all the mail in a box. We rarely get anything large that would have to be placed on the porch.

Ft Lauderdale is going to be nothing but huge Celebrity ships.

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Thank you for a delightful trip! I very much enjoyed going along with you. Now reality, laundry, unpacking and mail! TIL next time! Cheers, Brenda

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Thanks again for taking the time & effort, enjoyed reading your blog. Now back to reality, welcome home.


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Welcome home Roy.

Thank you for all your great reports and photos.


Hope all goes well for you with your doctors appointments.

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Welcome home, Roy. I enjoyed reading about your adventures for the past 4 months. I'm sure there is some culture shock settling in at home now. I'm looking forward to your next adventure.

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Welcome back to dry land, Roy. It's been my pleasure riding the waves with you for what now seems like a long, long time. I have not only enjoyed your narrative, but also the pic that go along with it. Yours are about the only pictures I open; missed the 'dishes' picture yesterday. I don't suppose you'd post a picture of your supper at home every night? Didn't think so.


Can't wait for your next trip. You have such exotic itineraries.

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