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

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Missed the sail away. Bon Voyage, fair winds & smooth seas.

Allan

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Thanks Allan. It looks like Peter is running a bit behind today and I did just watch a bit of Nieuw Amsterdam's arrival.

 

449386492_na010618(Custom).jpg.773ac936f8ec83bf88d3dcfbd556a1ed.jpg

 

I'll have a couple of photos of the Amsterdam's departure when I get to my next regular post.

 

Roy

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Thanks everybody. Krazy Kruizers, it sounded like my sailaway went off pretty well, and a number of people saw me. I know I'm late posting and actually I'll be a bit longer. I chose my pictures before going to bed but hadn't written anything yet and now the computer I post from is in the middle of a SLOW windows update. Lets just say it was a good start. I had a bit of a concern about the bag I shipped with Luggage Concierge but it did show up.

 

Great sailaway.

 

Roy

 

 

Glad you got your luggage.

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Thank you Krazy Kruizers. Actually, it was a real mess in Charleston with the weather (80 people missed the ship) and I even wrestled with the thought that the bag might not be on board.

 

Day Serenity1, Friday, January 5, 2018, Embark Crystal Serenity

 

The Crystal Symphony is in Luderitz, Namibia, 6347 miles away. My GPS is currently showing the shortest route to Symphony is through the Suez canal so distances will continue to get longer until that changes.

 

The morning Baltimore weather was sunny with a temperature of 12F and a wind chill of -6. I started the morning with a walk up to the 17th Street Bridge to watch the day’s ships arrive. The Westerdam was a bit too early for me, when I reached my vantage point it was only a few feet away from it’s berth. While I watched the Serenade of the Seas and Pacific Princess both came up the channel. Sunrise was quite late but the sky was turning a nice color as Pacific Princess came into the basin.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/dawn0105.jpg

 

I was about to give up on Serenity due to the cold and was about half way down the bridge when I saw her approaching. I watched for a while until about the point where she started her turn into the berth before heading back to the Embassy Suites. It was a hectic morning with some shopping, breakfast, and internet work.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/myshipishere.jpg

 

One of Crystal’s perks for a full world cruiser is a private car from the airport or hotel to and from the ship. Checkout was 11 and I had booked the car for 11:30 I got a text from Raul, my driver as I was waiting for the elevator and then another a few minutes later asking me to text him when I was ready. Unfortunately text does not work well for me and I finally gave up and called the dispatcher. I was waiting for him outside the door and he was looking for me in the lobby. We were still on the way to his SUV right at 11:30 and I was at the port about 11:45.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/myride.jpg

 

Crystal normally handles checkin on the ship. That doesn’t seem to work in Florida, and we went to a terminal agent for the health questions and were also given our room keys. I had been given a “boarding group 4" ticket but was immediately sent to the ship where the real checkin took place in the Crystal Cove with a photo, credit card scan, and passport collection. I was finished at 12:05 and then went into the dining room for lunch (pasta followed by a Key Lime Sundae). My cabin is a “limited view” ocean view, the “limit” is the gangway hanging above the deck. It isn’t much of a limit at all.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/7065view.jpg

 

Holland America has a very nice program called “Stateroom Direct” where guests have continuous access to their rooms from boarding until final departure. I haven’t seen it anywhere else–Cunard allows immediate room occupancy but wants guests out of the rooms early. What Crystal does offer is a checking service for bags. I try to board fairly lightly loaded and haven’t used it. I did decide to give it a try but was asked if I had any electronics and he couldn’t take the bag. Unfortunately, that’s the stuff I don’t leave with the porters.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/bagdrop.jpg

 

The 2 bags I left with the porters arrived pretty quickly but not the one sent by Luggage Concierge. That was actually loaded on the ship in Charleston and I had expected it to be the first one I saw. I was getting a bit concerned and walked down to the Concierge about 2:30. He said they had found it and as I stood there a crew member was crossing the plaza with my bag. It was in the room before I was.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/delivered.jpg

 

There has been a lot of discussion on Cruise Critic’s HAL forum about packing cubes. I am a big fan and use them extensively. They keep things together making packing more organized and help me keep track of what’s where. It’s a big help to me to know that something I need is in “this” cube. It also helps keep items in soft luggage and back packs from shifting and bunching up. I was not ready to unpack all at once but it worked to dump all the cubes on the love seat and deal with them when time permitted.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/swamped.jpg

 

I am a big sailaway fan. There were 3 other ships in port and while we were scheduled for a 6PM sailaway the others were all scheduled for 4PM. I went to the top deck and watched first the Serenade OTS (with friends from Maryland) head out, then the Westerdam (I’ll be on her in August). I knew my own sailaway would conflict with dinner so after the Westerdam left I headed for the Trident Grill and my standard grilled ham and cheese. The Pacific Princess wasn’t showing any signs of activity so I went back to my room to continue unpacking with an eye on the ship’s bow camera.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/westie1.jpg

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/westie2.jpg

 

I was a bit surprised with the chilly weather to see Westie’s pool deck roof open:

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/westie3.jpg

 

 

Our muster was at 5:15. It was about 5:10 when I saw Pacific Princess starting to move. I quickly put on my life jacket and headed out to the promenade deck for a quick photo. As the door closed behind me coming back inside the emergency alarm sounded.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/pacific.jpg

 

Muster drills on Crystal Serenity are done inside in public rooms. I have normally mustered in either the Galaxy Lounge or Hollywood Theater. This is the second time I have mustered in the casino. The first was in 2008 right after a drydock where the casino had been redone and there was no place to sit; This time it was much more comfortable. Cards were not scanned but a crew member crossed our names off as we entered so there was no need for a roll call. Soon after muster Captain Giske came on the PA and indicated we were ready to go and leaving about 15 minutes early. The last lines were let go about 5:45 and Louis sang. (For those not familiar with my Crystal blogs part of the culture is that on sailaway the ship play’s Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” and “Louis sang” is my shorthand for a departure).

 

As I walked around the stern the sun had set but there was still some nice color in the sky. A number of HAL cruisers (including me) are fans of the Port Everglades webcam and regularly watch ships depart. I had requested a “wave” and was standing above the last lifeboat with a decorated bath towel for my “2 minutes of fame”.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/dusk0105.jpg

 

As planned I went down to the dining room about 7 for coffee and desert with my tablemates. Their entrees were just arriving so I munched on a roll while they ate and then enjoyed the rhubarb crumble tart. Activity took precedence over fine dining today and my food collage is a mixture of lunch and dinner.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/dishes05.jpg

 

It was a bit of a culture shock not boarding right at the official start of a cruise. I had expected the traditional “welcome aboard” show (probably done on Wednesday) and instead had the violin duo of Laszlo and Claudia, “Beyond the Strings”. Later I stopped by the Avenue Saloon briefly where Charlie James is supplying the entertainment until Mark Farris boards in Los Angeles.

 

My parting shot today; it feels good to be safely aboard today and now have an opportunity to relax for a while.

 

Roy

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EeyoreFan1967, I didn't board in Charleston for a couple of reasons. Primary is that I'm treasurer of my local Volunteer Fire Department and need to do some tax filings early in the year. If I had boarded in Charleston I would have needed to leave home January 2 and would have only the one chance to hope things worked right with the filings on New Years Day. By waiting a couple of days I was able to take a bit more time and also brief the office manager on what to do to tie up any loose ends.

 

The other consideration is that Southwest has about a dozen daily nonstops from Baltimore to Ft. Lauderdale. It's a lot easier to get to Ft. Lauderdale than Charleston. Considering how Charleston got socked in by the storm it's a good thing I did make that plan.

 

The "view" that was mentioned was on the Port Everglades webcam:

 

http://portevergladeswebcam.com

 

A number of HAL cruisers are kind of fanatics about watching the sailaways and Boytjie starts a thread for each sailaway. I usually watch when I'm not on a cruise. This is the thread for today's sailaway:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2580948

 

Roy

 

Thanks for your response, Roy. Taxes! Yes of course, makes sense. Glad the boarding in Ft Lauderdale worked out for you logistically and weather-wise!

 

Thanks for the webcam link. I think I totally get it now. Both how to watch AND while people would get fanatical about it. I had watched the Amsterdam sail away the night before last on someone's link, and I don't know why, but I felt quite emotional about it. When I couldn't find the link you your sailaway, I found myself a little sad. Now I see that I can just find the cams on my own, without links, though the links are quite helpful. I'm afraid I'm in some trouble...

 

I trust you're having a fabulous time. I can't wait to read more about your voyage!!

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OMG! You lucky guy...being on board with the talented Mark Farris! He is an incredible talent. We had him on a Maasdam cruise. Perhaps in 2011 or 12. His mother passed away recently (were FB friends).

 

Roy, please say hello to him for Fred and I. 🤩

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Interesting on the baggage check system, Roy.

 

It sounds like you need to wear your life jacket to the muster drill on Crystal?

 

This is going to be a very interesting, informative thread.

 

Have fun :)

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Thank you Roy for your informative report! Appreciate the detail. Had my coffee reading your blog and Kathi’s.

Will be interesting the detail of shipboard life on Crystal.

Enjoy your promenade walks!

Denise:)

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Just wanted to say thank you for doing this, Roy. Your reports are great!

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Thanks, Roy!! If you do a 'What's Changed..' posting I'll be keen on reading it. My 1st cruise? 1970's, Chandris Lines to Singapore.

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Hope you are having a great time, Roy! Wanted to thank you again for telling me how you resize pictures for your blog on a laptop. I just had 24 resized pictures upload in a minute!:D

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I'm sorry it has taken me a while to get back here to tell you how great your sailaway was! I don't know how much you saw of the sunset, but on the webcam it was glorious!

 

I was able to find you in the PE webcam snapshot archive. Unfortunately, all I can get to link is the January page. Click on January 5, then the box for the 5PM hour. Roy is at 5:59, so you have to scroll through the whole hour to get to him. You do get to see the beautiful sunset on the wzy there, though. The end of the sailaway is in the 6PM hour.

 

http://www.portfever.com/?pew

 

I tried to get the actual video, too, but there was no option to select 2018 in the dropdown menu. Hopefully, that will be added soon.

 

Roy, I was glad to see that both you and your luggage made it safely through all of the bad weather and onto the ship. I hope you have a wonderful voyage! I know I will enjoy my virtual voyage, sailing right along with you! Bon voyage!

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I just subscribed to your blog. Between the HAL WC blogs & yours I'll have lots to read. Enjoy.

Allan

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Thank you everyone. I'm going to take a bit of a break from repeating here what I say on the Crystal forum and talk a bit about Crystal culture.

 

Jacqui, I think on most cruise lines we do take our life jackets to the muster. I see the advantages of both sides. We are strongly warned to put our life jackets on BEFORE we leave our cabin and keep them on until we get back to avoid those pesky dangling straps. HAL is also unusual in the 3-stage muster system, something I very much favor. Seabourn has copied that, unfortunately they have not followed suit on Stateroom Direct.

 

Maybe it's appropriate to have my first "culture" post right after Copper10-8 got home as I'm sure we will now have a rash of "Question for Copper10-8" threads. HAL cruisers are very fortunate to have him.

 

You will never see such threads on the Crystal forum. Ever since I have been fluent in the internet they provide a lot of detail on key personnel, including the chief officers, entertainers, lecturers, and even the priest, with brief resumes for the lecturers. Here's an example from my Sydney-Auckland leg on the Symphony. When information is called up on a cruise it will be under an "Entertainment and Programs" tab:

 

http://www.crystalcruises.com/voyage/details/new-zealand-explorer-8204#entertainment_programs

 

Also, I have uploaded the first 3 Reflections (daily newsletter) to the blog. The Crystal Culture is that they tend to start our very big at the beginning of the cruise and get thinner as time goes on. I've skipped scanning a couple of pages that are pure advertising.

 

https://morethangetaways.wordpress.com/programs/serenityreflections/

 

Roy

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Hi Roy; where do you want the 23 JAN visitor request send? Your home email?

the yahoo address is probably best.

 

Roy

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I'm on my desktop today and was able to see the sailaway video even though 2918 still doesn't show up in the selection menu. I filled in what I could in the sailaway video search boxes, then clicked on search and your sailaway came right up. Anyone who missed your sailaway and wants to see it, obviously it won't be live, but still fun to watch! :cool:

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I'm impressed with the content of the links from Crystal. They sure do know how to prep the passengers before the cruise, and keep them filled in while sailing.

Thanks for providing them.

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I'm impressed with the content of the links from Crystal. They sure do know how to prep the passengers before the cruise, and keep them filled in while sailing.

Thanks for providing them.

 

Me too :) Main officers listed, lecturers, and even clergy from 3 faiths. Pretty impressive for a small ship.

 

Oops, Roy, how soon is this available to you on a cruise? Just curious. Those programs are pretty nice and very detailed. So available BEFORE you sail?

Edited by kazu

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Catching up Roy.

Knowing that the Charleston airport was closed for a couple of days and those people couldn't make it to Ft Lauderdale, what is the next port where they might be able to catch up to the ship?

Glad you made the decision to fly to Ft Lauderdale to start your cruise.

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Hope you are having a great time, Roy! Wanted to thank you again for telling me how you resize pictures for your blog on a laptop. I just had 24 resized pictures upload in a minute!:D

 

Was that info on this board? I didn't see it and would love to know how to do it.

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Was that info on this board? I didn't see it and would love to know how to do it.

 

I would also like to know. Thank you Roy for taking us along. I am enjoying your posts. You did lose me with the pricing, but that isn't important. Just have a wonderful time an enjoy every moment!!! We would love to be in your place.

Helen

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