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

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Thank you Nancy, John, RuthC, Helen, Jacqui, and Tampa Girl.

The information on image resizer was on this forum, but I would defy you to find it. Kathi and I are sailaway addicts, and the exchange was kind of a side light to the Juneau sailaway thread for June 20. Here are the relevant posts:

 

Roy,

 

Do you resize your photos to put on your blog so they upload faster?

 

Is the surface pro Windows? This is the program I use:

 

http://www.bricelam.net/ImageResizer/

 

Roy

 

That utility is something that was included in Windows XP but not in later versions, and I've been using that freeware version with great results ever since Windows Vista came out.

 

Roy

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Jacqui and RuthC, those lists are always a work in progress. They usually start out as virtual skeletons once a cruise is announced with information filled in roughly every 2 weeks. The version I posted is for a cruise about 6 weeks out.

 

Roy

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Religious services on Crystal

 

First, I hope Westerdam had a better day at sea than we did. We encountered gale force winds, heavy seas, and the outer decks were pretty much closed all day. By evening the ride was getting really rough and evening activities were moved from the equivalent of the Crow’s Nest to lower decks. Things did smooth out about midnight as we changed course.

 

I have hopes for the Westerdam. We are both headed for Cartagena on the 9th. The difference is that Westie went to Half Moon Cay on Saturday while we visited Key West. That left us sailing eastward along the Cuba coast all day Sunday and the winds and seas were pummeling us broadside until midnight when we were able to turn South for following seas. I hope Westie enjoyed pretty much the same conditions yesterday as we have today.

 

As with HAL regular and Holiday voyages vs regular cruises worship services are treated differently between the 2 types on Crystal. We are on a “regular” voyage until January 23 in Los Angeles, and I’ll talk about how things change when the time comes.

 

Protestant and Jewish clergy are generally booked only for World cruises and major religious holidays. A few years ago I would have said there was a Priest and daily Mass on every cruise but now I have to add a qualification. A cutback–not really. There is still a Priest on every OCEAN cruise. Neither Crystal nor HAL have ever offered a Priest on a 60-passenger yacht of a river boat and they still don’t. The official word is they are offered “when available” but that means little in practice. They’ve been “available” on the Northwest Passage which sold out within 48 hours and the priest was available on this cruise from Charleston where about half the passengers missed the ship due to terrible weather.

 

The one place where HAL does offer an advantage is on turnaround day where there is not normally a Mass. Hopefully people who really need it can find a Mass before boarding or after disembarkation.

 

Since Protestant ministers have not normally been carried, the habit of the Priest conducting an interdenominational service is ingrained in the Crystal Culture. They advertise and interdenominational service on “Sundays at Sea” but in fact I cannot ever remember a Sunday, port of sea where there was not a service and the Priests uniformly do an excellent job. On this Sunday the services were both in the Hollywood Theater, Mass at 8 and Interdenominational at 9:05 (after Captains 9AM update). The schedule will clearly change on port days but both services are expected.

 

I won’t repeat my post from the Crystal forum but will repeat the parting shot—

 

Fr. Falkenthal delivered a letter at the close of his service with a “New Years Recipe”

 

“1 cup: good thoughts

1 cup: kind deeds

1 cup: consideration for others

2 cups: sacrifice for others

3 cups: forgiveness

2 cups: well-beaten faults

Mix thoroughly and add tears of joy and sorrow and sympathy for others. Flavor with little gifts of love and kindly service. Fold in 4 cups of prayer and faith to lighten other ingredients and raise the texture to a great height of Christian living. After pouring all this into your daily life, bake well at the heat of human kindness. Serve with a smile.”

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/recipe.pdf

 

While this was written from a Christian perspective I think it would still be appropriate for most people with their own faith substituted for “Christian”. Good words to live by.

 

Roy

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Jacqui and RuthC, those lists are always a work in progress. They usually start out as virtual skeletons once a cruise is announced with information filled in roughly every 2 weeks. The version I posted is for a cruise about 6 weeks out.

 

Roy

 

 

Thanks so much Roy :)

 

I loved your parting shot on today's post. Words to live by <3

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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?

 

I really am impressed as well with Crystal! I have the same question as Jacqui!

Thanks Roy.

Denise:)

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Glad your weather has improved! Thanks for the recipe, nice!

 

This maybe a silly question, but where could I see the itinerary?

 

Enjoy Cartagena, will you visit the fortress?

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I really am impressed as well with Crystal! I have the same question as Jacqui!

Thanks Roy.

Denise:)

Denise, I thought I answered Jacqui's question in Post 77. If there's something I missed, please let me know.

 

Roy

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Glad your weather has improved! Thanks for the recipe, nice!

 

This maybe a silly question, but where could I see the itinerary?

 

Enjoy Cartagena, will you visit the fortress?

 

We have an expression in the fire service, "there are no stupid questions, only stupid mistakes". I know where my itinerary is so why should you need to search for it. It's on my blog:

 

https://morethangetaways.wordpress.com/itinerary/

 

As for Cartagena, I may never leave the ship. Captain Giske is forecasting heavy rain tomorrow. I had booked a volunteerism tour but the organization is still on it's holiday break so the tour was cancelled. When we return in April I've booked a Segway tour of the old town area.

 

This sailaway addict's only confirmed plan tomorrow is to be at a sheltered location on Serenity's decks at 1PM watching the Westerdam sail for the Panama Canal. It's probably the last time I'll see her live until I board August 1.

 

Roy

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Aw thanks Roy! What a great itinerary! I was hoping you would be stopping in Hawaii, but alas not to Kona or I would wave for sure.

 

 

I would love to see Easter island, so cannot wait for your pictures. And we hope to visit French Polynesia in the fall so I will eagerly await that adventure as well.

 

 

Will you get to Machu Picchu? Also on my list.

May you have calm seas and great weather!

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My first viable view of the Westerdam in Cartagena (she arrived at 8; we're due at 10)

 

1960948533_IMG_9794(Custom).JPG.87f061a45a74a0f8014c2fe21ec7ce2f.JPG

 

Roy

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I will post more on the Westerdam after posting photos to my blog but I want to touch on a couple of other “culture” things. This was of course a port day and most cruise lines distribute some kind of port information sheet and I think Crystal’s are among the best. I’m not totally comfortable with publishing them but will attach Ft. Lauderdale as a sample.

 

Also, last night was the first performance of the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers. To the best of my knowledge, Crystal is unique in the way the troupe is organized. For HAL and I think most other cruise lines a group of performers is selected and they come on the ship for a few months and then the group is disbanded. Crystal’s cast is more permanent. Along with the 2 lead singers there are 10 dancers, some with the additional title of “singer/dancer”. Only 8 of the group will be on the ship at any time. One guy and one gal has the title of “swing”, and as each cast member goes on vacation the “swing” takes over that part. There is of course turnover but there are also a number of veteran cast members (singers, dancers and band members) who are the backbone of a cohesive unit with the talent to go well beyond the material in their repatoire. Particularly on a world cruise they will come together to put on shows appropriate to a holiday, usually a one-time event but some have been so popular they have been repeated annually. On each cruise we get a flyer with cast biographies and looking back I see several performers who have been with the group since at least 2014. Since the Serenity normally does the World Cruise they are particularly good at it but I’ve seen it on Symphony as well. I’m particularly optimistic about this year since I looked at the 2014 cast and one of the participants in that outstanding show is now the Symphony Cruise Director Sydney to Valparaiso. Here’s the current cast:

 

https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/ensemble8201.pdf

 

Roy

ftlauderdale.pdf

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I will post more on the Westerdam after posting photos to my blog but I want to touch on a couple of other “culture” things. This was of course a port day and most cruise lines distribute some kind of port information sheet and I think Crystal’s are among the best. I’m not totally comfortable with publishing them but will attach Ft. Lauderdale as a sample.

 

Also, last night was the first performance of the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers. To the best of my knowledge, Crystal is unique in the way the troupe is organized. For HAL and I think most other cruise lines a group of performers is selected and they come on the ship for a few months and then the group is disbanded. Crystal’s cast is more permanent. Along with the 2 lead singers there are 10 dancers, some with the additional title of “singer/dancer”. Only 8 of the group will be on the ship at any time. One guy and one gal has the title of “swing”, and as each cast member goes on vacation the “swing” takes over that part. There is of course turnover but there are also a number of veteran cast members (singers, dancers and band members) who are the backbone of a cohesive unit with the talent to go well beyond the material in their repatoire. Particularly on a world cruise they will come together to put on shows appropriate to a holiday, usually a one-time event but some have been so popular they have been repeated annually. On each cruise we get a flyer with cast biographies and looking back I see several performers who have been with the group since at least 2014. Since the Serenity normally does the World Cruise they are particularly good at it but I’ve seen it on Symphony as well. I’m particularly optimistic about this year since I looked at the 2014 cast and one of the participants in that outstanding show is now the Symphony Cruise Director Sydney to Valparaiso. Here’s the current cast:

 

https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/ensemble8201.pdf

 

Roy

 

I really like how Crystal gives you a

More close up and personal look with the production cast

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Hi Roy

Really enjoy how Crystal puts together a program with the photos and bios of all

The cast members. To me it’s more personal and you can make a connection!!

I felt it was for me like going to our local plays here in San Diego and getting the program with the casts bios and photos.

The example of their Information forms of FLL was nice too!

So many of you doing WC it is interesting all the different perspectives in the writings.

I loved the photos of your stateroom! Thank you for taking the time with your wonderful blog.

Denise:)

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I apologize for the first effort of trying to send my text. New phone and surgery on my right thumb making it difficult and I sent it accidentally.😞

Denise:)

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Cartagena, Colombia

 

The 2 ships were pretty much side by side but with much different hours. Things seemed to be pretty quiet on the Westerdam as we approached.

 

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

 

As we were settling into our berth a lot of noise eminated from the Westerdam as she began her crew drill. I’m wondering if Westie has a female Staff Captain as I think that’s who handles the crew drills and the voice announcing the drill was definitely female.

 

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

 

There is a terminal shuttle provided by the port but I was a bit surprised the buses were ship specific even though the destination was less than 100 yards apart.

 

In any case I walked to the terminal where there was an extensive collection of exotic birds.

 

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

 

I returned to my ship about 11:30 and talked to a couple of Westerdam passengers. As I approached our dock I paused for a couple of pictures of the ships together.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/together1.jpg

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/together2.jpg

 

Westerdam’s all aboard was 12:30 and was up at our equivalent of Dive-In looking out the window. I noticed for the first time some decoration on the top of the ship. It looks a little bit like it could be neon light tubes and not just paint.

 

artwork.jpg

 

There were a few stragglers about 12:35 as the facilities by the gangway were broken down. I wonder if Copper10-8 might recognize any of the people in this picture.

 

closing.jpg

 

The Westerdam started backing away about 12:50.

 

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

 

I went to the forward top deck to watch the rest of the departure.

 

http://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/going1.jpg

 

going2.jpg

 

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

 

I’m sure the Westerdam was booking to make it’s Panama Canal appointment while we’re taking an extra day and lazing along about 8 kt.

 

Roy

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Thank you Denise and bennybear. I will not be visiting Machu Picchu. I was there in 2009 in conjunction with a Gallapagos cruise and don't think I would do it as a diversion from a cruise, either at the start or end of a cruise or a land trip.

 

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos going back that far on my laptop. If I were to do it through Crystal the price would be $5,899 as a solo in addition to the lost opportunities for time on the ship. I looked at my booking for next year's Grand South America but HAL hasn't listed many tours yet. I presume they will be an offering but suspect the price will be in the same ball park as with Crystal.

 

Roy

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I'm not Copper Roy, but I certainly recognize the officer at the gangway talking.

 

He was on one of our Westerdam cruises and provided some kind assistance to passengers :)

 

I so agree with you on Macchu Piccu.

 

Great posts!

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Roy,

 

I've been following everyday and enjoy your report of sights and activities. Hoping to add something insightful soon.

 

I did find I don't like interior rooms, too closed off and you don't really feel part of the ship. I found me a table on the Lido pool deck near a wall and a outlet, my new camping spot. :D

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Hi Roy!

Machu Picchu for our cruise next month is $7,999 per person! Hotels train etc. 3 days. Sounds like Crystal is a good deal.

Trying to get caught up in reading.

On Crystal what favorite thing do you enjoy most with restaurants on board and food. Sounds like they have a great variety!!

Enjoy your cruise. Thank you Roy for the time you spend doing this for all of us.

I have learned a lot from all of your travels.

Denise:)

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Thank you Denise, Carole, and Jacqui. I'm something of a creature of habit, and usually get my breakfasts in the lido, lunch at Trident (equivalent of Dive-In and usually a grilled ham and cheese), and dinner in the main dining room. I've just uploaded tomorrow's reflections, with our planned canal schedule on page 5:

 

https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/reflections0111.pdf

 

There should also be nice views on the ship's webcams. Here's a link to the bridge camera:

 

http://www.kroooz-cams.com/serenity/serenity1.php

 

At the bottom of the picture there are buttons for the port and starboard cameras as well.

 

Roy

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Thank you Roy!

I really like how Crystal puts together their daily logs with soooo much detail. Wish HAL could be more detailed!

Lots of dining venues, and I’m empressed the Bio’s and pics of the Host Ambassadors!!

That is a wonderful touch and so many dance areas onboard from ballroom to DJ.

KroozCam 👍👍👍I’ll be watching.

A grilled ham and cheese sounds good right now too!

Take care my friend.

Denise:)

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Machu Picchu for our cruise next month is $7,999 per person! Hotels train etc. 3 days.

Denise:)

That is a hefty chunk of change for three days!:eek:

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