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Keith1010

LIVE - WORLD CRUISE 2019 & MORE - A NEW ADVENTURE UNFOLDS - 12/15/18 - 5/21/19

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Keith -- I've been following your trip reports for years, and earlier this year I met you for the first time on the Serendity.  You probably don't remember, but I asked you if you ever got tired of cruising.  You said (and I'm paraphrasing, so I apologize if I got it wrong) "No, it's a lot more fun cruising than being at home."

 

What a great answer!

 

I think about our short conversation all the time, and I'm looking forward to the future when my wife and I have more time for cruising.  Bon voyage!  I'm looking forward to living vicariously through the both of you for the next 5 months.

 

 

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Keith I’m way behind but am so glad to hear you’ve pieced together an incredible journey. Thanks for taking us along!

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The perfect solution to not being on a cruise is to follow great bloggers!  This will help me get through almost to my cruise this summer!  

My husband and I did a river cruise on the Danube in 2017 and loved it.  We went on Ama Waterways so I look forward to hearing your impressions about Crystal.  I thought it would be very relaxing and maybe even boring but we were so busy and met great people!  

Looking forward to seeing you drink some gin and tonics at the bar!  Cheers and bon voyage!

Edited by rxlowry

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Cruise Critic Post

 

Thank you mkcurran, Lovincruisin1321, Judy, 2n2wdw, sppunk, fryree39 and rxlory for your very nice comments.

 

2nwdw…you have my answer to your question down well.

 

rxlory, looking forward to trying a gin or two.  LOL.

 

After I posted yesterday we went out for another nice walk.  We walked over to the Beverly Hills Civic Center, Library and Town Hall along with the Police and Fire Stations.  This is an area we visited in 2008 (at least I remembered the Fire Station and Town Hall) and thought we would visit there again.

 

To the locals.  There is a very large white building on South Santa Monica Blvd across the street and a short walk from there.  If anyone knows what it is I would appreciate knowing.  A good portion of it has a black fence around it.  I tried to do a quick look up on Siri while we were walking the area but didn’t have luck with a response.

 

We walked all around the nearby areas with stores, restaurants and the like.

We eventually had dinner at II Pastaio which was recommended on our blog by Ilene.  Coincidentally when we were discussing on the first day of our stay at the hotel places to go for lunch the reception desk Manager recommended it as well and I had found it when a few months ago when researching restaurants.

 

It is an Italian Restaurant with outdoor and indoor seating.  If I didn’t get cold so easy we may have sat outside and would have done so in Spring, Summer or Autumn but chose to sit inside.  Tables are close to each other but we were placed at a nice window table and didn’t have anyone next to us until a few minutes before we left.

 

Seems to attract both locals and tourists.  Clients ranged from couples to business associates to families to some dining by themselves.  A range of entrees including fish, chicken, beef and lots of pasta.  Food was good and we were glad we dined there.

 

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Took a longer route to get back to the hotel and enjoyed the holiday lights.

 

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We achieved our goal for the day with respect to miles and steps.  Spoke to family and had a great time.  This morning enjoyed breakfast in our room, and went out on another walk before showering and getting ready to meet friends.  Met a couple for lunch.  The gentleman was a work colleague and we became friends with them.  They moved to Southern California in 2003 where they have lived since then.  They did have to vacate their home for a few days with the recent fires but thankfully there was no damage to their home.  Since they moved to California we have seen them two times.  First was a couple of days before we took the 2008 World Cruise and second time was in 2009 before we took the Crystal Symphony Los Angeles to Hong Kong Cruise.  Yet we felt like we had just seen one another last week.  Very nice people.


We dined at the Roof Garden Restaurant at the hotel where we had enjoyed dinner on Sunday evening.  It was a perfect venue to enjoy a nice lunch and have lots of time for conversation and to catch up with one another.

 

Later today we will go on another long walk and have dinner.  I’ll post more about that tomorrow.  We have a place in mind which we would like to visit in the morning and I’ll also post about that.

 

Blog has been updated.

 

More tomorrow.

 

Keith

 

 

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Today was our last full day in Beverly Hills.

 

This has been a terrific stay.  

 

In the morning we took Uber to visit the former Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The theatre changed names twice reflecting new ownership and is called TLC Chinese Theatre.

 

This is a first-time visit for us.  In the Blog we describe its meaning to me which is very sentimental. 

 

We walked along the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. It was fun to look at the stars.  We did recognize most names and from time to time stopped to discuss the person featured or character featured.  I say character as the we saw the Muppets, Kermit The Frog, and Woody Woodpecker Stars.

 

As we were walking the Walk Of Fame we saw a star with lots of flowers and we knew it had to be for Penny Marshall (Actress in Laverne and Shirley, Happy Days and   Director of " A League Of Their Own" plus many other shows and movies which featured her as an actress, producer and director.

 

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Returning to Beverly Hills we walked more.  Weather was delightful the entire day.

 

The morning began at 51 degrees (F), and by the time we returned it was in the 60’s and hit a low of 70 today.  It was sunny.

 

Thank goodness for technology which allowed us to do Face Time and wish our grandson who turns four years young today a Happy Birthday and to see the youngest of our four grandchildren who turned one years young this past October and to talk with our son.

 

Tomorrow we board Crystal Serenity.  Most recently we were on Serenity for three seven day back-to-back cruises ending in Lisbon right before dry dock.  In some ways this next cruise is like a bookmark along with the one in October from Barcelona to Lisbon as the dry-dock took place between the two cruises.

 

Like many of you when we travel by cruise ship we get very excited in the week s and days leading up to the start of the cruise.  This includes the day we receive the final documents.  The excitement builds on the day of embarkation and as we walk up the gangway and we hear those words “welcome home”.  Those words are “Crystal Clear”.

 

My next post will be on-board Crystal Serenity.

 

We are very excited to be boarding Serenity tomorrow.

 

Keith

 

 

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Anne Marie and I are back home on Serenity.

 

We had our Cobb Salad and Flute Of Champagne at Waterside.

 

Waterside is beautiful.  Even more beautiful and intimate then Symphony.

 

Table spacing is fine.

 

Quieter then before with the new furnishings.

 

It is truly a restaurant.  Crystal should be very proud.

 

The Cover areas looks nicer with the new carpeting.

 

The stairwells look nice with the new carpet.

 

The Computer University looks amazing.  


We passed the area that now is used for dance lessons and the class room.

 

Have not made it up to deck 12.

 

User sign in to internet much easier.  If you know your first and last name and room number you are on.

 

I visited a Seabreeze PH.  Lots of nice attributes.  Yes, the downside is the desk.  For those who don't need two desks or do much with the computer it will be fine as there are many positive attributes.  I couldn't see a Seabreeze PS but we will be on board for awhile.

 

Regular PH the TV is now above the couch and we have picked up some shelf space where it used to be.  Positive change.DSC00917.thumb.jpg.887da1033e29ac20469108b386673f29.jpgIMG_1618.thumb.jpg.a5227d409d355608e27b84feb12d08c3.jpgIMG_1605.thumb.jpg.1947fa5b5686d4fbef9271115fe3cb10.jpgIMG_1606.thumb.jpg.ad727daca986c9059fca1dff8e188bd7.jpgIMG_1607.thumb.jpg.c91ddce1e514128b42262c2d3dae5711.jpgIMG_1608.thumb.jpg.04607ebc0921390459f08e3d7e897068.jpgIMG_1613.thumb.jpg.d2e4381bcd9a3489cda71e7030d6c01f.jpgIMG_1614.thumb.jpg.a2e990524c030bcb6a09f3abf4c140da.jpg

 

I posted our blog early.

 

A few photos including the Seabreeze PH.  

 

We are thrilled to be back on board.  

 

Keith

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Thank you Keith for your Update. Must say, that from your photos, Serenity really looks nice and I am happy to hear, that the noise level in Waterside has improved and it really looks more intimate and as you say, more like a restaurant.

I look forward to continue following you and naturally to see you in January.

 

Regards

Elisabeth 

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Welcome home Keith and Anne Marie, I know that you will have a wonderful time on your new adventure, Jeannie and I will be following you every day!

Bob

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Well you are both positively glowing, so I'd say you definitely ARE "back home"! Have a wonderful time, and I'm looking forward to following your journey!

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All is right in the world with Keith and Anne Marie aboard a Crystal ship...your excitement is palpable, and shared!

Looking forward to an amazing experience through your eyes.

 

Thanks again for doing these!
Jake

Edited by zoomerica

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Look forward to following your world cruise adventures as I will also be embarking on my first (and only) world cruise with Oceania next month.  We leave Los Angeles too and our cruiseline is putting us up at the Beverly Wilshire hotel....we'll be staying 2 nights before the cruise.  This will be my first time to LA, so hoping to see and do some interesting things.

 

Have a blessed trip and smooth seas!  🌏   🛳️

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Thank you Elisabeth,  Bob, LeeAnne, Go-Bucket and Jake.

 

Good afternoon from Serenity as we are anchored off Catalina Island.

 

Before I provide an update.

 

Yesterday, we embarked at Berth 46.  This is a remote berth and was necessary because two ships were in the other two Berths.  As I understand, originally Serenity was assigned one of the Berths with Terminals but due to power hookup requirements for the Holland ship they had to be at the Berth we were supposed to have.  Crystal did a wonderful job on this.  There were two large tents; one for those disembarking Serenity and one for those arriving.  We were fortunate that it was not raining.

 

I had mentioned how beautiful Waterside is.  I loved it on Symphony but this one is even better IMHO.  The chairs are very comfortable and it has a great mix of table sizes.  Spacing is great.  We just came from Beverly Hills.  Spacing at many restaurant is tighter.  The color scheme is great.  The attire is a tad different from Symphony for the Sommelier’s in the evening.

 

While dining at Waterside we saw from time-to-time waiters and other staff from other dining venues helping to seat people.  This includes waitstaff from Prego and Uma Uma along with a couple of Sommelier’s from those venues.  This is the advantage of having the restaurants under one restaurant manager who can swiftly move personnel from one venue to another venue.


We visited Palm Court last night.  It is stunning.  I also took some photos this morning.  When we visited last evening people were dancing to the band and others sitting in the seats or at the bar.  We ran into Beav from CC.  It’s nice how both ships now have two beautiful looking Palm Court venues and they are not clones of one another.

 

We spoke with a couple from CC who are in one of the Seabreeze PH rooms and love it.  I took a second look at one.  As I mentioned there are many attributes of the room.  For families who might desire two of these you have that outside entrance.  I would say the downside is the one small desk but many people don’t bring computers with them as we do nor spend much time at a desk.

 

For us we still prefer the standard PH on Serenity because we prefer being mid-ship and we also prefer the two desks and built in cabinets.  On Serenity our favorite is the Seabreeze PS.

 

I got to see the Seabreeze PS this morning.  Lots of similarities to the one on Symphony with some differences including the types of desks, the look of the shower (this one has a beautiful seat inside the shower), the placement of the coffee maker, and a few other items.  Yes the couch is hard when you sit on it.   

 

Anne Marie reminded me that there are some guests who will do better with the hard couch as it will be easier for them to get out of it.

 

The paint on the walls and Ceiling of the Casino is now gray.  I think it looks very nice.


New carpeting has been added to many areas including the Crystal Cove and the stairwells and some decks. On Deck 10 where we are located the walls have been redone with new artwork.  There is lighting along the corridors where the new Seabreeze PH and PS suites are located.

 

Carpeting can make a difference.  The new Carpeting in the Crystal Cove makes the stools at the bar look more attractive and newer.


We visited Pulse and they took out the railing which opens up the room.  I will take photos when it is lit up some evening.  We visited Star Dust and it was set up for a group so I will take photos another time.

 

It is amazing how much work was accomplished during the dry-dock.

 

Internet has been good.  I am reminded that devices can make a difference and also the little things.  I have a new computer.  When I was posting photos to the blog it took a little longer than usual.  Then the lightbulb went off and that is the jpeg quality.  It was defaulted to high and when I switched to low photos uploaded in seconds instead of minutes.

 

Now the update.

 

All of our luggage arrived at a reasonable time including the five bags we shipped and the two large ones we dropped off at the pier. Yes!!

 

We got our unpacking done by the Muster Drill at 5:00 PM.  Yes!!

 

There are some suitcases we will not unpack until we move to the room next door to us on the start of the World Cruise.

 

Surprisingly I got most of our wash done from our pre-cruise stay. Yes!!

 

I also signed up for indoor cycling classes; five on this cruise of which four are in the morning.  Yes!!

 

There was a nice tree lighting ceremony before dinner.  Many families on board.  Some guests we know from previous voyages have their children and grandchildren on board.

 

As the evening unfolded we kept running into many members of the crew.  Also met some new crew members.  This has continued today.

 

Dinner was terrific in Waterside.  It is a true restaurant as is Waterside on Symphony.  The two meals we have had have been delicious.  We were discussing lunch last night with another couple from CC and how fresh the Cobb Salad was.  One of the tastiest we have had.  At dinner the courses were quite nice.  The Seared Ahi Tuna Appetizer which I have had before was amazing.  It was tasty.  The salmon entree was cooked perfectly and came out moist.  This is another benefit of open dining where items do not sit under heating lamps.

 

IMHO Waterside on both ships is a nice enhancement over the Crystal Dining Room.

 

I had a nice time walking and running the town of Avalon on Catalina Island.  We really lucked out with the weather.

 

We feel completely settled on board Serenity and are enjoying every minute.

 

For more details of the last 24 hours please check out our blog.

 

I included photos of the new Seabreeze PS and photos of other venues including Palm Court.

 

 

 

Keith

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A couple of photos of the Seabreeze PS.

 

 

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Some have asked about the placement of the TV in the Standard PH.  It is now over the couch which works out well and in the place of the former TV is more shelving.

 

IMG_1658.thumb.jpg.23293dfd8b4bf982aeb5560e27d1b425.jpg

 

IMG_1659.thumb.jpg.88dcc5a3088537aa264f62e49a6c9507.jpg

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On 12/22/2018 at 3:17 AM, Go-Bucks! said:

Look forward to following your world cruise adventures as I will also be embarking on my first (and only) world cruise with Oceania next month.  We leave Los Angeles too and our cruiseline is putting us up at the Beverly Wilshire hotel....we'll be staying 2 nights before the cruise.  This will be my first time to LA, so hoping to see and do some interesting things.

 

Have a blessed trip and smooth seas!  🌏   🛳️

Go Bucks, it sounds very good. Enjoy your cruise!

Ivi

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You've talked us into lunch in the dining room on Embarkation Day with all your talk of the Cobb Salad.  Bob does love a good Cobb Salad.  :-)  

 

The Serenity looks beautiful.  I was wondering about the Crystal Cove.  Are there still couches there?  The only pics that I could find only showed chairs and bar seating.  

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Pamster,

Yes, there are couches in the Cove - 1 near the windows at the elevator end and one near the Reception end. I'm sure that Keith will post photos at some point.

Peggy

 

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Pam, glad you will try Waterside on embarkation day.  There are lots of good choices on the first day.

 

The Crystal Cove and Crystal Plaza are the same.  Adding new carpeting to the Cove made a big difference.  The Cove was redone sometime around 2008 when they opened up the bar and replaced the seating and that included the Plaza couches.  I noticed today in the Galaxy Showroom that slowly but surely they have reupholstered several of the chairs and I believe it is a work in progress.  The video and audio capabilities are improved.

 

Some random thoughts from Crystal Serenity.

 

This may have been mentioned before but Restaurant menus are now available on the Crystal Connect page so you don’t have to go to Press Reader.  It makes it easier to pull them up.  Many other items are available on Crystal Connect.

 

When we had a pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon last evening we learned of another new drink menu.  This one is special Manhattan Drinks.  For now this is only available at the Avenue Saloon as they placed all of the ingredients needed to prepare these drinks at this bar.  I didn’t think of taking a photo of the menu but I will do that for sure and post it on the blog in the next few days.

 

Enjoyed another nice dinner at Waterside.  We arrived before it opened.  A queue of forty people in front of us.  I would say form the time the doors opened we were seated within three minutes.  The process of assigning tables and escorting guests to their tables is very efficient.   In fact standing on line allowed us to meet one couple for the very first time and to see that two guests we have known for years are on-board as we spoke with them.

 

I don’t study how people dress.  I barely remember what I wore the day before.  Maybe a sign of age.  However, since I know that people ask about this from time to time the attire worn last evening clearly fits the mold of Crystal Casual.  Even though not required a number of gents like myself wore a sports jacket with the majority wearing a collared shirt and khaki pants.  Ladies with a shirt top and pants, some with a jacket on top of that and others in dresses.

 

Switching gears.

 

Received notification of the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle party for tomorrow evening fro 5:30 to 6:30 PM at the Pulse.

 

Popped our head into the High Rollers room and learned that no changes occurred to the room in dry dock other than changeout to the new television sets.  This is a room that we don’t use but it was nice seeing it anyway.

 

Today has been a busy day with so much to do on board  the ship.  Lots of actives and a couple of interesting lectures.  Yes there was one on world affairs and it was about China become the Superpower of the World.  How dare they?  LOL.

 

A rather unique topic was called Rudolph and the Menorah.  Are you kidding me?  What does Rudolph and the Menorah have in common.  As we learned it is because many of the songs written for Christmas and this holiday season were created by Jewish Composers.  This is what I love about the lecture program which is to learn things that I didn’t know before the lecture.    He covered in depth two of three composers who wrote many Christmas songs.  He’ll cover one other composer tojmorrow.

 

This evening Anne Marie and I have reservations at the Supper Club.  We received a note to our room last evening with information about when the doors open and when they close and it specified that the doors close at 6:35; five minutes after the start of the dinner at 6:30 PM.  The supper club is offered on the first and second BTO nights of a cruise when there is more than two BTO nights.


Seas are pretty good for the first full day out of California.  No rain.  Some wind but I just returned from playing over two hours of Paddle Tennis.

 

Well that’s it for now.

 

More tomorrow.

 

 

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Keith,

 

They had the Manhattan menu on the cruise we were on with you back in September.  I remember sitting in Avenue and talking to people who's goal was to try each of the Manhattans.  It was only a 7 day cruise so I thought this was an impressive goal, but they shrugged it off and said they had tried all of them by mid-way through the cruise.

 

They also had a martini menu, and once I discovered it I drank only the James Bond Vesper martinis.  Now I make them at home.

 

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IMG_5986.thumb.jpg.12d19a31973882c117928495a2b3b8bd.jpg

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58 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

Pam, glad you will try Waterside on embarkation day.  There are lots of good choices on the first day.

 

The Crystal Cove and Crystal Plaza are the same.  Adding new carpeting to the Cove made a big difference.  The Cove was redone sometime around 2008 when they opened up the bar and replaced the seating and that included the Plaza couches.  I noticed today in the Galaxy Showroom that slowly but surely they have reupholstered several of the chairs and I believe it is a work in progress.  The video and audio capabilities are improved.

 

Some random thoughts from Crystal Serenity.

 

This may have been mentioned before but Restaurant menus are now available on the Crystal Connect page so you don’t have to go to Press Reader.  It makes it easier to pull them up.  Many other items are available on Crystal Connect.

 

When we had a pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon last evening we learned of another new drink menu.  This one is special Manhattan Drinks.  For now this is only available at the Avenue Saloon as they placed all of the ingredients needed to prepare these drinks at this bar.  I didn’t think of taking a photo of the menu but I will do that for sure and post it on the blog in the next few days.

 

Enjoyed another nice dinner at Waterside.  We arrived before it opened.  A queue of forty people in front of us.  I would say form the time the doors opened we were seated within three minutes.  The process of assigning tables and escorting guests to their tables is very efficient.   In fact standing on line allowed us to meet one couple for the very first time and to see that two guests we have known for years are on-board as we spoke with them.

 

I don’t study how people dress.  I barely remember what I wore the day before.  Maybe a sign of age.  However, since I know that people ask about this from time to time the attire worn last evening clearly fits the mold of Crystal Casual.  Even though not required a number of gents like myself wore a sports jacket with the majority wearing a collared shirt and khaki pants.  Ladies with a shirt top and pants, some with a jacket on top of that and others in dresses.

 

Switching gears.

 

Received notification of the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle party for tomorrow evening fro 5:30 to 6:30 PM at the Pulse.

 

Popped our head into the High Rollers room and learned that no changes occurred to the room in dry dock other than changeout to the new television sets.  This is a room that we don’t use but it was nice seeing it anyway.

 

Today has been a busy day with so much to do on board  the ship.  Lots of actives and a couple of interesting lectures.  Yes there was one on world affairs and it was about China become the Superpower of the World.  How dare they?  LOL.

 

A rather unique topic was called Rudolph and the Menorah.  Are you kidding me?  What does Rudolph and the Menorah have in common.  As we learned it is because many of the songs written for Christmas and this holiday season were created by Jewish Composers.  This is what I love about the lecture program which is to learn things that I didn’t know before the lecture.    He covered in depth two of three composers who wrote many Christmas songs.  He’ll cover one other composer tojmorrow.

 

This evening Anne Marie and I have reservations at the Supper Club.  We received a note to our room last evening with information about when the doors open and when they close and it specified that the doors close at 6:35; five minutes after the start of the dinner at 6:30 PM.  The supper club is offered on the first and second BTO nights of a cruise when there is more than two BTO nights.


Seas are pretty good for the first full day out of California.  No rain.  Some wind but I just returned from playing over two hours of Paddle Tennis.

 

Well that’s it for now.

 

More tomorrow.

 

 

Enjoying your updates Keith. Do we have to make reservations for the supper club before boarding?

Ivi

 

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Keith,

 

Wishing you a wonderful adventure! Am anxious to learn of your service experiences in Waterside over the coming weeks and months.On our recent 16 night cruise...second .out of drydock we found service in Waterside to be wonderful for breakfast and about half the time for dinner. (We did not partake of lunch.) Unfortunately there were several evenings  when we waited up to 75 minutes or more for our main course to the point where I finally got up and spoke to Mario. This assured us excellent service for the rest of that meal, but the problem continued for a couple of more evenings. Hopefully over time these sorts of issues will be addressed. I will note that when we enjoyed Waterside on Symphony we cruised about 7 months after drydock and experienced nearly perfect service each evening...so perhaps time will improve things in Waterside on Serenity so that service is more consistent...or perhaps our experiences were an aberration.

 

Ed

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7 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

 

Enjoyed another nice dinner at Waterside.  We arrived before it opened.  A queue of forty people in front of us.  I would say form the time the doors opened we were seated within three minutes.  The process of assigning tables and escorting guests to their tables is very efficient.   In fact standing on line allowed us to meet one couple for the very first time and to see that two guests we have known for years are on-board as we spoke with them.

 

 

 

Without wishing to hijack your 'live from' thread I couldn't help commenting on something you mentioned above that has always well and truly baffled me.  We have so many 'discussions/debates' on this board about what does or doesn't constitute luxury onboard Crystal (or other luxury cruise lines for that matter), I think the above has to be my number one pet peeve re what doesn't constitute luxury - guests queueing across the Crystal Cove waiting for the restaurant to open.  I find this so unsightly for those enjoying a drink at the Crystal Cove bar and it's also an inconvenience to other guests who may be trying to walk through the area.  I spent many of my career years working in 5 star hotels and never did I see guests queuing around the lobby (or anywhere else) waiting for a restaurant to open, so why do so many people do it on a ship????   I thought we Brits were the ones renowned for 'queuing' for anything and everything but this one has me stumped...:classic_smile:

 

Best wishes for the Holidays to Anne Marie and yourself, I'm enjoying following along with not only yourselves but with my very good friends who are also onboard this cruise...

 

Anne..

 

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, n2wdw said:

 

 

 

Edited by Nicho99
Too much material not needed.

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Happy to see they have added Woodford Reserve to their bourbon list.  I always thought the bourbon list was woefully lacking in comparison to vodka, gin and scotch.

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23 hours ago, xrvlcruiser said:

Pamster,

Yes, there are couches in the Cove - 1 near the windows at the elevator end and one near the Reception end. I'm sure that Keith will post photos at some point.

Peggy

Thanks Peggy,  The Crystal Cove was where we set up our little nest each day, to read and visit with other passengers.  Was hoping that the couches weren't gone since they were more comfortable than the chairs.

 

 

23 hours ago, xrvlcruiser said:

 

 

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