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Keith1010

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

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7 hours ago, MalbecWine said:

The bar next to the Trident is now removed?  That makes no sense..

Ummmmm, no! It is still there. Maybe a little smaller than it used to be, and I think shifted a little closer to the starboard side, but it is still there.

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Actually the bar is the same size and has not been moved. 

 

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There is one change and that is with these two chairs replacing the former two chairs.  :classic_biggrin:

 

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The bar is really the ability to make drinks as opposed to one that you sit at other than the two chairs.

 

What has changed are the tables and such used for Silk.

 

Keith

 

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Someone..maybe me.. said no outdoor pool bar. It is indoors. I did say the pool guys were great. I just think at times an outdoor bar is nice. People like to gather near it and talk. Or sometimes just get their own drink. Sometimes I do as I have walked thru Silk on my way to the pool.

 

wait to Keith explains the bar rules only for today until we sail. No drinks by the pool today.

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Robin.    I made mention of the bar rules in my earlier posts.

 

While we are in Richards Bay, only non-alcoholic beverages are available in the bars.  Exception is Silk Bar, the Bistro and the Crystal Cove only during meal hours.  My only experience with something like this was when we were docked in Iran, Saudi Arabia and possibly one other country during World Cruise 2010.  They couldn't serve drinks in the bars and they had to remove all of the wine/spirits from guest  rooms.  Major effort to do all that.

 

Keith

 

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4 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Robin.    I made mention of the bar rules in my earlier posts.

 

While we are in Richards Bay, only non-alcoholic beverages are available in the bars.  Exception is Silk Bar, the Bistro and the Crystal Cove only during meal hours.  My only experience with something like this was when we were docked in Iran, Saudi Arabia and possibly one other country during World Cruise 2010.  They couldn't serve drinks in the bars and they had to remove all of the wine/spirits from guest  rooms.  Major effort to do all that.

 

Keith

 

I have to say we had so pretty odd rules around alcohol service in Toronto as late as the mid-70s, but this one is pretty odd, and no one seems to know if it is only a Richards Bay rule or a South Africa rule, although the notice in Reflections reads like it is only a local rule. I asked Cameron in The Cove what they had been doing all day. He said refilling the snack jugs. At the rate of one pretzel every 20 minutes!! :classic_biggrin:

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Larry,  the good news is that we were told this is just a local issue so tomorrow we'll be back to the Cove.  :classic_biggrin:

 

Keith

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Roland4 said:

no one seems to know if it is only a Richards Bay rule or a South Africa rule, although the notice in Reflections reads like it is only a local rule.

 

We had this same issue during our 2017 Holiday Cruise when we hit Durban - so I wouldnt be surprised if this keeps happening as long as you are in South Africa. This is the problem with South Africa - the local authorities are a law upon themselves and make up the “rules” as they go along - they are really just looking for a handout. It really is a shame and while a few might make out monetarily, the vast majority of residents will be impacted. The actions throughout our 2017 cruise has totally put us off ever going back to South Africa, land or sea. I know alot of the cruise lines avoid it because of these issues.

 

During our cruise, we had mandatory face to face customs inspections at almost every South African port - even when we sailed from one South African port to another. This made no sense, however it became clear that after getting up early each morning to attend them, some being cancelled in last minute, that the local authorities just wanted to get on the ship for a free coffee and breakfast.

 

The issue we had in Durban with the alcohol was that the authorities were demanding a “duty/tax” quiet frankly a payout from Crystal on any alcoholic beverages that were opened while we overnighted in Durban. All the alcohol on the ship, except from the rooms, was counted and had to be placed in a bonded area of the ship. Very early in the morning, signs were placed around the bars saying that there would be no alcohol consumption allowed while in Durban. You can imagine what this caused. By late afternoon, a “deal” was struck with the authorities whereby all alcohol that was already open could be used to make drinks. Anything that needed to be opened was “taxed”. So for mixed drinks there was a limited selection those days as to what you could have. I beleive beer and wine may have been excluded or negotiated favourably. The whole situation was totally ridiculous. Luckily this only occured in Durban.

 

I am curious to see how this plays out in the rest of the ports.

 

 

 

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Edited by Fly Fast Cruise Slow

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Interestingly, the bars all opened shortly before 6:00, almost as if Crystal told the local authorities FU, even though they were not supposed to open until we left at 9:00. Of course, we left at about 8:15 and sailed out in great haste! The new arrangements for Durban are that all the bars can be open and serve anything that is in the all-inclusive list, but they cannot sell cigarettes/cigars, or anything from the extra cost list.

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This is not unusual for airline as well if you are sitting in J or F.  Certain countries require liquour to be in bond until takeoff.  No pre-departure hard alcohol served on the plane.  You may be offered champagne, and other nonalcoholic beverages.  The champagne may not be their premium until you are airborne.  This all depends on local regulations.

 

Many years ago on domestic flights a few states in the US would not serve alcohol on ground on Sundays or had to discontinue serving booze flying over dry states.  Airport bars. Could not serve alcohol until after 12PM on Sunday.  This mainly happened in the Bible Belt states.

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Larry has explained it well.

 

In short, as we were told yesterday no similar impact in other South African ports as I was told yesterday.

 

The inability to sell Cigars on-board happens in other places.  On our cruises last Fall in the Mediterranean they were unable to sell cigars on two of the three voyages we were on.  I believe Italy was one of the countries that restricted this.

 

The takeaway on this is that from time-to-time local authorities have restrictions or requirements that relate to sales of some items including stores closed in port and casinos (most closed in port with less than a handful of exceptions) and the restriction of cigars, cigarettes, alcohol, what you can and cannot take off a ship and the tax that the ship must turn over to them on items sold and even in some cases consumed as part of inclusive.

 

Keith

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WELCOME TO DURBAN, South Africa

 

Good early morning from Serenity  as we sail towards Durban, South Africa.  We have arrived to Durban ahead of schedule.

 

There was a slight delay in yesterday's face-to-face meetings with immigration  as the local authorities showed up to the wrong location.  The process began about 45 minutes later than scheduled.  For those of you who were on-board in 2014 when our fact to face was in Durban you might remember it being delayed hours as they were clearing another ship.  Thankfully were were on a Crystal Overland so they adjusted things accordingly and we didn't have to worry.  

 

I believe that 50 or so people were off the ship on overlands and some will return today while others in another port.  More will be going on overlands today.

 

We didn't have a tour for yesterday.  We do have a tour for Port Elizabeth and one for Cape Town.  Having done two overlands in 2014 and 2015 which we loved we didn't plan one for this year.  We decided to stay on board the ship yesterday.  We are trying to balance what we do on and off the ship taking into account Anne Marie.  As I say often we are happy to be here and appreciate each day.

 

There were some people selling local items at the pier.  I went around and engaged in discussion and as I did in Madagascar I didn't buy anything but I gave donations to each person.  

 

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As mentioned, the bars were not serving Alcohol until the dining venues could open for dinner so we enjoyed some wine in our room last evening.

 

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We went to Prego for dinner.  I guess many people had Prego on their mind as about 30 minutes after we were seated I looked up and it was "BUSY' and a short while later most tables were in use. 

 

With that said, service was impeccable.  They work as a team so from time-to-time some of our courses were served by other waiters.  

 

I began with the Warm King Crab Cake as an appetizer.

 

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We each has the Caesar salad.  One thing we do is rather than ask for dressing on the side as we do at Waterside since the dressing is on the thicker side we asked for very light dressing.

 

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We were hoping that the additional entree might be fish and our wish came true.

 

Chef Alfred worked his magic and we enjoyed Halibut which was lightly breaded and was delicious.  It was accompanied by some pasta.

 

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I will close by saying it is a Small World on and off the ship.

 

I think we all have stories when we travel.  I remember on our first visit to Venice (that was on Grand Princess in 1997 and we were parked downtown which doesn't happen anymore) we had an overnight.  After dinner Anne Marie and I and our two children went back into the city and as we walked ran into a cousin of one of my college roommates who also attended university at the same time we did.  More recently on the cruise in 2016 right before Northwest Passage as we were walking from Serenity towards a Holland America ship and into town in Ketchikan who do we spot but our neighbors.  

 

Yesterday, as I was standing in line (by the way that was an hour after the ship was cleared so I wasn't the first off the ship.  LOL) I  was chatting with two guest behind me.  They looked somewhat familiar and we discovered we were on the Northwest Passage Cruise together.  Then the conversation led to what state do  I  live in and what state do they live in?  Same state.  How about City?  Same city?  How about community?  Same community.  How about street?  Well not same street but their street  is on the route we walk on our long walks back home as we are returning home and I would say a five minute walk from our house.  

 

Let me close with today's daily Reflections Program.

 

Reflections.pdf

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN TO PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA

 

Good morning from Serenity. 

 

A greater number of people got off Serenity yesterday for overland Safaris as we did  in 2014 and 2015.  Some people returned last evening from their one night/two day Safari.

 

While we were in Durban yesterday we took the shuttle to the drop-off and walked for quite awhile on a walkway that passed by 16 different beaches. That is a lot of beaches.  We missed Durban in 2014 and 2015 and prior to that took tours on our other visits so yesterday was the first time we just took a leisurely walk after being dropped off by the shuttle.  

 

We didn’t stay long but watched two men playing chess with “Texas” size chess pieces.

 

 A few photos.

 

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We encountered major traffic congestion to and from the downtown area with it taking 20 - 25 minutes to get through two traffic lights near the port.  Cause of the problem was light turning green while others in the other direction were in the middle of the intersection.  We were not alone yesterday as MSC had a fairly large vessel in port and it was turn around day for them.

 

Switching gears  while going ashore in Durban we spoke with Celebrity Chef Jon Ashton and his two-person film crew who we have gotten to know so well since mid-January.  Similar to Los Angeles they were going to meet up with a local female chef. As part of the local experience on last evening’s menu was an entrée called Chef Jon’s Durban Shrimp.  

 

I am just glad they didn’t call this deconstructed shrimp because that might lead to a lot of discussion as to whether it was shrimp.  LOL. 

 

We had a small portion of it as an appetizer which we enjoyed.  Creative and tasty.  

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Yesterday afternoon as we were walking the ship we ran into some of the crew members from South Africa who had family on-board. Some were visiting for the day while others will be staying on until Cape Town.  In most cases this is their first time on Serenity and how nice they can see their where their child works or where their sibling work   Very special.  It was nice to meet several of the family members.

 

Today is a busy day on-board Serenity with many activities offered.

 

I have added the Reflections program below.

 

There is also a Grand Gala Buffet and for those who want to do some Southern Hemisphere Stargazing Chief Electrical Engineer John Rivers will lead this from 10:30 PM to 11:30 PM.  A few years ago while sailing this area there was stargazing  very early one morning with John and a former Astronaut.  That is where I saw the space station, Hubble telescope, a couple of planets and of course the stars.  Those two made a terrific team sharing lots of knowledge with all of us.

 

By coincidence one of our friends who is on-board visited Ardmore yesterday which is  the largest ceramic art studio in South Africa where she purchased some of the art and is having it sent home.  As part of Ardmore many artists create ceramics representing Zulu people.  While we were walking the ship yesterday afternoon we saw a team of people changing over a portion of Facets and placing in the area an array of ceramics.  As it turned out the founder of Ardmore along with  a team of other people are boarded in Durban and are on board right now.

 

Well, it's time to close.  

 

Daily reflections follows.  

 

Reflections.pdf

 

Keith

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Yesterday I mentioned it is a small world as on Thursday when I was waiting to walk off Serenity it turned out a couple who was behind me lived less than one mile from where we live.  

 

The small world continued last night.  We were at the bar when a couple we know arrived and after a few minutes asked us to join them for a drink.  They had just returned a couple of hours earlier for  a one night/two day safari.  Another couple joined all of us who were on the overland with them.  We are all talking about travel.  The other couple has sailed with Crystal a few times including one time on Esprit.  They told us all about that experience and how much they loved it.  Anyway, wife of that couple was asking me some questions about places we have been and for some advice on a cruise they have booked for next year when she asked where we lived and I said the major city we live near.  I asked her where she lives and she says our town.  Then she says the community she lives in and it is our community.  Then she says what street she lives on and it is one of many streets that Anne Marie and I often walk on when taking long walks in our community.  She and her husband live about five to ten minutes from our home on foot.

 

So at that point in less than 36 hours I meet two couples and they both live within one mile from us.  Amazing.

 

It is a Small World.  And it is a Wonderful World.  And with travel and technology including the internet and smart devices the world is getting even smaller.

 

Keith

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WELCOME TO PORT ELIZABETH

 

We are making our way to Port Elizabeth with a 7:00 AM scheduled  arrival time.

 

Our weather yesterday was mainly windy with on and off rain.  We heard from one person on a safari that was similar to the weather they were experiencing.

 

Inside the ship it was sunny and a terrific sea day with a lot on the schedule between lectures and all sorts of activities.  The shops were active with a designer fashion show held at Stardust to show ladies dresses that were  brought on board for one of the designers.  After a soft opening  much more of  the  local one of a kind art was put on display following a talk given by the person who created the company that employees over 70 artists.

 

These photos show some of the art being sold.

 

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There is much more inside the store including a piece of furniture that sold quickly.

 

Last evening was the quietest it's been at the Crystal Cove  since we boarded the ship.  I suspect it was for a few reasons including 100 or so people on overlands, 100+ people signed up for Supper Club which results in many people going to the Avenue Saloon for a pre-dinner drink, and some people who were relaxing having returned the day before from overlands.  Likewise Waterside was quieter than usual considering it was a Black  Tie Optional night.  

 

We enjoy listening to Pianist Richard Pucci who we first met mid-way through the 2015 World Cruise.  This is a short video of Richard playing a song from "The Beatles".  

 

 

From time-to-time people will ask about ideas of items to special order at Waterside.  In general,  we have evolved when it comes to entrees and rarely special order something other than a salad or tuna tartare (for me) or maybe have something from the menu cooked a different way which  is less of a special order.  We find that if it is something we like and it is on the menu that we actually prefer it that way.

 

Last evening was an example of that with Beef Wellington on the menu.  We eat beef infrequently at home or on the ship but thought it was a good opportunity to have it.  It was delicious and prepared perfectly.  

 

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Some people who have not sailed Serenity or Symphony since their respective dry-docks and change to open dining have asked what the Waterside waitstaff team wears on Black Tie (BTO) Optional evenings so I am including this photo from last evening.

 

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We received a letter to our room from the Shore Excursion team about tours on the final segment of the World Cruise.  It is hard to believe the final segment begins in a few days.  

 

We have a tour planned today to go back to the Addo National Park which we first visited in 2007.  The weather forecast calls for it to be windy with a high chance of rain today.  

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

 

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We arrived to Port Elizabeth shortly after I posted and ahead of the scheduled arrival time.

 

Right now it is not raining.  It is in the 60s (F) with a  high of 71 (F) forecasted.

 

I meant to mention in the earlier post how wonderful technology is and how it has allowed so many of us to stay in contact with family while we travel.

 

With complimentary internet one of the benefits is being able to speak with family on the phone and to also video with them using apps such as Face Time or WhatsApp which are our go-to apps for video calls.  Yesterday was an example of that as we had a video call with our son, and two grandsons.  We do this weekly with both families whether back home  or  traveling.  And this became more important to us when our daughter and family moved to Australia.

 

Our family follows our travels via our Blog and Face Book and that is another benefit of the technology available to us.  Likewise we enjoy their posts as well.  

With three of the four grandchildren having sailed on-board Serenity in May of 2017 and two of them revisiting the ship in Sydney they love for us to tour them around.  It's nice that with a smart device in hand that we can give them a little tour from time to time.  Now with a fourth grandchild we look forward to bringing them back on board on a future cruise.  

 

Switching gears....................

 

We are not the only ship in port today at Port Elizabeth.   On the port side from our Verandah we see the Seabourn Sojourn.

 

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Well, that it for now.

 

We plan to make our way off the ship in about 90 minutes for our tour.

 

More later.

 

Keith

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We had a great day revisiting Addo Elephant National Park.  We have fond memories from visiting the park in 2007 on a Crystal Tour.  This time it was just the two of us on a private tour of the park.

 

The park is one of nineteen national parks in South Africa.   It ranks third in size behind Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. 

 

We learned a great deal about South Africa, Port Elizabeth, the Park and Wildlife.  Our tour guide, Andrew, was superb.

 

I cover what we learned and what we saw on our blog at www.followourtips.com and then click on current blog tab.

 

Some photos and video.  

 

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Cheers,

Keith

 

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What in the world  happened to thst beautiful animals. They are everywhere at my hotel.  

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On 3/8/2019 at 8:26 PM, Keith1010 said:

Yesterday I mentioned it is a small world as on Thursday when I was waiting to walk off Serenity it turned out a couple who was behind me lived less than one mile from where we live.  

 

The small world continued last night.  We were at the bar when a couple we know arrived and after a few minutes asked us to join them for a drink.  They had just returned a couple of hours earlier for  a one night/two day safari.  Another couple joined all of us who were on the overland with them.  We are all talking about travel.  The other couple has sailed with Crystal a few times including one time on Esprit.  They told us all about that experience and how much they loved it.  Anyway, wife of that couple was asking me some questions about places we have been and for some advice on a cruise they have booked for next year when she asked where we lived and I said the major city we live near.  I asked her where she lives and she says our town.  Then she says the community she lives in and it is our community.  Then she says what street she lives on and it is one of many streets that Anne Marie and I often walk on when taking long walks in our community.  She and her husband live about five to ten minutes from our home on foot.

 

So at that point in less than 36 hours I meet two couples and they both live within one mile from us.  Amazing.

 

It is a Small World.  And it is a Wonderful World.  And with travel and technology including the internet and smart devices the world is getting even smaller.

 

Keith

Keith, that is truly amazing! What a small world. Is the ship full? Are some segments fuller than others?

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40 minutes ago, juicyjuju said:

Keith, that is truly amazing! What a small world. Is the ship full? Are some segments fuller than others?

Julie, the ship is not full.  Some segments have been fuller than others.  Some categories are full while others have availability. I had thought at one time that the fourth and final segment might be full but that is not the case and believe it will sail with slightly less people than are on-board now.

 

Keith

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15 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

Julie, the ship is not full.  Some segments have been fuller than others.  Some categories are full while others have availability. I had thought at one time that the fourth and final segment might be full but that is not the case and believe it will sail with slightly less people than are on-board now.

 

Keith

I'm boarding the Symphony in five weeks. There are running a kids program because there are 11 kids. My daughter is very happy! We will see how full it is.

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Good morning  from Serenity.  

 

I mentioned this on the Blog but when we were at the National Park at one point we stopped so our guide could speak with another guide and from that vehicle someone says Hi Keith & Anne Marie.  He  said I follow your blog  and was on the Seabourn Sojourn.  When we  were having lunch the man and their party arrived about twenty minutes  after we did and said he is a member of Cruise Critic and has sailed Crystal several times but selected the Seabourn Cruise after Crystal changed plans to keep Serenity in Europe instead of bringing it back to the USA.  He said he had been following our blog for many years.  While we  hadn't sailed with him before, another example of A Small World.  

 

Our  guide reenforced some issues  about South Africa that we have heard from friends we have who live there and have also heard from various lecturers in the past and I am sure will be covered by today's lecturers.  The country has a lot of challenges to deal with from corruption to race to the economy to crime.   Many are intertwined.  They are not alone as many countries around the world have similar issues.  They have very high unemployment.  On the way back to the port he took us a different way and we did see many poor areas which we have seen in other parts of South America and in the world.  The country has so many nice resources as we see in other countries such as Brazil and I hope they can overcome all of this.

 

The other issue which we have heard before in lectures on Crystal Cruises is the investment that China is making.  We knew they were making big investments throughout Africa and they are doing so in South Africa.  They have large automobile manufacturing plants in Port Elizabeth and as they do in many places making other investments and doing doing major fishing and obtaining other items.  Like other items in my country we don't spend much time on this item.  

 

I mention these items because this is part of why we enjoy cruising as it is part of discovery.

 

Switching gears.

 

It is hard to believe that this segment of the World Cruise will end and the fourth and final segment will begin.


Shortly before we left Port Elizabeth last evening Captain Giske mentioned that there could be strong winds and to be careful moving around the ship.  In 2015 the winds were too strong so the ship didn't make it into port.  Actually they thought they could take it into port but not get out.  This is typical of this area.

 

In fact, this is a reason why they planned a 7:00 PM arrival to Cape Town this evening as I understand it with less chance of winds that time of day.  If this is incorrect at least it sounds like a good reason.  LOL.

 

It is hard to believe that this segment of the World Cruise is coming to an end and that the fourth and final segment begins soon.

 

Turnover day is the 13th.

 

A couple of updates which those boarding might want to know as well.

 

We learned last evening we will depart Cape Town at 5:00 PM on the 14th instead of 7:00 PM.

 

The Guest Laundry will close starting noon today until Midnight on the 14th.  This is likely due to the issue that when the ship is in port it cannot make water.  This process occurs when the ship is at sea.  With several days at Cape Town Serenity cannot make water.

 

Let me close now but will provide another post later today.

 

Keith

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14 minutes ago, juicyjuju said:

I'm boarding the Symphony in five weeks. There are running a kids program because there are 11 kids. My daughter is very happy! We will see how full it is.

That is fantastic.

 

Keith

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2 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Good morning  from Serenity.  

 

I mentioned this on the Blog but when we were at the National Park at one point we stopped so our guide could speak with another guide and from that vehicle someone says Hi Keith & Anne Marie.  He  said I follow your blog  and was on the Seabourn Sojourn.  When we  were having lunch the man and their party arrived about twenty minutes  after we did and said he is a member of Cruise Critic and has sailed Crystal several times but selected the Seabourn Cruise after Crystal changed plans to keep Serenity in Europe instead of bringing it back to the USA.  He said he had been following our blog for many years.  While we  hadn't sailed with him before, another example of A Small World.  

 

Our  guide reenforced some issues  about South Africa that we have heard from friends we have who live there and have also heard from various lecturers in the past and I am sure will be covered by today's lecturers.  The country has a lot of challenges to deal with from corruption to race to the economy to crime.   Many are intertwined.  They are not alone as many countries around the world have similar issues.  They have very high unemployment.  On the way back to the port he took us a different way and we did see many poor areas which we have seen in other parts of South America and in the world.  The country has so many nice resources as we see in other countries such as Brazil and I hope they can overcome all of this.

 

The other issue which we have heard before in lectures on Crystal Cruises is the investment that China is making.  We knew they were making big investments throughout Africa and they are doing so in South Africa.  They have large automobile manufacturing plants in Port Elizabeth and as they do in many places making other investments and doing doing major fishing and obtaining other items.  Like other items in my country we don't spend much time on this item.  

 

I mention these items because this is part of why we enjoy cruising as it is part of discovery.

 

Switching gears.

 

It is hard to believe that this segment of the World Cruise will end and the fourth and final segment will begin.


Shortly before we left Port Elizabeth last evening Captain Giske mentioned that there could be strong winds and to be careful moving around the ship.  In 2015 the winds were too strong so the ship didn't make it into port.  Actually they thought they could take it into port but not get out.  This is typical of this area.

 

In fact, this is a reason why they planned a 7:00 PM arrival to Cape Town this evening as I understand it with less chance of winds that time of day.  If this is incorrect at least it sounds like a good reason.  LOL.

 

It is hard to believe that this segment of the World Cruise is coming to an end and that the fourth and final segment begins soon.

 

Turnover day is the 13th.

 

A couple of updates which those boarding might want to know as well.

 

We learned last evening we will depart Cape Town at 5:00 PM on the 14th instead of 7:00 PM.

 

The Guest Laundry will close starting noon today until Midnight on the 14th.  This is likely due to the issue that when the ship is in port it cannot make water.  This process occurs when the ship is at sea.  With several days at Cape Town Serenity cannot make water.

 

Let me close now but will provide another post later today.

 

Keith

 

Thank you for the updates, Keith. Good to know. It’s been raining and windy all night and still is raining right now in Cape Town. Appreciate the heads up about the laundry and the pax load on the next segment. Enjoy the balance of Segment 3. We’re looking forward to boarding on Wednesday.

 

Rob & Jim

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Meanwhile Capetown has a water shortage problem. I had planned on doing laundry on the 14th. Guess it will be done by hand yet again.  

 

 

Funny not for Keith I would not know this. My ship papers said to be back on at 4 never mention leaving early. At first I was leaving sooner and coming back the 14th. Thanks Keith for update

 

robin

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