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Live: A Plane, Car, Cruise & Train – Crystal Serenity Auckland - Perth 5-20 Feb 2019

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Oh Yes!  Priscilla, Queen of the Desert...time for another viewing and a big tub of buttered popcorn + a cool libation.

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4 hours ago, ijkh said:

Thanks for the nice trip report.   I enjoyed armchair traveling with you.  Where to next?


Not long to wait before the next one - it’s 69 days til we board Crystal Symphony in Hong Kong bound for Tokyo


We will be lucky enough to be enjoying it with some friends from all around the world that we were lucky enough to meet back in 2017 on Symphony. We all got back together in 2018 on Serenity and now it’s time for our 2019 adventure together - and 2020 is already booked. This is one aspect of Crystal cruising which we really enjoy 


Now I’d better start exercising (well walking the dogs...) - all those meals and drinks have caught up with me 🙂 

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Hi Stickman

Thank you for your great reports and pictures. 

I think we readers have enjoyed the journey as much as you obviously did.

You must have spent a great deal of time putting it all together. I assure you that it is much appreciated.

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Baboons are dangerous from the picture. I assume that’s what it is.  Stay away from them.  When they open their mouths and show those canines they are threatening.  I have had many encounters with these guys in Africa for many years and know how to deal with these pesky and dangerous primates.

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We enjoyed taking this cruise with you! You've made us itchy to get back on the ship - in just 5 1/2 short weeks.:classic_rolleyes:

Thanks for sharing the cruise and the train and pictures were wonderful!

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2 minutes ago, suzeluvscruz said:

You've made us itchy to get back on the ship - in just 5 1/2 short weeks.:classic_rolleyes:



See you in Sydney maybe? - we’ll be camping at White Bay for the visit 🙂

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Thanks for all the great posts, we really enjoyed “travelling” along with you.


Looking forward to seeing you on the May cruise, I suspect that we will have quite a lively and exciting live blog going on that one.

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Well the curtain closes on our cruise - we just went through our post cruise survey and gave our feedback - pushing Submit really bought home we were off the ship :-)


But in completing it we got to reflect on the great experience we had - in fact this time there were only a couple of negative ratings that prompted me to provide further feedback (and they were minor and will come as no surprise to Crystal I'm sure). The good news was we could call out specific staff members who had provided standout service during our cruise (noting that all the staff were great and met our expectations for service and support)


One thing about the survey questions that we did discuss with other guests on board and agreed that it was a bit confusing - when they offer the "Meets Expectations" option they are kind of selling themselves short - as those of us who cruise Crystal regularly already have high expectations of what we will experience - so meeting those standard is "Meeting Expectations" whereas I suspect for those new to Crystal they may well rate the same experience as "Exceeds Expectations" - same experience - different rating


I know these survey rating are all subjective and I understand the "buyer value analysis" approach but the scale could do with some work - maybe an absolute 1-5 rating scale


The other feedback - which I forgot to include, was the survey needs a back button - we found ourselves remembering points we would have made in sections but unfortunately there's no provision to do so. Maybe they could have a review answers option at the end that allowed revision or additional comments to be added


No real post cruise blues for us as we are already planning our May cruise on Symphony and a few more after that - what better way to spend retirement :-)


Thanks for following along and the comments over the last month or so


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And we are back! The problem we have is that unlike Terry, he who writes these posts and she who takes the pictures don't always do things on the same day!! :classic_smile:


The next stop on our sojourn was Reunion Island, a prefecture of France, about 75 miles from Mauritius. Today's immigration oddity was that we were subject to "random" immigration checks, so everyone had to have their passports with them. Since we have been checked "at random" so many times that we have considered changing our last name to Random, we were sure we would be stopped, but we were not, and as near as we can tell, no one else was either!


Our tour was Pitons de Fournais, or The Mouth of the Furnace, a trip to the top of the volcano, one of the THE most active in the world. In fact, it was erupting that very day, but on the other side of the mountain! Of course, seeing the top of the volcano is very much in the hands of Mother Nature, and she decided not to play, but the drive to the summit viewing area was interesting, not least of which was the switchback road in a 40 passenger bus and then across an old lava field from an eruption 20+ years ago.



For such a small island it has major geological features. The picture below is of a "valley" we passed on the way up. This was caused by a single rock/land slide 20 years ago. The explosive sound of the slide was so intense most people thought it was an eruption from the volcano!!



After a sea day chock-a-block full of the usual activities, we arrived in Taolorano, Madagascar this morning. It was 30 C/86 F at 8:00 AM, and then it got HOT!!! I used to say the next time I was that hot I will be shaking hands with the Devil, but now it will have to be "I am back in Madagascar"!!


Aside from being the fourth largest island in the world, this country's claim to fame is its biodiversity and its lemur population. Lots of lemur pictures, but not many plant pictures. And the less said about the roads the better. I did not think it possible for anyplace to have roads worse than those in Rabaul last year, but this place topped even those. The tour was in 4x4 vehicles for a reason! I would call them goat tracks, but that would be an insult to goats all over the world!! How bad you ask? My FitBit hit 10,000 steps while we were swaying back and forth in the vehicle, and I doubt we had walked much more than 5,000 steps at that point! Needless to say, we were all very happy to see Serenity at the end of this tour!!






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