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Stickman1990

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

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We are happily settled in and have begun our sea day routine of eat eat eat - not really but gee the food is so good here 

 

Here’s some shots from lunch today of Mussels (unfortunately I had disturbed the presentation of the dish before taking the photo) and NZ Fish pie

 

The Crystal in Motion show last night was great - excellent dancers and singers and we just love the Irish dancing towards the end 

 

The last shot is just to remind you of our location - crossing a relatively dead calm Tasman Sea after we rounded Cape Reinga - at the top of North Island earlier this morning 

 

I will close by wishing all the New Zealanders a happy Waitangi Day - their national holiday is today - 6 February. It’s a little sad that it’s not celebrated with as much gusto as the Australians celebrate Australia Day on 26 January. The joys of political debate about the origins of national days in lands “settled” by Europeans I’m afraid 

 

 

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Edited by Stickman1990

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Funny, this ship did nothing for either holiday. I have been on ships that celebrates. Wonder if they will do anything for the 17th.

 

i brought a red long dress for the 14Th abd it is not formal night.guess since it is BTO I can op to dress up on the 14th and skip another formal night.

 

I agree the sea is calm for here but I still took a pill. No wonder I need a nap.

 

i did not try the NZ mussels but had many oysters yesterday.

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First BTO night this evening and dinner in Waterside was excellent. Had caviar, Oysters Rockefeller and lobster and all were served at the appropriate temperature. Pace of service was noticeably better, and wine service was much better. Is Crystal reading CC?? :classic_rolleyes: Dress among the ladies has changed a bit since last year. Fewer long gowns, but still enough to say they may have been in the slight majority. The rest spread among the "sparkly top" brigade, cocktail length, and "Can she sit down in that?" short!!! :classic_biggrin:  Also seemed to be fewer tuxes/dinner jackets and more gentlemen in jackets without ties, which is a bit disappointing. 

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2am local time but about to turn into 1am - the Avenue is now closed after a fun evening - another great day in Serenity 

 

Lovely to talk to some first timers who are agog at the Crystal experience (a positive experience) 

 

Larry - we ate exactly the same meal including the double appetiser (too much temptation) - I think I preferred the Oyster over the caviar though) 

 

I can confidenly say Waterside on Serenity is a great product - menus and service and ambience all great. We really love the new layout and can’t see the “crowding” we feared and in the central area there are a good range of larger tables so groups can be catered for much more easily than on Symphony. That is not something I can say about Symphony’s Waterside where, in August, we were dissapointed in menu and service performance 

 

The comedian was great - but I think some US guests struggled with UK/Aussie humour - we however split our sides laughing forthe entire show - great to have some new talent joining Crystal 

 

I was in the suits without a tie category - sorry but the sooner BTO is abandoned and made fully optional the better - I have no inclination to bring a suit along on a short cruise - smart casual is fine (my prediction it will be gone as a mandatory within the next 12 months - but maybe that’s wishful thinking 🤔)

 

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The other potential solution to the supper club issue is to have more of them but only allow 1 reservation per segment.  Allow 2nd reservation only day of or something similar.  I know there are staffing and other issues to having more but when the success is that great I think you need to find a way to build on it.

 

 

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We arrive in Sydney tomorrow late afternoon (Friday) - we will not be docked and will moor at Athol Buoy in the middle of the harbour near the Bridge and Opera House - this affords guests one of the best views in the city 

 

Crystal use a local company to provide high speed and spacious tenders for the 5 minute ride to shore. Then it’s a 10 minute walk around to Circular Quay which is the main hub for ferry traffic and mid point between the bridge and Opera House 

 

For those visiting or meeting friends off the ship you need to go to Dawes Point near Pier One which is under the Bridge just around from the Park Hyatt

 

 

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7 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:

I can confidenly say Waterside on Serenity is a great product - menus and service and ambience all great. We really love the new layout and can’t see the “crowding” we feared and in the central area there are a good range of larger tables so groups can be catered for much more easily than on Symphony. That is not something I can say about Symphony’s Waterside where, in August, we were dissapointed in menu and service performance 

 

Stickman, happy to hear you're enjoying Waterside and that the food and service have been up to scratch! I think the central raised area in Waterside offers the best seating not only for larger tables but for two tops as well.

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Good morning from the very calm Tasman Sea

 

Currently I’m enjoying the Rap with the Rabbi session - I’m not Jewish but the discussion which today is on the use of life terms in the Bible - in early Genesis many were said to be up to 969 years old - hmmm how could that be - well as Morrie has said its all about defining what a year was in that context - then we looked at the ways the scale may have been set

 

We love afternoon tea and the service didn’t dissapoint - lovely China and selection of food served to you by staff who take great pride in service. The new Palm Court is very well done - the transformation is well considered and the style of seating providing lots of options 

 

I went to the Captains reception and enjoyed seeing the employee of the month awarded to the Assistant Ships Carpenter - who is from the Phillipines and has 10 children including 9 daughters! Clearly he does get shore leave during his long tenure with Crystal!

 

It was BTO last night and we enjoyed dinner in Waterside - and sat in the raised central area. The dishes were outstanding - like Larry I had two appetisers - Caviar and Oysters Rockerfeller followed by the lobster 

 

We enjoy being at sea - and watching the sunset and last night was no disappointment 

 

So why the picture of water you ask? Well it is a great example of Crystal service - we arrived in the room last night and there was a large container of distilled water alongside the normal still water. We wondered why - had they run out of bottled water - the label “for use with small machines” made us wonder just what my wife was being told.......

 

Well a very simple explanation when I asked our room attendant  - she said - I saw your CPAP sleep apnoea machine and know they need distilled water so I bought some for you. Mine doesn’t use water so I don’t need it but for them to see it and proactively bring water we were just so impressed with their thoughtfulness 

 

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Edited by Stickman1990

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Great post and photos.

 

rap with Rabbie Morrie is always fun and informative for all faiths.  Please say hi to Morrie and Geri from me and hubby!!!   Not sure if there will be a liars club on your cruise.  Morrie is a wonderful participant!!!

 

My next sailing will be on the Symphony.  Typically we sail with several friends and have a large table in the center section on both ships.  We have always liked the center area and just outside the center when we are dining as a couple or with another couple.  Being at a window was never important to us.   I'm hoping that waterside on symphony has made improvements similar to how it's currently on the Serenity.  Time will tell!!! :classic_biggrin:

 

Have a wonderful day!!!

 

Nancy

Edited by nancygp

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14 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

when I asked our room attendant  - she said - I saw your CPAP sleep apnoea machine and know they need distilled water so I bought some for you. Mine doesn’t use water so I don’t need it but for them to see it and proactively bring water we were just so impressed with their thoughtfulness 

This is mega impressive!

 

Stickman, I'm wondering if you have run into your friend and mine, Laura, in Waterside.  As you know,  this lovely lady, a former server in Palm Court, recently moved up to being a sommelier in Waterside, I'm sure she would be happy to see you.

Bob

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1 minute ago, boblerm said:

Stickman, I'm wondering if you have run into your friend and mine, Laura, in Waterside. 

 

We haven’t had Laura as our sommelier yet but I have caught up with her in the Bistro where she also works during the day and I congratulated her on her promotion 

 

As most will know the staff is very stable on Crystal - we have been able to say hi to many we’ve got to know over our cruises on Serenity (usually long segments which give you the chance to get to know crew but we’ve sailed a lot more on Symphony) 

 

We we chatted with Head Waiter Guisseppe who was supervising afternoon tea - he is also looking after us in Waterside. He regaled us with tales of his many many years at sea - he is so funny and we said he should write a book about it - it would be a best seller (at least with Crystal customers)

 

I spent a long time in the Avenue last night and spent time talking to Dan Davis who is the entertainer there - he is a great entertainer. He shared with me that he also plays French Horn so we joked that he will have to find one onboard and add a piece or two to his routine. Tarsha (probably the wrong spelling) is bar tender in the Avenue this segment is an excellent host and loves to interact with the guests. It’s great to catch up with fellow guests you’ve cruises with as well and that was no exception last night as I ended up chatting with another guest who was on our last Symphony cruise in August 

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Great photos, Stickman! I especially like the ones you took in Palm Court which really capture it nicely. I didn't notice the table cloths for afternoon tea during our cruise (but I could have easily missed them as I only walked through during afternoon tea service once) and I think it's a lovely touch.

 

Are the show times on this sailing still 7.45 and 9.45?

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21 minutes ago, ClefsDor said:

Are the show times on this sailing still 7.45 and 9.45?

 

So far they’ve been at 7.45 and 9.30

 

I think 9.45 might be better just to give a little more time for those dining in groups around 7-7.30pm 

 

I guess we could go to the early show and eat later - I might give that a try 

 

Have to say I’m kind of glad not to be going to 10.30pm shows 

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It's possible they changed the later show from 9:45 to 9:30 to accommodate many of the full WCers that prefer a bit earlier time.  I believe Keith mentioned the change in opening times at Silk and the Churrascaria from 6:30 to 6:00 pm started with the world cruise and he wasn't sure if the time would revert back post WC.

 

I will not miss the 10:30 shows!!!  We tend to eat later and will make adjustments as we have yet to experience the reimagined crystal ships....can't wait.

 

nancy

Edited by nancygp

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1 hour ago, nancygp said:

It's possible they changed the later show from 9:45 to 9:30 to accommodate many of the full WCers that prefer a bit earlier time.  I believe Keith mentioned the change in opening times at Silk and the Churrascaria from 6:30 to 6:00 pm started with the world cruise and he wasn't sure if the time would revert back post WC.

 

I will not miss the 10:30 shows!!!  We tend to eat later and will make adjustments as we have yet to experience the reimagined crystal ships....can't wait.

 

nancy

Nancy you are correct .


We really are happy with these times and as you said it takes into account the earlier opening of the dining venues as well as the dining venues now taking reservations not as late before.

 

In our case we love 7:45 PM as it give those dining early the opportunity to see that show without  rushing through the meal and as you note those 10:30 shows are late for most people particularly on the World Cruise.  Even the holiday cruise and seven cruises had far less people dining late.

 

Keith

 

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21 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

Nancy you are correct .


We really are happy with these times and as you said it takes into account the earlier opening of the dining venues as well as the dining venues now taking reservations not as late before.

 

In our case we love 7:45 PM as it give those dining early the opportunity to see that show without  rushing through the meal and as you note those 10:30 shows are late for most people particularly on the World Cruise.  Even the holiday cruise and seven cruises had far less people dining late.

 

Keith

 

 

Keith,

 

in addition to the WC, and other cruises you mentioned, the vast majority of diners on my crystal cruises over the last 5 to 10 years dined on the early side.  My past cruises varied in length, generally 14 days, different times of the year and a variety of locations. We like to dine on the later side and glad open dining will give us flexibility both in dining times and new show times.

 

Nancy

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Finally met up with Terry and Carrie in the Sunset this evening and discovered we have a lot in common. Talked for almost an hour and, I suspect, made them late for dinner!!! Nice to finally put a face to the name!

 

We had no plans for dinner tonight, so we headed for Silk. We were seated promptly, without a reservation, and had a great dinner. Having read all the "caterwauling" about Silk on various threads, we really have to wonder what all the fuss was about! We started with an appetizer sampler, selected for us by Stefan, our waiter, then followed that with the lamb, Kung Pao Chicken , beef tenderloin, veggies and fried rice. Everything came out hot and fresh. The dishes we expected to be spicy were, those we expected to be less so were, everything tasted great and the service was pure Crystal! 

 

To those who have complained on other threads that it is not "authentic Chinese", whatever that is, I say "So what?" Keep in mind that, regardless of the ownership, Crystal is a North American line serving about a 75% North American/Western European clientele, people like us, and the food is very good. We chatted with a number of people at dinner and they were all enjoying their meals, and no one was complaining it was "not authentic"! 

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Stickman,

 

enjoy the sydney sail-in.

 

thanks for posting the "new" Prego menu.  I noticed some yummy additions and a few deletions...all looks good, enjoy your dinner.

 

Nancy

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Good morning from the Tasman Sea as we approach Sydney for our sail in around 1pm 

 

As there’s some discussion on Silk I’ll weigh in as well - but from a lunch perspective - we had lunch there yesterday. We liked it and the fact there are some old Tastes dishes like the Reuben and Pizza on the menu. The potstickers aren’t as good as before and yesterday I had to abandon the bean steamed buns - they were just a pile of dough - I finally cut one in half and showed Bojan the Head Waiter managing Silk and he could see it was pretty much dough stodge and took it to the kitchen to “discuss” it. I will try them again and hope they improve because yesterday they were pretty much inedible. The prawn dim sims and other steamed things were fine. For main I had the Chicken Chinois salad which was nice and my wife had sweet and sour pork which was very nice she said. Silk is to our liking for an occasional meal - I don’t crave Chinese on land as it’s not my favourite cuisine but for western style Chinese they’re doing a good job

 

Just a quick update - we dined at Umi Uma last night with new friends from Canada who are doing the full world cruise - we joke this our second cruise with them as we actually first met them on the Devenport Ferry back in Auckland and I think one of them was wearing a Crystal cap - we said hi and were soon chatting. They don’t eat raw fish so had a tempura entree and a spring roll while we had serveral different sashimi appetisers - hard to choose a favourite but the soft shell crab based dishes appeal, along with the yellow tail and for me the Inagi (Eel) - you get the picture - pretty much anything is good. Then three of us had the Black Cod which was cooked perfectly and one the Australian Wagyu Beef which he said melted in his mouth. Then it was our turn to be the observers as they had a couple of Whiskey Cappuccino desserts to finish the meal. To accompany the meal the guys had Asahi Beer brewed in Toronto by Molson Brewery (actually one of the Molson family is onboard and travels Crystal regularly I believe) - so he can proudly say they’re drinking our beer here, we also had some of the Matsushisa Chardonnay which is a nice drop. I’ll save the said for my next visit

 

We then went to the late show of Curtain Call - a long running ensemble show - I thought it had been retired but apparently they’re keeping it on for the World Cruise - it was well performed with enthusiasm and of course the ABBA finale gets everyone up and dancing (hmm I wonder if I can get one of those wigs after they finally stop the show) 

 

Then an early night - yes seriously it was. We can feel the sea which is always nice but certainly not rough - just a gentle rocking. I slept like a baby but woke early as we moved the clock back another hour overnight so we are now on Sydney time 

 

Sea day programme in the morning and then a sail in party which will be nice. This will be our third sail into Sydney in the last year but I never tire of the view and experience and it’s nice to come in during the day as opposed to the early morning arrival

 

We have friends and our adult son joining us for dinner in Prego tonight - our friends actually board a Ponant ship tomorrow crossing to NZ so I wish them the same seas we’ve experienced. They will return next week on Silverseas Silver Muse so they’re checking out the competition although they haven’t sailed Crystal yet - but we’ve finally got them booked in and deposited to join us in 2021

 

It was good to meet Larry & Monica yesterday evening and I am sure we will get together again over the course of the cruise to continue our conversation

 

Still no word on the CC Meet and Mingle party - I will enquire today and see if I can find out when it’s scheduled  

 

If anyone has any questions don’t hesitate to ask 

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We enjoy the morning show which is at 8.30am each seaday morning. Stacey and Gary host it and are sometimes joined by a guest from the crew or one of the entertainers. But the real culmination of the show is the trivia questions posed by Stacey where guests phone in to win prizes - so far I’m doing well with 2 shows I’ve got in with the correct answer to the first question each time - so now I’m the lucky owner of a Crystal USB memory stick and something else will arrive in our room during the day

 

The situation in the main noon trivia isn’t quite so good - we are running second after getting 12 yesterday, second again - our rivals got 13 so they are 3 ahead of us with one round to go - I fear that may be too big a gap for us to bridge - but we will give it a try

 

 

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