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rafinmd

Crystal Serenity Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale AND Crystal Symphony 11/5 to 12/1

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21 hours ago, rafinmd said:

 

As Keith said this is pretty much standard when the ships meet, although every situation is a bit different.  It is almost always available to everyone, although if one of both ships is on a turnaround day that could affect things.  The arrangements were published in Reflections and it was a bit complicated by the ship position but went quite smoothly.  We just checked in with the Serenity's security officer at the tender dock and he took our room keys and gave us a visitor pass.  When we got to the ship our visitor pass was just like a room key and we went through security just like we were booked on that ship.  When we left we turned in our visitor pass to the security at the tender dock and got our room keys back.  I'm sure that's the way it was for people visiting the Symphony except that the whole process would have been handled at the gangway.

 

Conditions vary a bit with each meeting.  When the ships were together in Singapore in 2014 we were asked to only dine on our permanent ship.  I had that precedent in mind and asked the Serenity staff if it was ok to get some food and in this case it was totally ok.

 

Overall very easy.

 

Roy

 

Roy,

Thank you for your explanation,good that passengers can visit the other ship.

 Also, thanks to Keith1010

 

 

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Day Sym4, Thursday, November 28, 2019, George Town, Grand Cayman

This was my third visit to Grand Cayman after the Crystal Symphony in 2012 and Grandeur of the Seas in 2015.  I started my second lap around the Promenade Deck as the sun came up over the island.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/dawn1128.jpg


The Crystal Symphony has one area that I've not seen replicated in the Serenity.  It's a rest area for the crew at the aft of Deck 6.  I've seen some nice decorations for evening crew activities there over the years.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/6aft.jpg


This was a crowded day in Grand Cayman with the Island Princess and Norwegian Pearl already anchored when we arrived and the Carnival Sunshine falling into line an hour later.


We used our own tenders but the larger ships all took advantage of large shuttle boats provided by the port.  There were 2 separate landing areas and individual docks for each ship, but the downtown area became very crowded.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/gctender.jpg


On my first 2 visits I had taken a glass bottom boat tour and a tram tour around the island but this time I just went ashore for a brief walk.  The Island and Sunshine dropped their passengers at the main cruise terminal where there was also the remains of an old fort.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/ftgeorge.jpg


The crowds thinned out a block or 2 from the ocean front street going back Fort Avenue past the legislature building.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/assembly.jpg

Just a block up the street is the 1919 Peace Memorial with a small clock tower in front.  


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/peace.jpg


I walked a wide loop around Georgetown and stopped at a pharmacy before returning to the ship about 12:30.


As might be expected of a sailaway addict I spent a good part of the afternoon on deck watching the ships turn around and leave, one by one with the Pearl scheduled for 3:30, Sunshine 4:30, and Island and us at 5.  All the others left quite early and I went down to the deck 8 front porch for our sailaway.  The tender flag came down at 4:50 and Louis sang at 4:55.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/saialway.jpg


We had a Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle at 5:30 in Palm Court.  We had about 11 present and 2 or 3 officers.  I left just before 6 for Waterside, where a nice Thanksgiving display had been set up at the entrance.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/tgvingwaterside.jpg


The shared table filled quickly and dinner was the quickest so far.  Most had the traditional turkey dinner although my tradition is more for ham at thanksgiving and that was offered as well, as long as chicken consume and berries for desert.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/dishes28.jpg


The featured entertainment was singer Lovena B Fox.  I went to the shared table ok with the knowledge that I might miss most or all of the show although I arrived only 3 or 4 minutes into it.  My impression did not change much from the last time I saw her perform, she seemed more interested in pleading for adulation than in inspiring it.  I pretty much ran out of gas after the show and dozed off from about 9 to 11.


I stole my parting shot from my inbox.  As mentioned in Sunday's post I have a church I am likely to visit when in Miami.  I have somehow ended up on First Methodist Church of Miami's email list, and the prayer today seemed perfect for Thanksgiving.


"Loving God,
We turn our hearts to you on this day for giving thanks, mindful of your many gifts.
For each one, we are grateful.
For each one, we are blessed.
For each one we are opened to the abundance of your love.
May this Thanksgiving Day offer a reminder to be generous with others, as you are with us.
We praise you.
We rejoice in you.
We give you thanks.
Amen"


prayer.jpg


Amen

Roy

 

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We have been to Grand Cayman quite a few -- stating way back in the 80's.  And we have always used the ship's tenders.  We were never lucky to be on a cruise that used the island tenders.  Once we were there with 5 other ships -- it was a zoo.  That was before the new dock was built.  Back then it seemed like every ship had to leave at 4 PM on the dot.  I used to have a picture of all of turning around and heading out to sea at the same time.  

 

One of our tours we did Sting Ray City.  I used to have a picture of Joe petting 2 sting rays.

 

Great pictures.

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I'm not sure how the decision on which ships use the island tenders is made.  Both times with Crystal it has been the ships tenders although I apparently used the island tenders with Royal Caribbean.  The one thing I did see was that the Carnival Sunrise had only no tenders, just lifeboats so they had to use the island ones.  I suspect to some extent it may be the biggest ships that use the island tenders so while the ride is easier that may not be a good thing overall.

 

Roy

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1 hour ago, rafinmd said:

The featured entertainment was singer Lovena B Fox.  My impression did not change much from the last time I saw her perform, she seemed more interested in pleading for adulation than in inspiring it.  

Roy

 

 

👍👍 Well said, Roy.

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Blessing to you Roy at this Thanksgiving holiday! We had a lot of family and just finished leftovers and I AM DONE!!!! Thank you for the pictures and love how the ship decorates for the holidays!

Denise😊

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Day Sym5, Friday, November 29, 2019, At Sea, Crystal Symphony


I'll start with a photo left over from Grand Cayman and then a few more from the ship.  While walking in Georgetown I noticed a bus shelter on the other side of the street and then the message at the top.  Really makes me wonder what they were thinking.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/oops28.jpg

                                                
I popped my head in the Specialty restaurants starting with Prego.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/pregoocs.jpg


There  was a lovely tree behind the maitre d' desk.  


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/pregoentry.jpg


The other restaurant is UmiUma.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/uniumaocs.jpg


I have previously posted a picture of the display at the base of the Crystal Cove stairs.  It is equally lovely at the top of the stairs.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/stairstop.jpg


I started the morning with a load of laundry.  As I left my room I noticed the starboard doors roped off and the TV indicated winds of 30 knots.  I actually ventured on deck a bit when I refilled my coffee and moved my clothes to the dryer. In his morning update Shane played a very interesting video of a teen guitar whiz playing a rousing rendition of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUarhwho0f8


When I ventured out for sunrise I found the conditions not nearly as bad as expected.  I had written off the idea of walking 5 miles but it actually turned out to be possible.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/dawn1129.jpg


With my late start and breakfast interspersed with my walking I did not finish the 19 laps until almost 10AM having just enough time before the lectures to grab the days sudoku at the library.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/libraryocs.jpg


The day's lectures started off at 10 with Louis Rene Beres on terrorism.  One of his main points is that traditional preventative methods are problematic when death as a martyr is considered a road to eternal life.  He was followed at 11 by Christopher Ward with a review of the movies on Titanic.  He had good opinions on both James Cameron's film and "A Night to Remember" but his favorite was a recent dark horse entry.


In the final noon update before he goes on vacation Captain Willheim gave some facts on the Atlantic, covering about 20% if the earth's surface.   We will pick up the pilot about 5:45 and dock at 7.


The final presentation of the voyage was by Paul Cook on "Afghanistan, Heroin, and the Silk Road".  It brought back memories of my 2009 land visit to the Silk Road area.


On this day we made pretty much a U-turn around the western tip of Cuba and both sunrise and sunset happened behind the ship.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/dusk1129.jpg


Dinner was in Churrascaria.  Even at a solo table it was difficult to finish in time for the 7:30 show, and I did not have time to wait for the cinnamon pineapple, but took an extra cookie from the Bistro instead.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/dishes29.jpg


The featured entertainment was comedian Steve Stevens.  Even though I saw him on Serenity so recently I was not willing to be late for his show.  Most of the material was the same but I still could not stop laughing.


There was a French night with Melissa Maugran in the Starlite but I did not go.  I was getting pretty drowsy by 9:30 but a visit to the Avenue Saloon perked me up a bit.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/spire.jpg


My parting shot comes from Christopher Ward's talk.  He loved the drama in James Cameron's Titanic and the historical accuracy of "A Night to Remember" but he played his absolute favorite, a satire film produced by the Guardian, inspired by Boris Johnson's statement that "Brexit will be a Titanic success".  Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.


Roy

 

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Finished my coffee and enjoyed your writings Roy!! All the Christmas decorations on ship are lovely and both pictures of sunrise and sunsets were nice! 
I throughly enjoyed listening to that young man play his guitar with so much passion! 
Prodigy child IMO!

Have a great day!

Denise😊 

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20 hours ago, rafinmd said:

I'm not sure how the decision on which ships use the island tenders is made.  Both times with Crystal it has been the ships tenders although I apparently used the island tenders with Royal Caribbean.  The one thing I did see was that the Carnival Sunrise had only no tenders, just lifeboats so they had to use the island ones.  I suspect to some extent it may be the biggest ships that use the island tenders so while the ride is easier that may not be a good thing overall.

 

Roy

 

Over the years we also noticed that the larger ships only had lifeboats -- no tenders -- so they used the island tenders which are larger and hold more people.

 

Big problem was that they had priority to move ahead of the ships that used their own tenders when it came to docking at the North and South docks.  Sometimes we would sit for 1/2 hour or more while they unloaded and loaded.

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Wonderful report.

 

Can't believe that your cruise is almost over.

 

That young man was great on his guitar.

 

Loved the pictures of the ship especially the area around the staircase with the beautiful decorations.

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Day Sym6, Saturday, November 30, 2019, Key West, Florida


I went to the lido for coffee just after 5:30 and walked back around the promenade deck just as the pilot was approaching the ship.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/kwpilot.jpg


I have been to Key West many times, first on a family road trip from Miami in the early 70's and most recently in August on the Empress of the Seas.  We would be docked at the Outer Mole (Navy base), and most of the lines were deployed by row boat.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/kwlines.jpg


The sun came up over Key West just a few minutes after we docked.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/dawn1130.jpg


We were joined in port by Holland America's Nieuw Statendam.  I sailed the Nieuw Statendam on a transatlantic ending in Amsterdam in April, and combined with the Bach have cruised from Ft. Lauderdale to Switzerland this year.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/nieuwstat.jpg


We had our US Immigration checks in Key West, meeting officers in the Galaxy Lounge.  The process was due to start at 7:30 but I was in group 3 and they had already gotten to me at that time.  The line looked long but moved very quickly and I lined up at 7:32 and left the Galaxy at 7:34.  The last group was called just before 8:30 but they were still looking for some stragglers at 9.


There was a big crew drill at 10.  Apparently, they must do a semi-annual blackout drill and everything went dark for a few moments until the emergency generator came on.  The emergency power supply seemed to cover almost everything but when I left the ship about 10:30 the elevators were still not available.


My plans were quite simple.  I would only visit the library for wifi and get Key Lime Pie.  The navy required that we take a shuttle to Mallory Square and from there I walked about a half mile to the library.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/kwlibrary.jpg


My return trip took me to the yacht harbor and to Kermits for my pie.  The shuttle had some timing gaps but I made it back to the ship about 12:30.  Lunch was more splurge than healthy, a salad, skim milk, and blueberry key lime pie.

 

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/lunch30.jpg


Most of the afternoon was spent packing.  All aboard was 4:30 but the last shuttle was 4:00 so everybody must have been on board a bit earlier than that.  We left for Miami with the Vice Captain at the controls and with a nice departure salute from the horn.  Louis sang at 4:40.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/ontomiami.jpg


Sunset was at 5:30.  I understand it was really beautiful in Key West but 10 miles away made a big difference.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/dusk1130.jpg


I decided to dine solo for my last meal in Waterside.  I chose the veal consume, sirloin steak, and berries for desert.  I was finished by 7 and had ample time to return to my room before the show.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/dishes30.jpg


The farewell show was the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers with 5-6-7-8.  The Crystal Show Band had a jam session in the Crystal Cove but I missed it.  My first bag went out at 9:20 and the second one 15 minutes later.  I was getting drowsy and headed to bed about 10:30.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/bagsoutocs.jpg


My parting shot will be a wish for a great vacation for Shane Morley and Captain Willhelm, and I'm sure many other crew finishing their contracts.


Roy

 

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11 hours ago, erewhon said:

Was your knee OK after that big walk?

Beautiful Christmas Decorations.

The knee does seem to be doing quite well.  I'll talk to my Doctor about it next week at my physical and wear the brace until then but it appears to be pretty much back to normal.

 

KK, we were lucky.  Each of the 4 ships seemed to have their own docks so there were no conflicts.

 

Roy

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Roy, thank you for taking us along with you on this adventure. Four vessels, two crossings, Ocean and River.  You put together another stellar trip.

 

Thanks for taking the time to provide narrative, photos, daily programs, menus and your parting shots.

 

I also thought it was nice that you provided additional details about the vessels and restaurants and other detail as I think this is very helpful for those who have not cruised with the cruise line and/or vessel or have not been on them for a while.

 

Continued safe travels and glad to hear the knee is much better now.

 

Keith

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Until next fantastic voyage coming up

in your future shortly, I so enjoyed this adventure on all your wonderful ships!!!

Roy have safe travels home take care my friend.

Denise😊

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At the FLL gate, been sitting for a while but think my 3:35 flight is still on time.

 

Oops, just had a gate change.

 

 

 Roy 

Edited by rafinmd

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Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!!!

 

safe travels hone

 

until the next time,

 

Nancy 

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11 hours ago, rafinmd said:

The knee does seem to be doing quite well.  I'll talk to my Doctor about it next week at my physical and wear the brace until then but it appears to be pretty much back to normal.

 

KK, we were lucky.  Each of the 4 ships seemed to have their own docks so there were no conflicts.

 

Roy

 

Thank you for your reply, pleased about your knee.

Hope you will get a good  report from your doctor.

 

What date do you embark on your next cruise?

 

Thank you again for all your reports and sharing your photos

 

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Roy, thank you for another wonderful travelog.  I have enjoyed traveling vicariously with you.  It helps me get through the long wait until I get to be back on Crystal.

Karen

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Day Sym7, Sunday, December 1, 2019, Disembark and home


I will start with a couple of left over photos.  The first is from the tender dock at the Cayman Islands.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/cayman.jpg


The Crystal Plaza stairs looked great from the center but now they are almost as nice looking at them from the cruise consultants desk.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/stairsback.jpg


I was up at the lido for coffee just after 5:30.  We were just entering the harbor.  I walked around deck 12 and then again around deck 7.  After these 3 laps we were almost at Terminal J.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/backagain.jpg


Sunrise was about 7.  I did not actually see the sun but there was some nice color in the sky.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/dawn1201.jpg


My final breakfast was canadian bacon and raisin toast.  I did some internet work and left 7036 for the last time about 8:30.  The gathering area for departure was the beautifully decorated Starlite Club.  


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/starlite.jpg


I left the ship about 9:20.  There were ample porters in the terminal and the Luggage Forward representative was waiting in plain sight as I exited the terminal.  As I boarded my bus I got one last look at the Symphony.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/lastglance.jpg


I had left a bit before Gray 1 was called in anticipation of connecting with Luggage Forward being a problem but everything went smooth as silk and I arrived at my transfer bus a good 5 minutes before anyone else.  People drifted in over a period of 10 minutes and then a 20 minute wait.  One solitary lady showed up but we waited another 10 minutes before leaving without 2 no shows.


People with late flights out of both Miami and Ft. Lauderdale were taken to the Miami Pullman hotel for a respite and a nice buffet of pastries and lunch items.  We left just after noon and arrived at Ft. Lauderdale about 12:40.  Despite Thanksgiving weekend and 8 ships in Ft. Lauderdale TSA precheck was a breeze and I didn't see problems with the regular line either.  However, seating in the airport was pretty tight.


My 3:35 flight left on time but apparently was delayed by air traffic control backups and arrived 20 minutes after the scheduled 6:05 time.  Bags arrived on the carousel about 6:50 and the Airport Shuttle had me home about 7:30.  


My parting shot will be Welcome to Crystal, Captain  Niklas Peterstam.


Roy

 

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I embark January 22 but I leave home January 14 for a transcontinental train start.

 

Roy

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1 hour ago, rafinmd said:

I embark January 22 but I leave home January 14 for a transcontinental train start.

 

Roy

 

Oh goodie! I enjoy your train rides, too. 

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Roy, once again thank you for allowing us to share your trip.  As I mentioned you have lots of good information for everyone including first timers or those considering Crystal along with those of us who cruise Crystal regularly.  Well-done.

 

I was wondering whether you flying or taking a train back to your home city?  Do they still have train service from South Florida up north?

 

You did very well traveling home considering Sunday was supposed to be the busiest day in USA flight history along with the weather situation.  

 

You also arrived home after nice win as your NFL home team was victorious in a nail-biter over another great team.  It could be a preview should both teams make it to the Super Bowl which will be played while you are on-board  Serenity.

 

Welcome home.

 

Keith

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