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READY-TO-GO - LIVE  REPORTS FROM CRYSTAL SERENITY FOLLOWING A “MAGICAL FAMILY” GETAWAY


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Denise, that is super.  We took a climb as well before sailing on Crystal and a couple of other luxury lines.   We sailed several other lines.

 

What I like is the cruise lines each have a niche with emphasis on certain areas.  This way we can each figure out which ones match to those areas we enjoy the most.

 

For example I have met some people whose number one reason for selecting a line is Paddle Tennis.  One couple we met last year selected Crystal for that reason but also plays Paddle Tennis on the HAL cruise which does the their World Cruise.  Others might be drawn to Dancing.  Of course  Itinerary is a consideration for most people.

 

Best to you.

 

Keith

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On 1/24/2020 at 11:51 AM, Keith1010 said:

Robin, the seas are  another example how everyone's experience is different.  Over the years I've gotten more and more sea legs. But don't try to ever get me up in a helicopter.  No way Jose.  😀

 

Biggest challenge for me outside today was running on the Promenade Deck.  In similar wind conditions on the first World Cruise leg on day I just ran back and forth on one side of the deck to avoid being blown off the bow as you make the turn.  Today it was too crowded so I ran around several times.  As I approached the bow I removed my cap and tucked it into my arm and at the same time held a finger on each AirPod for fear they would  come flying out.  Thankfully hat, AirPods and more importantly myself didn't get blown off the ship.  😎

 

Keith

Keith,

 

Your helicopter comment came to mind this morning with news of Kobe's tragic death in a helicopter crash. How sad.

 

Ed

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ON THE ROAD TO NUKO - ANOTHER DAY AT SEA
 
We enjoyed another glorious day at sea. For those who love sea days on Crystal Cruises we have plenty of them on this voyages.
 
I always say on a Crystal Cruise World Cruise it is Crystal on steroids when it comes to enrichment as there is so much to do and no time to do it all. It is a fun challenge to have.
 
Lots of activities were on the schedule including three  lectures.
 
Adrian Vickers spoke about Tahiti and how it became part of the French Polynesia. Owen Ullmann spoke about the financial outlook for 2020. In the afternoon, Dr. Simon Spooner spoke about maritime archaeology.
 
The World Games continued with several activities for guests to participate. This included Gin Rummy, Men's and Women's Shuffleboard, Men's and Women's Basketball Foul Shooting and a few other competitions.
 
I wanted to highlight the weather. It was the most beautiful day to be outdoors of this sailing.
 
The weather was incredible. It was 75 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the day and Sunny. It was humid which made it feel warmer than it was.
 
Later in the morning there was a Sunday Brunch. The Brunch has similarities to the Grand Gala Buffet but as any brunch would includes several breakfast items as well. Unfortunately, I was unable to take any photos since I was participating in Basketball Foul Shooting. I will be sure to take photos the next time the brunch is held.
 
During his talk from the Bridge Captain Birger noted we were going at 23 Knots which is the most Serenity can go.   We are making up time at this speed. There has only been minimal impact to the itinerary. We will arrive one day later than originally planned to our Nuku and miss only one port and most importantly the two guests who required medical attention on land are where they needed to be. In the end the safety of guests, members of Team Serenity and the Ship are the priorities as they should be.
 
Before dinner we attended the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle Party.  We had a nice turnout.  I wish we had more time to meet everyone but we did meet several couples we have never met before plus one couple who we met on our second Crystal Cruises in 2003.  It is hard to believe 17 years ago.    
 
On the World Cruise they change the Prego Specialty Restaurant on each segment given how long guests are on-board. We dined there last evening.
 
Current Prego Menu
 
 
I enjoyed two of the updates which were added to the menu for this voyage. This included a Crab appetizer with a Cannoli. The best description for this appetizer was the word Yummy. I also had the Sea Bass which was added to the menu and one word to describe this was delicious.
 
Cannoli
 
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Sea Bass.
 
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Caesar Salad
 
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Grilled Vegetables
 
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Speaking of changing menus, we learned from one of our fellow CC members that two nights ago as part of Chinese New Year they had a special menu at the Silk Asian Restaurant.
 
Last nights evening entertainment included the production show of Icons In Concert which is very uplifting.
 
Cheers,
 
Keith

 

 

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I will have to write it down for  next time but one of the  inclusive wines in Prego  was replaced  very recently with a  new vintage. It's one of the red wines.  Anyway,  I  was  discussing  with the sommelier how much I enjoyed it and  there was one surprise.   I often think of some of the California  wines as being  higher in alcohol content than old  world  wines.  This Italian wine was 14% alcohol.  I hope this isn't the reason why I liked it.  LOL.  😀

 

I've enjoyed several  of the inclusive wines in  Waterside.   A couple of red wines are from Spain.

 

I  can't remember  how long  we were told they have had this one  but there is  a  C Riesling Wine.  I just  don't remember it from last year.   Anne Marie  can only have a little bit of wine  each week  but has enjoyed this one.  I've tasted it.  Like all  things  wine is  subjective.  It's certainly  not  a  dry Riesling not is it extremely Sweet.  I would put it in between.  I'm only mentioning this so for those who do like Riesling that  you are aware they have it  on-board as one of the inclusive wine offerings.

 

As a reminder I do post daily Waterside Menus  and Daily Reflections Programs on our Blog.

 

With that said here is today's  Waterside Menu and Reflections Program.

 

 

Waterside Menu.

 

WatersideJanuary27.pdf

 

 

Daily Reflections Program.

 

ReflectionsJanuary27.pdf


Keith

 

 

 

 

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Good morning Roy!

All I can say is WOW to the extensive Prego specialty restaurant!! Very impressed with the selections.

How did you do with your basketball foul shooting? I really see how well Crystal

keeps everyone engaged in all kinds of activities and enrichment programs!

Have a wonderful sea day

Denise😊

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HI Denise:

 

I  think you  meant  Keith.

 

The Basketball  foul shooting  went the  way I expected.

 

This was  my night time in this event (one  year it  was  canceled  due to rain).

 

I have gotten five golds,  three  silvers and one bronze.  I did play  High School Basketball.  

 

I told my wife Anne  Marie  earlier yesterday  morning  that this  was my  year to not  get  a  medal .   I  was right.   LOL.

 

I had  a great time  anyway.   Met  several guests  while we were out there for  the  first  time  and had  a great time.  

 

Keith

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57 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

HI Denise:

 

I  think you  meant  Keith.

 

The Basketball  foul shooting  went the  way I expected.

 

This was  my night time in this event (one  year it  was  canceled  due to rain).

 

I have gotten five golds,  three  silvers and one bronze.  I did play  High School Basketball.  

 

I told my wife Anne  Marie  earlier yesterday  morning  that this  was my  year to not  get  a  medal .   I  was right.   LOL.

 

I had  a great time  anyway.   Met  several guests  while we were out there for  the  first  time  and had  a great time.  

 

Keith

OMGOSH yup! Sorry Keith! I had already sent Roy my response several hours ago!

Denise😳

That is what is so fun! Engaging with people and building a relationship. Some of them last like your couple who were on your WC back 17 years ago.

 

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LAND I SEE LAND - WELL,  NOT YET BUT OUR DAY WILL COME

 

 

In the meantime, we  enjoyed another glorious day at sea.

 

For those  who have  not sailed on a World Cruise segment think of a sea day as Crystal on  steroids with the normal array of enrichment and other  activities plus more.   Yesterday was an example of this.

 

Enrichment included not three but four lectures on a wide range of topics.

 

Examples of enrichment included; Piano for beginners, a golf clinic, beginners bridge followed by beginners bridge, needlepoint get-together, knitting get-togther, intermediate bridge, creative media fundamentals with focus on photos, a computer university class, team trivia, complimentary dance class, man jongg, progress piano, memoir writing, Zumba and dance fitness, duplicate and social bridge play, a watercolor art class and advanced piano along with Rap with the Rabbi.

 

In addition there were some beauty and fitness seminars, the showing of the movie The Souvenir in the Hollywood theatre, other indoor and outdoor activities.

 

On top of this the World Games continued.

 

Now the challenge was how to do so much and still  have  time to eat.

 

Mother Nature could  not make a  decision on the  weather.  The day included thunderstorms, rain showers, sunny skies, partly cloudy  skies, more on and off rain.   I thought we  would get in our doubles Men's World Games tournament.   Just as my partner and I were getting to start our game Mother Nature said no way Jose and it began raining.

 

There  was more movement as the day progressed.  For me not bothersome.   It was the feeling at times such as when we arrived and left the Captain's quarters for a reception  with several guests you had the feeling walking Deck 11 deck that  you already  had a few drinks when we had nothing to drink  at the reception.  LOL.   For us it does make it easy to fall asleep.  Think rock-a-bye-baby.

 

As Captain Birger mentioned at the reception we  are making good speed as we are sailing to our first port of call.  We were traveling mainly between 21 and 22 knots.

 

We dined  at the Japanese Specialty Restaurant  Umi Uma last evening with dear friends whom we have known for 13 years  and have enjoyed a great friendship on and off Crystal vessels.   We did a first.   I had the idea of ordering sushi,  sashimi  and  a few appetizers and everyone agreed.   It was delicious.   My only mistake is  I was enjoying the food so much I forget  to take photos of a few items.  This will give you a "flavor" for many of the items we  enjoyed.

 

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This is today's Reflections Program.

 

 

January28 Reflections.pdf

 

As a reminder you  can find more details and photos and menus along with the programs on our Blog at:

 

https://www.followourtrips.com/current-blog

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

 

 

 

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A couple of additional items.

 

Last night each guest received  a letter from Captain Birger with some information related to coronavirus.

 

It noted that non-essential ship visits have been cancelled while in port.

 

It noted things that can be done to help reduce risk of this and other upper respiratory viruses including frequent washing of hands, avoiding touching of eyes and personal contact such as sharing utensils, etc.  Also to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing which of course is good to help prevent disease even when you are not aware you are sick.  It encouraged each person to contact the Medical Center from their room if they have symptoms of respiratory illness.

 

Switching gears I had mentioned that yesterday I attended Rap with the Rabbi.  Rabbi Morrie has done this for years and it is a season that people from all faiths can and have attended where  a range of items related to Judaism is discussed..  It provides an opportunity for guests to bring up new topics and ask questions and for the Rabbi to bring up topics and facilitates good discussions.

 

I often leave learning something new.

 

We  discussed Auschwitz as  yesterday marked the 75th Anniversary  of  the  liberation of the concentration camp.   The Rabbi pointed out that in another  10 years  there will be very few survivors of  people who were  in the concentration camps  and  it  will be viewed  as we do history  where people of the time are no longer alive.   When the Rabbi completed discussion  on this topic  I  thought about our  visit to Austria and  school children being required to visit the concentration memorials and the importance of this.  If studied  history  can help us to prevent the sins of the past but the key is to  learn from rather than ignore the lessons from history.

 

The  Rabbi covered  several other topics  before at the  end he mentioned some of the major changes of this last decade.  One  was something I had  not thought about  which has to  do with the Impossible Burger.  Since it is not made of beef, one who follows kosher practices could potentially have their first burger (Impossible Burger) with cheese  on top of it.  However, if  someone  who they know  didn't know  it was an Impossible Burger  then you get into perception and the perception the person was not following kosher  practices.  As they  say, food for thought.  LOL.   

 

To those of you on Symphony and on board Serenity or traveling the world I hope everyone  stays out of harm way from the coronavirus.   At the same time for those of you at home and traveling I am reminded that influenza right now kills more people than this new virus.  This is not to down-play  the new virus but for us all not to forget the seriousness of other viruses including influenza.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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On 1/26/2020 at 10:23 AM, Keith1010 said:

WeareSiamese waves to Keith as likely theone who booked Crystal not just for the itinerary but very important to me was paddle tennis. LOL 🙂 

  I will no longer be sailing on  Crystal as they  are no longer having a paddle tennis coach./As a solo cruiser, I have no one to play with unless Mr Amritraj shows up as I found on at least one occasion and likely more but one time really upset me-Crystal  that couples played without even acknowledging that I was on the bench outside the court, waiting to play. Another couple arrived after I did, and they invited them to play against them. Not only did they hog the court, but they did not even consider rotating me in .Crystal did nothing about it>On the website it now says that Crystal " invites guests to play singles or doubles matches-" so noone who wants to learn or wishes to play with others who they are not traveling with, have a way to play anymore at a set time or with a referee of sorts, to keep people from hogging the court

 

For example I have met some people whose number one reason for selecting a line is Paddle Tennis.  One couple we met last year selected Crystal for that reason but also plays Paddle Tennis on the HAL cruise which does the their World Cruise.  Others might be drawn to Dancing.  Of course  Itinerary is a consideration for most people.

 

Best to you.

 

Keith

 

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On 1/26/2020 at 12:14 PM, edgee said:

Keith,

 

Your helicopter comment came to mind this morning with news of Kobe's tragic death in a helicopter crash. How sad.

 

Ed

I live just a mile away from the crash site where  Kobe and the other 8 passengers  died ,here in Calabasas.

It is literally straight down th road from me… RIP Kobe and the others on that helicopter 😞

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12 hours ago, wearesiamese said:

I live just a mile away from the crash site where  Kobe and the other 8 passengers  died ,here in Calabasas.

It is literally straight down th road from me… RIP Kobe and the others on that helicopter 😞

Oh wow.  Such a tragedy  and they were going to the basketball game where Kobe was coaching and his daughter was playing in.  

 

Keith

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LOST AT SEA  OR LOVERS OF  SEA DAYS

 

We continue  to enjoy our time on Serenity and  yes  we are going in the  direction of land.  LOL.

 

Yesterday  was another great day  on-board Serenity. Be sure  to visit the Blog for details.

 

I wanted to highlight a few items.

 

As part of the World Games four putting holes were set up in the Crystal Plaza for the putting tournament.  Each hole represented one of four places  which Serenity will visit during the World Cruise.

 

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There was mixed double Paddle  Tennis play and  I was matched with someone who I have known since 2010 and we won the Silver Medal.  

 

On a related note today is the Crew Tug O' War event on the pool deck.   Las Vegas odds are on the Waterside waitstaff team.  

 

Another special one is the Family Paddle Tennis which pairs a crew member with a guest.  

 

While playing Paddle Tennis in the afternoonna helicopter flew around us  a few times  and Anne Marie saw  it as  she was walking the Promenade Deck and got a photo.

 

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The Marketplace  Lunch featured the Asian  Buffet which is a favorite of many guests.  I took  a few photos.

 

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Many  of you know  my view which is every cruise  is different.  An observation from this cruise compared to  last year with respect to the Avenue  Saloon starting when it opens at 5:00 PM.  Last year at 5:00 PM and by the time we would leave closer to 6:00 PM we might have six to eight guests at any given time.  This year it's quite different.  Last night by 5:30 PM the place was full.   Just a reminder when we are all  asked questions that the answer might truly  vary by cruise.

 

Now  let's get  to the important  information.   Over the years I've tried  the Merlot  Crystal  Wine.   I remember it's introduction and  it  didn't work for me.  They worked to refine it  and again  for me it was not a hit.  I  am only mentioning this because they have  a new Vintage on-board and instead of coming from the Sonoma Region it now comes from Washington State.  To me it was night and day.  When the Sommelier brought it to the table  I cringed but he recommended I try it and explained the  change  in vintage.  He was right.  Wine like most things are subjective but if you  like a red wine think about giving it a try.  

 

OK now to food.  We dined at  Waterside and after our dinner  at  Umi Uma  we were going to go with two course  and skip the appetizer.   However,  after looking  at the  menu we said we have  to have the appetizer too and it was a great selection.

 

It was warm white asparagus and seafood salad.  We did have it one other time since boarding and it is a hit with the two of us.

 

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For the salad we ordered a salad not on the menu but added Avocado to mine  from  a different salad.

 

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We were also pleased with the entree.  It was delicious.  I might not have ordered it if not that it  was  on the modern menu which incorporates more flavoring.  It was Ahi Tuna Steak "Au  Poivre".

 

I am sorry the  photo  is blurred.  Second time and I am starting to  wonder maybe the wine  has kicked in by the time the entree  arrives.  LOL.

 

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One final  comment  before  I wrap this  up.   Overall, I would say the food at Waterside might be the  best yet compared to our previous  Serenity voyages.  It's a  notch up IMHO in terms of choice and the actual preparation of the food.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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Just now, ijkh said:

I wonder where the helicopter was based?  Another ship or are you close enough to an island?    Thanks for the photos and all.   I am enjoying your trip.  Stay well.

Thank you Ilene for the kind words.

 

I am not  sure  where it came from as  we were very  far  from land.  I do plan to see if I can find  out.

 

Keith

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5 hours ago, ijkh said:

I wonder where the helicopter was based?  Another ship or are you close enough to an island?    Thanks for the photos and all.   I am enjoying your trip.  Stay well.

I think at the Crystal Society Party Captain Vorland said it was from a fishing boat doing reconnaissance  on the fish stocks.

 

Roy

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One of the highlights of the  World  Games is the traditional Crew Tug--War.

 

As in the past the teams are first introduced and come out in all sorts of outfits.

 

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After this there is the actual Tug-O-War.

 

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In  the old days  the Engineers would sometimes  be the winners  but  the last ten years he winning  team has mainly  been  Waterside (formally  Crystal Dining Room) waiters/head waiters.

 

Today a new team won  and that is the Specialty Restaurant Team.  There  was chatter the past few days  that they could be  the winners (they have a couple of very strong men) and yes they were.  

As  usual  it was a lot of  fun and Cruise  Director  did  a  great job announcing the event.  

 

Another  event  which is a  tradition  of  the  games is  Crystal  Family Gold  Medal Paddle Tennis Competition  which pairs  a guest with a member of the crew.   Guests who won  a  medal in one of the Paddle Tennis events  was selected to participate.  I was one of them and we had ten teams.  The pairing is done  by pulling cards randomly.

 

Before the games we practiced and  this photo  is when some of us sat out so others could practice.

 

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I was paired with Beatrice from the Bar  Team.  We didn't  win but  we  had lots of fun and in the end that is all that matters.

 

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Cheers,  

 

Keith

 

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Nancy, you are  welcome.  It was a lot of fun to watch the crew.  Some of them were unrecognizable in their costumes.

 

I want to give a shout out to the Medical team who were joined by members of a few other departments.  Cute costumes with each of them  coming out with Pipes in their mouth (A medical team with pipes.  LOL) and they did very well in the actual Tug-O-War.  

 

 

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I SEE LAND.......I SEE LAND........

 

Well not yet, but soon.

 

After seven full days at sea we will see land soon.

 

The time has really gone fast with so many activities so for most people it does not feel like seven days.

 

We have been fortunate with some of the best weather we've ever had on  a crossing.  I realize some were bothered by the seas from  time  to time  but overall  it's been  terrific and we were not bothered by the weather.

 

Another  tradition of  the  World Cruise  is the  World  Cruise Choir which  I  mentioned when they performed on the first segment.  They also  gave  a performance last evening in the  Crystal Plaza.

 

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Last night was originally supposed to be a Crystal Casual  night as the  original schedule called for being at  Nuku Hiva and this  evening would have been a Black Tie Optional evening as today  was supposed to be a sea day.  With the schedule  change this was reversed.

 

Our original plan  was to dine  at Silk  with another couple. When we  realized this  we considered going to Waterside.  However, we realized Waterside would be very  busy and Silk would likely be quiet so we stayed with Silk.  We were right about Silk.  We dined there for close  to three  hours and I would say there were 20 to  25 people dining there at  any given  time.  


We sat by the window and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.  

 

Food was  good.  I tried one item which might have been new  which was a chicken curry entree which didn't  work  for  me.  I also had the Lamb Chops which I always enjoy  at Silk  and  that  was the case last  evening.  We also enjoyed salad and and various appetizers.

 

Each couple ordered what they wanted to share and this works  best  for us.

 

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This happens  infrequently.  Before we  went to sleep we turned the  clock  back 30 minutes to get on the  local time  for Nuku Hiva and this evening we will do this again.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

 

 

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WE SAW THE  LAND -  WE WALKED THE LAND - WE ALMOST KISSED THE LAND.

 

WELCOME TO NUKU HIVAE

 

Our last time on land was January  22 when we went through immigration at  the Port of Los Angeles so it was  nice to visit Nuku Hive and to see Serenity from a different vantage point.

 

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This is an island which very few people get to and it was our first visit.  They only have 2,900 people living there.  Everywhere we walked it was either the locals or people from Serenity including guests and crew.  We enjoyed some beautiful views and it was good to walk on land.

 

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Last night was White Extravaganza Night.  I found the number of guests wearing white was far greater than on other voyages. This is  because many  guests  are familiar with White Night and with many on for such along time they  were more likely to pack something white even if it  is for one evening  per voyage.

 

We always take something white  and in Anne Marie's case she always had white even before  this theme rolled out in February of 2018.

 

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I want to give a  shout out to the Food & Beverage Team.

 

We have found the food at Waterside to be delicious and maybe the best we have had in this venue including the Crystal Dining Room..  

 

The recipes have been creative making use of  a wide range of ingredients to enhance the taste of the food and the  presentations have been equally creative such as the appetizers and entrees we  had last evening.

 

I had Tuna Crut.

 

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We shared an Eggplant appetizer which was rolled and included different ingredients inside including goat cheese.

 

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Our entree was Salmon but we found it to be very tasty with a pepper crust and it was very moist and the items which  accompanied added to its flavor.

 

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And then  there was the wine.

 

A great meal and it continued with the entertainment.

 

More on our Blog.

 

We are sailing to Bora  Bora.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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