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Keith1010

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

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Thank you MMDown Under,

 

I was looking forward to teaching this week as I miss it when we are away.  I'll survive though.  Will take my playlists via AirPods on a run with me starting tomorrow.  😁

 

Yes, it will be great to have the family home from Australia in July.  We've missed having them and the family get togethers with our other family who live only a couple of hours from here.

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

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Well we arrived home yesterday afternoon.

 

Airport at JFK was quieter than a normal Saturday and very few people at the airline lounge.  

 

Flight about two-thirds of capacity in Coach and 80% in first class.

 

Flight that arrived before our flight was in early.  I think because they were probably not full.  Because of less people we boarded and were ready for takeoff early and between that and weather we arrived to our home airport twenty minutes early.  Good news we were home much earlier than expected.

 

The masks were present in a few places yesterday.  The TSA person who did the id and ticket check was wearing a mask and a few passengers around the airport were wearing them including two passengers on our flight.  For the past couple of years we have brought masks because of Anne Marie's situation but never wore them so this year we left them home.  Still not sure how practical they are and whether or not they do much so even if we had them don't think we would use them.

 

We still follow practices that should be followed anyway.  Avoid handshaking, hugging, getting too close to people and wash hands often and thoroughly, avoid touching nose/mouth/face and use hand sanitizer to supplement washing of the hands.  Don't get to close to others from behind (the first one was more in conversation) and avoid elevators when possible.  Clean rooms that we use such as when we board the ship and hotel rooms and airplane seats etc.  In exercise class try to not be so close to others (not easy but you can do as much as possible)

 

Doing all of this helps but when you choose to sail with others, go on a flight, sit in a taxi/private vehicle, etc. (basically travel/leaving your home) you can't avoid everything).  But you can just do your best to minimize this.

 

I still don't get the coughing and sneezing without covering mouth or nose.  I keep mentioning this because if someone who does this reads this maybe there will be one less person doing it.  I usually don't get this specific but will this time.  One night on the cruise when I was getting a medal for one of the world games someone we know was talking with Anne Marie and either sneezed or coughed (I think sneezed and Anne Marie thinks coughed) right on her so she had to leave, go back to room, use a sanitary towel on her face and remove makeup and start again).  I wouldn't mention this but the same thing happened on the 2014 World Cruise while we were at one of those markets they set up in the Crystal Cove for locals to sell items since the island had no infrastructure to support tenders coming over or ships docking.  OK.  Time to get off the soap opera.  However, using some common sense would cut down on spreading germs IMHO and I am not talking only about Coronavirus. Often people come back from cruises saying I got Cruise Line Crud.  If everyone did their parti it wouldn't go away but certainly would spread less IMHO.

 

It is good to be home.  A few days before we left Sydney I was starting to get concerned about getting back home.  For example we were going through Dubai and would Emirates stop flying or would Dubai stop taking certain people from various countries, etc.  Then would my own country stop incoming flights.  Or would they cease flights all together in the USA for some period of time.  Once in New York we knew at that point we could always rent a car to get home.  At that point my only concern was getting back home to teach classes that I was committed to but that became a mute issue on Friday when we learned of the closure of all our facilities.  

 

At the check in at JFK yesterday I was talking with the ticket agent about this and we reminded ourselves that travel was very strange after 9/11 for the weeks that followed and while different travel will be a bit different now as will life at home including food shopping.  Hopefully, this will pass sooner rather than later.  The major food chain in our area announced that they hours of operation are now 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM rather than opening at 6:00 AM as most of their stores do and closing later in the evening so they have more time to stock the stores.   I believe at some of their locations they had to go to letting in a certain number of shoppers at a time.  This buying food for a month at a time is really silly and results in store shelves going empty and all this craziness.  We will go out and do our best to do our normal food shopping; nothing more and hopefully nothing less.

 

Well as usual I've gone on too long so will stop.

 

It's been a wonderful trip in spite of all of this.  We loved our time on Crystal Serenity.  The crew was amazing and we never can say enough about them.  Like us Crystal is not perfect and they have their flaws but for us they are the best.  No cheerleading just how I feel.  I say the same thing about the brand of car I buy.  I can't say the same thing about all hotels we stay at, restaurants we go to, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes in life though we find certain things that we love (maybe a spouse for example) and that enjoyment continues year over year.  We love cruising so that is a constant for us and find it (FOR US) the best way for travel.  We've enjoyed every cruise we've taken across many cruise lines except one.  We find positive for all cruise lines we have sailed and for all ships (even for that bad one there were a few positives but just too many negatives on that sailing) but for us Crystal is our go-to cruise line and as we've grown older it continues to work for us.  We do feel very much at home on our Crystal Cruises and that includes when we returned to Symphony in May of 2018 and sailed Mozart for the first time in May of 2019.  Is everything perfect 7x24?  No.  My review mentioned a few areas where it wasn't five stars but for us these are exceptions and we do focus on the positives as much as possible.  It's not for everyone because each experience in life might be different and more importantly because we each have different preferences when it comes to all things in life.  There is just no "one size fits all" when it comes to most products which includes cruising.

 

We did have another outstanding time on Serenity.  I guess having family in Sydney turned out good for us in terms of planning this cruise and ending in Sydney.  The irony is we had booked the cruise to end this way and while on board last year added the Sydney to Singapore segment because I really liked the early port stops on that segment in Australia. We can never get enough of Australia and New Zealand.  We also enjoy Singapore.  With overnights in Sydney we could also have the family come on board for the day as we did in February of last year.  

 

Then a few weeks after getting home last year we started to say does it really make sense to take that segment and have to fly back from Singapore to Sydney to visit with the family.    So we removed that segment.  That turned out to be a wiser decision than we knew at the time we made it.  It's not only that the cruise changed (that itinerary would have been special) but at that point in time we would not have traveled from Perth over to Sydney and spent time with the family. We would have said lets get home ASAP.  

 

That's life for you.  You never know what path you might end up when you go a certain way.

 

Like most of you we look forward to our travel plans.    We hope Coronavirus does not put a damper on our travel plans for the reminder of 2020.  Time will tell.  😁

 

For those of you who followed along thank you for following this thread and/or Blog and posts on other social platforms.

 

Until next time.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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Glad you and Anne Marie are safely home. Thank you for taking us with you on your voyage. Whether by luck or judgement, I think you got home just in time. Reading these pages shows how stressful it is for people disembarking now in Freemantle.

Who knows what the next few months will bring?  - I suspect it will be even more difficult that we all anticipate but we will all get through it.

i look forward to reading about your future Crystal voyages.

Stay safe and well

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An interesting speculation affecting making future travel plans after the current COVID-19 outbreak subsides is evaluating the probability of it returning next winter similar to our seasonal flu before an effective vaccine is available.  Since the answer is presently unknowable due to to fact that scientists know so little about this new virus, I'd be inclined to purchase appropriate travel cancellation insurance for any expensive trip as part of a travel insurance package.

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Mickb, thank you for your very nice comments. Right before we flew home it was stressful  not knowing what would happen and whether we would encounter any issues arriving to the USA.  My heart went/goes out to those flying back from Perth.  Several had flights cancelled or big delays with one couple we know sitting in the airport for 18 hours waiting for their flight.  It was scary for guests and also crew.   Whereas the vast majority of the guests come from a sub-set of countries this is not the case with the crew.  The good news is some people are now home.  

 

We came back to a very different world than the one we left, not only when it comes to things we took for granted such ease of food shopping (in the future is anyone going to complain about a check-out line having a queue of five people after this) but what we experienced first hand yesterday other changes when Anne Marie needed to see a physician.  It was more complicated because we'd only been back from Australia for nine days.and rightfully so were following CDC guidelines.   Without going into all  the details, we were given masks as she was asked a series of questions from personnel outside the facility. Her consultation was conducted by the physician over cell phone from our car in the parking lot  by the physician   After asking Anne Marie a series of questions and looking through  information we provided, on their APP the Physician provided a diagnosis along with oral and written instructions and a prescription which we picked up without having to go into the pharmacy.  

 

While the world has changed since we left home in late December and we look forward to the eventual return to life before the dreaded virus, it has also brought out a lot of good in people as catastrophic events normally do.  

As to travel which we love I don't ever need rose colored glasses to enjoy every minute of it.  However, I suspect next time we will enjoy that Cobb Salad along with that Flute of Champagne even more than we already do.  

 

Keith

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Mickb, thank you for your very nice comments. Right before we flew home it was stressful  not knowing what would happen and whether we would encounter any issues arriving to the USA.  My heart went/goes out to those flying back from Perth.  Several had flights cancelled or big delays with one couple we know sitting in the airport for 18 hours waiting for their flight.  It was scary for guests and also crew.   Whereas the vast majority of the guests come from a sub-set of countries this is not the case with the crew.  The good news is some people are now home.  

 

We came back to a very different world than the one we left, not only when it comes to things we took for granted such ease of food shopping (in the future is anyone going to complain about a check-out line having a queue of five people after this) but what we experienced first hand yesterday other changes when Anne Marie needed to see a physician.  It was more complicated because we'd only been back from Australia for nine days.and rightfully so were following CDC guidelines.   Without going into all  the details, we were given masks as she was asked a series of questions from personnel outside the facility. Her consultation was conducted by the physician over cell phone from our car in the parking lot  by the physician   After asking Anne Marie a series of questions and looking through  information we provided, on their APP the Physician provided a diagnosis along with oral and written instructions and a prescription which we picked up without having to go into the pharmacy.  

 

While the world has changed since we left home in late December and we look forward to the eventual return to life before the dreaded virus, it has also brought out a lot of good in people as catastrophic events normally do.  

As to travel which we love I don't ever need rose colored glasses to enjoy every minute of it.  However, I suspect next time we will enjoy that Cobb Salad along with that Flute of Champagne even more than we already do.  

 

Keith

Keith, so enjoyed "joining" you guys on this trip. Your patient thoughtful observations made for especially interesting reading during these (to say the least) uncertain times. Speaking of uncertainty in terms of travel,I see on the Cunard board that Roy finally made it back to Maryland this morning at 1a.m. Ed

Edited by edgee
clarity

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Keith, Glad to hear you made it home....and hopefully will remain healthy!  Best wishes for Anne Marie's recovery. 

 

 

 

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On 3/21/2020 at 9:31 AM, edgee said:

Keith, so enjoyed "joining" you guys on this trip. Your patient thoughtful observations made for especially interesting reading during these (to say the least) uncertain times. Speaking of uncertainty in terms of travel,I see on the Cunard board that Roy finally made it back to Maryland this morning at 1a.m. Ed

Thank you so much.  A neighbor mentioned to me that there are fourteen ships still out there.  I am not sure if that is true or not and this might have changed from whenever he got the information.    I see that Roy has posted that he is back home.  Many whom I know who left Serenity in Perth have arrived home the past few days.  

 

What says a lot about Crystal is that they would have stayed if they could have.

 

Keith

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On 3/21/2020 at 10:10 AM, History&Wine said:

Keith, Glad to hear you made it home....and hopefully will remain healthy!  Best wishes for Anne Marie's recovery. 

 

 

 

Thank you for your kind thoughts and good wishes.

 

Stay safe and healthy as well.  These are most challenging times.

 

Keith

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