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I recall you mentioning that you have spent the equivalent of 4 years cruising.  If I were a member of Crystal's management, I would treat you like a god and a goddess.  Your comment brought back a recollection of my wife and I having dinner on another cruise line with a passenger who lived on the ship.  He preferred living at sea rather than on land and he liked to have dinner each evening with a different attractive woman which he accomplished by inviting a different member of the crew to join him every night when another passenger was not available.  His other preferred pastime was consuming three martinis before dinner in the dining room accompanied by approximately 12 various types of olives which he pierced with toothpicks and lined up on the table like a military parade.  He was a delightful gentleman and we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner with him.   

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19 hours ago, Mr Luxury said:

Hello Keith and Anne Marie.


A clear sign of the times is you not taking a Tux with you.

could this be the end of civilisation as we know it.😃

I still can’t leave mine at home. 🤵🏼


Well, I know Keith was on the other side of Waterside from us, but on the port side, most of the gents in view were wearing tuxes, including the three at our table!😉 We actually commented on how many tuxes were "in view", so I guess it is a matter of perspective.

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Frank5....My experience is that the guests on Crystal are made to feel special starting with their first cruise.  I do think the more you cruise with Crystal you develop nice relationships with fellow guests and members of the crew and that just enhances the overall feeling of family and being welcomed home each time you return to the ship.  We have also had similar experiences as you did with guests who we used to know who lived on the ship.  The ones I am thinking of no longer live on the ship but they were very special indeed.


Larry...I guess it must be about perspective.  Even though we have yet to have a chance to talk on the ship or on land it was good to see you and Monica in Waterside.  I am sure we'll all catch up soon.


As I right this there is quite a bit of ship moment.  


Yesterday winds seemed stronger than the day before.  That too is about perspective.  On the top deck where the Paddle Tennis courts are located it was less windy there yesterday compared to the day before.  However, it was windier on the Promenade Deck and other areas outside the ship.  In fact, going to Marketplace there is an automatic down on each side from the middle stairwell and the first side we tried the door would not open because of the wind.


Internet continues to be slower than desired.  I will have to ask about it.  During early morning I can get to all sites and in the morning it was OK.  By afternoon I could get to some sites but took awhile and couldn't work on my blog and posting on that site such as photos, reflections etc is challenging.


Lots of activities yesterday.  A highlight which you can read about on our Blog was watching former Astronaut Scott Kelly speak.
I like lectures where I learned something new, where they are presented to make the information interesting, and where there is one or more takeaways.  Scott achieved all of this and more IMHO.
A major takeaway is how we start out in life or later in life in a career or most everything has nothing to do how we can end up if you work hard and strive to improve.
A wonderful talk. He is articulate and very well spoken.
A terrific lunch at Waterside to begin the afternoon. It was the Asian Buffet.
I did get in  some Paddle Tennis play in the afternoon in spite of wind but at one point it came to an abrupt halt when it bean to drizzle. Once you have just a little bit of rain the court gets slippery and it is unwise to play.   
Nice evening.
Once again enjoyed Pianist Richard Pucci as we  sat at the Crystal Cove before dinner.  He is a terrific pianist.
By the time Waterside doors opened the queue was as long as I've seen it which is surprising but it does move very quickly.  I suspect it should settle down in another day or two.
Great food at Waterside.  We've had Monkfish before on land and on the ship but I just don't remember it being prepared as it was on the Modern Menu.  It was delicious and enhanced by the items which accompanied it.
One word repeated three times sums up dinner.
Delicious, Delicious, Delicious.
The featured entertainment included My Life performed by James Fox which music of Billy Joel.
Making our way back to the room you could feel ship movement from the sea swells and it felt as if we had been drinking. Well I did have wine but Anne Marie only had water as she is under the weather.
 As I post this there is quite a bit of sea movement, but then again we are at sea. LOL.
In a few hours we arrive to our first port of call on this voyage Carttagena.
My blog with more details can be found at:





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Keith, I hope Anne Marie feels better soon! 


You’d think I’d have lots of time to write and post on to days, but we’ve been joying a combination of fast and slow...slow in the morning to relax and then lectures, walking, eating and drinking, and shows!


The first sea day had very interesting lectures on the Panama Canal and the history of early Motown music. We had a nice lunch in Waterside, with wine and dessert—just like home...not!


We went to dinner at Stardust Supper Club. It was nice to get dressed up. I don’t get to wear a tuxedo (I guess I should say I don’t CHOOSE to wear a tuxedo) very often and this was a great excuse. The supper club meal was excellent. We both chose the cold water lobster and enjoyed it very much. Being from Maine, I think we know lobster and this definitely passed the test. The rest of the meal was also very good, and the music and dancing in the supper club added to a very nice ambiance. I wish it started a little later though, the doors close at 6:30. We went to the comedian that night who we thought was very funny and knew his audience well.


Yesterday was a late start after a late night but we made in to the Marketplace for breakfast then off the a lecture about the history of Columbia that was interesting and then an excellent presentation by Astronaut Scott Kelly who was very informative and with the right dose of humor. I am quite interested in history and I found it fascinating that after two space shuttle accidents that flying the space shuttle was as dangerous as landing on the Normandy beaches on D-Day. It certainly takes enormous courage to go to space, and Scott Kelly was on the space station for a year. He is still being monitored for health impacts resulting from his long stay in zero gravity.


After lunch in Waterside we went to a second Panama Canal lecture to review its operations since the US turned over control and it’s done very well in terms of maintenance and even added six more locks, larger then the first six.


Ellie went to Zumba and I walked the promenade deck, which wasn’t as windy as the day before. Ellie also did the “vest” walking, after we went to afternoon tea. The service as well as the miscue very very good.


We stopped in the Cove before dinner to listen to the violin player who is very talented. Then off to Prego for a vey delicious multi course dinner including carpaccio, mushroom soup and lasagne. And tiramisu too!


We went to the Billy Joel show, which as great fun, then to stardust to see the dancers, then finally we called it a night.


no pictures today...

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Jonathan we have good friends who we sail with frequently from New England that feel the same way as you do about the lobster.    😎


For Anne Marie it's a big treat so  she looks forward to it.  😊


CruiserFromMaine sounds like you both are having a wonderful time.


Roy this photo is for  you and others who sail on Holland America from time-to-time.  They are in port with us today.





I chatted with the officer at the Computer University before getting off the ship this morning and they are making adjustments to the positioning of the antennas this afternoon so I am keeping fingers and toes crossed that it will help to address the speed of the internet.



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One of the things we greatly enjoy about sailing with Crystal Cruises is all of the choices available on and of the ship.
Enjoyed a couple of workouts at the Fitness Center yesterday including  indoor cycling and paddle tennis in the afternoon.
Serenity arrived to Cartagena, Colombia on schedule yesterday morning.
Since November, 2010 we have visited this city seven times all on board Serenity & Symphony.
With each succeeding visit we found the  city continually improving and benefiting from all of the tourists many  who  visit by cruise ship.
On three of the prior visits we did extensive touring including a private Crystal Cruises tour. We have visited the walled city, the 400-year-old monastery of Convento de la Popa, the Cathedral along with several other area attractions.  Because we have toured the major areas of the city, we decided not to book a tour.  We had planned  to take a taxi to/from the walled city but with Anne Marie under the weather she stayed on board and I walked over to the area with a large store, food and where they have various birds and other animals.   You never know what you will see there.
One of the things we enjoy about cruising this time of year is the warm weather and that was on full display yesterday.
We enjoyed another nice evening on-board Crystal Serenity. This included listening to Pianist Richard Pucci at the Crystal Cove followed by dinner at the Prego Italian Specialty Restaurant. This was our first visit to Prego of this voyage.
We enjoy the cuisine, service and the ambiance of this dining venue. Last night was no exception. After a few visits between the familiarity with waitstaff and guests we feel as if we are dining at an Italian Restaurant in a small village of Italy.
We were joined for dinner by World Cruise Hostess Stacey. Stacey has been World Cruise Hostess for 10 to the 25 World Cruises including ten of the last twelve years. Absolutely amazing.
We are scheduled to begin the transit of the Panama Canal this morning.  
Right  now I can't update the Blog  because of the slowness of the internet. 
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Thanks for letting us travel with you two. Hopefully going to join the crew in Sydney but sadly will miss the two of you. My husband is a spinner. Can you tell me what pedal system the serenity has so we could bring his spinning shoes if possible. Thanks again

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Here are a few random thoughts on our cruise so far...


We really enjoyed dinner and the supper club. The food was superb and the setting was great. We enjoy ‘dressing for dinner’, here is a nice shot of us a couple nights ago.



We find that being on a cruise moves us to things we would not normally do, such as put on formal attire, go to multiple shows in one night, or attend informative lectures. To some extent it’s a carryover from my working days to make that break clear and take full advantage of many things that a cruise has to offer. I know I also certainly enjoy the time we spend together on new experiences, such as the the Panama Canal. 


The passengers we’ve met have been friendly and well-traveled and seem a bit older than other  higher end cruises we’ve taken. That is certainly fine and I just offer that as an observation. Some have many cruises on Crystal and several world cruises already. 


We were excited to be on the first world cruise segment to see what the vibe and excitement was like. I’ve found it to be subdued. Others have noted maybe the excitement will be on the LA departure. And I confess I’m not sure what I was expecting anyway. 


The entertainment and enrichment is excellent. The shows such My Way featuring Billy Joel songs was fun. I hesitate to call them ‘lectures‘ since that too formal, so I’ll call them presentations. They have been excellent as well, including a real live astronaut. 


More to follow! 

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On 1/10/2020 at 9:16 AM, ctjon said:


Not surprising that those of us from Maine don't get as excited about lobster and the rest of the world.😀

I will not order it. Friends was over cooked and like rubber,never. Met a ship that can cook   lobster 

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Yesterday was about transiting  the Panama Canal.


Our first transit was in January  of 2007 and since then we have transited the canal several times.  I believe there is always something new to see on each transit.  Also, the experience can vary based on weather conditions including rain or no rain, clouds or a sunny day.  


In preparation for the transit I watched the presentation given on the Canal by Destination Lecturer Dick Morgan.   It contained some information I hadn't heard before.


The full transit follows the same schedule when sailing East to West:


Serenity enters the Gatun  Locks, clears the Locks, passes Gamboa Station, enters and clears Pedro Miguel Locks and enters and clears Miraflores Locks.






















During portions of the transit we also enjoyed the ship This included visiting with fellow guests and members of the crew, lunch at Marketplace, and Paddle Tennis for me.   Anne Marie rested for the day and visited the medical center two times for  nebulizer treatments.  We arrived to Panama City earlier than scheduled and are docked as part of an overnight stay.  A local show was performed last evening.


At about 4:30 PM I saw improvement in the internet and it is working better now but I am sure there is work to be done to get it back to the levels we experienced last year.


We had a drink with CruiserFromMaine before dinner last evening and enjoyed a wonderful conversation with them.  They are a lovely couple.


Anne Marie and I dined at Prego last evening.  I normally don't book a specialty restaurant on consecutive nights.   What happened is I had copied the itinerary  into  a spreadsheet and the transit and overnight in Panama were listed on two lines and when we were making reservations I thought there was a gap of one day between the two visits.  We decided to go back anyway and enjoyed a nice dinner with one other person.  


For those of you viewing the Blog I continue to post daily Reflections Programs and Dinner Menus.






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Keith, is this the first time you have docked in Panama City?  Is there a shuttle?  Ah, there it is in Reflections.  Thank you for your frequent links to the blog.





Edited by rafinmd
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Patty, it's a good thing I am not the navigator for Serenity. We would be up a creek without a paddle.  😀


Roy, there is a shuttle.  First you take a port shuttle from the ship to the port gate as we are not permitted to walk within this port. if you want to leave before the Crystal Shuttle Runs to get a taxi or some other form of transportation.  Otherwise when the Crystal Shuttle  Runs it runs from the ship to the port gate (guests can get off there) or stay on board with a drop off at the Allbrook Mall.  


Flak999, there is a golf pro on each voyage.  The pro has classes.  Should someone want a private class (for a fee) they can arrange that with the Golf Pro.  Symphony and Serenity each have on board facilities for practice. On Serenity it is on the back of deck 6  and I just took some photos for you.


VA view as I was coming down the steps.




Two Identical areas for practice.






For Putting.







Also next to the Golfing is table tennis.





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