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


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4 hours ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

I thought I'd read that he got off at Panama City. I'm sure someone on the ship will chime in.

 

Patty

 

We spoke to Scott in the Avenue on Friday evening and he said he had a speaking engagement in Tampa on Tuesday so they were disembarking in Panama City.

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Larry,  we  spoke with Scott and his lovely wife about an hour before he was leaving the ship in Panama City  so  yes  that  is where  they left.

 

Robin when I attended the two additional  morning lectures as Cruise Director  Rick  was making the introduction that is when all of us in attendance learned about the two entertainers who will need to join the ship in a couple of days  and the missing luggage.

 

Keith

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4 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Larry,  we  spoke with Scott and his lovely wife about an hour before he was leaving the ship in Panama City  so  yes  that  is where  they left.

 

Robin when I attended the two additional  morning lectures as Cruise Director  Rick  was making the introduction that is when all of us in attendance learned about the two entertainers who will need to join the ship in a couple of days  and the missing luggage.

 

Keith

Thanks for that info.  Saw the show tonight twice and sge talks about her missing suitcase. Heard the  costumes were not seen on stage in a decade or more. Surprised they still had rhyme packed away.

 

to bad Rick did not use Vox  Fourtuna for their second show  to wow as again. We can see Icons another night again.   When the missing entertainers show up they will be jet lagged and need a day to sleep. All of Vox was at the show tonight. 

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TODAY A PLANNED DAY AT  SEA

 

Thank you  mchell810.  Thank goodness I  was wearing sun glasses.  Made the mistake one time of not wearing them and learned that lesson and also got excellent advice from a good  friend from this board.  On the positive side the treatments for Anne Marie have been working.  She competed the z-pak and for now the series of nebulizer treatments.  I also think sitting outside by the pool as  she has done the past couple of days  has helped.   The pool  area  was quite popular yesterday when I visited her a couple of times.

 

Yesterday truly turned out to be an amazing sea day and we are very fortunate to have such talent on the ship and most importantly so many people who stepped up to make it a special day.  As Cruise Director Rick noted he  had lots of calls from people from enrichment and entertainment offering to help in any  way possible to make this  a great day for  the  guests and they did just that.

 

I often say each cruise is different and I believe that.  I  think the is the same on land as well for  certain items.  We (me too) often make conclusions  on one experience but when  we do that we might  have it wrong because  each adventure  at sea can be different and each visit to the same restaurant  or hotel  on land can be different.  

 

Even  patterns differ by cruise.   Remember I mentioned the long queue  lines for the first  few  days  at Waterside.  This was similar  to the 2018 Holiday Cruise but different than some of our cruises with a very short queue.  

 

Last year  when we  would visit the Avenue Saloon for a  pre-dinner drink at 5:00 PM it often was us and two other couples.  At the same time  the Crystal Cove by 5:15 PM  was very full of guests.  On this  cruise the Cove still has several seats  empty  at 5:15 PM.  Last night we visited the Avenue  Saloon and I think we  got there around  5:10 PM and it  was half full and  by the time we left almost full.  

 

We visited Umi Uma  for the first time of  this voyage and actually  our only visit for this segment.   We love  the food but have learned we can make it special by going there infrequently   and we always look  forward to the visit.   We arrived at  6:00 PM and  as we entered I think eight  tables  already had people seated.  I asked  did  you open at 5:30 PM.  LOL.

 

With our first visit to Umi Uma since  May of 2018 we were ready  for the  delicious Japanese cuisine they serve.  Although we didn't have dessert (well two cookies for Anne Marie) I think we might have  ordered too much food.   Now when I say  we I eat a disproportionate  amount of  the  sushi/sashimi you see in the photos. LOL.  It was  a busy night for  the chefs so we waited a little longer than usual for the first items to arrive but it was well worth it.  Plus this gave me more time to enjoy the Nobu Chardonnay before switching to some Japanese Beer shortly after the first items arrive.  LOL.   The restaurant was pretty much full by 7:00  PM.   We enjoyed a nice/leisurely meal.  


Some photos  which I accidentally loaded in reverse order so we started with the first item on the bottom and ended with  the two entrees in photos one and two.

 

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I do want to close with one thought for today.

 

We  cruise and travel for many reasons.  One is discovery to learn more about the world because it is so diverse from our own home-land.  Depending  where we are in our lives some travel for holiday from work  or to get away from where they live in the summer when it might be very hot or the winter when it might  be very cold.  Some travel to just relax  whether that is staying at resort hotel or  renting a place on the beach,  or staying somewhere with plenty  of  golf and/or tennis or to hike,  or ski  or do  a wide range of  activities.

 

Some like us who cruise picks cruises based on a variety of factors; time of year,  size of ship, itinerary including length of the  cruise.   Some want large ships. Some medium  ships.  Some small ships.  Some  prefer one  or two cruise lines.  Some  could care  less   and  are driven by the other factors they prefer.  Even on the same cruise line some prefer only one ship and  some prefer any ship.   

 

Some of  us change over  the years.   I  know  how I see  things has changed  and what  drives my choice has changed.  In our early days after sailing on a few  ships that had been  around for awhile we started to select the new  ships.  Three years in a row.  Three new ships  for  Celebrity in the 1990's.  And we sailed each one. Sailed Grand Princess when it was in its second year.  I think sailed Holland Veendam when it  was relatively new.  Even sailed Carnival on a ship that was relatively  new.  Over time evolved  to  other   cruise lines including Crystal and  Seabourn.  Still didn't have a go to cruise line.  For us that  changed on our fourth and fifth Crystal  Cruises which were back to back cruises.  Still sailed on three different cruise  lines since that time but yes Crystal is our go-to line.  Yes, we will sail Disney at some time with the family.

 

Anyway for us we are at the time in our  lives that we feel so at home when we sail Crystal and for us the people are what make the biggest difference.   Each time we return to Serenity or Symphony and for that matter when we sailed Mozart it is the people both the crew and the fellow guests who  make it so special for us.  This has once again been very clear to us since we boarded in Miami.

 

Is everything perfect?  No.   But for us enough is terrific that we are very happy to be here and that is what we have said often when we  see people for the first time during this cruise and we say "we are happy to be here"

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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Good  early morning from  Crystal  Serenity.  We are scheduled to arrive to Huatulco this morning.

 

For those of you on the 2010 New York City  to Los Angeles cruise this was an unplanned stop for Symphony as  we missed one  port due to weather and didn't go to another one because  of violence in that Mexican city.  

 

A great place for those who enjoy the beach and a leisurely day  on land.

 

For those who like calm seas it was very calm yesterday between the sea/weather and because we were sailing slowly since we started sailing towards Huatulco in the morning versus later in  the day.

 

It was warm outside and humid which is to my liking.  

 

One of the many things  we do  like about cruising is the food.   I wanted to mention  two super  items we  had  for dinner  last evening  at  Waterside.

 

The first was a Seafood Enchilada Appetizer which was flavorful and absolutely delicious.  

 

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The entree was Turbot.   I find it to be a pleasant tasting  fish and what makes this entree unique are the ingredients which accompany  it and this includes  a very flavorful  fondue sauce.

 

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For more items including photos, menus, daily  Reflections Program these are all posted on our blog at:

 

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

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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Keith-

Love your Umi Uma pictures! Do you happen to remember what you ordered? I'd love to try some of those dishes on my Symphony cruise next month, but I'm having trouble matching the pictures up with the menu descriptions (except for the Nobu lobster, which we had on our last cruise). 

Sue

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I think we were at Umi Uma sane night but at  different  times. The  starter  was the same. Everyone liked it but I thought not special. One  dish from sushi bar I would love and not hard. 

 

 

The one one thing I notice is either my friend orders to much at once or the waiter does not know how to place orders.  Your presentations are what I get at the bar not at the table. That will change when crew go home and I can take over ordering  again. 

 

 I have been there four or five times in a month and three in Prego.

 

i find more food to my liking there.

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6 hours ago, late2cruisin said:

Keith-

Love your Umi Uma pictures! Do you happen to remember what you ordered? I'd love to try some of those dishes on my Symphony cruise next month, but I'm having trouble matching the pictures up with the menu descriptions (except for the Nobu lobster, which we had on our last cruise). 

Sue

Sue, glad  you liked the Umi Uma photos.  These are descriptions.   I hope it helps.

 

Lobster

 

Hot Soba Noodles but  had scallops added instead of Tempura

 

Yellow Tail Tar Tar with Caviar

 

Nobu Style Sashimi Salad

 

Four Of The Nobu Sushi Specials including Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno, Tuna Tataki with Cilantro Sauce and Nobu Style White Fish 

 

Next one was one not on the menu and I can’t remember the name but I’ll try to find out the next time we are there.


Dragon Roll which is eel and rice wrapped in avocado

 

Sushi and Sashimi including salmon, tuna, yellowtail sashimi, California roll and house roll and salmon egg sushi.  I do prefer sashimi but  rather have the salmon egg as sushi rather than sashimi.

 

 

Keith

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HI Robin,

 

The only  challenge we encountered at Umi Uma the other night is that when our order went in for sushi/sashimi it took  a little longer and it came out in a slightly different sequence.  One one or two items we might just remind them of sequence. For example I eat the vast majority of the items on the sushi platter with Anne Marie eating one of the rolls.  She also has tempura so we ask that they bring that out when they bring out the platter to balance out what we are each eating.

 

Keith

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A DAY AT SEA - ON THE WAY TO CABO SAN LUCAS

 

Well, today we sort of have the first of two sea days as we don't get to Cabo San Lucas until tomorrow later in the afternoon.  We do have an overnight there though.

 

It was hot during our port stay yesterday in Huatulco.  I do prefer heat over cold so all good.


Fourth visit for us.  I spoke with some world cruisers who have never been there because the itinerary we are on right now is typically not on a full World Cruise.  Rather when the World cruise begins in Miami it doesn't head to Los Angeles and the same when starting in Los Angeles it does not head to Miami.   Usually  that would be for the cruise before the World  Cruise if  a transit was required.  

 

I just went off on my own and Anne Marie stayed back on board the ship. She's almost over what she had and with the medication she does take she's better off not in the heat.  Walked around the usual areas which remind me a little  bit  of Costa Maya  of  the Western  Caribbean.

 

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Almost thought for a  moment I  wouldn't get back on the  ship.  Showed my shipboard card and drivers license and the first of three local security people  are looking  at  it, then next one,  then third one and all are speaking in Spanish.  Unfortunately I  took French in school not Spanish so my words are limited to things like Tequila (LOL).   Anyway finally  after a  few minutes one of them say shipboard card.   So I pointed  to the card which  I had shown them before. Said Crystal Serenity and smiled.  Better  to smile but inside  I am thinking (Loco).  As  they say alls well that ends well.

 

Enjoyed the ship the  rest of the day.   Got in a short run on the shady side of  the Promenade Deck.   Played singles Paddle Tennis  with one of the two Fitness  Directors where I ended up showing my age.   Won first series 6 to 1 and with the heat my legs started to feel like rubber and he won the second one 6 to 2.  Most importantly had a lot of good  laughs and got in some good tennis  and exercise.   I was thinking he might be  half my  age but maybe closer to one-third my age.   Ouch.  I do prefer doubles.  Less running.

 

Amazingly still running into some people we have not seen since boarding on January  7  including one woman who I saw as I was  leaving Anne Marie who was sitting out near the pool.  Robin who is on our same deck I haven't seen yet.  

 

Last  night was the White  Night  Extravaganza.   When we are  on board for more than one  cruise  the last few years we've  started to have one dinner (so over a  long cruise of several voyages maybe two dinners) in our room.    We call it pizza, popcorn  and movie night.  We did that last night although we never got around to the movie.   LOL.

 

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And before we went to bed  we  turned the  clocks back one hour.  I always enjoy that.  Interestingly enough I got up at pretty much a regular time for me and went to sleep close to  when I normally do so it was nice to get  an extra hour of sleep.   Even for me.   LOL.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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Sue, you are very welcome.  My experience is some restaurants on land and at sea it takes a few visits to figure it out.  

 

I really don't want this to come off wrong (no ego here and I am certainly not an expert on Japanese Cuisine) but there are some people we know who over the years who were afraid to eat there or ate there a few times over many years and didn't feel comfortable ordering and would ask if we would go to that venue with them as they knew we had experience making the selections.  Likewise on our first visit to the former Tastes we went with two people and one of them was very well versed on what to order since he was the Food & Beverage Manager.   After looking at the menu I asked him if he could do all the ordering as it seemed overwhelming at first and am so glad he did because it really taught us a lot and there are items we might not have that we loved if not for the fact he ordered them.  Similarly for us at Silk it was trial and error until on our fourth visit between Symphony and Serenity that we figured it out.

 

Keith

 

 

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I forgot to post a photo I took yesterday as I was getting ready to leave the ship.  I think my first photo of bottles of water but knowing this item has come up before on the board I thought I would post this photo.

 

Each port day lots of bottled water is placed on the Crystal Cove Bar for guests to take as they make their way to the gangway.  This would be in addition to other areas where water is available.  We just get everything set up the night before including water with this item we have to hold the water on our shoulder along with other items whether it be a camera should we not just use the smart phone to a little first aid kit Anne Marie takes with us along with money, port map with contact telephone number, etc.IMG_1247.thumb.jpeg.fd71e60dc5f45ba6bc764af31076ed0b.jpeg

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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You and Anne Marie are so active on the ship and make healthy choices! At least I don’t take in the calories when I enjoy your great food photos Keith....or I would have to go back to the gym today!  
 

I spent time in Japan in my youth, but never developed a taste for sushi or sashimi.  However, we really enjoy our experiences at Umi Uma.  As you say, over time we have figured out different items we enjoy.  And we also appreciate the artful presentation and service. 
 

I hope your paddle tennis battle wound has healed, and am happy Anne Marie seems to have turned the corner with how she is feeling!

Caryn

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More thoughts on our cruise...

 

First, hats off to Keith and anyone else who posts daily. It sounded easy until I got on board and now there are tons of distractions. It’s a hard life! 😄

 

We continue to be impressed with Crystal. The dining has been fabulous. We went to Prego for the second time last night. The carpaccio and mushroom soup are both great. The veal parmigiana was good but not great. 

 

We also enjoy the afternoon tea, especially the Mozart tea. The violinist is great and I enjoy listening to her with or without the piano accompanying. 

 

I thought Icons in Concert was really fun! Any show closing with Queen and including Bohemian Rhapsody is A+ in my book!

 

The white night was fun and the pianist last night was very entertaining. 

 

Funny story on Nicaragua. Early that morning Ellie and I decided to skip our tour. As the NFL would say, upon further review, the ruling on the field was overturned. The tour sounded less appealing. Then, all the tours were canceled and the port skipped, so it all worked out! Wise choice since the winds were strong. Crystal did a great job responding to this change and added programs and distributed a new Reflections. 

 

I particularly like the Crystal app and the access to the Reflection. I save it as a PDF so I have it regardless of internet access and off the ship. Menus and folio access is provided and other features too. Well done. 

 

We really enjoy Tim Grey’s presentations on various iPad apps. He does a very nice job and Crystal makes all his presentations available through the app. 

 

One thing we are struggling with a little is the show time vs dinner time. We like to eat around 7:00 but that means we’ll miss the first show at 7:45 and then have some time to kill before the 9:45 show.  We tried eating later but that hasn’t really worked for us, so maybe we’ll try eating earlier again.  I know others have commented on this and there probably is no universally accepted answer to this. 

 

The internet net access is better today but I am going to pass on too many posting photos.

 

We took a ship tour yesterday to the rural area outside of Hualtuco. It was an interesting view of rural Mexican life.  I was surprised to learn that each small village has it’s own basketball court! They each have their own church as well, that want as surprising though. 

 

The Gala Buffet was today. Quite a spread!

 

The photos are the carpaccio from Prego, one of the village stops outside Huatulco and part of the Gala Buffet. 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

I forgot to post a photo I took yesterday as I was getting ready to leave the ship.  I think my first photo of bottles of water but knowing this item has come up before on the board I thought I would post this photo.

 

Each port day lots of bottled water is placed on the Crystal Cove Bar for guests to take as they make their way to the gangway.  This would be in addition to other areas where water is available.  We just get everything set up the night before including water with this item we have to hold the water on our shoulder along with other items whether it be a camera should we not just use the smart phone to a little first aid kit Anne Marie takes with us along with money, port map with contact telephone number, etc.IMG_1247.thumb.jpeg.fd71e60dc5f45ba6bc764af31076ed0b.jpeg

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

 

They have also had a table with bottles of water in Stardust for all of the tour departures so far. I guess Crystal does read CC!😁.

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2 minutes ago, Roland4 said:

 

They have also had a table with bottles of water in Stardust for all of the tour departures so far. I guess Crystal does read CC!😁.


Both those locations with bottle water supplies, along with the Bistro, have had water for people to take ever since we started cruising Crystal 

 

I think Crystal read some of the posts on CC but I doubt they read all of them 

 

Perhaps someone had a word with someone onboard to make them more visible - although I’m not sure how they can make them anymore visible then they’ve always been 

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11 hours ago, late2cruisin said:

Keith-

Thanks for the Umi Uma descriptions. It confirms what I thought after my one and only visit there: we were ordering the wrong things! We'll try to do better next time...😀

I never leave there hungry and never had a cooked main course. Most time I am in a group and we all like sushi or new style sushi.  If Rudy got cooked food I just say no thank you. Tasted some and still sY it. Been to Japan and ate everything from street food to very posh places.

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1 hour ago, Stickman1990 said:


Both those locations with bottle water supplies, along with the Bistro, have had water for people to take ever since we started cruising Crystal 

 

I think Crystal read some of the posts on CC but I doubt they read all of them 

 

Perhaps someone had a word with someone onboard to make them more visible - although I’m not sure how they can make them anymore visible then they’ve always been 

Neither one of us said this was new.  We just noted these are two places where you can get water.  I know, Larry made the comment that they must read CC.

 

I took the photo because from time-to-time some say they don't see water and just wanted to note that it is there in the Crystal Plaza for those guests who might not go into Stardust if they are not booked on a tour and as Roland noted it is available there for those on a tour.  Oh, and the water at the Crystal Cove was added I believe around 2012 and it was based on feedback (not mine) but someone who I know who I know for sure mentioned it and when it was mentioned it was added.

 

Keith

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3 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Neither one of us said this was new.  We just noted these are two places where you can get water.  I know, Larry made the comment that they must read CC.

 

I took the photo because from time-to-time some say they don't see water and just wanted to note that it is there in the Crystal Plaza for those guests who might not go into Stardust if they are not booked on a tour and as Roland noted it is available there for those on a tour.  Oh, and the water at the Crystal Cove was added I believe around 2012 and it was based on feedback (not mine) but someone who I know who I know for sure mentioned it and when it was mentioned it was added.

 

Keith

 

Actually, I was a little surprised to see it in Stardust as it was certainly not available there in either 2018 or 2019, and it was one of the reasons we brought out own water bottles this year. 

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19 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Sue, glad  you liked the Umi Uma photos.  These are descriptions.   I hope it helps.

 

Lobster

 

Hot Soba Noodles but  had scallops added instead of Tempura

 

Yellow Tail Tar Tar with Caviar

 

Nobu Style Sashimi Salad

 

Four Of The Nobu Sushi Specials including Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno, Tuna Tataki with Cilantro Sauce and Nobu Style White Fish 

 

Next one was one not on the menu and I can’t remember the name but I’ll try to find out the next time we are there.


Dragon Roll which is eel and rice wrapped in avocado

 

Sushi and Sashimi including salmon, tuna, yellowtail sashimi, California roll and house roll and salmon egg sushi.  I do prefer sashimi but  rather have the salmon egg as sushi rather than sashimi.

 

 

Keith

Thanks to your pictures the four of us had the Dragon Roll. I will eat again. The one with three little bites I had the same night, good but not great.it is nameless here to. Two of four diners had main course .. I just eat fish. 

Wondering how Anne  Marie’s lobster was as in MDR it was open cooked.

 

the only problem I have had was the person was doing the ordering does not order slowly so it comes to fast. Better tonight with Sheila vs last two times. He over orders and food goes back.rather add to than waste 

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ON THE ROAD TO CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO

 

Terrific day yesterday as we sail to Cabo.  For details you can find them on our blog.

 

OK, while those of you on Symphony are enjoying far better Internet than we are on Serenity it appears we had something very much in common  yesterday and that was food.  Both ships had Grand Galla Buffets.  For those of you new to Crystal these are on cruises with a certain overall length and have four sea days.   Typically they are on World Cruise segments, crossings and Holiday Cruises (even if the Holiday Cruise doesn't have the sufficient number of sea days).  

Even if you are like us and don't eat there just watching the set up and all the work that goes into it and then seeing the finished product is amazing.  So many people are involved from Waterside and from Food & Beverage as a whole.  I think of it as a true team effort and the finished product as a work of art.  It is special and on our first set of Crystal Cruises we did eat there.


So before I post a few photos of the finished product I thought I would post some photos of the setup.

 

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Some photos of the finished product.  Several more on my Blog.

 

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Dinner last night was back at Waterside.  

 

I mention dinner just to comment about special orders.  Overall, we do far less special ordering the last couple of years for a variety of reasons.  Often we are very pleased with the choices on the menu.  For many items we know it will be on the menu at some point in time on the cruise.  Finally if we order special order something it might be prepared differently in terms of the items which accompany it than how it might be prepared on the actual night it is served.  This is not to say we never special order an item and we have enjoyed some very special items over the years.  We do appreciate not only there is the opportunity  to special order something but that in general you can change up an item from the way it is prepared.  This could be from changing up some of the ingredients in a salad to asking if an item could be broiled instead of fried.

 

Two nights ago we ate in our room but when we looked at the menu we saw swordfish which we enjoy occasionally so we asked if we could both have it last evening but exactly as it was prepared two nights ago and this is what we had for our entree last evening.  It was delicious.

 

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For my appetizer I had the Beetroot Cured Salmon.  I really enjoy many of the Modern Cuisine  appetizers including this one.  I like the portion size and what I truly enjoy  are the ingredients that come with it.  I try to eat it as one would sip a fine glass of wine.  

 

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On the other hand Anne Marie didn't care for the appetizers on the menu.  Instead she had the jumbo shrimp cocktail which is available any night at Waterside.

 

For salads we went with the Greek Salad which was on the menu.  In my case I asked for it precisely as it is prepared with the exception of dressing on the side.  For Anne Marie she could change it up and eliminate a couple of items.  

 

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Our blog is located at:

 

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

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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5 hours ago, Roland4 said:

 

Actually, I was a little surprised to see it in Stardust as it was certainly not available there in either 2018 or 2019, and it was one of the reasons we brought out own water bottles this year. 

We cruised both ships last summer.  Water was always available where we gathered for tours near the doorway in a couple of rolling coolers -- and on the bar at the cove.  Each tour bus had water but that is more dependent on the tour company (I suspect).  I do not remember if water was available if we exited on deck 4.  Still we seldom leave our stateroom without carrying water just in case.

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19 hours ago, koko's_mom said:

You and Anne Marie are so active on the ship and make healthy choices! At least I don’t take in the calories when I enjoy your great food photos Keith....or I would have to go back to the gym today!  
 

I spent time in Japan in my youth, but never developed a taste for sushi or sashimi.  However, we really enjoy our experiences at Umi Uma.  As you say, over time we have figured out different items we enjoy.  And we also appreciate the artful presentation and service. 
 

I hope your paddle tennis battle wound has healed, and am happy Anne Marie seems to have turned the corner with how she is feeling!

Caryn

Caryn, 

 

Thank you so much for  the  good wishes.  The good news is it is beginning  to heal and after a day of being a little gun shy running up to the net I am back to the net but more mindful  of rocket balls coming my way.  LOL.  😎  Anne Marie is doing much better and am happy that she is back to a routine of walking a couple of times a day and taking her first Yoga class of this cruise yesterday.  

 

Keith

 

 

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