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Hi Keith, thanks from all of us who can only dream of a World Cruise and for providing future inspiration for our retirement! Belated comment about your beautiful ad for Crystal — in the last year I have really noticed the difference in Crystal’s ads (which show actual guests we can relate to) in contrast to other lines (Oceania springs to mind) which seem to show models in ridiculously posed formal and glitzy aspects that. Are me think, gee, we won’t fit in on THAT line, we are just regular people! So thanks to you both for helping with a great marketing campaign and by the way, you probably know this by now—you have the entire back cover of Porthole Magazine — well done!

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2 hours ago, Keith1010 said:



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.









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










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.




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.  




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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Good morning Keith from San Diego!!

I just got caught up on your wonderful blog! I followed Roy’s last cruise a couple of months ago and he is boarding on 1/22!

Followed him from Amtrak to his blog here! You have given me a lot of good advice  in responses from Roy’s blog last trip! I can see why he lives Crystal so much. We sail out on 3 cruises starting 3/11 from San Diego to Europe and we are looking at itinerary on Crystal next year to Sydney.

Thank you for your writings! I will be following along !



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I want to thank you very much for all the information and pics - especially concerning the food drinks and wine - what is rather important for me during a cruise.

Meanwhile I hope I may wish your lady and yourself a superb cruise experience.

I am very hesitating to book a part of the worldcruise in 2022 - years ago i did a final part of the world cruise on former Sagafjord in 1991 and the final part of a worldcruise on QE 2in 1992 - followed by a transatlantic crossing.

in both cases I felt not very "welcome" as were other pax -  a single lady on my table ( Grill degree) invited me as her company on a party and  I received angry looks from other pax

I am not ashame  to admit as both due financial as for healthreasons - i am taking weight as a sponge is taking water - I am unable to do a full World cruise however I would enjoy a  segment  in   Asia - say Hong Kong Singapore Vietnam area - not India (sorry)

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Good  morning Denise.  I am  glad you are  enjoying  the Blog.   If I can ever help with any  questions  please let me know.  How  nice  you  have  three cruises planned from San Diego to Europe  and  are looking  at a Crystal Sydney Cruise.


Vistaman...Thank you for the good wishes  and I am also glad you are enjoying  the postings.  Coincidentally  I  met a couple this morning  for the first time who  read but rarely post on CC  and  they  mentioned  how much they are  enjoying  the food and one of the highlights for  them has  been the modern menu in Waterside.   


I do understand  your reluctancy  to join  a World Cruise towards its conclusion where some guests  are not  interested  in meeting others who have  just come on-board and/or some guests are starting to get a little grumpy as they  are ready to go home.   


With five different full World Cruise options for  WC 2022 (Miami R/T, Miami to Monte Carlo, Los Angeles R/T,  Los Angeles to Miami and Los Angeles  to Monte Carlo) the chemistry  might  be different on that one with it feeling more welcoming with people getting on and getting off on different segments.  There  are several special segments later on in the World Cruise  including  Istanbul to Monte  Carlo with Serenity returning to the Black Sea that I find the itinerary  exciting.



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28 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

Good  morning Denise.  I am  glad you are  enjoying  the Blog.   If I can ever help with any  questions  please let me know.  How  nice  you  have  three cruises planned from San Diego to Europe  and  are looking  at a Crystal Sydney Cruise.


Vistaman...Thank you for the good wishes  and I am also glad you are enjoying  the postings.  Coincidentally  I  met a couple this morning  for the first time who  read but rarely post on CC  and  they  mentioned  how much they are  enjoying  the food and one of the highlights for  them has  been the modern menu in Waterside.   


I do understand  your reluctancy  to join  a World Cruise towards its conclusion where some guests  are not  interested  in meeting others who have  just come on-board and/or some guests are starting to get a little grumpy as they  are ready to go home.   


With five different full World Cruise options for  WC 2022 (Miami R/T, Miami to Monte Carlo, Los Angeles R/T,  Los Angeles to Miami and Los Angeles  to Monte Carlo) the chemistry  might  be different on that one with it feeling more welcoming with people getting on and getting off on different segments.  There  are several special segments later on in the World Cruise  including  Istanbul to Monte  Carlo with Serenity returning to the Black Sea that I find the itinerary  exciting.



Thank you Keith! I will absolutely ask for advice in the near future!! Just like our up coming cruises It was through Roy that I got valuable advice!!

PS I have a brother who’s name is Keith!


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Keith..this just shows how taste buds are so different. Was not at all impress with the swOrdfish. Found it bland .i ate some pasta to fill up. 


Tried a sushi roll you had the other night ..we all loved it.  Think it had eel in it. 


Shows how we are all different.

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For those that enjoy jazz musicians, Judy Carmichael did two concerts on Symphony a couple of nights ago. She just left the ship in Honolulu on her way back to LA to board Serenity on 1/22. She leaves Serenity in the Marquesas. She’s a very talented jazz pianist for those who appreciate that genre of music.



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Denise, you are very welcome.    Robin, yes  we all have different taste buds and likes/dislikes.  Thanks for letting us know about Judy Carmichael.


For those following the blog the internet is making it challenging to up date it.  Less of an issue for CC as the Blog is on an entirely differently platform. Oh well.    


I want to highlight one item from yesterday and that is the Vintage Room  Luncheon.

The Serenity Vintage Room holds up to 14 people and that is the number of people who attended including ourselves.


They removed the VR chairs and used chairs from Umi Uma.   This was done because they remove remove the chairs at both heads of the table as the one where you would have your back turned to the screen would obviously not work.  With seven people on each side of  the table with the Umi Uma chairs spacing was fine.  We knew five of the other seven people this included two couples who are part of Cruise Critic.


The program began at 11:45 AM and we finished by a around 1:20 PM.


Price is $115.00 per person.


The discussion is done as a lecture by Head Sommelier Tilmar.   The program began two and one-half years ago.


Since one couple had recently attended the VR luncheon Tilmar adjusted some of the varieties of Champagne serves.  The single woman who we know has also attended some of these luncheons so it might have been adjusted for her as well.  In fact, she was instrumental in getting Crystal to approve the purchase of the Champagne glasses we used rather than using the flutes that are so common when many  glasses have to be placed on platters.   


We learned a lot as we always do when attending the dinners.  Each champagne  was quite diverse from one another such as in sugar content and each one was paired accordingly to each course.  We had four major courses; caviar, sashimi, chicken, and a dessert followed by one additional sweet.  


There was the opportunity to ask questions as one does at the dinners and nice exchange of conversation.


Tilmar did a wonderful job as he does at the VR dinners.  Sommelier Jiri who swings to Head Sommelier starting with the second segment of the World Cruise will be doing the rest of the World Cruise Vintage Rooms for the remaining legs of World Cruise 2020.


Some photos  follow:
























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It look like a lovely event, and I am signed up for the Champagne luncheon on our next voyage.  The pairings look interesting, and it is reassuring to see that the quantities of both food and Champagne are not overwhelming.  I tend to avoid food and wine pairings at dinner, because of excessive quantities, but the lunch version appears to be just right.


Thanks for posting the details!

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ON THE ROAD TO Los Angeles


Rhonda, you are very welcome.   I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  I ate all the courses except just a taste of the dessert and Anne Marie just  had a sip of each champagne and I only had a half of each one.  Honestly just the education was well worth the cost on its own so whether one eats/drinks it all or a portion I found it to be terrific.


Denise you are so right.

Today some tidbits.


We got a reminder first segment of World Cruise ends on Wednesday with notification by letter about time to be  off the ship  for it to be cleared.  The other day informed about shuttle that will take guests over to the Long Beach Aquarium.  We've been there before prior to a Symphony cruise.


Great time at Cabo yesterday.  CIty continues to transform since  I first visited in the late 1990's for work and since we visited here a few years ago.  


Four ships anchored; Regent Mariner who was with us in the Panama  Canal.  Grand Princess which we  sailed in 1999.   Back then it was the largest Passenger Ship  quickly overtaken  by  RCI and  that  wasn't  even the RCI mega ships of today.   Also the NCL Joy which looked very large  to me .


Many guests enjoyed the city with some staying  for  lunch  and/or a drink and some watching the first game of the NFL Championship.   Many on  excursions.  Great  time of  year to see whales.


Beautiful day.  Cabo has pretty consistent weather throughout  the year.

On-Board Serenity  even cool on the  shady  side of the  Promenade Deck.  On the sun deck pretty nice weather when I played singles Paddle Tennis.


A mutual friend who  is not on this cruise had suggested that another couple reach out to us to get together  which we did up at the Palm Court yesterday.  Unfortunately, our mutual friend does not have much time left.   We had a photo taken of the four of  us so our mutual friend knows we were together.  Another reminder to me  to be positive  and just enjoy each day  to its fullest.


Both  NFL Championship games were shown on the wide screen at Stardust and also on the stateroom TV's.  Super Bowl will be shown as well.  Crystal  is  great about this.  One time  we were on another  luxury  line and no Super Bowl.   


A few photos.  


Four shops anchored.




There was discussion I believe in December about Crystal having beverages at the Tender pier and/or what other cruise lines  do.  Yesterday was typical of  the normal setup ever since we have been sailing  Crystal.






A couple of photos from Cabo.  Many more on our Blog.






A couple of photos from Palm Court before we met the couple of a mutual friend.  Bartender Mel was working his magic  and the Crystal Quartet was  performing with many guests dancing.






A rare site at dinner.   Small scoop of ice cream for Anne Marie.




And some cheese for me.





There is a  saying Life Is Good.


For us LIFE IS GOOD  and extra good when we are  back home with Crystal.







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Keith, just a reach out to let you know I am enjoying following you along and enjoying your vivid descriptions and great pictures. Somehow, I enjoy your writings even more when I know I have a Crystal cruise coming up! Such is now the case as we just booked the August Serenity Transatlantic..Barcelona to Quebec!. Keep up your great work!



Edited by edgee
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Hi Keith. I continue to enjoy your blog. Can you tell me more about the Vintage Room lunch and dinners.Do you sign up before the cruise? And when do they tell you about them. We will be on the Food and Wine cruise from Sydney to Singapore.


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Thank you Denise.


Ed  thank you and congratulations on your new booking. 


CruiserFromMaine, we did a similar toast at the Supper Club last evening with another couple who we met through cruising and are dear friends of ours.  


CeciltheSeaSerpent, Mila is on-board right now back as a Sommelier and I am happy to pass along your greetings.


rzmz89, thank you.   As to the Vintage Room  you can sign up for each one ahead of time via PCPC.  Once on-board  Serenity  you will be contacted by the Head Sommelier who will be Jiri for this voyage.  Or you can wait until you board and contact Jiri to sign up for each one.  Or you can do both.  I would do both; sign up now and contact Jiri once on board.  I am sure they will offer both types of vintage rooms on your cruise.  


Roy, I  haven't seen official notification on the Berth.  However according to  the  official port schedule we will be docked at  Berth 92.


Cruiseswithfamilyornot,thank you for your very nice comments.  We will be on  for  the first  leg you are on  and I hope  we get to meet you.


I'll post some highlights  from yesterday in  a little while.







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Yesterday was a sea day and an absolutely beautiful day inside and outside Crystal Serenity.

We enjoyed  a busy  sea day.
Outside the weather was a delight.   Not too hot.  Not  too cool.  Just right.  
Paddle  Tennis in the morning and afternoon.  I've met some  very nice  people for the first time and they will  be departing tomorrow in Los  Angeles  and I've played with  a very nice guest who was on last year's world cruise and remains on for this year full  World Cruise.  
Inside the ship had lots of programs and of course lots of wonderful food.
The program included three lectures. Destination lecturer Ian MacLachlan spoke about the Panama Canal and putting it into context with Geography and Politics. Next up was Jim Brochu who spoke about the life and career of Lucille Ball. In the afternoon, Scott Bornstein spoke about Mastering Your Memory Power.
A tradition of the World Cruise and on other sailings when Rabbi Morrie is on board is Rap with the Rabb.. No Rabbi Morrie doesn't do Rap in terms of music. Thank goodness. Rather, in each session he covers some specific topics, facilitates discussion by the group and will discuss topics that guests bring up.  I very much enjoyed the session and guests from  various  faiths  attend.
Other activities and things we did inside the ship included catching a lecture on the TV, Anne Marie attending Yoga and seeing the movie Downton Abbey on the big screen at the Hollywood Theatre and walking and a workout at the Fitness Center for me.
Last evening, was the second Black Tie Optional (BTO) evening of the cruise. If there is one or two BTO nights on the same night they offer a Supper Club which in the Stardust Lounge which can accommodate up to 116 guests. This reduces demand at Waterside which is popular on BTO nights. The menu is a shorter version of the Waterside Menu. I've included a photo.
By the  way 116 is up  from the capacity of when we attended last as they have added a couple of additional tables to the Supper Club.
Some  details  for  those of you who have not attended  the Supper Club in the past and as  a reminder it is offered  only on Serenity as  Symphony does not have a  room that can be used for the Supper Club.
There is one seating at 6:30 PM. The Supper Club is based on the ones found on land many years ago offering music, dancing by a quartet of dancers (sometime a duo), live music from the band, violinist Irina, singing and at different times the guests can dance.
If it is one or two of you and have no one to sit with at the four person tables they will sit you with others or you can pre-arrange who you will sit with. We sat with a couple who are dear friends of ours and who we have cruised with many times. 
The tables look beautiful between the place settings, glassware and table cloths. The menu includes a choice of appetizers, soup, entrees and dessert. . Each guest is given a flute of champagne as they arrive and wine, mixed drinks and various beverages are served by the waitstaff and members of the bar team. It represents a true team effort by the Food & Beverage Department and the Entertainment Departments and a shout-out to these two teams.
As to  the menu  if  this was the first Supper Club of the sealing one of the entrees featured would have been Lobster since this was an item on the Waterside Menu on the first BTO night.
After enjoying an amazing tie at the Supper Club the good news is we set the clocks back one hours before retiring to sleep. This puts on us California Coastal Time since we arrive to Los Angeles tomorrow for the end of this leg of the World Cruise and the beginning of the next leg.
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30 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

For those  of you  who look closely at the menu  you will undoubtedly see a mega priced wine listed.  When we noticed it we got a nice laugh.  A typo?  I think so.   😀



$6,495.00 for a 2005 Burgundy French wine?  That has to be a show stopper! Come on a drop in the bucket!! (LOL)😳😳😳 

Your Stardust Supper Club Dinner looks like Old World cruising which I so love. How was the caviar? I have only had Russian Osetra Malossol when we have special occasions.

Welcome to California too Keith!


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Thanks Denise.  


I enjoyed the Caviar and so did one of our friends who we dined  with.   The gents selected the caviar  and coincidentally the  ladies  chose the  goat cheese  appetizer.  


We have found  when Crystal stopped serving unlimited caviar on nights that  they do included  caviar on the  dinner menu  they upgraded the offering. 



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