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Crystal Serenity Los Angeles to Sydney, January 22 to March 3, 2020

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Day CS+2, Thursday, March 5, 2020, Last Free Day in Sydney

The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Sydney to Mooloolaba.  Queen Mary 2 is anchored in Sydney Harbor.  The sun rose at 6:44 and set at 7:26.  The moon set at 1:16AM and rose at 4:08PM.

When I first looked out the window there was a cruise ship docked but it was neither the Crystal Serenity nor Queen Mary 2.  It was instead the Costa Deliziosa.  Queen Mary 2 dropped anchor out of my sight about 6AM at Sydney's Athol anchorage.  Both ships are in Sydney for 2 days.  Costa swapped passengers on Thursday and will change places overnight with QM2 for my turnaround day.


By the time I went to breakfast it looked like the start of a nice day.  When I went out and boarded the HOHO bus about 9:30 I was able to sit on the upper level for the short ride to the transfer point to the blue route, and again on the top deck of a very nearly empty bus.

The first 45 minutes or so were nice as we made a wide circle heading along trendy Oxford Street.


By Bondi Beach it was still viable on the top deck although the drizzle was getting more noticeable.


I was forced to move to the lower level about the time we got to Rose Bay, a picturesque bay with an illustrious history as a seaplane base.


When we got to Sydney's Central Train Station I both wanted to look around a bit and also needed a toilet break.  Australia's classic train, the Indian Pacific, is now in private hands and runs only once a week, but it uses Central Station.


There was a long wait for the next blue bus and it was crowded.  I took several photos on the blue route that I can't identify in retrospect.



It was a fairly short ride back to the transfer point where I took a fairly short ride on the red route back to the Opera House.  This bus was very crowded and I was forced to stand.  The rain was quite heavy.  I had lost my umbrella on the bus Wednesday and bought a new one on leaving the bus.

The tender dock is at the "Man of War" steps just on the inland side of the Opera House.  I thought with the umbrella I could get to that point without getting too late but was a bit over optimistic.  QM2 was sitting out there shrouded in mist.


A combination tender service was established using both Cook Fast Ferries and QM2's own tender boats.  In addition to the regular QM2 pop-up there was a good sized tent for people waiting to board the tenders.


I discovered a bit late that I could actually get back to the hotel without a lot of exposure to the rain.  The Opera House has a lower concourse with restaurants that runs from the building proper to the Circular Quay East shopping complex and then under the tracks and Cahill Expressway back almost to the hotel.  I learned after getting pretty well soaked.


It rained heavily all afternoon.  I took the plunge of a trip to the super market a couple of blocks away at 4 and came back soaked again.  The good news is I was looking for blueberries for an evening snack and instead found raspberries which I prefer.

The rain did let up around dinner time and I hope will stay that way long enough for an easy trip to  Queen Mary 2 in the morning.

My parting shot is inspired by some exchanges on the Crystal Forum of Cruise Critic.  While there are real concerns about the disease sometimes I think we have more to fear from fear itself than from the virus.  Sydney is not exactly an epicenter of the virus but reactions are puzzling.  I had not noticed anything unusual in the supermarkets but kept hearing of a run on toilet paper.  I looked and found the shelf (Woolworths Metcenter) about 95% empty, and what remained was at least partially attributable to limit of 4 packages per shopper.  While there aren't a lot of surgical masks in evidence I was quite surprised to find one being worn by an employee in the currency exchange.  Yes, she deals with the public but I can't imagine much danger working in an entirely glass enclosed booth.  Go figure.



This will conclude my regular reports on the Crystal Forum.  My travels continue on the Cunard forum:




I know of 2 sources of continuing reports on the Crystal World Cruise.  One is on Cruise Critic by Roland4:




The other is a blog by Protestant Chaplain Ed Vosen:




I will be following both but only by email as internet on QM2 is by the minute and I need to keep my online time brief.






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10 minutes ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

Glad you enjoyed the show.  Hope the weather improves and you have a clear sail away on the QM2.

I'm more concerned about morning weather for getting to the ship.  Sailaway is either 11PM or midnight so there won't be a lot to see anyway.



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Hi Roy.  I am enjoying your reports.


You have talked about stocking up on food for your time on QM2.  Is the food on Cunard deficient in some way that you feel this is necessary?  I would never consider bringing extra food on board Crystal.

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51 minutes ago, SusieQft said:

Hi Roy.  I am enjoying your reports.


You have talked about stocking up on food for your time on QM2.  Is the food on Cunard deficient in some way that you feel this is necessary?  I would never consider bringing extra food on board Crystal.

Not at all.  Most of it is to take off the ship in ports which is permitted for most packaged items, and I like a small quantity of nuts at bed time and don't feel like running around the various bars to try to locate them. 


Most recently I bought apples in New Zealand because Crystal just plain took all fresh fruit off the buffet.  I probably buy less for Holland America than any other cruise line because they have more pre-packaged items in their buffet.  I got the idea for milk from Holland America because on their longer cruises they put out half pints of UHT milk.  Backpacks were being in Chile and I grabbed one and showed it to the inspector and he said fine.  The same was true for both Australia and New Zealand.



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A few comparisons

Getting settled in now and I thought I’d post a few comparison photographs.  The first one was taken from Circular Quay dock standing pretty much at the same spot although closer to Serenity.  The bow of Serenity came about to the midpoint of QM2 between the bow and the bridge.  She is a HUGE ship.


The view from my hotel window gives a vivid view of how much taller QM2 is than Serenity.


Finally, I made mention while in Sydney about mistakenly telling the barber I would be at sea for 50 days.  My Los Angeles and Sydney photos tell the story:

I am saddened that the World Cruise will end prematurely.  Very unfortunate for all, but especially to Stacey Houston and to Gary Hunter, both on their final World Cruises.



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34 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

Not officially quarantined but being careful.

Wow that’s amazing the US doesn’t require those returning from overseas to self isolate for 14 days. Certainly Australia and NZ moved to that last weekend 

Anything to help flatten the curve as infection rates climb exponentially 

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1 hour ago, rafinmd said:

FYI, I arrived at home about 1:30AM Saturday.  Not officially quarantined but being careful.



Roy, I am so happy you are home, and back to Cruise Critic.


I think most of us here in the US are just staying home, except for necessary trips out. Indeed, some are having groceries and even restaurant meals delivered. There’s even something called Touchless Delivery.


One of the most common activities right now is going for a walk. You’re so good at that! I hope your weather will allow you that luxury.


Yes, be careful! Even with deliveries and mail. Wash your hands! Thank you for your wonderful posts.



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Just now, suzeluvscruz said:

Roy, were you screened when you arrived at your US gateway? LAX, SFO or?

Not visibly but there may well have been some sensors along the way.  My gateway was DFW.  Nobody I've heard from has had any special screening.  In Maryland in any case things are pretty much locked down so there isn't much to do.

I normally walk in our Mall but it's closed.  I have taken walks both days in the neighborhood, extending today into a local park.



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38 minutes ago, suzeluvscruz said:

Thanks, Roy. Isn’t it great, we all sit home and no one is screened coming in? Other friends came through LAX and no screening. Glad you’re fine and home. 😉

I think there may be some minimal screening by thermal sensors at immigration.  I do know that recently international flights were suspended from a number of airports, including BWI.  I suspect the ones dropped from the list are the ones that do not have thermal sensors.



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Roy, glad you are home.


I continue to believe they are going to have to shut everything down.  (eg., give a weeks notice and shut the airlines down as we did with 9/11).  Has to be one of the worst places right now to spread the virus.  Same has to go for buses, trains, subways, etc.


I too think they have the issues with the screening capabilities etc.  Either way a fever doesn't verify whether or not you have it and your symptoms have not shown up at that point in time.


Stay safe and stay healthy Roy.



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8 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Just read Emirates is suspending most operations on March 25.  I think they all need to.



The initial announcement yesterday afternoon was that they were suspending ALL passenger operations effective 25th March but various governments intervened and that decision had to be revised later in the evening to the current most passenger operations leaving routes to several countries still open.   Their extensive cargo operations remain fully operational....



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13 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Roy, glad you are home.


I continue to believe they are going to have to shut everything down.  (eg., give a weeks notice and shut the airlines down as we did with 9/11).  Has to be one of the worst places right now to spread the virus.  





I tend to agree, but not because of airlines not taking precautions. We flew on four planes from two lines over the last 36 hours and in each case when we boarded, the planes felt like they had just been "deep cleaned". We flew Air Canada from Sydney to Toronto and normally you get off the plane in Vancouver, clear Immigration/Customs and get back on the same plane in the same seats. Not anymore though. That plane comes out of service to be cleaned and you board a connecting flight to Toronto.


The only place we felt uncomfortable at any time in our journey from Perth was with the idiotic (and that word really is not strong enough) behaviour of the passengers waiting to board our last flight in Vancouver yesterday! After sitting a respectful one seat apart in the waiting area, as soon as the Zone signs went up, at least 100 people jumped up to stand in line in a relatively confined space. This despite the fact boarding was not scheduled to start for another 15 minutes!! So it's not necessarily the "corporations" causing potential problems, it's people acting like idiots!

Edited by Roland4
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Nothing at LAX. NC is cold..once it warms up I will be walking.

food arriving to house by friends,


just need to learn to sleep East coast time.


my best sleep was Monday from 6 am  for close ton13 hours 

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  • 2 weeks later...
15 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

I passed the 14-day mark at home about 1:30AM.  No twinges from my toe for about a week.  I assume it was most likely a stress fracture.




Good to hear good results from both concerns. I especially worried about the airplanes and airports for so many hours.


Thanks for the good news.

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