As we had posted, last night we enjoyed dinner at Silk Road. Silk Road is the Japanese Specialty Restaurant and was developed by Nobuyuki (Nobu) Matsuhisa. His cuisine is innovative reflecting influences from both Peru and Europe. Nobu spent the early part of his career as a Chef in Lima, Peru.
Since Crystal Serenity is going into dry dock at the end of this cruise there was an earlier than usual disembarkation, starting at a little after 6:00 AM.
We had breakfast in our room at 6:30 AM. We arranged for a private transfer with Crystal Cruises through the Chief Concierge and met in the Crystal Cove at 7:45 AM. Right before we arrived there we ran into Hotel Director Josef Matt and talked for awhile. Josef will be back on Symphony. The Chief Concierge escorted us off the ship into the terminal area where our luggage was with only those whom had private transfers so it was very easy to locate our two checked bags. He then handed us over to Concierge Max who stood with us until the vehicle arrived. This is why we get the private transfers with Crystal as you get fantastic personal assistance.
Max mentioned that although there was an early disembarkation the benefit to it was we arrived to port before the other two cruise ships and it allowed for a much faster and orderly disebmarkation.
We had a terrific driver. He mentioned to us that last weekend that there were three ships in port and that many passengers who waited for a taxi had to wait up to three hours for a taxi. There is no UBER in Vancouver.
When we arrived to the airport we checked in at the Airline Check In Counter, dropped our checked bags off in another area, went through security and then through United States Customs. Since we have Global Entry we were able to go through a shorter line at security and at immigration.
Our airline does not have an Airport Lounge at the airport, but we were able to use one of the designated lounges because of the Credit Card we have. We relaxed, read and wrote and had some fruit and water.
We've included photos of the other two ships in port, concierge Max and a view from our verandah.
We took a direct flight from Vancouver to hour Hub Airport and then as we did at the start of the cruise we spent the night at the airport hotel. The good news is that we arrived third minutes ahead of schedule. After collecting our luggage and then proceeding to the airpot hotel we enjoyed a very nice dinner. Tomorrow we fly back to our area hotel where it all began.
Keith & Anne Marie
Last evening we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at the Crystal Cove.
Afterwards we were back to the Crystal Dining Room for the second and final time of this voyage. These are the menus.
Dinner was fantastic. The dining room was much relatively quiet. We laughed because Anne Marie had Shrimp Cocktail and Tiger Shrimp and Keith had Tuna Tartare and Ahi Tuna. Talk about a lot of Shrimp and Tuna. It was delicious.
We slept well as we sailed to Victoria. The seas were very calm.
Keith was up early and enjoyed his final workout on the Elliptical Machine and skipped the last Spin Class.
We had breakfast in our room and then we got ready to go ashore.
Our first visit to Victoria was part of a pre-cruise stay in Vancouver prior to boarding an Alaskan Cruise with our family with Celebrity Cruise Line in the mid-1990's. Since that time, we visited Victoria several times by cruse ship including on Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.
Victoria is a charming city. The downtown area boasts a population of 80,000 residents and including the metropolitan area approximately 350,000 residents live in the nearby area. It is located approximately 60 miles from Vancouver.
It is known as the Garden City and one of the attractions located outside the city is Butchart Gardens which we have visited twice on prior trips. It is an amazing place to visit with its beautiful garden and statues along with all of its birds.
Victoria has a very strong economy driven by food products, tourism, education, government services and is a popular place for retirement.
As soon as the ship was cleared we made our way down the gangway and onto the pier. Crystals Cruises provided a complimentary shuttle for those who wanted to be dropped off downtown. Another option is to walk and there is a route from the pier into the downtown area. We took that one. The walk included beautiful views along the water front and at times the path took us by beautiful homes.
The weather was perfect. It was totally clear without a cloud in the sky so you could see the snow capped mountains. We could not have asked for better weather. Because the Alaska Cruise season is just starting we were the only ship in port and there were very few tourists walking the town.
This is an absolutely beautiful area. The town is immaculate.
Once in town we walked by the beautiful Parliament Buildings which were constructed in 1893. We stopped into The Empress Hotel which is a famous hotel and and their tea time is very popular with locals and tourists. The hotel is going through some renovation inside and outside. It was stunning inside. We walked by the Queen Victoria and the status in honor of author Emily Carr.
We then made our way up one of the main streets that are lined on both sides with restaurants, pubs, shops and hotels and we walked up and down several side streets which intersected the main street.
We stopped by a favorite shop that has beautiful made men's and women's clothing that we have shopped at previously. We didn't purchase anything this time around.
After a few hours we retraced our steps taking the thirty-minute walk back to Crystal Serenity. We were greeted at the runway by a member of the Crystal Crew who said "welcome home" as did the security personnel when we boarded Serenity. Yes, it always feels like our home, even on a five day voyage.
Shortly after we returned to Serenity we had our last lunch of this cruise at the Lido Cafe. We ended up staying there for two hours mainly conversing with others. We finished most of the packing afterwards.
Before dinner we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink in the Crystal Cove with Cruise Director Rick and one of the executives of Crystal Cruises.
This evening we dined at the Silk Road Japanese Restaurant for the very first time of this voyage. We were taken good care of by Waiter Albert and his assistant and by Sommelier Dennis. Maitre d' Antonio stopped by several times as well.
What can we say? The dinner was amazing. We will let some of the photos speak for themselves.
Tomorrow we will fly from Vancouver to our hub airport and then we will fly home the following day. We will post again in the next couple of days.
Keith & Anne Marie
Before dinner last evening we had a pre-dinner drink at the Crystal Cove. For the first time of this short cruise we sat with Olga. Olga is one of three women who lives on the ship. We have sailed with her on numerous World Cruises and then on several other cruises since she moved onto the ship in 2014. It was fun to catch up with her.
We had dinner at Tastes. Tastes serves Tapas like cuisine family style. Although considered a casual restaurant enjoy the total package of very unique cuisine, great service and a the ambience of the dining venue. It has the look and feel of dining at a luxury land-based resort hotel.
We ordered several items and then the waiter breaks them down into courses serving two or even three dishes as one course. We had three courses of the Tapas. Every couple of months a couple of new items are added to the menu replacing other items. Overtime, some items that had been replaced make their return replacing other items. A couple of items that are the same are now prepared a little differently. This included the Smoked Salmon.
The Tastes wait staff team includes a Head Waiter, three Waiters, several assistant waiters and someone to take and serve the drink orders.
The Head Waiter, German, joined Serenity after several years from Symphony taking the position of one of the two former Head Waiters who has moved to Crystal Cruise Esprit Yacht. There are three waiters (our waiter was Anna from Poland) who explains how Tastes works, answer questions about each item on the menu, determine the sequence in which items will be served and follow up through the meal. These three waiters are all new since our last visit last August. They are assisted by several people all of whom we know from our previous Crystal Cruises. Each cruise a couple of people from the bar department who work in different lounges on the ship rotate into Tastes. The person who took our orders we know from last year.
Hotel Director Scott Peterson and Cruise Director Rick Spath joined us for dinner. We have known Rick for many years starting on the 2008 World Cruise but prior to this cruise had only met Scott one time and that was for a very short conversation while Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony were both together in Singapore. For many years Scott has been a Cruise Director and last year assumed responsibility as Hotel Director on Crystal Symphony and now has moved over to Crystal Serenity as Hotel Director. A cruise passenger ship has a technical area and the majority of the area is the hotel function including the staterooms, dining venues, lounges, fitness center and outdoor areas as well as the crew and officer mess and crew and officer bars. The Hotel Director is is responsible for all of the crew members who interface with guests as well as the entertainers and enrichment personnel.
We had an absolutely wonderful time at dinner between the outstanding service, ambience and cuisine and the equally enjoyable conversation.
We are including a copy of the Tastes Menu below along with photos of some of the items we enjoyed last evening. Cruise Director Rick is standing next to Anne Marie and Hotel Director Scott is standing next to Anne Marie.
fWe slept well last evening and began the morning with our regular routine. This included a workout for Keith and a stop at the Lido Cafe, breakfast in our room, a Spin Class that Keith attended along with a one hour walk by Anne Marie. The class that Keith attended was taught by the other Fitness Director Martin who did a fantastic job teaching the class. It was a great way to burn off calories from last evening's dinner.
We then got ready for our next port of call stop of this voyage.
Although Keith has been to Seattle many times on business, Anne Marie had not visited Seattle before today. In contrast to Astoria, Seattle is larger in both population and size. Its population is close to 700,000 residents and is closer to four million residents when including the entire metropolitan area, making it the fifteenth largest metropolitan area in all the United States of America.
Seattle's economy is fueled by both old and new enterprises. This includes well-known companies headquartered in Seattle include Amazon.Com, Starbucks, Department Store Nordstrom and freight forwarder Expeditors International of Washington. Other companies located near this city include Costco Warehouse, Microsoft, Nintendo of America, and Providence Health & Services. Although no longer headquartered in Seattle Boeing still has a large presence in the area with part of its manufacturing capacity located in Seattle as well as South Carolina.
Seattle is a very popular tourist destination and during the summer several Alaska cruises start and/or end in Seattle. The city has several professional sports teams associated with Men's professional sports including baseball, football, and soccer along with a professional women's basketball team.
As Seattle has grown in population a major challenge is their road system which can be very challenging for both locals and visitors alike.
Although many think of Seattle as having a lot of rainfall, its average is about 37 inches per year and that is below the national average within the United States. There are certainly other cities in the state of Washington with much higher rainfalls.
We were docked in a perfect place. We walked from the ship over to Pike Place Market. To get there you either take one of three elevators located in different areas or walk the stairs. We took the elevator going up but walked going down. This market is one of the nicest markets we have ever visited from around the world. It opened in 1907. The seafood, fruit, vegetables, and flowers all looked perfect. We had learned during the destination talk on the ship that there is a fish market where they throw the fish and we saw this. Yes, they call it flying fish.
If we lived here this would be a place to purchase seafood. Many of the merchandise sold is locally made. From there we walked to the original Starbucks which was established in 1971.
We walked for awhile over until we reached Pioneer Square Park. This square is where Henry Yesler's sawmill cut the giant trees that market Seattle's first industry. Today the plaza feature a bust of Chief Seattle, pergola and totem pole. During our walk we passed by the Aquarium and Omnidome Theatre and enjoyed beautiful views along the way.
We returned to the ship for some lunch and then afterwards went back out.
We walked towards the Space Needle which was built for the 1962 World Fair. The tower stands 605 feet at its highest point. We also walked by Myrtle Edwards Park and Olympic Sculpture Park and then over to the Queen Anne neighborhood. As we were walking a train passed by that had to be the longest train we have ever seen. It took about fifteen minutes before all the cars cleared.
Weather was absolutely terrific as was the walk.
Keith & Anne Marie
Happy Mother's Day for those of you celebrating Mother's Day.
We began last evening with a pre-dinner drink. We went to the Avenue Saloon instead of the Crystal Cove to change things up and because Lido Deck Steward Nat said he was working this venue on this voyage and while Keith had seen him earlier in the day, Anne Marie had not yet seen him. Like many members of the Crystal Crew we have known Nat for over 10 years.
We arrived to the Crystal Cove about ten minutes before the start of dinner. Lots of guests were already there either just enjoying light conversation and/or a drink and several were having photographs taken by one or both of the ship's on-board photographers. Originally, the attire for the evening was to be Black Tie Optional but when we boarded Serenity we learned that it would be Crystal Casual. We didn't plan on formal attire just for one evening with Keith going with a sports jacket, dress pants and collared shirt and tie and Anne Marie in a dress. We keep with this attire last night and the vast majority of the guests did the same.
We then dined at the Crystal Dining Room. We were seated at a table that we have had for the past several cruises. We prefer a table for just the two of us. Formal nights can be quite busy and that was the case last night.
Evidently the Senior Waiter was under the weather so a Waiter took care of us and then another Waiter supported her. This was our first time meeting both of them. The Sommelier has been on board for several years so it was nice to catch up with him. Our Head Waiter was Augusto who we have had as our Head Waiter when he is on board for the past several years.
We began the meal with Caviar for Keith and Anne Marie had Shrimp Cocktail. We each had one of the salads on the menu. Anne Marie loves Lobster so that is what she had. Keith ended up going with the Lobster after considering the Alaskan Halibut. As they say decisions, decisions.....
For dessert, it was a low-fat yogurt for Anne Marie and mixed berries for Keith.
After dinner, we attended the Captain's welcome reception. We were greeted by Crystal Society Hostess Alissa, Captain Giske, Hotel Directors Josef Matt and Scott Peterson and Cruise Director Rick Spath. We walked around the entire time so we could socialize wit those in attendance.
The show that followed the reception was the wonderful Billy Joel Show. We think it is a very uplifting show and very entertaining.
We both slept well and Keith worked out at the Fitness Center before breakfast. We had an early morning breakfast so that Keith could attend the 7:30 AM Spin Class. This class was earlier than usual with our early morning arrival to Astoria, Oregon. In fact, Fitness Instructor Leanne said this was the earliest class she has taught since returning to Serenity last December. There were seven guests participating, and it was a challenging class which is the way Keith likes it.
While we were waiting for Serenity to arrive to port, we spoke with our son and daughter in-law so they could wish Anne Marie a Happy Mother's Day and we could do the same for Kara. We will be at their house a week after we return so we will also celebrate with them. Likewise we will celebrate with our daughter and son-in law shortly after we return home. We also spoke with our daughter. Anne Marie opened a card and gift from Keith. Speaking of Mother's Day, there was a nice display of Roses outside of the Crystal Dining Room as part of Mother's Day on-board Crystal Serenity.
Although Keith has been to Portland, Oregon on business, today marked our first visit to Astoria. Astoria is located almost one hundred miles from Portland. It is a relatively small town with a population of less than 10,000 residents and about ten square miles in size.
The main economic drivers of this town are tourism, including visits by passenger cruise ships, light manufacturing and its growing film industry. This year 24 cruise ships will call on this port. They will get several now marking the start of the Alaska Cruising season and several in August/September as the Alaska Cruising season comes to an end. They had two ships in port the other day which were the same two ships we saw on the day we arrived to San Francisco.
We took the shuttle over to the town which is a two mile drive. We would have just walked it but it was windy, overcast with temperature around 55 degrees fahrenheit. We understand that it was much warmer yesterday and is forecasted to be nice starting tomorrow.
The shuttle had three drop off stops and we got off at the first. At each stop and at the pier there were several people who support the shuttle who live in the town. Each one we spoke with was very nice and helpful and none of them get paid. It's all volunteer work.
We were impressed that at each intersection automobiles stopped for us and later learned it is the state law. In one of the newspapers that we were given it showed marijuana for sale which is not something we often see.
The town and its very friendly people reminded us of how life was in many part of the United States in the 1960's when we as children could go out on our own.
We walked for quite a while. The Sunday market which is held weekly just started again this season so we walked the many parts of it and we also made our way over to the maritime museum. We thought the writeup in the second photo was cute.
It's coincidental but when we arrived to the pier in San Francisco we ran into one of the former Japanese Hostesses Mari. Today when we arrived to the ship all of a sudden in the Crystal Cove we heard our names called and we looked up and we saw former Japanese Hostess Keiko and her husband Rex. Rex gave talks on both the 2009 and 2010 World Cruises and we got to know him then. He had a unique style of lecturing and would use maps to talk about explorers such as Captain Cook and would utilize yellow post-it notes to mark the route. They live close-by to this town.
We enjoyed lunch back on the ship at the Lido Cafe. After lunch we each exercised with Keith doing another workout on the Elliptical Machine and Anne Marie walking for an hour. Keith was hoping to play Paddle Ball but it was not meant to be as no one was around to play. We also read and wrote and walked around the ship.
This evening we will go for a pre-dinner drink, and then we have dinner at Tastes. We will also try to get to the evening show.
Keith & Anne Marie
DAY AT SEA
After we posted, Anne Marie continued to get things put away and we both did laundry from clothes we wore in San Francisco. Keith also took care of some items such as finalizing our transfer from Vancouver to Vancouver International Airport at the end of this cruise. After all, this is a five day cruise so these are things that needed to get done early in this cruise. Keith also visited the Fitness Center to sign up for tomorrow's Spin (indoor cycling class) and spoke with Fitness Director Leanne.
Rao came by while Anne Marie was getting things in order with our afternoon fruit. Rather than having Canapés we always have fruit. Shortly after Keith returned, Penthouse Attendant Lunghar who has taken good care of us for the last two years came by to check up on us and she introduced us to Trainee Attendant Vanessa.
Before dinner we went to the Crystal Cove for a pre-dinner drink. We saw Hotel Director Josef Matt along with the Bar Manager Florent.
We enjoyed our first dinner on Serenity at the Prego Specialty Restaurant. We were taken excellent care of by Maitre d' Antonio, Head Waiter, Slavko, Waiter Costa and Sommelier Jiri. We had a small portion of the additional entree which was clams in shells with pasta as an appetizer, caesar salad with just a little dressing added to it and seafood for Keith and Veal for Anne Marie and grilled vegetables. It was delicious.
About half way through dinner Cruise Director Rick Spath met up with us and a short while later we were also joined by Hotel Director Scott Peterson who will be taking over from Josef Matt when this cruise ends. Scott had been along time Cruise Director on Crystal Symphony and recently was Hotel Director over there. He now will be Hotel Director on Serenity alternating back and forth with Hotel Director Hubert.
Afterward, we went to the Muster Drill. Our muster station is in the Casino. Took this photo right before we left our room. This is about the only time we are in the Casino.
We departed San Francisco at 10:00 PM and enjoyed a nice sail away under the Golden Gate Bridge. There was a 10:00 PM show but we didn't make it.
We slept very well as we always do. It is a combination of the rocking of the seas plus a little wine. LOL, but true. Some guests that we spoke with didn't sleep well and thought the seas were rough. It could be a combination of where their rooms are located and/or they are not used to the seas. We know that with each passing year we are far less bothered by the seas and we do take a room mid-ship.
We were back to our normal routine today. This is the only sea day of the cruise. It involves exercise/fitness, enrichment, dining, and conversation and evening entertainment.
Keith was up early and worked out on the Elliptical Machine for an hour and a few hours later took an 8:00 AM Spin (indoor cycling class) taught by Fitness Director Leanne. We have known Leanne for over two years. The class was full with a combination of people taking Spin for the first time and others who have taken it before. It was a lot of fun. Anne Marie walked for one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon.
We enjoyed some of the enrichment. The nice thing about the lectures is you can see them live or watch them in your room or even on an iPad as they are recorded. You can even see ones given on prior cruises. I did just that as I watched a lecture given recently by former General Anthony Zinni. We’ve seen him give talks on a few previous Crystal Cruises. Of most of the former Generals I have listened to I find his talks to be very informative and thoughtful. He spoke about the President’s role as Commander In Chief and hit home many points including some of the talk on the Presidential Campaign Trail that has been over the top.
There were two morning lectures. First one was given by Roger Luckenbach about our destinations on this voyage. He covered the first two destinations of Astoria, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. The second talk was given by Tom DeFrank on the Presidential 2016 race, appropriately called The Wackiest Presidential Race Ever. We caught both of these talks on the television.
Every hour had several activities. Even though this is a short cruise they still had the iMovie and Filmaking Classes, and Needlepoint and Art Classes as well as a Golf Clinic and many other classes.
In between all of this was dining. After all, that is one of the joys of cruising. We kept to our eating pattern. We enjoyed a healthy and light breakfast in our room. For lunch we went to the Lido Café, which serves an array of items presented at various food stations. We each made a large salad entrée consisting of many salad items and also steamed vegetables along with some salmon. Today's lunch buffet also featured the Asian Buffet which is very popular on most voyages. We have included several photos from this buffet at the end of today's post.
Dinner will come later this evening and we will Blog about this tomorrow.
Adding to our day was conversation with members of the crew many whom we know from previous sailings and others who we have met for the very first time. We also enjoyed conversation with some of our fellow guests. We will see many of the crew members when we return in August, while some will be home on well deserved holidays.
Another interesting aspect to a short cruise. We turned in our passports yesterday and we could pick them back up today. Of course one of the reasons is that we will visit USA ports only before our arrival to Canada. Thankfully, our disembarkation packet has not yet arrived.
We noticed lots of birthdays and anniversaries with eight birthday and nine anniversary celebrations.
All in all a wonderful day on board Crystal Serenity and we look forward to dinner in the Crystal Dining Room, the Captain's Reception and possibly a show later tonight.
Some additional photos follow including two that Keith took in the early hours of the morning at the Lido Cafe, a few photos that Anne Marie took on an earlier version iPhone of Keith's indoor cycling class and several photos from the Asian Buffet lunch.
Keith & Anne Marie
EMBARKATION DAY - Returning Home To Crystal Serenity
After enjoying our final breakfast at the hotel, we finished packing and got ready to return home to Crystal Serenity.
After checking out of the hotel, we were driven to Pier 27. The drive took about twenty minutes.
This is our first time sailing from Pier 27. The pier is located at the intersection of Embarcadero, Lombard Street and Battery Street.
On our last visit to this city, we saw this pier while it was under construction. The pier was constructed for two purposes. It was used when San Francisco hosted America's Cup and subsequently is used as another cruise ship terminal for passenger cruises ships calling on San Francisco.
Our first sailing from San Francisco was on the former Crystal Harmony in July of 2002 and represented the first time we sailed with Crystal Cruises. Our daughter, son and future son-in-law joined us on this voyage. Fast forward to 2009 and we sailed from San Francisco on a Siversea cruise and in 2011 we sailed out of this city on Crystal Symphony. In 2012 towards the end of World Cruise 2012 we arrived to San Francisco on Crystal Serenity where we stayed overnight a couple of days before our voyage ended in San Pedro, California. All of those sailings were out of Pier 35.
All of As we got close to the Pier, we could see the beautiful Crystal Serenity.
After being dropped off at the pier, we saw Mari who used to work for Crystal Cruises. We then were greeted by Swenja who manages the local personnel who assist with embarkation and disembarkation. We also spoke with Chief Concierge Ervin. We then waited in the cruise ship terminal for boarding to begin. During our wait we ran into many familiar members of the crew including the Photo Manager, Senior Head Waiter Carmelo, Head Waiter Augusto, and other members of the crew.
We met a very nice couple who we spoke with for quite awhile. They were originally from South Africa but have lived in the United States for 35 years. This is their first Crystal Cruise. The woman has lung cancer and is midway through her treatments so they could do this cruise. This is another reminder to now sweat the little things that might not go our way and to enjoy life.
After boarding the ship we made our way to the Crystal Dining Room where we had our Traditional Cobb Salad and a Flute of Champagne where we toasted our love for one another and our happiness to be back on Crystal Serenity. We spoke with several other members of the wonderful Crystal Crew including Head Waiter Frantz, Head Waiter Augusto and Maitre d' Leo.
After lunch we stopped by the Computer University and when we arrived to our room our luggage was already waiting for us. Shortly after arriving back to our room, we were greeted by Butler, Rao. It was great to catch up with Rao.
As much as we have sailed Crystal Serenity we are thrilled to be back on Serenity and look forward to our getaway cruise.
Keith & Anne Marie
Third Full Day & Our Final Day In The City We love - San Francisco
Friends Patty and Michael met us at our hotel early last evening. They first took us to a place known for its beer called The Beer Hall which is owned and run by their daughter and son-in-law. It opened approximately thirty months ago. It was a great opportunity to try a sampler of beer which Anne Marie and I share.
We then made our way to French Restaurant Jeanne D'arc located in the Cornell Hotel De France. The restaurant has been in business for 46 years. The dinner menu consisted of a four course fixed menu. The venue is beautiful and has that very French feel to it.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner with fine service along with a terrific conversation starting from the time that Patty and Michael picked us up, throughout the evening until they brought us back to the hotel.
Following breakfast at the Hotel and then we headed outside for our final full day in San Francisco.
We walked through Chinatown and workers were getting items set up for today's sales. We then proceeded to Little Italy and then walked over to Lombard Street. From there we walked up Lombard and took in all the views. The walk can be challenging as it involves a large incline but before we knew it we were to the top of the hill. The good news is that we proceeded back down the Lombard. We also viewed a beautiful little park.
From there we walked over to Ghirardelli Square. Although it was still early in the morning one of the ships was open offering samples of candy. We walked along Fisherman's Wharf and took a little time to visit the area that is home to World War II Vessels. From there we proceeded up The Embarcadero passing by Pier 39, and the other Piers that are home to various vessels including the two cruise ship terminals, the ferry's that go over to Alcatraz and to other locations and even some former piers which are home to restaurants and to administrative offices.
The weather was terrific. At times the sun came out and other times where it was overcast with a very nice breeze. Once we arrived to the Ferry Building we checked out the Farmer's Market which is open weekly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. From there we worked our way over to Union Square. By the time we returned to the hotel we had lunch.
Each day we have eaten lunch at the Club Floor Lounge since arriving to San Francisco. The lunches include vegetables to make a salad, but the other items are changed from day to day. Some of the vegetables are quite unique including the different colors of cauliflower and the different colored carrots. The cauliflower all tastes the same regardless of color and the same is true of the carrots.
Later in the afternoon, we went back out for anther long walk. We love San Francisco and look forward to returning again in the future.
Keith & Anne Marie
Second Full Day In San Francisco
After the nine hours of walking we did yesterday we each fell asleep easily.
We had breakfast in the Club Room before we set out to continue exploring this wonderful city.
We keep to a simple breakfast when we travel as we do at home. We each had cereal and some fresh fruit. The breakfast at the Club Floor Lounge includes both hot and cold items. As part of our amenities we could also order breakfast in our room, but we just prefer a light breakfast and it is easy to just walk a few feet and we are right at the lounge.
We walked from the hotel over to Union Square where we picked up the Cable Car which took us to Fisherman's Wharf. This was the first time we took the Cable Car since 2002 when were in San Francisco for our family on our first Crystal Cruises Cruise on the former Crystal Harmony.
We walked past some of the sites that we had visited yesterday and then headed towards the Golden Gate Bridge. We walked along the street on the bay side and took in the beautiful scenery all around us. On the other side of the street stood many beautiful homes. We saw some very beautiful displays of shrubs. On our way we passed by a couple of parks and the marina. We made it to within about 20 minutes of the bridge and then decided to cross the street and make our way back to where we started. We stopped off at the Palace of Fine Arts which was built for the San Francisco Worlds Fair.
We then walked over to Pier 39. Unlike yesterday when we were there very early in the day many more people were there. We visited a sports shop where we have purchased some items in the past. We didn't purchase anything but enjoyed looking at some of the items including items related to San Francisco teams such as the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors and our favorite baseball team, The New York Yankees.
We walked along The Embarcadero until we arrived to the Ferry Building and then walked another thirty minutes or so until we arrived back to our hotel. Just prior to arriving to our hotel we saw a side street named after our Granddaughter, Emma. Now we just have to find a sign for our Grandson Andre and then we will have found street signs for each of our grandchildren.
We enjoyed lunch at the Hotel and then we went out again and walked around Union Square.
Today's weather was great. There was a point in time that we took off our jackets and fleeces and then a short while later it cooled off and we each put just our jackets back on. This evening we have plans to dine with friends Patty and Michael.
Overall, another wonderful day in San Francisco.
Keith & Anne Marie
We Love San Francisco
We had mentioned that one of the benefits of staying at the Ritz Carlton is its location in a very quiet area of San Francisco and we were reminded of that last night. It was absolutely quiet and we slept very well.
Keith was up early and he took some photos of the Club Room. Some of the lights were off since the photos were taken before the staff arrived to set up breakfast. While we also enjoyed the previous traditional decor of the room, we also like the new look of the room. The room has all new carpeting and furniture and some physical changes have been made such as removing the bar which provides more room for seating.
We had breakfast at the Club Lounge.
The Club Floor Lounge is open 24 hours a day with items such as coffee, tea, water, and soft drinks available the entire time. Between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM one of five food presentations is presented. This includes:
Breakfast between 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM.
Lunch & Light Snacks between 12:00 Noon and 4:00 PM.
Hors d'Oeuvres & Cocktails between 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Each night there is a different theme such as Napa, Japanese and Chinese. On the Napa evening which we will miss as it is scheduled for Friday evening, it includes wine tasting.
Evening Desserts between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM.
At 7:30 AM we left the Hotel to continue exploring San Francisco.
We walked through Chinatown. It is always nice to walk this area early in the morning as it is not very crowded and we can take it all in. From there we proceeded to Little Italy which is part of South Beach. Whenever we walk this area, we can't help but think of the area when its residents were mainly Italian. There of the DiMaggio's come to mind; Vince, Dom, and of course Joltin Joe DiMaggio who all played Major League Baseball.
From there we made our way towards Fisherman's Wharf. We passed by the Old Cannery Factory and Ghirardelli Square. We walked by the many outdoor food places where you can get clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl or crab or a variety of other delicious seafood items. We then went by Scoma's Restaurant known for its Italian Cuisine. For us it brings back many fond memories. Keith first went to Scoma's for dinner on his first San Francisco business trip. When Keith was offered a position involving us moving from Virginia to the San Francisco Bay Area we flew to San Francisco with Jennifer and Eric to see if we would like to live here and we ate at Scoma's. While we lived in the Bay Area when we drove into San Francisco we would have lunch at Scoma's almost always enjoying pasta with clams and of course sourdough bread. After our move from the Bay Area, when we would return to San Francisco with Jennifer and Eric we would try to have lunch or dinner at Scoma's. We then walked all around the wharf area and then over to Pier 39. Yes, Pier 39 is touristy but a fun place to walk around. We passed by the carousel that Jennifer and Eric would go on. We viewed the many Sea Lions whom make this area their home.
From Pier 39 we walked along The Embarcadero passing by the various piers including the two piers used for passenger ships and other piers that are used for boat trips to places including Alcatraz and Sausalito. We walked inside the Ferry Building which is home to lots of restaurants and stores. From the Ferry Building we walked all the way to Union Square. As we made our way back to the Ritz Carlton we located the Hotel where Eric and Kara will be going to in a couple of weeks to celebrate their five year wedding anniversary.
We had lunch back at the hotel.
In the afternoon we went on a four hour walk. We walked in the opposite direction from the route we took in the morning towards a shopping and residential area. There were times that we had to walk up sharp inclines. We took in beautiful views including the Marina District. At one point we made our way to Steiner Street and to the intersection of Jackson and Steiner which is the name of our Grandson. We stopped by the St. Dominics Catholic Church. The Church was established in 1873 and was rebuilt following the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. The weather was absolutely perfect. All in all another wonderful day in San Francisco.
We picked up a salad entree for dinner and brought it back to the room.
All in all we had enjoyed our first full day in San Francisco.
Keith & Anne Marie
San Francisco Here We Come
A benefit of staying at the airport hotel is with our morning flight we didn't have to get picked up so early and avoided rush-hour traffic. After checking out of the hotel, we took a short walk of about one minute over to the check-in counter for our flight. Once again, we proceeded through security using the Pre TSA Approval line allowing for an unobtrusive and speedy walk through security. We then went to one of several lounges for the airline we fly as we waited for our plane.
There were thunderstorms in the area a couple of hours before our flight, but fortunately the weather cleared and our flight took off on time.
Shortly after air bound, we had breakfast which consisted of oatmeal and some fruit along with water and coffee. The flight was uneventful, and we passed the time by reading, conversing and watching a movie. Keith watched the movie Concussion starring Will Smith. It is a very well done movie.
Once we collected our luggage at the San Francisco airport, we were taken by our pre-arranged transportation to the Ritz Carlton where we will spend the next four days.
San Francisco offers a wide range of hotel accommodations. We not only enjoy this Ritz Carlton property but we prefer its location. We are big walkers and we can walk to many places from this property. Another plus for this hotel its location in a relatively quiet spot in the city.
Our first stay at this property was in the early 1990's when we returned to the city with our family. Since then we have stayed here on each of our subsequent trips. Our last stay was in 2012.
We alway take a room on the Club Floor as we enjoy the amenities of the Club Floor Lounge. Shortly after checking into the Hotel, we did just that by having a light lunch at the Club Floor Lounge, before we explored the city.
A few years ago right before we last stayed at the hotel the main floor was redone in more contemporary styles and last year the rooms were also updated to reflect a more current look. The same is true of the Club Floor. These are photos of the suite we are staying in which coincidentally was the room we stayed at in 2002 before our first Crystal Cruise.
After we checked into the hotel we enjoyed a light lunch and then went out to explore the city. We walked from the Hotel all the way to the Ferry Building and then we walked to the newest cruise ship terminal at Pier 27. The last time we were here they were constructing the pier for America's Cup. We then walked over to the Union Square area and stopped off at a few stores. We then enjoyed an early dinner at a nearby restaurant.
These are some photos that we took during our walk.
The weather was absolutely perfect with a nice breeze and a high close to 70 degrees fahrenheit.
Upon our return, we stopped by the Club Lounge for some wine. Afterwards, Anne Marie unpacked while Keith took care of some items. This included arrangements to take us to Pier 27 when we board Crystal Serenity this Friday and taking care of some items related to our community back home.
All in all we had a wonderful first day in San Francisco.
Keith & Anne Marie