Emily...We feel the same way about Liezl. She is a gem.
Four words which said collectively carry lots of meaning to us as they are played on Crystal Sailings and sung by Louis Armstrong "What A Wonderful World". No matter where we sail these words resonate with us and viewing the cloud cover as the sun is getting ready to rise was a reminder What A Wonderful World we live in and how much there is to see and appreciate each and everyday. The key is to take the time to "smell the roses" to take it all in.
We had a change of weather late afternoon after we posted which was positive. While playing paddle tennis Keith could see from a distance rain shower from a distance. Later, after ninety minutes of play he changed and sat out on the back aft on our deck where you feel as if you are on a private yacht. In very little time the rain showers could be seen over Great Exuma and the wind picked up bringing a lovely breeze over the ship. It was delightful.
These are last night's menus from Waterside.
We chose to dine at Umi Uma. Although last month on Endeavor we dined three times at Umi Uma, It has been along time since we have dined at Umi Uma on Crystal Serenity, although we ate the food in our room on the July and the present cruise. We last ate at the dining venue 19 months ago in February of 2020. We prefer dining at the venue but due to social distancing concerns and the protocols we have established for ourselves we chose our room over the venue until last evening. With a low occupancy rate on-board guests dining at various venues each evening and many guests preferring arriving 7:00 PM or later it was very quiet when we arrived at 6:30 PM and this continued until 7:30 PM. Eventually, it became busier with more people dining at tables that we would pass by on our way out of Umi Uma. We decided we would likely dine in our room next week rather than go to Umi Uma because of this but we shall see. We so prefer having the food at the dining venue.
Everything was perfect including the amazing cuisine, outstanding service performed professionally and with warmth from the waitstaff and sommelier team along with the lovely ambiance of this dining venue.
What did we eat? Too much great food. LOL. We ate well but didn't overeat. Often, we have a salad and passed on that and didn't order dessert although they do bring out that little tray of goodies. LOL.
Most special was being able to spend time with all of the members of Team Umi Uma and other members of Team Serenity. This made the evening extra special.
Our waiter was Anthony who we have known since 2005. Time speeds by when you are having fun. Our Sommelier was on top of everything and we had visits from Head Waiter Sigi and Head Sommelier Jiri and it was so nice to see the entire team including Albert who has take care of us many times over the years. And a special shoutout to the amazing Nobu trained Chefs for preparing an array of wonderful sashimi and sushi items for us to enjoy.
This is today's daily Reflections Program.
We started the day the way we always do. You all know our routine by now even better than we do. LOL.
A workout for Keith at the Fitness Center, followed by breakfast and a nice long walk on the Promenade Deck. While we were walking we saw a very nice couple for the third time of the cruise who Keith met at Hotel Borg on the day we had debarked Endeavor and a few minutes before they were being transferred to the Hotel Crystal was using to perform the Antigen Tests prior to embarkation. The irony is they are in the room which has been our go-to room for the vast majority of times we have sailed Serenity. We told them how much we have enjoyed that room.
We thought we would add lunch menus from today at Waterside.
After lunch we did the things we both enjoy doing.
This continues to be a wonderful cruise.
This is our fourth stop at Long Island and we still didn't get off as we didn't want to sit on the tender due to social distancing. As we've mentioned, Keith grew up in Long Island but not Long Island of the Bahamas. Maybe he'll visit next week just because of the name of this island.
Anne Marie & Keith
Keith went to the open house yesterday to take photos of the various staterooms and suites on the ship.
These are photos of the Deluxe Stateroom on Deck 7 which is 213 square feet with no verandah.
Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah on Deck 9 whose interior room size is the same as the one with no verandah.
Seabreeze Penthouses were created as part of the dry dock in November of 2018. They do not have a bathtub but have a rain shower.
First one is the Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah.
Last evening we returned to Waterside for dinner. These are the dinner menus.
Second one is a Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah.
This one is a Penthouse with Verandah
Next, Penthouse Suite with Verandah
Last evening we returned to Waterside for dinner. These are the dinner menus.
Each night there is a Vegetarian Menu.
These are the Breakfast Menus from Waterside.
We enjoyed appetizers; Barbecue Tiger Shrimp for both of us; Salad; and Fresh Local Mahi Mahi Keith & Prime Rib for Anne Marie; Cheese for Keith and Ice Cream for Anne Marie and let's not forget the wine. Wine was superb.
We have included a photo of the Dream Team of Waterside Sommeliers.
With guests dining in various venues around the ship the dining venue was relatively quiet and the wonderful team could spend time speaking with us between courses and following up to see how we were enjoying the meal.
This is today's Daily Reflections Program.
Most days sunrises are absolutely amazing when we are are at sea. Always something different to see and experience.
We enjoyed a terrific morning on-board Crystal Serenity. An early morning workout for Keith, breakfast in our room, the two of us walking on the Promenade Deck. Life is good.
We anchored off Great Exuma by the scheduled time of 7:30 AM. Although Porky Pig isn't on the island, the highlight of today's tours is clearly swimming with pigs and reflecting the demand for this tour it was offered in the morning and the afternoon. Other options for the day included snorkeling, sailing and swimming and/or a relaxing day on the beach.
With many people off the ship, Serenity felt like a yacht. We spoke with some of the members of the wonderful team serenity, read, wrote, and Keith took another long walk.
Lunch in our room and Paddle Tennis for Keith and another nice walk on the Promenade Deck for Anne Marie.
Paddle tennis was Hot, Hot, Hot and as usual Fun, Fun, Fun. LOL.
Anne Marie & Keith
We thought we would begin on the lighter side. After all it's all about carpeting. LOL.
When we both walked inside the ship the other day this was the first time Anne Marie had walked Deck 6 of Serenity which is the deck with The Bistro, stores, Galaxy theatre, photo studio, etc. since March of 202. She didn't walk inside the ship when we returned in July as she often does and instead walked outside on the Promenade Deck exclusively.
When dry dock was completed in November of 2018 they replaced several large area of carpeting throughout the ship with a new pattern. One area they didn't replace was the areas along the corridor of the photo studio leading to the back of the ship towards Connoisseur Club and Stardust.
Keith didn't pick up on the change in July so Anne Marie thinks it likely occurred sometime during or after the dry dock of the vessel before it was brought to Nassau for the restart of cruising.
This is what the carpeting looks like now.
This is what it previously looked like
Thank you for your comments Patricia. Yes, the TV by the foot of the bed on Endeavor was the first one we had seen on a Crystal Ship. In this room there is one about the desk in one of the living areas, one in the living room and one in the bedroom. Believe it or not they have on in the master bathroom embedded in the mirror but when they went to the new interactive television system in late 2018 as par of dry dock and makeover of the ship it no longer gets stations. We will keep the food photos coming and do our best to take photos of other rooms when they have the open house.
We were asked if we could post photos of our Verandah. Because Crystal doesn’t put suites on the back of the ship (this is a plus as they devote the back of most guest decks to public space) the depth is the same as all verandahs except the few on the very front and very back of the ships where the verandahs are somewhat larger. Unlike other verandahs the ones for the Crystal Penthouses (4 on Serenity) are standalone and do not adjoin adjacent verandahs.
We wanted to continue with final photos of Crystal Penthouse.
These are photos of the two bathrooms in the Crystal Penthouse; powder room with shower and master bath.
These are photos of some of the public rooms on Deck7. This includes the Bridge Room where bridge lessons are offered, and bride games take place and others can come in other times of the day to play cards or other board games. Years ago we took bridge lessons on the Crystal Harmony and played board games on Serenity with our family. The room is larger than the photos show, but when we took the photos some people were playing cards on the other side of the room.
There is the beautiful Vintage Room offering a Luncheon with either wine or sometimes one about Champagne. They also offer Vintage Room dinners. There is a cost for each of these. The wine and champagne and cuisine are outstanding as is the cuisine and the Head Sommelier leads a very nice and informative discussion of wine and champagne.
There is a library offering many books for guests to check out as well as magazines and other periodicals for guests to sit and read. Librarian Liezl who we adore is in one of the photos.
Another room is the dance studio where private dance lessons for a fee are normally offered but this has been placed on hold due to COVID-19 protocols. It is used right now for complimentary Pilates classes with reformers or for a fee guests can arrange private lessons with the Pilates Instructor.
Another room is used for training classes and certain times of the year for music classes and during the World Cruise guests can be part of the World Cruise Choir and this is where they rehearse for the recital.
This deck is also home for the Specialty Restaurant Umi Uma Japanese Restaurant based on the cuisine of Chef Nobu who is a renowned Chef, The Specialty Restaurant Prego which serves Italian Cuisine and the Computer University where computer classes are taught, staff is on duty to help guests to access the internet with their devises and plenty of iMac computers are available for the use by the guests.
We dined at Prego last night. The following are the dinner menus from Waterside followed by dinner menus from Prego.
We always enjoy dining at Prego and as you hear us say often for us Prego has the charm of a restaurant in a small town or village where you know the people who are part of the restaurant. As usual service, cuisine and ambiance were magnificent.
Food was delicious. It took almost twenty years but I discovered how much I enjoy Capaccio as an appetizer which is made near the table. Anne Marie had Lasagna for an entrée which we think is the first time she’s had it at Prego. We will let the photos speak for themselves. It was a wow.
Once each week we charge the contact tracing devices with this power cord the butler provided last evening. In rooms without butler service the stateroom attendant would provide them.
You know they are charged when you see a blinking light in the middle of the device; blue indicates you are not in close proximity of another person and red indicates you are not socially distancing.
Interesting morning colors.
This is the Reflections for today.
After a two day break it was great to get out to the Paddle Tennis Court. Keith played with Food & Beverage Manager Tayfun, Restaurant Manager Paolo and Band Master and Drummer Greg. It was just the four of us on the court so non-stop play. It was Hot, Hot, Hot, and Fun, Fun, Fun.
After 16 months of not playing Paddle Tennis it’s been great to play in July and now.
We wanted to close with some photos from yesterday at the Port Of Miami. It is nice to see cruising making a comeback. Including Serenity five cruise ships were in port. In addition to Serenity, two Carnival ships, one NCL and one Virgin cruise ship. While ships are sailing with lower than desired occupancies it is important they sail which they are doing.
Anne Marie & Keith
We wanted to begin by posting photos of the suite we are in. As we did on the July back-to-back cruises, we are staying in the Crystal Penthouse Suite. We booked the suite both times because of Anne Marie's compromised immune system as we knew she would spend more time in the room and less time in the Public Areas. Full Disclosure. On Crystal Serenity we really like the PH because we love the room layout with the two desks and all of the built in cabinets. While the PS is larger than the PH we prefer the PH. In addition, we have stayed in the PS a few times when we used Crystal Society upgrades to go from a PH to a PS and we have also stayed in standard rooms including on our first World Cruise. As long as we are on a cruise it is always special.
Prior to these voyages we stayed in the Crystal Penthouse for the first time in 2017 when we brought our family on board with us. This included our two children, their spouses and at the time three of the five grandchildren as the other two were not yet born. It was a seven day cruise and it was for our 40th wedding anniversary and we renewed our wedding vows in the suite and it was a great meeting place where we enjoyed a couple of dinners and pre-dinner get-togethers. One night we had two babysitters from the crew so the adults could have dinner together and one night we watched the grandchildren while our children and spouses went to Umi Uma by themselves. The other time was after the 2019 World Cruise when we stayed on-board and at the time it was our 100th Milestone when 12 of the 16 days was complimentary as part of the 100th milestone.
Come next year we will be back to the PH and it will be great.
When they have the next open house, I will try to swing by and take photos of the various room categories to post them
Serenity departed Bimini at 6:00 PM.
We enjoyed dinner at the Silk Specialty Restaurant featuring Chinese food. There were a few changes to the menu since we dined there in July. For those who like spicy dishes those are available and for those who prefer something far less spicy this is also available. We enjoyed another nice evening on the ship.
It was a lovely dinner made very special by the very professional, attentive and friendly wait-staff and bar staff teams.
Following are the menus from Waterside.
This is the menu from Silk.
They alternate the opening of Silk with the Brazilian Restaurant Churrascaria. This is due to lower occupancy on-board Serenity and allows better use of the wait-staff and galley teams.
The original concept included fewer choices where most would be brought out to the table and eaten family style. Feedback from guests indicated greater choice was desired and Crystal augmented the dinner menu accordingly. You can still have the meal family style or you could have it served individually. We prefer having a few items at a time so all of the food remains hot and some items we share while others we order for ourself only.
We enjoyed many items and we will once let the photos show what we had.
From time-to-time we are asked by those new to Crystal or who haven't sailed Crystal for sometime, about the inclusive wines. Following is the listing of inclusive wine being served on the ship. The list changes from time-to-time based on availability and where the ship is sailing. This listing includes 28 varieties of wine and there are other varieties served which are not on the list.
Later in the night was the White Night Extravaganza so we each dressed in something white.
This is today's Daily Reflections Program.
Keith took some photos while they were setting up the continental breakfast at Marketplace which runs from 6:30 AM to 7:00 AM followed by the breakfast buffet from 7:00 AM to 9:30 AM
Some photos as we began arrival to Port Of Miami and as we were getting ready to dock.
Today was turn around day for the ship as several guests will debark in Miami and others will board. Overall guest count is expected to be around 190 guests. When you return to a USA port and the cruise ends all guest must be off the ship including in-transit like us who are continuing on to the next voyage. Guests continuing on for the next port of call cannot return until a zero count is achieved meaning all guests had debarked the ship. As part of this process guests must present their passports to custom/immigration agents.
Guests who are not staying on started to debark the ship shortly after 8:30 AM. They called guests by Groups 1 followed by 2 followed by 3. We were in Group 3. We debarked about 9:20 AM. We showed our passports to the agent, he took our photo, he asked if we planned to go into Miami and Anne Marie said she would wait in the terminal and Keith said he was going over to Bayside.
Keith started his walk to Miami. It's been awhile since he walked the route from Terminal J which is across the way from the other terminals and it is a bit tricky to do this. Finally he remember and found the underpass which would take him to the other side and then made a left to go over the bridge and walked past the arena and across the street to CVS to pick up items. About 10 minutes before returning Anne Marie texted to say guests could return and she would wait for Keith and ten minutes later and an hour after he left we were both back on the ship.
One comment just for education. When you leave the ship you are asked to wear a mask for the terminal area. It is in the daily program and there was a couple near us and was told they needed to put on a mask. They did. However, after going through passport control you leave the building and go back into the check in area and Anne Marie saw many took off their masks as if it was OK. It's still the terminal and masks are required. Finally, one of the local representatives made a kindly reminder that guests need to wear masks. It's the law.
For lunch since it was another embarkation day we kept to the tradition of Cobb Salad.
We are enjoying the rest of the day on-board Serenity.
Anne Marie & Keith
Emily...Thank you for your comment about recognizing members of the crew.
We had quite a bunch of rain yesterday afternoon with the lightning and thunder which we remember from our first visit to Nassau on the Big Red Boat. On the July sailings we didn’t have these storms.
Shortly before the Muster Drill, the local band played for us as it has on each visit to the Bahamas. We could also see many of the guests on the RCI Freedom Of The Seas out on their verandahs listing to the band.
The Muster Drill was required for newly embarking guests and certainly those who are already on-board were welcome to attend. The muster drills always include some information on safety issues when guests make their way around the ship. The drill has been updated with reminders about COVID-19 protocols. This includes:
Returning to ones room if they have certain symptoms including feeling feverish and cold like symptoms and calling the operator so the medical team can be deployed to the persons room.
Social distancing a minimum of 1 meter which is slightly more than 3 feet.
Wearing masks inside the ship. This is only a recommendation and not required at this point in time. We see more guests wearing masks on this voyage than on the first two restart voyages. We believe this is due to the Delta variant and likely more information on curbing the spread of the virus.
Last evening, we were back at Waterside for dinner
These are the dinner menus.
We also wanted to provide the inclusive wine list for the present voyage. Although some wines are often carried month to month and sometimes year to year some wines drop off the list and are replaced with other wines from around the world.
We departed earlier than scheduled (a little before 7:00 PM versus 7:30 PM) and enjoyed some scenic views from our table until darkness arrived during dinner.
Dinner was as wonderful as usual.
A highlight were the appetizers each of us ordered from the Modern Cuisine Menu.
Lots of good choices. Appetizers of Seared Ahi Tuna for Keith and Portobello for Anne Marie, followed by salad and Fresh Salmon for each of us. Dessert was ice cream for Anne Marie and cheese for Keith. Senior Waiter Claudia who took care of us a few years ago stopped by to say hello.
Then there was the wine. LOL.
Today's Daily Reflections Program follows.
We kept our morning routine. An early morning workout for Keith followed by Breakfast and a nice walk for Anne Marie on the Promenade Deck.
On our first two voyages the embarkation and visit to Bimini was cancelled due to a breakout of COVID-19 on the island. Genting who owns Crystal Cruises arranged to transport those living on the island to Florida to get J&J Vaccine. The good news is we visited Bimini for the first time. Since we were docked, Keith went off for a little while.
You walk from the ship on the pier which is on Cement Piers with a flooring mostly metal. For safety reasons you are asked to take the Tram. Keith was the only one on the vehicle and the driver offered him a range of places to stop. Keith chose the Hilton which is owned by the owner of Crystal Cruises; Genting. From there he walked towards the beach. He stayed mainly on the sidewalk. However, on occasion someone was walking in the opposite direction and the width of the walkway was not wide so Keith would go in the street. The challenge was some of the vehicles go fast and are pretty close to the pedestrians. The beach was nice although the spacing of lounge chairs seemed tight. Along the way Keith passed one area which was private residences and on the other side homes which possibly one could rent. Upon his return to the Hilton he walked in the other direction over towards the fitness center. The weather was nice until some rain drizzle came down. As Keith was walking back to the Hilton the driver saw Keith and he picked him up. Two other guests were on the Tram.
While Keith was on the Island, Anne Marie was walking on the Promenade Deck.
While Keith walked on the Promenade Deck the starboard (right) side towards the aft (back) of the ship was pretty windy.
We normally don't post lunch menus but thought we would post Waterside's Lunch menus from today.
Following lunch Keith returned to the Fitness Center for something he has not done in for 18 months which was to do indoor cycling with two other people. During the Pandemic we purchased an indoor cycle bike for our home. Keith used a playlist from one of the classes he taught at home and he along with the two people worked out on the bikes together. There was plenty of social distancing. A challenging workout but it was fun to be back in the saddle with others.
Anne Marie took a photo of what might have been a ferry arriving to the Island while walking the Promenade Deck.
We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on-board Serenity.
Anne Marie & Keith
Today, we wanted to highlight the Fitness Center and the Salon. We greatly appreciate the Fitness Center being open 7x24 and also the wonderful salon where over the years we have had our hair done several times. There are also several rooms associated with the spa offering many different treatments including massages. There is also a doctor who does treatments such as Botox and someone who does acupuncture.
We enjoyed a wonderful dinner in our room last evening organized by Aleks. This included Canapés& Champagne; a delicious dinner including salad and swordfish along with two special wines. Head Sommelier Jiri also came by to present the wine we enjoyed during the meal. A very special person joined us for dinner.
As for the entertainment, we had a spectacular lightening and thunderstorm. LOL.
We very much appreciate all Aleks does to make our experience so very special.
We also want to give a shoutout to our Penthouse Attendant Kristina who works tirelessly to keep our suite looking beautiful. She is a gem. She is also assisted by Stateroom Attendant Ivana. Last night she came extra early to make up our room for the evening and brought two other members of the Housekeeping Team to assist her. Everything was perfect and we greatly appreciate the entire housekeeping team who cleans all of the rooms inside the ship including guest rooms and all the public areas. This team work 7x24 with the night housekeeping team cleaning all of the public areas throughout the late evening and early morning hours.
This is a great team effort.
These are the Waterside Dinner Menus
We began the day with a workout for Keith followed by breakfast. We docked at one of the Nassau Piers.
From our verandah we could see the progress which has been made with the construction of the new pier and another cruise ship RCI Freedom Of The Seas made its way into port and docked next to us.
We were last in Nassau in July at the end of our two back-to-back cruises. This is still the main port of embarkation and disembarkation for these Bahama sailings.
Unlike in July when you go ashore you wear a blue paper wristband indicating you took your antigen test. Local security was there to direct you to and from the pier. On the way back the last security person said to Keith welcome back. Maybe she wants to work for Crystal Cruises. LOL.
Mainly on the streets were locals. In July most wore masks outside. This time around far less did but they all were carrying their masks.
While Keith went ashore to walk around Nassau as he did last time on turn around day, Anne Marie walked the Promenade Deck.
Following is today's daily Reflections Embarkation Program.
With three embarkation days the question is do we have Cobb Salad on each one? LOL. For today at least we decided we should. Tradition is very important.
Unfortunately it began to rain so no Paddle Tennis for Keith today.
As they say there is tomorrow.
Anne Marie & Keith
We wanted to begin with a shout out to Antonio. Antonio works in the Fitness Center and Salon/Spa area. During the day he wipes down the fitness equipment, makes sure there is a sufficient amount of water in the refrigerators in these areas, and that wet and dry towels are in place and he also helps to keep things looking good and in their right place. He works tirelessly, is very kind and he is the brother of Benjamin. We've known him for years and he is a gem.
Dinner Menus from Waterside where we dined last evening.
Dinner was wonderful.
A new addition to the appetizer menu was the modern cuisine King Crab Salad. We often select an appetizer from the modern menu as we find them to be creative and very flavorful.
This was delicious. Next course was Caesar Salad. We were up in the air about the entrée and Senior Waiter Nenad suggested surf and turf and thought this was a great idea. We each had the Steak Diane and a few pieces of the Sauteed Tiger Prawns. Dessert was ice cream for Anne Marie and some cheese for me. And then there was the wine. LOL.
The team at Waterside is amazing starting with Restaurant Manager Paolo, Head Waiter Carmelo, Senior Waiter Nenad, Water Grant and Sommelier Jhon. Head Waiter Vlada also stopped by to check on us and we enjoyed a nice conversation with him. They are professional, warm and friendly and focused on the guest.
Today's daily Reflections Program.
Today we wanted to highlight photos from Deck 5 which includes the Crystal Cove (Lounge with Bar Service) and the Crystal Plaza which included Reception, Concierge, Shore Excursion Desks, Future Cruise Consultant and Crystal Society Hostess/Host. Also on this deck are some Officer Quarters, Medical Center, a special area set up to Quarantine anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and Waterside Dining Venue.
Since 2005, we have spent countless hours on this deck. For several years when our room was being cleaned on a sea day we would set up office in an area of the Crystal Cove. It provided a great opportunity to speak with guests and crew. Should we needed help from the Concierge, Shore Excursion or Reception we would stop by this area and we have booked many cruises on-board with the Future Cruise Consultants and spoken with the various Crystal Society Hosts/Hostesses.
Let us not forget the Crystal Cove where we would often come for a pre-dinner drink and listen to the Pianist sitting either by ourselves or with others.
Finally, should we be at sea in stormy weather with strong sea swells. Deck 5 is a perfect place to sit between the high ceiling and it being towards the middle of the ship and on a lower deck. Day 5 Serenity
We kept to our routine this morning. This included a workout for Keith at the Fitness Center followed by Breakfast in our room. We walked together outside on the Promenade Deck. Today is the one and only sea day of the cruise so lots on the daily reflections program.
Since this was a sea day the program was filled with lots to do. This included fitness, bridge, golf, digital photos, and computer classes, casino tournament, team trivia, poolside music, bingo, along with lectures. In fact, three lectures with Dr Bulen Atalay discussing Leonardo the artist, Former Ambassador Marc Ginsberg discussing the recent situation in Afghanistan and Special Interest lecturer Dr. Bulent returning for his second talk of the day in the afternoon covering the search for Noah's Ark. There was even a jewelry fashion show hosted by Hubert Jewelers.
Today was also the day for everyone except those getting off in Miami to take a Rapid Antigen test. They started at 9:00 AM for those getting off at Nassau and the following day in Bimini. Everyone who is continuing on for the next cruise, including us, also took the test. This way everyone on the next voyage is tested and that will include those embarking over the next three days in Nassau, Bimini and Miami.
They have streamlined the process since we last took the tests on the first two restart sailings in July. Results are available within 15 minutes and an e-mail arrives a couple of hours after the test. However, they said no news is good news. In other words, if you test positive they would contact you as soon as the results indicated this.
Anne Marie was originally scheduled to have her hair done at 8:00 AM but we pushed it till 10:30 AM so we knew we could be at the test on-time.
Keith had lunch at Noon and Anne Marie had lunch when she returned. This way Keith could get up to play Paddle Tennis with his Paddle Tennis buddies.
Betsy...Leo was the restaurant manager when we were on in July. Right now he is on holiday so Paolo is the restaurant manager until Leo returns and Paolo goes on holiday.
We wanted to begin with a shout out to Team Serenity. When Serenity was out of commission like any ship in this situation there were many challenges keeping it looking pristine as they always do. Challenges included minimal staffing, indoor and outdoor temperature, water temperature and the fact it was pretty much anchored most of the time. Prior to the restart crew joined the ship in various places including Cyprus and Cadiz and lots of work occurred. When we boarded for the first two restart cruises, we saw crew working diligently and meticulously on the Promenade Deck. This included floor decking, wooden handrails, removing whatever rust was on the walls outside and when we returned the Promenade Deck looked better than ever including fresh coats of white paint. To be successful always takes a team and we believe the sum of the team is far greater than the sum of people working individually and this shows day in and day out on the ship and the other Crystal Vessels we have sailed.
These are the menus from Waterside for last evening.
We dined at the Prego Italian Specialty Restaurant for the first time of this voyage.
For us Prego has the charm and feel of a neighborhood restaurant in a small town or village. Part of this is our familiarity with the Prego waitstaff and the members of the kitchen.
The wait- staff is very welcoming and the work as a cohesive team. If one is busy the other one steps in.
Everything was great. We had mentioned until Endeavor Keith never tried the Carpaccio of Black Angus Beef and he loved it so much he had it again last night. Guess what? He loved it.
We enjoyed appetizers, dinner salad, an entrée (half portion for Anne Marie) and dessert.
Let us not forget the wine. This was our only deviation from Italian with a California wine for Keith and Nobu California wine for Anne Marie.
We had visits from Specialty Restaurant Maitre d', Mario; Restaurant Manger, Paolo; Head Sommelier, Jiri; and Umi Uma Head Waiter, Sigi was kind enough to take a moment to stop by to say hello to Anne Marie. He had seen Keith earlier in the day and we hadn't seen him prior to this as we enjoyed Umi Uma cuisine in our room the night before and we don't go to Market Place due to social distancing.
Now we know the ship is at around 25% occupancy but don't be fooled by the first few photos. Keith took them in the morning. LOL
Following is today's daily Reflection Program.
Today we wanted to highlight some of the items offered at Market Place for breakfast. These were taken as they were still setting up for the cold and hot buffets.
Today was another enjoyable day on Serenity. We are anchored off Long Island. The irony is Keith's childhood was spent on Long Island. However, not this Long Island but the one in New York. LOL.
It was another sea day for the two of us including a visit to the Fitness Center for Keith, the two of us walking outside on the wrap-around Promenade Deck in the morning and another afternoon walk for Anne Marie while Keith enjoyed Paddle Tennis. We also enjoyed speaking with the wonderful members of team Serenity, and of course the food. Life is good. It truly is.
Speaking of the outdoor Tennis Court. On the voyage after we departed Serenity in July recognizing how popular Pickle Ball has become Pickle Ball Paddles and balls were brought on-board the ship. This will provide opportunities for those who enjoy this sport to play. Although the kitchen is not lined on the decking, I have seen people either put down some tape to mark the placement of the Kitchen or to just stay out of a section of the tennis court.
Anne Marie & Keith
We were just catching up on comments from our 9/20 posting.
Karen, we are so happy to hear you are enjoying the blog and feel part of the voyage and thank you so much for the heads up about the person who was having trouble accessing the blog. We also just fixed the tab below us toasting so it goes to the current blog and the one which shows previous blog so it goes to our recent blog of Iceland and Endeavor. Many thanks.
Kathie, thank you so much. We are so happy to be on-board.
Patricia, yes we love the traditions such as the cobb salad. You had asked about what Anne Marie packed. We packed a similar amount of clothing but she changed up what items she brought this time around including outfits, shoes, etc. We also brought a few items we didn't have in July and wish we had brought and we didn't take a few items we realized from July we didn't need.
We had dinner in our room last evening.
These are the dinner menus from Waterside.
We began with pre-dinner wine in the room.
For dinner we started with dinner salads which came from the Waterside Cold Galley where they prepare items not on the menu. We had a simple salad of lettuce, tomatoes and Mushroom.
We then made it an Umi Uma dinner enjoying Nobu sushi, sashimi and entrees. Butler Aleks organized the meal and served it course by course.
While we ate in our room, these are some photos of Umi Uma.
Following is the daily Reflections Program for today.
Sunrise shortly before breakfast.
We began today as we normally do with a workout for Keith in the Fitness Center. Before we had breakfast in our room he stopped by Marketplace to visit with some members of the crew.
After breakfast, Keith went for a haircut with the same stylist who cut his hair and Anne Marie's hair on the July back-to-back cruises we were on. It's funny our last set of cuts have been on Serenity, Endeavor and now Serenity again but that is how everything timed out. The good news is they do a great job and we don't have to drive to get our hair down. Rather we walk up one flight of steps and we are there. Easy Peasy. While Keith was at the salon Anne Marie walked on the Promenade Deck.
Serenity is anchored off great Exuma today where she will be offering tender service to and from Exuma. As we have mentioned our destination is Serenity for most of these voyages so we made today as sea day.
The rest of the morning we took time to speak with members of team Serenity some of who were on-board in July and others who boarded sometime since we departed Serenity.
We enjoyed lunch in our room. The Butlers work as a terrific team. If ones butler is off for a few hours as Aleks was they have a backup who takes care of their guests. Today, it was Kai. He took great care of us in Prego for part of the 2019 World Cruise and we were thrilled when he was promoted to Butler.
After lunch we both enjoyed a nice walk on the Promenade Deck.
We wanted to close with additional photos and today's focus is technology in terms of photos of venues around the ship.
One of the areas which received a makeover during the late 2018 Crystal Serenity Dry-Dock is the Computer University. It was completely redone including creating a major area where the personnel sit and assist guests along with new tables, iMacs, iPads, a large copy machine and new carpeting and lighting. One one side are the iMacs for the use of guests and on the other side is the university where guests sign up to take a range of computer courses. The lights were off in the latter space so the photo does not do justice to that area.
Anne Marie & Keith
We got settled onto Serenity. Keith unpacked some items and got our electronics all set up and Anne Marie unpacked the large suit cases. It's easy to unpack on these cruises as we bring so much less than we normally would for longer cruises.
For the first time on an embarkation day Keith managed t play Paddle Tennis with three other people for ninety minutes. It was hot and humid but lots of fun.
About 85 people boarded in Miami and 240 guests are on this voyage.
We attended the muster drill with all those who embarked in Miami at 4:00 PM. The drill was done nicely. They showed a video narrated by Cruise Director Rick Spath. It included video of some crew members both current and former ones so it was sentimental for us.
We dined at Waterside. Start times for all dining venues have been moved from 6:00 PM to 6:30 PM which is similar to Endeavor.
Following is the daily embarkation daily program.
Waterside Dinner Menus.
Dinner was terrific and it was so nice to be back at Waterside. Keith must be a little rusty as he didn't get photos of Anne Marie's Onion Soup and the Spinach Salads. He'll get better next time. LOL.
We enjoyed a Scallop and Kingfish Appetizer for Keith and Onion Soup appetizer for Anne Marie, Spinach Salad for each of us, the Covina Fillet for each of us and some cheese for Keith and one scoop of ice cream for Anne Marie. Let us not forget the wine.
With only 240 guests on-board and four dining venues plus room service Waterside was very quiet.
We had visits from Restaurant Manager Paolo, Head Waiter Carmelo who has our section and Head Waiter Vlada who has another area of Waterside and who was our Head Waiter in July and someone we have known for years. The Wait Staff team was superb.
We wanted to give a shout out to the entertainment. As was the case in July the amount and diversity of the entertainment was terrific. There were four different performances before dinner at the Crystal Cove including some performers, we are familiar with plus the duo of Julie and Andy and the music was very upbeat. In addition, there was the showing of My Life- The Music of Billy Joel which is a regular production show and always enjoyable. In addition, there were two showings of A Night of Sinatra performed by Stephen Roberts on the Piano
As we did last time, we will post photos of various areas on Serenity. These photos are from the Casino and also include the High Rollers Room.
We slept well as we always do when we cruise. We always say it is the gentle rocking of the ship plus the wine always helps. LOL.
An intersting sunrise
We began the day as we always do with an early morning workout for Keith followed by breakfast in our room. He also managed to do laundry and at the time of day not a problem getting a machine. LOL.
Since the Pandemic began Keith works out at home either inside our house where he has his own Indoor Cycling Bike or outside the home going on runs of various lengths and taking long walks. For one month in 2020 he taught some outdoor fitness classes since there was plenty of social distancing and they were outdoors but has refrained from teaching indoors or taking classes. One of the many nice things about sailing on Crystal Cruises is the fitness centers are open 7x24. This way he can workout before others arrive which works out perfectly for him.
Some photos of our home for the next 21 days.
Today's daily Reflections Program.
With an arrival time at our first port of call at 1:00 PM the morning was a sea day. This means there were lots of activities. We won't cover them all but two lectures were offered along with lots of classes. You can view Reflections to see precisely what was offered.
Someone familiar to us and one who can lecture year over year and we would never get tired of because he changes up his lectures and keeps them current is Ambassador Marc Ginsberg. We enjoyed his presentation which we watched from our room which was on a current day issue on domestic terrorism and the challenges it poses.
Before his talk we both walked together on the wrap-around Promenade Deck. Whereas yesterday was hot and humid and no breeze, when we got out on the Promenade Deck it was wet and a light rain but the rain stopped in a matter of minutes. What didn't stop were the strong winds but better for the wind so it didn't feel hot.
We enjoyed lunch in our room. As we did on the July cruises we plan to have most if not all lunches in our room.
The afternoon brought another walk for Anne Marie and Paddle Tennis for Keith. As we mentioned, the ship for these cruises is our destination so we spend most port days on-board. This meant Paddle Tennis for Keith which he enjoys very much. For him it is great exercise, getting outside for fresh air and having some very good laughs with senior officers and staff who can play along with fellow guests.
Anne Marie & Keith