DAY 17 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY -VANCOUVER - IT'S TIME TO SAY FAREWELL
These are the dinner menus from last evening.
As we have done the past handful of cruises we had our last supper (meal) in our room. This way we can enjoy a leisurely meal and relax and finish up packing.
Butler Dario took great care of us.
We like to make things easy so we wrote out all of the items we would like and try to organize them by restaurant and course and provide the information to the butler sooner rather than later.
We ordered some sushi and sashimi for Keith, a roll and tempura for Anne Marie from Umi Uma.
Second course was caesar salad from Prego with some rolls.
Entrees from both Specialty Restaurants.
Hot soba noodles with soup and some scallops from Umi Uma for Keith and Veal Scaloppine "Parmigiana Style" for Anne Marie from Prego.
Dario served this course by course.
We also enjoyed some wine and a beer that Keith enjoys from time to time.
A wonderful meal and made ever so special by Dario.
Penthouse Attendant Brigitte and assistant Marina came by to do turn-down service and we wanted to make it easy for them so we had them come early on. This way one room down.
After eating Keith realized he had only taken photos of the first two courses Oh well. Next time. LOL.
After we finished the meal and Dario came by for the final time we finished packing and placed our luggage outside our room. Some luggage was already outside. We finished organizing our carry ons and watched some news.
We slept well. There wasn't much ship movement as we were going very slow on our way to Victoria. We freshen up and got ready for our final breakfast and to leave the ship.
Since it was before Dario and the other butlers begin their day it was delivered by night room service. We kept it simple and both had cereal and some fruit. We made coffee earlier using the coffee machine in the suite.
We booked a private vehicle with the on-board concierge. We prefer to end the cruise this way. You meet at an appointed time at the Crystal Cove. When the vehicle arrives the concierge take you down to exit the ship. From there the process varies by port-of-call but one way or the other someone from Crystal Cruises is with you until your driver arrives and you are sound and safely in the vehicle.
We left the ship at around 8:15 AM. The Head Concierge escorted out off the ship and then had a local person who supports Crystal walk us to the area where luggage for those guests who had private vehicles with Crystal and then to another area to wait for our vehicle. One we departed the ride to the airport was quick. Since this is a Sunday not much traffic.
The check in process for our airline took awhile as we had to wait for the counter to open. Keith was able to get the luggage tags himself and then they still assist you with them and weigh the luggage. We remember the routine from last time when we disembarked Serenity in 2016. You have to take your checked luggage to another area and lift it onto a conveyer belt. Not an easy task given the weight of the luggage. The good news is that with our Global Entry card getting through security was a lot faster than last time. We had almost no weight. Only difference is you have to take the computer out of the carry on but still the process was quick. We then went to the automated kiosk area and then to passport control. The USA official was very chatty and asked us lots of questions including why we had so many pages in the passport. Anne Marie pointed to her World Cruise jacket. LOL but she did.
We are at a lounge that we have access to because of the credit card we have. There are other Crystal Cruises here. We also saw many guests who we know as we walked through the airport.
Our flight is delayed and one of the reasons why we didn't plan to do the entire trip today. We will fly to our hub airport and fly back home tomorrow on a relatively short flight.
We hope that you have enjoyed following along with us on our adventure.
Anne Marie and Keith
DAY 16 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY -VICTORIA
Last evening we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon. This time Keith tried another new drink that bartender Teo recommended for him which was a Hemingway Daiquiri Martini. It was made with Cuban Rum. Delicious. Anne Marie tried a different type of wine. All good. We have enjoyed our visits to the Avenue Saloon and Teo has come up with some nice drinks for Keith to try and the rest of the bar staff has been warm, friendly and professional.
We enjoyed our final supper (dinner) at Waterside. These are the menus.
We enjoyed a wonderful dinner.
Keith tried the Veal Carpaccio for the first time ever. It was lightly cooked. It tasted delicious and was enhanced with the toppings of apples, feta cheese cream, truffle honey and cider pearls. Anne Marie had one of her favorites; shrimp cocktail.
We both had a salad that we have from time to time if we do not see a salad on the menu that we prefer.
Keith enjoyed the Sea Bass so much the night on Black Tie Optional night that we asked the Head Waiter earlier in the day if it was available for dinner and he said absolutely. Otherwise we would have had one of the items you can get on any night such as salmon.
Dessert. Anne Marie had the coffee ice cream and this flavor is a favorite of hers. She encouraged Keith to have a dessert such as the cheese plate and after some arm twisting (LOL) Keith did just that. There is a special cheese menu with around eight choices. With the assistance of the Senior Waiter Keith selected four of them. A short while later Head Waiter Albert who cut them brought them out along with a large tray of crackers and breads to select from. We were both pleased with our choices.
The wine was enjoyable. Keith tried the wine that was on the menu (Pinot Noir) and thankfully he had sommelier Jorge pour just a little amount to taste and this one did not work for him. He was going to go with one he had a few days later as well as on prior cruises but as it turned out there was another wine to try from Sonoma Valley California which was a mixed blend and that was perfect. Head Sommelier Boris poured it for us to try. Anne Marie liked it as well and she mainly sticks to Chardonnay and Chablis.
All in all a wonderful meal. This was our last time dining at Waterside. It has been a terrific experience.
The comedian last evening was Steven Couette who performed two shows and this marked his second performance of the cruise. We believe based on his show and the laughter he generated from the audience that he will be asked to return. Keith met him several days ago and in the Crystal way when Keith saw him two days later the comedian remembered his name. In keeping with multiple evening choices a variety pianist Jason Lyle Black performed two shows last evening.
These are photos from dinner.
We wanted to thank not only the amazing wait staff at Waterside but all of the people who we do not see including those who prep and cook the meals to those who clean all of the dishes and everyone else involved this area. Same goes for the other areas of the ship. Also kudos to Restaurant Manager Slavko who has mastered the transition from traditional to open dining.
We spoke with Hotel Director Josef Matt shortly after dinner and expressed our appreciation to him and his entire team. They have been amazing.
We slept well as we sailed to our Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Keith who is an earlier riser woke up later than he has in years of sailing. Staying up later and forwarding the clock three hours did catch up with him.
We enjoyed breakfast in our room as we have each day and got ready to explore Victoria. Our first visit was in the mid-1990's prior to our first Alaska Cruise on Celebrity Century. On that visit we took a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. We returned in 2002 on a stop that we made on our first cruise with Crystal Cruises on Crystal Harmony and have stopped here numerous times since then.
As we have done in the past in lieu of taking the shuttle we walked from the cruise ship terminal to downtown Victoria.
The weather was in the 50's so we layered our clothing. With a chance of rain we wore a light rain jacket over another jacket. Eventually we removed the top layer. The walk along the water is always pleasant and we follow the signs to the city. Easy peasy. We stopped to take photos along the way. Once in town we walked inside the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Last time we were here they were doing major work on one section of the hotel. It is a beautiful hotel. Eventually we stopped at one shop, Wilson Clothing, which we have visited the past several years. For the second time we made a purchase for Anne Marie.
We enjoyed the walk back to the ship. We spoke with a couple of the locals and as they always are very pleasant people. As we walking inside the terminal area we ran into Anne Marie who Keith saw the other day but Anne Marie hadn't seen as she is the night time auditor. We first met Anne Marie on Serenity in 2007. She has held several positions on both Serenity and Symphony. So nice to see her. We've included some photos with each of us with her.
On our way back we saw a large family of Geese.
We also included a photo of Butler Dario setting up breakfast for us.
We had lunch at the Market Place. We arrived a few minutes before Noon to chat with member of the wait staff and as it turned out they opened at 11:30 AM to accommodate those guests booked on early afternoon tours. Many members of the crew were going to go ashore when on their break. Some for a run, others for a walk, and even others to go biking.
Victoria is an amazing city. It is very beautiful. The nearby mountains had snow on them.
We will enjoy the ship for the remainder of the day and finish packing and we will have our final supper (dinner) of the cruise in our room.
We will post more in the next day or two.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 15 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY -SEA DAY
Last evening we began with a pre-drink at the Avenue Saloon. Keith tried a lush champagne. This was the third and final black tie optional (BTO) evening of the cruise. These are the dinner menus from Waterside.
We ate dinner at Waterside. We were invited to dine with four other guests and the Vice Captain. One couple we ate at earlier in the cruise with the Captain and the other couple we met for the first time.
We didn't take photos of the food. Sorry. LOL. This was one of the best meals we have had this cruise.
Anne Marie had the Poached Lobster for her appetizer while Keith went with the Caviar. They provided a double order of the caviar and Keith had the blinis with it. The caviar was delicious.
We each had the Commander's Salad for the next course. This is an item that is familiar to the final BTO night. It includes salad greens, tomatoes, palm hearts asparagus, and crips leek. We have always enjoyed this salad and we did last evening.
For the entree Keith had the Sea Bass which was recommended by a couple of senior waiters and it was a great choice. Anne Marie selected the Beef Wellington and enjoyed it as well. Anne Marie had the sugar free dessert and Keith blueberries and strawberries. We enjoyed wine with the meal. Most importantly we enjoyed great conversation.
By the time dinner ended there was just the two of us at the table along with the Vice Captain and one of the husbands. One of the ladies enjoys dancing and was the first to leave to dance before the evening show. One of the ladies was worried about getting a good seat to see the show and left before dessert arrived and eventually one of the husband's left to find his wife. LOL. The Vice Captain was gracious enough to stay until a few minutes before the Captain's Farewell Reception.
It was great to have the opportunity to speak with the Vice Captain. Keith knows him from Paddle Tennis games. A very impressive officer.
After dinner we went to Captain Nenad's Farewell Reception and then to the first showing of Crystal's newest production show Crystal On Broadway the show. It featured excerpts from Something Rotten, West Side Story and Rent. It was so nice to see its debut on-board Crystal Symphony. The show included familiar music from these shows with some dialogue. There was not an empty seat in the house. It was a wonderful show and we think most people will feel the same way as we do.
The show really shows the talent of the entertainment team between the song, dance and singing. Unlike some cruise lines that are so large and can rehearse a show on land and take the team onto a ship to perform it, this is not the case with Crystal Cruises because they just don't have the scale to do this. Instead, the performers rehearse this show on the ship and have to fit the rehearsal times into their schedule which includes practicing for the shows on the regular schedule and performing those. They performed the show the night before for some of the members of the crew which is very nice for those being able to attended. Kudos to the entertainment team on land and at sea.
At the conclusion of the show Cruise Director Paul McFarland introduced Keith Cox, Vice President of Entertainment and the person who was involved in the choreography of the show. Keith was presented with flowers and spoke to everyone and thanked the extraordinary team for making this a success not only the performers but those who are involved with audio and lighting.
All in all we had a lovely evening.
Once back to the room we set the clock forward for the third and final time of this cruise. Ouch.
We slept very well. That was easy given we have set the time forward three times since leaving Hawaii.
We enjoyed breakfast in our room as we got ready for our final sea day of the cruise. Since indoor cycling was not on the schedule Keith offered to cycle with other guests and led them in cycling. Two of the guests cycled with Keith for a 50 minute class.
There was lots on the program today. This included:
Morning Lecture by Michael Bishay about the person who killed 16 people and wounded 33. He discussed why it happened and what went wrong.
Next was a talk given by General Nick Halley about the World in Conflict. Since we saw this one on a previous cruise we didn't attend.
The afternoon featured a talk by Dr. Jay Wolff who spoke about Lewis and Clark. He spoke about Thomas Jefferson sending Lewis and Clark to the Rocky Mountains to define the Louisiana Purchase and on to the Pacific to mark America's manifest destiny: Sea to Shining Sea and the USA and Canada each getting a Pacific Port Seattle and Vancouver respectively.
Once again there 50+ programs were on the morning/afternoon schedule. The quantity and quality of the activities is unique to Crystal Cruises and a hallmark of the cruise line. For those interested in food preparation there was a Galley Tour at 4:30 PM.
We dined at Waterside for lunch as we have done most times since boarding the ship. Afterwards, Anne Marie walked for an hour and Keith played close to three hours of Paddle Tennis. Anne Marie did a good deal of the packing so that we can spend time in Victoria tomorrow.
Another wonderful 24 hours on Symphony.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 14 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY -SEA DAY
Before dinner we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon. This time we changed it up again. Keith had a French Martini and we sat at the bar.
These are the menus from last evening at Waterside.
We had a wonderful time in at Waterside. We ordered items that we normally don't try and it was wonderful.
Appetizers. For Keith the Spear Fish Capraccio. Delicious and for Anne Marie the Consomme Double Soup with Crabmeat Frittata which was an excellent choice. The Capraccio came thinly slices (yes that is how Capraccio should be prepared) and was very tasty.
Salad. For Anne Marie a standard salad we have. For Keith the Garden Greens Salad with Grilled Vegetables.
Now a big change. For Anne Marie Lamb Chops. It has been years since she had it and it was a success. It arrive hot. It was tasty and most importantly Anne Marie enjoyed it. For Keith Coconut Chicken Curry. As described by the Senior Waiter and Head Waiter Albert it was not too spicy although that comes down to ones palate. For Keith it worked well. It arrived hot and he found the combination of ingredients to make for a very tasty and enjoyable entree.
For dessert. New to the menu is the French Gateau St. Honore which was the Cake we had for Anne Marie's birthday. We shared it plus Keith had mixed berries. We made a nice dessert choice.
Once again, this was a very enjoyable dining experience. We enjoy taking our time at dinner and the wait staff paced the meal the way we like it.
We enjoyed the wine. Anne Marie stayed with the Chablis wine which she enjoys. Keith normally does not have Shiraz but tried a glass of it and thought it was very good. He moved to a Cabernet which was on the menu the night before when we dined at Umi Uma. It is from a vineyard in Washington state and we have had the Chardonnay they produce. We feel that it is a great wine for the price. We had not tried the Cabernet before and Keith thought the same. A nice wine for the price point.
By the time we finished dining it was too late to go to the first show and given that we were tired from moving the clocks forward two times we decided to not wait up for the next show and called it an evening.
Switching gears. Early on we had posted photos from the new Seabreeze Suite and commented on the new suite.
When we first arrived to the suite we didn't immediately notice the front closet right as you enter the room. This is a nice amenity of the room and we have made good use of it. It is great for hanging coats and it holds one carry on piece of luggage and in our case a backpack. We normally would keep the luggage/back pack underneath the bed and appreciate the convenience of storing it in the closet.
We enjoyed a good nights sleep and started the day as we normally do. We enjoyed breakfast in our room.
We enjoyed another sea day.
Keith attended an indoor cycling class taught by one of the two Fitness Directors. Including Keith there were three guests taking the class. It was a good push. Christeen if you are reading this one of the playlists that we spun to over and over in 2015. It was cooler around the ship including the Fitness Center but 30% into the workout it all changed as it felt warmer. Anne Marie took the first of her two one hour walks.
There were three lectures:
Michael Bishay spoke about another courtroom drama. Keith attended most of this lecture.
Later in the morning former Brig General Joe Shaefer spoke about North Korea and how we deal with them. Terrific lecture and certainly one that is a current topic. Keith attended this one as well and Anne Marie watched it live from our room.
The afternoon was a lecture by Ji Jimirro called And the Angeles Sing.
The afternoon was a big surprise. We ate at Marketplace as we often do. Today was a Mediterranean themed buffet. As we looked outside it looked windy and cold. The forecast was not encouraging. After lunch Keith walked outside and could hear the tennis balls from above. He joined the two who were volleying and another person joined us and we played several games. Wind was not a factor and after the first game he took my jacket off. In the end we all split the games we played so everyone was a winner. LOL. Add to that he saw a whale. As many whales as we have seen each sighting a sea is special whether it is a whale or dolphin or other sea creature. This is just part of what makes traveling amazing.
This evening we look forward to the third and final black tie optional (BTO) night of the cruise.
This has been a terrific cruise. Yes we realize we have mentioned this just a "few time" LOL.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 13 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY -SEA DAY
We kept to our same routines of visiting the Avenue Saloon for a pre-dinner drink. We find the Avenue Saloon to be relatively quiet and a very intimate lounge for a pre-dinner drink. Keith changed things up with the recommendation of the Bartender having a Cosmopolitan Martini.
These are the dinner menus from Waterside Restaurant from last evening.
We dined at Umi Uma (former Silk Road) Japanese Specialty Restaurant. These are the dinner menus. There is also a separate sushi/sashimi menu in addition to these menus. This was our second time dining here since we boarded.
We had an amazing meal. Waiter Emerson took good care of us along with the help of another waiter and Head Waiter Jed checked up on us several times during the course of the meal.
These are photos of just some of the food. We enjoyed Sashimi (Keith), Sushi (both of us), Tempura (Anne Marie) Salads (both of us) Lobster entree (Anne Marie), Hot Soba Noodles with soup and some scallops (Keith), Whiskey Cappuccino Dessert (Anne Marie) and a Fruit Plate (Keith).
The only item that was off at bit was Keith's mushroom salad. Normally the mushrooms and sauce are warm and this time it was closer to room temperature. Otherwise everything else was terrific with the items that should be hot being hot in temperature.
The pace of the meal was perfect as we had lots of time between courses and we could just take out time enjoying each mouthful of food. We dined for about two hours.
The evening entertainment featured Comedic Impressionist Steven Caouette performing two shows, and Jump & Swing-A-Mainia featuring the Crystal Showband, and the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers.
The only down-side is that we had to set our clocks forward one hour after getting back to the room. One more hour to go. As such we didn't make it to the entertainment. We were fortunate to see the Crystal Entertainers rehearsing for the evening show so we saw a portion of it. It was very upbeat.
We awoke regular time which was good considering we set the clocks forward one hour. After enjoying breakfast in our room Keith went to the Fitness Center and led one fellow guest for a third time of indoor cycling. Keith used a playlist for a class he will be teaching the week we get home. Anne Marie came by and took some photos before going on a nice long walk. Keith didn't make it to class yesterday because of Anne Marie's Birthday Breakfast but it was small with three people there. All three were going to come today but evidently the couple didn't make it likely due to forwarding the clock by one hour. Anne Marie noticed while walking that very few people were out and about. It was Keith and one other guest who we know along with his wife from the Northwest Passage Cruise. Nevertheless it was a good workout according to the other guest.
Lots on the program today. This included a talk by former General Nick Halley on the challenge in the Middle East. This was followed by a talk given by Celebrity Actor Bruce McGill called Friends, Roman, Cruiser...Lend me your ears. It is a terrific talk focusing on Shakespeare and the Movies and shows the true depth and talent of Bruce McGill. The afternoon featured a talk given by Dr. Herb Keyser on The Life and Music of Andre Lloyd Webber. We watched the second and third talks on the TV in our room. Keith has seen the first talk on a prior cruise.
We will be disembarking in a few days so Keith took care of a few items at the Reception Desk and the Concierge Desk while Anne Marie did some organizing. We enjoyed a nice lunch at Marketplace before Keith played Paddle Tennis. It was a little windy but a great day to play and Keith ended up playing for close to two and one half hours. Lots of fun. Lots of good laughs. Anne Marie went on her one hour walk.
As she has been doing the past couple of days she sat out on our verandah reading a book from the library while enjoying the views of the sea and getting fresh air.
We were asked about seeing a copy of the Silk Luncheon Menu and we are including it below.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 12 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY -SEA DAY
Our evening began with a pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon. This was the second Black Tie Optional night of the cruise. We were joined by two people who we have gotten to know well on this cruise.
We had dinner for the second consecutive evening at Waterside. These are the menus
We sent down a bottle of Champagne to Waterside that was in our suite from embarkation day and a bottle of Caymus Cabernet that we received as a gift. This was a special night to enjoy them at Waterside given that it was black tie optional. Of course every night on a cruise is special.
Sommelier Jorge opened up each bottle.
Photos of the Senior Waiter, Head Waiter and Waiter.
Dinner was wonderful. We began with Fresh Oven-Baked Lobster, Scallops and Mushroom Strudel for Anne Marie and Big Island Goat Cheese Cream for Keith. Our Senior Waiter recommended both of these items and they were both unique and very tasty. We each were happy with our selections. The appetizer Keith had was very unique and the combination of the ingredients made this appetizer very tasty.
We each had the Mixed Green Salad that was on the menu.
We had an amazing entree. We saw Fresh South Pacific Opah on the menu and we said "sold". Opah is a Hawaiian Fish and we last had it a few years ago in Prego while sailing Hawaii and it was wonderful. It was offered back then for a couple of nights as an additional entree to the menu.
Fast forward to last evening and it is one of the most amazing entrees we have ever had. Delicious. It was cooked to perfection, arrive to the table hot and overall was very tasty and was a good size.
Following the meal we attended the Crystal Society Party and after that the Production Show called Speakeasy which was performed two times. We thoroughly enjoy the production show.
After a busy evening it was easy to fall asleep.
When Keith woke up he went for an early workout at the Fitness Center and then he and Anne Marie enjoyed coffee in the room. We watched Cruise Director Paul's morning show. Ironically he mentioned Keith and his early morning workouts and noted that he learned something from Keith and that was that the Fitness Center is open 7x24. He said in all his years working on the ship he had no idea.
Normally Keith would have attended an indoor cycling class taught by one of the two Fitness Directors. Instead we enjoyed Anne Marie's birthday breakfast in our room. This is a special breakfast that Crystal prepares for those celebrating birthdays on the cruise and it can be served any morning you choose. Since we had the Vintage Room dinner on Anne Marie's actual birthday we decided to have the breakfast a few days later.
One can have it at the Waterside Restaurant or in their room and we chose our room. We had a similar breakfast in our room in May of 2015 while on-board Serenity.
The breakfast included donuts, chocolate mousse with mixed berries, waffle cone with strawberries and caviar with egg whites, egg yolks and sour cream and chives and bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese.
The hot items included filet mignon, rolled omelet, ham and cheese sandwich and creamed spinach.
If you are wondering we didn't eat all of this. Tried most items but a portion of each.
After breakfast we both took a very long walk inside the ship. While walking we ran into several people we know either from previous cruises or from this voyage. We also saw the Crystal Ensemble of Singers, Dancers and the Show Band doing their rehearsal for this evening's performance.
Lots of activities were on the program as we enjoyed our second of five sea days.
There were three lectures:
Michael Bishay covered a unique topic which had to do with dog owners should go to prison if their dog bites. This actual case came up in California. The next lectures was given by Retired Brig general Joe Schaefer who spoke about China and what their economy is expected to be like throughout this century. The final talk was given by Dr. Herb Keyser who spoke about the Life and Music of Gene Kelly. We watched all three talks in our room and learned a lot from each of them.
We enjoyed lunch in the Waterside Restaurant for only the second time of the cruise as we dined with another couple.
These are the luncheon restaurant menus.
The afternoon included a nice long walk for both of us, conversation with guests and crew, reading, writing and watching all of the lectures from today.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 11 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY -SEA DAY
These are the Waterside Dinner menus from last evening.
We began our evening at the Avenue Saloon. Since it was Pink Night (LOL) Keith had a Pin Flower Cocktail.
We enjoyed dinner at Waterside. Keith tried the Opakapaka Snapper Ceviche as an appetizer. It was delicious and Anne Marie had the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail. We each had our standard salads. The entree was amazing. We both had the Grilled Hawaiian Striped Marlin which is part of the Swordfish family. It was delicious.
After dinner we attended the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle Party. By the time we arrived eight other people were there including our next door neighbors and two people who Keith takes indoor cycling with. Lots of great conversation and the Hotel Director came by.
Now the bad news. Are you ready. Are you really ready? Yes, we had to forward the clocks by one hour. It is payback time. LOL.
We enjoyed coffee in our room after waking up. While we waited for breakfast we watched the Symphony Today with Weather Updates hosted by Cruise Director Paul McFarland. This was the first time we watched the morning program since we boarded. The weather update is something that is not done on Serenity and we thought this was very good information. The program is live at 6:00 AM and rebroadcasted on demand.
Paul interviewed the Master Photogropher who is on-board for the sailing. He noted that Symphony is a great vessel to take photos on the ship because of the beautiful design of the public areas. Paul mentioned that the Vice President of design is on-baord the ship so it will be easy for him to pass along the feedback. We saw her on the first day and have chatted with her a couple of other times. We mentioned how much we like the new Seabreeze suite and that Anne Marie adores the washer/dryer. The challenge was in locating one that could work with the on-board voltage. It is not as simple as going to the appliance store to pick them up. LOL but very true.
As part of Memorial Day, Paul also showed a documentary about the "soldier". It was not about a specific soldier but it was about each and every soldier.
This was followed by Breakfast in the room. We continued to go with a simple breakfast similar to what we have at home.
Shortly after breakfast Keith met with some of the fellow guests and led them in an indoor cycling class. One couple also cycled with Keith the other day and as it turned out they had also attended the Cruise Critic meet and mingle. Anne Marie walked for an hour on the Promenade Deck.
Two of the spouses who worked out with Keith the other day didn't make it. One was not feeling well and the other had too much to drink the night before. LOL, but not making this up. One new person worked out for about fifteen minutes but had another appointment.
Today market the first of five consecutive sea days so there was lots on today's program. The program included three lectures. Since today is Memorial Day it was appropriate that the first talk was given by retired Brig. General Joe Scaefer sho spoke about those who fought in the Pacific in World War II. Later in the morning Dr. Jay Wolff spoke about the Great Migration which focused on the Polynesians and the islands in the Pacific which were the last habitable lands on earth to be populated by mankind. The afternoon included the final lecture given by Special Interest Lecturer Jim Jimirro.
On long voyages the culinary team on board the ship prepares a Grand Gala Buffet for lunchtime and the Waterside Dining waitstaff sets up all of the tables in the Crystal Plaza where all of the food items are placed and assists guest to the tables and clears the table after they have eaten. It is an amazing display of items from salads to entree to dessert.
Fifteen minutes before the start of the buffet guests may take photos of the food items. This is followed by an introduction of the leaders of the culinary team by the Senior Head Waiter of Waterside. At the conclusion of his talk from the Bridge the Captain had Cruise Director Paul McFarland say some words about the significance of Memorial Day followed by one minute of silence for all the brave men and women who lost their lives in war fighting for our freedom. You could hear a pin drop. It was followed by a playing of taps by a member of the showtime band.
There was also a Memorial Day Veteran's Day Get-together hosted by General Nick Halley at the same time.
Following is the menu from the Grand Gala Buffet.
Keith took photos a bit earlier of many of the tables with food on them. There were also several tables with heating trays for the hot food items which were not open to take photos of.
While the Grand Gala Buffet is truly amazing we prefer a simple lunch and went to Marketplace to enjoy lunch. We made our usual salad entrees.
In the afternoon Keith played Paddle Tennis. Since it was windy he played singles with one other person who is one of the dance Ambassador Hosts as other who play regularly decided to pass. He also walked inside the ship with Anne Marie, wrote and chatted with fellow guests and crew. Anne Marie walked and and also chatted with others and even found a dress that she admired that was on display today in the window outside on of the on-board stores. We both enjoyed another sea day on board Crystal Symphony.
This evening is Black Tie Optional (BTO) around the ship.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 10 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY - MAUI
We wanted to begin by thanking those of you who have provided comments. We have read each one. For some unknown reason when we have tried to respond to each of the more recent ones we have received an error message. Go figure. LOL. We will try to sort this out when we are back on land.
These are the dinner menus from last evening at Waterside.
Yesterday was Anne Marie's birthday. Keith planned a special dinner for her which was a visit to the Vintage Room for an exclusive Vintage Room Dinner. Keith met with the Head Sommelier early in the cruise and with Boris' help he selected each course and also reviewed Boris' recommendations for the pairing of wine. We invited some other people to join us for this celebration.
Ironically our first Vintage Room was in 2010 as part of a special Crystal Society trivia contest with questions all about Crystal that Keith and his teammates won. We could each bring one other person. We were wowed from that experience and the rest is history. Since that time we have hosted several exclusive Vintage Room Dinners on our own, participated in another one with two other couples and attended a special one with others that featured cuisine prepared especially for the evening by the guest chef from Iceland who as on the sailing. As much as we have learned about wine over the years we learn so much from these dinners. We also have the opportunity to taste many wines for the first time and to taste some that we could not purchase on our own. We have had wines that have a very limited supply including some that Crystal can only obtain a handful or less of the bottles.
We had an amazing evening. We enjoyed wonderful conversation, great laughs, excellent education on the champagne and wine we enjoyed that was paired with a six course dinner. Everything was amazing from the set up of the table to the wine and champagne to the food. The food was served in new dishes that was introduced after the dry dock of the ship. The presentation of the food was unique even though we have had some of these items in the past on-board Crystal and it had to be the tastiest of the foods that we have eaten in other vintage rooms. Before the meal concluded the Executive Chef and Executive Pastry Chef who oversaw the preparation of the food stopped by the room. We gave them a round of applause.
The menu included:
Pan Seared Sea Scallop
Lobster Thermidor "New Style"
Porcini Mushroom Risotto (Never saw a presentation of Risotto quite like this one). It had a wafer on top that was about six by six inches and had melted parmesan cheese topped with paper thin edible gold leaf.
Grilled Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Crust
Selection of Artisanal Cheeses
St. Honore Cake (double layer)
Homemade Vintage Room Chocolate Pralines
Dom Perignon 2009
Riesling Wachstum Bodenstein, Weingut Prager, 2012
Chatauneuf du Pape Blanc, Chateau Beaucastel, 2012
Barolo Vigna Giachini, Fratelli Ravello, 2011
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Montalena Estate 2010
Cabernet Sauvignon, La Sirena Heidi Barrett, 2010
Chateau Rieussec, Premier Grand Cru Classe, Sauternes
The show last evening was a local show. We didn't make it to the show given the length of last evening's dinner. We both slept very well. The wine helped. We were well too sleep before the ship departed Honolulu at around midnight. The seas were relatively calm as we sailed to Maui.
We enjoyed breakfast in our room and then we prepared for our visit to Maui. We have been here several times both by sea and also by plane having spent one week here on one land trip. We didn't plan anything for today other than to take the tender ashore and walk around.
We arrived early before any stores opened and walked past all the stores over to a residential area and continued walking. We enjoyed nice views of these areas to our right and of the water to our left. On our return walk we stopped at some clothing stores and found a shirt for the grand baby and walked into a couple of gallery's Those in the stores were very kind as were the motorists as we crossed from side to side various times. We also stopped at an outdoor market. We ran into a couple who sailed we met on the 2015 World Cruise and by coincidence it was also her birthday yesterday. It's a small world. LOL.
We enjoyed the ship in the afternoon and did the things we love to do. This included lunch at Marketplace followed by a long walk for Anne Marie on the promenade deck. On these longs walks Anne Marie listens to audio books. For Keith it was a few hours of Paddle Tennis followed by conversation with guests and crew and reading and writing.
This evening we are back to the Waterside Restaurant.
Anne Marie and Keith
DAY 9 Symphony - Day 2 Honolulu
These are the dinner menus from Waterside from last evening.
As they say when you are in Rome. Oh we are in Hawaii so we thought we would last evening we dress with that in mind. Aloha! We began the evening with a pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon. We have enjoyed the ambience of the room and a great place to enjoy quiet conversation. The bar team has been terrific.
We enjoyed dinner at Waterside and we taken care of by a dynamic waitstaff team. After a huge lunch we kept the dinner simple. In lieu of ordering the salads on the menu we went with a simple salad. Our Senior Waiter highly recommend two entrees and we went with one of the two which was the fresh salmon. It was served hot and was very moist. This is one of the advantages of open dining rather then waiting for the meal to be served at the same time of others.
We enjoyed a bottle of Merlot that we had the butler send down to Waterside for us. When we say "we" Keith had some of the wine as Anne Marie prefers Chardonnay or Chablis although she tried a small amount of it. It had a terrific aroma from the time you bring the glass towards your nose.
There was no formal entertainment last evening so we retired early. There was a movie tough which is the second Star Wars movie which came out last December which Keith would have enjoyed seeing (not Anne Marie)but he was too tired to sit through the showing.
We got up fairly early and enjoyed a couple of leisurely cups of coffee in the room and also hydrated. We had breakfast before we went off the ship on our own for a long walk.
We walked for a few hours visiting the outside of the Iolani Palace and walking the beautiful grounds, stopped by a few churches including a Catholic Church were a graduation celebration was taking place and we walked around the State Capitol. Yesterday our tour guide gave us an overview of the outside of the structure as each area has a lot of meaning. We passed by several other sites and enjoyed a leisurely walk and enjoyed the weather. Traffic was light since today is Saturday. At almost the same time we both thought about how nice it is not to hear horns from drivers and that was the case yesterday when the streets were quite busy. The motorists are also good about yielding the right of way to those walking in crosswalks.
This cruise was also sold as a Honolulu to Vancouver cruise and we have 100 guests boarding the ship today and we saw some of them boarding when we returned from our walk.
This afternoon we enjoyed a quiet lunch at Waterside. We walked for an hour on the Promenade Deck. It was just us and several crew members who were busy doing work. The other day they replaced the artificial turf for the wheelchair ramp on one side of the ship. It is very involved with turn being removed, the cement layer being cleaned including any rust and layers added before a new set of artificial turf is added. In addition they are working on one of the tenders including redoing the interior and replacing the windows.
We are enjoying the rest of the afternoon on the ship and then the evening festivities will begin.
This is Keith here. This evening I have planned a special dinner for Anne Marie to celebrate her Birthday. Remember, mums the world. LOL
Anne Marie and Keith
Day 8 Symphony - Honolulu
We enjoyed a nice evening on board Symphony. We began our evening at the Avenue Saloon for a pre-dinner drink. These are the dinner menus from Waterside.
We dined at Churrascaria which is the new Brazilian Restaurant. This is the diner menu.
The restaurant utilizes a portion of the space in Marketplace where breakfast and lunch buffets are served. There is a combination of items that are offered buffet including salads, hot vegetables, fruits and desserts.
For those of you who have dined on land at restaurants such as Fogo de Chao it is very similar but there are some differences. The biggest difference is the extraordinary waitstaff team from the Head Waiter, to the waiters and assistant waiters to the sommeliers. They were very helpful, enthusiastic and passionate. We loved it. Thanks to the advice of others we paced ourselves so we did not overeat.
We were escorted to our table by the waiter who would be taking care of us the entire evening. He along with one other waiter explained everything about the restaurant to us and answered questions. Throughout the evening one or two waiter came by frequently as did an assistant and the sommelier.
We began with a salad. There was a good range of choices many of which you will find at the lunch buffet. A couple of different rolls/sticks are on the table. We loved the cheese roll. Later in the meal the waiter asked us if we wanted more and while tempting we said no thank you.
We returned a second time for warm vegetables. This included mushrooms, a potato (Keith), grilled vegetables and one or two other items. If you select a potato one member of the waitstaff removed it from a dish that kept them hot and another person cut it open. The were on the small size which is perfect.
The waiter had also asked us if we were interested in one of two different vegetables. Anne Marie selected the mashed potatoes and Keith selected spinach in cream sauce. These dishes were at the table when we returned. They were on the larger side so we had a portion of them.
We went back up for some warm vegetables such as mushrooms, potato, grilled vegetables and one or two other items.
We were ready to begin trying out some of the entree items that a gaucho waiter served. He would cut an item or push it towards the bottom and you would remove them with the tongs that were provided at your place setting.
In the photo section you will see the special card you use to indicate if you want more food or want to stop. If you need a break you could turn the card over to stop and turn it back to go if you want additional items.
From there different entree items arrived. We tried to limit ourselves to one or two pieces of any item and we tried some of the items and passed on others.
We both had the shrimp. Very tasty. We both had the steak and it was medium rare and also a hit for us. Keith had one piece of chicken and Anne Marie had just a portion of it. Keith tried on lamb chop and it was also delicious. Since Anne Marie skipped several of these items she tried two more shrimp.
We passed on other items such as pork wrapped in bacon, short ribs and the sausage. We did not want to overeat and felt that we tried the items that we would prefer.
The final course was dessert and fruit. Anne Marie chose one small piece of dessert. Think it was banana cake and gave Keith a portion to try. It was delicious. We also had some fruit.
This is a restaurant that we would visit one or possibly two times during a single voyage depending on its length. One could visit to have a light dinner such as having salad, vegetables and one entree which might be nice for a second visit. It is a nice venue to dine alone, dine with one other person or dine with a group. We saw one table with ten people sitting together.
The show last night was outstanding. It was performed by the wonderful pianist Philip Wojciechowski. He is always amazing and this was the case last night and this was a new performance by him. He leaves the ship today and we are thankful he was on this voyage.
We enjoyed breakfast in our room and then got ready for our visit to Honolulu.
After arriving to the Aloha Tower Market Place in Honolulu, we took a private tour booked with Crystal Cruises that we had pre-arranged a couple of months ago.
On past trips we visited the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and the Arizona Memorial to honor the men and women who lost their lives on that horrific day. The day following the attack President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered a famous address to Members of the House and Senate and the nation. He began his talk with those words we have read and heard countless times.
“Yesterday, December 7th 1941 a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attached by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
Instead of visiting the Visitor Center and Arizona memorial, we visited several memorials and two military bases.
The tour guide Steve was outstanding. He was in the military for twenty four years and his area of expertise is history. He also gave talks for five year on the USS Missouri which we have visited twice before. He gave us information on Pearl Harbor that we were not aware of even though we have read many books on Pear Harbor and taken many tours.
Our tour included:
Ford Island to see the memorials of the USS Utah & USS Oklahoma.
Visits to Pearl Harbor Military Base and Hickam Air Force Bases.
Tour of Punchbowl National Memorial. While we have driven through there we have never stopped there and walking the area was very special. Many people were there visiting loved ones with flowers.
We also visited the Iolani Palace.
We enjoyed lunch at the Natsunoya Tea House. Natsunoya means Tea House. Its location is on the slopes of Alewa Heights. Only two tea houses remain in Honolulu. This Tea House only opens up for special events such as Birthday, Graduations, etc.
This tea house relates to Pearl Harbor as a spy from the Japanese Consulate sent a coded message to Tokyo in the months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He arrived in February of that year. He would go to the Tea House a few times a week. From above he would view the timing of all of the vessels that entered and left the harbor. He couldn't make notes for fear he would get caught. He had an amazing memory and would then go to the Japanese Embassy to write down all that he saw. He had to remember the numbers and positions of over 100 vessels. He would act like he was getting drunk to spend many hours there even though he didn't drink the alcohol. Normally the telescope is located down stairs but they placed it upstairs in the room in which he observed the vessels.
The food was amazing. Enough food for four people so we couldn't eat it all.
Tomorrow is Anne Marie's birthday so there was even a gift for her and when the tour operator met us she had a gift for Anne Marie.
We love studying history and believe that history is important as it can help predict the future.
Anne Marie & Keith