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
DAY 7 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY
We had dinner at Waterside. The dinner was wonderful. The queue at the entrance was longer than we had on the other evening's but in a couple of minutes we were inside and seated.
Anne Marie began with a Jumbo Shrimp Appetizer that is available every night. Keith had the Miso Cured Salmon which was absolutely delicious. For salads Keith had the Farmer's Vegetable Salad and there was a salad entree that Anne Marie had as a small house salad. In addition to the greens it had a breaded/fried zucchini and she shared some with Keith and it was out of this world.
For the entree Anne Marie had the Seared Sea Scallops. It has been years since Keith had Dover Sole but the senior waiter recommended it as did Head Waiter Albert. When the entrees were ready to be served the Head Waiter came to the table to debone the sole. We each enjoyed our entrees.
For dessert Anne Marie had the sugar free Eclair (half of it) and Keith had mixed entrees.
In one of the photos you see Water (she assists the senior waiter) Anna. Also Senior Waiter Fabio heard we were on board and came by our table. We last saw Fabio four years ago on Crystal Serenity when he was one of the waiters in Tastes. So nice to see him.
The new dishes are attractive. Modern Cuisine items come out on dishes that are contemporary. The number of people dining built up over the course of the time we were there. Service terrific. Full disclosure. One of the reasons in the past that Keith avoided the Dover Sole was that it is a popular entree that takes extra time because it is deboned for each guest. During traditional timing many of the entrees come out around the same time to the tables that each Senior Waiter is responsible for and it could take awhile for the Sole to be deboned and by the time you would eat the food would be cool. That was not the case least evening as food comes out table at a time and it was nice and hot by the time Keith had it. The same goes for Anne Marie's entree.
There is a photo of Anne Marie and Fabio. We last saw Fabio in the Tastes Dining Venue on board Crystal Serenity four years ago. He saw that we were on this sailing. He is Senior Waiter in an area on the other side of where we were seated so it took a few days for him to have a moment to come over to our table. We adored him on Serenity and so happy to see that he has been working at Symphony for a few years. He left Serenity as he was going to settle down and get engaged to someone but that didn't work.
The items from the Modern Menu come in the dark dishes.
The evening entertainment was outstanding. Do you remember ELO back in the day. Neil Lockwood who is the former lead vocalist of ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) performed and was accompanied by The Crystal Showband & Violinist Lana Gasparyan. The show was outstanding. Maybe outstanding is an understatement. If you closed your eyes you would think you were at an ELO Concert. As Neil said the major thing about him that has changed in the last 20 years is less hair. LOL. He still has that amazing voice.
The show was performed two times. There was a Latin Dance Show that was also performed two times. As usual other options included dancing and listening to live music such as Oliver Holland who played and sang in the Avenue Saloon. The Movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri was shown two times. Later at night a DJ Played music.
We slept well as Symphony continued sailing to the big island of Hawaii. We woke up early, freshened up and enjoyed breakfast in our room. We then got ready to visit Kona. We have been here previously so we did not arrange a tour. We do have a tour planned for the first of two days in Oahu.
We could see the Big Island by 6:30 AM. It was overcast and a bit hazy. The middle photo shows the sun as it was breaking over the mountain.
We walked for a few hours and 6+ miles. The weather was very nice. At times it was warm/hot and other times cooler when walking in the shade.
We visited Hulihe's Palace the former vacation home of Hawaiian royalty and Moku'aikaua Chuch which is the oldest Christian church in the Hawaiian Islands. We walked along the Beach and took in wonderful views of its beauty.
There were lots of people out and about. Several restaurants were busy serving breakfast.
We enjoyed lunch on-board the ship. Anne Marie walked outside on the Promenade Deck and Keith enjoyed lots of Paddle Tennis.
This evening we will dine at the Brazilian Restaurant; Churrascaria.
We enjoyed a wonderful day in Paradise on land and on Crystal Symphony.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 6 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY
Menus from last evening's dinner at Waterside.
We enjoyed another wonderful evening on-board Crystal Symphony.
Before dinner we attended a 5:00 PM classical concert matinee performed by Philip Wojciechowski. We were on Crystal Serenity when he made his debut with Crystal Cruises we believe back in 2010. He was so well received that he was given a standing ovation. We think he is one of the finest pianists we have ever seen perform in person. He is also a very humble person who we have had the pleasure of getting to know over the years. The concert was wonderful.
We then had a pre-dinner drink at the Silk Bar. It is an absolutely beautiful venue and a very nice area to enjoy conversation and a drink.
From there it was dinner at one of the two new venues on board the ship called Silk. This restaurant serves Chinese cuisine family style.
The menu is quite extensive and this is a change from when they first opened this restaurant. The feedback they received was to expand the menu from the six to eight items to something more extensive. We tried lots of items from appetizers to entrees. We passed on dessert.
The service was fabulous as was the venue.
Since this was our first time dining there we found the knowledge and expertise of the waiters to be very helpful. We relied on their recommendations including portion size so we knew how much to order. We did add a couple of entrees later in the meal.
From left to right and then down.
Anne Marie holding the Silk Menu.
Won Ton Soup. (tasty and nice and hot)
Wild Rice (very tasty)
Dim Sum (two pieces each of Scallop and Truffled Wild Mushroom and one piece Duck).
Lamb Chops (a wow. Very tasty)
Salad (we had without duck but also comes with duck)
Bok Choy with two entrees of Beef and Chicken)
Drinks to go with the meal.
Spring Rolls (very tasty and arrives nice and hot)
All in all we have a terrific time between the wonderful cuisine and service and the ambience of the dining venue.
The theme for the evening was the Crystal White Extravaganza. This is something that began in February of both vessels. We chose to wear some white clothing to keep with the white theme.
In keeping with the white theme:
Three white cocktails were highlighted in the program; White Crystal of Gordon's Gin, White Creme de Cacao, Malibu Rum, Half & Half Cream, Sambuca and Sugar & Coconut Flaked Rim; White Cloud with New Amsterdam Vodka, White Creme de Cacao, Pineapple Juice; White Cosmopolitan with New Amsterdam Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower, Fresh Lime Juice.
The Crystal Plaza was all decorated in White.
At 10:30 PM there was a dance party featuring the Crystal Dance Quartet Band, the Crystal Showed and violinist Lana Gasparyan and the Crystal Quartet.
In addition there was a Dance Production called 5678 performed two times, dancing, and a movie.
These photos are views of the decorations in the Crystal Plaza for the White Night Extravaganza.
The good news is before we went to sleep we turned the clocks back a full hour as we sail into a new time zone. We woke fairly early benefiting from moving the clocks back. Keith passed on an early morning workout and he read and wrote and we both enjoyed coffee in the room. Before breakfast we both went on a walk on the Promenade Deck. The weather was beautiful.
We had breakfast in the room which was organized by Butler Dario.
After breakfast Keith met some of the fellow guests who he took the indoor cycling class with. A class is offered today at 4:00 PM but everyone didn't want to go so late in the day.
They had agreed that they would cycle together this morning. Obviously it is not a class but a group of guests getting together to spin similar to a group of guests getting together to play Paddle Tennis or even knitting. Keith used a playlist from one of the recent classes he taught at home. It was one hour. All the bikes were full. While Keith daughter Anne Marie enjoyed a nice long walk outside after she took a few photos of everyone warming up. Everyone seemed pleased with the class and wanted Keith to lead another one so they picked out another date for May 28 when no cycle class is being offered and when there would not be a conflict in the Fitness Center.
Lots on the program today. Originally this was the day we would arrive to Hilo but this was no long possible due to the Volcano and safety issues. No problem as Crystal can adapt easily to all of this.
There is so much enrichment available on board. Three lectures were given. First one by Jim Jimirro covering a range of American Songs. Michael Bishay spoke later in the morning about a court's ruling with respect who was the mother of a child. In the afternoon Herb Keyser spoke about the life and music of Stephen Sondheim. We watched the first two lectures from our room and will watch the third one later today or tomorrow.
After lunch at Marketplace Keith played Paddle Tennis for three hours. Anne Marie walked for an hour and then sat out at the pool. Weather was lovely.
This evening we will dine at Waterside.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 5 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY
Menus from dinner at Waterside last evening followed by yesterday's luncheon menu and the daily breakfast menu.
We always say the life on the ship is more exciting than the day-to-day routine of home on land. Last evening was another fun night.
Our night began with a visit to the Captain's Quarters for a reception he hosted. On each cruise the Captain will host some receptions at his quarters. It provides a very nice opportunity to talk with some of the senior officers and senior staff, to hear from the Captain and to chat with fellow guests.
Anne Marie with the Front Office Manager and with the Captain.
There was a large turnout of Officers/Senior Members of Symphony. This included Captain, Vice Captain, Chief Safety Officer, Hotel Director, Food & Beverage Manager, Shore Excursion Manager, Front Office Manager, Head Housekeeper, Crystal Society Hostess, Crystal Society Hostess and a few others.
We would say there were about forty guest in attendance.
The Captain Nenad Willheim spoke before the party concluded. He introduced his team one-by-one to well deserved applause. As usual the two members from the bar team who made the drinks got the largest applause.
The Captain highlighted the itinerary and given the number of sea days that many guests booked this cruise with the destination being Crystal Symphony which is very true. He has been asked if we will be able to see the Volcano and he said he hopes to get a nice view of the Volcano for everyone to see but this all depends on weather and sea conditions.
We had a great time and it was so nice to catch up with officers and to meet other guests. Some of the officers we know from Serenity and some we have not chatted with in some time such as the Head Housekeeper and Front Office Manager both of whom moved from Serenity to Symphony.
After the reception we had dinner for the second time of this cruise at Waterside.
Food was excellent. As the Senior Waiter mentioned there were many nice choices. She recommended some of her favorites to us.
We changed it up from what we normally do. We both began with Shrimp Cocktail and the Shrimp lived up to their description. Yes, four large jumbo shrimps. We each had the salad on the menu. On long cruises we tend to go with a simple standard salad but on this cruise we plan to mainly go with the salads on the menu. Very tasty. We took the Senior Waiter's recommendation and had the Steak Diane which is more of a Filet Mignon in life of choosing a seafood entree as we often do. We went with her recommendation of medium rare. Steak was tasty as were the items that accompanied it. The portion was actually larger than we normally would have. Some mixed berries for Keith and a decaf cappuccino for Anne Marie. Wonderful meal.
Our two dinners at Waterside have been very nice. The flow of guests to and from the dining room has been terrific. We arrived about ten minutes after it opened and there were just a few people ahead of us. During the course of our meal people came and went. This restaurant venue on Symphony has always been quieter then that of the sister ship Serenity but we have found it to be quieter this time around. The factors include only 600 guests on board but also the variety of dining venues. With more suites more people are dining in and with two additional dining venues people are spreading out more to the various venues.
The placement of tables has received a lot of comments because now that we have seen the dining venue in person it is clear to us that photos to not do it justice. For example the ceiling lamps look so much nicer in person. The chairs are lots more comfortable then the former ones but you would have thought the reverse was true from the photos. There are lots of two person tables but several others that are already set for four, six and eight people. There are some tables that are closer together but their placement is no different then the placement of selected two person tables in Umi Uma or Prego that have been in place for many years. To us it now has more of a feel of a restaurant then say a banquet room.
We included a photo with Anne Marie and Senior Waiter Magdalena.
Crystal has ramped up its evening entertainment program the last year or so to offer more choices using more than one venue. Janet Dacal performed in the Galaxy Showroom and we attended her performance. Entertainment is always subjective. We had thought the focus of the songs would be more along Broadway Theatre based on her background. Rather it was a combination of jazz and latin song and was quite enjoyable.
She performed two times as did Musical Comedy Ambassador Gary Delana who performed a Comedy Cabaret show in the Starlite Club. There was also other options including dancing and listening to the pianists perform. The featured movie shown twice was All the Money in the World
We slept very well. We find it easy to fall asleep on the ship with the gentle rocking of the ship. Remember rockabye baby.
The morning started the same for us. Keith made a visit to the Fitness Center for a workout. We enjoyed breakfast in our room and we both went on a long walk together inside the ship. While walking we saw some fellow guests who we chatted with.
Today is a sea day so another day with lots of activities on the schedule. Today's program included three lectures Retired Brig. General Nick Halley spoke about Understanding Radical Islam and why they will fight us for the next 500 years. Keith has seen him give this presentation before so we did not attend. Celebrity Guest Lecturer Bruce McGill spoke about Tales from Tinsel Town, My Five Decades in Hollywood. Admittedly we have seen him give this talk but we still returned to hear him again as there is always something that is missed in the first go around. He is an outstanding actor and also a very friendly person when you engage him in conversation around the ship.
The morning also included a stateroom open house which featured four rooms; Penthouse with Verandah on Deck 10, Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah on Deck 9, Seabreeze Penthouse Suite like the one we are staying in on Deck 9 and a Deluxe Stateroom with Picture Window on Deck 7. We visited rooms on Deck 9 and 10.
We began with Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah.
Next a Penthouse with Verandah on Deck 10.
Last room visited was the Standard Stateroom with Picture Window on Deck 7.
While the dry dock did not involve the update of standard rooms and the original suites we thought that these rooms look like they had been detailed as carpeting and woodwork and other interior areas did not seem worn.
In the afternoon Dr. Jay Wolff spoke about Pearl Harbor - A Day in Infamy. We also have seen Dr. Wolff cover this topic and he does it so well as if he was there. Maybe he was. LOL. We did watch it on the Television in our room.
We also enjoyed a nice afternoon on board the ship. It began with lunch at the Marketplace and our usual salad entrees. Anne Marie walked for an hour on the Promenade Deck and Keith played Paddle Tennis. Anne Marie also sat out at the pool.
This evening we will dine at Silk which is one of the two new dining venues and this one serves Chinese cuisine.
Anne Marie and Keith