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