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
DAY 4 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY
These are the lunch and dinner menus from yesterday at Waterside. Please note that we only had one of the three dinner menus on line.
We dined at Umi Uma which used to be called Silk Road. This is the Japanese Specialty Restaurant. These are the menus. The menus reflect some changes from the last time we dined at this venue on Serenity.
Before dinner we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at the Crystal Cove. We sat with a very nice couple who we met a couple of years ago when they took their first Crystal Cruise.
It seems that with each passing day we run into a crew member who we know from our last Crystal Symphony cruise or who we know from Serenity. Before dinner we stopped into one of the stores and sure enough one of the employees is someone who used to work on Serenity in a couple of different departments and after leaving Serenity transferred to the company that runs the stores on the Crystal Ocean Vessels. It was so nice to see her.
We first dined at Umi Uma (Silk Road on Serenity) when we cruised on Crystal Serenity in 2005 and loved the cuisine. These restaurants are under the direction of Nobu Matushisa and reflect unique ingredients that make the cuisine unique. Early in Nobu's career he was a chef in Lima, Peru and his experience in Peru is reflected in this cuisine. He opened his first restaurant in 1987 in Beverly Hills, California under the restaurant name Nobu. There are twenty two Nobu restaurants located throughout the world. His restaurants at sea and on land serve a wide range of items.
The evening included lots of entertainment. Bob Arno performed a combination of comedy along with tips about how one could be pickpocketed. We have seen him on past cruises and while some of what he demonstrates is in good fun it is a reminder how easy it is for those skilled in this field to remove a wallet or other possessions from someone without them even know they have been pickpocketed.
In keeping with Crystal Cruises expanded entertainment program Rock & Pop-A-Mania was performed twice at 8:30 PM and 10:30 PM. This included the talented Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancer accompanied by the Crystal Showband. The performance was uplifting and truly showcased the diversity of these performers.
For those who enjoy a movie two showings of the documentary Jane were played in the Hollywood Theatre. The movie is about the life and work of primatology scientist, Jan Goodall, with emphasis on her research of chimpanzees.
Before going to sleep we moved the clocks back an hour for the second consecutive night.
We began today with our normal routine. Keith was up early and worked out at the Fitness Center and returned to the room to read and write. The suites have coffee makers so Keith enjoyed coffee. The coffee maker uses coffee pods as you find at some land based hotels.
We had breakfast in our room keeping to a simple and healthy breakfast. Keith took his first indoor cycling class of the cruise. He always enjoys taking these classes with various instructors at sea and on land even though he himself teaches cycling at home. In fact, Keith learned one new move from the instructor which he might use at home. Symphony has six bikes and with six guests the instructor gave up his bike.
If Christeen and a few of Keith's other spin buddies from previous cruises are reading this, the playlist for today was the same one we heard 30 or so times on World Cruise 15 and subsequent cruises. The class was lots of fun and the instructor did a terrific job and gave up his bike as we had one guest without a bike.
Anne Marie walked for an hour and took the Yoga class taught by a dedicated Yoga instructor who is on board for this cruise. It attracted a full house of guests.
Keith also visited with the on board booking consultant to make a booking for a future cruise.
Lots on today's program. This included three lectures. First one was by Retired Brig. General Joe Shaefer who provided a comparison between Western and Middle East and China cultures. Keith attended that talk. The General was knowledgeable and passionate and was a pleasure to listen to. There was lots to learn and it reenforced the idea that the world is made up of many cultures and while one value is accepted and practiced in one area of the world a completely different value is accepted in another part of the world. He took questions at the end and by the time he began every seat was taken in the Galaxy Lounge.
This was followed by a talk given by Michael Bishay who spoke about Courtroom Drama. In the afternoon a talk was given by Bob Arno who entertained last night and this was about the adventures of a Thirfhunter. We caught both of these talks on the television in our room.
Our afternoon include:
Lunch at Marketplace.
Three hours of paddle tennis for Keith.
Walking for Anne Marie plus sitting outside by the pool.
When we first went outside after lunch it was overcast and in very short order the sun came out. The weather was wonderful.
Watching the lectures.
Anne Marie also made a visit to the library and found two books of interest and has begun reading one of them.
This evening we dine at Waterside Restaurant for the second time of this cruise.
Another great day.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 3 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY
These are the menus from last evening at the Waterside Restaurant.
Last evening was Black Tie Optional (BTO) on the ship. This is one of three of BTO evening's scheduled for this voyage.
We received an invitation sent to our room the night befor inviting us to join Captain Nenad Willheim with other guests for dinner at Prego. Prego is the Italian Specialty Restaurant. One other couple attended who we have seen on board both ships for many years.
These are the menus from Prego.
Dinner was wonderful between the terrific conversation, cuisine, service and the wonderful ambience of the Prego. The Captain will be going on a well deserved holiday at the end of this cruise.
The two of us had Caesar Salad and Anne Marie Veal Scaloppine and Keith had Fresh Branzino as our entrees. Keith also had some fresh fruit for dessert. The wines served were from the inclusive list and of course Italian fitting the cuisine served at Prego.
A few minutes after dinner we attended Captain Nenad's Welcome Reception. It's always a nice opportunity to greet the officers of the ship, to hear from the Captain and to mingle with our fellow guests. With the rollout of open seating it can be a challenge to find a time in the evening to schedule these parties. Originally, they were scheduled at around 5:15 PM but that became a challenge on BTO nights for those dining later in the evening so they have now scheduled these parties at 7:45 PM.
Shortly after the reception concluded we attended the first of two performances of Rocket Man which is a tribute to the songs of Elton John. We enjoyed the performance and listening to the songs does bring back wonderful memories from those days when each song was released. We hadn't even met when some of the songs were first released.
The good news is that before we went to sleep we set the clock backwards for the first time of the cruise as we sail into a new time zone on our way to Hawaii. As the Captain noted in his noon talk from the Bridge and at dinner last evening the sea swells did continue to calm down. We both slept very well. We began the day as we often do when cruising. Keith got an early start to the Fitness Center and went there for two different exercises; Elliptical Machine and Indoor Cycling. The Fitness Center has two different types of Elliptical Machines so Keith used one different from the one he used the day before and used one of their programs.
Photo of our wonderful butler Dario.
We had breakfast in our room and with the change in times we asked Dario to arrive with breakfast 30 minutes earlier than the day before. We then got freshened up to begin another glorious day at sea. This time instead of Dario opening up the two sides of the table he kept the sides down to give us more floor room.
After breakfast we both walked together for an hour. When the weather is nice outdoors Anne Marie will walk on the Promenade Deck. On days when the weather is not conducive to walking outside she will walk deck 6 which has many public rooms.
Today's program included the usual 50+ activities plus not three but four lectures. The first one was given by Jim Jimirro on a topic we could related to from our pre-cruise stay at Disneyland. It was called: "It all started with a Mouse". Yes, the mouse is none other than Mickey Mouse and it was about the life of Walt Disney. While Keith was meeting with the Head Sommelier, Anne Marie attended the talk. Anne Marie thought the talk was outstanding and that he is a dynamic speaker. Anne Marie learned a lot that she didn't know about Walt Disney. Keith will be watching this on the Television in our room.
The second talk was given by retired Brig. General Nick Halley who spoke about War Stories and Leadership Lessons. We passed on this talk as we have heard him give the same talk on a previous Crystal Cruise.
The afternoon program featured a talk given by Suzanne Eon about her own experience transitioning from a model to a jewelry designer. Dr. Herb Keyser closed out the lectures with a talk about the life and music of Cole Porter.
We had lunch at Market Place and then Keith went to play Paddle Tennis while Anne Marie walked for an hour.
Throughout the day we have spoken with fellow guests, with several people on board as part of the enrichment and entertainment program and also several officers and other members of the crew. Keith ran into the Chief Accountant who used to be solely on Serenity and now swings between the ships so it was great to catch up with her.
We received these flowrs the first day of the cruise and we received the candy today from Crystal Society.
While Anne Marie was walking this afternoon Keith played Paddle Tennis for a couple of hours. First time he played since we boarded and first time in over a year. Had a lot of fun and great laughs. Weather was quite nice and the sun was out.
We are having a blast on board. We are posting a little early.
Keith & Anne Marie
DAY 2 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY
After we posted we met our butler. His name is Dario and he is from Italy. This is his first Butler contract. He worked in Waterside and at many hotels on land. He seems very nice.
He found our luggage and it was delivery to us promptly. Thank you Dario.
Anne Marie got us all unpacked while Keith followed up on some items.
Keith checked out the Fitness Center and spoke with both of the Fitness Instructors. They made Keith's day as they were very surprised when they heard his age.
We attended the Muster Drill at 5:15 PM. On Crystal Serenity it is done inside the ship as that is where the muster stations are located. On Symphony you go to your lifeboat on the Promenade Deck.
Afterwards, we enjoyed our first dinner of the cruise and our first dinner at Waterside.
We've included Luncheon and Dinner Menus from yesterday.
Getting ready for the Muster Drill.
Dinner at Waterside. Normally with fixed dining on the first night there would be a long line to get into the dining room. This was not the case as there was very little queue for open seating at the time Waterside opened. We liked how they greet you. One waiter approaches you to ask for your room number. Another waiter asks if you would like to dine alone or be seated with others Restaurant Manager Slavko greets you and lets the waiter know what table you will be at and the waiter takes you to the table. This was efficient and personable.
Food was delicious. Service was terrific. The waiter and senior waiter were excellent. She senior waiter offered recommendations and was very adapt at taking orders which are now taken on smart devices instead of on paper. It was very easy if you wanted to change things up. Head Waiter stopped by a few times to check on us. Met the Head Sommelier and the Sommelier was at our table to take care of the wine.
Anne Marie had a Shrimp Appetizer and Keith had Mahi Tuna. We asked for a simple salad not on the menu and Keith had fish as an entree and Anne Marie had Filet Mignon. We each enjoyed wine; Chablis for Anne Marie and Chardonnay for Keith and then he had some Pinot Noir. Lots of choices were available. Service was fantastic. Loved the venue.
After dinner we went to the show Crystal In Motion. A very upbeat and wonderful show.
A nice feature of the new suites is a washer/dryer combo and Anne Marie did one wash. It was very quiet. The seas were relatively calm and we slept very well. Keith was up quite early and worked out at the Fitness Center. When he put on the television they were showing a countdown to the royal wedding. Keith watched for a short while. He ended up using one of the many playlists he has made for when he reached indoor cycling three times a week at home and that worked out well for his workout on the Elliptical Machine.
A couple of hours later he returned for another workout. This time he worked out on one of the indoor cycle bikes and used a playlist from the last class he taught before we left for this adventure.
We enjoyed our first breakfast of the cruise in our room. Butler Dario brought the breakfast inside on a nice table. We keep to a very simple breakfast on most days of oatmeal for Keith and cereal for Anne Marie along with some fruit.
We touched base with Stewardess Marina with a couple of questions. She went over the lighting with us including how to set the lighting to more of a night light.
Stopped by to see Cruise Sales Consultant Jaque Brown about one item. Jaque recently moved to this position having served for many years as the Crystal Society Hostess. It was chilly, windy with some roughness to the seas so Anne Marie walked inside the ship with Keith joining her for about half the walk. While Anne Marie continued walking, Keith attended Jay Wolff's talk about Moby Dick and the Missionaries. Jay also took several questions at the end of his talk and did a terrific job speaking about the creation of the Hawaiian Islands.
We enjoyed lunch at the Market Place. We each had salads and also added some chicken. During the talk from the Bridge, the Captain announced that due to safety issues we would not be stopping at Hilo, Hawaii. We will still go to Kona the following day and that stop has been extended a couple of additional hours.
The Senior Waiter and Waiter who took wonderful care of us last evening at Waterside are working lunch at the Market Place and each came by our table to see if we needed anything.
After lunch we both went on a walk inside the ship. The weather was not conducive for Keith to play Paddle Tennis nor for Anne Marie to walk outside.
Another nice feature of the new suites is the refrigerator. You pull the door like a drawer and it is easy to see what is in the refrigerator and there is another area that you can move the shelf to get to other items.
This evening is Black Tie Optional on the ship and we look forward to a fun-filled evening of dinner a reception and a show.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 1 CRYSTAL SYMPHONY - EMBARKATION
We begin with some final thoughts about Disneyland. Disneyland remains special to us. We prefer Disneyland to Disney World because with two parks it can be covered in a few days and it brings back fond memories of the many visits we took with our children when they were young. Many years passed since we revisited the park. We returned in 2016 with our daughter and grandson, visited in 2017 with our daughter, son-in-law, grandson and granddaughter, and with son, daughter in-law, grandson and our daughter-in-law was three months pregnant with another grandson.
Disneyland has gone through many changes including the addition of California Adventure Park along with other new additions to the park. Some attractions were replaced with newer ones. The downtown Disney area was expanded and two new hotels were built. Each passing year brings additional change. Construction begins shortly on a new Hotel in Downtown Disney.
Even with change the constant is the wonderful atmosphere provided at the park. We think it is a wonderful venue for children and adults of all ages. It does bring out the "kid" in most people. We love it.
We woke early with the excitement of embarkation day. Enjoyed our final breakfast in the club lounge, freshened up and finished packing. We were driven to the World Cruise Center located in San Pedro, California. The drive took one hour.
Today was embarkation day and we are now on Crystal Symphony. As many times as we have cruised we are excited each time we return for a cruise.
We enjoyed a terrific embarkation. We saw several of the officers including the Captain, Hotel Director, Food & Beverage Manager, Clearance Officer and Front Office Manager, Cruise Sales Consultant, Head Housekeeper and many others. We then took a tour of the ship to see many of the public areas. This included the new Waterside Dining Room, Silk and other areas including Prego, Umi Uma, Marketplace and other areas. A short while later we visit our room. We booked one of the new Seabreeze Penthouse Suites which was created in the dry doc.
These photos were taken with our camera.
These are photos taken with Keith's iPhone.
We made our way over to the Waterside Restaurant for lunch. We ran into Food & Beverage Manager Tayfun who was getting ready to go on a well deserved holiday and we saw Restaurant Manager Slavko.
We enjoyed our first meal of the voyage. We went with our traditional lunch of a flute of Champagne and a Cobb Salad.
We spoke with some fellow Cruisers along with other members of the wait staff team some of whom we know from our last Crystal Symphony cruise and others we know from Crystal Serenity.
Photo of Anne Marie with Tayfun and Keith with Tayfun and Slavko.
We are going to close for now as we will have a busy afternoon.[
We love what we have already seen of Crystal Symphony. We feel we are back home with our extended Crystal Family. We are very excited to be here.
Following is the itinerary.
Anne Marie and Keith
Hawaii Interlude Itinerary
DAY 3 DISNEYLAND
We slept well last evening. As the bellhop mentioned the walk to our room is far. The upside is the room is in a remote location of the hotel where we hear no noise.
We don't know what the room looked like before last year's hotel renovation. The room is a one-bedroom suite with lots of rooms and a perfect layout.
Speaking of the renovation their club lounge (known as The Veranda) also enjoyed a complete makeover. We mentioned to the staff last evening how much nicer the layout is to the one at the Disneyland Hotel and they noted that this is from the makeover. We like the outside seating and have enjoyed a glass of wine each evening. It is perfect for those who watch the fireworks in the evening. The remodeled lounge allows them to display a sample of the range of beer they serve along with all the different wines. Before this change these items were key in the kitchen. The staff throughout the hotel are amazing including housekeeping, guest services and the folks who work at The Veranda. Similar to other club lounges they have a dedicated concierge team, but we have needed no help from them.
We enjoyed breakfast at the lounge including cereal and fruit and got ready for our final day at the park.
The Disneyland Park opened at 8:00 AM for those guests staying at one of the Disneyland Hotel properties making this our first stop for the day. The general park opening for both parks is 9:00 AM.
We took full advantage of that hour. We went on Space Mountain, Star Tours and It's A Small World. Later in the day each of those rides had wait times of one hour each. Last time on Space Mountain was when our own children were young and Keith went on it several times with daughter Jennifer. We are now at the age that we may pass on that one going forward. It's A Small World brought back many memories of the times we've been on it with the family and also having gone on it back in 1964 with the World's Fair. We wanted to go on Pirates Of The Caribbean which also brings back many wonderful memories but it was closed this week.
During the course of the day we also went on Peter Pan's Flight, the Haunted Mansion, took the Raft over to Pirate Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, the Disneyland Railroad, the Red Car Trolley along with some other rides.
We had lunch at Hungry Bear Restaurant and Dinner at ESPN restaurant.
For those of you familiar with Disneyland, the ESPN restaurant and store close on June 2. In time other venues in that area will be closed including the AMC theatre to make room for the construction of a new hotel.
All in all we had a wonderful day. Tomorrow we board Crystal Symphony.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY 2 DISNEYLAND
After we posted last evening we sat outside on the balcony from our room and just enjoyed the wonderful Southern California weather and took in the views of the surrounding area.
Our room is in a quiet area of the hotel. Remote is an understatement. When our room was ready and we spoke with one of the bellmen he said you will have quite a walk to the room. He was not kidding. The hotel only has six floors to keep its height from being an eye saw in the park. It is quite wide. The good news is to get to our room it involves a lengthily walk so we are getting plenty of exercise and it is in a quiet area of the hotel.
All of the rooms were redone last year and it shows in a positive manner. We are including a few photos of the room.
We slept very well. It was easy to fall asleep as our time zone is two hours later than that of California. We enjoyed an early breakfast at the hotel.
One of the benefits of staying at a Disneyland Hotel is the ability to get into one of the parks (they alternate each day) before the general public. Today was Disney California Adventure.
Disneyland has special meaning to us.
Although Anne Marie visited once while still in High School our first joint visit was the year after Keith took a job assignment in Northern California. We took the family on a trip to Southern California to visit Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm. The return involved stops at several towns along the Coast.
We had such a great time for the next two years we drove down shortly before New Years to visit some of Anne Marie's relatives and then spent a few days at the Disneyland Hotel. We returned to the Park several years later prior to a family cruise.
There are lots of memories including all the rides we went on with our children, a parade that our daughter Jennifer was asked to participate in, those autograph books that Jennifer and our son Eric would carry with them as they looked for those cute Disney Characters.
In 2016 we returned with Jennifer and our grandson Andre and rekindled those memories through the excitement of Andre. We all had so much fun that we took our entire family including three grand children (our daughter in-law was pregnant with our fourth grandchild) for a visit before we took them all on a Crystal Cruise.
This is our first visit to Disneyland by ourselves. On each ride and as walk around the park we reminisce about our entire family.
The first ride we went on was Radiator Springs Racers which is a very popular ride and the wait during peak hours can be one hour. We had no wait since we got into the park at 8:00 AM before the official opening of 9:00 AM.
We went on it a second time and only waited five minutes. We also got a Fast Pass and went back for a third time later in the morning.
We went on Soarin' Around the World. This ride simulates flying around the world with your feet dangling. We remarked that we have visited all of the places except for one with all of the cruising we have done.
Other rides we went on included The Little Mermaid, Luigi's Rollicin' Roadsters, Alice In Wonderfland, Mr. Toad's Wile Ride, Made Tea Party, Buzz Lightyear and Autopia. We also saw Mr. Lincoln which each of us saw at the New York World's Fair ten years+ before we met in College. We did a lot of walking and had a wonderful time.
We had lunch at La Brea Bakery in Downtown Disney and Dinner at Wine Country Trattoria. The weather was a delight adding to making this a wonderful day.
Anne Marie & Keith
TRAVEL DAY & WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND
We woke early to get ready for our early morning flight. There is no walkway making it unsafe to walk to the airport, so we took the five-minute hotel shuttle which dropped us off by the entrance to our airline counter. After check-in we made our way through security and over to the airline club lounge. We enjoyed coffee while waiting for the flight.
The flight was terrific. We ate breakfast, read and talked and arrived to Los Angeles International Airport about 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Kudos to the head flight attendant. The flight was full. We boarded a few minutes late waiting for one additional flight attendant. She spoke to the passengers a few times encouraging them to clear aisles so other passengers could make their way onto the plane.
The driver met us at baggage claim. With luggage in hand we made our way to the SUV for our drive to the hotel. The drive took only 30 minutes.
We arrived to the Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, one of three hotels at Disneyland.
This visit is the third successive year we are visiting Disneyland. Prior visits included family. Last year we took the entire family including the grandchildren before everyone boarded Crystal Serenity. The previous year we took our daughter Jennifer and grandson Andre. We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel both times and stayed there on two separate occasions when we lived in Northern California.
We would have stayed at the Disney Grand Californian last year to try a new hotel. Instead, we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel to avoid the extensive renovation this hotel was going through at the time of our stay.
Check-in was a breeze. Our room was not ready but we prepared for that having a back pack and a purse that would hold our valuables including electronics. We had lunch and visited the park. A couple of hours later when our room was ready we went back to the hotel. After our luggage was brought up we settled into the room and then went back to the park. We went on a couple of rides and walked for quite awhile. We also had dinner at the park. Later we enjoyed a glass of wine at the Verandah Club Lounge and sat outside. All in all a wonderful day. Photos follow.
Anne Marie and Keith