GIBRALTAR, U.K. - THE ROCK
We began last evening back at the Crystal Cove which has become our go-to lounge for these voyages. This was followed by dinner at Prego.
We dined with Executive Housekeeper Maria. We have known Maria for many years. She is from the wonderful city/country of Lisbon, Portugal. Maria has been with Crystal Cruises for 24 years having served on Crystal Harmony for ten of those years and the remaining time she has been on Crystal Serenity. She is an amazing person.
As Executive Housekeeper Maria has responsibility for all of the staterooms/suites, and public areas. Housekeeping is pretty much a 7x24 function because in the late hours of the evening and the early morning hours she has the night crew. They have plenty to take care of including cleaning the fitness center, the lounges, restaurants, guest laundry facilities and other areas of the ship where the late hours provides the optimal time to clean and scrub these rooms.
Dinner was wonderful. We both started with a Creamy King Crab Salad which was very tasty and both had Caesar Salad. Anne Marie had the Veal. All of this was very tasty. Keith had the addition that was added for an evening which was a Tuna Steak which Keith thought was OK but one that he would pass on in the future. As usual the overall experience was terrific between cuisine, service and the overall ambience of the dining venue. Prego was fairly busy while we dined and as we were leaving there were several empty tables, but as they say this was the calm before the storm with many guests dining later. We enjoyed such wonderful conversation that we dined from 6:00 PM to 8:15 PM with Maria.
As soon as we left we went to the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle Party. When we arrived one other couple was there. This was their first Crystal Cruise. Evidently one other person was there earlier. We believe twenty four people signed up. Seven day cruises can be more challenging for people to attend these parties. Hotel Director Hubert and Cruise Sales Consultant Jaque were there as were at least three members supporting the bar team.
Something we wanted to mention about this cruise is believe it or not there are about twenty four children on board. A few are in elementary school while the rest are either not in school or in some type of pre-school program. This is unusual given the time of year. However, in some cases you have passengers on board from the Southern Hemisphere where school is out and we have several guests on board from Europe and with pre-school children they have greater flexibility to travel this time of year. We saw almost no children on the previous two seven day cruises. They have been very well behaved and very cute. Crystal has brought in Junior Activity Directors so they can offer a program for the children older enough to attend.
Serenity left Malaga at Midnight for our next port of call in Gibraltar which is a short distance. We slept well and began today the way we always do with exercise and a light breakfast.
Gibraltar with a population of 35,000 people has a wealth of historical sites, including a 16th century cathedral and the Morrish Alcazaba Fortress.
We have visited this area several times since our first visit in 2008. The area attracts lots of visitors including many cruise ships from Europe as it offers tax free shopping. We have enjoyed many walks and like to walk onto the side streets. On previous stops we have visited one of the Synagogues where we were welcomed by the Rabbi, a Jewish School and various sites within the downtown area.
The rock of Gibraltar is well known from all of the photos taken of it. The rock soars almost 1400 feet. Over 1,400 caves have been discovered. It is connected to Spain by land but is part of the United Kingdom. Most of its residents are from Spain and Spanish is widely spoken by the locals.
Major attractions include:
Cable Car to the Upper Rock.
Apes Den. We have chosen not to visit this area over the years although many people do. It is one to be vary careful and not to feed the apes.
Gibraltar Museum houses an array of displays highlighting the history of the rock.
Gibraltar Crystal Factory where guess can learn the process of making Crystal.
Moorish Castle which was first built in 1160.
Unfortunately, it was a rainy day. Keith gave it a try hoping to take photos in town. He put on a rain coat and with an umbrella in hand started to walk into town. The rain wouldn't let up and he realized it would not be possible to take photos so he turned around and walked back to the ship.
These are some photos of Gibraltar from our last visit in 2015.
Back on the ship Keith worked out at the Fitness Center. Anne Marie did packing so that we could enjoy as much as possible at our two remaining ports of call at Cadiz, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal.
We enjoyed lunch at the Lido Cafe and the weather improved so Keith played Paddle Tennis while Anne Marie walked outside. We are enjoying the rest of the afternoon on the ship.
Hopefully tomorrow's weather will cooperate in Cadiz for everyone.
Anne Marie & Keith