WELCOME TO MAURITIUS - WE SEE LAND
Thank you Gilly. It is indeed hard to believe that we have been on Serenity for 69 days. Time does go fast.
This was the second of the last two days that we ate in our room due to appointments that Anne Marie had before we normally dine and we had during and after we dine. We had small window to eat. We will share some details from our two day experience in the coming weeks.
We ordered two course to keep things simple. We had Caesar Salad from the room service menu and Broiled Fresh Ahi Tuna Steak from the Crystal Classic Waterside Menu.
The restaurant menus from Waterside are included below the photo.
Last Evening's Entertainment included a variety show with two performance from Comedian Jeff Stevenson and Vocalist Toni Warne. Live music was performed in the Crystal Cove, Palm Court, Avenue Saloon and Stardust Club. A special Crystal Chorus Concert was held in the Crystal Cove at 5:45 PM. It was led by Reverend Ed Voosen with Richard Pucci on the Piano.
We got to sleep later than usual as we have the past three nights. Thankfully we turned the clocks back one hour before going to sleep as we did the night before. We appreciated this.
We began the day as you all know so well. An early morning visit to the Fitness Center for Keith, including a workout on the Elliptical Machine along with using the step with weights, the kettle ball and some additional cargo and weight exercises.
We enjoyed coffee followed by breakfast in the room. Each guest was assigned a group number for the mandatory inspection which was held for our visit to Mauritius. The face to face inspection was not much of a face to face session. We entered the Palm Court and a member of the Crystal Team swiped our room card to verify that we had checked-in. We turned in our passports and completed paperwork to another Crystal Representative. At another table local authority personnel stamped the passports for those who had already had their passport collected.
We wanted to share some information about Port Louis, Mauritius.
This is our third visit to Port Louis having visited the area in 2014 and 2015. On our first visit we did a private Crystal Tour. Our tour included a visit to the Tamil Temple which is one of the oldest Temple’s on the Island. We visited Chinatown which is relatively small and La Citadelle which is a former British Fortress.
Port Louis is the Capital City of Mauritius.
Unemployment on the Island is relatively low at 5%. If you want to work you can. Much of the work centers around tourism. Major exports do include sugar and textiles. Labor is relatively cheap.
Tourism is very strong, although very few cruise ships sail to this location. The vast majority of tourism comes from tourists who visit here by airplane.
There are several Markets around town which locals frequent to purchase spices, fruits and vegetables. Plentiful fruits which are local include bananas, watermelon and dragon fruit (first time we ever had dragon fruit was on board Crystal Serenity in 2008) and many vegetables that are local can be found at the markets. In addition, they import fruit and vegetables from South Africa, Italy and Pakistan.
One of the photos below shows a vegetable which is called Pulkin.
Another site located around thirty minutes from town is the Eureka Colonial House, which is one of the most historic colonial houses found on this island. It was built in 1830.
Additional highlights of Port Louis include:
Caudan Waterfront is the first shopping mall on the island. The waterfront includes shops, banking facilities, casinos, cinemas, restaurants, a marina and luxury hotel.
Photography Museum which is located in a French Colonial Building constructed in the 18thcentury. The museum features a collection of cameras, projectors, scrips and photos which dates back as far as 1840.
Central Bazaar which has been in use since 1833. The bazaar has three main areas; fruits and vegetables, meats and crafts.
La Citadelle which was built between 1834 and 1840. When it was in use it accommodated officers, up to 200 men and provisions that could last up to three months.
When we arrived to port there was a beautiful Rainbow.
For those who were not on tour some people we know went to the beach and/or a hotel on the beach. The heat can be a bit too much for Anne Marie after awhile and given that we have toured the Island two times already we thought it made more sense for us to stay on board the ship other than a short visit we made ashore today. We were in the same "boat" with some other guests we know who decided to make today a sea day. We do have tours coming up in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town and our touring will increase in Europe.
We got in a long walk after returning to the ship this morning. There is a tribute to Rogers and Hammerstein this evening and we listened to part of the practice session. The songs are beautiful that we heard.
We enjoyed lunch at Marketplace and in the afternoon, We both enjoyed another long walk and are enjoying the rest of the day on-board Serenity.
While this segment of the World Cruise goes from Fremantle to Cape Town at some point it was subdivided into two segments. About 50 guests boarded today and will take the segment from Mauritius to Cape Town. As guest boarded they were offered flutes of Champagne and Violinist Irina Guskova was on-hand playing beautifully on the electric violin.
This evening we return to Waterside for dinner where we will dine with two friends. After dining in our room for two nights we look forward to our dinner at Waterside.
Todays' daily Reflections Program follows.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY SEVEN OF SEVEN SEA DAYS - ON THE ROAD TO MAURITIUS
These are the Waterside Menus from last evening. It was a Black Tie Optional Night.
Yesterday we had some appointments late afternoon and into the early evening. Because of this we decided to have dinner in our room.
We made it an Umi Uma night enjoying several items from the Japanese Specialty Restaurant.
This included sushi and sashimi, tacos, lobster tempura and Hot Soba Noodles for Keith and Lobster for Anne Marie.
This photo shows the sushi, sashimi and appetizers. We didn't take a photo of the entrees.
The evening featured two showings of the Production Show Curtain Call and later in the evening the Crystal Showband performed at the Crystal Plaza. There was live music earlier in the evening at the Crystal Cove, Avenue Saloon and the Palm Court.
The Movie Mama Mia! Here we go again was shown two times at the Hollywood Theatre.
The good news is we set the clocks back an hour as we continue to sail into a new time zone. We appreciate getting another hour as we went to sleep late on Monday evening and we were up early on Tuesday morning.
We began the day as we normally do and you have come to know very well. Keith was up early and back to the Fitness Center for his first workout of the day. Our son Eric got a little confused on the time zone we are sailing and called Keith early while he was on the Elliptical Machine. Since no one was in the Fitness Center at the time he was able to speak to him and catch up with how everyone is doing.
After having coffee and breakfast Anne Marie walked inside the ship while Keith took another indoor cycling class. The class was taught by Melanie who is also the Fitness Instructor that Keith takes personal training with.
All bikes were in use which really adds to the class and it was a challenging one. After class Keith picked up our passports at the reception desk for a mandatory face-to-face immigration inspection tomorrow morning before we can get off the ship in Mauritius. Inserted into our passports were the two forms that we filled out a few weeks ago for those countries requiring immigration forms.
There were two sessions for those on the Full World Cruise. We attended the 10:30 AM session. We passed on the Waffles and enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Bridge. We have been on the Bridge other times and enjoy the visit each time. We spoke briefly with the Captain, a couple of Senior Officers and members from the Food & Beverage team. Kudos to Crystal for organizing this including the Food & Beverage team for the food and beverages.
Photo of Anne Marie with Captain Giske. When we visited the bridge with a large group in the past guests could walk near the equipment. We think it was very wise that the areas was roped off to keep the area secure and also to keep food and beverages away from the equipment.
There were three excellent lectures given today.
Ken Rees spoke about the French Connection between Mauritius and Reunion Island which are our two upcoming port stops. Ken has an outstanding way of delivering his talks. He provides insight into the history of the Islands, discussed things to do, shares lots of beautiful photos and keeps everyone interested with good humor and excellent delivery of the material.
On a more serious note Dr. Robert Freedman spoke about Putin and Russia and how his leadership has contrasted greatly from that of Boris Yeltsin who preceded him in office. He covered areas that those in the USA and several countries in Europe should be concerned about. His delivery is more on a college level lecture with lots of information to absorb.
When one cruises food is certainly something that most people enjoy including the two of us. On this cruise we have benefited from talks given from Dr. Khalid Sheik about health. Today's talk continued along these lines as he spoke about the challenges when attempting to lose weight by eating less and moving more. His discussion reaffirmed what we have learned which is that getting to and maintaining the weight that one desires can be a challenge and that a good approach to this is a lifestyle change rather than going on a strict diet which can lead to feeling deprived.
We appreciate the diversity of topics presented which is part of an extensive enrichment program that is offered on each voyage but expands on World Cruises and on Crystal Cruises with lots of sea days. This segment certainly has this combination.
We enjoyed lunch back at Marketplace having our usual salad entrees. The buffet had a Latin theme. Photos below.
After lunch we enjoyed our usual routine of Paddle Tennis for Keith and a walk for Anne Marie. It was "hot, hot, hot" outside.
Anne Marie will be busy with a few appointments the rest of the day so I plan to read, write and enjoy conversations with some friends.
Today's Reflections follows at the end of our post.
AnneMarie & Keith
DAY FIVE AT SEA - ON THE ROAD TO MAURITIUS.
Doris....Thank you so much for your comments.
The evening began without a pre-dinner drink for us. However, we did attend a Cruise Critic Party.
Anne Marie with Ana (Assistant to the Hotel Director) and Ed.
These are the dinner menus from Waterside.
We had dinner at the Vintage Room. We hosted an exclusive Vintage Room for four other people. We like to keep the dinner to a small group which allows for one conversation and an intimate dinner. The Vintage Room provides a terrific opportunity to learn and sample some very special wines which are paired with each course.
We planned the dinner with Head Sommelier Jiri. We met with Jiri a couple of weeks ago to select each course and an approach to the wine. In turn, Jiri selected each wine to match with each course we selected. This included two white wines, four red wines, a dessert wine and a sparking Italian Wine.
We began the evening with a Champagne Toast with Louis Roederere Cristal and Jiri explained why the bottle is shaped and looks as it does.
We then sat down to a wonderful meal with delicious cuisine, special wines and a lovely conversation with lots of good laughs. As each wine was served, Jiri provided an overview of the wine. This included background information about the Vineyard and the wine.
We have known Jiri for many years and he was our Sommelier in the former Crystal Dining Room for the equivalent of one and one-half World Cruises. Jiri recently was promoted to the swing Head Sommelier and this was the first time we have been to a Vintage Room that Jiri conducted. We thoroughly enjoyed planning this event with him, appreciated his recommendations and selection of wines and thought his delivery was outstanding.
We enjoyed several unique wines including a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay which were unique in color, aroma and taste.
Vintage Tunina, Silvio Jermann, Villanova di Farra, Fruila, Italy 2016.
Wendell Cellars, Sierra Madre Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley, California, 2012.
Cloys de la Roche Domaine Arlaud Burgundy, France 2013
ChateauHaut- Brion, First Growth, Grave, Bordeaux, France 2006
Barrett & Barrett, Cabernet Sauvignon, Calistoga, Napa Valley.
Vin Santo, Isole E. Olena, Tuscany, Italy 2003
Rather than pairing the dessert wine with the dessert he paired the final red wine with the dessert. He paired the dessert wine with the cheese and both pairing were a huge success.
The menu included:
Mini Cannelloni Filled With King Crab Meat Salad
Porcin-Dusted Chilean Sea Bass
Porcini Mushroom Risotto
Wagyu Beef Tenderloin (amazingly tender)
Selection of Artisanal Cheeses
Chocolate & Casis (one of the most unique desserts we have had. Executive Chef Werner Brenner and Executive Pasty Che Harald Neufang arrived with the dessert and they poured hot chocolate sauce on top of each dessert which melted the top layer of thin chocolate.
Between the wine, food and lovely conversation this was one if not the longest Vintage Rooms we have attended and it went by in a blink of an eye.
Although we didn't attend we wanted to mention that last evening Souther Hemisphere Stargazing was available from 10:30 PM to 12:30 Am on Deck 13 Forward and the lights were turned off. This event was unheated but we know some guests who planned to attend and had loaded apps in their iPads to facilitate the identification of starts and planets.
A few years ago Keith attended a hosted stargazing event which was hosted by a former American Astronaut and the Chief of Electrical Engineering and saw many things including the Space Lab and the Hubble Telescope along with the Southern Cross and one or two Planets.
We slept well as we continue to sail to our next port of call. The morning included a workout for Keith involving indoor cycling, the elliptical machine and weights and walking and yoga for Anne Marie.
Lots on the program today. The lectures included:
Steve Irwin Biographer John Stanton who spoke about the Ghosts of War. He spoke about Steve Irwin's quest for searching remote islands and the ocean floor for relics and remnants from World War II.
Drug Crime lecturer Paul Cook spoke about Cocaine and its production and trafficking in the Caribbean, Colombia and the USA.
Professor Nigel MacLennan spoke about Relationship Magic and why some people have successful relationships in every area of their lives.
The morning went by quickly and in a blink of an eye it was time for lunch. After lunch Keith played Paddle Tennis and Anne Marie visited the store and got ready for a busy late afternoon and early evening.
The weather outside was warm and humid and we love it.
This is the daily Reflections Program from today.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY FIVE AT SEA - ON THE ROAD TO MAURITIUS.
Zulma...Thank you very much for your nice comments. It touched our heart. We hope that your husband gets better.
We began last evening as we always do with a pre-dinner drink. We returned to the Avenue Saloon. Once again Afzal took great care of us.
These are the menus from Waterside.
We dined at Waterside with friends Pauline and John Clark. We have known this lovely couple since our first World Cruise in 2007. John is a Golf Pro who shares his love and techniques of the game with guests on-board Crystal as the Golf Instructor. Keith has never played golf other than a Par 3 in his high school days and miniature golf. He has always said that if he were to take up Golf, he would want to learn from two Golf Pros we know from our Crystal Sailings; John Clark and Joe Herbert. Maybe someday he will give it a try or is that a "swing". LOL.
We began with appetizers; Barbeque Tiger Shrimp.
Our second course was a salad.
For our entree we each had the Roasted Kosher Chicken Half;
After dinner we went to a cocktail party at the Stardust Club. The party was to mark the first half of World Cruise 2019 and was hosted by a couple we met on the 2007 World Cruise and has sailed on several World Cruises. The hosts also spoke and announced due to health reasons this would be not only their last World Cruise but their last cruise. This is another reminder to us to enjoy each and every day because life does go by in a blink of an eye.
The seas remained the same with moderate sea swells. We slept well. Our day began with an early morning workout for Keith followed by coffee and breakfast in our room.
Keith had personal training with Melanie while Anne Marie walked. Keith did several new exercises at the session. At the end, Melanie stretched Keith out with emphasis on the shoulder and neck.
After personal training Keith met up with Anne Marie to walk and following the walk Anne Marie went to Yoga. Keith also played Paddle Tennis for ninety minutes. It was the first sea day when there was very little wind making it easier to play. It was very humid. For awhile there were no clouds in the sky and Keith saw half the moon.
There was lots on the program.
For those who wanted to watch the 91st Academy Awards it was shown at the Stardust Club and also on the Television.
There were three lectures:
Dr. Khalid Sheikh spoke about the Epidemic of Hart Disease in the 21st Century
Dr Robert Freedman spoke about the changing US Policy with respect to the Middle East under George Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Dr Richard Somerville spoke about the Invention of Scientific Weather Forecasting.
We had lunch at Waterside and then enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on Serenity including Paddle Tennis for Keith and a long walk for Anne Marie along with reading and writing and socializing with guests and members of the crew.
This is the Reflections Daily Program for today.
We are looking forward to a wonderful dinner this evening and will post about that tomorrow.
Anne Marie & Keith
DAY FOUR - ON THE ROAD TO MAURITIUS.
After we posted we watched a recording of the lecture given by Dr. Robert Freedman about the Middle East. He spoke about the challenges in the Middle East.
The influence that Iran and Turkey may have with the USA withdrawal of troops from Syria.
The changes continuing to occur in Egypt and Turkey in terms of the loss of democracy for the citizens of these countries.
He briefly spoke about the Israel upcoming election potentially being up for grabs with the internal issues surrounding Benjamin Netanyahu.
He spoke about the minorities within several of the Arab countries and the challenges that they have.
He spoke about the choke points in the Middle East with respect to cutting off oil experts and the impact of insurrections in these areas. There are two major choke points.
He covered several other topics. Our takeaway is that ever since we have studied the Middle East there have been countless issues and the contemporary Middle East has just as many if not more. Our other takeaway is that in our own country that some of these issues are not being covered in depth and we could benefit if there was more coverage of each one.
Putting the Middle East aside for the rest of the evening, we enjoyed another fun-filled evening on board Serenity starting with a visit to the Avenue Saloon.
Bartender Afzal took great care of us.
We enjoyed dinner at Prego.
We had three courses.
We were seated by Waiter Ernest. Our waiter for the evening was Petar and Sommelier Lubo took great care of us.
We began with Seared Tuna Crudo for Keith and Chilled Seafood Salad for Anne Marie. We both had Caesar Salad. Anne Marie had Veal Scaloppini for her entree and Keith had Pan Fried Fresh Barramundi.
Everything was perfect.
Last evening's entertainment included Comedian Jeff Stevenson who performed two shows, and two performance of the Jump & Swing-A-Mania Show which featured the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers. The Crystal Cove, Palm Court, and Avenue Saloon featured live music and there was a 70's Disco Party and a Late Night Dance Party at Pulse.
When we returned to our room there was a letter from Stacey Huston about upcoming events which includes Waffles on the Bridge on February 27.
The other good news is we moved the clocks back an additional hour.
We slept well and the seas were relatively calm. Keith enjoyed an early morning workout before we had coffee and breakfast in our room.
Sunrise was at 5:58 AM and we are including two photos taken two minutes before sunrise and two taken two minutes after sunrise. They are in order in which they were taken.
Each day at sea you see something different during the sunrise depending on the outside weather conditions.
With less sea swells and wind they were able to fill the outdoor pool for the first time in a couple of days.
There were three lectures:
Ken Rees Spoke about the Life and Times of Winston Churchill. Like many of us, Winston Churchill certainly had flaws and showed his human side. At the same time in my humble opinion he was the right man and leader at the right time leading his country in World War II. We are fortunate to have had many strong political and military leaders at a time when we were fighting wars on two major fronts.
Paul Cook spoke about The Southern Caucus and A New Drug Route.
Simone Baker spoke about Marine Pest and Threat.
During the course of the day we enjoyed Paddle Tennis (twice) for Keith, walking together in the morning, Yoga for Anne Marie and a walk in the afternoon (Anne Marie) as well as catching up with others guests on the ship along with seeing so many wonderful members of the crew.
We returned to Waterside for lunch and sat by a table with beautiful views of the ocean.
As we post this we are enjoying a nice afternoon on-board Crystal Serenity.
Anne Marie & Keith
Following is the daily Reflections Program from today.
DAY3 AT SEA ON THE ROAD TO MAURITIUS
We began last evening with a visit to the Avenue Saloon. Bartender Afzal took great care of us along with Bartender Mel.
About 15 minutes after we arrived several guests were already enjoying drinks that the Saloon. The bartenders were busy between making drinks for the guests in this venue and those in the Connoisseur Club and for a Bridge Group that is on-board and was using another venue.
While we were in the Avenue Saloon someone we know came by and ordered one shot of the most expensive Cognac on-board the ship. We might be wrong but believe it is $250.00 per shot although it could be higher. The Cognac cannot be sold until it is 100 years old. This means those involved in making it never know what others think of the Cognac.
We enjoyed dinner at Waterside with friends Anne and Cruise Director Rick. We have sailed with Anne on many World Cruises. She is very special and we are humbled to know such a wonderful person.
It was so nice to have the four of us together for dinner.
We moved to another table at Waterside and it was the table we sat at for all of World Cruise 2018. We remember the lovely couple who sat at the table in front of us throughout that World Cruise. Each night the wife would push her husband in his wheelchair to the table and with assistance from the Head Waiter would get him into his seat. His health was not good and we could sense that his time was near. Yet, each night his wife had a smile on her face and would toast before dinner with a glass of Champagne of their love for each other. This was to be his last World Cruise. Fast forward a couple of years later and it was her son that was taking her into this dining venue in a Wheelchair and that was her last World Cruise. The son is on this voyage. In the end it was nice that the wife and husband got to cruise as this was something that was very special to them.
Everything was perfect from the conversation to the service to the waitstaff and to the delicious meal. Head Sommelier Jiri was there for part of the evening.
In the end it is the people who make cruising so special. Senior Waiter Monica in Crystal fashion came all the way from her station to where we were seated to see if we needed assistance with ordering and Head Waiter Augusto came by several times.
We have posted photos of two of the items from dinner. Keith had the Yellow Fin Tuna Carpaccio and it was delicious. It is thinly cut and was very tasty with the items that accompanied it; Avocado Cream & Fennel Compote.
The second item was an entree of Slow Roasted Sea Bass Fillet. We have never had the Sea Bass prepared in this manner and it was delicious. The pieces were thick and moist. The items that accompanied the Sea Bass made the entree flavorful between the Pistachio Crust, Parsnip-Apple Puree Glazed Vegetables and Champagne Epuma.
We have found the food throughout the ship to be amazing. This doesn't mean that once in awhile that something isn't to our liking, however, overall the vast majority of items that we have eaten have been wonderful.
We didn't get a photo of the appetizer that Anne Marie had which was Marinate Melon Balls which were accompanied with Blackberry Sauce Elderberry Foam which was a hit for Anne Marie and Anne.
Everyone had a sweet dessert and Keith had cheese. Augusto selected three cheeses from the cheese cart and knows so well what Keith enjoys. He was three for three on the cheese as Keith enjoyed all of them.
We both escorted our friend Anne to the Galaxy Lounge to watch the show. Anne had a lot more energy than we (well mostly Keith had) so we took a raincheck on seeing the show. While walking over to the Galaxy we saw several solo ladies who we all know and Anne was going to sit with them. We did reading and writing when we got back to our room. It was early morning back home so Keith watched one of the morning shows.
We slept well as we continue to sail to our next port of call. The seas were relatively calm.
We began the day as we always do which was a workout for Keith, coffee and breakfast in our room and a walk inside the ship for the two of us.
Keith met with one of the members of the crew for an upcoming event we are hosting while Anne Marie went to Yoga. Anne Marie misses Yoga with Maria and Joe Kita. Although she didn't care for the Yoga instructor who replaced Maria and Joe on the second segment she likes the instructor on this segment. In addition to teaching two classes (Energetic Yoga followed by Gentle Yoga) she has added a third class which is Chair Yoga. This provides an opportunity for those guests who have some physical limitations to participate in the Yoga Program. Many years ago at the Fitness Center they used to offer Sit and Fit which also provided a Fitness Class for those with physical limitations.
Keith attended Rap with Rabbi Morrie. This is a program which Rabbi Morrie began many years ago. Every few sea days he hosts the Rap which provides an opportunity to discuss Bible, Jewish history, customs and beliefs. It has been a popular program over the years and attracts not only those of the Jewish Faith but some guests of other faiths as it does provide an excellent opportunity to learn. Over 30 people were in attendance.
The Rabbi spoke about the time line of Israel and the timeline of the Hebrew Bible. As usual there was a lot to learn.
World Affairs Lecturer Dr Robert Freedman who is a Professor of Political Science at John Hopkins University where he lectures about the Middle East and Russian Foreign Policy will discuss politics in Israel and the upcoming election at the next session. We will try to make it to the next Rap to hear his views.
Later in the morning we had another meeting which we will post about in a couple of weeks.
There was lots on the schedule. The lecturers included:
Steve Irwin biographer John Stanton spoke about the Erwin Adventure, World Affairs Lecturer Dr Robert Freedman spoke about understanding the contemporary Middle East, and Professor Nigel MacLeannan spoke aboutj The Secret and Science of Joy.
The morning went by in a blink of an eye and before we knew it was time for lunch. We had lunch at Marketplace and enjoyed a salad entrée.
After lunch Anne Marie walked on the outside wrap-around Promenade Deck while Keith played paddle tennis. The outside temperature was mild with some wind. The ocean was a pretty blue.
We enjoyed the rest of the day reading, writing and speaking with guests and members of Team Serenity.
This is the Reflections Program for today.
Anne Marie & Keith