THE END OF 2018 & A NEW YEAR AWAITS
Thank you Thelma for your comments.
Last evening we returned to the Palm Court to enjoy another pre-dinner drink. Once again we were taken great care of by Afzal and Marvin. The Palm Court provides terrific views, and we were fortunate to see a Whale.
Keith tried the Strawberry Black Pepper Gin& Tonic.
We dined again at Waterside.
These are the menus from Waterside last evening.
There are many aspects to cruising which we enjoy. One of them is to share the experience with friends and that includes dinner.
Rabbi Morrie and his dear wife Geri joined us for dinner. They joined Serenity on the cruise before the Holiday Cruise as that cruise fell during Chanukah. They will stay on-board through the end of the World Cruise.
On each World Cruise three clergies are on board; A Rabbi, A Protestant Minister and a Catholic Priest. This adds to the special feeling of community and being part of a small town on the World Cruise.
We first met Morrie and Geri on World Cruise 2007 and have sailed with them on each World Cruise we have taken and on a few other sailings. It's always special to be with them and we have enjoyed dinners with them on each voyage we have been on with them.
The Rabbi is popular with many guests of all faiths and with the crew. Every couple of sea days he will host "Rap With The Rabbi". He will select one or two major topics to discuss at each session, will share information, and open the session up to discussion. We have learned a great deal from these sessions and from the Rabbi. Often people from other faiths will attend which we think is great. He also leads the Friday night Sabbath Services and organizes Purim and Passover Seder if Passover falls on the World Cruise. Crystal Cruises always has a Rabbi on-board for Passover on both ships as they do for Chanukah and the Holiday sailing. On this Holiday sailing we have the Catholic Priest, Protestant Minister and the Rabbi. A Catholic Priest is on-board for all voyages on both Symphony and Serenity.
We enjoyed a lovely meal and conversation.
As to the meal, the two of us had salads. Anne Marie had English Roast Beef served with Yorkshire pudding, Braised Vegetables and Shallot-Port Reduction. Keith had Local Striped Marlin from the modern menu. When Senior Waiter Kasa served the entrees he brought over extra servings of the Yorkshire pudding so that Keith and the Rabbi could try them.
Shortly before we finished dinner the Senior Marketing Vice President of Crystal Cruises Carmen Roig arrived with our family and we chatted with Carmen for a couple of minutes. We were very happy to finally meet her.
Serenity pulled up anchor and departed Kona at 6:00 PM and set sail for Hilo which is also on the Big Island.
The featured entertainment was Mark Preston from Las Vegas who has receive three Grammy Nominations.
After getting a good night sleep we began the last day of 2018 with the same routine we begin each day on-board Serenity. This included an early morning workout for Keith (this time a long walk inside the ship) followed by an early breakfast.
Starting on Saturday, the Holiday Decorations on board the ship began to be taken down in preparation for New Year's Eve. With the New Year's Eve celebration planned for this evening by early this morning while guests were asleep the Crystal Plaza was decorated for the New Year's Eve Celebration.
We docked at Hilo at 7:00 AM. Our May cruise on-board Symphony was supposed to stop at Hilo. The events from the Volcanic Eruption changed the plans and for safety reasons the stop at this port-of-call was cancelled. Today market our second visit to Hilo. On our first visit in 2006 on-board the Celebrity Summit we did an organized tour. We had looked at doing a tour in Hilo. Unfortunately, the tour operators we inquired with were not providing tours since today is New Year's Eve.
Hilo is located on the eastern side of the big island of Hawaii. The first inhabitants arrived to Hilo at around 1100 AD.
Hilo receives a great deal of rain and at the highest altitude received upwards of 200 inches of rain anually. A major driver of the local economy is tourism.
Major attractions include:
Liliuokalani Gardens which include a park and gardens including Japanese Gardens built in the early 1900s.
Lyman Museum & Mission House which was built in 1839.
Pacific Tsunami Museum which is dedicated to the history of the 1946 Pacific tsunami.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which encompasses two active volcanoes.
We planned to go into town after the ship was cleared but it was pouring rain. We decided to walk inside and during the walk the rain stopped. We ended up walking for seventy-five minutes and at one point a rainbow came out.
After our walk, Keith decided to try to walk to town on his own even though local shuttles (small vans) were available. He asked one of the USA officials and she informed Keith how to make his way out of the terminal and said there was a sidewalk.
The weather could not make up its mind. It went from overcast, to cloudy to rain and back again and again. Keith was able to get to the main road and walked it until there was no sidewalk. With the grass and shoulder wet and no sidewalk Keith decided to return to the ship.
In between the rain Team Crystal Serenity was busy touching up paint.
One observation is that the terminal building for the port can use some updating.
We were able to do a video call with daughter Jennifer, son-in-law Guie and grandchildren Andre and Emma family who live in Sydney, Australia where it is already New Years Day.
We wish everyone a safe, healthy and Happy New Year.
Anne Marie & Keith
Below please find the Reflections (Daily Program) from today and also the first one of this voyage. We will post these when we can based on the speed of the internet and having time to do this. We hope you will find them to be informative.
We enjoyed our final lunch of the year at Marketplace. With the on and off rain it was too wet for Keith to play Paddle Tennis. We enjoyed a nice long walk on the outside Promenade Deck where we could walk under the sheltered area.
We are spending the rest of the day on the ship.
This evening we will dine at Prego for the first time of this voyage.
Anne Marie & Keith
THE BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII
Doris...Thank you for your comments about our post and sharing your appreciation for the night crew.
Thelma...Thank you for your nice comments.
Caryn...Thank you for sharing your experience on the previous voyage and for taking the time to share your appreciation for the crew and for your comments about Anne Marie's sister. Thank you so much.
Johnathan...Thank you for your comments. We agree 100%. When we were recognized at the Crystal Society Party they shared what we like most about Crystal and it is the crew.
Ricki....We are glad you are enjoying the Blog and your recent cruise sounded wonderful. Yes Benjamin is truly amazing.
We returned to the Palm Court for our daily pre-dinner drink. While we were there we watched the sail away. You may have noticed that the first few days after we boarded we had pre-dinner drinks at the Avenue Saloon and the last few days it has been at the Palm Court. The reason for this is two fold: First we like to change things up. Secondly, we are enjoying the openness and views from Palm Court and it is a terrific venue. However, when there are sea swells you can feel more movement from the Palm Court. Our thought is when we return to Los Angeles there will be stronger sea swells and we will return to Avenue Saloon as we cross back to California.
We enjoy the Crystal Cove and when we sailed Serenity in September/October we visited this lounge often. On those cruises it was not very busy since everyday was a port day. On this cruise it has been very busy and we prefer a quieter location.
We were in good hands with Afzel and Marvin. Keith had Afzel recommend which Gin drink he should have and the recommendation was a Yellow Jacket Jubilee. This is a terrific drink to have on a summer day and in Hawaii it felt like summer.
The drink has Gordon's Gin, Lavender Syrup, Ginger Syrup, Lemon Juice, Soda Water, Tonic Water & no calories. LOL about the zero calories.
As soon as we sat down last evening Keith noticed the color of the ceiling above the bar as it was yellow as opposed to blue. We learned they can change the color.
We enjoyed dinner at Waterside where we dine for two nights.
These are the dinner menus.
When we arrived Waterside was quiet. Waiter (assistant waiter) Yivraj came out to the table a few times. Often he is busy in the galley, bringing all of the items from the galley to the waiter station and bringing the cleared dishes back to the galley.
There were lots of choices on the menu that we considered particularly with respect to the diversity of entree choices.
We each began with an appetizer salad, followed by Seared Sea Scallops from the modern menu (first photo). This was a creative appetizer and very tasty. Anne Marie had Coq Au Vin (she asked for only white meat) and Keith had the Tuna Steak (medium rare) for our entrees. We were both pleased with our choices.
We wanted to mention the choices in evening entertainment which included.
The featured entertainment included:
Two performances by Comedy Ventriloquist Mark Merchant who has performed on Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony for many years and is popular with the guests including us.
Two performances of Rock & Pop-A-Mania show. The show featured lead vocalists Tom Lowe & Sarah Elizabeth Combs along with the very talented team of the Crystal Ensemble Dancers and the wonderful Crystal Showband.
In addition there was live entertainment throughout the evening at the Crystal Cove featuring Jo & Liv from 5:15 to 7:30 PM; Violinist Viktoriia Stryzhak between 7:45 and 8:45 PM; Pianist Scott Mitchell from 8:45 to 10:00 PM and Carlos & Daniela from 10:00 to Midnight.
Justin Abrams played cocktail music in the Avenue Saloon from 6:45 to 7:30 PM and returned to play piano and sing from 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM. The Palm Court featured the Crystal Quartet who played music to listen to and/or dance to 5:15 to 6:00 PM; 6:45 to 7:30 PM and from 9:00 to Midnight.
DJ Josh played dance music at the Pulse from 10:00 PM to late in the evening.
If that was not enough the Movie Rampage was shown in the Hollywood Theatre at 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM and popcorn was available as a movie snack.
We very much appreciate the diversity in entertainment and how it is changed up within a voyage and from voyage to voyage. For example, last evening as we waited in the Crystal Plaza for Waterside to open we enjoyed the duo of Jo and Liv with Jo on the Guitar and Liv on the piano and the singing that accompanied the music.
We left Kauai at 5:30 PM last evening and set sail for our next port of call of Kona on the big island of Hawaii. We wanted to mention that the area where we were docked received an annual rainfall of 78 inches. The 5,148-foot-tall Mount Waialeale on this island receives over 400 inches of rain annually.
We slept well and kept to our morning routine of a workout for Keith and breakfast in our room. People ask on a cruise such as this one will the seas be rough? Our answer is it depends. One can expect rougher seas the first day or two sailing from and returning to Los Angeles and calm seas between the islands. Our first day or two out of Los Angeles had fairly calm seas. When Keith made his way over to the Fitness Center the sea swells were fairly strong and as he walked he was moving side-to-side. In about an hour the sea swells calmed.
After breakfast we walked together on the outside wrap-around Promenade Deck.
We arrived to Kailua- Kona by 7:30 AM and guests could take the first tender at 8:00 AM.
The city's population is 12,000 people.
Kona is known for its beaches and weather and coffee.
Although we last visited Kona in May of this year, looked into a private tour. Unfortunately, the three private tour companies we sent inquiries to are not running tours because of the Christmas and New Year holiday season as they are taking time off.
Near the Pier is the Kamakahonu royal residence and Ahu'ena Heiau.
A second royal residence is Hulieh'e Palace which was used by members of the Hawaiian royal family until 1914. It was originally built in 1838 out of lava rock.
The historic Kona Inn is nearby and has lots of stores run along the street.
Other major attractions include:
Manini'owali Beach which providing excellent views of the ocean and the opportunity to view sea life including dolphins and during humpback whales during the whale viewing season.
Mauna Kea Summit where one can drive from sea level to 14,000 feet high.
Ali'i Drive is a coastal road facing the Bay of Kailua and is the home to resort hotels, shops, markets, churches and historical sites.
We waited until 8:45 AM to avoid the crowds to take the tender We were successful with fifteen of us on board. We sat next to Petra who we had dinner with along with her husband at the Supper Club. We have a few things in common and one of them is having one set of children and grandchildren living in Australia.
Once we exited the tender we walked to the town which is a minute walk from the drop off tender pier.
As we walked to and from the tender pier, we saw some Hullihe'e Palace, Moku'aikaua Chuch, and enjoyed the views of Kailua Bay. An hour into our walk the temperature became 80 degrees (F). It was humid making it feel much hotter. We went to a Walmart to look for a particular snack bars for a teenager on-board who we know well. We were unsuccessful in Honolulu. This is his first trip to Hawaii ,and he mentioned how much he was missing these snacks. Mission accomplished. LOL.
We enjoyed beautiful views of Serenity from various vantage points including the Walmart, located on a steep hill.
We took the tender back to the ship. We left from the port (left) side and they considered opening the starboard side (right) because of strong sea swells. There was another tender ahead of us but had no guests on board. We ended up at the port side of the ship. We waited 5 minutes before getting off the tender as the tender was being pushed up and down by the swells. For those of you who have been waiting when you are going up and down and can see a few feet below the tender platform you realize that patience is important because safety of guests and crew is the number one priority at all times. When we got a break with the swells we safely climbed out of the tender with the help of the crew who were on the tender platform. Fortunately, only ten of us were on board. There was a long line of people waiting to board the next tender.
We had a nice lunch at Marketplace and enjoyed the rest of the day on-board Serenity. Paddle Tennis for Keith, a one hour walk for Anne Marie, along with conversation with fellow guests and crew.
Another great day in paradise; on-land and on-board Serenity.
Anne Marie & Keith
IT MIGHT BE WINTER IN NORTH AMERICA - BUT IT'S PARADISE ON-BOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY
Thank you for the kind words Theresa and Thelma.
We wanted to begin with a big shout-out to the night crew of Crystal Serenity. These folks work diligently every night on-board the ship during the late night hours of the evening. Many guests might not see them or a few might see some efforts just before they go to sleep or for a short while after they wake up.
They clean every area of the inside of the ship each night. Besides cleaning all doors, vacuuming all carpet, cleaning all public rooms, bathrooms dining venues etc. they clean every area imaginable. This includes all the art-work and signage and the walls. In the Fitness Center they clean the mirrors, the machine including every inch of them and the walls.
All of their effort keeps the ship looking clean and years younger than its actual age.
Keith is up early each morning and each time we sail has gotten to meet most if not all members of the night crew. Many members of the crew join Crystal in entry-level positions even though they might have already been in those positions on land before assuming higher-level positions already. This provides a good foundation to learning about Crystal and will serve them well in future positions. An example might be someone with butler experience on land who in most cases comes onto the ship as a waiter. In time, if they are performing to the high standards of Crystal they have a good chance of moving into a butler position. A butler at Crystal must know how the Food & Beverage Department works and a key area are the restaurants. By working in one or more of the dining venues this knowledge will serve the butlers well. Over the years we have seen people go from being a night crew member to moving into other areas such as a next step becoming a member of the Lido Deck Stewards or serving drinks in the bar.
We were speaking with Marvin who has been a bartender for some years on Serenity. He had a background in this area on land and when he came to Crystal; he began as a member of the night crew. He and Keith reminisced about times they would see on another in those early morning hours.
Like each team on the ship, the night crew works very hard and is professional, hardworking and kind. Thank you for all they do to make the ship look beautiful day and night.
There are the menus from Waterside from last evening.
Before dinner last evening we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at Palm Court. Although it was overcast we enjoyed nice views of Honolulu. We were taken excellent care of by Bartenders Marvin and Afzal. We enjoyed listening to the Crystal Quartet.
We dined at Umi Uma (former Silk Road) for the first time since boarding Serenity.
This is the dinner menu.
While we were on-board Symphony when the menu was updated we realized all of the enhancements to the menu last evening. There are lots of new items. We tried some of them and over the coming weeks and months we will try additional new items.
We began with a trio of Nobu Sashimi Specials. The Tuna Nobu Special was prepared in a new sauce (green pesto) and a new topping of radish.
We also enjoyed sashimi and sushi and lobster tempura. The tempura is a new item to the menu as it used to require special ordering 24 hours before the meal.
Next course was the hot mushroom salad for Keith and Anne Marie tried one of the new salads. It was the Nobu Style Sashimi Salad which included mixed greens and tuna Sashimi.
For the main course Keith had the Hot Soba Noodles with Soup and with Scallops. Anne Marie had one of the new entrees which was Stir Fried Shrimp & Scallops.
It's been slightly over two months since we last ate the wonderful Nobu cuisine and we enjoyed every item. It was fresh and tasty. As we each put that first piece of Sashimi in our mouths and finished eating it we said, "wow/delcious/amazing."
On this cruise many are dining early and that was the case this evening. After 8:30 PM far less guests are dining.
With so many dining early it was a tremendous team effort by the waitstaff team who worked as one cohesive team to keep everything on track.
Special Restaurant Maitre d' Paolo and Head Waiter Sigi stopped by several times. Sommelier Dennis took care of the wine and beer. Albert was our waiter and Water Ruel helped out and Assistant Waiter Renato.
Everything was outstanding.
With a midnight departure from Honolulu, the evening entrainment included a local show which adds a nice touch the evening.
We slept well last evening and did not hear the ship when we left port at Midnight. Keith slept later than at anytime since our adventure began.
Keith walked the inside of the ship and also the outside pool deck. The outside temperature was nice and it was not windy.
We had breakfast in our room and got ready to begin the day.
Keith took the third indoor cycling class of the cruise.
The classes have felt like the Ten Little Indians. The first class was not full even though the signup sheet was full and the waitlist was full. Next class had a few people. With a port day Keith thought less people would attend. He was right with two people including Keith attending.
We arrived to the Island of Kauai at 8:00 AM. This was our second visit. Ironically our first visit was in 2006 less than a year after our daughter and son-in-law spent their honeymoon at a hotel near the cruise terminal.
Kauai is the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands. It is the fourth largest Hawaiian Island and twenty-first largest island within the United States.
Captain James Cook arrived here in 1778. It is believed he was the first European to arrive to the island.
Tourism is the driver of the local economy.
Major attractions include:
Waimea Canyon which has a depth of 3,000 feet located on the west coast of the island.
Na Pali Coast; a fifteen-mile area along the northwest shore of the island.
Kilohana Plantation build in 1935 as a sugar plantation. Today it is home to an agricultural park, planation, railway, restaurant, lounge and rum company.
Wailua Falls which provides a beautiful area for tourists to enjoy the water falls.
Po'ipu Beach which is ranked by some as the tenth best beach in the United States.
It was raining while Anne Marie was walking and Keith was Cycling. We decided that Anne Marie would stay on board the ship and Keith would walk. If it rained Keith would run back.
Fortunately, there was no rain during the walk. There were lots of puddle to navigate around. Keith did a combo walk/run. He walked to the Marriott Hotel where our daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Gui stayed for their honeymoon. Although the sun blocked the clouds Keith enjoyed the beauty of the landscape.
With the forecast calling for more rain we spent the rest of the afternoon on-board Serenity. We enjoyed lunch at Marketplace. Surprisingly the sun came out so Keith played a couple of hours of Paddle Tennis and Anne Marie walked for an hour and then read a novel she got from the Library.
This evening we are back at Waterside.
Anne Marie & Keith
ALOHA FROM HONOLULU
Thelma thank you for your comments.
We wanted to begin by noting that it was thirteen years ago today when Anne Marie's sister, Jeanne, passed away from Kidney Cancer only six months after she was first diagnosed with it. Unfortunately by the time it was diagnosed it had already spread to the lungs and spine. She was only 53 years young. She and her husband were living in Scotland.
She ate healthy, never smoked, and exercised. Her passing at such a young age made us realize that life is short and we should not put off till tomorrow those things we could do today. This is one of the reasons we decided to take our first World Cruise in 2007. We were thinking of taking a 30 day voyage that year in celebration of 30 years of marriage and had thought about eventually taking a World Cruise It was then that we said what are we waiting for because no one can predict what the future holds for them. We think of life as a book and no one knows when that last chapter will be written.
Her passing also had other influences on us such as eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise. While these things might not have prevented her illness we do believe they can enhance life expectancy.
Before dinner last evening we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at Palm Court. Palm Court was completely redone in the recent dry-dock. The venue is beautiful and we enjoyed beautiful views of Maui.
This was our first pre-dinner drink at Palm Court since the renovation. We have visited three other times including when we were recognized at the Crystal Society Party.
When we were on-board before dry dock Bartender/Mixologist Afzalkhan (Afzal) took excellent care of us when we visited the Avenue Saloon and Crystal Cove for pre-dinner drinks. He introduced Keith to several of the Gin & Tonic Specialty Drinks. Afzal is not only an outstanding Bartender, he is also a wonderful person. He is enthusiastic, and passionate about his work, people and places around the world. This shows day-in-and-day-out. He has been with Crystal Cruises for 12+ years.
The Crystal Quartet was performing and there was dancing. We have to say that this is an excellent band.
We proceeded to Silk for dinner which involved a short walk past the outdoor pool and spa and back inside the area of the ship with other dining areas. We dined with friend David.
This was our first-time dining at Silk as it was added to Serenity during the dry dock. We experienced Silk on Crystal Symphony in May of this year. Silk is an Asian Restaurant in the evening on both ships and at lunchtime on Serenity it maintained its previous menu.
These are a few photos of the venue that Keith took in the early morning when the lights were off.
These are the dinner/drink menus.
Silk is still evolving. When it first rolled out on Symphony the menu was more limited than it is today. The concept was to bring out the food on the menu. Feedback from guests indicated they wanted more choice and to make the food selections for themselves so the menu was expanded.
We were welcomed to the venue by Head Waiter German who moved over to Serenity a couple of years ago from Symphony. We saw German in September and October and discussed the transformation from Tastes to Silk.
Our waiter for the evening was Dino who was our waiter when we dined at Tastes a couple of months ago. He is a superb waiter who is passionate about the venue and its cuisine. He did an excellent job of guiding us through the menu, recommending items, answering questions and pacing the meal. He did not miss a beat.
He explained the menu and noted those items that change daily such as the Spring Roll of the Day. He recommended that we share the items and they be placed in the table's center. We did just that. There were some items that one or more of us had.
Benjamin took care of the drink orders. We have known Benjamin since he was a Lido Deck Steward. He is amazing and was recognized one year as Serenity employee of the year. He is a great member of Team Serenity and a wonderful person.
We probably ordered too much. Even though we dined on Symphony it will take a couple more times to learn the complete menu.
The items are fresh and items such as the dim sum sampler are made daily.
We enjoyed the cuisine. We are not experts on Chinese Cuisine. When the children lived with us we would have Chinese food from time to time. These days we could go one year without having any although we like Chinese food
Keith experienced what some people might say is authentic Chinese Cuisine on his first trip to Mainland China for negotiations with China Telecom. It was at a time when few American visited and not many Chinese drove Automobiles. The main mode of transportation was by bicycle and dirt roads would take you from Beijing to The Great Wall. He also enjoyed Chinese Cuisine on other business trips and we also enjoyed what some say is authentic Chinese cuisine on our own trips together as we would have private tour guides take us to where the locals dine.
In the end food is very subjective and our belief is that the only opinion that matters is our own.
We thought many of the items were tasty and will try them again. The Dim Sum, Spring Rolls, and Soup were hot which enhanced the taste. The entrees were good but by the time we ate them they were not hot. We are not sure if that is because we didn't eat them right away. Although dessert was tempting Keith and David had the fruit plate and Anne Marie had coffee. Keith thought the fruit plate was outstanding and enjoyed its freshness and the variety of fruit.
We look forward to trying Silk again and as is the case at other restaurants at sea and on land we will benefit the next time around from our experience last evening.
When we looked at our watches we realized we had dined for close to two and one-half hours.
We slept well last evening. We were asleep before Serenity left Maui at midnight to sail to our next port of call of Honolulu.
We began the day as we do on most days. An early workout for Keith followed by breakfast in our room.
We included some photos that Keith took of Marketplace showing a portion of the items available as a Continental Breakfast before a full. breakfast is served.
After breakfast we got ready to go ashore. For those of you familiar with Honolulu we were not docked at Aloha Tower. Instead we were docked a few blocks away.
Our first visit to Honolulu was in 1989 while we lived in Northern California. We took the family on a land vacation. Since that time we have visited here several times on cruises.
The last several times we have visited we have taken private and group tours focused on the history of World War including a private Crystal Cruises tour this past May.
Our visits included:
Pearl Harbor where the horrific attack took place by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941.
USS Arizona Memorial which is the resting place for 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and marines killed during the fatal attack.
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific located at the Punchbowl Crater which honors those men and women who served in the Armed Forces of the United States.
USS Missouri also known as Mighty Mo which represents the start and end of World War II in the Pacific. It is on the USS Missouri where the Japanese signed the surrender agreement to end this conflict. The ship was the length of the Titanic and the width of the ship we are sailing.
Wheeler Army Airfield. This command post was built in 1922 and was attacked without warning by the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Schofield Barracks which was the headquarters for the 25th Infantry Division and largest Army base outside the continental United States.
Ford Island where we could see memorials for the USS Utah & USS Oklahoma.
Each time we arrive to Honolulu we think of the darkness of that horrific day and how our country responded to it.
The day following the attack President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered a famous address to Members of the House and Senate and the nation. He began his talk with those words we have read and heard countless times.
“Yesterday, December 7th 1941 a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attached by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
We think about the many sacrifices that the generation of that day made for our freedom and for the freedom of so many around the world. As Tom Brokaw wrote, we believe they are "The Greatest Generation".
We didn't take a tour today knowing that we will return in January as part of World Cruise 2019 and have a tour planned for that day.
Instead we walked around the nearby area to visit some sites and we made a trip to a Walmart to pick up the remaining items we will need for our adventure.
Shortly after arrival at 8:00 AM we left the ship.
As we left the ship, the locals presented each of us along with all guests between 8:00 and 10:00 AM a lei. This is a symbol for love, respect and aloha.
We were fortunate in terms of the rain. While we were inside shopping, there was a rain shower and when we left the store, the rain had already stopped.
We made a couple of stops. This included visiting a local market and Aloha Tower where the Holland Amsterdam Cruise ship was docked.
We returned to the ship with three large bags and one Yoga Mat. Before entering the terminal building a woman from the USA local authority checked our license. She asked how we were enjoying the ship and where we were from. She said she has been on only one cruise and told us it was earlier this year on Crystal Symphony from Honolulu to Vancouver. We told her we were on-board and had joined the ship in Los Angeles. She said for many years she wanted to sail Crystal but could not afford it but by then she could. She asked her husband if he wanted to go. He declined, but she said she was going and loved everything about the ship including the wonderful service. We told her we agree.
As they say timing is everything and shortly after returning to Serenity there was a downpour of rain. While we were eating lunch at Waterside it continued to rain and over the course of the next hour we receive flash flooding warnings on our iWatches.
We enjoyed the ship the rest of the day but stayed inside. We went on a 75 minute walk inside the ship.
Anne Marie & Keith
LAND AHOY - WELCOME TO HAWAII
Steve...we are glad that you are enjoying our Blog. Yes, we do pre-order the Sports Drinks for Keith. When on land and working out he drinks this sports drink.
Doris...we are also glad that you are enjoying the Blog and we thank you for your warm wishes.
Sophie... thank you so much for your nice thoughts.
Thelma...thank you so much. Cruise Director Gary Hunter is on holiday now and will return for the start of the World Cruise. He and Cruise Director Rick Spath will each do a portion of the World Cruise.
Carol... thank you for the nice comments and you are correct the wrong word was mentioned in the earlier post. We have just corrected it. Unfortunately, there is not enough time in the day for us to proofread what is written so there will be grammar and spelling and other mistakes.
Ctjon.... thank you for your very nice comments and we will hit the next milestone during this adventure.
We wanted to note that after we posted there was a late rain shower. The good news is it didn't last very long and Keith was already finished playing paddle tennis.
Before dinner we returned to the Avenue Saloon for a pre-dinner drink. Keith had one of the specialty Gin & Tonic drinks with cucumber. Very healthy. Maybe?
We returned to Waterside for another dinner. We both started with Tiger Prawns. It was accompanied by a very tasty and spicy Chili-Fig Jam. Technically it should be called Tiger Prawn as it contained one Tiger Prawn but it was accompanied with other seafood.
We each asked for a salad appetizer size of the salad that comes as an entree.
Keith had a salmon entree and Anne Marie had Cordon Bleu which was very tasty. It was prepared differently than Anne Marie has made it as it was fried.
We didn't go to the Production Show called Curtain Call since we have seen it numerous times.
Last evening at 10:30 PM was the White Night Extravaganza. This began in February of this year when both Symphony and Serenity were in Sydney together. On each voyage there is one White Extravaganza Night. Think of it as a mixer where there is live music and dancing. The Crystal Plaza is decorated in white. Guests are encourage to wear something white. Specialty drinks are available fitting the theme of the night. Decorations are put up early in the morning.
In one of the photos you will note the violinist performing and this was before dinner at the Crystal Cove. Over the past couple of years Crystal's entertainment has evolved. Some nights instead of a pianist performing a couple of times at the Crystal Cove other entertainers will perform. The other change is more entertainment on some evening's providing more choice. The violinist performing last evening performed at the Supper Club. Last night she used an electric violin. She moved around on the floor as she played the violin. It was very uplifting.
We both slept well and began our regular morning routine with a visit to the fitness center by Keith, breakfast in our room before we both walked together inside the ship.
While we were walking the Stardust Lounge was open. It is being used in the daytime for a Bridge Group which is on board. We took a look well before the Bridge Group met. The new tables are used for multiple purposes such as Bridge and for the Supper Club.
While we were there we saw Nat who we have known for many years and also our children know from their previous Crystal Cruises. Nat is a very special person who we are always happy to see.
After we finished our walk we sat down in the Crystal Cove to let the attendants finish up cleaning our room. We spoke with a few people which made the time go by in a blink of an eye.
With an arrival time of Noon, the morning hours included several enrichment programs. Destination Lecturer Jim Rowe spoke about the beliefs and practices of early Hawaiians and Polynesians.
The restaurants opened early to accommodate tours. Waterside was open at 11:30 AM and Marketplace at 11:00 AM for lunch.
We ate lunch at 11:00 AM. After lunch we walked on the Lido Cafe and avoided being on the first couple of tenders as we knew it would be crowded. We left the ship at 12:20.
We last visited Maui on-board Crystal Symphony in May of this year. Our first visit was with our children on a land vacation in 1998 when we spent a week on this island.
Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It covers 727 square miles and is the seventeenth larges island in the United States.
The island has lots of natural beauty. It is a major tourist destination for those visiting Hawaii and has several hotels and restaurants on the Island. There are several popular outdoor activities including Golf and Tennis.
It was more crowded than our last visit as that was in the off season, on a Sunday and in the morning. Many people visit Hawaii this time of year as they are off for the holidays.
We walked for a couple of hours. The temperature was 85 degrees (F) and with the humidity it felt much hotter than that. We have a list of items to purchase that we need for the extended time we are on Serenity. We know of a Longs Pharmacy which we have walked to on previous visits. However given its distance and knowing that we needed liquid items our plan was to get them tomorrow in Honolulu. Thanks to Siri we found a food market and purchased most of the items we need. We will get the rest tomorrow.
When we returned to the ship we read and wrote.
We have dinner plans at the Silk which is the new Asian Restaurant on Serenity replacing the former Tastes.
Anne Marie & Keith
I CAN SEE LAND - WELL NOT QUITE YET - DAY 4 AT SEA
We had mentioned that yesterday morning Santa Claus and his elves made an appearance at the Palm Court to give presents to the children and we have included a photo from that event.
We were asked about the weather at sea and if it is bathing suite weather. Yesterday the highs were mid 60's to high 60's. We saw people in the Hot Tub and others sitting out by the pool. The weather will continue to warm up as we get closer to Hawaii which was the case today where it was perfect for a pool day.
We enjoyed a wonderful evening on Crystal Serenity last night. The evening attire was Black Tie Optional (BTO)
We began the night with a visit to the Avenue Saloon for a pre-dinner drink. Everyone we met was in a festive spirit for Christmas.
Dinner was at Waterside which included a Holiday Dinner menu in addition to the regular menus.
While Waterside was busy, it was far less busy than the night before when that evening felt like Black Tie Optional.
We ordered two courses in Waterside. We both started with salads.
For our entrée we each had turkey. Our Senior Waiter, Kasa, told us he was happy about our choice because as he said he is from "Turkey".
You could get white and dark meat, white only or dark only. Keith had a mix of both while Anne Marie went with white only. On the 2014 Holiday Cruise we had the turkey, and it was dry. Last night it was perfect; hot and moist. Even at home, it is not always perfect.
We attended the Crystal Society Party. The party recognizes all guests who are part of Crystal Society which means they have sailed on one or more Crystal Cruises. They also recognize a few people who have a significant number of milestones. The Crystal Society Host or Hostess (in this case Host) will speak about the person/couple and bring them up to the front with a presentation of a bouquet of flowers for the lady and boutonniere for the gent.
We chatted with several guests, crew members and enrichment personnel before the event began. Whereas in the past before open seating there was a Welcome, Crystal Society and Farewell party (depending on the length of the cruise either three individual parties or two parties with the latter two combined). When open dining rolled out on Symphony because people were dining at all different times attendance was low at the parties. They tried all different times. They have settled on one party. This one was well attended.
For those of you who sailed Crystal Cruises before wine and spirits were included you may remember when each party was held twice. There was one party for early seating followed by another party for those on late seating. The wine and spirits were included at the party whereas the rest of the time guests would pay a fee for them. They were very popular back then because there was no fee for the drink. As they say, times have changed. LOL.
We knew all the people recognized.
The first recognition was for a woman who we have sailed with on some World Cruises and Holiday Cruises. She enjoys bringing her grandson onto the Holiday Cruise and he escorted her to be recognized for her 50th Crystal Cruises Milestone.
Next up is a couple we have sailed with several times. Keith me them through Paddle Tennis as he plays often when on-board. She has gone on a few Crystal Cruises without him so her number was slightly above his.
Lastly, we were recognized for our 95th Crystal Society Milestone by Crystal Society Host Jacco. Speaking of Jacco he has been terrific. When he arrived to Crystal Cruises he worked on the River Cruise Vessels. Since those ships are smaller certain functions are combined. His responsibility was both Crystal Society and Future Cruise Sales. He moved to the Ocean Vessels earlier this year and right now is swinging between Serenity and Symphony. We are celebrating a specific milestone during this cruise and he has been very consciensoius and organized in its planning.
From L-R: Crystal Society Host Jacco, Captain Birger, Anne Marie & Keith, Cruise Director Rick.
We thought it would be nice to include some photos of the Crystal Serenity Senior Officers courtesy Crystal Cruises.
As usual we slept well. We benefited from the Christmas gift of turning the clocks back one hour. Thank you so much Santa Claus.
Keith decided to walk inside the ship before breakfast. He saw that the Crystal Plaza was set up for this evening's White Night Extravaganza. The extravaganza is held later in the evening and is essentially a mixer. A band is on hand to play music in which guest can dance to. The bar features some "white cocktails".
We enjoyed breakfast in our room thanks to Butler Jaison. In addition to being a butler Jaison is one of three Head Butlers on-board Serenity. At any given time two of the three Head Butlers are on the ship with the third on a well deserved Holiday Break. Jaison is responsible for the butlers on Deck 10 and also takes care of one of the four CP (largest of the suites) on Deck 11. The Butlers work together as a team helping one another out.
We have known Jaison for several years, but this is the first time we have had him as a butler.
There was a full area of programs on the schedule as we enjoyed our final sea day before we reach our first port of call in Hawaii. There will be additional sea days when we make our way back to Los Angeles.
There were three lectures:
Jon Bailey spoke provided a close look at the Broadway Musical; Give My Regards To Broadway.
Jim Rowe spoke about sea life that can be found off Hawaii including Whales and Dolphins.
In the afternoon Jeff Greenberg gave a behind the scenes look at the casing associate with the series Modern Family.
Keith took his second Indoor Cycling Class. Before the start of the class he went through a workout that he used for one of the classes he teaches at home and went through 40 of the 50 minutes of that workout.
A few minutes later the class began. Once again it was surprising that six of the twelve people who signed up didn't attend given this is early in the voyage and we turned back the clock on hour. One person on waitlist took one of the six spots. It was a very challenging class. The two instructors are alternating teaching the class. The good news is that this is a different playlist from the three that they have used in the past which Keith has heard countless times in prior classes.
Anne Marie walked for an hour inside the ship.
We each want to take some personal training during the World Cruise so we prepared lists for that to submit to the Fitness Center.
We enjoyed lunch at Marketplace and our usual salad entrees. While we were eating, we looked out at the very blue color of the ocean. Absolutely beautiful.
Anne Marie walked outside in the afternoon on the wraparound Promenade Deck. When she walks alone she listens to one of the many audio books she has on her iPhone. Keith enjoyed Paddle Tennis for a few hours. We spent the rest of the afternoon reading, writing and talking to fellow guests and members of the crew.
This evening we return to Waterside but over the coming days we have plans to dine at all other dining venues.
Tomorrow we will see land when we arrive to Maui at Noon.
Anne Marie & Keith