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