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