WELCOME TO MEXICO - WELL SORT OF
Thelma...Once again thank you for your comments.
Gilly...Thank you for the New Years wishes and we are glad that you are enjoying the Blog. Yes the time goes fast as the first voyage is coming to a close tomorrow.
We wanted to begin with some thoughts from yesterday.
We are asked what the seas will be like when we sail certain areas of the world. We always begin by saying "it depends". This is because weather patterns are not the same from voyage to voyage or year over year. For example, when sailing to and from Hawaii from Los Angeles often the first day to day and a half and last day to day and a half are cloudy, windy and sometimes rainy and often it is difficult to be outside. This has not been the case on this voyage where the overall weather has been nice with moderate sea swells. This is a reminder that weather is ever changing.
The other item is Marketplace for lunch. Each day there are some items that repeat from day to day while many items change such as many of the hot foods, the soup, the sandwiches, desserts and other items. Each day there is a carving station with a different item. For example, yesterday a whole turkey was being carved and that is what we added to our salad entrée. The turkey was moist and delicious. Other days we add fish to our entrée or chicken. On most days the preparation of the chicken changes.
Our evening began at the Avenue Saloon.where Bartender Dennis took excellent care of us.
While we were there Scott Mitchel was on the Piano and they were doing a Name That Tune Event.
These are the dinner menus from Waterside from last evening.
We enjoyed dinner at Prego marking our second time to Prego since we boarded Serenity on December 21. We enjoy dining by ourselves, dining with fellow guests and dining with officers and senior crew members.
It is not often when one dines with two Food & Beverage Managers as normally there is one on-board at a time. This is because newly hired Food & Beverage Manager Jasper is on-board with Food & Beverage Manager Svein. When a new Senior Officer is hired they go through a period on-board the ship where they shadow the Officer in the existing position to learn and see first hand all they do. When this training period ends they are on their own.
Svein will continue to be the swing Food & Beverage Manager of Crystal Symphony and Serenity. When he goes to Symphony, the F&B Manager permanently on the ship will go on Holiday and the same will hold true for Serenity. This is done in other positions such as Head Housekeeper, Bar Manager, Crystal Society Host/Hostess just to name a few examples of this.
Before hiring Jasper Walter Pietschnig was the permanent F&B Manager on Serenity until his tragic death by a violent crime in the Philippines this past Autumn. A few years ago Walter was the swing F&B Manager.
Jasper returns to Crystal Cruises 25 years after working on the Crystal Harmony as a Assistant Waiter, Waiter and Sommelier.
From L-R Jasper, Keith, Anne Marie and Svein.
We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Svein and Jasper along with non-stop conversation, delicious food and wine and the outstanding service found at Prego. For us Prego provides that charm that one might find at a small restaurant in their home-town.
We didn't take photos of the food. We enjoyed three courses.
We had Butternut Squash Ravioli which was the additional item of the evening which could be ordered as an appetizer or an entree. It was hand-made and absolutely delicious. The second course was Caesar salad. Anne Marie had a half portion of the Veal Parmigiana and Keith had the Roasted Rack of Baby Lamb. Everything was delicious. Keith had a small pour of the Italian Chardonnay followed by Italian Cabernet.
When we arrived back to our room there was a beautiful box containing two photos including one in a photo book from our 90th Captain's Quarters Milestone Dinner.
We didn't make it to a show as we were at dinner for close to two and one-half hours.
Following is the Reflections Daily Program from today.
We did enjoy a good sleep and the seas were very calm so we slept to the gentle rocking of the ship.
Keith got up early and enjoyed another workout at the Fitness Center. After having breakfast in our room Keith attended the final indoor cycling class of this voyage while Anne Marie walked inside on Deck 6. The sea swells were calm as if we were not at sea. Surprisingly there were eight people who took the cycle class making today the most attended class of the cruise. Typically the last class of the cruise has the lowest participation.
Keith took the photos of the empty bikes shortly after he arrived. He also did a class by himself before the group class began.
Today is the last full day of this sixteen day Hawaii cruise before we arrive to Los Angeles (San Pedro) tomorrow morning. We have received instructions for turn-around day which we will discuss tomorrow.
We are scheduled for a 4:00 to 8:00 PM stop at Ensenada, Mexico later today. An international stop is required on a R/T sailing that begins and ends in the same United States port of call when the cruise ship is flagged from a country other than the USA. It dates back to the time when there was concern about competitive trading from vessels owned by those not part of the USA. This law is the Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886 which is part of the Jones Act.
Most Cruise Lines operated their cruise ship under a foreign flag to avoid USA tax laws and other rules related to employment. An exception is NCL operates one ship sailing R/T Hawaii under a USA flag with a USA crew so they can operate seven-day cruises. Otherwise adding a foreign port would cause a longer cruise.
When starting and ending a cruise from two different USA ports stopping at Canada or Mexico does not meet the law as the itinerary must include what is called a foreign distant port such as Cartagena, Colombia which is often a stop on a transit of the Panama Canal with end points of New York City or Miami/For Lauderdale and Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco as an example of this type of itinerary.
The stop in our case required a minimum of four hours. We remember there was a time where the stop could be for a shorter duration.
With a 4:00 PM arrival to Ensenada, Mexico today was pretty much a sea day with many activities on the program.
We had three lectures:
Jon Bailey spoke about the Musical Hamilton.
Rober Schrire spoke about North Korea.
Michael Bishay spoke about the courtroom drama Why Kill the Pastor?
We enjoyed a leisurely day on the ship. This included lunch at Marketside. Petra and Tom who we went to the Supper Club sat next to us so we chatted for quite awhile. It has been so nice to meet them.
After lunch we walked inside the ship together for an hour. It was drizzling so Keith was unable to play Paddle Tennis outside We also read, wrote and enjoyed conversations with fellow guests and members of the crew.
With a 4:00 PM arrival at Ensenada, Mexico we didn't get off the ship. We will return to this city on the next cruise with a full day there so possibly we'll get off the ship.
Ensenada has a city population of a half million people. The downtown area is located one mile from the port. It is a coastal city in Mexico located 78 miles from San Diego, California.
It is well known for its mild weather and its beaches providing locations for surfing and also for off road-road racing.
Major attractions include:
Museo de Historia which traces the history of the Baja region.
La Bufadora Blowhole a marine geyser with water shooting upwards of 100 feet above sea level.
Plaza de las Tres Cabezas which is a park offering panoramic views of Ensenada.
Mercado de Mariscos which is the largest seafood market in this region.