THE WONDERFUL CALIFORNIA COAST - BEGINS WITH Santa Barbara
Thelma, thank you again for your comments.
Caryn, thank you very much for your good wishes and we wish you a Happy New Year. So glad you also enjoyed the Grapefruit Gin & Tonic.
Doris, we are glad you are enjoying the blog and we thank you for your comments. Yes, we are completely relaxed on-board Crystal Serenity.
Many of the guests we have met since this voyage began are on their first Crystal Cruise since this was a seven day cruise and for those in California it is a great way to sample Crystal.
Yesterday afternoon Keith ran into a dear woman Deanna. We met Deana and her late husband Tom on a Seabourn cruise in 2006 and the four of us along with a few people would get together each evening for drinks at the one lounge and have a blast. We saw them again in 2008 before the start of the World Cruise. We suggested that they might want to give Crystal a try and they did sail Crystal from time to time along with other cruise lines. They had a major passion for traveling. Deanna being several years younger than Tom wanted him to see the world while he could travel. It is so nice they did just that and didn't put things off. We applaud them and we are very happy to be on the same voyage as Deanna and her niece.
All newly embarking guests needed to attend the 5:15 PM mandatory emergency muster drill. Since we were in-transit we were not required to attend the drill. A change in the procedure is guests no longer have to wear life vests to the drill. Before the drill we went to the Crystal Cove Bar where we saw Shirin and Glen who live in Australia. We met them a few years ago on their first Crystal Cruise. They are a wonderful couple.
Right before dinner we stopped by the Library and signed up for Magic Castle At Sea featuring a Magician.
We wanted to mention that they opened all dining venues at 6:00 PM including Churrascaria and Silk which normally open at 6:30 PM.
This is the dining menu from Waterside from last evening. We dined at UmiUma.
We were taken great care of by an extraudinary Waitstaff team of Head Waiter Sigi; two of the Umi Uma Waiters; Albert and Anthony whom we have known for years and Sommelier Adrian.
We enjoyed a fabulous meal between the appetizers, salad and entree.
We began with three (Nobu) Sashimi Specials which are flavorful with the sauces that accompany them. We continued with a platter of Sashima (Keith) and Sushi (Both Of Us. Accompanying the platter was Lobster Tempura (Anne Marie). The next course was a Nobu Special Salad with Nobu Tuna Sashimi (both of us), To top all of this off for our entree we had Hot Soba Noodles with clear soup and some Scallops (Keith) and a Stir-Fried Shrimp and Scallop Entree (Anne Marie).
Everything was delicious.
Anthony on the left and Albert on the right.
We didn't make it to the show.
The good news is that the original forecast called for choppy sails and when we were getting ready to get underway Captain Birger didn't mention any issues with the seas so we knew all would be fine.
We slept well last evening as we sailed towards our first port-of-call of this voyage; Santa Barbara.
We kept to our regular morning routine which included an early morning workout for Keith, coffee and breakfast and a walk inside the ship. Since Keith's knees were rested from having two days off from Paddle Tennis he was able to complete a long workout on the Elliptical.
Following is the daily Reflections Program.
Our first visit to Santa Barbara was in 1998 a year after moving to the San Francisco Bay area. We stayed over in this charming area as part of a family vacation involving stops at various locations between San Francisco and Anaheim.
We returned with our expanded family in 2017 on-board Crystal Serenity.
Santa Barbara has a population of 100,000 residents. The city has characteristic similar to that of the Mediterranean including weather and scenery. Some consider the area to be America's equivalent of the Riviera. The city is a popular tourist and resort area.
It is known for its Universities, Hotels and Restaurants and for being close to wineries in nearby Santa Ynez Valley.
It also has an extensive service sector including technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing and education.
Some of its top attractions include:
A walk along State Street which includes shopping, cafes & restaurants, galleries, theatre, and museums.
Santa Barbara County Courthouse completed in 1929 and featuring a Spanish Moorish architecture found throughout the city.
East Beach which we visited on our 1998 trip and is a beautiful beach to sit or to walk and is popular with locals and tourists.
El Presido de Santa Barbara which is a six-acre historic park. It was originally built in 1782 and is home to 17 buildings and sites built around the Plaza de Armas quadrangle.
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden which is home to several plants unique to California's central region coastal area.
We both planned taking the tender over to Santa Barbara but there was a delay in operation because of strong sea swells. They changed operation from starboard to port side which delayed the first tender. Anne Marie passed on the ride since we had visited here in 2017 and she was concerned about the sea swells. When tender operation started Keith took the first tender over with twelve other guests. He spoke with two guests who are from Los Angeles and planning to spend the time with their son who lives in Santa Barbara.
In 2017 we walked along the downtown area. This time Keith decided it would be nice to visit the former Fess Parker Hotel where we stayed with the family on our first family trip nine months after we moved to the Bay Area. We will digress for a moment.
Our daughter was six and our son two years young. We drove to Anaheim and visited Knott's Berry Farm on the first day and spent two days at Disneyland. A highlight was our daughter getting selected to be on one of the parade floats and all the rides we went on. Our son Eric was scared of some of the Disney characters. On our drive back to the Bay Area we made it a few days so we could visit different areas. We spent a day in Santa Barbara and stayed at the Fess Parker Hotel and that night dined at a wonderful restaurant. We rented bicycles and the children sat in the back. We had a great time.
One additional digression. We stayed at another place called Madonna Inn. Each room was unique from one another. Back then it was family owned. Little did we know that they did not accept credit cards and we didn't have enough cash to pay for the room. They said no worries and we should just send them a check when we returned home which we did. This was very kind of them.
OK back to Santa Barbara. Keith did a run/walk unless he was stopping to take photos. He ran along the shore with the ship on the right side. He stopped at two parks and visited the former Fess Parker Hotel. It is now a Hilton Resort. Beautiful hotel with the beach and water across the street. It brought back the memories we have described about that first California trip.
He ran towards town but didn't stop to take photos and came full circle to make his way back to the tender pier.
As he waited at the pier for the tender to unload he saw friends Rocky and David who were going to visit David's father who lives in Santa Barbara.
We've included photos of crew including Benjamin and Security Officer Ajoy. On the way back to the ship Keith had private tender with two members of the crew. The ride back was bumpy and we were slowed with two other tenders ahead of us. For most of the ride the tender would go up and make that pounding noise as it came down. Keith thought that Anne Marie made a wise choice to stay on board. We were texting back and forth and Anne Marie took photos of the tender Keith was on.
We are fortunate there was not much of a rain.
Photo of Ajoy followed by the other photos.
We enjoyed the rest of the day on the ship between lunch at Marketplace. As it turned out the weather cleared so Keith played a couple of hours of Paddle Tennis and Anne Marie walked outside.
Rain or shine it is paradise on Crystal Serenity.
Anne Marie & Keith