EN-ROUTE TO SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
This is a photo of a Cappuccino Coffee which one of the Sommelier's made for Anne Marie yesterday afternoon when she had coffee with dear friend Glo.
We enjoyed a pre dinner drink at the Silk Bar.
These are the dinner menus from Waterside.
We dined at Churrascaria which is located at Marketplace. In the evening Marketplace is transformed to Churrascaria a Brazilian steakhouse. This is the first time we have eaten at this dining venue since boarding Serenity on January 7. We have eaten at Churrascaria on two prior occasions; one time respectively on Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony.
The wait staff are dressed as gauchos and the venue is similar to restaurants on land. There is a salad/fruit, hot vegetable and dessert bar. A delicious basket of rolls/bread is place on the table. When it is time to indulge in the various meats (beef, poultry, lamb, etc.) you place the card on the table so the "yes please" (Green) side of the card can be seen and the wait staff will bring one item at a time for you to enjoy. If it is something you don't care for or you are concerned about eating too much you can pass on any of the items until the ones you prefer are served. If you want to take a break, slow-down the meal or have had enough food you simply turn the card over so the (Red) side shows with the words no thank you.
Following is the menu.
The featured entertainment was Crystal on Broadway, The Show.
More good news, before going to bed we set the clocks back another hour so we are on Sydney, Australia time.
We began the morning as we usually do. You know the routine so we will skip it today. LOL.
Lots of enrichment on the program including three lectures.
Keith went to the Rap with the Rabbi. It had the largest attendance of any of the previous sessions. The Rap was devoted to a talk given by World Affairs lecturer Dr Robert Freedman. His talk was about the recent Israel-Palestinian Peace Plan. He provided a two page outline along with a map illustrating the plan. He covered the key issues of the dispute, prior peace initiatives dating back to 1947, key elements of the peace plan, reactions to the plans and implications of the plan for the Middle East. He kept to the time table he laid out for the talk allowing the final fifteen minutes for question and answer. A lot of material was covered in an easy to understand manner. This is one of many examples of why we enjoy enrichment sailing with Crystal Cruises. Dr Freedman was back on in an hour and more on this in a second.
Jim Bruce spoke about the early settlement of Australia. Next Dr. Freedman spoke about China and Asia: Is China's dominance inevitable. What we learned from the lecture is consistent to what we have seen as we have visited a range of places around the world where China is making major investments throughout the world. There was a lot to the lecture including items to think about, along with items to worry about.
Enjoyed the rest of the day. This included lunch at Marketplace. It was the Asian Buffet which included lots of Asian food. While we were eating we listened to Captain Birger's Noon talk from the bridge. He noted that Crystal Symphony would be arriving to Singapore tomorrow at which time the cruise ends. Symphony will remain docked until it is time to move it to the planned dry-dock in Singapore.
The weather was a delight. Keith played Paddle Tennis for a couple of hours and Anne Marie walked. The temperature was in the high 60's and the sun was shining bright.
Anne Marie & Keith
EN-ROUTE TO SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
We enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at the Crystal Cove where we enjoyed beautiful views of Milford Sound and wonderful music.
These are the dinner menus from Waterside.
It was great to return to Waterside for dinner.
We enjoyed three courses; Olive Oil Poached Sablefish for Keith and Matzah Ball Soup for Anne Marie, dinner salads and Broiled Sea Bass entree for Keith and Tiger Shrimp for Anne Marie.
After dinner we went to the Crystal Society Party.
The featured entertainer was Mark Vincent who is an International Tenor. He performed twice at 8:30 PM and 10:30 PM.
The good news is we set the clocks back one hour before going to sleep.
The seas were fairly calm and we slept very well.
We began the day as we normally do.
There was lots on the program including three lectures.
First was Captain Richard Hayman who spoke about Tasmainia and Australia. This was followed by Professor D'Alinonte who spoke about the major challenges of our time. In the afternoon Masters Golf Champion Craig Stadler spoke about his time as a golfer.
During Captain Birger's Noon talk from the bridge he updated us on the route we are taking. He said at one point we will have some rougher seas but it would be far less than what we experienced the day before and after that passes we should continue to have a smooth sailing into Sydney.
Since we are leaving in Sydney we did some packing so it doesn't wait until the last day.
Afternoon was terrific. Keith played Paddle Tennis for a couple of hours and Anne Marie walked and Keith met up with dear friend Bob and Anne Marie had coffee with dear friend Glo at The Bistro. Weather was great. Some wind and a pretty smooth ride on Serenity.
This is the daily Reflections Program.
SCENIC CRUISING - DUSKY, DOUBTFUL AND MILFORD SOUND
Captain Birger spoke to everyone from the Bridge at 5:00 PM late evening. The Captain explained that due to the storm we would not be going to Hobart and will cross over to Australia further north. We will arrive to Sydney one day earlier on March 2nd and will be anchored. Tender service will be available to take everyone over to Sydney. Late evening we will dock.
So the good news is we will have an extra day in Sydney and most importantly we will avoid what would have been very choppy seas should the course not have been arrive. Safety first. Thank you Captain Birger.
The captain noted we will have five hours of rough seas early in the morning and the Captain let us know we should secure items in our room such as bottles.
From the Captain's Letter:
We hope you are enjoying your time onboard Crystal Serenity.
In my job as Master, my highest priority is always the safety of our vessel and those on board. As part of that, I am always looking ahed to spot any potential challenges our way.
Over the last week or so, we have painstakingly been following the weather forecast for the Tasman Sea. This is an area which is always a concern to any mariner as weather can be notoriously bad. Unfortunately, over the last few days the forecast has gone from bad to worse. Four major storm are lining up one after the other and starting tonight they are supposed to start hitting the Tasman Sea.
For the two day passage from Milford Sound to Hobart, the forecast is strong winds and heavy seas from a East South West direction. Significant wave height varies from 5 - 6 six meters to as much as 8 - 9 meters (15 - 18 feet to 25 - 30 feet) given a choice no responsible mariner would knowingly head into such weather. Hence, we have made the decision to cancer our call to Hobart.
Upon departure from Dunedin tonight we will proceed for cruising the New Zealand Fjorlands National Park on a somewhat amended and delayed schedule culminating with departing Milford Sound tomorrow night no later than 7:00 pm bound for Sydney NSW.
We will move our arrival to Sydney one day and are planning to arrive at anchor in Sydney on the morning of March 2nd. We will remain at anchor for most of the day and will shift to our assigned Bert at Sydney Cove in thee evening when the Overseas Passenger Terminal is vacated by another ship. We will then remain docked there until our scheduled departure on March 4th.
Captain Birger J. Vorland,
Last evening we attended the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle Party. We had a small turnout with only three guests there including Anne Marie and myself. Some might have gotten back late from the tours and they had Ash Wednesday Masses. There were four officers in attendance.
From there we went to dinner at Umi Uma
These are the Waterside Dinner menus.
We enjoyed dinner at Umi Uma.
This was our first dinner at Umi Uma on this segment of the World Cruise. As much as we love the cuisine created by Chef Nobu and made on the ship by the talents Umi Uma culinary chefs with the outstanding service of the waitstaff we limit our visits to one or possibly twice per segment. We do this because we consider the food very special and if we visit too often then for us it is no longer special.
The evening entertainment included Musical Humorist Bayne Bacon with two shows and two performances by Curtis and Beverly called Crystal Dance Stars.
We slept very well. The seas were pretty calm with just some movement. Keith got up earlier than normal to get a workout in since the seas were calm and was able to get the workout done followed by doing laundry when everything was calm. By around 7:00 AM the winds picked up quite a bit and the seas became very choppy. Shortly before 7:30 AM Captain Birger spoke from the bridge and the announcement could be heard from passenger decks and other areas but not in the staterooms to not disturb guests. He advised guests to use caution as they walked around the ship and not to go outdoors including on their balconies.
Last evening, we had prepared our room for the potential of rough seas during the sleeping hours, by putting items on the shelves on the couch and other items on the floor.
A short video showing the views from our Verandah at 7:30 AM
The Captain made additional announcements at 8:30 and 9:00 AM. The 9:00 AM announcement was broadcast throughout the ship. At 8:30 AM, the Captain noted the winds were higher than the forecast. They had been at 80 knots on average although they got as high at 100 knots. At the time of his announcement they were at 50 knots. He also noted we would not get into all three sounds and would likely get into one later in thee day. He said the winds would calm down.
The original plan was to sail the three special sounds Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds.
Keith was getting his haircut and he encouraged the hair stylist to take her time which is what she did.
We are experienced cruisers and did well.
Shortly after the 9:00 AM talk Cruise Director Rick spoke ship wide reminding everyone about the two morning lectures and also noting in the afternoon the Part Ranger would give a talk at 1:30 PM about the three sounds.
The morning and afternoon had many activities and enrichment. Two lectures were given in the morning.
Captain Richard Hayman spoke about the Asian Seas and Straits including historic and contemporary conflicts between Asian nations including Australian waters. Dr Robert Freedman spoke about Sino-American Relations and the Role of Australia and New Zealand.
We enjoyed lunch at Marketplace. It was on the quieter side likely due to the weather. While not as bumpy as being all the way forward since it is located in the back of the ship you will feel motion much more than on a lower deck and being mid-ship.
During Captain Birger's talk from the bridge he noted that winds got as high as around 110 miles per hour. He said he there was high probability we would get into Milford Sound at about 4:00 PM.
We are going ahead and posting earlier than usual today since we might lose the internet while in Milford Sound
Following is the daily Reflections Program.
Anne Marie & Keith
Before dinner last night there was a Mardi Gras Dixieland Dance Party at the Crystal Plaza.
The Plaza was decorated for the party.
These are the Waterside Dining Room Menus.
With a late arrival back to the ship from touring we decided to have dinner in our room from Waterside.
We had three courses; Appetizer of Slow Cooked Salon for Keith and soup for Anne Marie, Dinner Salads, and Entree of Grouper for Keith and Prime Rib for Anne Marie. Jaison organized the meal for us.
The evening entertainment featured two showings of the production show; Icons In Concert.
We slept well as we sailed to Dunedin, New Zealand.
After a workout at the Fitness Center and breakfast in our room we got ready for this next port-of-call
Todays stop at Dunedin, New Zealand is our last stop in New Zealand as part of World Cruise 2020. From Dunedin we will sail Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds as we make our way to Hobard, Australia. We last visited Dunedin in 2015.
Almost 125,000 residents live in Dunedin. This city is located in Southeastern New Zealand. Its name means Edinburgh in Gaelic and it has retained its Scottish heritage and roots. As one walks the city they will see Victorian and Edwardian buildings.
The most photographed building in New Zealand is supposedly the railway station.
Major Attractions Include:
Dunedin Railway Station which operates a railway line and tourist trains. First train began operating in 1979.
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum founded 1898 and is New Zealand's oldest history museum with emphasis on Dunedin.
Otago Museum which is a natural science museum open in 1968.
Speights Brewery was founded in 1876 and is a well known brand making brews lager, ale, draught style, triple hop pilsner and low-carb beer.
The town is located about 25 minutes from the Cruise Ship Terminal and shuttles provided transportation to and from the town.
At 9:45 AM Captain Birger made a ship-board announcement for everyone on board that due to severe weather we will not cross the Tasman Sea at the original time and we will get into the Fjords later than planned. Hobart has been cancelled. The Captain noted we will still get into Sydney as planned so no worries there. Captain said they are working to finalize details and will have another update at 5:00 PM this evening and a letter will also go to everyone's stateroom tonight. Obviously this means the World Cruise Shoreside Event at Hobart for those on the full World Cruise won't happen.
In the end the most important thing is the safety of guests, crew and ship. We have crossed the Tasman sea many times and as recently as last year and know how rough it can be so with a major storm we are fortunate that we can take an alternative route and be out of harms way.
Learned at lunch that we will arrive to Sydney one day early and will anchor there with tender service (leased tenders) taking guests to and from Sydney. Later that evening we will dock.
All in all great news and most importantly to keep everyone safe.
Ironically, Anne Marie had an appointment with the hair stylist on the day we were crossing the Tasman Sea. As we walked this morning we thought this might not be a good day for it and an hour before the announcement from Captain Birger she moved the appointment up to this afternoon.
Enjoyed a lovely afternoon on-board Serenity. This included lunch at Marketplace followed by Paddle Tennis for Keith, the hair appointment for Anne Marie along with another walk.
Following is the Daily Reflections Program.
Anne Marie & Keith
WELCOME TO AKAROA, New Zealand
Last evening we had drinks at the Crystal Cove and we listened to Violinist Irina perform.
These are the menus from Waterside where we had dinner.
We enjoyed dinner at Silk. Silk serves Chinese Cuisine. Last evening was Black Tie Optional (BTO) and as we've done on a couple of the previous BTO nights we decided to dine at Silk. We usually go to the first BTO night at Waterside to have Lobster but thought we would change it up for this cruise and plan to dine at Churrascaria on the second BTO night which will take place in a few days.
We enjoyed wonderful views as we did in the morning for our sail-in.
Dinner was delicious.
We like the portion size allowing us to try several different items. We each had the spicy salad. Next we had a variety of appetizers and these were spaced out when they were served.
We first had the Dim Sum Sampler which comes with three different items.
Next course was one spring roll for each of us and one Pot Sticker each.
For the entree Anne Marie had the Stir Fried Scallops along with a side order of Shrimp Fried Rice. For Keith it was the Mongolian type Lamb Chops. He also had the Baked Eggplant for the very first time. It comes already sliced in small bite-size pieces.
For desset Anne Marie had a small scoop of ice cream and Keith had the fruit plate. We find the fruit plate served at Silk has the most variety of any of the fruit plates from other dining venues.
After dinner activities included a Captain's Reception for all guests at 7:45 PM The evening entertainment featured a duet performance by International Tenor Shimi Goodman and Piano Showman Chris Hamilton.
This is our second time to Akaroa with our last visit in 2015. In prior years we went to Christchurch. In fact, we were there only a few days before the devastating Earthquake of 2011. The epicenter was close to the city and to the port which served Christchuch and did massive destruction. The earthquake was 6.3 on the scale but is among the strongest ever recored globally in an urban area and 185 people lost their lives. Within two years of the earthquake, 1,500 buildings in the city had to be demolished. Unfortunately, the city had several strong aftershocks.
We will remember on the visit in 2011 it was a beautiful day compared to our first visit a few years earlier when it was rainy and windy. Weather do make a difference in thee experience. We walked all around the city and took a Gondola. Outside their firehouse was something we will never forget which was a piece from the World Trade Center given to the Fire Church for their assistance following 9/11. They like several other countries around thee world stepped up to help. This time it was Christchurch who needed help.
Ever since the earthquake, Akaroa has been used in lieu of Christchurch. Christchurch is a ninety minute drive from this port.
A couple of photos from our Verandah before taking the tender ashore.
We booked a Crystal Private Excursion for our visit.
Our tour concentrated on the Banks Peninsula and Akaroa area. We were driven by David who took us to each area that was part of our tour, and provided us with lots of information about the area.
Our tour began with a 45 minute drive to a Farm in Little River where we met with Mary & Ross Miller. They purchased the home and farm in 1974. The house had to be redone as it was in disarray and the home was originally built in the late 1800's. The farm has 1,400 sheep. As we learned in Hobiton sheep are raised for meat. It is mainly sold to China. In fact, the price they are willing to pay has doubled the past few years. The cost to raise sheep for wool alone is too high and does not allow a profit to be made.
Our next stop was lunch at The French Farm Winery. The owner's were on hand acting as cook and waitstaff and we were alone most of the time. We ate outside and enjoyed beautiful views. The owners bought the restaurant in 2017 and it took one year to make improvements and it opened in 2018. They also live there and as the owner said if they didn't make money they would still live there. Food is on the more casual side. We were given a menu on the ship and asked to select the items we wanted so we picked a Mega Seafood Basket and an Antipasto Platter. We think it would have fed four people. When it came to the wine he had three different Pinot Noir's by the glass and Keith asked for his input. He said go with a particular one because he likes it and given it won't keep for much more than a day or two he said he recommended it because he likes it and would finish it up. LOL. Keith enjoyed it so a winner. Anne Marie had a Riesling.
We then drove back to Akaroa where we had a private tour of The Giant House by the owner Josie. She is amazing. All of the art work she has done and while much of it was done in New Zealand certain items she made all over the world including France, Venice, Italy and in Beijing, China. She has owned the house for twenty three years. Like the farmhouse she had most of the house redone and has done an amazing job with the garden from the artwork to the plantings. Asked who tends the garden, the answer is Josie with some assistance from one man. She is truly amazing.
Yes she likes blue.
While we have several take-aways from today one stands out the most. All of the owners have something in common. They each had a passion to have their own business and each one involved major changes to the properties they purchased and involve lots of hard work and took risk. Each questioned early on if they made the right decision. Each has been successful in their own way. Most importantly each pursued something they love and can excel in.
On the way back to the tender we saw something we don't often see. The tender was several feet from the tender pier and at first we didn't know what it was doing. There were a few staff outside with some type of pole(s) in the water. First we thought the tender was stuck. It was windy and we realized the tent had blown overboard from the tender pier into the water and they were working diligently to get it out. They could never have done this individually. In the end, it was determination and teamwork and they got the tent up and pulled it over to the tender pier. We all gave them a round of applause.
Today was a lovely day and we have made memories of the day which we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.
These are the Daily Reflections Programs.
Anne Marie & Keith
WELCOME TO PICTON NEW ZEALAND
We returned to the Avenue Saloon for a pre-dinner drink. We tend to go to the Avenue when we have dinner at Prego or Umi Uma as it is located in the same position as these two restaurant and is one deck below them.
At the bottom of the Prego Bar is K & A. It's not for us but we think it is cute.
These are the dinner menus from Waterside.
We returned to Prego for dinner and dined with Hotel Director Scott Peterson. Scott joined the ship the other day in Auckland, New Zealand as Hotel Director Hubert went back home to Austria for a well deserved holiday.
We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with great conversation, terrific cuisine and outstanding service.
Evening entertainment featured two shows by the amazing Ian Cooper who dazzled the guests with his violin and two performances by the amazing dancers Curtis Collins & Beverly Durand who performed Crystal Dance Stars not once but two times as well.
Serenity left Wellington at 10:00 PM and made our way to the next port of call of Picton, New Zealand.
The start of a beautiful day thirty minutes before we had breakfast in our room.
A little later before our arrival.
Getting ready to dock at the pier.
Picton is a town in New Zealand’s Marlborough Region. It is located in close proximity to the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound. It has a relatively small population of just a few thousand residents.
Major attractions include:
Edwin Fox Maritime Center which is home to one of the oldest sailing ships intake world; Edwin Fox built in 1853 from Burma teak.
Picton Museum which hosts many items of interest related to the whaling industry along with items from Maori Early Settlers.
Eco World Aquarium & Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre which is home to many fish species from the Marlborough Sounds. It also has Little Blue Penguins, Lizards and Turtles.
Many tourists visit Picton to explore the Marlborough Sound. There is a ferry taking passengers across the Cook Strait over to the North Island. The Marlborough Sounds includes river valley and islands, which are a legacy to the Ice Age.
The town has a nice selection of arts, crafts, and souvenirs and a wide choice of accommodations. It has many waterfront cafes and fine restaurants. The restaurants feature a wide selection of seafood.
Many excursions will take visitors to the major wine-growing region, which produces Marlborough wines.
When we were here last in 2011 we considered a wine tasting excursion but decided to visit the town instead. This time we did do a wine tasting excursion with Charles and Alice who we sailed with last on Serenity last April.
We visited both three boutique family and larger wineries in Marlborough. We visited Forrest Brancott Estate, and Rockferry Wineries. We also had a light lunch of cheese and bread at Rockferry. We took a different route on our return and stopped off to view Monkey Bay.
We learned a lot about the wine areas and the wines. Fay our tour guide was outstanding and we had a super day with beautiful scenery and lovely wine.
Following is the Daily Reflections Program.
Anne Marie & Keith