DAY 3 CRYSTAL SERENITY – COZUMEL, MEXICO
Last evening began with a 5:15 Cruise Critic reception which we had signed up for prior to the cruise. There were 20+ people in attendance as well as some member of the Crystal Serenity Crew who also attended. We spoke with some of the people who attended but by the time it was 6:00 PM we realized there were still more people to meet. Most people attended for the full 45 minutes.
After the reception we had dinner in the Crystal Dining Room with friends Anne & Larry. We had pre-ordered a couple of items with Carmello the night before.
The wait-staff team of Aleksander as our Senior Waiter and Jorge as our Waiter have been terrific. We really didn't know either of them from past cruises but after two nights in the dining room we feel as if we've known them both for years. They are very thoughful, friendly and professional and they think ahead. On the first night Keith had ordered mixed berries and Aleksander had this feeling they woudn't e enough for Keith so when he asked Keith if he liked them he said yes and he had already had a second bowl on hand for Keith. Last night when they brought over a baked potato which Keith had ordred, Larry realized that he should have ordered one and the good news is that Alexsander had ordered a second one for Keith just in case so Larry had his right away.
We began the meal with appetizers. Keith had the white sturgeon caviar while Anne Marie had jumbo shrimp cocktail. Anne had pre-ordered escargots and Larry also had the shrimp cocktail.
Carmello prepared a Caesar Salad for the four of us. Each Head Waiter has their own way of preparing the Caesar Salad so it's always a great opportunity to try it out from time-to-time. For Keith they added anchovies after the other three were placed in the bowls. We enjoyed the salad. For Anne Marie, Larry and Anne they could have used a little less of the spicy ingredients but for Keith it was absolutely fine and he could have had it even spicier.
For the Main Course it was an easy decision. Anne Marie had the Fresh Maine Lobster and Keith did likewise. To this day Lobster is a favorite of Anne Marie's. When she was young and her Grand Parent's lived with her family on Christmas Eve her Nana would prepare a lobster for each family member which is something that Anne Marie not only enjoys but brings back nice memories for her.
Three of the four of us had the Lobster except for Larry who had chicken. We all enjoyed the entrees. Keith thought it was very tasty and he doesn't even use butter on it.
We like the portion sizes. You can always get more if you want a second entree or a second of anything but the size works for us as we can have a few courses yet not feel stuffed.
For dessert, Larry and Anne had Bananas Foster prepared for them by Carmello and the two of us had fruit. We are saving dessert fo rour visit to Tastes. Knowing that Keith enjoys the mixed berries Alexsander brought Keith's in a cereal bowl.
After dinner the four of us attended Captain Birger's Welcome Reception. When we entered Palm Court we were greeted by the Crystal Society Hostess and took the traditional photo with Captain Birger before chatting with Cruise Director Rick and Hotel Director Hubert. There was the usual array of drinks and dancing to the music performed by the Crystal Quartet.
The turnout was good. Turnouts are not as large to these functions back in the day when drinks were not inclusive and so many people attended that there were two parties. Nevertheless a few hundred peope attended and Captain Birger gave an eloquent talk. The Captain who is from Norway has an outstanding command of the English Lanquage and is a terrific public speaker. He only gave the guests on responsibilty and that is for the weather. In indoor cycling earlier in the day Fitness Director Kyle did likewise when he said the harder we work the better the weather would be.
Following the reception Curtain Call was performed in the Galaxy Lounge. We passed on the show as we have seen it several times in the past but Anne & Larry attended the performance.
The seas remained calm as we sailed to our first port of call and we enjoyed a very nice sleep.
We kept to our regular routine when we cruise. Keith got in a very early workout at the Fitness Center. Prior to them installing special coffee markers in the suites which we first used during the two cruises in August and September, Keith used to go to the Lido Cafe for coffee. These days he makes it in our room. The coffee maker is noisy but Anne Marie sleeps with ear plugs so she doesn't hear any of the noise. Keith enjoys the coffee. We had an early Breakfast and then got ready for our visit to Cozumel, Mexico.
We have visited Cozumel many times including last January. It has changed over the years. We remember the days when it was a small town that mainly attracted those who enjoyed diving. In our early days of cruising usually one ship would be in port at any given time. These days the town has expanded and like other carribbean stops it now has those jewelry stores you see everywhere and often this time of the year has three to four ships calling at the same time.
It is believed that the Maya settled Cozumel around the time of the first millennium AD. The first Spanish expedition didn't come until the year 1518. By 1520 about 10,000 Maya lived on Cozumel but that all changed when infected crew members brought smallpox to the island and by 1570 only 186 men and 172 women were alive. With a relatively small population Cozumel was on the receiving end of many an attack by pirates.
Much has changed over the years and today Cozumel is best known for its tourism. Tourism includes land vactions and those arriving by cruise ships. Diving and fishing also contribute a great deal to the local economy.
Anne Marie has been feeling a little under the weather so we made the decision that she would remain on board Serenity and Keith would go out and about on his own. When we first arrived to the pier it was drizzling but we guess the guests came through because the rain stopped by the time Keith got off the ship. The streets were wet and it was cloudy but it had no impact on Keith's walk. He walked about two hours.
We were reminiscing with our friends Larry and Anne the other day when the four of us were here with our children. The pier was quite a distance from the downtown area and we walked into town. We kid you not, but at the recommendation of the Catholic Priest who sat at our dining table we did visit Senor Frogs back then. We remember that Keith, Anne and Larry got on the line that danced to the music and each time you went around they had from the ceiling a drink and you would open up your mouth to get some. Yes we were quite a bit younger back then. On our way back to the ship we all got in a cart that was pulled by a mule and half way there we were wondering if the mule would make it. Somehow the mule came through. Oh, those were the days......LOL.
This time around no mule for Keith nor drinks at Senor Frogs. Just a nice walk. We've included photos of some of the ships that are in port. The NCL Jade is right next to Serenity. The Royal Caribbean ship is at a different dock.
The first few times we were in Cozumel you didn't see stores such as Cartier or Diamonds International. This has all changed.
We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on board Serenity. After lunch Keith played Paddle Tennis for a few hours and Anne Marie walked for an hour. Afterwards, Keith met up with a few of the fellow guests.
This evening wil include dining at the Prego Italian Specialty Restaurant. We will post about all of this tomorrow.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY......
We think that the world would be a better place if people would take the time to treat others the way they would like to be treated. In short, follow the Golden Rule.
Keith & Anne Marie