DAY 7 CRYSTAL SERENITY – KEY WEST, FLORIDA
After we posted, Keith and Larry played Blackjack for about an hour. It was the first time Keith played in over 10 years. They had a nice time and used to play it most nights on the two cruises we took with Anne & Larry years ago. We always say that if we are on a Crystal tour and we don't know the Crystal representative the odds (no pun intended) that they work in the Casino. They both had a lot of fun. Keith made a few dollars. It's not enough to pay for another cruise though. He did have a first for him getting five blackjacks in a row. On the first one the dealer also had a blackjack. The odds are if Keith plays another hour before the sailing is over he'll get no blackjacks and probably lose some money.
We began last evening with a pre-dinner drink with Anne and Larry at the Avenue Saloon.
This was followed by dinner at the Crystal Dining Room. This was our final dinner at this dining venue for this cruise. We have mentioned it a few times but we can't say enough about the wonderful wait-staff who has taken care of us and our friends. Senior Waiter Alexsander, Waiter Jorge and Sommelier Ricardo along with Head Waiter Carmello have been fabulous.
We had looked at the dinner menu earlier in the day and didn't see anything that we particulary wanted so we spoke with Carmello in the morning and asked if we could have the Kosher Chicken. He asked what sides we wanted and we ordered roasted potatoes, asspargus, stringbeans, broccoli and carrots and Carmello recommend cranberries and gravy.
We were very pleased with our choices. Anne Marie and Keith began with a shrimp cocktail and we had salads from the menu followed by the chicken. The chicken was moist and unlike in the past when you could really taste the salt it was less salty which we thought was good. For dessert Anne Marie had one of the sugar free desserts and Keith tried the cheeses. He has not done that in many years so it was the first time he had seen the cheese extensive chees menu in many years. He selected two choices and Alexsander recommended another one. All three turned out to be good choices.
Leo who is the Crystal DIning regular Maitre d' had just boarded Serenity the day before to prepared for the World Cruise. Anne Marie chatted with him yesterday morning and Keith spoke with him at the conclusion of dinner. Mario is the "swing" Maitre d' who goes between both ships and will be leaving to meet up with Symphony where he will relieve Remi who is the regualar Maitre d' on Symphony who will go on holiday.
After dinner at 7:45 was the Captain's & Crystal Society Reception. This wsa the second and final Captain's Reception of this cruise. At the end of this cruise, Captain Birger will go home to California for a well deserved holiday. He wil be our Captain when we return back to Serenity with our family in a few months.
Originally on of our favorite shows on board which is the concert production called My Life: The Music of Billy Joel was scheduled but due to the sea conditions that was changed and swapped with the variety show which had been schedules for the final night of the cruise.
In additon to the concert production there was a wide range of entertainment throughout the evening including; dancing to live music at the Palm Court, pianist performing in the Crystal Cove and the Avenue Saloon pre and post dinner time along with other entertainment at the Crystal Cove. At 11:00 PM there was Karaoke at the Pulse Nightclub and this was followed by music played by DJ Chris. ON top f this there was two showings of the 2016 movie Florence Foster Jenkins.
Keith and Larry returned to the casino for another try at Blackjack. It turned out part of Keith's prediction came true. Keith didn't get any blackjacks, however, he still walked away a winner. In fact, they both did but more importantly enjoyed the time in the casino. Anne Marie walked around the shops with Anne.
Some people were still bothered by the seas but we have gotten used to it over the years so it was not an issue for us.
The seas were less rough less evening as we sailed towards Key West but you could still feel some movement of the ship. Keith took a pass from exercise this morning. After having breakast in our room we got ready for immigration. Each passenger was assigned a group number and when the number was called we were asked to arrive to the port side of the Galaxy Lounge to go through immigration. We were asked to bring our key card and our passport and the key card was punched with a hole so that each person going through immigration could be easily identified as they were going off the ship. As in the past the process went quickly.
Our final stop port-of-call stop of this voyage was Key West, Florida.
Key West is a small island that is only 3.5 miles in length and 1 mile wide. It is home to 25,00 residents and attracts many tourists who visit via car and cruise ship. During the height of the tourist season you often find one to three ships in port.
In addition to many restaurants and stores there is plenty to see in Key West.
Some of the local attractions included:
Hemingway House. This property was home to author Ernest Hemingway. There is an admission fee to this attraction which also includes a tour.
Little White House. The house originally served as the naval station’s command headquarters. In 1846 it was used as the winter White House for President Harry S. Truman. Today it is a museum.
Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. This conservatory is home to fifty to sixty different species of live butterflies from around the world.
Audubon House. This home was build by Captain John Huling Greiger in the 1840’s for himself and his family. Today it provides an educational environment for people of all ages.
There are many ways to enjoy Key West including on bicycle, by trolley and on foot.
We took the foot approach. We have visited Key West numerous time and that includes all of the sites we’ve mentioned.
Weather was just a little on the chilly side but once the sun was overhead it felt warmer. We were the only ship in port which makes the town more enjoyable compared to when three ships are visiting. We revisited areas that we enjoy around town including the Little White House and the Audibon House. All of the homes across from the Little White House which had been Navy Officer homes are now private residences.
Once we returned to Serenity we did more packingand enjoyed the ship. We had lunch at the Lido Cafe and we saw and spoke with Captain Giske who just returned from holiday. Today Captain Birger will do the handover with Captain Giske and after we arrive back to Miami Captain Giske will take the helm and Captain Birger will go on Holiday.
After lunch we decided to take another stroll around town. As we began our walk we saw Lou Gossett Jr. and spoke with him for a couple of minutes. He was very friendly. We walked for about ninety minutes. We still wore light jackets but it was very pleasant and sunny outside. We walked by the marina, a couple of museums, the aquarium, and we walked in and out of several shops until it was time to reboard Crystal Serenity.
We will spend the remainder of the afternoon reading, writing and packing.
This evening we will be meeting someone special to us at the Avenue Saloon along with Anne and Larry and we plan to dine at Silk Road for the first time of this voyage. Speaking of food we are including lunch and dinner menus for today from the Crystal Dining Room.
TODAY'S THOUGHT OF THE DAY.....
We have enjoyed a wonderful cruise and it has been extra special by having dear friends Anne & Larry on-board Crystal Serenity with us. There is something truly remarkable about fate. Anne Marie first met Anne almost twenty-five years ago by chance. At the time, Anne was visting a mutual friend with her son who lived across the street from us. At the time our son was playing kickball outside on the cul-de-sac with one of the sons from the family of our mutual friends along with some other children. Our son accidentally kicked the ball into the back window of Anne's automobile. Keith was traveling out of town on business at the time. Anne Marie took care of getting Anne's car repaired that very day and that began the start of our friendship with Anne and Larry and their son. In time, Anne, Larry and their son became family to us and our children often thought of them as you would an Aunt and Uncle. It is interesting about the turns and twists that take place in ones lives.
Keith & Anne Marie