After making the most of our last night aboard the Crystal Symphony, the morning alarm came quickly. We went to the dining room for breakfast for the first time. Our waiter couldn't believe I was ending my trip with oatmeal and fruit. He was much more pleased with Veronica's choice of eggs Benedict. The last breakfast is alway sad. We saw Tom and Ed in the dining room and said our farewells although I think they are still on board the Symphony hiding (Shh!).
We decided to take a private transfer to the airport which I learned about through the amazing blogs of Keith1010 from Cruise Critic. It was a great use of our onboard credit. We waited in the cove area across from the concierge until it was time to go. Howard, our favorite Ambassador Host, came over to say goodbye while we were waiting. When our car was ready, the concierge walked us to the gangway where we were met by a representative who escorted us directly to our bags, through customs and directly to our waiting town car. Easiest disembarkation ever!
I was worried having a flight at 11:40 but we made it to the airport by 9:30. We had to fly to Los Angeles and then home to Philadelphia. There was a slight delay out of San Francisco as our plane needed to be duct taped because of an overhead bin that refused to shut. Funny thing is that our plane was also duct taped from Philadelphia to Portland. Even with the delay we made it to Los Angeles with about 35 minutes time until our next flight began boarding. The flight home was uneventful which is nice. The meal was a salad and I enjoyed that. I even splurged and tried the ice cream sundae. I think it was a way to drown my sorrows.
Philadelphia wasted no time in reminding us that we weren't on Crystal any more. The airport was not very busy at 11pm but all ladies restrooms were being cleaned. Every single one we passed. Then, the luggage carousel broke as the bags just started coming out. A worker jumped up and ran down the ramp returning with one bag he tossed on to the carousel. He ran back to repeat. This could take awhile. After many announcements of changing carousels, the original one started running and our bags finally appeared. We were anxious because finally we could call Chris to meet us. We were excited to see him. We told him stories of our trip on the way home but we all were ready for bed after a long day. My bed felt great!
This cruise will be a favorite of mine for sure. First, I was able to have this adventure with my daughter. We were able to share lots of mother-daughter bonding. She is a wonderful travel companion even if she sleeps later than I do. Crystal cruises also makes everything extra special. This was my third Crystal cruise and all have been favorite vacations. Of course there were a few things that could have been better but they were truly minimal (dance host, seat stealer, closet) or personal preference (Prego) but Crystal far exceeds in all areas. We met some great passengers and crew on this trip and that is one of the true joys of cruising. On longer voyages, you really start to feel like your own microcosm of society. I would highly recommend a cruise on Crystal for anyone who is thinking of trying a luxury cruise.
It is sad when one trip is over but it helps if you have one to look forward to. Next summer, all three of us will be traveling to England, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Netherlands and Belgium on the NCL Spirit.
THE FINAL SEA DAY
I awoke this morning before Veronica and I am sure everyone is shocked. I dressed and went outside but it felt too cold and windy to walk.
I decided instead to write at the Bistro with some coffee. Veronica met me there for some light breakfast when she woke up. She went to Silk after breakfast to read. I returned to the cabin to find our suitcases lying across the bed. I can take a hint so I started the task of packing. I packed until it was time for trivia.
We had our weakest score of the cruise only 5/15. Yikes! I think we have “cruise brain” setting in so maybe it’s a good thing those suitcases magically appeared today.
We followed our routine of having lunch after trivia. I made a salad in the Marketplace and Veronica felt one last cheeseburger from the grill was in order. We ate in the lounge area of Silk. We both really enjoyed this area and during lunch it is the most peaceful.
I returned to the cabin to finish packing. Veronica helped for a bit but then went to back to Silk to read, listen to music and have one last visit with her two friends, Ben & Jerry.
At 3:15, it was time to buy our final Bingo cards. The progressive jackpot was $1700 and we were excited. Unfortunately, we did not win anything at Bingo.
With Bingo over, I decided to return to the cabin to dress. Veronica decided to go out for a bit. I decided to go to the casino for a little bit before dinner since I was all done my packing. I ran into Tom and Ed who were on their way to the Avenue Saloon so I told them I’d likely see them there.
After a very uneventful time in the casino, I went to Avenue Saloon to find Veronica sitting with Tom and Ed. I joined them and told Priscilla I’d have the usual one last time. Allan came in with his tray of canapés. I was introduced to him the first day as “Mr. Chow” when Chris was onboard with us for lunch. He promised Chris he would look out for us. He’s a true delight with a constant cheerful smile. Veronica and I posed for a picture with him. We were having a very nice chat together and the gentlemen asked us if we would like to join them for dinner. We replied yes but we have to sit in Viktor’s station. They were agreeable to this arrangement.
Arriving at Waterside with two gentlemen definitely through Slavko for a momentary loop. He quickly ran off to make an arrangement for our seating. The team at Waterside is top notch.
Of course, as is Viktor’s superstition of the cruise, it was busy when we arrived. He offered his recommendations and to his complete shock, I took all of them this evening. I chose the shrimp and grits, butternut squash soup and the cod.
Veronica was similar except she picked the duck with caramelized orange sauce. Ed and Tom chose very similar to us except Ed started with the beets which made me laugh because usually I am the one who does my own thing. Viktor didn’t miss a beat to notice his selections. It was a lovely dinner filled with great conversation. I enjoyed hearing about their various travels. It was time for dessert which was Ile flotante, a meringue with passion fruit, sorbet and mango. Ed was different and tried the Mint Chocolate Truffle. I ordered a cognac with Tom as I think we both were not wanting the cruise to be over. Veronica and I bid our farewells to Viktor. Hopefully, we will see him someday again. It was a nice leisurely dinner and we closed down Waterside the last night.
We strolled up the steps and ran into Julie and her family. Tom was still working on the mutiny of staying on board. We conversed outside Facets which is the jewelry store and I jokingly suggested a heist maybe the Lowry 7. That could help us fund that world cruise. We bid good night to our new friends and went off to Starlite for some dancing.
We had a few dances with the Ambassadors until midnight. Then, DJ Danya was playing some tunes and there were some younger kids we danced with. We had to stop by Avenue Saloon for one last visit with Priscilla. We snapped a few photos and gave our goodbyes. I really hope to see her on a future cruise as well.
It was back up to the cabin where we crawled into bed around 1:30am.
We love to travel and experience new places and cultures.