Day 8 - Farewell to Symphony - NYC
We ordered coffee to the cabin for 6:30 to enjoy before breakfast. We decided to try Waterside for breakfast today since my mom wanted to try the eggs Benedict. I ordered some fruit, English muffin, and breakfast potatoes. An announcement was made that we would be arriving later because their was no available tugboat. My mom thought it was a good breakfast but my muffin was barely toasted and I had nothing to put on it. By the time condiments arrived, it was stone cold. My potatoes were also a miss as they were hard and undercooked. I switched to hash browns but then after waiting and my mom finishing I decided to just go up to the buffet since there I could also get a hot English muffin. As I stood from the table, the waiter called from a distance to say my order was coming. I told the waiter to cancel them and that I’d get some upstairs. I saw Gustav and chatted with him at the entrance before heading up to deck 11. I had some hot hash browns, English muffin and also roasted vegetables which satisfied me for a last breakfast. An extra bonus was saying good bye to the delightful Alan.
I did two chilly laps around the promenade as we pulled into the pier. It was too cold to do more with my light jacket so I went back to the cabin to await the announcement to leave. It came very quickly after they announced that those who carried their own bags off could leave. We headed downstairs and was off the ship in no time. We were trying to time our departure so my husband would not have to circle the streets. It ended up being perfect.
(Chris had left very early in the morning and stopped at the New Jersey Turnpike rest area in New Brunswick to charge the car. We had kept him posted as to our delay so he ended up stopping at a parking lot with an Aldi and a Starbucks just prior to entering the Lincoln Tunnel. This way he could wait comfortably until he was just ready to enter Manhattan and not have to struggle with street parking to wait, with no easy access to a restroom, or fighting with port staff about waiting too long to pick us up. He left the parking lot in NJ and was alongside in about 23 minutes!)
We found our luggage and took the big, slow elevator upstairs to be picked up. If you sailed from New York, you know the one. Chris was there seconds after we arrived! The ride home was very easy with no traffic.
We dropped off my mom and were home just before lunch. My cruise belly was telling me that before I even looked at the time.
It was a different cruise since it was lower capacity and had various COVID-19 related policies but it was still superb. I am so glad to see cruising making a comeback and look forward to my next one in February.
Day 7 - Atlantic Ocean
The last day of a cruise is always bittersweet. This is especially true on seven day cruises I feel. You are just getting into your routines and enjoying you new friends and then it’s over.
We started our day with some room service coffee before heading up to Marketplace for our usual breakfast. The seas were still choppy so I decided to skip the gym today and walked inside. I ended my walk in the casino and spent some time there. My daughter called me from college and I had a nice conversation with her. I returned to the cabin to see the dreaded luggage mat on my mother’s bed which a signal that it is time to pack up your stuff.
At 11am, there was a special magic and mentalism show with Joe Turner. Joe really was a great addition to this cruise. He was only required to perform his close up shows but he also did a memory lecture, hosted karaoke, and did this show. If you get lucky enough to to be on a cruise with him, don’t miss his show. This morning show was very fun and entertaining.
A leisurely sea day is a perfect time to have a lovely lunch in Waterside. We both enjoyed a lovely lunch. I had the trio of bruschetta, seafood gumbo, followed by vegetarian lentil tacos. My mom had the spare rib, bruschetta, and chef salad. We really enjoyed all these dishes. It was a perfect last lunch on board.
We spent the rest of our on board credit in the shop. I bought a hat and cocktail glasses for my husband. They were all on sale. I got a great deal on the hat because it said Crystal Serenity instead of Symphony but for five dollars I couldn’t pass that up. My mom got a hat for my dad but his had the correct ship.
I visited the future sales consultant to check for availability for a winter cruise in the Bahamas. It was all booked in the veranda categories but they said they would keep trying. I went for a little walk around before needing to get ready for dinner. The pool deck was still all packed away. It looked so sad. I went back to the cabin to pack and change for dinner.
Tonight, we had pre dinner drinks in the Avenue Saloon. My mom had the bartender prepare a favorite drink not on the menu. I shared the recipe with them since they had all the ingredients. I decided on another Negroni. Tonight’s canapés were prosciutto and melon, and corn crab cake. We had a very lovely chat with a lady who sat next to us and before we knew it, it was time for dinner in Waterside.
Since they did not have lobster on the second night, we requested them to prepare lobster for us on the last night. There were some great choices this evening. We both started with the escargot which were absolutely delicious. My mom had a simple house salad while I had the vegetable salad nicoise. We both followed our salads with carrot ginger soup. Then, it was lobster time. The lobster was cooked perfectly and tasted great. It was prepared with a risotto and asparagus. For dessert, my mom had the sugar free sour cream cheesecake while I sampled the “Ile Flotante” which is a soft meringue, raspberry sherbet, and mango passion fruit compote. Both desserts were enjoyed by us. We said our goodbyes to the delightful Hanna who gave us wonderful service at each dinner in Waterside.
Wanting to digest our dinner, we took a little stroll around the ship. I showed my mom where the Vintage Room is and we looked around. We listened to some music in Starlite Club from The Crystal Quartet for a few songs before walking to Galaxy Lounge for the Symphony Farewell Variety Show that featured the violinist, singers, Steve Stevens as well as the Crystal Ensemble and Showband. It was another enjoyable show and my mom said she really enjoyed all the entertainment she saw this week.
My mom wanted to finish up packing so she went back to the cabin. I decided to had to the Avenue for one final cocktail. I had a Woodford Reserve Manhattan and sat with some wonderful people who made the cruise so much fun. Charlie James was playing piano and we all had so much fun chatting. I knew I had to go back to get my suitcase out and try to get some rest for our early wake up for one last breakfast. It was after midnight when we all decided to return to our cabins. It was such a fantastic group and meeting people is one of the best parts of cruising. I finished up the packing and put my suitcase outside the door before one last slumber in my cozy bed.
Day 6 - atlantic ocean
Our first sea day on our way back to New York City and the seas are rough. We both felt it off and and on through the night. Opening my curtains, I was surprised to see a rainbow. Maybe it is a sign the weather will change or at least it will be fun day! My mom has been doing great with medicine and I have been fine without it. After our breakfast in the buffet, I went to the gym. I opted for the bicycle since it was pretty rocky.
I did some walking around the ship afterwards and met up with my mom in the casino. We decided to go to trivia but did not officially play. I had won on a previous cruise so I know the prizes aren’t to spectacular but we wrote down our guesses for fun. After that we went to the buffet for lunch. It was Mediterranean themed and that matched our dinner tonight in Prego. The Mediterranean theme is a great day to make a big salad lunch.
After lunch it was a very low key afternoon. There was a cabin open house from 9-5 today so we were able to visit various types of cabins. It was interesting to see as I have only been in the "cheap seats" so far. While the rooms were lovely, I enjoy spending time outside of the cabin and also cruising more frequently so we will stick to the lower category cabins. We could not sit by the pool as all the chairs were away because of the wind. We spent some time in the cabin relaxing, reading, and writing until our magic show at 3pm. I have greatly enjoyed speaking to Joe Turner about magic so I was excited to see his act. It was a very fun show. He did a nice mix of card magic and slight of hand. He has a great personality and is very good with the patter. If you happen to be on cruise with him, don’t miss his show.
Later we both enjoyed our pre dinner drink in Avenue Saloon. My mom decided on some red wine this evening while I picked a Negroni since it is Italian night at Prego. The canapés were chicken wings and smoked salmon wraps. We did not have far to walk to go to our dinner once again this evening.
Prego is the Italian speciality restaurant. I have only dined here once before and was not the biggest fan but decided to give it another try since I felt my mom would enjoy some of their dishes. The service was a bit slow at first so I was a little worried but then it kicked in and was very lovely. I started with Lobster and Octopus, Carpaccio, and Shrimp Borsette and Grilled Prawn. My mother chose the Borsette, Caesar salad, and Cream of Mushroom soup minus the bread bowl. The lobster and octopus was delicious. I spoke to our server about the carpaccio. I found it to be overdressed on my previous visit. I feel it does not let the meat be the star. He said he would take care of that. The mustard sauce was much lighter when it was brought to the table and he added the rest of the ingredients to my specifications at the table. Perfection and goal achieved! I enjoyed it immensely this time. The Borsette was a new item for me. It is a light pasta stuffed with seafood. Very delicate and tasty. For my main course, I decided to try the roasted rack of lamb since it is a Prego Classic. I usually do not ever order lamb but I figured it was a good night to try something new. I really enjoyed how it is served with a black olive marmalade. My mother tried another classic, the lasagna and a side of the filet. She thought the filet was nice but raved about the lasagna. I am so glad she enjoyed it as she has sampled many different lasagnas. She said this was the best she has ever had. We were both full from dinner so we did a light fresh strawberry sorbet with Prosecco for dessert. It was a very light ending to a great meal. Prego redeemed itself in my eyes this trip.
After dinner, we went to Starlite for a few songs of “The Best of British: A True British Invasion.” We walked to the Galaxy a little early as we wanted to our usual seats for Steve Stevens. He is a very funny comedian who mixes comedy with music perfectly. He is another performer I would highly recommend.
My mom was feeling the motion so she decided to head to the cabin. I had some onboard credit to burn so I headed to the Avenue to treat myself to some Louis XIII. The bartender brought the bottle and special glass on a silver tray to the bar. He measured my half ounce pour with the accuracy of a pharmacist. I sat and gingerly took a sip savoring the amazing taste. Not soon after my first sip, a waiter with pizza asked if I would like a slice. I said no and turned to the bartender and I laughed. I said could you imagine if I ate a slice of pizza with this, holding my glass in one hand and pizza in the other? We both cracked up at the thought and enjoyed a laugh together. I wasn’t sure what to drink after that treat. He suggested Hennessy to compare. Well I learned there is no comparison. I enjoyed listening to the pianist but it was another low key evening with not much singing. I nursed that drink for a while and decided to get a ginger ale and take it back to the cabin. As I was heading back, I ran into some new friends in the Starlight who invited me back to Avenue. We set the clocks back tonight so I figured why not and sipped my ginger ale chatting with them. I finished up the last fifteen minutes of the movie from the previous night and then was rocked to sleep by some pretty active ocean.
Day 5 - Bermuda & Atlantic Ocean
We awoke to a very rainy day in Bermuda. It didn’t look to promising to go to the museum so I will save that for another trip. We had breakfast and both did a workout in the gym.
There was not much on the agenda since it was a port day. Due to the rain, they did add a movie in the Hollywood Theater but it did not sound too interesting to us. My mom suggested a cocktail before lunch since we didn’t have much to do. She had an espresso martini while I revisited the gin and tonic menu. I selected a grapefruit tarragon gin and tonic. It was my first gin and tonic of the cruise and I enjoyed that the tonic was on the side. After lunch, we did find two covered round loungers to watch the rain and read. Not the most exciting of day so far but still better than being at home to me.
We had our usual pre dinner cocktail in the Avenue saloon. Mom stuck with her gin martini and I went with a Negroni this time. The canapés of the day were eggplant and cheese, that was a pass for us, and the cutest and tiniest cheeseburger sliders. They are too adorable to pass up. We left the Avenue promptly at six thirty because we wanted to get seats at the sushi bar.
After the very short walk from Avenue to Umi Uma, we found the sushi bar empty and waiting for us. I was very excited to try this. My mom drank some diet ginger ale and tea as the motion of the ocean was already getting to her. I decided to have something I have never tried, sake. I didn’t know which to order, hot or cold and he suggested cold. It was very enjoyable and I would definitely order it again in the future. My mom stuck with cooked rolls although Chef Jamie did get her to try one piece of salmon. I ordered the Nobu Special, New Style Sashimi, Yellowtail scallion and House special roll. All were to die for especially the New Style Sashimi. That will go on my must have list for sure. The one chef also gave me some tamago to try. My mom ordered a lobster tempura and I shared it with her. I was feeling like one more thing but didn’t know if there was something I shouldn’t miss. Chef Jamie said he would make me something special. It was one with tuna, jalapeño mayo and a small amount of rice. The other was with smoked salmon. He also got my mom to try the smoked salmon. Both were delicious. There is no real name for these but Chef Jamie special so if you see him or his assistant see if you can get one. We just shared the cookies and did not order a dessert.
The boat was rocking pretty good so my mom wanted to go back to the cabin. I went to see Showband and Friends in the Starlite for a little bit. I wanted to go for a little walk so I walked around deck six before heading to Avenue for karaoke. It was a decent crowd for karaoke but seats were still available. The singers were good especially Steve Stevens who is the comedian on board. I did get up for one song, Folsom Prison Blues. I finished up my nightcap while talking to my friends from my first night in the Avenue. My mom was still up so we put on a movie, Swallow. It is a very strange movie about a woman with pica. I didn’t finish it because the rocking of the ship made me sleepy
Day 4 - Bermuda
All clear this morning to go ashore in Bermuda! I didn’t hear of any problems so I think everyone was negative. After breakfast, we decided to go for a stroll around the dockyard. We have both been to Bermuda a few times so we didn’t have plans to take bus, ferry or taxi to Hamilton or St George as it can be quite time consuming or expensive. It was very quiet around the shops. After perusing the shops, my mom decided to head back to the ship while I wanted to explore a little more and get some exercise. The National Museum looked interesting and I thought that could be a possibility tomorrow. I peeled into Snorkel Park and the new (to me) miniature golf. It looks to be a very interesting course designed after famous courses in Bermuda, Scotland and USA. No windmills or animal obstacles. My father would so approve. I checked the hours and discovered that wouldn’t be an option since they do not open on Monday or Tuesday. Other then the addition of mini golf and an escape room, I did not see many changes from previous visits to Bermuda.
I met back up with my mother for some lunch in the Marketplace. It was warm and sunny so that means some pool time for me. I found a nice round lounger in the shade and was one of the few people outside. I worked on the blog, had a snack of some French fries, relaxed and even napped for a bit. It was so enjoyable doing nothing.
We had our pre dinner cocktail in the Avenue, gin martini for mom and a Negroni for myself. I wanted to prep my stomach of the culinary delights of Umi Uma. The canapés tonight were a goat cheese and a falafel with beet root hummus. We both passed on the cheese but tried the falafel. Before we knew it, it was Umi time!!
Umi Uma is one of my favorite restaurants ever. I hoped my mom would enjoy it too. I had one glass of Nobu Chardonnay. I’ll say one glass because it never emptied. My mom had a Pinot Noir. I started with the Nobu special which I’ve been dreaming about. I am not sashimi fan typically but this is next level. It was as delicious as I remembered. My other starters were lobster tacos, lobster tempura, and mushroom salad. All were perfection. My mom tried the soft shelled crab roll, soft shelled crab spring roll, lobster tempura, and green salad. For our mains, we both chose the Wagyu beef and decided to share a Nobu style Black Cod since I’ve read so much about this dish. While the cod was good, we both preferred the beef. I love all the sauces that accompany the steak. For dessert, my mom ordered the tapioca soup and loved it. I felt I would be good with just a sesame cookie but decided to have a fruit plate as well. The sorbet was very refreshing although the selection of fruit at Silk is probably the best on the ship in my opinion.
After dinner, we headed up to Palm Court to listen to The Two of Us Duo play their tribute to the Beatles. I had read some mixed reviews on this where some did not care for their arrangements. They did the songs we heard at a much slower tempo, for example, Baby You Can Drive My Car was a very slow, sexy style. My mom didn’t care for it. My dad is a huge Beatles fan and he thinks it is more about the lyrics. I lean with my dad and enjoyed their takes on the songs. I met up with Petar who is a server who remembered my husband and I from our 2019 Thanksgiving cruise where he made us every Manhattan on the menu. He makes excellent drink recommendations and is very knowledgeable. I told him we just had a big dinner and I would like something to digest and settle the stomach. He recommended Amara on the rocks. He described it as similar to Fernet but smoother. It was perfect to sip on listening to the music. My mom felt cold so he made her a hot toddy to sip on which she enjoyed.
The show tonight was Icons in Concert. It was supposed to be later in the cruise but they moved it because we are possibly hitting rough seas on the way home. We both enjoyed the show as it is high energy with recognizable hits from different decades. My mom cracked me up when she said Karma Chameleon was “so old.” Way to make me feel old!
We headed over to Avenue to hear a few songs before bed. It was pretty quiet in there again tonight. I am not sure I am a big fan of Charlie James. He is not super engaging with the audience and his songs are not real upbeat. He did a little Paul Simon set by request and did get some interaction when he played Call Me Al. Some ladies I had met came in and I went to sit with them after my mother left. I told them I had to be on very good behavior as I was almost kicked out the night before for talking. The one lady (who was not with me the night before) said she was kicked out of Palm Court tonight for talking! Maybe it was the same fun police? We had a chuckle and she said she wasn’t a fan of this pianist. We left fairly soon as some of the group had early tours today. The forecast does not look good for tomorrow but a bad weather day on a ship beats a sunny day at home to me anyway!
We love to travel and experience new places and cultures.