Today is another "sea day" since even though we will dock in Bermuda tonight, we will not be permitted off the ship until tomorrow morning. They will clear us after they process all our test results.
Breakfast was the usual, Marketplace, then afterwards I hit the treadmill. It was later then yesterday so it was a little more crowded but still plenty of room and machines. I met up with my mom in the casino and we stayed there until lunch.
Lunch was the Asian themed buffet in Waterside. It is one of my favorites. Everything was so tasty and there were so many delights to choose from. I sampled summer roll, cucumber salad, crab avocado, the hottest (temperature not spice) vegetable spring roll and sushi. We both thoroughly enjoyed our lunches.
After our bigger lunch, some relaxing by the pool was in order. There was some live music to enjoy as we enjoyed a cocktail. I decided to brave the waters of the pool and found it colder than I expected. After a few minutes though it felt so refreshing that I didn’t rush out. I enjoyed a lovely conversation with a couple who were on their first Crystal cruise. I sat in the sun for just a little bit to warm up then found a nice shady lounger to relax on. Crystal has the best seating by the pool since there are many different types of seats to choose from.
My mom was sad there was no football available on the television. She inquired at guest services and they said they would speak to the communication manager to see if it could happen. They made it happen! She was happy to see any football as she is a big fan although the Eagles is her team. One more example of Crystal aiming to please!
We had a pre-dinner drink at the Cove tonight. We chatted with a couple at the end of the bar while we enjoyed our martinis. Later, an older man came over to say he would be sitting right over there if we needed anything. He then proceeded to rub my back kind of strangely so I asked him if he was checking to see if I was wearing a bra. He was momentarily stunned but then said he wasn’t wearing a bra but he was wearing his jockstrap. A very unusual interaction but it gave us a laugh and a story. The magician sat on the other side of the bar and I chatted him up quite a bit about magic as my husband is an avid magic enthusiast. I am looking forward to his show. We saw another couple we had chatted with on the first day and said hello. This gentleman commented how he saw the back rub interaction and how strange it seemed. Nice to know he was keeping an eye on me and had my back although I felt fine and able to handle it. Mr. Jockstrap reminded me of some of the older guys I encounter at ballroom dances so I had no problem calling him on his moves.
Dinner was in SIlk this evening and we had a stunning view of the evening sky over the dockyard. We started with the signature cocktail and although pretty, it is too sweet for both of our palates. Silk is a family style restaurant so I ordered for the two of us. Dim sum (minus the duck), crispy prawn, and spring roll were our starters. For mains, sea bass, snow crab clay pot vermicelli, and Chinese vegetables.
I recognized one of the servers from my previous Symphony cruises. Veronica and I had shared a few laughs with Gustav so I asked if he remembered. I reminded him of the inside joke we shared throughout the Hawaii cruise. He said that he did not remember and it was his brother who is on Serenity. I am a very trusting person so I believed his tale. Later, he pops over to say of course he remembered me and Veronica. He also said he would have enjoyed us more but we were around a certain Ukrainian too much. I never used Veronica's name so he did remember! He messed with me so bad and that’s why Veronica liked him so much. I should have known. I enjoyed the sea bass but my mom wasn’t so much a fan. My mom tried the beef though and thought it was very good. Excellent service...except for Gustav. He’s mean. Haha haha.
Next we attended two shows. First, was Rock Pop show in Starlight with the singers and dancers. High energy and fun. In the main theater was comedian, Steve Stevens. It was a very funny and entertaining show. Mom was tired so she went back to the cabin but I wanted to check out the music under the Bermuda stars on the pool deck.
I spoke with a woman whose clothes I had been admiring every day. She wears the most amazing vintage ensembles. We spoke about them and her love of cruising. She was been on a few Crystal sailings this year. She mentioned missing the dance hosts. We talked about ballroom and I asked her if she’d like to dance with me since I have been learning the lead part. We enjoyed a few dances and another lady cut in to dance with me. I also enjoyed a rumba with the magician who was on deck for the party as well.
The night was so fun I decided to pop down to Avenue for a nightcap. I ordered a Manhattan at the bar and decided to move closer to the pianist since there were so few people in the room. I recognized a member of the group sitting nearby since I spoke with him earlier at the pool. He is onboard as part of the enrichment. The group invited me to join them. The comedian was also sitting with them so I joined thinking this could be pretty fun, and it was. However it was a short lived experience. There had been only one couple in the room besides this group I was sitting with. The woman from that group proceeded to come over to state they could not hear the pianist. Basically, she wanted us to not talk. We were dumbfounded. I don’t feel the Avenue is the "quiet place" in the late evenings and in fact it can be pretty loud. Understandably, the comedian high tailed it out of there. It was awkward. The rest of the group stayed for only another moment because we didn’t want to stay there with them. The other bars were closed so we decided to grab drinks from our cabins and meet on deck 8 aft. The crew was having fun below with music. We went up to the the tables outside of Marketplace to enjoy our drinks. It was very enjoyable and we salvaged some fun. I still can’t believe that this woman approached us and if she thinks people shouldn’t talk in Avenue then she was in the wrong place. It’s not a “show” it is a piano type bar. What will she do if people are singing in there tonight??
We lost one hour with the time change last night so we were up early. I went to the Bistro to get us both coffee to enjoy in the cabin. Afterwards, we went to the buffet for some breakfast. We both went for some exercise albeit separately as I went to the gym, and mom walked inside. The seas are still fairly choppy so it made using the treadmill a bit more challenging. The gym is very nice for the size of the ship and really nice now with the amount of passengers on board which is under 200.
I met back up for lunch with mom at Marketplace, which is the buffet. We both had a lighter lunch of salads as we knew tonight would be a great dinner. Although a little windy, the air was quite warm so we found nice loungers by the pool to relax and read. The pool was closed due to the seas and the live music by the pool did not happen. I decided to have one of my favorite cocktails, Gin and Jam, while I relaxed waiting for my final PCR test scheduled this week. I was slightly apprehensive as I have never experienced the “brain tickling” one as others have called it. My mom had some delicious ginger tea while she relaxed as she can be prone to sea sickness although she has been doing great with the seas so far.
The testing commenced promptly at two. We were group three and surprised how quickly we were called to go to the Hollywood Theater. The testing process was very organized and moved quickly. It was no big deal, very quick, and painless. I should not have worried at all.
Since we were right next to the casino we decided to visit before getting ready for dinner then we both showered and changed for dinner. Tonight, we enjoyed our pre-dinner beverage at Avenue Saloon. My mom ordered her usual gin martini while I chose a Negroni to prep my system for a dinner. The canapés tonight consisted of blue cheese as well as pigs in a blanket. We still had some time before dinner so I tried the drink of the day Italicus Sour. I was not familiar with Italicus so I was intrigued to try it. It is a very floral liqueur. The drink was tasty although for me on the sweeter side so I think better for afternoon or maybe after dinner.
Tonight is typically one of the best menus in Waterside so we were one of the first in the dining room even though it had been open for a few minutes. We asked to sit in Hana’s section again since she was a delight. Although there was not fresh lobster on the menu, it did not disappoint us. I started with the caviar, Captain’s salad, and essence of oxtail soup. My mother chose Oysters Rockefeller, Captain’s salad, and mushroom soup. For our mains we each ordered the tiger prawns and decided to share a tenderloin to make it a surf and turf. The prawns were huge and the steak was cooked to perfection and very tender. Fantastic! I ordered a dessert that was coffee panna cotta with meringue and bits of cake. It was supposed to be topped with ice cream but I asked for that to be left off. It was a nice little bite to have with my coffee.
Tonight’s show is the Broadway one which I have seen previously and my mother is not a huge fan of the musical genre so we skipped. Instead we listened to some live music in the Starlite Club and had an after dinner favorite, a stinger. Walking back to the cabin, we stopped to see the White Party starting. We stayed on the deck above and listened to six or seven songs. It was fun watching a little dancing and seeing people having fun. The observers though seemed to clear out a little after ten which made my mom laugh. We both went to bed after that to prepare for another sea day tomorrow.
Today is the start of another mother and daughter trip! If you followed along on the mother daughter Hawaii adventure this one is a little different as this time I am the daughter.
My wonderful husband drove us to the pier in NYC. Our arrival time was supposed to be 4:00 PM but that didn’t give us much of a buffer so we planned to arrive around 3:00 instead. The terminal was like a ghost town with more workers than passengers. There are a fair amount of steps to complete for the COVID protocols but I knew it would be worth it in the end. We got registered and were given an antigen test. The wait from start to finish was about thirty minutes and we were on the ship and by 3:45 we were unpacking our suitcases in our cabin.
We had some time for a cocktail before muster and we enjoyed a socially distant chat with a delightful couple at the end of the bar in the cove. After the lifeboat drill, we made our way to Palm Court to hear Louis sing and watch us sail down the Hudson.
We both enjoyed a pre dinner martini. My mom requested extra olives and our waiter more than complied. Mom is enjoying the service so far for sure! The evening view was spectacular. If you have never cruised out of New York, I feel it is an experience not to be missed.
We headed to Waterside for dinner at 6:45 and is was fairly empty and nicely distanced. For dinner, I had the halibut ceviche, beef consommé and redfish. The redfish was spectacular. My mom chose the mozzarella cream, clam chowder, and sirloin steak. She said it was the most tender sirloin ever. For dessert we both had mixed berries.
Our server was Hana from Ukraine. I told her it was my mother’s first Crystal cruise. Hana said she will be “crystallized” by tonight. I wonder if she reads cruise critic as I haven’t her anyone use that term except on that site. I missed my favorite waiter and if you have read previous blogs, you will know it is Viktor, who is also from the Ukraine. I think it is another sign this will be a great cruise.
We stopped by the casino for a bit before the show. The show was great and afterwards we went to the Avenue and enjoyed a nightcap of a stinger while listening to great piano music. It wasn’t very crowded in there so we stayed for a bit. When we returned to the room we were surprised to see 2 gifts on the bed in celebration of Crystal Cruise's 30th Anniversary. The pin and wine stopper were such a nice touch! It was almost midnight before I let the rolling waves put me to sleep. It feels nice to be home!
We woke early to dress, pack last minute things and have breakfast. Since Viktor asked if we would be at breakfast, we broke our habit of buffet breakfast and went to Waterside. Last breakfast is such a sad occasion. We still kept a light breakfast against Viktor’s recommendation since we were traveling. After our last meal, we said our goodbyes that I hope are really “see you laters.”
We returned to the cabin to grab our bags so Julia, our fantastic steward could prepare our cabin for the next guests. There was still some time so we made ourselves comfortable in the Cove for a bit. When it was time for our disembarkation, we were quickly off the ship and found our bags easily. It was a very painless disembarkation since we had already cleared customs yesterday in Key West.
It was easy to get a cab and we were soon at the airport. The line for security was huge but thanks to TSA precheck, we were through in mere minutes. The airport was busy as this is one of the busiest travel days of the year. We had about three hours to kill at the airport since we were there early. Sitting at the gate, I recognized a pharmacist I used to work with and went over to say hello. It was great catching up with her and it helped pass the time. The plane started boarding but after group 3, an announcement was made that boarding would stop. The passengers who boarded would be coming back off the plane. Apparently, we were delayed due to congestion in Philadelphia. We had heard the weather might be bad in the area as well so we were worried that might be another factor. Eventually, we boarded the plane over an hour late. After boarding, we did have to sit on the plane for a bit as well waiting to leave. Never fun, especially with a few unhappy passengers including a very upset baby who in turn made his parents quite unhappy as well. It wasn’t the type of in-flight entertainment I was hoping to enjoy. The flight was very turbulent and the seatbelt sign was lit almost the entire flight. We seemed close to Philadelphia but a look at the screen showed a very convoluted flight path. Finally, we landed safe and sound. It wasn’t too long to get our bags and a shuttle to our car. After arriving at our car, Chris noticed that although we had just enough range to get hoe we should stop and charge. The cold and sentry mode had drained a good chunk of the Tesla’s charge. No worries as there is a Supercharger at Wawa on our way home and we were both hungry so a hoagie sounded perfect. By the time we ate our sandwiches, the car had more than enough juice to get us home. That was a valuable lesson learned. Since we were gone for 8 days we will be sure to either turn off sentry mode in the future or park at a lot where we can plug in while we are gone. Let us know if you want to learn more about the Tesla life and use this referral to get 1,000 miles of free supercharging when you purchase a new Tesla. https://www.tesla.com/referral/chris17891
We awoke to the sounds of the ship docking and knew we should start getting ready for immigration. Since this was our first port back in the USA, we had to go to a face to face immigration. We were in group two so we figured it would take a little while. As we were dressing, they called group two. Very quickly, we finished dressing and went to the Galaxy Lounge where we did not wait in line long at all. After immigration, we headed to Marketplace for coffee and a light breakfast.
We left the ship around 8:30. There was a complimentary trolley that took us into the center of town. We walked to the Hemingway House and a tour was starting about five minutes after we purchased our tickets. The tour guide was delightfully enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of Hemingway, I still think you would enjoy the tour. The house and grounds are beautiful and the history is interesting. Of course, the stars are the 59 cats who reside there. They are all named for famous actors it seems. We saw one cat curled up sound asleep on the master bed. Out by the pool, near Hemingway’s last cent, we saw Marilyn Monroe sunbathing. His writing loft looks ready for him to sit at the typewriter. After the tour, we proceeded down the street to the Southernmost Point landmark. The line was pretty long but we managed to get some cool photos without waiting with some speed and creativity.
It was still pretty early in the day so we walked over to Duvall Street. The temperature was fairly warm and we forgot to bring water from the ship so we stopped in to Walgreens to buy some. Our favorite bartender, Petar mentioned his love of Doritos and Cheetos so I saw them and had to buy him some as a treat. He had been crafting us fine Manhattans every night so he deserved this small token.
Back on board, we returned to our cabin to find a terrible sight, our suitcases on the bed. I decided we should do some packing before we go relax. We packed most of our stuff and then changed our clothes and headed poolside for lunch and relaxation. Lunch was light in Marketplace as many were still ashore. We both made a salad lunch and saw our pal, Viktor. We told him we would be dining tonight in Waterside. After lunch, it was to the couches under an umbrella to read, write and relax. It started getting sunnier so we moved to our favorite round chairs in the shade. We had a quick dip in the pool to cool off. After the swim, I wanted to try the drink of the day, the Key Lime Martini. I saw Alan wave at me from across the deck and I waved back. He came over and before I could order, he asked if we were ready for a Key Lime Martini. He’s the best! The drink was a nice substitute for not getting the pie when we went ashore. It had a graham cracker rim and was made with coconut milk to make it creamy. So refreshing! A nice dessert. We relaxed, read and napped until Chris went to hit some golf balls. I stayed at the chair a little longer soaking in my last day.
The last day went by quickly and it was time to shower and dress for dinner. We went to our usual spot, Avenue Saloon to finish out the Manhattan Mission. We brought Petar his treat and he gave us the biggest smile. It seemed to surprise him which made the little treat even better! I ended with the Reposado which is made with tequila. It was very good with orange and chocolate flavors yet not sweet. Chris had the Rob Roy which according to Petar was the first one of the cruise. The Rob Roy was made with scotch but I did not find it to be a very strong scotch. I am not a fan of scotch and I could drink this one but with so many other choices, it would not be my first pick. The snacks were crudités and arancini. We had a great start to the evening with nice drinks and good conversations with fellow passengers.
Chris had made a special order the previous evening for Chateaubriand so we were both anxious to go to dinner. As we barely walked into Waterside, Remy the maitre’d recognized us and knew to seat us with Viktor. We started dinner with one of our favorites, Beef Crudo. It is horseradish, mashed potatoes and Wagyu beef in a jar filled with smoke. It is opened by the waiter and a small wisp of smoke comes out that fills your nostrils with a delightful aroma. The beef is deliciously tender and potatoes are so creamy. Our next course was lobster and mushroom strudel. I really enjoyed this as well. Dinner was our special order of Chateaubriand. It was cooked perfectly. The sauce that came with it was outstanding. For dessert, we both ordered the Key Lime mousse. It was a modern twist of a classic with a band of marshmallows around it. We both really enjoyed it. It was the perfect last dinner aboard Symphony. Always a bittersweet day, we took a photo with Viktor and said our farewells. Although he asked if we would be at breakfast. We typically do not eat in Waterside for breakfast but quickly decided we would tomorrow.
The Crystal Quartet was finishing up their set but we did manage to dance a few songs. We skipped the show tonight which for 5-6-7-8, a production style show. During the break of music, we went back to Avenue. We had a Jaggermeister chilled to settle our stomachs from the meal. The pianist played a few songs but soon it was his break as well. The dim lights of the bar started to make someone drowsy. I suggested to go back to Starlite to dance but instead we returned to the cabin to get our bags outside. The comfortable bed drew us in and we finished up the lecture I’d been falling asleep to for a few nights now. It was an interesting lecture about Titanic but he has a very soothing voice. I went to sleep thinking this cruise went by too fast!