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Old May 18th, 2009, 04:04 PM
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Paul Motter Paul Motter is offline
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Yesterday we landed in Aruba. It was Sunday and almost everything was closed, except for a few hours in the morning. It doesn’t make much sense to shop in Aruba when you are going to St Martin next. I have to say this cruise has far more days at sea than I prefer. 11 days into this cruise with nine days at sea and only two ports of call so far, both of them somewhat disappointing, I have to say this cruise line is more for people who are not as destination oriented as I am, but I am more than most people.

This morning we had the NFL panel with Don Shula, referee Jim Tunney, another NFL coach Marty Shottenheimer (San Diego Chargers) and former quarterback Earl Morrall. This is a good thing about Crystal – they have a lot of influential friends. I had a chance to talk to Cruise Director Rick Spath at dinner a few nights ago (more on him later), and he told me Crystal spares no expense when it comes to onoard lectureres and destination experts. He said that all he has to do is pick up the phone and Crystal will fly an expert to him anytime he feels they need one.

That is a very good thing. But what is odd on this particular cruise is that the strong support for the destiunations is not exactly reflected in the shore tours. As I said, I was pretty disappointed with my Costa Rica tour, and I never heard back from shorex about my complaint. The Panama Canal expert was very good, however.

Anyway – we have four NFL pros onboard, and my gut tells me they got a good deal on this cruise in exchange for speaking onboard. Rick introduced Don Shula as a “good friend of Crystal.” There is nothing wrong with that, in fact it is a great thing for the guests onboard.

Today we had a fantastic lunch buffet. We had all the lobster tails we could eat. There were towers of shrimp, prime rib, amazing desserts, salads, breads. Just sparing no expense. Today we have invited some new friends over to our stateroom for appetizers. We plan on servinf more caviar (I love caviar), red wine, chocolate covered strawberries, etc.

We ate in Nobu a few nights ago. Crystal is owned by Japanese shipping goliath NYK shipping. They generally have a few Asians on most cruises, and Nobu is one of the most renowned Japanese chefs in the world. Onboard, the restaurant has a sushi bar that I heard is next to impossible to get into when there are a number of Asians onboard. Such is the quality that those who really know good sushi love Nobu.

I had the best black cod and absolutely some of the most tender beef I have ever had in my life. No, it isn’t certified Kobe beef (but neither is much of what is sold as Kobe beef in the U.S.) but it is very good, even excellent, beef. We also had terriyaki, tempura and special sashimi with unique sauces created by Nobu himself. It os said the chef comes aboard the ship at least a few times every year.

The other specialty restaurant is Prego, an Italian restaurant. We will be trying that tomorrow.
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