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Old April 27th, 2011, 05:23 AM
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- A Day At Sea - Apr.26 ‘11 -
After sleeping very well, I woke at 8 A.M. My suite is perfectly suited to walk up only one flight of stairs to Deck 11, and the Lido Café. I have only one issue, there’s no place I’ve seen where I can just pick up a self-serve cup of coffee.

If you sit down, there are staff there immediately to get you whatever you’d like for breakfast. However, I am most often a bear in the morning, and the thing I really want is to just grab a coffee, without having to think or talk first.

I took my breakfast outdoors to an empty and slightly cool pool-side deck, with no one else there. However, I enjoy it out there in the pleasant setting, and the fresh air helps me to gain consciousness.

With few passengers out in that area, there was also no one to service the area, so still no cup of coffee. I walked back through the Trident Grill area, where no coffee was available yet, then I spotted one of my new found crew friends, Jon Jon, and requested a cup of coffee be delivered to mepool-side. He brought it happily and quickly, but now what am I going to do for my next two cups?

The Reflections daily stated late riser’s breakfast (coffee and Danish) would be served closer to the pool, at the Trident Grill, beginning at 9 A.M. I tried there at 9:15, but no coffee or Danish were available yet.

One small self serve coffee machine would be so simple, and so convenient. While I’m sure Crystal passengers appreciate being waited on. I can’t believe that most of them didn’t “get to where they are” waiting to have everything done for them. Many, like me, would also likely enjoy being able to simply fill a cup of coffee on their way by.

Speaking of the daily “Reflections”. It is really well laid out, very readable, with a bit of advertising, but also some very informative articles on the lecturers, staff and crew, along with a complete breakdown of the scheduled events for the day and evening.

What’s truly impressed me of I have received NO Ship Spam in my cabin at all yet! It’s my pet peeve, and Crystal apparently does it the way it should be done by every cruise line.

This afternoon, those of us booked into the Crystal golf package attended a private clinic with golf professional Shannon Kneisler. Unlike a lesson one might expect from a “regular” golf lesson, today’s session was a bit “Zen” like; explaining that golfers need to feel their club with the all the nerve endings in your hands, and appreciate the club. She explained that one of the biggest problems for amateur golfers is gripping the club too tightly, and swinging from the shoulders, rather than allowing the design of the golf club to do what it does easily and efficiently.

The “homework” , if you will, for today, was to go practice what she refers to as the “set and sink” swing, with your hands, in front of a mirror, with no golf club in hand.

Though not scheduled to be at today’s clinic, Ken Venturi did stop by. He gave us one tip, and as simple as it was, I hadn’t heard it before, and it strikes me that it should be very effective.

He told us “as you are setting up, place your right hand behind your back, and then just slide it to the club you’re holding with your left hand”. This, Mr. Venturi says will give you the perfect set up position.

While on the topic of golf, but having nothing really to do with golf (that makes sense doesn’t it?). Yesterday afternoon I had a nap, when I woke up and proceeded to shower, I noticed a ring I wear on my pinky finger had slipped off. I checked the bed, underneath the bed, and then the entire cabin, but couldn’t find it.

A bit of panic set in, not because it was valuable, but because it has sentimental value, as I had purchased it in the Grand Bazaar during a visit to Istanbul.

I thought perhaps this was part of the hex I endure when I cruise without Mrs. Kuki. As everyone who reads my musings regularly knows, things just happen to me when I travel without Mrs. Kuki that make me appear incapable of being without her.

Today I went by the guest relations desk (on Crystal it’s simply referred to as the Reception Desk) to check if perhaps someone had found it on deck and turned it. Nothing had been turned in, but guest relations suggested security come by and check the suite, as they’re better trained for thorough searches.

The Chief of Security, Saniv Kumar, and an assistant came by immediately and searched the entire cabin very thoroughly; checking everywhere, without success. I thanked them, and apologized for bothering them. Then my last hope popped into my head.

Earlier yesterday the shore tour manager asked us to call, and an attendant would come by the cabin’s of those participating and collect everyone’s golf clubs for storage. I told Mr. Kumar, that I had been preparing the golf bag for pick up, and that was the last place I could possibly think of the ring slipping off.

After about 10 minutes, the security team returned with my ring in hand. Their service was very efficient, professional, and quick. While I felt bad I was wasting their time, they certainly made me a happy passenger when they found and returned the ring, so it wasn’t wasted time after-all.

Now, while they were in searching my suite for the ring, the door to the hallway was left open. So, anyone passing in the hallway would have peaked in, seeing me sitting in a chair looking very forlorn, while security was tearing apart the suite. So, tonight I’m starting a rumor that an infamous international jewel thief had been discovered onboard, and led through the hallways to the brig in handcuffs.

It’ll be fun to see how quickly the story of criminal intrigue on Crystal reaches the world wide web, and the various cruise message boards, and which media outlet runs with the story first.

Several enrichment lectures took place today, with the first beginning at 10 A.M. with retired journalist, Dan Thomasson, who had covered Washington, D.C. and the Whitehouse, during the Nixon years. The topic today was “How Watergate Changed the Ethics of Politics”. I found the topic extremely interesting so I did sit in, as did a fairly large crowd considering the early hour.

Later in the day Voice-Over Coach Alice Whitfield delivered a lecture, as did Howard Parkin, who’s topic was “the exploration of the solar system from Ancient Greece to Apollo“.

As well as the lectures, during the day there was Team Trivia, Bridge, Needlepoint instruction, Crystal University at Sea; on basics of digital photo finishing, complimentary dance classes, a class on scrap booking, table tennis, a Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament… and all of this before afternoon tea time at 3 P.M.

All of this seems to indicate Crystal passengers are quite cerebral.

Certainly it was a day that one could run from one event to another continuously. A full schedule of possibilities with some activity or lecture surely appealing enough for any tastes.

And did I mention the outstanding Grilled Rueben sandwich I had for lunch today from the Trident Grill. I’m really deeply in love with the French Fries they use on the ship; golden, crispy, and always fresh.

The Lido Café featured an Asian buffet, including fresh sushi, Chinese and Thai food, that all looked fantastic as well.

While sitting pool-side this afternoon I got to witness the sweetest moment. A gentleman seated on a motorized scooter, went whipping by me at high speed. His wife was standing in front of him (between the seat and the handlebars) as they zipped across the teak decking in front of me. Sadly, I couldn’t grab my camera fast enough, but the scene put a huge smile on my face. As odd as it looked, I thought it was delightful moment between the two of them.

A few minutes later, an elderly couple was walking nearby, and they stopped to watch as the water in the pool splashed against the pool walls on each side, creating a burst of overflow as it reached each end of the pool. The female in the couple turned to her husband and said : “Crystal makes it do that”… as if intentionally done to provide entertainment. Cute!

Those who had read my Virtual Cruise from the Sapphire Princess Hawaii cruise in March will remember the difficulities I talked about with internet connections, to post my daily reports and pictures.

I have to say, at least to this point, there's no such problem from the Symphony. My Wi-Fi connection has been available, and reasonably fast for being on a ship at sea.

Last edited by Kuki; April 27th, 2011 at 05:48 AM.
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