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Old May 3rd, 2011, 05:42 PM
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Default A Midday Report

Day at Sea - May 3 ‘11
Yesterday afternoon we sailed from Hawaii, to begin the cruise back to the United States.

The seas got quite choppy almost as soon we hit open water, and the Captain reported we’d be sailing into a 45 MPH wind for at least two days.

While visiting the islands, and participating in the golf program I have met a “real character”. They may call me “Kuki”, but all I can say is she is “KUKIEST”. Let me only say that anyone who has met her during the cruise, has a story about her; a very unique “character” who certainly marches to the beat of her own drummer.

Today, the open decks were closed to passenger use; the deck furniture piled up and tied down. I thought this might be a good time to tell you about the ship.

She in superb condition, with the exception of the heavily traveled area near the photo gallery, where carpeting is showing considerable wear.
The Symphony has a rather unique smoking policy. As a smoker, I enjoy the fact there are several lounges with a small smoking section, as well as the Connoisseur Club (the ships cigar bar, where pipe smoking is allowed).
Cigarette smoking is allowed in guest cabins, but is banned from cabin balconies. The Starlight Club, the large open lounge on Deck 6 is designated totally non-smoking.

Smoking is allowed in the Avenue Saloon, the Luxe Night Club, the Casino, and somewhat surprisingly in the more open space area of the Crystal Cove, which is near the Reception Desk, in the lobby area, outside of the Crystal Dining Room.

On deck, the port side of the ship, on Lido Deck, by the outdoor pool also has an area where smoking is allowed.

The Crystal passengers seem to be accepting of these smoking policies, with smokers remaining satisfied to stay in areas designated for their habit, and non smokers generally accepting the fact they have non-smoking areas to use.

With the way things are now, with it being more acceptable these days for people to be militantly anti-smoking, I am surprised I’ve seen no incidents of clashes over the issue.

Perhaps it’s because of the older demographic, with the Symphony carrying many passengers who grew up with cigarette smoking being more common place. That’s the only thing I can think of.

While the ship’s interior is quite beautiful, the décor is indeed very low key. There’s no multi-million dollar art collections onboard, as is the case of many ships onboard. The furnishings are all rich, and of obvious quality, and in many ways simply set a tone of comfort and elegance.

One thing which surprised me is the presence of ship’s photographers. And they are just as aggressive, trying to get passengers to pose, as they are on the mass market ships. I hate it when photographers interrupt dinner to take pictures of couples, table groups, etc. I am a bit surprised that Crystal allows these disturbances during dinner.

The real key to the success of this ship is it’s staff and crew. The warmth they project, almost to a man, makes every guest feel like a king or queen. If it’s forced, it certainly isn’t obvious. Each time I pass through the Lido Café, or sit out on deck by the pool, every crew member yells out Sir Kuki, with a huge smile on their faces, and an offer to get me something.

The dining room servers for our table, are quite smooth, and the service is good. However, our waiter, though basically proficient, is on his final contract with Crystal Cruise Line, and in small ways, it’s obvious his mind has already left. There’s nothing particular, or dramatic, in his actions that makes me say that. Rather it’s his lack of attention to the small details, that display his mind set.

For example, it’s mid way through the cruise, and every time he serves a course, he offers me pepper from the pepper mill. He’s doing his job, but if he was paying attention to his job, he’s have noticed I’ve never used pepper on any dish, and in fact had mentioned to him the first night, when offered pepper, that I never use pepper.

On the other hand, his assistant waiter is excellent, and seems to do his job flawlessly.

Every night the Assistant Maitre ‘d does stop by the table for a visit. He always approaches with a big smile on his face, is very social, and each and every night reminds us if there anything special we’d like, to just tell him.

My suite attendants, including the butler, do excellent work. They seem to have picked up “my style” and how I like things immediately. Though, I have discovered that I was wrong in a an earlier posting, when I said they don’t leave mints or chocolates on your pillow during turn down service. Apparently it’s just me who doesn’t get chocolates on my pillow. I personally don’t care, but didn’t want to supply misinformation.
At noon today is a Gala Lunch Buffet being held on the lobby area. I’m heading there now, just to take pictures for you <wink>. I’ll be back later today with pictures.
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