Crystal Serenity Canal Cruise-Day 1

Crystal Serenity 11/29/09
Embarkation-Port of Miami

Bruce @ Naples Chauffeur picked me up around 9:30 am; & we were off. I was finally free of the madness. It was a pleasant ride, chatting w/ Bruce & getting to know him better. I’m going to like dealing w/ his company more than I did w/ Unltd. Airport Rides. The price is much better too.

We arrived at Pier J at the Port of Miami at 11:50. There were only a few people; & they were already letting passengers onboard. I dropped off my carry on bag in the lobby for safekeeping (cabins wouldn’t be ready til about 2). I proceeded to the main D.R. where I had a beautiful lunch at a window table by myself. I recognized quite a few waiters from previous cruises. I was served by Tamas (Budapest, Hungary) & his asst., Renaldo (Santiago, Chile). I started w/ a chilled seafood plate which consisted of a tiny crab claw; a huge shrimp; a scoop of delicious spicy lobster salad; some baby shrimps; all on a bed of wild greens w/ pretty dollops of aioli sauce. As always the presentation is beautiful. My main course was cobb salad; & I was surprised & delighted to find lychee sherbet on the menu for dessert. The only place onboard that you usually see this is up in the Silk Road Restaurant (Nobu Matsuhisa’s alternative Oriental restaurant). I had a double scoop. The champagne was flowing freely; but you know me, never touch the stuff.

To kill some time before the cabin was ready, I went up on the Lido to say hello to the deck stewards. First person I saw was Benjamin, God bless his soul. I think he’ll meet his maker while serving onboard this ship. I went to the Compt. Ctr. to have this new laptop reconfigured for their wireless service. I’ve discovered a wireless router booster “cone” right outside my cabin door, which hopefully will make the internet a little faster than dial up….. Then I went to the D.R. Mgr. to tell him that I might be eating some meals in my cabin. He’s arranging for the dinner menu to be delivered to my cabin the night before so I can make decisions & order accordingly. Although I thought I was booked for first seating dining, he tells me I’m down for late (which is fine). He also told me I’m assigned to the Chief Engineer’s table. That would be a good thing if I were a drinker. Free booze at an officer’s table. And this privilege might cause me to come out of “hibernation” & get to the D.R. more often.

By now the cabins were ready; my luggage was already on the bed. I started unpacking & getting my nest made. Boy, I brought a lot of stuff. I heard so many ship’s horns as they were announcing their departure. I saw 2 Carnival ships, 1 NCL ship & 1 RCCL ship. Maybe more at other piers further away. We didn’t sail til 9 pm; so everyone else was gone by 6. I forced myself to go to the D.R. tonight since I had to go to lifeboat drill at 8 anyway. Dinner started at 8:30. My table is a large oval 8 top smack dab in the middle of the D.R. I have 2 elderly couples at my table, Leonard & Pearl from Montreal & Seymour & Harriett from Boynton Beach. There is an older single lady named Joan from Albany, NY. And last, but not least, a nice looking 50? guy named Ren; who believe it or not has a condo on Third St, in Naples! He only spends a few days at a time down here about 6 times a year. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like him; but he turned out okay. (Maybe I’ll rethink having dinner in my cabin.)

For dinner I had a fabulous creamy king crab bisque w/ brie; followed by a sirloin steak (a little tough but nice & rare). It was accompanied by some very tasty grilled zucchini & a small pastry bowl filled w/. very spicy baked beans. I wanted the chocolate ooze cake for dessert; but was disappointed since it didn’t have any “ooze” inside it. Just chocolate drizzled on top of it. I only had a few bites.

We finished a little after 10; & I headed “home”. When I returned, I found tomorrow’s menus to pour over. When they tell you they’re gonna do something Crystal delivers. No disappointments; I like that. I knew I would sleep better if I got a quick shower. Now, I can barely keep my eyes open. It’s almost 11:30; & I’m calling it a night. It was a good day.