Crystal Serenity Canal Cruise-Day 21

Crystal Serenity-12/19/09
Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands

Periodically throughout the night, the rocking would become more pronounced. Not that I minded, of course; but it made me wonder if we were heading into the front that was causing the unstable weather in south FL. If that’s the case, then my sinuses are going to rebel sooner rather than later. It must have been 2am (new time) before I finally went to sleep. Awake a little after 9. The weekly crew emergency drill was at 10; & Catherine was standing out in the hallway in her orange jacket when I left the cabin. I stepped out on the promenade deck & took a quick look around. The Seabourn Spirit was docked on our starboard side but was gone by mid day. It’s blazingly hot out there. And I won’t be…

Off to the Bistro. I can see some little elf has been working on the Christmas tree in Crystal Cove. Another string of lights has miraculously been added; trying to make one string stretch around the entire “length” of the tree. Fran had offered to get off in STM & buy more lights; but I don’t think anyone in particular wanted to redo the tree. And Ioannis has declared the light situation is not “his problem”. Looks like it is what it is; & that’s the way it’s going to be. A lot of the crew will have time off today; & they are very much looking forward to some private beach time. As much as I’d like to see them relaxing, it’s not going to pry me off this ship (until I have to leave on Monday, kicking & screaming). And from what I can tell of the Naples weather forecast, I may not have enough “warm clothes” to wear home.

I had some fruit & cheese & one of those simply orgasmic vanilla custard “cakes” off the Bistro buffet; & my 2 mugs of capp. For the next 2½ hrs, I sat at the bar on the computer, chatting w/ the “guys” & the occasional passenger. Barbara came by for coffee & was spending her morning working on her student’s grades which were e-mailed to her. Harvey & his siblings have been in & out, as his Mom parks herself here daily at a table by the window.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the “perfect cruise”. Seven days is hardly worth the effort of packing (unless one has personal obligations that restrict you). At the 10-day mark, you’re just “getting into the groove”. After 14 days, I still wasn’t ready for it to end. But now as 22 days approaches, I’ve decided that fits me “just right”. Twenty-two days w/o setting foot on land, that is. A world cruise, broken up by interesting days exploring foreign ports, is a different animal altogether. When I think of Ann being onboard for 3½ months, I wonder if I really could manage that. I’m sure I’ll never know. I’ve done back-to-backs on other lines. I don’t remember it making any difference in the way I was “treated”. And that shouldn’t make any difference. I’ve been noticing a difference on the 2nd segment of this cruise. Maybe it’s just my imagination, a coincidence; or maybe (after 6 cruises on Serenity in a 5 year period) SOME of the crew is just now getting familiar w/ my face. For instance, the head waiter who works the Lido/Tastes area has begun calling me by name (even though we’ve not been introduced). Don’t get me wrong……the Crystal crew is ALWAYS attentive, friendly & one step ahead of the rest. But is it possible that they give even more attention to “in transit” passengers??? Is it just like any other “friendship”, when an easygoing trust begins to develop? Or am I reading more into this than there is? Maybe some of my esteemed Cruise Critic “friends” will give me their take on this.

Just after 1pm, I went up to the Lido Buffet for lunch. Nat was first on the scene to get my water & find me a table on the “cool” side w/ a good view. Benjamin pushed my tray down the line, scooping up anything I pointed to. There were so many things on the menu that sounded good to me. I think it was the best collection of buffet fare I’ve seen all cruise. I had a small taste of the delicious cream of roasted garlic soup w/ herb croutons. I cut a little piece off the beer battered cod just to taste. It was very good w/ their special tartar sauce. Half a vegetable burrito was very good also. They had a mixed grill from which I took a lamb chop & a piece of filet mignon. It was served with a simply divine peperonata “relish” (a sweet spicy red, green & yellow bell pepper concoction). They had these cute little pastry “purses” that contained Tandori spiced chicken topped w/ a mint raita sauce. It was pretty good; but my least favorite of everything I tried today. They also had tuna melts pre-made. And I was really in the mood for one; but they were just too big, & there was no way to cut a half in half. They might not have held up well on the steam table either. Chester created another stellar appetizer portion of spaghetti carbonara. I’m really gonna miss carbs….& Chester.

The big winner was the Thai sweet chili-honey prawns. Orgasmic is an understatement. I don’t think they served these during the last segment; & if they did, I’m kicking myself for not knowing about it. I can add this to my list of foods to “special request” in the main DR next time. I stepped outside to take more pictures from the higher vantage point. I could see some of the crew engaged in a ferocious game of volleyball on the beach. I took a lot of photos which I hope to “enlarge to greater detail”. A chance to see what these guys look like “topless”.

It was way “hot” out there; & I needed to cool down w/ some lychee sorbet. Scoops was way beyond busy. I sat down & waited & waited for the lines to clear. Finally Raymond came by; & asked if he could get me something. I told him I need to wait until the coast was clear for Christian to get to my secret stash. Raymond, said “no problem”. He just marched right up there & got it himself. I read while I cooled down w/ the ice cream. Then went by the compt. ctr to get a head start on transferring all the photos I’d taken so far today. I went “home” & got more comfortable & went online to update yesterday’s blog & upload some photos, check e-mail & the message boards.

I had Prego reservations at 7:30 so that John, Outi, Ashling & I could be together one last time. Turns out Ashling was going to be eating there later w/ other teenage friends. I had requested Marco’s table; & Bruno was able to accommodate us. Mario & Rodin (from the Bistro) provided wine/bar service for our table.
John chose a special Italian wine (for sentimental reasons) that they had enjoyed in Turin last year. What a delightful evening. They told me more remarkable stories about their life in Malawi. Despite the fact that Outi’s allergies are so bad she can hardly breath, we all laughed & laughed some more.

I ordered bruschetta; & Marco saw to it that it was made right (the first time.) It was delicious; but barely warm when it arrived. The chef’s special appetizer was a deep fried gorgonzola/rice ball sitting in a pool of marinara sauce drizzled w/ balsamic vinaigrette. Excellent. I also had the seared sea scallops appetizer again. And no surprise, I had the lamb chops w/ garlic mashed potatoes. I had the crema di’ cappa for dessert, along w/ a decaf cappuccino.

Bryn & Allen were eating at a table nearby; & she came over to say hello as they were leaving. We continued to sit over coffee & talk til nearly 10. Poor Outi was miserable. I told her I had some magical prescription nose spray that she could try; anything to let the poor woman get a good night’s sleep. She says she’s not used to carpet; & she’s pretty sure that’s what set off her allergies. I asked Mario to take a group photo w/ our waiter, Marco, before we left.

They followed me back to my cabin. John & I said our goodbyes just in case I don’t see him tomorrow. Outi came in; I showed her how to use the spray & told her she could bring it back to me tomorrow. I made a quick dash to the compt. ctr to transfer the last few photos from tonight. I’m going to pretend that the disembarkation paperwork has been filled out. I’m going to fold my clothes & put them in the drawer so that I don’t have to think about packing. It’s raining outside; & the ship’s “shimmying” comfortably. I want to go to bed; & pretend like the party’s just getting started.

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