Thursday, March 19, 2020

Friday, October 25, 2019 – New Orleans, LA - 77F – Rain and T-Storms

Embarkation Day

Information on Crystal Symphony
Captain:  Nenad Willheim
Cruise Director:  Shane Morley
Assistant Cruise Director: Sasha Zaichuk

Hallelujah, the room was quiet all night long, which for me was 4:45 AM – I just couldn’t sleep any longer so I “meditated” until 6:00 AM when I went to the main building for breakfast.  On the way over in the dark and rain, I spotted a two inch long object on the ground.  I wasn’t sure what it was but when I touched it with my shoe, it scampered off very quickly into a utility room.  I don’t think it was a roach but rather a large Southern bug of some kind.  Haven’t seen another one.

I had a mini bowl of Raisin Bran, three plain mini waffles, and scrambled (aka powdered eggs) for breakfast.  Hoping for cottage cheese but there was none.  The coffee was good but the room I was in was noisy and loud so I basically ate and ran.  

I took a nice shower – the water pressure is good and the water is hot.  The bathroom looks new and clean with nice amenities and lot of fluffy towels.  Another positive for the room.  Water pressure and big bed notwithstanding, I doubt we will book this hotel the next time we are in New Orleans.

We checked out at 11:45 AM and called an Uber to take us to the Julia St. Cruise Terminal.  The ride – in increasing rain – took about 30 minutes and cost $16.45 (including $3.45 surcharge) – the net was $12.45 ($4.00 Uber cash – probably because I complained about the new “surcharge” to Uber).

We found Crystal Symphony.  I was a little concerned because of the weather delaying the arrival of the ship.  They scanned our tickets and we passed through security and eventually boarded the ship to complete the check in process.

We had lunch up in the Trident Grill – tuna melt and tortilla chips plus a mojito.

I got in line and signed us up for Prego for dinner tonight; Prego is our go to place for first night dinner. At first, the earliest reservation we could get was 8 PM but then, somehow, 6 PM became available so that worked out.

We submitted our list for tour escorting – the tours are pretty limited on this itinerary (except for the athletically young who can book the scuba and snorkeling tours).

Our bags made it to our room, which was now open.  We are in Stateroom 7099 on the Promenade Deck (Deck 7) starboard side.  The room is identical to the other outside staterooms but the location of this room on the Promenade Deck has some advantages.  Passengers walk the deck often (hopefully not so much at night) – outside of our room, there is a winch that lowers the tenders that keeps walkers away – you can’t see this equipment from our room but it will deter traffic away from our window and reduce noise and traffic.  Some of the other rooms have compressors – maybe for the A/C that are very noisy (we stayed in one of these in the past and requested and got a new room).

We unpacked our bags and relaxed a little before the scheduled lifeboat drill.  The ship now provides unlimited Wi-Fi for all devices so I signed in both of our Kindles and my phone.  While, on line, I downloaded the next Jack Reacher Novel, “Midnight Line”, by Lee Child from our library back home.  I’ve got 14 days to finish the book (not a problem).

My letter from the Entertainment Office was in the room:  It looks like I will be giving three talks on this cruise – Romanovs, Titanic Child, and Jack the Ripper.  I had four but the Dauphin got cut in the final round.

We attended the lifeboat drill in the Starlite Lounge (Deck 6).  Because it was still raining outside (thanks to a tropical depression in the Gulf), we did not have to stand out of the deck at our lifeboat stations.  The drill was short and sweet.

We ordered apricot sours and listened to Gordon Porth’s piano music in Crystal Cove until dinner time.

We went to Prego for our 6 PM reservation and were given a wonderful table for two by the window.  I ordered a Cesar Salad, the fabulous Mushroom Soup in a bread bowl, and Spaghetti Pesto.  Ellen had the soup (in a bowl), Caprese Salad, and Branzini (a fancy fish).  I had white wine with dinner.  Surprisingly, Prego was not very crowded at this hour.  We passed on dessert and just had one of the chocolate petit fours.

We went back to Crystal Cove to take in some more piano music by Gordon Porth before heading to the Galaxy Lounge for Showtime.  There is only one show tonight at 9:15PM and the theater was almost full.  This looks like it might be a cruise where people attend shows.

Even though it is the first night of the cruise and we are not departing until early tomorrow morning, the ship has scheduled the first production show for tonight.  “Crystal in Motion” is all about dance and music and is a great show.  Tonight’s version was totally new.  Still around are lead vocalists, Carina and Karl (both from Germany and both terrific), who did “Love you for a Thousand Years” (from “The Twilight Saga”).  Joining them is Showband vocalist, Johanna Jolson, who sang two songs: “At Last” and “Rollin Down the River”.  Also in the show were featured dancers, Curtis Collins and Beverly Durand, who are definitely not from Ukraine – a rarity – and who did a really nice jive number with lots of tosses and catches.  Lana Gasparyan joined the band and provided the violin for the finishing Celtic number.  The dancers, all decked out in black leather, did an amazing step dance that must have gone on for more than 10 minutes.  Roman was the lead dancer, who provided some incredible tap moves and the big finish involved the male dancers step dancing in plexi-glass filled shallow water tanks.  The spraying water, the big Celtic music, and the precision dancing made for a major showstopper.

We went to the room after the show.  The ship is not scheduled to depart until 5:00 AM tomorrow morning.

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