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BWIVince

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  • Location
    Central Maryland, USA
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Crystal

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  1. I didn't get an explanation about the orange status, but in talking with several crew members I'm friendly with, none of them were aware of a positive crew member -- and two of them would have known based on their positions. That seems consistent -- the status would have been downgraded to yellow if there was actually a positive crew member, so I suspect the issue was something else. Vince
  2. Well said Keith -- especially when such people often live in glass houses... Whether or not they have the self-awareness to realize it. For me it's even easier to make that slip when few modifications were made... When they changed Symphony's Jade Garden to Silk Road, having a new visual helped keep it straight in my head. Lido to Marketplace -- not so much. 😞 I can imagine the same thing works for Serenity's Tastes. Vince
  3. The signature widget was struggling to scale to my phone’s resolution, and ultimately cut off half of my signature (done with my finger), but it didn’t matter at that point — the authorization was already approved. The signature is just for the printout, which is just collected by one of the temps at the pier — they’re just making sure you have one. The signature is just a technicality. (If you only had the form electronically they just made sure you obtained it.) Vince
  4. From reading passenger accounts, I’m not aware of any guests that tested positive on the Bermuda-issued tests so far, and there were no guests quarantined from that test when I asked on my cruise last week. All of this is managed on a case-by-case basis, but the Bermuda policy states that anyone that tests positive but doesn’t require escalated medical care, regardless of how they feel, must be quarantined on the ship (unless their condition requires hospitalization or evacuation). No Covid positive guests are allowed to enter Bermuda (unless it’s required by their condition), or allowed to interact with any guests that are cleared to enter Bermuda. Thankfully. Vince
  5. Under the rules in place on Symphony, they’re not allowed to go into “cities” anyway, so even if the ship had remained in Boston, it would have complicated their options. Vince
  6. Apologies for the Eton mess spelling -- I quote the menus, often blind. Some variances in spellings, whether intentional or not, were actually the topic of table conversation a couple of times, though we didn't catch that one. In the meantime, here are some Prego pics. Lobster & Octopus -- Poached Cold Water Lobster Medallion & Slow Steamed and Compressed Octopus with Crisp Shallots and Olive-Thyme Vinaigrette: The Beef Carpaccio is a whole presentation... Here it is step-by-step. (There's a reason this isn't a video, trust me.) Here's the plate as it's first presented: First the server squeezes the lemon: Then comes the olive oil: Then comes the balsamic: ...and the parmesan: ...Some fresh ground pepper, and the final appearance: My entree was the Lavender Roasted Duck Breast with Balsamic Cherries, Chestnut Cappuccino, Salsify and a Poached Radish: That's one of my absolute favorite Crystal dishes of all time, but the chestnut cappuccino was a little thin and weak that night. Tiny complaint. Dessert was the Affogato riff on Tiramisu -- Espresso Flavored Lady Fingers, Layered with Light Mascarpone Cheese and Mascarpone Ice Cream. The server pours hot water over the grounds table side: ...Final presentation: ...And of course petit fours with coffee: Fin. Vince
  7. Totally agree, but I did get an interesting data point on that subject while onboard. FWIW, they're only expecting small incremental increases overall until the holiday sailings, which are the only 2021 sailings they are forecasting measurably stronger sales for. I heard a couple of comments about there being momentum from people seeing and hearing how the logistics are working and getting more comfort from that, but the comment was made that Crystal is considering these voyages a sort of proving ground as much as anything, to give people a closer or event first-hand look of what cruising in the next 3-9 months will likely look like (with some variables dependent on itinerary). So long story short, they are doing what they can to promote these sailings, but they've kind of budgeted them realistically because they understand it's necessary to build back and build locally since it's easier to get people to take that first step if it's a smaller commitment if they want them to take a bigger leap in 2022. In part, this seems to be planned as a stepping stone to a more global 2022. Operationally, I bet the same thing could be said. It's been a lot easier to manage the lessons learned on these sailings than it would have further afield. That could have been overly optimistic spin, but they weren't dismissing the problems of low occupancy, they were really just previewing where they were expecting/seeing improvement and explaining the importance of biting this bullet. Vince
  8. While I'm working on more ship pics and write up something about the penthouses, here are some more food pics... This time a Waterside lunch. Assorted Golden Fried Mushroom Appetizer with Tartar Sauce: Grilled Seafood Brochettes -- Sweet Corn Relish, Red Skin Potato Confit, Citrus Hollandaise, Fine Herb Salad: Eaton Mess (A personal favorite lunch dessert): Vince
  9. Julia, I didn't get the email to upload the docs until mid-to-late afternoon the day after I took the test. That coincided with getting the results, but it was after I got the actual lab results. I didn't worry as much about that though since the Bermuda officials were unhand in Boston to help anyone that rain into snags in the authorization process, so as long as I had the right docs I wasn't stressing over what Bermuda did or didn't send me. That said, I did check my spam folder regularly, and sure enough one of the later emails with an attachment was in there (naturally). Big +1 on your earlier comment about the testing time. Morning is preferred in case your testing location has multiple pick-ups or an in-house lab, but in reality many testing sites only pick up after the last test of the day, so this is a great thing to aim for but probably means little in the end. I totally agree there should be plenty of time in that timeline regardless. Vince
  10. I just got off a Bermuda sailing and had an amazing time. You get tested three times: Four nights before sailing you get a PCR test on your own and use it to apply for a travel authorization/authorisation directly with Bermuda online. At the pier you get a rapid antigen test as part of the boarding process -- this was super quick and super easy. Onboard, on the first sea day, Bermuda officials tested us with a PCR test that was run by Bermuda's lab before the ship was cleared on the first full port day. Once the results are back and the ship is cleared, everyone can go ashore that morning (planned/expected around 8am). Anyone that doesn't test negative (which I'm not sure there hav even been any from that test yet) are addressed separately unless there is some unanticipated widespread outbreak they haven't managed yet. I found it all a LOT easier than it sounds, and very little inconvenience. My health insurance paid for the first test, Crystal paid for the second test, and the third test is covered by your Bermuda Travel Authorization cost. Vince
  11. As of Saturday, Crystal's posted policy remains in effect. I can't speak to the past two days, but considering that the variability here has mostly been with the ports, I don't think there is a lot for Crystal to say here -- though they should still have replied and said everything that can be said, that isn't case-specific, is said on the website. Vince
  12. It was! It was closed for lunch the first day in Bermuda, when occupancy onboard was scheduled to be less than 50, but was otherwise open every meal including lunch the second day in port. The center section was neither used nor set the entire cruise -- just tablecloths (it looked fine). The new place settings are streamlined so there is less clutter on the tables, so it was less obvious what was/wasn't being used. Some wing sections were also not set for certain meals, but that was more subtle. For the most part the starboard wing was used for every meal, the window tables were used on the port side when the windows filled on the starboard side at breakfast and lunch, and both wings were used lightly for dinner. Window tables were popular, but usually available upon request. Vince
  13. I promise I'm not doing anything special -- it's Crystal's food that really shines all on its own. You just point your iPhone in its general direction and beautiful pics result. Not that there are any weak links in Crystal's culinary team, but I have to give a special shout-out to Symphony's chefs. In particular they always seem to do amazing work, even among a talented pool. They might just be new skirts of the same design as the old ones, too... They may have just finally found other materials that finally coordinate to them properly! 😄 The worst offense was when they did the Serenity refit with the current decor and busted out the old purple bedskirts that clashed completely. Vince
  14. I can't testify if they are actually new or old, BUT I will say they actually match now better than they did previously... They're a silver-ish color and play well with the new carpet and new bed runners -- definitely better than the old colors. And it may not come through as well in the pics, but they were actually in great shape (they looked new to me)! You know I'd be the first person to make a comment about it if they weren't -- after listening to me whine about the prints and throw pillows for the past decade. Unfortunately the accent tiles in the shower with the worn off finish remain, but that's a different story and an understandable challenge. More to come... Vince
  15. I’m not positive what form that would take, but historically it’s tough running multiple ships in the same small, over-capacity market without them cannibalizing each other. With one ship in the NE doing Bermuda and another ship in the SE doing the Bahamas, there were some local market nuances that could have been successful. The closer the ships get to home porting together, the more you require high demand for success. If Crystal is going to slash fares as a medium-term strategy, the product will have to change to some degree to be in less conflict to the fares. …Otherwise they will have to reduce inventory (and crew, and staff) a la 2005. Without some kind of action in the next 4-6 months, they simply won’t have the cash on hand to survive long haul. ….or of course there are other options, like sale of a division or the whole brand, and not just reducing inventory. Vince
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