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rafinmd

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About rafinmd

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    Central Maryland
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    Crystal, Blount Small Ship Adventures
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  1. I don't know if this bears any relation or not but today on Serenity the stewards at the entrance to Marketplace seemed to be a bit more assertive than usual asking people to wash their hands (or use the sanitizer) as they came by. Roy
  2. The difference between 39 segments and the credit count of 50 is not that big. Longer cruises do get more credit, and my Northwest Passage cruise counted as 4; 4 of my segments on the 2018 World Cruise were over 15 days and got double credit, I had a Buenos Aires-Antarctica-Valparaiso-Miami cruise in 2016 that was 2 segments and 4 credits, and with a few others it was not hard to get the 11 extra credits. Most of this was since my 2007 retirement. We don't really feel the speed of an extra 4 knots or so from several decks above the water. They say for a carpenter the solution to every problem is a hammer and for a soldier the solution is a gun. I guess for an actuary the solution is a spreadsheet, and watching my diet has just become a part of my day to day life. I'm lucky the diabetes was caught before it got out of control. Roy
  3. Day CS4, Sunday, January 26, 2020, At Sea, Crystal Serenity Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Aqaba to Dubai, UAE. I missed sunrise by about 10 minutes but the color was still great as I rounded the bow the first time. It was a good day for walking as I completed 4 miles a little at a time over the course of the day. I have still been struggling with the internet. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dawn0126.jpg There was to be a buffet brunch and setup started early, well underway starting by 7 and continuing to almost lunch time. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/setup26.jpg On my first Sunday at sea Pastor Ed Voosen conducted worship with Holy Communion in the Hollywood Theater at 9. The morning presentations were Adrian Vickers at 10 on French Polynesia, how it became French, and the relationship with Paul Gauguin. He was followed at 10 by Owen Ullmann on the 2020 Financial Outlook. He was cautiously optimistic. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/ullmann.jpg When Ullmann's talk ended the buffet was in full swing. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/buffet26.jpg Many of the ship's musicians performed during the brunch including trumpeter extraordinare, bandmaster, and currently Assistant Cruise Director Raphael Dirksen. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/music.jpg I don't always use the buffets but did this time with a small salad, waffle, and dish of fruit. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/brunch26.jpg The 1:30 talk was Dr. Simon Spooner on Maritime Archaeology. Spooner represents a small private foundation that explores old wrecks, mainly in the Caribbean, and talked about the challenges of research without formal financial support. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/spooner.jpg The first World Games medal ceremony was held in the Crystal Cove. For each event the medal winners (bronze, silver, gold) were called up to the podium individual and presented their medals by Jennifer Chandler. After all 3 medals were presented there was a group photo with Rick Spath, Chandler, Captain Vorland, and the fitness directors. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/medal.jpg The Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle was held at 5:30 in Pulse. There was a good turnout not only of Cruise Critic Members but also of ship's officers. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/mingle.jpg There were 2 singles and 2 couples at the shared table. One of the couples was with me on the Prinsendam's Grand South America voyage last year. I chose the Chicken Consume, Vegetarian Pasta. Dinner ran late and we all left before desert to get to the show. My plan for the day had been ice cream as desert so I got that later out of Room Service. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dishes26.jpg The featured entertainment was the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers with their newest full production show, "Icons In Concert". I was pretty tired after the show and did not accomplish a lot more. My parting shot will be sadness at the tragic helicopter crash in California. Rest in Peace, Kobe. Roy
  4. Day CS4, Sunday, January 26, 2020, At Sea, Crystal Serenity Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Aqaba to Dubai, UAE. I missed sunrise by about 10 minutes but the color was still great as I rounded the bow the first time. It was a good day for walking as I completed 4 miles a little at a time over the course of the day. I have still been struggling with the internet. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dawn0126.jpg There was to be a buffet brunch and setup started early, well underway starting by 7 and continuing to almost lunch time. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/setup26.jpg On my first Sunday at sea Pastor Ed Voosen conducted worship with Holy Communion in the Hollywood Theater at 9. The morning presentations were Adrian Vickers at 10 on French Polynesia, how it became French, and the relationship with Paul Gauguin. He was followed at 10 by Owen Ullmann on the 2020 Financial Outlook. He was cautiously optimistic. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/ullmann.jpg When Ullmann's talk ended the buffet was in full swing. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/buffet26.jpg Many of the ship's musicians performed during the brunch including trumpeter extraordinare, bandmaster, and currently Assistant Cruise Director Raphael Dirksen. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/music.jpg I don't always use the buffets but did this time with a small salad, waffle, and dish of fruit. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/brunch26.jpg The 1:30 talk was Dr. Simon Spooner on Maritime Archaeology. Spooner represents a small private foundation that explores old wrecks, mainly in the Caribbean, and talked about the challenges of research without formal financial support. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/spooner.jpg The first World Games medal ceremony was held in the Crystal Cove. For each event the medal winners (bronze, silver, gold) were called up to the podium individual and presented their medals by Jennifer Chandler. After all 3 medals were presented there was a group photo with Rick Spath, Chandler, Captain Vorland, and the fitness directors. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/medal.jpg The Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle was held at 5:30 in Pulse. There was a good turnout not only of Cruise Critic Members but also of ship's officers. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/mingle.jpg There were 2 singles and 2 couples at the shared table. One of the couples was with me on the Prinsendam's Grand South America voyage last year. I chose the Chicken Consume, Vegetarian Pasta. Dinner ran late and we all left before desert to get to the show. My plan for the day had been ice cream as desert so I got that later out of Room Service. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dishes26.jpg The featured entertainment was the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers with their newest full production show, "Icons In Concert". I was pretty tired after the show and did not accomplish a lot more. My parting shot will be sadness at the tragic helicopter crash in California. Rest in Peace, Kobe. Roy
  5. A count will be a bit mushy as it's sometimes hard to determine what constitutes a cruise. I think my best answer to that would be to count "embarkations" counting the time from getting on a ship in a new cabin until I leave the cabin as one cruise, even if it is sometimes marketed as back to backs. On that basis here are a few totals: Crystal - 32 Holland America - 22 Cunard - 13 Royal Caribbean -13 The total for traditional ocean cruise lines including these 4 plus Seabourn, Silversea, Regency (RIP), NCL, Carnival, Celebrity, and Windstar is 95 embarkations. Then another 25 for specialty (river and other small ship companies), 17 of which are with Blount Small Ship Adventures, and 12 on "working" ships, a freighter and several ferries which are mostly short term but include 5 and 7 day journeys on the Alaska Ferry System. I haave gotten 2 free trips, one with Crystal (Serenity Barcelona to Lisbon right after leaving the Bach) and the other with Blount. Unfortunately, the Crystal milestone has now become a credit but it's still a nice benefit. Roy Roy
  6. Crystal Symphony Guam to Hong Kong, Pagodas and Pearls I think this can legitimately be called an exotic itinerary with some less visited ports like Guam, Saipan, and Manila, as well as Vietnam and Hong Kong. Wishing you calm seas and many memories: Feb. 2 (OCS200202-13) Guam to Hong Kong - Texas Tillie (Patty) It’s just Patty on future bookings but with a 2-page roll call there are clearly others. Have a wonderful cruise Patti and any others! Roy
  7. Bon Voyage to Texas Tillie, February 2, 2020 Crystal Symphony Guam to Hong Kong, Pagodas and Pearls I think this can legitimately be called an exotic itinerary with some less visited ports like Guam, Saipan, and Manila, as well as Vietnam and Hong Kong. Wishing you calm seas and many memories: Feb. 2 (OCS200202-13) Guam to Hong Kong - Texas Tillie (Patty) It’s just Patty on future bookings but with a 2-page roll call there are clearly others. Have a wonderful cruise Patti and any others! Roy
  8. Bon Voyage to Texas Tillie, February 2, 2020 Crystal Symphony Guam to Hong Kong, Pagodas and Pearls https://www.crystalcruises.com/images/default-source/voyages/maps/ocs200202-13-map-crystalsymphony-luxuryoceancruise-13day.png.png I think this can legitimately be called an exotic itinerary with some less visited ports like Guam, Saipan, and Manila, as well as Vietnam and Hong Kong. Wishing you calm seas and many memories: Feb. 2 (OCS200202-13) Guam to Hong Kong - Texas Tillie (Patty) It’s just Patty on future bookings but with a 2-page roll call there are clearly others. Have a wonderful cruise Patti and any others! Roy
  9. Day CS3, Saturday, January 25, 2020, At Sea, Crystal Serenity Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Aqaba to Dubai, UAE. I will start with another of the ship's photos. This is the opening night balloon drop. I am right next to the mechanism that released the balloons and there was quite a bang as the balloons and confetti were dropped. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/atballoondrop.jpg I woke somewhere around 4:30 and on the display we were still approaching Cabo but slowing down. I was out on deck about 5 with a very nice view of Cabo. One of the lifeboat riggings was extended but there was no sign of the tender. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/cabo.jpg I had missed sunrise by quite a long time but there was still some color in the sky. I found out later I was looking almost at right angles to the sun's position but the color was nice anyway. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dawn0125.jpg The tender returned to the ship about 5:20 and we resumed out journey towards Nuku Hiva. In the mid-morning we crossed the Tropic of Cancer and will remain in the tropics until mid-February. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/accomplished.jpg While not as hectic as Friday it was another busy sea day. I did the most walking yet but it was pretty widely spaced with 3 laps while we were in Cabo, 4 more around 6, and my 3 visits to Lido Marketplace each were done by walking around the bow, all the way back the port side, up the stairs to the buffet, and then back to my room. There were 3 talks, common for a sea day. Doug Beason started things off with "The E Bomb", directed energy as a weapon. He seemed a bit smug and full of himself to me. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/beason.jpg Next at 11 was General Nick Halley with "War Stories from the Cuban Missile Crisis to Iraq" which really deals mostly from the point of view of models for leadership. He's a great speaker but could use some fresh material. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/halley.jpg In his noon update Captain Vorland talked about "roaring out of Cabo like we stole the ship". We actually had a second emergency Friday night and discharged 2 patients. We are traveling about 23 knots on 5 of our 6 generators (the ship was designed for a maximum of any 5 online at any time with allowance for maximum power while one unit was out for maintenance. We have 2467 miles to cover before Nuku Hiva, just a little less than the 2532 miles we needed on Thursday. The temperature is slowly rising, up to 73F/23C. Lunch was a bit of a switch. I have had Type 2 diabetes for 18 years and have controlled it without medicine for the last 17 years of that. I try to be deliberate about what I eat and pretty much plan my meals and start with the menus for all 3 meals in the morning. I decided that my dinner entree would be the glazed ham and for lunch chose the french fries instead of my usual ham and cheese sandwich. I would like to have both for each lunch but it's just too much. The 1:30 talk was in the Hollywood Theater and was Cheri Steinkellner with a behind the scenes review of Cheers. I'm sure it was well done but it wasn't a show I watched so much of it was somewhat lost on me. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/steinkellner.jpg I walked a final mile in the afternoon. I finished as the sun set at 4:10 but by then it was deep in the clouds. The best color was one lap earlier, but 2 laps earlier the colors above the rack of life rafts seemed like the perfect setting. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dusk0125.jpg I was back at the shared table at Waterside with an entirely different group of people. I chose the beef consume, glazed ham, and pear caramel cake. I finished just barely in time to get a diet coke while entering the Galaxy Lounge. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dishes25.jpg The featured entertainment was comedian Cory Kahaney at 7:45 and 9:45. She was very good although I was a bit drowsy. The Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers also performed spot show Sweet Soul Music in the Stardust Club at 8:45 and 10:45. It was the second time I've seen that show (the first was my final night on Serenity in November). https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/kahaney.jpg My parting shot will be a very belated wish for a great Australia day for those who celebrate it. It is almost over here but well past on the other side of the International Dateline. Roy
  10. Day CS3, Saturday, January 25, 2020, At Sea, Crystal Serenity Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Aqaba to Dubai, UAE. I will start with another of the ship's photos. This is the opening night balloon drop. I am right next to the mechanism that released the balloons and there was quite a bang as the balloons and confetti were dropped. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/atballoondrop.jpg I woke somewhere around 4:30 and on the display we were still approaching Cabo but slowing down. I was out on deck about 5 with a very nice view of Cabo. One of the lifeboat riggings was extended but there was no sign of the tender. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/cabo.jpg I had missed sunrise by quite a long time but there was still some color in the sky. I found out later I was looking almost at right angles to the sun's position but the color was nice anyway. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dawn0125.jpg The tender returned to the ship about 5:20 and we resumed out journey towards Nuku Hiva. In the mid-morning we crossed the Tropic of Cancer and will remain in the tropics until mid-February. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/accomplished.jpg While not as hectic as Friday it was another busy sea day. I did the most walking yet but it was pretty widely spaced with 3 laps while we were in Cabo, 4 more around 6, and my 3 visits to Lido Marketplace each were done by walking around the bow, all the way back the port side, up the stairs to the buffet, and then back to my room. There were 3 talks, common for a sea day. Doug Beason started things off with "The E Bomb", directed energy as a weapon. He seemed a bit smug and full of himself to me. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/beason.jpg Next at 11 was General Nick Halley with "War Stories from the Cuban Missile Crisis to Iraq" which really deals mostly from the point of view of models for leadership. He's a great speaker but could use some fresh material. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/halley.jpg In his noon update Captain Vorland talked about "roaring out of Cabo like we stole the ship". We actually had a second emergency Friday night and discharged 2 patients. We are traveling about 23 knots on 5 of our 6 generators (the ship was designed for a maximum of any 5 online at any time with allowance for maximum power while one unit was out for maintenance. We have 2467 miles to cover before Nuku Hiva, just a little less than the 2532 miles we needed on Thursday. The temperature is slowly rising, up to 73F/23C. Lunch was a bit of a switch. I have had Type 2 diabetes for 18 years and have controlled it without medicine for the last 17 years of that. I try to be deliberate about what I eat and pretty much plan my meals and start with the menus for all 3 meals in the morning. I decided that my dinner entree would be the glazed ham and for lunch chose the french fries instead of my usual ham and cheese sandwich. I would like to have both for each lunch but it's just too much. The 1:30 talk was in the Hollywood Theater and was Cheri Steinkellner with a behind the scenes review of Cheers. I'm sure it was well done but it wasn't a show I watched so much of it was somewhat lost on me. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/steinkellner.jpg I walked a final mile in the afternoon. I finished as the sun set at 4:10 but by then it was deep in the clouds. The best color was one lap earlier, but 2 laps earlier the colors above the rack of life rafts seemed like the perfect setting. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dusk0125.jpg I was back at the shared table at Waterside with an entirely different group of people. I chose the beef consume, glazed ham, and pear caramel cake. I finished just barely in time to get a diet coke while entering the Galaxy Lounge. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dishes25.jpg The featured entertainment was comedian Cory Kahaney at 7:45 and 9:45. She was very good although I was a bit drowsy. The Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers also performed spot show Sweet Soul Music in the Stardust Club at 8:45 and 10:45. It was the second time I've seen that show (the first was my final night on Serenity in November). https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/kahaney.jpg My parting shot will be a very belated wish for a great Australia day for those who celebrate it. It is almost over here but well past on the other side of the International Dateline. Roy
  11. What happened to Eurodam (Understand I don't have the band width to actually watch so I depend on all of you for what's happening. Roy
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