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Everything posted by ClefsDor

  1. Well after a 33 hour door to door trip we finally arrived to a very wet and very cold Stockholm at 2.00pm yesterday. As you can imagine we were almost numb with tiredness so for the rest of the afternoon we really weren’t up for much more than a short stroll and a coffee. In the evening we had an early booking at Stockholm's oldest restaurant - Den Gyldene Freden in Gamla Stan (the old town). It’s only a 15 minute walk from our hotel but we were tired and it was still very cold and rainy so we caught an uber and had a lovely meal of meatballs with all the trimmings and a glass of red - a perfect comfort meal for weary travellers We were in and out within an hour but during dinner the skies had brightened and the sun was trying very hard to peek through so we strolled around the lovely cobblestoned streets - glad I wore flat shoes, and then headed straight to bed. After a great nights sleep we’ve woken up to blue skies - still cold but the sun is shining which makes a huge difference. I’m crossing fingers it remains this way for most of the day. We’re going to try and fit a lot in today and clear skies will make things so much more enjoyable. Off for coffee and pastries to Vetekaten - until next time here’s a picture of our meatballs (sorry, started gobbling them up before I remembered to take a photo) and a view of City Hall from our window this morning.
  2. Wow, thanks for all the amazing suggestions - they all sound wonderfull. The Vasa, City Hall and changing of the guard are all things were going to try and do. I love the sound of the Smorgasbord too but might have to save that for when I do a Baltics cruise with Glen. Just looked at google maps and I can understand now why the sail away would be so scenic and why it takes 2 hours! I'm so glad it's a 2.00pm sail away - perfect time to be on the top deck or Palm Court without having to be up at the crack of dawn.
  3. Thanks everyone for your good wishes! Bonnieg - thanks for correcting the date, must be my subconscious wishing it was a day longer 😁 Stickman, I'll let you know how Etihad performs. On the second leg from Abu Dhabi to Paris we'll be on the A380 so it'll be interesting to compare old to new seats. Off now to finish packing and make sure the freezer is stocked up with a a few meals for Glen.
  4. It’s been a short 7 weeks or so since we disembarked Symphony after a fabulous 17 night Asian cruise, and next week I'll be boarding Serenity for 12 nights. We don’t normally cruise so frequently, usually twice a year, but this cruise is a girls trip with my sister (hubby staying home and dog sitting and accumulating more annual leave days for our next cruise together 😀) and the timing works for both of us as does the itinerary which will see us tick St Petersburg off our bucket list. We depart for Stockholm on Sunday flying Ethiad business class. My first time trying out Ethiad airways - I’m sure it will live up to its good reputation although I was disappointed to find out that the particular flight we’re on is a 777 aircraft sporting their old business class cabin and seats. I’m sure we’ll survive 😁. Any fellow Aussies who are booking Ethiad to Abu Dhabi be mindful of which daily flight you choose - one is on the A380 and the other is the 777. Definitely try for the A380 flight which has the newer business class cabin. This will be a slightly different cruise experience for me. I’ve only ever cruised with my husband and we’ve developed our own little routines and rituals so I’m sure the schedules I'm used to will be a little different this cruise. I can see us probably spending less time at pre-dinner drinks and maybe going to the Palm Court more than the sitting around the Cove bar. I'm sure the casino won't get any of our cash and I'll also be spending much more time in ports than I'm used to - my sister is a walker and sightseer extraordinaire so if the ships in port from 9.00 and until 6.00pm I'm pretty sure she'll want to be off the ship for as much of that time as humanly possible. On the bright side, I may finally come back from a cruise having lost wright! My sister whilst she travels A LOT has never cruised before so it’ll be interesting to see how she takes to it and to see it from a fresh perspective. I’m really hoping Serenity knocks it out of the park in terms of dining and service, if only to justify all the raving I’ve done about Crystal over the last few years! So I’ll check back in once we’ve boarded or maybe even from Stockholm as we have a couple of days there before we embark - any suggestions of what we should try and see, apart from the ABBA Museum of course 😁 or any dining suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I should also just clarify the title of this post - I was hesitant to call it a “live blog” as I’m uncertain how often I’ll be able to check in, given how port intensive this cruise is. In the past I’ve always tried to diligently post almost every day and it can become a little onerous especially with a lot of ports and excursions so I probably won’t be writing every day but I figure a little about life on board is better than nothing - or that’s how I feel whenever anyone is kind enough to report from the ship. Anyone else on this cruise who wants to chime in please feel free - the more the merrier!
  5. We booked an OV cabin on our last cruise and 1 day into the cruise we asked if there were any verandah rooms available and we moved and paid the difference. It was our first time in an OV and whilst the interior is exactly the same we did find the room to be a lot darker and we realised that we use the veranda more than we thought we did. We like to go outside for sailaways, we like to gage the temperature before going on excursions, we like to sometimes eat room service breakfast outside and we always enjoy watching the ship come into port and dock. Yes, we can do almost all these things elsewhere on the ship but not in my pyjamas 😄 We now realise that we really do prefer to have a verandah but if it meant going on less cruises then that would give me pause. The other thing I would take into consideration is the area you are cruising - a verandah in the Med would be much more appealing and worth the extra cost to me then say a cruise with cooler weather and more industrial ports that aren't so scenic.
  6. I just went online to see the entertainers for our cruise on Serenity that departs next week and the destination lecturer is still TBA - given the major attraction of this cruise is the 3 days we'll be spending in St Petersburg I really do hope they have a relevant destination lecturer. In fact there is only one other lecturer listed for this 12 day cruise. I thought there were usually at least 3?
  7. Keith, I emailed On Board Guest Services and yes, we'll ask once on the ship - no big deal but just wanted to confirm that I wasn't imagining things and that foot stools are available. It makes sitting on the balcony even more enjoyable but no biggie if it doesn't pan out.
  8. Huh, there you go! I guess we'll just address it when we board. I guess this is another example of head office service compared to the on board experience.
  9. I think I remember staying in various room categories (Probably PH but can't be sure) where we have had chairs on the balconies that have had matching foot stools/foot rests. My sister and I will be on a Baltic cruise in July on Serenity staying in a Seabreeze PH and I noticed on some youtube videos of that room category that there are no foot stools and yet the room next door does have them (same category). The video also showed the verandah sporting a rather weird black dining type chair and a smaller round table as well as the usual round table on all the verandahs. I emailed OBGS and was told no balconies have foot rests (wrong!!) and that we can not request them nor can we request for the dining chair and small table to be removed. Said it wasn't Crystal's policy to remove any furniture (wrong again as we have done this in the past). I seem to remember someone on this board mentioning requesting a sun lounger when they have been staying in staterooms forward and aft with the slightly wider balcony. I must say I was rather taken aback by the brisk "No" I received - I thought Crystal was all about saying yes whenever possible to reasonable requests??!!
  10. ClefsDor


    An easy way to get the bread super thin for Melba toast is to use a rolling pin to roll it out once the crusts have been removed. They really are very easy to make.
  11. How unusual - why would BTO night be impacted by rough seas? I've heard of performances being postponed but not BTO night.
  12. One our last cruise we decided to dine in Prego on embarkation night - first time we've done this as we normally go to Waterside. I think this will be a new tradition for us. Waterside on embarkation day can be a little crazy in the evening. We found Prego easy to get a reservation for the first night and we had a lovely relaxed dinner which we lingered over far more than we would have in the dining room. A great way to start a cruise.
  13. Nancy, not sure when the changes were made but we had really hot weather in most of the ports and the temps in Trident area and Silk were always fine and we would often go there to get break from the heat out by the pool.
  14. Thanks for sharing your feedback - sounds like you had a good break and a great cruise!
  15. One area on Symphony which I'm so glad has been fixed in terms of air conditioning is the Silk area - one our first cruise after dry dock it was extremely hot in warm weather climates - so much so that the space became almost unusable during the day. On our last cruise which was in Asia with very warm and humid temps the Silk and Trident area were kept nice and cool. I think apart from perhaps tweaking the air con they also put slightly shaded coatings on the skylights and the difference is amazing.
  16. Bon Voyage to all and hope you have a wonderful cruise! My sister and I will be doing almost the exact itinerary on the 17th when you disembark. Would love to hear about your experiences and any stand out excursions if anyone has time.
  17. Hope you have a great cruise, Claudia - you're probably already boarded and enjoying your first day on board. Look forward to hearing about your experiences if and when you have time to post.
  18. I completely agree - on Symphony they have reduced the number of tables in Waterside and there is a very nice amount of space between the tables, even the rows by the window. I hope they do the same on Serenity - as of the end of the WC they had not made any adjustments but maybe now the WC is over they will, at least I hope so as I found in January the table spacing on Serenity to be too close in many areas.
  19. The oversized furniture in the Seabreeze PH does make it feel smaller but I did appreciate the newer decor. My biggest gripes with the new Seabreeze PH on Symphony is the location of the TV which is on the side of the bed so you really can't watch it comfortably from any location, which drove me insane and we actually don't even watch the TV that much but I do like to see the morning and afternoon updates and occasionally a movie if I want an early night. My other gripe is the coffee table that can't be adjusted, so eating in the cabin becomes very difficult - there goes the perk of dining course by course from the specialty restaurants. Not only can't the coffee table be adjusted but the glass top swivels around and is not firmly fixed into place making it pretty much unusable for anything. I asked our butler to have it fixed but she said that they were all like that and can't be repaired!
  20. We LOVED taking the helicopter to land on a glacier and walk around. We did this from Juneau and the weather cleared just in time, ours was the only flight that day that was able to take off so we were very lucky. Glen went salmon fishing in Sitka and caught a King Salmon and had it prepped into fillets and shipped to his mother - between the cost of the excursion and the shipping it was the most expensive salmon per pound in the world but he had a ball! One thing I wouldn't do again was a hike into the national park, I think it was from Skagway - most difficult hike I have ever done and nearly killed me! It did say strenuous activity on the description but I've seen that on descriptions when it's been a short walk around a town centre. This was 2 hours, uphill, no tracks, wet slippery and muddy and the guide was like a mountain goat and going very fast. Boy did I need to soak in the tub that night!
  21. Thanks, Robin for your suggestions - I'll look up the restaurant at the Opera House.
  22. I'll be going on a Baltic cruise mid July on Serenity (Stockholm - Amsterdam)with my sister and we tried to book Alla for a 3 day private tour of St Petersburg but they were fully booked. We chose TJ Travel instead which also gets very good reviews. I'll let you know how they are. Starting to get excited about this cruise as all the ports are new to us. Starting to research restaurants for Stockholm and Amsterdam as we're there for a couple of nights pre and post cruise. Any recs would be greatly appreciated.
  23. As far as I'm aware you are correct - you have a one time opportunity to change your cruise without paying the admin fee. If you then decide to change that cruise again then you would need to pay the fee.
  24. Bon Voyage everyone - sounds like a great itinerary. As usual if any one has time to post we'd love to hear from you!
  25. Seriously? A $2000 pin!! On my 100th cruise I would prefer the $2000 in cash or just about any other form than a pin that I would never wear or use!
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