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  1. I didn't get a chance to ask since it didn't occur to me what was in that space until the final morning, but given all the work done to the exterior of the ship, I suspect it didn't survive the harsh climate during the shutdown, at least in terms of things they could get ready before operations resumed. This might be a good one for someone onboard a future sailing to ask about. It's possible the parts are just in storage somewhere and needing restoration, it might not have needed complete replacement. 🤷‍♂️ I'm definitely hoping it comes back in the future, it was a very cool addition. Vince
  2. I just thought of something else... Someone (accurately) described in another thread some of the things that you won't find on Crystal ships, and they mentioned miniature golf. Sadly, the miniature golf course on Symphony that was added in the void created by the removal of the magradome machinery is now gone. 😞 The longtime putting green next door and the driving nets remain, however. The miniature golf course might actually take the record for the shortest-lived feature in Symphony's history (in terms of time in service), next to the water feature under the outdoor Jacuzzi that never really worked in the first place. Vince
  3. The concierge onboard will be able to sell you an upgrade to any available, in-service stateroom onboard that is still open for sale after boarding. As Patty (and I just noticed FlyerTalker) noted though, historically there have not been discounts for that pre-Covid, they were sold for the lowest promotional or published fare difference in most cases. The pricing on the ocean voyages this fall have worked completely different, so there have been some reports about some of the onboard upgrades being offered at "something" of a discount because the fare structure is wonky, but it's completely separate from the the targeted upgrades that are being offered some passengers prior to departure on some fall sailings. If you're thinking about upgrading, and you get offered one prior to departure, I would recommend considering that one seriously. Vince
  4. Picking back up on Symphony's condition and some updates that have been made, here's a quick summary of some of the public room changes I noticed. This is in no way a comprehensive list of changes, just a few random observations. As mentioned upthread, the overarching theme of work done is work that could be completed in-house, possibly with materials ordered for the previously planned dry dock, to bridge some of the work that couldn't be accomplished in the scope of the 2017 refit. Prego -- New carpet installed and chairs reupholstered. The LED "stars" weren't on the night I was in there, but not sure if they've been retired. Palm Court -- New carpet installed throughout, but otherwise same decor. Avenue Saloon -- Same carpet and upholstery on remaining furniture, but new chairs replace the former wood-backed chairs and new barstools replace the former ones. Deck 6 Corridors and Starlite Club -- New carpet properly coordinated to 2017 Starlite decor. (They only re-boardered the previous carpet in 2017.) Marketplace -- New upholstery and new carpeting (similar to Palm Court's). The Fitness Garden equipment has been removed from the aft decks. One piece was reinstalled in the crew area forward. As I think of other changes, I'll post them. Still working on the review of my stateroom too. Vince
  5. Thankfully I got yelled at by no one during this particular Prego visit. 😄 No comment. 😄 It must have been fantastic -- all of my cocktail memories are very fuzzy. That said, we get asked a lot for the current bar menus, so I'll upload that here. Because of the QR codes, at the moment there is a unified bar menu for all venues, but that said the Avenue-focused Manhattan Menu is still available offline on paper upon request. Two general reminders -- the format of the PDF is less than ideal because of the folded-page construction of the paper menu it's created from, and the wines on this menu don't represent the ship's stock or cellar, just what's on-hand at every bar. The dining wine lists are different. Bar%20and%20Wine%20List%20Insert%20FINAL%20OCS210822.pdf Vince
  6. Your comparison of elements of Crystal to vintage Cunard really resonated with me... I sailed Cunard more in the 90's than I did Crystal, but by that point I'd sailed both of them on a rotation and there were a lot of similarities in terms of vibe, clientele, etc.. Just like you said the product and specifics were very different (especially now), but similar profiles of passengers would appreciate aspects of both products. Both have always celebrated a very traditional atmosphere overall. Vince
  7. This answer is going to vary by port and over time, since Crystal uses vendors for the testing. So far they've all been antigen tests, and all of the examples I've heard of for the boarding tests have been nasal swabs in the lower nose. As an example, the vendor in Boston (Curative) was using self-contained instant test kits and the swab was literally around the base of the inside of my nose -- hardly inserted at all. I wouldn't bank on those specifics always staying the same over time even for the same ports though. Vince
  8. That makes sense for agents, but your comment reminded me of another possible alternative... If you see the Crystal Society Host(ess) onboard right at the beginning of the cruise (or the second segment, in Linda's case), they can usually get a banked milestone credit applied. They've done that during a voyage for me in the past, and on this month's cruise a friend got a voicemail from the host onboard proactively reminding him he had his 15th milestone use if he'd like, offering to submit to apply it. Just a thought... Vince
  9. I think you actually just validated my point? What I was saying is that no one going on a cruise at this point should be afraid of a simple antigen test, because you could need one at ANY given moment on a cruise -- either because of changing government rules or the fluid situation onboard. If I read your message correctly -- you're still needing one. Vince
  10. Pre-Carnival Princess was also famous for some of the most amazing art at sea. They were really one of the lines that pioneered it. This was one of the legacies that Harmony inherited from its 80’s connections to Princess, but unfortunately was revised away with Symphony and Serenity. Some art has been added back to Symphony over the years during refits, but little that’s incredibly memorable. Vince
  11. Possibly (though I seriously doubt it)…. But if anyone thinks taking an antigen test and uploading the results is too much trouble for international travel right now, they have absolutely no business being anywhere near a cruise ship at this point in the pandemic. Vince
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
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