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Stickman1990

Live: Crossing the Pacific, Los Angeles – Papeete – Auckland on Crystal Serenity from 22 January – 19 February 2020

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We're about to depart on another Crystal cruise - this time it’s 27 days cruising on Crystal Serenity from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand – 22 January to 19 February and I will be posting in this thread sharing our experience

 

There are already a number of live blogs on the 2020 World Cruise and segments and it’s always interesting to hear different perspectives on the same cruise – it highlights how various things are important and popular with different cruisers

 

We’ve sailed several World Cruise segments over the last few years and enjoy the many extra onboard activities that Crystal add for the World Cruise. On the first leg of this voyage we will be lucky enough to enjoy the World Games – a fun event that allows some friendly competition and more important social interaction between guests 

 

We normally choose cruises with a good number of sea days – this one is going to be great as it starts with 6 sea days as we cruise from Los Angeles to French Polynesia – that’s when the World Games will be held. Then we spend a week or so in French Polynesia, it will be our first time in this part of the Pacific, before crossing via various Pacific islands to Auckland – we’ll then spend some time in New Zealand following the cruise

 

We will fly out for Los Angeles tomorrow on Qantas’s 787 Dreamliner, only a relatively short  12.5 hour overnight flight, and spend a few days in LA until we board next Wednesday - we have a few things planned while there including spending time at Universal Studios as we’re big kids at heart (we did Disneyland last time we were in LA) and catching up with our Travel Agent and friends. We also have one special highlight to look forward to and that is to visit the Magic Castle in Hollywood – we are lucky enough to have been invited to visit by one of the magicians we met on Crystal last year

 

There's been a fairly active roll call and I know a number of friends who we have sailed with before – and some I only know virtually at this stage, who will be onboard so that’s always fun. I'd be more than happy to have others contribute to this thread to share their experiences and views. I look forward to meeting everyone at the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle. Don’t forget that 26 January is Australia Day – so I’m sure (in fact I’m positive) that this will be celebrated onboard as is the tradition in Australia

 

I'll try and post Reflections and the Menus each day and share some of our activities and dining pleasure but don't hesitate if you have any questions - happy to try and answer them 

 

Now I just have to explain to our two lovely Labradors why the suitcases have appeared again.... they definitely know something is up as we packed today (well most of it anyway)

 

Details of the cruises can be found on the Crystal site @

 

https://www.crystalcruises.com.au/voyage/los-angeles-to-papeete-ocy200122-13

 

https://www.crystalcruises.com.au/voyage/papeete-to-auckland-ocy200204-14

 

 

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Edited by Stickman1990

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Have a great trip Stickman and I'll be reading your posts daily (if the Serenity internet allows)  Thanks for sharing your adventure!

 

~Nancy

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Safe travels, enjoy LA, and smooth sailing from CA back home!

 

Rob (& Jim), from Symphony in mid-Pacific.

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Looking forward to reading about your daily adventures on your Crystal journey. Safe travels.

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Wishing you and the Mrs. a wonderful time.  Safe travels to LA.

 

Looking forward to following along...many thanks 

 

Nancy

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So pleased to have another live blog to read from the WC - can never have too many! Have fun in LA  - we love Universal Studios too and looking forward to following along!

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Hope you have a wonderful trip, Terry. Looking forward to reading your account!

 

(and sorry to see you'll have no chance of going upstairs on your aircraft - still, you'll have a larger window to look out of...😎)

 

Adrian

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I'm looking forward to reading your account! Thanks for sharing your cruise with us. 

 

Lisa

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38 minutes ago, Noggins said:

(and sorry to see you'll have no chance of going upstairs on your aircraft - still, you'll have a larger window to look out of...😎)


Hi Adrian

 

Yes I do enjoy the A380 upstairs but the memories of the now almost phased out 747s which are decidedly tired do nothing for an upstairs seat. I think overall he Dreamliner is a better choice now 

 

I have decided to do the gentlemanly thing and given a window seat to my wife - mine is slightly off the window but still a single seat. Qantas have done pretty well with their seating on the Dreamliner - nice comfy cocoons with a 1-2-1 layout and at least we’re all facing forward unlike “your lot” who seem to think looking backwards is somehow enjoyable 😁 (is that a cultural statement) 😉

 

I shall try to be diligent and timely in my posting of Reflections and Menus - I don’t want any reprimands like last time 😂 - but I guess I can always tell you it’s the slow internet on Serenity 😳

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Oh that A 380 first class is divine !
 

As we shall be on the same segments I shall defer to you for reports unless we have additional memorable inputs! More naps for me!

 

Please stop changing your avatar, how will we recognize you. 🙄😜

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14 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:

I have decided to do the gentlemanly thing and given a window seat to my wife - mine is slightly off the window but still a single seat.

I wonder, if we did a survey, what percentage of we chaps would say we routinely got the window seat....? The last time I got the window seat when travelling with Mrs N I think we were flying on a 707 (yes, that's a zero sat between the 7's🙄)

 

14 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:

unlike “your lot” who seem to think looking backwards is somehow enjoyable 😁 (is that a cultural statement) 😉

Nothing wrong with looking backwards. Ah, yes, those days of Empire! 

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8 hours ago, Noggins said:

I wonder, if we did a survey, what percentage of we chaps would say we routinely got the window seat....? The last time I got the window seat when travelling with Mrs N I think we were flying on a 707 (yes, that's a zero sat between the 7's🙄)

 

Hmmm I think I need to speak to my husband - I can't remember the last time I was given the window seat! Now with the 1-2-1 configuration it isn't as much of an issue.

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7 minutes ago, ClefsDor said:

Hmmm I think I need to speak to my husband - I can't remember the last time I was given the window seat! Now with the 1-2-1 configuration it isn't as much of an issue.

After all these years I never realized you wanted it, I always offer it to you and you decline.

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121 is no help to me - I'm expected to book the two in the middle 🙄.

Otherwise I'd get a serious dose of "why don't you want to sit next to me"....

 

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5 minutes ago, Noggins said:

Otherwise I'd get a serious dose of "why don't you want to sit next to me"....

 

Thanks, I just received a lecture across the breakfast table. 😓

Going on to Qantas.com now to change our future bookings to the middle seats.

Edited by Fly Fast Cruise Slow

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Well I survived the flight and we’re just taxiing at LAX - Qantas don’t have inflight Internet so it was very strange not having access for 12 hours 😧

 

The seat I had is really only 18 inches or so back from the window so it’s not a big issue - but my wife’s was right next to the window. It was nice to see Long Beach as we flew in. They alternate them so your feet fit under the seat in fronts storage area. Certainly no complaints about the full lay back seat and the width of it was great. Qantas serve Jacquart champagne so I enjoyed a few “practice” drinks in preparation for our time on Serenity

 

I reckon I slept for around 8 hours - and it’s now 3.25pm  LA time and around 10.30am back in Sydney - so the body clock should be pretty good if we follow local time for the rest of the day 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Fly Fast Cruise Slow said:

Thanks, I just received a lecture across the breakfast table. 😓

Going on to Qantas.com now to change our future bookings to the middle seats.

Oh dear - I'm so sorry. It was not my intention to cause any interruption to anyone's marital bliss....(or seating preferences)

 

Seeing Terry's last post made me wonder whether it was possible to claim that a window seat was necessary to take photos for the blog. I ran that past Mrs N and quickly realised that reference to the blog was not necessarily what she wanted to hear. I pointed out that one of the advantages of doing a blog was that it allowed her to get to sleep each night undisturbed, whilst I wrote up and posted the day's account. That was met by a look that, at best, could only be described as withering. So, putting the most optimistic spin a chap can put on the apparent suggestion she would prefer I went to bed at the same time, I made a tentative inquiry - and was quickly left corrected....☹️

 

Anyway, we digress. Back to you, Terry, and your excellent blog. 

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In a popular women’s magazine decades ago, there was a feature called “Can this marriage be saved?” I say, yes, all these marriages are thriving. Just a guess.

 

😁

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I’ll start with a funny remark that one of our US friends said to us the other day - she said we’re the only people she knows who have ever gone to LA for fresh air! - she’s right of course as the amount of smoke that we’ve had in Sydney on and off over the last month has been pretty horrible - and or those with asthma and other breath difficulties it’s quite a challenge

 

Well just to round out the story of arriving at LAX yesterday - in my last post we were on the ground around 3.30pm but that was just the start of things - immigration processing was a long and slow process - and lots (and lots) of queuing and I mean lots. The Global Entry process is not currently available to Australians so that wasn’t an option, we use a ESTA Visa waiver process so we were happy to see electronic machines to scan our passport, take our photo and fingerprints and ask a few questions of us - great I thought just like Sydney we take our ticket to an eGate for automatic clearance and we’ll be on our way - well how wrong was I!
 

Two hours later after waiting in what seemed like a never ending line we reached an officer who took our photo and fingerprints (sound familiar) - after that and pleasant chat we were allowed into the US so off to pick up our baggage, which had certainly arrived off the plane by then and another shorter line for Quarantine inspection - we breezed our way through that and we’re finally out of the terminal

 

It must make getting a connecting flight a lottery or arranging to be picked up very challenging. I’ve been to LAX many times over the years but this time it was by far the worst - I’m just glad we were relatively fresh after the long flight as I wouldn’t want to go through that after 12 hours in economy class

 

After that we actually enjoyed the walk to the recently introduced LAXIT area which is the only place to catch taxis, Uber and Lyft pick up rides. We caught a Lyft to our hotel at Universal Studio - that was uneventful but brought home the size of LA and just how spread out it is 

 

We slept well and we must have been a little jet lagged as we woke up late morning. Our plan had been to do relatively nothing today as we knew it was going to be a recovery day - so we took some great friends, who had lived in LA, advice and headed out to Arts Deli in Ventura Blvd, Studio City and enjoyed chicken soup and a sandwich as well as pickles and some pastrami samples. We don’t have these sorts of Delis back in Australia. What a great classic American deli - founded in 1957 so 62 years old this year (isn’t it nice to eat somewhere that’s older than you!) and very original - we loved the ambience and the food. We weren’t up for a Reuben (they liked huge!) which is our usual preference so we shared a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich which my wife chose  - yes I know Bacon is not a normal meat choice in a Deli but it was on the menu. We were particularly touched for both our Lyft driver and the Waitress to express their sympathy on Australia’s bush fires and the massive destruction we’ve experienced over the last couple of months. We really hadn’t understood how widely it had been reported in the US but people were interested to hear about how things are currently and the impact on people, wildlife and property. I think Californians in particular understand the impact of fires 

 

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I liked the menu section on Yiddish terms - I might try a few of these out on the Rabbi 😄

 

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We enjoyed a walk back along Ventura Blvd and enjoyed a bit of shopping and getting essential for the cruise, Hershey’s chocolates an essential isn’t it? 😁

 

We finished our day by dining with friends somewhere in Hollywood (I didn’t catch the name)  - at a lovely French restaurant and it was Tuna Tartare and a Seafood Linguine for main (ok let’s call it Entree) for me - accompanied by a few Italian Pinot Grigio's for me and a Bombay Sapphire & Tonic for my wife. It was great to chat and catchup and they’d just been in Serenity for the holiday cruise in the Caribbean so we got some ideas for special dishes to request

 

Time to try and get into the right sleep pattern before we hit Universal Studios tomorrow  

 

Only 3 days and we’ll be on Crystal Serenity 

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Welcome to California!  I'm glad on many levels that we can offer you some non-smoky air for your visit.  When the smoke was bad here last year it not only was hard on people physically but emotionally too.  So glad things are getting a bit better over there.  I'm looking forward to reading all about your trip while wishing I was onboard too.  I'll see you on Symphony in June though. 😊

 

~Nancy

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Good to see how comprehensively informed we are going to be - and entertained too!

 

(didn't realise you were so young, Terry...🤪)

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