Posts Tagged ‘crystal cruises’

Sibling Serenity Canal Day 15

June 8, 2012

Charleston

This is a truly historic city. It was taken by the British in the Revolutionary War. In the Civil War, Union forces repeatedly bombarded the city, causing vast damage

In 1865, Union troops moved into the city, and took control of many sites, including the United States Arsenal, which the Confederate Army had seized at the outbreak of the war. The War Department also confiscated the grounds and buildings of the Citadel Military Academy, and used this as a federal garrison for over seventeen years. But that wasn’t enough,

On August 31, 1886, Charleston was again nearly destroyed by an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale. It was felt as far away as Boston to the north, Chicago and Milwaukee to the northwest, as far west as New Orleans, as far south as Cuba, and as far east as Bermuda. It severely damaged 2,000 buildings.

Today all is well. Historic buildings have been restored,

the economy is good, and tourists love the old section of town. One of the best ways to see it is on a wagon with guide.

Actually I think driving, at least for me, would be a problem…I’d be sitting at this cross street for a long time figuring out which green was mine.

Owen and I walked and were amazed as we saw the different burial sites; history below ground as well as above.

We checked out restaurant row as I had an appetite for Southern food. My days at Duke University in North Carolina came sneaking back. Oh, for some liver pudding.

OK, so we passed some upscale restaurants

which brought to mind this question. Why did we eat here?

The outside was not inviting and the inside was not much better, but whee hah, the food was great. I had “She Crab Blue Crab Roe with Sherry” soup followed with a stack of Fried Green Tomatoes.

And dessert:

After lunch, I learned a lesson. Always carry an extra charged battery for your camera. Mine went dead and for me the rest of Charleston will be in my memory, not that that’s fully charged these days.

We sailed for New York.

We’ll both miss Serenity. I’ll miss the lights in our cabin dimming as they are turned off. I’ll miss the crew, the production shows, and of course the best cruise director in the business, Gary Hunter.

Owen will miss, well

Disembarking was beautifully handled. Each guest received colored luggage tags to match airline departure. Mine was Pink 2. (Not there is anything wrong with that.) It was called and off the ship I went. I walked the pier passageway to an elevator where a man said, “Pink 2?” At my nod he said “Follow me.” He took me to the bus, got on and traveled with our Pink 2 group. At the airport he got attendants to help those who had trouble managing their luggage. This was still Crystal!!

The only problem I had was going through security at JFK. Since luggage is taken from the rooms in the evening, one must lay out the next day’s wardrobe. On travel day, I realized that the top button on my pants was missing. Not to worry, my belt would be tight enough to hold the pants up. At security, the TSA woman told me to take off my belt. I explained it is a frequent flyer belt with no metal.

“This system needs all belts off!” she said, pointing to one of those full body scanners.

Off came the belt. I got in the cubicle and she told me to raise my hands high in the air. No belt…no button… If I had been an underwear bomber, it would have been quite obvious. Not Crystal anymore.

Sibling Serenity Canal Day 13

June 6, 2012

Fort Lauderdale is our first US port’ and we all must go through immigration. That means off the ship, through one of the three immigration stations and then back on the ship. There were three lines delineated by the ubiquitous poles and tape. From right to left the first two lines had about 20 people each; the third had one couple waiting. I took that. In two minutes I was done. What is it about humans that they figure the short line isn’t the right one for them?

Wait a minute, not back on the ship until all guests have been processed. What’s that about?

We were directed toward two rooms filled with passengers sitting and waiting to get back on board. No one was being let back until all had gone through immigration. For me this was 40 minutes, for some it had been close to two hours, but no irritation, at least discernible, was seen.

Owen, discounting my hint that there was not much to do in Ft. Lauderdale now that spring breakers were discouraged from visiting, took a cab ($15) to the beach. He did not take his swim suit. He had a cappuccino. Then a taxi back to the ship ($15).

Our side of the ship was on the Inland Waterway, and yachts were passing one after the other. All big, one named Aspen Alternative, but the biggest was being towed by a Lilliputian tugboat. We watched as it went towards Miami.

Why was this beautiful boat being towed all that way? Suddenly I had the scenario. A woman married to a very rich man towards the north had finally had enough. She left their palatial mansion and ran to the boat. There, she hired the tugboat telling them that she had no idea how to steer a yacht.

In case hubby reads this, the yacht is named Mystique.

Some huge freighters came by; interesting to see them so close without much room between us and them.

And then the Bubble Boy’s boat.

The theme of this cruise is Hollywood to New York, with the emphasis on Hollywood. As part of the mix, Tippi Hedren is on board talking about her experience acting in the Hitchcock thriller “The Birds”. She also has a few interesting things to say about her relationship with the famed director. Before dinner, there was a Tippi gathering where guests could have their picture taken with her.

The band played and guests danced with the Dance Hosts.

Owen and I watched and both agreed that one of the Hosts did not dance at all well, or perhaps he was doing the Serenity Shuffle.

While at dinner, I watched as a small boat came by with a couple of guys putting away their fishing poles. Suddenly, a patrol boat came along side and clamped on to them. They were boarded. I have no idea why, and the only photo I could get was through a slightly grimy window.

Owen went to see The Artist in the theater. He really liked it. Perhaps, plus speaking Italian, he can read lips.

My wife and I watched it on DVD but tired of it not too long after it started. However, trusting that my brother knows film, we’ll try it again.

At 9 PM we headed out to sea for Charleston, South Carolina.