A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Testing the waters

setting up the next the Chaplain and me blog

We will be at sea for an unprecedented (for us) 137 days! The adventure begins December 20!American idyll

American idyll

Posted by Swenigale 09.07.2010 04:19 Archived in USA Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises lakes

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS AT CALUMET

Singing Our Hearts Out

Mor Mor and Valena

1_1291837862048_wc0001.jpg

Marika singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".

2_1291837863251_wc0002.jpg

"Go, Tell It On The Mountain".

3_1291837865032_wc0003.jpg

Posted by Swenigale 11:51

MIAMI –Dec. 20 and 21

2_1292950563052_wc0004.jpg

Twenty five hours and 1465 miles after leaving home we returned our rental car, checked into our Miami hotel, caught some zzz, then oo’d and ah’d over the beautiful full moon outside our window!

3_1292950564677_wc0005.jpg

Christmas trees are in “full bloom” in Miami.

4_1292950566208_wc0006.jpg

The moon pretending to be the Star of Bethlehem. Anyone catch the lunar eclipse?

The Crystal Serenity docked this morning. It will be our home for the next 137 days.

Posted by Swenigale 08:56

DEC. 21-23

1_1293194461130_wc0009.jpg

This year Hästa (our Swedish horse tagalong) was not left at home alone.

2_1293194462802_wc0010.jpg

We are onboard and everything is tucked away.

3_1293194464021_wc0011.jpg

Looking back at the Port of Miami.

4_1293194465802_wc0012.jpg

One of many Christmas trees on the Crystal Serenity

Posted by Swenigale 04:41

CHRISTMAS EVE - DEC. 24

ST. THOMAS, US VIRGIN ISLANDS

1_1293323761943_wc0013.jpg

On this "Tropical Holiday" cruise our first port was St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands - we arrived early Christmas Eve morning.

2_1293323763646_wc0014.jpg

Looking from the ship to the town of Charlotte Amalie - it is about a 30 minute walk from the ship to the town.


3_1293323764911_wc0015.jpg

Frederick Lutheran Church - established in 1666 by the Danes - with its doors open wide welcoming us in

4_1293323766630_wc0016.jpg

Danish heritage and island culture are beautifully interwoven - those are steel drums in the balcony.

5_1293323767958_wc0017.jpg

Several decorated trees are placed around the nave.

6_1293323771333_wc0018.jpg

Also dating to the 1600's - the "99 Steps" ascend from behind the church (this picture is looking back down the steps)....

7_1293323773896_wc0019.jpg


8_1293323775661_wc0020.jpg

....and bring us to a lovely view of the harbor and also Blackbeard's Castle!

Later, our Christmas Eve service was at 11:45pm, a service of lessons, carols and communion.

Posted by Swenigale 12.25.2010 16:36 Archived in US Virgin Islands

CHRISTMAS DAY - DEC. 25

AT SEA

1_1293375362177_wc0021.jpg

Merry Christmas, everyone! We miss you!

2_1293375365177_wc0022.jpg

Our Christmas service was held in the Stardust Lounge. Ed is standing with Teddy, who has been helping us with every service set-up for the past two years.

3_1293375366911_wc0023.jpg

Who is that in Santa's toy bag?

4_1293375368583_wc0024.jpg

Great decorations, yes?

5_1293375371177_wc0025.jpg

The Christmas buffet- with the introduction of the most important folks: the chefs!

6_1293375374177_wc0026.jpg

2010 is Crystal's 20th anniversary year - and the buffet, including dessert tables, featured the "best of the past twenty years". Yes, even a Norwegian wedding cake!

7_1293375383708_wc0027.jpg

Ice sculptures, "Astoria String quartet" (they also played a prelude at our Christmas Eve service), and a lobster tail mountain - unbelievable!

Posted by Swenigale 06:56

SUNDAY -- DEC. 26

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS

7_1293546974052_wc0028.jpg

Happy Boxing Day! This is one of the town's shopping streets. Bridgetown stores are closed for the holiday.

8_1293546975490_wc0029.jpg

Here's an unlikely spot for a Hallmark ad - above a changing table in a Bajan bathroom!

9_1293546977052_wc0030.jpg

St. Michael's Cathedral - twice destroyed by storms and rebuilt - but still an "Emergency Shelter".

10_1293546980052_wc0031.jpg

The British Commonwealth's third oldest Parliament, constructed around 1870.

11_1293546981615_wc0032.jpg

The rains came on and off today, but our long walk was rewarded with sunny skies and happy clouds as we strolled along the "Careenage".

12_1293546983115_wc0033.jpg

Crystal Serenity's Neptune pool on deck twelve - beneath the sliding glass roof.

13_1293546984552_wc0034.jpg

An awesome performance in the ship's Galaxy Theater by Hector Olivera - he designed this organ/synthesizer and has voices, instruments, whistles and bells at his figure tips. He actually played "Flight of the Bumble Bee" on the foot petals!

14_1293546986052_wc0035.jpg

Christmas guard duty!

Posted by Swenigale 12.28.2010 06:36 Archived in Barbados

MONDAY - DEC. 27


View SERENITY 3- WC 2011 on Swenigale's travel map.

CASTRIES, ST. LUCIA

1_1293547863083_wc0036.jpg

It's a good idea to take pictures of place names! Two of the lecturers onboard this cruise are memory experts, Dr. Fred Chernow (from Long Island) and Michael Dispezio (from Cape Cod), but taking a picture of signs is one memory aid we thought of ourselves!

2_1293547865115_wc0037.jpg

There are beautiful buildings as well as the poor and run down - all part of the island scenery in the lush hillsides.

3_1293547866083_wc0038.jpg

This is the view from the port side (the side our cabin is on) - the skies are iffy, with rain forecast. The island had very heavy rains for their Christmas weekend.

4_1293547866974_wc0039.jpg

Today is also a holiday - not many folks walking around - this is the central park' Derek Walcott Square, named for their native son, who won a 1992 Nobel prize for literature.

5_1293547869005_wc0040.jpg

Big waves at Rodney Bay - the water was too churned up for snorkeling but we took a swim (I got tumbled around getting out of the surf!) then we enjoyed the sun and surf from the shade of an umbrella.

6_1293547869880_wc0041.jpg

A green paradise does come with a price - the weekend rains are still being absorbed. We lucked out, though - four hours on the beach with no rain and no sunburn!

Posted by Swenigale 12.28.2010 06:51 Archived in Saint Lucia

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS ONBOARD

1_1293717363052_wc0042.jpg

2_1293717364521_wc0043.jpg

3_1293717366053_wc0044.jpg

4_1293717367444_wc0045.jpg

5_1293717369053_wc0046.jpg

6_1293717370335_wc0047.jpg

7_1293717372054_wc0048.jpg

8_1293717374992_wc0049.jpg

9_1293717378070_wc0050.jpg

Posted by Swenigale 05:56

TUESDAY - DEC. 28


View SERENITY 3- WC 2011 on Swenigale's travel map.

ST. JOHN'S, ANTIGUA

6_1293738381537_wc0051.jpg

We drove by taxi to Long Beach, the only beach in Antigua where you can snorkel on a reef without using a boat to get there.

7_1293738382677_wc0052.jpg

These are sheep - yes, they look like goats because of their short hair, but they have adapted to the tropical heat and never wear "their winter coats"! How can you tell the sheep from the goats? Sheep tails are long and hang down, goat tails are short and stick up!

8_1293738384521_wc0053.jpg

Long Beach - great for snorkeling, swimming and soccer!

9_1293738385662_wc0054.jpg

10_1293738387521_wc0055.jpg

Also a really nice place to be on our anniversary!

Posted by Swenigale 12.30.2010 11:46 Archived in Antigua and Barbuda

WEDNESDAY - DEC. 29

ST. MAARTEN / ST. MARTIN

1_1293742263646_wc0056.jpg

A rainy, blustery day in St. Maarten - a nice time to rent a car to see the island.

2_1293742264927_wc0057.jpg

The island is only about half the size of Washington DC and we soon left the Dutch side (Sint Maarten) and drove through the crowded street of Marigot, the French capitol, it was Wednesday market day.

3_1293742266646_wc0058.jpg

Venders were busy restocking, and everyone on the island with a car was in Marigot looking for a place to park!

4_1293742268302_wc0059.jpg

Restaurants and stores were busy - just like North Conway, NH on a rainy summer day!

5_1293742269662_wc0060.jpg

Friar's Bay in the wind - wild and beautiful.

6_1293742271005_wc0061.jpg

We had lunch in this small restaurant- a great place to practice my French! We ordered the specials of the day - magnifique!

7_1293742272646_wc0062.jpg

8_1293742278802_wc0063.jpg

Before leaving the French side we navigated the worst road you could imagine to get to Le Galion, where windsurfers were taking advantage of the blowy day.

9_1293742280068_wc0064.jpg

Crossing the Boundary back to the Dutch side

10_1293742281646_wc0065.jpg

The Crystal Serenity was not alone in the port.

Posted by Swenigale 12:51

FRIDAY - NEW YEAR'S EVE - DEC. 31

CURACAO

1_1293915361099_wc0066.jpg

Curacao is one of the five islands of the former Netherlands Antilles and is just 35 miles from the coast of Venezuela. We docked in Willemstad, the capital of Curacao – a unique blend of Dutch, Caribbean, African and South American cultures. The Queen Emma pontoon bridge swings aside several times during the day, allowing ships to pass. At those times pedestrians take a ferry to cross the waterway that divides the city.

2_1293915362474_wc0067.jpg

The Floating Market – with the Serenity docked front and center.

3_1293915364599_wc0068.jpg

Curacao was fought over by the French and British for 200 years until it was given back to the Dutch in 1814. I don’t know whose cannon this was – but Hästa seems to have claimed it.

4_1293915366693_wc0069.jpg

During the day lots of explosions rocked the city (and us!). Apparently, New Year’s Eve fireworks here are all about the noise!

5_1293915371193_wc0070.jpg

Plumes of smoke rise from the latest explosions.

6_1293915372693_wc0071.jpg

The waterway when the pontoon bridge is floated to the side.

7_1293915374037_wc0072.jpg

Back on board the ship was being readied for a big New Year’s Eve celebration: shows, music and champagne toasts – and no fireworks!

8_1293915375693_wc0072a.jpg

9_1293915377349_wc0072b.jpg

10_1293915378693_wc0073.jpg

Happy New Year everyone!

Posted by Swenigale 12:56

SUNDAY -- JAN. 2

GRAND TURK

1_1294110363193_wc0074.jpg

This island is a part of a group of thirty islands located due east of Cuba and 575 miles southeast of Miami. It is known as a diving and snorkeling paradise, but today we stayed on (sort of) dry land. Ed was ship's escort for a Dune Buggy tour of the island - here one of our guides was giving us instructions.

2_1294110366177_wc0075.jpg

I decided to go with the best driver J. Helmets were required and face shields recommended (lots of donkeys and wild horse on the island!)

3_1294110369193_wc0076.jpg

Most of the beauty of Grand Turk is near or under the water (the beach, the coral, the fish). The landscape is scrubby vegetation and limestone. Salt flats are edged with what the locals call their "snow".

4_1294110370318_wc0077.jpg

Climbing one of the highest spots we looked out over Gibbs Bay. The coral reefs surrounding these islands drop off in one portion at "The Wall" and go 7000 feet down. The water is crystal clear! We saw rain coming and hurried back to our waiting vehicles.

5_1294110372193_wc0078.jpg

One of the reasons for wearing face shields when you don't have a wind shield.

6_1294110373365_wc0079.jpg

At times our little convoy looked like an invading army!

7_1294110375193_wc0080.jpg

The lighthouse on the north tip of the island - rumor has it that Grand Turk may be where Christopher Columbus touched land in 1492.

8_1294110376365_wc0081.jpg

9_1294110378177_wc0082.jpg

John Glenn splashed down in the waters off Grand Turk in his space capsule way back on February 20, 1962.

10_1294110379271_wc0083.jpg

We put our feet up before showers chased us back to the ship..

Posted by Swenigale 19:06

TUESDAY -- JAN. 4

MIAMI

1_1294257361588_wc0084.jpg

We docked in Miami this morning. Monday night we had said our farewells and wished Godspeed to new friends and we decided to use this "turnaround day" as a chance to walk off some of the great food we have been having.

2_1294257364245_wc0085.jpg

The ship is docked not far from downtown, in the waterway we will sail down and out to sea tonight.

3_1294257366276_wc0086.jpg

We walked along Biscayne Blvd. toward our destinations - not here, but to the post office and CVS - unromantic, but necessary.

4_1294257367792_wc0087.jpg

Looking toward the Serenity and the port from the bridge we walked. We came back, tasks completed, with 4 or 5 miles under our belts, looking forward to a relaxing afternoon on deck and the arrival of friends who are embarking today.

5_1294257369292_wc0088.jpg

We were waiting for these gulls to start squawking, "Mine, mine, mine"!

Posted by Swenigale 01.05.2011 11:56 Archived in USA

THURSDAY -- JAN. 6

GRAND CAYMAN, BWI

1_1294431362439_wc0089.JPG

Cruise ships anchor in the waters off Grand Cayman (there were four of them here today – ours was the smallest) and the ship’s tenders ferry passengers to and from the piers in George Town. This tender/lifeboat is being winched back up onto the Serenity.

2_1294431366861_wc0090.JPG

Seven Mile Beach – soft clean sand, beautiful clear water – great for snorkeling or just hanging out in the shade of an umbrella

3_1294431367955_wc0091.JPG

Lunch time at the family business

4_1294431369861_wc0092.JPG

Hästa will be appearing more regularly in these pages– we’re told that we have some grandchildren looking for him!

5_1294431370955_wc0093.JPG

We came back to the ship early to prepare for the Epiphany Service. The black and white ship is a Holland America ship and the white one is a Royal Caribbean, all anchored and calmly floating while awaiting their returning passengers.

6_1294431371830_wc0094.JPG

Entertainment on Crystal Serenity has something for everyone. This evening we were treated to “A Musical Journey from Chopin to Gershwin”, featuring celebrated pianist Philip Wojciechowski. Incredible!

Posted by Swenigale 01.07.2011 12:16 Archived in Cayman Islands

(Entries 1 - 15 of 75) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 »