A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Swenigale

Final family photo before travel

All the family on Open House Sunday, also our 39th wedding anniversary


Posted by Swenigale 10:15


1. Logan airport gave us a snowy send-off on Monday morning.
2. By afternoon we had checked in to our hotel and walked to the Port of San Pedro in sunny California. Wow! Oh, our little friend Hästa snuck into our luggage again – there he is by the San Pedro Whaler.
Tomorrow evening (Wednesday) we will be onboard our floating home for the next 106 days, the Crystal Serenity.
The itinerary web site: http://www.crystalcruises.com/cruiselist.aspx?RK=WC2009
The ship: http://www.crystalcruises.com/ships.aspx?SH=Serenity&SDL=13
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Posted by Swenigale 19:30

still here in San Pedro


I want you to see our map!

Posted by Swenigale 14:14 Archived in USA


A note about the map of the voyage- it responds to your cursor, if you move over a port it shows the name, the zoom and direction features are cool, too.

1.- The Crystal Trio gives everyone a classic welcome.

2.- The USC Marching Band welcomes us, as well.

3.- A Sousaphone in your face!

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Posted by Swenigale 14:45


1. A “Coastal Highlights” tour brought us this beautiful view over the Sea of Cortez
2. Father along the coast, the city of San Jose del Cabo and the mission church.
3. A stop at “Cacti Mundo” – who knew there are so many types of cacti!
4. Final stop – the Mexican art of glass blowing.
5. A view from the ship of El Arco in sunset light
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Posted by Swenigale 14:45


As we sail during these five sea days we will be covering the same distance as traveling from Boston to Los Angles, but at 20 knots per hour!

The Serenity is a floating classroom. On Sunday, for example: 1. Ed led the Protestant Service in the “Hollywood Theater”, 2. At 10am dramatist Barbara Rinella portrayed Jennie, Winston Churchill’s mother.
3. At 11am Senator George McGovern spoke about “Ending World Hunger in Our Time”. There was a Jazz Brunch after that in the Crystal Atrium. At 1:30 geographer Roman Pryjomko’s topic was “Into Oceania – Geographical exploration of the Pacific realm”.
As we write on this 6th day of the 106 day cruise we have already attended 11 lectures by 7 world-class presenters!
There should be some kind of degree at the end of this voyage!

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Posted by Swenigale 16:40


1. Waiting for conditions to be just right (enough water in the pass, not too much wind!) we sailed through this pass and into the lagoon.
2. The island is a ring of coral surrounding a lagoon the size of Tahiti, making it the 2nd largest lagoon in the world.
3. It’s a coral atoll so, naturally there is a lot of crushed coral – 4. wear your water shoes – that coral is sharp.
5. A view of the surf on the shoreside exposed to the sea.
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Posted by Swenigale 11:15


1. The Island is “Bali Hai” of the movie “South Pacific” fame.
2 & 3. One of the Mountains has hole at the top where the morning sun shines through
4 & 5: We took a small boat excursion to a place where we got in the water to pet Sting Rays as Black Tip Sharks circled around us!
6. This is where we also snorkeled in an underwater coral garden. 7. Sailing away from Moorea as the sun sets.
8. Tahiti is a short 3 hour sail away – we docked at 9pm Sunday night and local Tahitian dancers came onboard to perform
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Posted by Swenigale 19:31


1. We spent Monday on Tahiti. I still can’t believe it! Good thing we have a million pictures, because in years to come we may not believe we were actually here!
2. We toured the Island with a small group, leaving the busy city of Papeete. Our first stop was at the home of WW I hero and “Mutiny on the Bounty” author James Norman Hall.
3. A view from “One Tree Hill”, named by Capt. James Cook and used by him as a navigation aid when he sailed into the bay in 1769. The lookout provides impressive views back to the island of Moorea and the Sea of Moons.
4. This is Point Venus the landing spot of all the original explorers included Capt. Bligh and the first Protestant Missionaries.
5 & 6. We went farther into the interior of Faarumai valley to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls on Tahiti.
7. Our last stop was at the tomb of the last king of Tahiti who surrendered Tahitian sovereignty to France in 1880. It is said that he drank himself to death, possibly indicated by the sculpture on his tomb?
8. Papeete’s City Market, selling everything from jewelry to fish.
9. The downtown Cathedral, finishing a service on the Festival of the Presentation of Our Lord.
10. Hästa has been keeping a low profile so far – here is on of his rare appearance.
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Posted by Swenigale 01:11


1. Monday night stroll before sailing away from Tahiti.
2. James Michener called Bora Bora the most beautiful island in the world. Mostly, though, we explored it under water! Our adventure began as we were tendered to a dive boat anchored on a coral reef.
3. Here’s me – with my dive helmet being lowered over my head – then I was guided by my French diver to the ocean floor. You’ll have to wait for the hopefully awesome underwater pictures – so many beautiful fish and even a Barracuda.
4. I have been having fun practicing my French in French Polynesia. Later in the day we explored the small town of Vaitape – this girl is keeping away the flies- fresh fish anyone?
5. Or fresh vegetables?
6. The local Roman Catholic church: St. Pierre Celestine.
7. This guy was waiting around in his outrigger to ride the wake of our ship’s tender.
8. By the way – the Crystal Serenity’s Godmother is Dame Julie Andrews – appropriate for us, n’est ce pas?

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Posted by Swenigale 17:35


1. We are anchored off of Rarotonga. Of all the islands we have visited so far, we think this may be the most beautiful.
2. The Cook Islands were annexed by New Zealand in 1901, and this sleepy little town, Avarua, is the Capitol.
3. There is one 32 kilometer road circling the island and we took the “clockwise bus” to get some local flavor. (Yes, there is also an “anti clockwise” bus.)
4. & 5. Green covered mountains soar 2000 feet above white sand beaches and the encircling coral reefs create beautiful, safe lagoons.
6. The sun is really bright – Hästa needed sunglasses – the weather is humid. This is summer below the equator, remember. Did I just hear there is more snow in New England?
7. Map of the entire voyage with all the ports.
8. A map of this segment (2 of 7), from Tahiti to Auckland, New Zealand. 9. A pretty picture of the ship from shore.
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Posted by Swenigale 20:10


Okay, so now figuring out what time it is at home gets a bit more difficult. We crossed the International Date Line, and in so doing we skipped Sunday February 8th, so our Sunday Service was on Monday. That was fine, but now our time is (at the moment) 16 hours AHEAD of East Coast time!
1. Suva is the largest city we have been in since leaving LA – and it is a reminder of the crowding, poverty and debris that can happen, even in paradise.
2. No, these folks are not on a ship-sponsored shore excursion.
3. Hästa has a thing for license plates – sort of a “Hästa was here” kind of thing.
4. Fiji is composed of more than 800 islands, of which Suva is the Capital city. 5. Walking along the streets, everyone is friendly and says “Bula” (“Hello”) and then offers to give you a taxi tour of the island at a good price.
6. The city market – the best place for spices and vegetables.
7. Outside of the city, it is still paradise (but really hot and humid in February!)
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Posted by Swenigale 18:35


1. Are you all getting a geography lesson from this trip along with us? This is the “Paris of the Pacific”. Apparently, food and fashion directly from France available here. Still a territory of France, they use the Polynesian Franc for currency.
2. It was another hot, humid day, so we took a walk in the “cool” of the morning, as soon as we docked at 8am.
3. Later in the morning we enjoyed seeing the popular pilgrim destination, Church of the Conception. This is one of the few churches in the world with a statue of the virgin Mary in place of a cross on the steeple.
4. New Caledonia has the world’s largest lagoon, and the barrier reef that forms it is second in size only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The breaking surf is barely visible on the horizon.
5-9. The newly renovated Aquarium re-circulates water from the lagoon and the naturally lit tanks are filled with colorful coral and fish – a visit is like scuba diving without getting wet.
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Posted by Swenigale 02:55


Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We are sending this on Saturday at 7:30pm (it is 1:30am Saturday on the East Coast)
Today has been a rocky day at sea – fun - really! As usual there has been no shortage of activities.
To celebrate Valentines Day there was a special hour of entertainment at mid-day at the “Crystal Cove” and, it was also our Crystal Chorus debut, singing selections from South Pacific. Entertainment is top notch, but some of it’s down right silly – think of Camp Calumet’s activity staff with an unlimited budget!
Maybe the most special event of the day was a brief renewal of wedding vows presided over by all three clergy, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish. Shouldn’t that make the newspapers somewhere? We sang “For Bobbi” at the beginning and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Sorry we don’t have any pictures, but we renewed our vows as well.
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Posted by Swenigale 22:50


1. Today was cloudy and drizzly, and cooler than the local weather has been (maybe 65 degrees). Perfect for sea kayaking.
2. We paddled our way through the Waitangi Estuary to Haruru Falls (which means “roar” in the Maori tongue).
3. Paddling through the mangrove trees, the life blood of the estuary and a favorite breeding ground for fish. We were back on the Serenity by 1:30pm and the Sunday service was in the late afternoon once again – Ed still managed to play the guitar – we expect sore arms tomorrow, though!
4 & 5. What a treat! Dolphins played alongside the ship as we left the Bay of Islands.
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Posted by Swenigale 22:40

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