Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day 10, October 13, 2014, Symphony Crossing – Grand Turk

We gained another hour (we are now on Eastern Daylight time), so we are now done with time changes.  Julie woke up at 4 something, got up at 5, started a load of laundry and went out to exercise at 5:30.  Bob got up at 6 and started exercising at 6:20.  We were sailing into Grand Turk, supposedly to arrive just after the Carnival Breeze arrived (it is a 4000+ passenger mega ship).  We could see the Carnival ship in the distance and it looked like we were going to arrive first.  Bob ended up continuing to walk around the promenade deck watching us arrive in port, docking at about 7:30.

The Breeze followed and began its docking procedure just behind us.   People were going ashore from our ship a bit before 8 and the Breeze passengers disembarked a little later.

After watching the docking, we went up to breakfast and ate outside on the back of the Lido and gazed up at the massive Breeze ship.  It has about 5 or 6 more decks that our ship.  After breakfast, we did some pre-packing of clean clothes and then started working on the blog.

We had a light lunch in the Lido at about noon and then got ready for our excursion.  We then assembled in the Starlight for our 1:15 shore excursion, a Kayaking and Eco walk tour.  We left precisely at 1:15, disembarked, and walked out to sign a waiver and get on an open-air bus.  There were 14 of us including the Crystal crew escort.  We drove in the bus about 30 minutes north of the port.  We saw a flock of pink flamingos on the drive.  After a dirt road, we arrived at the place where we would board our kayaks.  We were on a small salt-water river with mangroves and several different kinds of birds.  The two-person kayaks had glass bottoms.  After a few short instructions, we got in and started to paddle up the river, enjoying the sights and talking a bit about the flora and fauna.  At one point, we stopped and the guide reached into the water and pulled out a jellyfish.  It is one of the few species that do not sting. 

We then had to get really low in our kayaks and float under a bridge back near where we started.  We then went down the river near the outlet and got out of our kayaks for a short eco walk.   We learned both about the environment and the people of eight inhabited islands of the 60 in the Turks and Caicos.  Grand Turk is known for its animals (including donkeys that just wander in and out of houses), while North Caicos is known for its health.  People there eat only all natural foods and live to a very old age.  The South Caicos is known for their skill around the ocean, such as being able to swim for long periods of time under water (averaging 8 minutes).  After a short swim (it was really hot by this time and the water was amazingly refreshing), we got back in the kayaks and paddled back to the starting point.  The bus returned and got us back to the ship right at 4:30 (the scheduled end of the tour and also when all passengers needed to be on the ship).

We then got ready for the evening and went up to the pool area for the sail away party.  The party ended at 5:30 and we went down to the Starlight club for cocktails. 

Dinner was again at 6:15.  Bob began with an appetizer of Charred Beef Salad with Papaya-Mango Slaw.  It was absolutely excellent.  Julie skipped the appetizer.  For the second course, we both had Panache of Mixed Greens with Radicchio, Fennel, and Orange Segments.  We both thought that it was good but somewhat ordinary.  For entrée, Bob had the Caribbean Lamb Curry with Coconut Rice, Fried Bananas, and Fresh Pineapple-Cilantro Chutney.  It was fantastic!!!  Julie wasn’t in the mood for the various options and thus chose a Grilled Black Angus Filet Steak with Sauce Béarnaise from the Traditional – always-available menu.  Instead of a regular dessert, we decided to try the cheeses.  These were amazingly great cheeses and we were a bit upset that we hadn’t tried them before.

The appetizer salad:

The salad:

The lamb curry:

The steak:

After dinner, we went to the atrium, where the Galaxy Orchestra was doing a Dixie Land set.  There was a huge audience.  We also noticed up in the Bistro that they had set up the exact same set of cheeses that we found on the cheese menu in the dining room, right next to the chocolate fountain.  We might try this on our last night.

Notice the pillows in various locations:

We then went to the Galaxy lounge for the Dancing with the Crystal Stars show.  It began with Dale Gonyea doing a warmup act.  He was really funny, again mixing in life on the ship with humor.  After a few more elements, they started the show where several staff members (including the Doctor, a day cleaner, a concierge and a bartender) teamed up with the dance instructors to do a dance in front of the audience.  Like the show, they just learned the routines this week.  It was quite entertaining and enjoyable.  There are two dance teams onboard and they had taught the amateurs the dances just this cruise.

After the show, we retired for the evening.

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