Sunday, March 18, 2018

Day 31 - Sat Mar 17, 2018 Moorea, French Polynesia - Crystal Symphony - Sydney to Tahiti

Day 31- Moorea- Sat, Mar 17, 2018

It is a picture perfect day in Moorea.  Perhaps the most beautiful island we have visited.  The island has peaks rising from the sea to 3600 feet, covered with lush vegetation, overlooking a beautiful lagoon.  It’s no wonder it’s known as the romantic isle.  Moorea has a population of about 15,000. The ship is anchored in Cook’s Bay.  The fabulous spire is the one made famous as “Bali Hai” in the movie “South Pacific.”  It is truly an idyllic setting.

Sail in - More of Conrad's places.

After tendering to the dock we boarded a boat to take us snorkeling.  The turquoise waters of the lagoon were beautiful.  

Added bonus, on our way out, we saw Tahitian Spinner dolphins.
Our first area for snorkeling had a plethora of black fin sharks and stingrays.  There were so many sharks it was sort of creepy.  While snorkeling you come face-to-face with a shark and it is definitely disconcerting.  Next we went to an area inside the reef, but next to an island.  The current was strong, so we walked to the area where the snorkeling was “good” and then let the current take us back to the boat eventually.  The coral was beautiful with many colors and bright colored fish.  It was our best snorkeling day of the trip.

On our way back, we took in the beauty of the surrounding area.

The Inter-contential (the buildings on the hill were timeshares, but now are private residences).
Lunch was in the dining room, and then we were off to pack this afternoon.  We are sad to leave the ship early tomorrow morning.

There was a St. Patrick’s Day Party in the Starlight Lounge that we attended.  Lots of drinking, costumes and a sing-a long.

We had our last dinner of this trip in The Waterside.  Julie enjoyed the Captain’s Salad, Tomato Bisque Soup with Crème Fraiche, Fish and Chips (in honor of St Patrick’s Day) and Chocolate Mint Crumble. 

Bob had the Irish Cobbler Potato Torte, Tomato Bisque Soup, Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce and the Chocolate Mint Crumble.

After dinner we stopped in the Crystal Cove to say good-bye to Petar and then upstairs to finish some last minute packing.

Our only shot of Tahiti.

It’s been an absolutely wonderful trip.  We have enjoyed every minute of the experience, and are looking forward to our next Crystal vacation.

Today we walked 5.71 miles, 12,558 steps.

Day 30 - Fri Mar 16, 2018 Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia - Crystal Symphony - Sydney to Tahiti

Day 30-Bora Bora- Fri Mar 16, 2018

The sunrise sailing into Bora Bora was beautiful. 

James Michener called Bora Bora the most beautiful island in the world.  It truly is the fantasy of what an island paradise should be.  Majestic, 2,000 foot high peaks tower over its lagoon. The peaks are the remnants of an extinct volcano, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the highest point at 2,385.

Bora Bora has coral reefs of the barrier reef type, meaning it is separate from the landmass. We anchored inside the reef, so tendering was no problem.  The sky was cloudy and on Shane’s Morning Show he said it would rain.  We had our fingers crossed that it wouldn’t affect us (we’ve really had terrific weather on this cruise, and the few times it rained we got lucky and dodged it with our timing. 

This photo was in reflections, the weather wasn't this beautiful.  

A stock photo, but it shows the reef protecting the islands. Incredible.
We booked a shore excursion today to go snorkeling and to a beach.  The snorkeling catamaran picked us from the tender pier.  It was quite a nice boat designed to comfortably carry us to our snorkeling venue. The first stop was an area where we snorkeled with Blacktip Sharks and Stingrays.  The Blacktip Sharks were swimming about us and most often had some sort of blue fish swimming below them.  The Stingrays were also around, brushing our legs like a cat does as he/she walks by.

Tender dock.

Front of our boat.

The shark boys entertained us.

8 birds, 4 sharks, 2 sting rays.

Yes, we really did swim with these sharks.

Next up was a stop by the reef to see the coral and fish there.  The coral was beautiful, some of it colored.  There were also clams with various colors on the inside of their shells that were visible as they opened and closed – purple, green, blue.  It was amazing.  As we were snorkeling at the reef, one of our guides starting blowing a conch shell to call us all back to the boat.  A storm was fast approaching.  

Once back on the boat it started to rain heavily, and the wind was blowing.  The water became quite rough, splashing over the sides as of the boat as we started our journey to the beach.  After about 20 minutes of being splashed by the spray, batted about, and it still raining we decided it would be best to go back to the tender pier early.  Time at a beach in the pouring rain and wind didn’t seem pleasant.

On our way back to the tender pier, we passed the Hilton Hotel with its thatched huts built out over the water. 

Conrad's place (Hilton)
In our tender we noticed a lot of local girls coming to the ship and wondered what that was about.  With the inclement weather, Crystal had made arrangements to have some (25-30) local school girls to come onboard and do a show for us 2:15 pm.  Many girls were dressed in native clothing.  All had fresh flower crowns on.  The air was filled with the scent of fresh flowers as they performed their dances in the Crystal Cove.  They even had passengers join in at the end, with much giggling at the clumsy attempts of the passengers to mimic their graceful dance.  Thanks to quick thinking on the Cruise Director’s part, it turned into a wonderful afternoon.

Cruise director Shane dancing with the girls.

Even the Captain joined in.
 “Learning to Drive” was the afternoon movie with Ben Kingsley.  We thoroughly enjoyed the movie. After we went to deck 7 and took a few pictures now that it had stopped raining.

Small boat checking out the big boat.
Sail away was as we went up and had pre-dinner drinks were in the Silk Lounge.  Per Dennis’ recommendation we tried the Caipirnha – the National Drink of Brazil which we found quite enjoyable.  It tasted similar to a margarita. Thank you, Dennis!

The Churrascaria was our dining venue for this evening.  We truly have enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, extensive salad bar and the fabulous selection of grilled meats with terrific sauces.  One of the women Julie was chatting with on the tender boat today remarked that it is her favorite restaurant on the ship.  It certainly is a different experience from the other dining choices. 

Mark Merchant, a comedy ventriloquist was the main entertainment for tonight.  Mark uses the news headlines for his up to date comedy material, combining his humor with his ventriloquism.  He is absolutely amazing and we truly enjoyed his show.

Today we walked 5.77 miles and 13,817 steps.