Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Day 3 (Jan 13, 2020) – Crystal Symphony – San Diego to Guam – Embarkation Day

Embarkation Day is always exciting.  Today was no different.  We woke up early and walked down to the harbor to see the ship.  The Crystal Symphony was due to arrive in San Diego at 5:30 am (according to the Port Authority schedule).  We arrived at the pier at 6:30 am and the Symphony was just docking.  We watched for a few minutes, and walked back to our hotel to get ready for the day and have a light breakfast. 

The moon shining down through a few clouds on the docking Symphony
The hotel provides a shuttle to the pier and we were on the 10:20 am shuttle, arriving at the cruise terminal at about 10:35 am.  After checking our luggage with the stevedores, we passed through passport, cruise ship ticket check and the airline style screening.  Crystal has changed the embarkation process – the Penthouse Suites receive priority and then those in other cabins are given boarding groups at arrival.  Being there early, we were in boarding group 1.  Embarkation began at 11:30 am, and was very efficient.  We breezed through embarkation, checked our hand luggage, received a flute of Champagne and were seated in the Waterside Dining Room by 11:45 am for our traditional embarkation day lunch.

Julie had:Seafood Plate, Salmon, and one of her four favorite deserts - Raspberry Sundae.

Bob had:Potage Vegetable Soup and Cobb Salad.

After lunch we took care of some “business” and proceeded to make additional Dining Reservations in the two Specialty Restaurants – Umi Uma and Prego.  Only one reservation each is allowed prior to embarkation.  We also obtained tickets for the Crystal Magicians at Sea close up Magic Show.  Our cabin was ready just before 3:00 pm, and our luggage was in room.  The Muster Drill was at 4:15 pm and we unpacked as quickly as possible, hoping to be finished before the drill.  We didn’t quite make it, and in our rush didn’t organize as well as we usually do.  The Muster Drill has changed in that you do not need to take your lifejacket to the drill anymore.  That is really nice – it always seemed like a safety hazard with the straps hanging as people carried them from/to their staterooms.

Traditionally we go out on the Promenade Deck to watch sail away and enjoy a glass of Champagne.  By the time we got outside, we were already pulling away from the dock and “What a Wonderful World” (a Crystal sail away tradition) was playing over the speakers.  We left San Diego at 4:52 pm, a few minutes earlier than the 5:00 pm scheduled time.

The Palm Court is a wonderful venue on Deck 11 at the front of the ship.  We chose that for pre-dinner drinks to enjoy the view as we sailed out of San Diego Harbor.  Passing the Naval Air Station North Island we were at just the right angle to see a fighter jet take off and had a great visualization of the afterburners – it was quite a sight in the twilight.

Dinner was in Umi Uma, a Nobu restaurant.  The cuisine is amazing, and our wait staff did an incredible job of pacing the meal.  We enjoyed several courses of appetizers including: 2 sushi rolls (spicy tuna and salmon asparagus); eggplant; lobster tempura; lobster taco; and rock shrimp tempura. (Sorry, we missed taking pictures of a few courses).

Sushi rolls

Rock shrimp tempura
Julie had the Broiled Salmon with Anticuchco sauce and Bob had the Grilled Australian Wagyu Beef Filet with 3 different sauces (Anticucho, Nobu-style Wasabi Pepper Sauce, and Teriyaki). 

Today is Julie’s Birthday and Maitre d’ Bruno surprised her with a birthday cake. 

Julie's serving of the cake with some vanilla ice cream to go along
We don't typically post menus, but Umi Uma has such a great menu that we decided to include it here:

Sushi and Sashimi Menu

After dinner we headed to the Avenue Saloon to listen to the piano music of Mark Farris.  We enjoyed conversation and the music.

One of the big reasons we love Crystal is the staff.  It truly is like coming home with all the familiar faces.  We hadn’t been on the ship for more than 30 seconds when we saw one of the bar waitstaff Petar, who we enjoy immensely.  He gave Julie a big hug as we headed off to check our hand luggage.  Later on, we saw Mikaela in the Palm Court.

Today we walked: 12,199 steps and 5.3 miles.