Our first day on the Crystal Symphony was a wonderful day at sea, very calm and mostly sunny. It was just hazy enough that you couldn't ever see the horizon. Just a little mysterious. We had a nice breakfast outside on the Lido deck, and then I did some self-service laundry with our clothes from Hong Kong while mom napped. I went to Trivia at noon, while mom found a quiet lounge where she could read and people watch. My team came in second, so no prize, a trend that continued on the rest of the sea days. One couple on my team from Chicago was on the ship from Hong Kong to Athens -- over 9 weeks! Crystal gave all passengers who would be sailing from Dubai through the Gulf of Aden (pirate country) the option to fly to Luxor from Dubai for 3 days in a hotel there -- at Crystal's expense -- so the couple from Chicago took Crystal up on their generous offer. They rejoined the ship before it sailed through the Suez Canal, probably at Safaga. I think many cruise lines are giving passengers this option because of the pirates -- it costs them some big bucks, but certainly is safer.
We had a nice buffet lunch, and I walked around and made some photos while mom continued her reading. Then I napped in the late afternoon before time to get ready for formal night. Mom and I sat out on the balcony in the shade and had some yummy shrimp cocktail and cashews along with our champagne leftover from embarkation day before getting dressed. The captain's welcome party was well attended, with many couples dancing. Everyone looked very elegant in their formal wear. After the party we went to dinner, where we are seated at a table for 9 along with a couple from San Diego, two widowed girl friends from San Diego and Buffalo who were friends in college about 50 years ago, and three people who were missing because they were dining elsewhere or skipping dinner as we did our first night on the ship. They were a married couple from St. Louis/Las Vegas and one of the expert speakers. One small coincidence -- the two women friends were on my second place trivia team, but we didn't know that we were table mates at the time.
I had almost forgotten from my previous cruise on the Crystal Symphony how excellent the production shows were on Crystal. They didn't have the marvelous stories, sets, or special effects like we had on the Disney Magic, but the costumes were exceptional--very intricate and diverse (to match the Broadway/movie music theme). I think the eight dancers and two singers changed clothes at least 25 times during the 75-minute show. It made me exhausted to watch them. Guess I've been cruising too much because I swear that I've seen the male singer and one of the male dancers before. Mom and I both thought it was interesting that one girl dancer just celebrated her 11th year dancing on Crystal ships. That's a long time with one company in any business. Crystal must be good to her.
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