See those life boats? Our two staterooms (7088 and 7090) were right below the first lifeboat. We were warned that our rooms had a "partially obstructed view." But itt wasn't as bad as we'd feared.
Our cruise started and ended in Copenhagen. We enjoyed three days there before the ship sailed, and another day at the end of the cruise.
Washington is finally becoming more bike friendly. But in Copenhagen, 40 percent of workers commute to work by bike (as I did for 20 years). Sidewalks along major streets are divided in two -- half for pedestrians, half for cyclists. This arrangement can be hazardous for a newbie like me who staggers around like the drunk I used to be.
When I visited Iceland two years ago, one of the tourist attractions was a hot dog stand in Reykjavik, the capital city. I have to admit: its hot dogs were terrific. I didn't get to Copenhagen's touted DØP hot dog stand, but my travel mates said its organic wieners were almost as good as those famous Icelandic hot dogs.
All three of us agreed Copenhagen is a fun city to visit. I only wish I'd done it in my biking days.
As I reported in an earlier Copenhagen post, it was a special treat to have my London pals Terry and Prav pop over to push my wheelchair around Tivoli Gardens.
The Crystal Cruise Line and Its Ship the Symphony
This cruise was my fourth. Two of the others were on Regent Line, which is considered top-of-the-line. I thought the Crystal Symphony was as good as the Regent ships.Actually, I now find that Crystal has been rated the world's best more than any other line.
Our staterooms were smaller this time, but I suspect I'd chosen a higher class cabin on Regent. I don't think the Symphony had any staterooms with balconies like I had on both Regent cruises.
But the food on the Symphony was excellent, the best yet. After our first seating, we requested a table in the area served by Zolton (from Hungary) and Marisa (from Portugal).
Just a few issues. The help-yourself buffet restaurant was closed in the evening. The only remaining option was the more formal dining rooms, which was OK on this trip since I enjoyed dining with my two travel companions. But I would have missed the buffet dinner option on my two solo trips.
There were also two specialty restaurants -- Asian and Italian -- that required reservations. Both were excellent.
I like to write blog posts while traveling, and I'm addicted to internet access. In this arena, Symphony was head and shoulders above the competition. It offered a computer room with about a dozen PCs... AND three top-notch techies. Since I spend lots of time these days creating -- then trying to solve -- computer problems, the support of these experts was invaluable.
No technical wizardry, though, could solve the problem of slow, intermittent, or sometimes nonexistent internet connections as we headed north into Arctic waters.
Accessing the internet on cruise ships is not cheap. Crystal's charges are typical:
I signed or for Plan E to get the maximum time for the lowest per minute charge. If we hadn't had frequent disruptions as we sailed north, I would have spent even more.
The ship had a room set aside for bridge players, overseen on this voyage by a nice couple who were bridge masters and very good instructors. Each afternoon, they organized two hours of duplicate bridge. I participated a couple of times, but I experienced my usual problems with duplicate bridge. I like a much more informal game with lots of chit chat. Serious bridge players would envy our bridge-room couple; they've played this role on more than 50 different cruises.
The evening entertainment on this cruise was the best I've seen. A "Broadway" evening was especially good. This cruise also featured emerging young artists.
The Cruise Itself
We were on the ship for 15 days, with two full nights at sea. On the other days, you could wander ashore or take a group tour, which the ship offered at each stop. We signed up for just one -- a boat trip to an island, where I finally got to see a puffin.