We forgot to mention that we were able to FaceTime with our entire family yesterday who were spending the weekend together at our son and daughter-in-law's house. So it was nice to be able to chat and see our son, daughter in law and grandson and their two dogs as well as our daughter, son-in-law and grandson and grand daughter. We hadn't realized it was Grandparent's day until they wished us a happy Grandparent's day.
Before dinner last evening we made our daily visit to the Avenue Saloon for a pre-dinner drink. It was a little busier than it has been the past few days which might be due to it being another sea day.
We then made our way down to the Crystal Dining Room for dinner. We were joined for dinner by John Stoll, Vice President of Crystal Cruises Land Programs and Port Operations. John has been on board since this voyage began in Seward, Alaska as Project Manager for this epic voyage. He will remain on-board until our arrival to New York City. It was nice to get together with John for our second dinner together of this voyage. This has been an amazing voyage that has far exceeded all that we had expected both on and off the ship so we definitely relived many of the events over dinner that only recently unfolded for us. The good news is there is still more to come.
The third photos shows our wonderful senior waiter Lylian and behind her at another table is our waiter Aleksandar. Both of them have been gems throughout this voyage.
The entertainment featured two variety showroom performances. This included dance duo of Curtis and Natalie and comedian John Joseph.
The good news is that we set the clock back one hour before going to sleep. This puts us on Eastern Daylight Time.
We slept well as we continue to sail to our next port of call of Bar Harbor, Maine.
We kept to that all-familiar morning routine. It began by a visit by Keith to the Fitness Center followed by breakfast in our room. Afterwards, Anne Marie walked for an hour and following her walk attended Yoga. Usually yoga classes are taught at sea days but Maria and Joe are looking at possibly combining the two morning classes into one on one of the upcoming port day.
Anne Marie has really enjoyed the classes and Maria Kita with the assistance of her husband Joe just to a terrific job teaching this class. This is why they are invited back to return year after year for World Cruises and now this special voyage.
Keith took another indoor cycling class. The class continues to be very popular with all bikes full. A number of the participants told Keith that they had recommended to the Fitness Center that Keith teach another class. Two more classes will be offered before this voyage ends. Since they are on the final two port days of the cruise Keith thinks he will pass on them. Instead, he will just spin on his own and workout on the elliptical machine. He has enjoyed the classes, which have been taught by Fitness Directors Martin and Kyle and just as importantly the bond that has been developed with his fellow spinners. There has been a core of about fifteen people and each class ten or eleven of them participate.
Today marked the third of the three consecutive days at sea and also our last sea day of this epic and historical voyage.
There were two lectures on the schedule and they covered areas other than the Northwest Passage.
The first lecture of the day was given by Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman who spoke about The Hubble Telescope. The talk was quite interesting and ever so special because he was involved in three spacewalks as part of the Hubble reduce and repair mission. Keith saw the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit while sailing on the 2015 World Cruise when he viewed it with fellow guests and the Astronaut who was on board and the Chief Electrical Engineer.
This was followed by a Question and Answer session with Captain Birger Borland Hotel Director Hubert Bleacher Chief Engineer Robert Bayfield, Expedition Leader Tim Soper, Northwest Project Manager John Stoll and Cruise Director Rick Spath.
Rick, opened the program by noting that a pre-screening of the Northwest Passage Video would be tomorrow night with two showings.
There was a wide range of questions Keith typed these out but did not proof read it.
First one was to the Captain? What happened to the beard. He had decided at the end of the World Cruise to grow a beard but to remove it after we got out of the Northwest Passage.
Second one was who from the panel will be on the 2017 NWP Cruise? The only definitive one is that Hubert will be back.
Third was why not stop in Halifax and Newfoundland? The concern was that when they put together the itinerary they were not sure if they could refuel in Nuuk and they would not have been able to refuel in those Eastern Canada Locations.
Fourth was who contacted who the Expedition Group or Crystal? The answer was that John Stoll reached out to them and after initial meetings the joint planning started. First challenge was how does it work with a large ship.
Fifth was what scared you the most and woke you up in the middle of the night. The Captain said that we didn’t have any scary experiences on the voyage. He does say he spent lots of hours awake to be on top of everything. John Stoll said that worry never came up in conversations. The focus was how to make the logistics work and to prepare, prepare and prepare. He noted we were fortunate with the weather. There was a lot of time built in the program to reach places that they thought was possible and they were able to create the unexpected visits. John Stoll mentioned that we have a lot of people to thank and that in the video the credits are three and one half minutes long.
Sixth question. For the Captain when you take the ship through the NWP, was there any place where you said do I want the ship there. The Captain noted that they took a lot of time planning the itinerary and of course got a lot of input from the expedition team and that we stayed within the mapped channels. The only exception was the first of the Greenland Ports where we had so much ice floating around. The Captain looked for options but it was not possible and the concern was if you get into the area you might not get out.
Seventh question. For Hubert the question was behind the scenes items that went into provisioning for this voyage? He asked about juicy tidbits. Planning for Cambridge Bay and Nuuk where we got provisions began eight or more months ago. They flew 25K pounds of items into Cambridge Bay and chartered the entire 737. Biggest worry is what happened if it didn’t arrive or if we didn’t get into Cambridge Bay. The challenge was that the local community was going to help but they decided not to so Crystal sent 15 people out to the shore to do the loading and not everyone had gear to keep them warm. There were some other challenges that required items to be removed from pallets, put in bags. A lot had to be done but they finished by 7:00 PM. Everything came on board except for sour cream and cottage cheese.
Eighth question. What is the encore for this. John Stoll said they have some ideas and will explore more options. Some options could be doing more exploration in the NWP and building in more stops and longer term there will be the new expedition ship; Endeavor. He noted that they are constantly looking at other parts of the world and new places to visit.
Ninth question. What did management think of the idea of the NWP? John Stoll noted that the idea came up many years ago and it required a comprehensive plan including budget and a feasibility study. At the time Crystal was owned by NYK. The process was iterative and one of the best days when they got the go. He noted that at Crystal every department gets a say and their input is solicited and welcomed. It was three and one half years ago. Rick talked briefly about lessons learned and one was that the guests who could not get off the ship enjoyed the locals who came on board and that hopefully in the future they could bring more of the locals on board to give the guests who can’t get off a greater experience. Expedition Leader Tim Soper spoke at length about working with the locals and getting their blessing for this voyage.
Tenth question was for the Chief Engineer and the question was how much fuel did you think it would take and how much did it take and were you low in fuel. He noted that in Vancouver before we started the cruise we had to take as much fuel as we could. He noted that Dutch Harbor we filled up the ship to 95% of the capacity noting that there was no chance to get fuel until Nuuk. He said that they had to order fuel six months in advance for Nuuk and it was a contingency. The challenge was the ship had never done so many day of such cold weather. He also noted that should we not have gotten into Nuuk the plan called for enough fuel to get us into Boston. We missed the numbers that he quoted but they are big.
Eleventh question was about what we operated on in terms of generators, etc. The Chief Engineer noted that we had to be conservative with speed by going between 13.5 and 15.0 knots to conserve fuel.
Twelfth question was not a question but someone saying how proud he and so many guests are of the trip, the team and all that has gone into the cruise.
Thirteenth question was as you look forward to more arctic cruises what were the major lessons learned. The captain noted what they did including planning, bringing in experts, having weekly conference calls from the ship starting on the world cruise with Tim and John Stoll and Marine Operations. Captain Birger said for next year you cannot take anything for granted and must dot all t’s.
Fourteenth question was how do you dispose waste from the ship and they noted that all was held or some burned and some such as glass given to the icebreaker and nothing will be removed until Boston.
Fifteenth question related from positive publicity about the cruise and any negative publicity. John Stoll said one of the greatest things about this is that it brings awareness to how you sail this area and that if others sail the area it will raise the bar. John noted that when they went to Canada that when given guidelines they made sure they not only met the standards but went out of their way to exceed them. John said there has to be restrictions and they need to be enforced and followed. Tim Soper noted that there were a lot of questions in the media about the voyage and that Canadian Authorities are using the plan that was developed as a blueprint for other cruise lines to follow. He noted that there are other vessels that sail this area that don’t do the right things and get bad press. John also noted that we promised the local communities that we wouldn’t overwhelm them and that we as guests understood that and that is what they did.
Sixteenth question. Will any media be covering our arrival at NYC? John said there are rumors that there might be a helicopter from a news station covering us and there might be some surprises. John noted we will want to get on the top deck when we get near the statue of liberty.
Seventeenth question was not a question but a woman saying that one of the successes were the lectures and she noted how much she learned.
Eighteenth one was note a question but came from a Canadian who is so very proud at the way this entire voyage was done.
We have been in sessions like this on the World Cruise and wanted to highlight that the questions were well thoughts out with no complaining.
It was fitting that at the end of the session the audience stood up and gave a standing ovation.
We enjoyed lunch at the Lido Cafe and each made a salad entree. Spoke with some fellow guests. For the first time some guests were eating outside.
The afternoon's lecture featured Steve Friedman who spoke about the broadway musical golden age between 1950 and 1960. He spoke about some of the musicals from this time frame which were major successes with several of them becoming movies.
We've are enjoying the rest of the afternoon on board Serenity. This evening we will have dinner at Prego and attend the Captain's Farewell Reception followed by the headline entertainment.
Keith & Anne Marie
We wanted to begin our post with a tribute to those who lost lives, on or following that tragic day of September 11, 2001 and to each and every person who responded to the terrible tragedy that rocked our nation and the world.
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. It is hard to believe that so much time has passed since that fatal day. As was the case with those who lived during the Attack on Pearl Harbor, or the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Martin Luther King and/or Robert Francis Kennedy, most everyone will remember 9/11 including where they were for the rest of their lives as if it happened yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of people who lost lives, loved ones, or limbs that day, and to the heroic acts of bravery by so many people who also lost their lives trying to save others. This included so many responders including the firemen and police who lost lives following the collapse of the twin towers. It also includes not only the firemen and police but in the following days police, military, & civilians who put themselves in harm ways in rescue and cleanup efforts who with each passing year are in some cases dying or facing severe health issues from their valiant efforts. We also are thankful to the men and women who came to the United States aid that day and in the days, weeks and months following this tragic event and to the men and women from around the world who were part of our response in Afghanistan. Let us say a prayer for each and every person and never forget.
It is tragedies such as 9/11 that for us puts things in perspective. Often it is easy to get caught up in the minor items in our day-to-day lives but we remind ourself that we still have our life and that we should not complain about those little things. Rather, that we should be appreciative for every minute we have left in our lives.
We began last evening with a visit to the Avenue Saloon before we returned to the Silk Road Japanese Restaurant for dinner with friend and Northwest Passage Hostess, Stacey Huston. Stacey also teaches Zumba so Stacey and Keith compared the type of music that they use in their respective indoor cycling and zumba classes. The first two photos show Martin and one of the canapés he was serving in the Avenue Saloon. We alway admire them but pass on it with dinner coming soon.
We ran into Jaque Brown who is the Crystal Society Hostess a couple of minute before the doors to Silk Road opened. We could tell it would be a busy night as many people were waiting outside Silk Road. When Stacey arrived we made our way into the dining venue, took a photo and then were seated. Sommelier Jay took good care of us as did waiter Ritchie and his assistant Ruel.
We began with Lobster Tempura shown in the first of the food photos, continued with some of the Nobu Sashimi Specials. Keith ordered a nice sashimi/sushi platter for the table. Actually this was mainly for Stacey and Keith as Anne Marie had one of the rolls plus one other item that she ordered separately. We then had a few other items including mushroom salad for Keith and mushroom soup for Anne Marie along with lobster for Anne Marie's entree and Hot Soba Noodles with some scallops for Keith and we both ended the meal with a fruit plate.
We ended up staying there for two and one-half hours with non-stop conversation and a lot of laughs not only between the three of us but also with Jay, Richie and Ruel.
The evening entertainment featured Comedy and Music Entertainer Steve Stevens who performed two shows. Later in the evening at 10:30 PM, lead vocalist Eric Strong performed at the Stardust Club and was accompanied by pianist Richard Pucci. Richard performs each evening at the Crystal Cove.
We often don' t mentione a movie but last night featured two showings of the movie Concussion. This movie came out in 2015 and we have previously seen it. We feel that the issue of concussions is a major issue for not only professional football players but for college, high school, junior high school and even grade school players. As much as we enjoy sports, the human brain and the fact that it is not secured in place cannot take the constant physical impact that comes when playing football. We do not profess to have all of the issues but do feel not enough is being done in this area. We wish that this issue got more attention and we are seeing that with each passing year former professional football players are paying the price from concussions resulting in some of them taking their own lives. We wonder how many others who did not go on to play professional football have this issue but will never be covered in the news because very few people other than friends and family know much about them as they do the professional athletes. Whether you like football or not, we think this is a well-done movie.
The seas were relatively calm throughout the night so we slept very well.
Today marked the second of three consecutive sea days.
We began the morning as you have become accustomed with. Keith was up first and enjoyed a workout at the Fitness Center. He watched a special about 9/11. He managed to do the laundry and we enjoyed breakfast in our room. Following breakfast Keith got ready for another indoor cycling class and Anne Marie walked for an hour followed by Yoga.
The program for today included 50 or more activities. We thought we would highlight the lectures.
Photographer Flip Neckline spoke about in search of the unicorn. He appropriately provided a pictorial showing the search for Narwhal, the animal that inspire the myth of the Unicorn.
This was followed by a talk by General Nick Halley whop spoke about some of the challenges around the world including his views on a new cold war with Russia and the challenge that Israel has in its continued fight for survival.
The third and final lecture of the day was given by Expedition Lecturer Justin Hofman. She gave part 2 of her two-part talk about diving in the Northwest Passage. She spoke about seeing marine life underwater. This is not an easy area for underwater diving given factors such as the temperature of the water.
The Food & Beverage Team continued to work their magic. In addition to preparing so many memorable meals for the third time of this voyage they created a buffet which was displayed all around the Crystal Plaza Area. Todays' buffet was a Sunday Jazz Brunch Buffet. It also included jazz music by the Galaxy Orchestra, Crystal Cove Pianist Richard Pucci and Sarah Hayes. Kudos go to the fabulous Food & Beverage Team and to the Entertainment Team.
The fifteenth photo shows Executive Chef Werner Brenner assisting at one of the food stations. So much detail and effort goes into these buffets.
We had our lunch at the Lido Cafe. We had our usual salad entree. On days with the fancy buffet, we tease with the Lido Staff and say we are there for the Lido Grand or Lido Jazz Buffet. LOL. Surprisingly the cafe was even quieter than we anticipated give that this was the third buffet for the voyage.
We are spending the remainder of the afternoon watching the afternoon lecture, getting our exercise and also plan to spend time with some fellow guests.
This evening we will be dining at the Crystal Dining Room.
Keith & Anne Marie
We left Nuuk about ten minutes ahead of schedule. Captain Birger spoke from the bridge and said that we should expect some rough seas in the evening and this morning. (NOTE: His forecast was correct).
We made another visit to the Avenue Saloon for a pre-dinner drink. Afterwards we enjoyed dinner at the Crystal Dining Room.
We both had the Kosher Chicken. It was a half chicken and quite a lot of meat. When Head Waiter Augusto came by the table he said that the Fresh Arctic Char would be a good choice and that it tasted similar to salmon. We would never have guessed that and he was right as Keith tried a small portion of it. It actually tasted less fishy than salmon.
The show last night was iLiuminate: The Tourist. This is one that we have seen a few times in the past so we didn’t go.
When we arrived back to our room last night we were reminded that the Arctic/Zodiac Landing portion of our adventure is over. There was a card from housekeeping noting that our rented rubber boots will not longer be needed and asking us to leave our boots in a visible place so that the stateroom attendant can collect them.
Good news! We set the clock back one hour before we went to sleep. We will do this one more time before we reach Bar Harbor, Maine.
After so many days with port visits, unexpected visits, beautiful scenery this was one of those sea days with no scenery. It is part for the area that we are sailing. We are sailing the Labrador Sea over two days on our way over to the Atlantic Ocean and then over to the coast of the United States of America.
While the ship rocked a little bit we slept fairly well. We began our morning as we normally do. Keith got in his exercise. As he continued his workout the ship was moving around a good deal but there was not of the rumbling you hear when the ship is really being pushed around. Keith did tune to the Crystal stations that shows information from the bridge. The temperature showed 37 degrees Fahrenheit, with a comment “rough sea”.
We then we had breakfast in our room. Keith attended an 8:00 AM indoor cycling class while Anne Marie walked. Anne Marie went to Yoga.
The morning featured two presentations.
Justin Hoffman spoke about diving in the Northwest Passage. He focused about the underwater word of the Northwest Passage.
Later in the morning Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman spoke about traveling in space. He is a veteran of five space shuttle flights and he spoke about all of the planning and execution that went into each mission. He certainly had a lot of interesting information to share with us as he was the first astronaut to log 1,000 hours of flight time aboard the space shuttle.
For lunch we were back at the Lido Cafe and made our usual salad entrees. We arrived a couple of minutes before the buffet opened. We were not waiting for the desserts. Rather we were speaking with Prego water Costa and also the next station in front of Anne Maris is the salad station.
During Captain Birger’s noon talk from the bridge he noted that the forecast about the strong north wind came true last night and today but as the day continues the wind should not be as strong as it has been. Speaking of the Captain, we forgot to mention the other day that he has shaved his beard and did so after we got out of the Northwest Passage.
The afternoon program included a talk given by Sigrid Henjum who spoke about Kayak around Nordaustlandet, Svalbard. She shared her actual experience as just a year ago Sirid and four friends kayaked around the second largest island on Svalbard. The island has the third largest glacier in the world. In addition, this ilsland has the largest report population of polar bears in one place in the world.
With seven days to go we did spend part of the day packing. Since the weather will be quite a bit warmer than it was in the Arctic, we have packed our gear for the cold weather along with other items that we won't be needing for the rest of the cruise plus our post-cruise stay in New York City.
The Reflections (daily program) had some information in it with respect to disembarkation in New York City. On the day of disembarkation there will be a second vessel also conducting turnaround operations so it could place additional demand for those guests looking for taxis.
This evening will will be dining at Silk Road for the final time.
Keith & Anne Marie
Some photos from yesterday afternoon of the Zodiac, Kayaks and the RRS Ernest Shackleton as guests on one of the kayak excursions were being brought back to Serenity after their tour was over. This was the final day that we were together with the RRS Ernest Shackleton. The good news is they will be back for next year's Northwest Passage. There was something very magical when a rainbow appeared over the Ernest Shackleton. Maybe Crystal Cruises arranged for the rainbow. LOL.
We wanted to mention that yesterday several members of the crew were able to finally get off the ship and onto land for the first time in 20 or more days. The appreciated getting to walk around on land and in some cases just to stop off at a grocery store or some other local store to pick up some items for themselves. Others will have the opportunity to get off today as well.
Yesterday afternoon following the last update by the Expedition Team, there was a champagne toast between the Captain of Serenity and the Captain of RRS Ernest Shackleton as the icebreaker finishes up this epic voyage with us until 2017.
Afterwards, we had dinner at Silk Road with Shore Excursion Manager Daniel. Daniel and his superb team have done a terrific job with all of the scheduled and unexpected excursions and have worked countless hours starting early in the day and into the late hours of the evening to make the excursion program a success.
They couldn't have done it all by themselves. Many personnel from throughout the ship supported these efforts such as being on the stairwells to direct passengers to the zodiacs, placing life jackets on each passenger, removing the lifeboat jackets on their return and directing guests back from the zodiacs. Other times they could be found at the places we visited such as those two islands in the NWP spending a few hours at a time to help direct guests and to be there should any guest need assistance.
Dinner was very enjoyable from the cuisine, service and ambience of the dining venue to the conversation. We enjoyed lots of good laughs.
Direct from the Avenue Saloon renowned Avenue Saloon pianist, Perry Grant, performed two performances at the Galaxy Lounge. Perry is relatively new to Crystal Cruises but not new to performing at sea. He has performed extensively for both Holland America and for Celebrity Cruise Lines and will finish his first contract at Crystal Cruises when this voyage comes to an end in New York City.
Perry performs each evening at the Avenue Saloon. He plays piano before late seating and then later in the evening he not only sings and plays the piano but puts on a show for everyone. He also gets his audience very involved by doing a group sing-along as well as getting individuals participation as well. We think he's been a wonderful addition to Crystal Cruises entertainment.
The highlight later in the evening was seeing Aurora Borealis; The Northern Lights. If we were on land it would be easier to take the photos but when you are moving about at sea it is more of a challenge. Regardless, it is something that we will never forget.
The seas were relatively calm as we sailed to Nuuk, Greenland. Keith was up early and got in another workout at the Fitness Center before we had breakfast in our room. Today was our second visit to Nuuk. We first visited Nuuk on Crystal Symphony for its maiden port of call stop in September of 2004.
Nuuk has a population of slightly more than 17,000 residents. It is the capital of Greenland. Nuuk is the oldest town in Greenland and was built by the Danish missionary Hans Egede in 1728. It is Greenland's largest town.
Major attractions include:
National Greenland Museum. We first visited this museum in 2004. It cover all of Greenland's 4,500 years.
Katuaq Cultural Center. The center is used for concerts, exhibitions, conferences and is also a cinema.
Nuuk Art Museum. The art museum contains a large number of paintings, watercolors, drawings, graphics, figures in soapstone, ivory and wood.
Frelsers Cathedral. This Cathedral was established in 1849.
Hans Egedes House. This is the oldest house in the country and it was built in 1728.
First four photos as we were arriving to Nuuk before sunrise.
Last two photos from this afternoon. This is an industrial port. When we arrived here in 2004 a freighter was at the port so we tendered to a tender pier.
We had an amazing time walking around Nuuk. We took the first shuttle at 8:00 AM with only a few people on board, mainly from Shore Excursions and the Expedition Team. Many from the expedition team leave the ship today, overnight at a hotel and fly home tomorrow. We enjoyed stunning views and we mean stunning of the sea and the surrounding area. We made our way from the shuttle drop-off point towards the Hans Egedes Statue. He launched mission efforts to Greenland and established a successful mission among the Inuit. He founded the Capital Godthab which is now known as Nuuk. Keith climbed up to the top of the statue and enjoyed additional views of the city.
We made our way over to the seafood/meat market. On our way over there a man was carrying a Caribou (Reindeer) on his back which he had killed and placed it on a table in the market. He was getting ready to cut it up and that is when we decided to make our exit.
We walked over to Nanatta Katersugaaasivia Allagaateqarfialu (Greenland National Museum). We had visited this museum 12 years ago. A major display which we saw back then was the Qilakitsoq mummies. They consisted of three women and a six month-old. They date back to 1475.
We also walked around to a Kayak Club where we also saw many Kayaks. From there we visited an art gallery and a couple of arts and crafts shops.
When we first arrived it was very cold and as the morning went along the chill was not so bad as the sun came out. Now, we don’t want you to think we are in balmy weather since even when the sun came out it was around 39 degrees. High today is forecasted for low 40’s. The good news though is that our clothing keeps us comfortable and toasty.
There is a lot of construction taking place and we could see many changes since 2004. With that said, it has a very small city feel. There was very little traffic even in rush hour.
We spoke extensively with a woman who handles land operations for one of two companies that supports cruise ships. She is from Denmark and for the last eighteen months has lived in Australia. She is a scientist. She also has fallen in love with Greenland as our tour guide did yesterday. Every other summer she takes the entire summer off to come to Greenland. We now understand why they feel the way they do.
While walking around we spoke with two of the members of the Expedition Team about Nuuk and gained a lot of insight from them. They not only have been so informative throughout this voyage but so very helpful and friendly and today reinforced that.
On our way back to the ship the we were the only ones on the shuttle along with one of the members of the Expedition Team were on the bus. We were discussing Greenland and then he asked if we had been to Antarctica. We explained that we had in 2007 on board Serenity and noted that we didn’t get off the ship. He said that he’s done it both ways and certainly thinks you do get an appreciation from the ship. He asked us to compare the Northwest Passage and Antarctica, which we did. He said we had it right and then mentioned that he would be giving a talk in the next couple of days on that very topic.
As we returned to the ship, there were several people getting off.
After returning back to Serenity we enjoyed lunch, worked out, exercised and relaxed on the ship.
We now have three sea days to look forward to.
As we were looking out from our room we saw a couple of additional icebergs.
One looked like a tent and the other one we will leave to your imagination. Maybe a portion is a melted ice cream cone. LOL.
We had our usual pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon last evening. We have to say this venue was the quietest it has been since we boarded Serenity. We arrived there later than usual, yet we were the first there. By the time we left there was one other table with two couples having a drink. Maybe people were tired from being up early in the morning.
This was followed by Dinner at the Crystal Dining Room. The dining room was fairly full but did seem fairly noisy. Part of this stems from people being together for quite awhile on this long voyage. This just adds to dinner conversations.
Highlights from dinner included tuna tartare for Keith as well as butterfly swordfish and seafood paella for Anne Marie. Thanks to Sommelier Ricardo we had a Spanish white and red wine with the paella in mind. Ricardo is from Bogota, Colombia which Keith visited in 1993 on business when they were confronted with the continued issues of the drug lords. A lot has changed since that time and more recently with a truce between the drug lords and the government. Keith returned home from that business trip with a great appreciation for the city, country and its people. With that said, it was the first time that he slept at a hotel with a chair pushed up against the door and where there was so much armed security at that hotel.
The featured entertainment was a performance by world renowned organist Hector Olivera. He is so very special that this was his second solo performance. He performed two shows at the Galaxy Lounge Theatre.
The seas remained calm as we sailed to our next port of call in Sisimiut, Greenland. We were up rather early since we had an early tour scheduled. Keith led the way and was able to get a full workout in at the Fitness Center before we had breakfast in our room.
This is our first visit to Sisimiut. It has a population f around 5,500 people. It sits on the west coast of Greenland just above the Arctic Circle. It has the look of a New England town and has a mix of Inuit and Danish Culture.
Its major attractions include:
Gamely which is the old town of Sisimiut.
Sisimiut Museum. This museum specialize in Greenlandic trade, as well as industry and shipping.
Bethel Church. This church dates back to 1775 and has several 18th century buildings.
Taseralik Kulturikkut. This is a cultural center which often hosts traveling theatre troupes as well as concerts from classical to folk music.
Some views from our verandah as we were arriving to Sisimiut.
We booked a hiking tour.
We booked a hiking tour. It involved a hike of Tele Island. It got its name because there were telecommunication cables running through the island providing all forms of telecommunication including television and telephone. Even though it was an ancient site they still chose the island for its telecommunications.
After taking the tender over on a five-minute ride we were met by our tour guide. There were 23 of us on this tour. Our tour guide is a special education teacher in Denmark. Because he loves the outdoors this is his second year giving these tours during his summer break.
We then proceeded on a three hour hike. The vast majority of the hike was over uneven stones and from time to time some muddy areas and involved walking up some steep areas. Everyone was troopers and there were times we helped out one another.
We learned about the people who inhabited this area many years ago.
The original inhabitants walked over the ice from Canada to Greenland. We saw a cemetery that dates back 4,000 years to the Inuit people of the Saqqaq culture. The area has also been inhabited by the Dorset cutler and then the Thule people.
We saw two different villages. There was one that was the older of the two. They actually cooked the meat indoors and because of the soot they didn’t wear clothes indoors. The second village had an area where they cooked outside rather than inside.
After hiking up to the one of the highest points of the island we saw an area off the water where they would process the whales. There were two major benefits from the whales; oil and food. The area helped preserve the whale meat as it was cool day and night.
We also saw two structures that were used as food storage facilities.
The weather turned out very nice. Once in awhile the sun poked through the clouds. There were times during our hike where it even felt warm but as we got to the area where they would store the whales it was quite a bit cooler.
We enjoyed the hike and the natural beauty that was all around us.
Towards the end we enjoyed some beautiful views the homes/apartments and our guide pointed out ones that they refer as Lego as they looked like colorful Lego pieces that you put together.
We also enjoyed some nice views of Crystal Serenity from various vantage points throughout portions of the tour.
We had a late lunch back on the ship.
All in all a wonderful day and an equally wonderful tour.
Lots to look forward to over the next 24 hours including visiting Nuuk, Greenland tomorrow.
Keith & Anne Marie
Before dinner, we had a pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon.
Afterwards, we had dinner at Tastes with friends Joe and Maria Kita. We first met Joe and Maria on the 2007 World Cruise. Joe was the memoir writer. Since that time we have sailed with them on several voyages and a few years ago in addition to teaching memoir writing, Joe and Maria each became certified to teach Yoga. Maria teaches two classes each day (one of which is more advanced) with assistance from Joe. While the four of us share a passion for Silk Road and have had many memorable meals there we all enjoy Tastes as well.
We had mentioned when we dined at Tastes the first time in August that the menu had been updated with several new items since our sailing this past May. A number of the additional items were for the Alaska season. With the Alaska season now behind us, the menu was updated just the other day.
The menu featured one item that seems new which was the ricotta gnocchi which was very tasty. A couple of items had slight changes. For example, the sapphire's steamed kobe sliders no longer had the butter on top of the slider but had additional cheese. The over-roasts cauliflower seemed to have less parmesan cheese but came with more oil in the bowl. Other items that returned were the same as in the past and this time around there was an additional salad. We certainly enjoyed the meal and shared several courses. In fact, we enjoyed the tapas so much we skipped on the dessert. Instead we had a fruit plate.
We've also added the menu for Tastes as a photo and also as a PDF.
When we posted for photos Joe Kita pulled out a sign he had made. Joe and Maria were following our blog before they boarded this voyage as they have in past years.
The hills are alive with the "sound of music". Two performances featuring a tribute to The Sound Of Music were performed last evening. They starred Christine Andreas and Martin Silverstri who were accompanied by the Northwest Passage Team and the Galaxy Orchestra. We love the music from this play as so many of you do too and thought it was a terrific performance. As we entered the showroom there were two types of pretzels available and two types of beer on tap.
We slept well as we sailed to our first of three port of calls in Greenland; Ilulissat. The good news is that we didn't forward the clocks for a third night as we are now on the Greenland time zone.
Keith was able to get in one long workout in the Fitness Center before breakfast.
We had a very early breakfast to get ready for an 8:30 AM visit. Originally we had booked a scenic boat tour to see the glacier. However, we have enjoyed the community visits and decided we would change to a community visit tour. Unfortunately as we learned at 7:30 AM because of the ice all of the community, kayaking, helicopter, scenic walk and hiking tours were cancelled, as it would be unsafe to use tenders to get guests to and from shore. The only tour that could go was the Scenic Cruise tours, as the boat will come up directly to the ship to take guests to and from the glacier.
Today was to mark our second visit to Greenland but our first visit to Ilulissat. This is a small town with a population of only 4,500 residents. It is the third largest city in Greenland behind Nuuk and Sisimiut both of which are on our itinerary.
The official language is Greenlandic. However Danish and English are widely spoken.
Ilulissat is the Kalaallisut word for icebergs. Near to this area is the Ilulissat Icefjord. It is a UNESCO site and has made Ilulissat the number one tourist destination in Greenland. It produces the most icebergs of any area within North America.
The town was established in 1741 as a trading post.
Major attractions include:
Hulissat Icefjord. It is the sea mouth of Sermeq Kujalleq which is one of the few glaciers through which the Greenland ice cap reaches the sea. Sermeq Kujalleq is one of the most active glaciers in the world.
Ilulissa Museum. This museum provides information about the local history and also provides information about polar explorer Knud Rasmussen.
Ilulissat Art Museum. It is the former residence of the colony manager and was erected in 1923.
Knud Rasmussen Memorial. As mentioned he was a polar explorer. He was the first European to cross the Northwest Passage via dog sled.
Zion Church. This church was built in the late 18th century. At the time it was the largest man-made structure in all of Greenland.
We've included some early morning photos showing the ice and the RRS Ernest Shackleton Ice Breaker. We saw some rather large icebergs. Even one that looks like a large crocodile.
Captain Birger spoke from the bridge to everyone. He indicated that the ice pattern had changed early this morning from last night based on reports from the RRS Ernest Shackleton. They had arrived last evening. He said that with the amount of ice it was not possible to find any kind of path necessary to get the ship where it needed to be anchored to run tender service.
With the tours cancelled, Anne Marie was able to get in her one hour walk and Keith went back to the Fitness Center for a second long workout.
Captain Birger spoke from the bridge to everyone. He indicated that the ice pattern had changed early this morning from last night based on reports from the RRS Ernest Shackleton. They had arrived last evening. He said that with the amount of ice it was not possible to find any kind of path necessary to get the ship where it needed to be anchored to run tender service.
A short while later Cruise Director Rick spoke to say that the schedule had been updated given the cancellation of most tours. He noted that the schedule would be hand delivered to all rooms. He highlighted some of the revisions including the addition of three lectures to the program, team trivia and an art class.
The good news is that they were able to run the tours for the scenic cruising. They ended up running zodiacs. There was a few hour delay from the original schedule for each of the scenic cruising tours.
Some additional photos later in the day showing the ice.
Three lectures that were added to the schedule were interesting.
Expedition Lecturer Laalie Berthersen who is from Greenland spoke bout what it was like growing up in Greenland.
General Nick Halley spoke about his views on the current situation in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and North Africa. He did remind people that his views are shaped from his military background including keeping the size of the military large in both war and peace time.
Finally, Expedition Lecturer Hector Williams spoke about the importance of Greenland to the allies during the Second World War and to the west during the Cold War. Two airports in Greenland were built by the United States military during World War II.
From around 10:30 till early afternoon scenic tours were run using the zodiacs. They couldn't use the scenic tour vessel as they could not get it up to Serenity.
At around 1:15 PM, Captain Birger spoke from the bridge and said that the weather was different than what the forecast called fro and that they were cancelling the remaining tours used by the zodiacs. He noted that the zodiacs were returning with the guests and that right afterwards they would be taken over to the RRS Ernest Shackleton ice breaker.
We also worked out for the final time this afternoon.
We wanted to close by saying that we are thankful that safety is the number one priority when it comes to cruising with Crystal Cruises. As such, while it would have bee nice to have visited Ilulissat, we fully understand why this was not possible.
Keith & Anne Marie
Before dinner last evening we once again visited the Avenue Saloon. It was quieter than normal as there was a special trivia event at 5:15 PM. It was battle of the sexes.
We also think some people were resting given the time change from the night before and because it was a sea day after all of the regularly scheduled and unexpected adventures.
We enjoyed dinner in the Crystal Dining Room. While we don't sit by the window and sit inside the circle (middle of dining room) we saw some amazing icebergs from our table. One looked like the biggest mushroom you have ever seen. They were likely a mile or two from the ship.
Anne Marie actually got this sweater around fifteen years ago for a sailing of Alaska and wore it for the first time of this cruise. It was appropriate given the polar bears we have seen and certainly a good match for this cruise. LOL.
The main entertainment for the evening was a pre-dinner show for early seating and a post dinner show for early seating which featured Virtuoso Violinist Michael Bacala.
The only bad news was that we moved the clock forward another hour before going to sleep. The good news is this last time we will do that on this epic voyage. As we head over to the United States East Coast we will get the two hours back.
Even with the time change we slept well as we were tired from moving the clock forward the night before. We began the morning as we do most days on Serenity. A visit to the Fitness Center for Keith, breakfast for the two of us followed by a a one hour walk for Anne Marie, an indoor cycling class for Keith and Yoga for Anne Marie. Life is good.
We enjoyed three lectures:
Hector Williams spoke about the Vikings of the North. He covered all the way back to AD 800-1100 and spoke about the maritime people of Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) and how they built settlements in Greenland.
Later in the morning Expedition Lecturer Tom Sharpe spoke about the world's largest island. Yes, Greenland. Greenland contains the second largest ice sheet in the entire world and has some of the world's oldest rocks and even some of the world's oldest fossils.
Throughout the morning we would see icebergs of various sizes and shapes.
We had lunch at the Lido Cafe. It was a themed luncheon buffet featuring Scandinavian Specialties. We stayed with our salad entrees but they had nice representation of dishes including Blintzes.
During Captain Birger's talk from the bridge he spoke about icebergs in Illulissat and said that a reconnaissance plane will be taking photos of the area where we will be anchoring off of along with the tender drop-off pier. It will interesting to see whether or not we will be able to visit there tomorrow.
Since the Lido Café is located at the back of the ship you could see the ship going up and down quite a bit. We enjoyed more views of icebergs.
In the afternoon, Tom Soper and the expedition team gave us an introduction to Greenland.
We are enjoying our day at sea including each working out again this afternoon
This evening we will be dining at Tastes with some dear friends.
Keith & Anne Marie
We've added the rest of the photos from yesterday.
They include photos of the sign and park bench that Crystal donated and also from the ceremony which included Captain Birger, Hotel Director Hubert, John Stoll Crystal Cruises Vice President of Land Programs and Port Operations and the Mayor.
Also photos of the women who wrote out our names in the local language.
Photos of the beautiful scenery.
Before dinner there was a group photo taken on Decks 12 and 13 around and above the pool area. Those who participated were encouraged to wear their red Northwest Passage Jackets.
After enjoying a pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon we had dinner with Hotel Director Hubert at the Prego Italian Specialty Restaurant.
Food was delicious and we each had the additional entrée, which was sea bass. It was especially tasty and moist.
Shortly after our meal began Serenity raised anchor so we could continue on our voyage. We then were captivated with beautiful views of the mountains that went on for the rest of dinner. They were just beautiful and the look enhanced as they were mostly covered in snow. Various views we saw today rank as some of the most spectacular views we have ever seen in all our years of cruising.
The only bad news of the evening was that when we returned back to our room we had to forward the clock by one hour. We will do this again this evening in order to get on local Greenland time.
It is hard to believe that we have left Canada and are now on route to Greenland. We have seen so very much since the Northwest Passage cruise began including the small towns of Alaska that receive far fewer tourist in comparison to the ones that many cruise ship go call on and of course the beauty of the Northwest Passage and the charm of each village that we visited.
All that we have seen with respect to the Northwest Passage has clearly exceeded our expectations. We were fortunate that we did not encounter issues that would slow us up so that we could make all of those unexpected stops and that the weather cooperated nicely for us. As the lecturers indicated, each village differed from one another. There was so much diversity in the scenery as we transited to the Northwest Passage and it is so pristine and beautiful. Words cannot even describe how beautiful it is but hopefully the photos helped.
Thankfully we didn’t encounter issues that some in the media had warned about. This is not to say that this is an easy route to navigate. A big mistake could be catastrophic. Of course that is key in some other passages around the world but this one definitely comes with many challenges. Nothing should be taken for granted and this type of voyage does require several years of planning.
We also read that there would be protests. There we no protests. We can’t say that all of the people were happy that we arrived because we didn’t meet all of the people. What we can say is that we never met anyone who had anything negative to say and we found the people to be most friendly and wanting to share as much with us as they could.
We were told that the intent by Crystal Cruises was to leave the each village better than we found them. We believe that was accomplished from the new signpost and benches that Crystal Cruises donated to the community of Pond Inlet to other donations that were made to the other two villages including that $2,000.00 cash donation. We believe that meetings that were held ahead of time with people in the village by Crystal and the Expedition Team build a solid foundation with each community and that our actual visit enhanced this relationship.
We believe that the guests and the crew along with the expedition team that went ashore were kind and courteous and most importantly were also respectful.
Many guests including ourselves went out of our way to make purchases and in some areas the prices were quite high. Even if we didn’t see something we cared for or thought the price was too high we looked at making a purchase as helping the community. While material donations are also nice which some people made we understand that money is likely the number one priority followed by some items that we could not help with as they include fuel and guns/ammunition.
Crystal Cruises also provided training for some of the people who, in turn, were paid to be guides on the community visits.
You can’t imagine the faces of those people who had the opportunity to visit Serenity. They had never seen anything like Serenity. Just like the guests they appreciated the food too.
We know that there are many views on this trip and the environment and the impact on the local people.
The reality is that the world continues to change. It started when brave explorers risked their lives on a hunt to discover the world. Think of even continents that would have very few people if not for discovery.
Yes, something is going on that is causing the seas to rise and the ice to melt in several places including Alaska, Antarctica and Greenland. Speaking only for ourselves, we think that is the issue that needs the attention and should be of a much reater concern than a cruise ship going through the Northwest Passage.
We also don’t believe that this area will get flooded with ships. Clearly it requires a rather lengthy voyage, which the vast majority of people cannot take between time off from work and the overall cost. While a voyage could be shorter in length than our own voyage it still would be quite long and costly. We don’t see many cruise lines being able to do a voyage of epic proportions as we have.
With that said, we do hope that any cruise line thinking of doing such a voyage would model their approach after Crystal. This would include doing the work required to plan the voyage, being respectful of the environment and the Inuit, ensuring that they leave the local areas a better place. They need to make sure that safety is number one because the ramifications could be catastrophic from loss of life to pollution of the seas and the harm that such an event could have on the wildlife.
The cost of this voyage on a per diem basis was the highest ever charged by Crystal Cruises. Normally one would say it all came down to supply and demand. While demand is certainly a factor the overhead cost for this voyage was the most ever for any voyage on a per diem level for Crystal Cruises. This included costs associated with all of the planning that went into this as well as the additional costs for the ice breaker and the 40+ personnel and all of the equipment. Then there are the other costs from getting entertainers on and off the ship to the enhancements made to Serenity in its dry dock to even the costs of getting food resupplied.
The good news is that we still have time before this epic and historical voyage ends and that includes visiting some additional places that we have not visited before.
We began today as we normally do. We had lost an hour last night when we moved the clocks forward. We will do this again this evening to get onto local time for Greenland.
We had plenty of exercise this morning between multiple visits to the Fitness Center by Keith and a one-hour walk and Yoga for Anne Marie. Indoor cycling was not offered today. Keith had his own class though. LOL. Just Keith. He will be teaching a spin class a couple of days after we get home so he was working on a playlist and routine for the class.
During the morning we sailed the Boffin Island Fjords. Unfortunately with limited visibiitly we could not see all the way up. We also spotted an expedition ship. From time to time we would see more icebergs The icebergs are from Greenland and in most instances run aground although we saw one that was in the middle of the water that looked like some type of mermaid or even cleopatra.
We enjoyed two lectures.
Margaret Bertulli from the Expedition Team whose lectures we have adored spoke about the Arctic wonderings along the Northwest Passage. She shared the major attractions of this beautiful area based on our own first-hand experiences. She spoke about animals, people and communities and the work that is being done in this area including archaeological and scientific work.
Justin Hoffman who is also from the Expedition Team spoke about whaling and whalers. He spoke about the hunt for whales and the impact it had on both man and the whales.
Today was also a nice day to just relax and enjoy the ship between the 50+ activities that were offered in and around the ship and just a day of no unexpected or expected tours.
In spite of the overcast skies we enjoyed so many nice views today from various areas of the ship including the Lido Cafe during lunch.
For us it was also a day to look at many of the photos we took and to reflect on our journey up to this point in time.
Keith & Anne Marie
NOTE: There are about 20 or more photos that we took on our community visit of Pond Inlet today. We are having trouble uploading them. Think the problem is not the internet but the web host site. We will include them with tomorrows post.
It was snowing yesterday afternoon. Took these photos of one of the zodiacs and the fast boat as they were returning to Serenity with guests.
Back to the Avenue Saloon for a pre-dinner drink. While we were there Captain Birger spoke from the bridge. He said that as soon as the final zodiac was on-board that we would make our way to Pond Inlet which was one 25 miles from where we had been anchored and if no other ship was there that we would go ahead and anchor. Captain Birger also said that to his knowledge no other cruise ship nor expedition ship had been to Tay Sound as we were all-day yesterday.
We had dinner in the Crystal Dining Room for the second consecutive evening.
We each had caesar salad a la Head Waiter Augusto.
This was followed by an entree a la Head Waiter August of penne pasta, lobster and a very tasty sauce.
Augusto knows that Keith enjoys it more spicy than Anne Marie so he adds more spices to Keith's after initially preparing each item.
Finished off the meal with berries.
The evening entertainment included two shows performed by Sarah Hayes performed in the Stardust Club. They were appropriately titled "Swinging' in the Stardust; A Celebration of the Big Bands. Sarah first performed on Crystal Serenity as part of the big band themed cruise with one of the big bands. She so impressed Crystal that she was brought on to perform for the entire World Cruise in 2014. She was a hit and returned for World Cruise 2015 and 2016. She is wonderful both on and off the stage.
We were up early to prepare for our early morning tour. Keith made one trip to the Fitness Center for a workout and we both enjoyed breakfast in our room and got ready for our visit to Pond Inlet.
Pond Inlet has a population of about 1,500 people. It has the largest population of the four inlets above the 72nd parallel. Its economy is largely driven by serving the surrounding area. The government is the largest employer.
This is a cold place temperature wise. Between January and March the average temperature is -25 degrees C. Summer's average is 7 to 10 degrees C with 21 hours a day of daylight.
The area that surrounds Pond Inlet is prestige and very picturesque. It is home to the Sirmilik National Park with is one of Canada's newest national parks.
These are photos that we took from our verandah. The landscape is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking.
We signed up for a Community Visit excursion. As we previously mentioned we had originally signed up for all hikes. However, because of the need for Anne Marie to hydrate throughout the day due to the medication she takes for a blood disorder and the lack of toilet facilities on the hikes, we went with the community visits.
We were assigned a time of 10:00 AM for our Zodiac Departure. We all met at the designated spot and were escorted out together as one group.
The sea swells were fairly rough so guests were advised that it was more challenging to get in and out of the zodiac so they might consider going in the afternoon. In fact, they also had temporarily gone with landing further down the beach because of the sea swells but by the time we arrived they had us land closer to the town.
They encouraged guest to take one of the buses up to the town area but we like to walk so we walked. The good news is that it had snowed two days ago so it made the mountains look beautiful. The only down-side is that you needed to walk carefully so as not to slip.
Some of the attractions we visited included:
Village within a Village & Traditional Sod House - This is a tent village which featured traditional activities and demonstrations prepared for our visit and also included the reconstruction of a sod house in the immediate areas.
Nattinnak Visitor's Centre - This center was built to resemble the icebergs of Eclipse Sound. The center includes information about the natural history of the region as well as the nearby national park.
Contemplation Hill - This hill provides beautiful views across Pond Inlet over to Baylot Island. This area includes a new signpost and benches that were donated to the community by Crystal Cruises.
Community Hall - As was the case with our other two visits, the community hall was opened for today's visit. Various cultural activities and demonstrations were included as part of our visit and some items were available for purchase.
Main Beach - This is the zodiac landing beach.
We found the locals to be very friendly and the town was fun to walk. At the community hall there were two women who would right our your name in the local language as a name tag.
We happened to arrive to Contemplation Hill at the precise time that Captain Birger was presenting the Mayor with a plaque. As they say, timing in life is everything.
We returned to the ship via the zodiac marking our last zodiac ride of this journey. Coincidentally on our zodiac were some of the locals who came on board to entertain all of us. They sang for us on the zodiac.
The process was the same. One by one we stood up and were assisted by personnel onto the zodiac platform and then after making our way inside the ship our room card was swiped by security, our inflatable life vest was removed, we stepped into four oblong buckets of water to clean our boots and dried them as we walked on a long rug and then made our way back home. Translation home equals our room.
Before our first time in the zodiac we were wondering how the entire process would work of getting so many people into the zodiacs from the ship, the various zodiac landings followed by taking the zodiac back to Serenity and getting so many people back onto the ship. The process has worked like clockwork as it was organized extremely well, including assigned times to take the zodiac. As we mentioned this was the first time that Crystal Cruises ever used zodiacs from any of their vessels and it could not have been planned better. We found the process easier in some ways compared to using tenders. The experience has also been great in terms of providing that feel of being part of an expedition including those beach landings. In many ways we will miss using the zodiacs.
As we leave Pond Inlet we bid farewell to Canada. We have always had an affection for our neighbors in Canada and even though we didn't think it was possible our appreciation of Canada and it's citizens is even greater today.
Keith & Anne Marie
Some additional photos taken yesterday afternoon. It is really hard to put into words how beautiful the scenery was. Unlike say Alaska with a Glacier and lots of trees this was a combination of the Glacier with mountains that look like they have been painted and designed with such beauty.
Before dinner last evening we attended the first of two Crystal Society Parties. On most sailings there is just one party. However, with all people on this sailing Crystal Society members except for only 26 people they decided to have two parties. It also allowed them to recognize a few more people.
After the party we had dinner at the Crystal Dining Room. The dining room was fairly busy as if it was a formal night Food was delicious. Second photo is with friends Hector (organist) and Lieve who Keith also plays Paddle Tennis with. We have had the pleasure of sailing with them several times the past few years.
For one of the few times we each had steak last evening.
A few minutes before early dining ended, we heard the chime on the speakers indicating an announcement from the bridge was being made. It turned out it was from Cruise Director Rick. This one is not your typical announcement. It indicated that toilets on one side of the ship would not be working from 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM and on the other side of the ship from 8:00 to 8:30 PM. Probably good that most guests were out of their rooms anyway.
In keeping with the approach for this cruise of inviting some of the more popular land based entertainers who have performed for Crystal for many years, last evening's entertainment featured Broadway Sensation and Tony Nominee Christine Andreas who we absolutely enjoy. We appreciate the way she sings along with the songs that she performs and we were pleased that she is part of the many fabulous entertainers that have been performing on this voyage.
This morning we awoke to just a little bit of snow on the verandah. Well to be more specific on our lounge chair.
We were going to take the unexpected excursion involving a fast boat this morning, but had to pass on this one. We are posting photos that we took from the ship. This also included the two helicopters that have been used for several regular and unexpected adventures.
Today’s program featured two morning lectures.
Lois Harwood gave the first one. She spoke about changes that have taken place over the past few decades with respect to the Arctic Marine Ecosystem. She spoke about the study that she and several of her colleagues have conducted related to fish, seals, whales and seabirds.
Later in the morning, photographer Flip Nicklin who has dazzled us with his commentary and so many photos he has shared with us spoke about how to photograph people. This was a change from his previous talks which focused on other areas such as animals and sea life.
For the second time of this cruise a buffet was offered for lunch outside the Crystal Dining Room. This one is the Grand Gala Buffet. Speaking of food, on the Daily Morning Show Executive Chef Werner Brenner made a guest appearance. One of the questions related to provisioning food for this unique voyage. Clearly this is a collaborative effort between several members of the Food & Beverage Department and Los Angeles. He spoke about the items that were brought on board in Cambridge Bay which were mainly fruit produce items such as fruit, lettuce, carrots, etc. When we are in Nuuk the final provision will be received to get us through to the end of this voyage in New York City. Even with the best of planning the key is for the fruit and produce to be of high quality when received so that it has a longer shelf life. We are reminded that when sailing in Brazil in 2013 that a big challenge was the lettuce products because what was provisioned end up having a short shelf life. Fortunately, they were able to pick up additional lettuce at a local store in one of the larger ports. This would not have been an option for this type of voyage.
We skipped the Grand Gala Buffet. Instead we had lunch at the Lido "Grand" Buffet as we called it.
We walked around the outside of the ship to take in all of the beautiful sites surrounding the ship. Also caught up on a couple of lectures.
Later in the afternoon there will be the daily expedition and recap briefing with expedition leader Tim Soper. The focus will be tomorrow’s visit to Pond Inlet. We will be on tomorrow's community visit.
Keith & Anne Marie