A break from those boring poker charts
Our ship, Crystal Symphony..
Somehow, I did not take many pictures of the ship itself soooo I just “borrowed” some to illustrate. They certainly don’t encompass the whole ship but gives you an idea of the style – very luxurious.
This is what our room looked like. The little sofa pulled out for Cooper to sleep on at night. We had an assigned housekeeper who was just a doll. Each night, while we were at dinner, she would get the room ready for the night. We would come back to Coop’s bed ready to go, etc…. Didn’t matter what time we ate, it was always ready for us.
The lobby of the ship. Can’t see it well but there is a waterfall at the back of this picture next to the statues. Cooper LOVED this area and we could not pass without stopping to admire the water.
The main dining area where we ate the majority of our meals. There were a couple restaurants, a snack area and a grill as well. All of which we tried but the dining area was our standard. We had Table 41 for the duration of the cruise with the same two waiters. If we made reservations somewhere else, no problem. Table 41 just went empty that night. I don’t believe a menu was ever repeated and it always had multiple options.
As illustrated here…..(this actually is my picture and is the dinner menu from the last night on the ship). Impossible to go hungry.
The casino… Which was kind to me. I played bingo twice and won each time. I don’t think George can say the same of his time in the casino, haha.
And this is the map of our trip. Makes alot more sense once you see it on a map.
As I said before, we arrived very late. Ordered room service, organized our stuff and went to bed! I think it was 1am at least before any of us were in bed. The next day was a port day. Meaning we stayed in “port.” Which was Kobe, Japan. Multiple awesome excursions were available for that day but because we arrived so late, it was not possible to sign up. Correction: It WAS possible but we would have to wake up at 530am. We elected to sleep in. As it turned out, we were both woken up anyway. George said, “That felt like an earthquake.” I mumbled something, not really understanding what woke me up, and went back to sleep. He was right. Kobe suffered a 6.3 magnitude quake that morning at 5:33 am. Minimal injuries in the city and life around us was business as usual.
When we finally got motivated, we took the ship-provided shuttle into the shopping district of Kobe for a couple hours in the late morning.
Found a Chinatown area…
and sampled some good food.
I have no idea what these little birds are and neither of us felt brave enough to find out.
These are the views of Kobe from the ship deck. Not terribly exciting, we were itching to go.
Around 5 or 6 that night, we left for 4 sea days to Petropavlovsk, Russia. It was a particularly rough leg of the trip. Partially because there were so many sea days but mostly because we hit some rough weather along the way. We experienced something like 15 foot swells for approximately 18 hours straight. Wasn’t pretty. Thankfully, Cooper had no problems and he, instinctively, ate very little that day. Smart little guy.
Nonetheless, we arrived in Russia no worse for the wear and boarded a tender to be taken to shore. Coop enjoyed this ride.
We then boarded an ATV to our dog-sledding excursion.
The infrastructure of this little city was terrible. Potholes all over the road.
You can see this van tipping over as he drives through the holes.
Some other pics along the way….
We arrived and then took a short ride on a sleigh to the kennel.
Where we were greeted by traditional Russian dancers and a lot of vodka.
All the dogs waiting earnestly for their next run.
Surprisingly, Cooper did not care one bit about hanging out with the dogs. Too much standing still for him, he prefers to explore.
For some reason, the guide spent the next 45 minutes walking us around to introduce each dog. Just saddle them up already! They were very sweet dogs – most very eager for a little petting and attention.
But they were antsy too. Once harnessed, they were barking, jumping and, literally, going crazy. I was surprised by this. I expected more discipline. George thought this level of energy was probably desired given the activity level required. Sled dogs used to be the only means of transportation in this area but now they are considered a sport and tourist attraction.
And they’re off!
After watching the dogs leave, there was more dancing and we were fed a fantastic Russian lunch. There were a bunch of cold cuts and blini (think pancakes or crepes) and alot more vodka. But, the best thing was the borscht. It was delicious. This is kinda what I remember it looking like….
And the blini. I expected to love these but I didn’t really care for them. George loved them.
Cooper was having none of it. You want me to try new food? Nope, he promptly fell asleep.
Back to the boat we go for three more sea days to Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Til then….