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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

FALL CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE 2014: DAY #9--Lifestyles of the Almost Rich and Not So Famous


The clientele of the Crystal Symphony is eerily similar to 15 Craigside when it comes to age, and daily activities are similar.  Passengers are old.  Both are populated by mostly the almost rich, but not so famous.  One couple has been on 197 Crystal cruises, so they must be really wealthy.  Incidentally, to be rich in American now means you need a resource base of $5 million.  I never qualified, and am even deeper into middle class status now because I endowed my apartment--which remains still on sale--to the University of Hawaii.  Well, not simply to them, because they're screwed up, but to develop a Blue Revolution program at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, which is doing well.

As I noted on Day 3, Crystal cruises rate #1 of all the cruise lines.  More specifically, here is a parametric comparison of the very best:

Line            Enjoyment  Dining  Activities   Entertainment  Service  Overall

Crystal              5                5              5                4                     4           5
Regent              5                4              3                3                     4           5
Seabourn          5                5              2                2                      4           5
SeaDream         5                4              3                3                     5           5
Silversea           5                5              3                2                     5           4  

These are all smallish ships, with Crystal holding the largest number of passengers (950 versus 200 for SeaDream). For cabin comfort, cleanliness, decor, gym, etc., click on specific ships.  Both (to the left) the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity rate exactly the same, with the only low score, a 3.5, with 5 being max, for children's facilities.  Thank heavens.  There are only two "children" on this ship, of 900+ passengers.  Just like 15 Craigside, the younger people walking around are staff members.

The general menu and daily activities on board look like what we have at 15 Craigside.  However, the food is much better at sea and the shows are more lavish.  The stage show on Route 66 is about a hundred times more professional than the dancing follies performed by 15 Craigside ladies.

The big lifestyle difference is that in Honolulu, I have "other" things to do.  I walk on a golf course two or three times/week, spend some time in my Manoa Campus office and watch a lot of television, especially sports programs.   On the Symphony, the TV set is tiny.  However, I was planning on reading more, for I brought two books.  Alas, I haven't yet turned a page.

I do walk on the seventh floor track for two or three miles/day, and yesterday I experienced something dangerous.  Seas were rough, and a lot people probably got seasick.  I somehow survived, but at one point decided to take my daily walk.  However, I went through a back entrance down a spiral staircase.  The winds were high and at one point I was almost tossed to sea.  There were salt sprays and I got wet.  Turning a corner was challenging, and I had to pull myself by holding the handrails.  I finally decided to give up, but couldn't get back into the ship because all the doors were locked from the inside.  I went back to my outdoor staircase, and, thankfully, the door could be opened.  So I decided to try the exercise room, but it was closed due to bad weather.  The spa was also not available.  Then I noticed a sign on the doors to the outside indicating that it was advised to stay inside and don't even walk around if that could be avoided.

As I paid so much for the veranda, I just had to have a sunset dinner, so I yesterday ordered a steak with salad and truffle soup with a bottle of wine.  The sunset was gorgeous:


Just as I was set to eat, about a 55 gallon drum of dirty water splashed on to my table.  After some investigation, they admitted that they were swabbing an upper deck and this was all accidental.  6:30 at night?  Anyway, I ordered a second set and consumed the meal indoors, watching Oregon beat Utah on TV.

I had two fabulous meals today, starting with a surf and turf Japanese breakfast:


Steak and cod.  Dinner was at Nobu's Silk Road.  I had two courses of three dishes each:


My meal began with a cold soba, three pieces of tuna sashimi and a mushroom broth, followed by ikura sushi, wagyu beef and miso soup:


While I was enjoying a port wine at the end, Chef Tamba  came by and wondered by I did not inform him in advance I was there.


I think he thought I was someone important.  He did not talk to anyone else, just me, for quite a while.  He mentioned that his uncle is Tetsuro Tamba, famous for his Tange Sazen samurai role:

I noticed that Haruko Wanibuchi was also in the film, someone I had not seen for at least half a century.  Getting old is somewhat unfortunate:


Still attractive, but old.

Well, we arrive into Auckland tomorrow.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped up all of one point to hit another all-time high of 17,615.

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