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December 15, 2004





This was a cruise I'll never forget! I've cruised 6 or 7 times now...I'm loosing track...and this was, by far, the best cruise I've ever taken. I've never been so relaxed! I have a highly stressful job so this was the perfect vacation for me. I flew down to Sydney 1 week prior to the cruise. It was during the Olympics so that week in Sydney was about going to events and seeing the closing ceremony fire works. Sydney is a beautiful city with lots to see.


We boarded the Crystal Harmony on October 3rd. That first night the ship stayed in Sydney so dinner was open. We had some local friends join us onboard for dinner. We had arranged this ahead of time, so we could thank them for letting us stay with them while we were in Sydney.


October 4th we left Sydney in the late afternoon. I was getting ready for dinner as we sailed out of the harbour (not by choice), so our balcony came in handy to be able to look out and keep the bathrobe on. The weather was fabulous - It was spring for them at this time of year so its not too hot. We went to dinner and met our table mates. It was my birthday so the waitre's, maitre d', etc. came over and sang. I have to admit I prefer the desserts they serve over the cakes they have for special occassions (on any cruise).

October 5th we had our first day at sea. We began to talk about how well the staff was treating us. From day one everyone is genuinely friendly, wants to meet you and get to know you. The food in the lido cafe is great! I highly recommend the made-to-order waffles. WOW! They're really good. Almost everyday we went there for breakfast cause it was better than the dining room.

October 6th we stopped in Melbourne. They had complimentary shuttles from the cruise terminal to downtown. We took that and decided to explore the city on our own. All we did really was shop and go for lunch.


October 7th we had our second day at sea. They offer art auctions, paddle tennis, wine tasting's, etc. The following day we were in Hobart. What a cute little place. It was a Sunday so not very many places were open. We went to a Teddy Bear Fair, had Fish & Chips at the wharf (we can get better at home) and walked around.

Then we began our 3 day at sea journey to New Zealand. It was great! Sleep in, go to the art auction, go to the lunch buffet or the Trident Bar (they serve excellent made-to-order hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and french fries. Just make sure to ask for your burger well done). Then go to the gym or watch a movie and the day is nearly gone.


Dinners were the best part of the trip. We were extremely lucky because we sat at the Chief Engineers table. Every second night or so he would sit with us. He had many good stories to tell, along with our tablemates. One night our entire table went up to Prego's Restaurant for dinner. If you like Italian food this is the place to eat. WOW! The meals here are incredible. We ended up going to this restaurant twice...although I could have gone everynight.

Then we stopped in Wellington. They don't call it Windy Wellington for nothing! The day started out overcast. By mid-afternoon it was pouring rain and very windy. Crystal made the decision to overnight in Wellington because Christchurch (our next port-of-call) had the worst storm in 40 years. It had millions of dollars of damage to its port. By the next morning Crystal informed us we were traveling straight to Auckland and we'd arrive half a day early.


Arriving into Auckland on a Saturday was great. It was a beautiful sunny day so many locals were sailing in the harbour. (In fact, they had to blow the horn a few times to get people to move out of the way of us) I really enjoyed Auckland. It reminds me of Vancouver. Its a big city with great shopping. Plus, its on the water, is very lush (lots of grass & trees) and has rolling hills. So, we ended up spending 2 nights in Auckland, but I could have spent more time here.

The only things I didn't really like was the entertainment onboard and the age of the ship. I don't think I sat through one show. They weren't as good as what I've seen on other cruise lines. The age of the ship shows a little. For example, in our stateroom there was a stain on the carpet.

Overall the trip was great and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Written By Denise Blackmore, ACC

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Posted by Denise at December 15, 2004 09:54 AM
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