A Week on Crystal Serenity:
A Santa Barbara Travel Client’s Rendition of his Montreal- Ft Lauderdale Sailing
People always ask me, “Don’t you get bored being on a ship for so long?” Well, no. In fact, it is the opposite. I can hardly find time to sit on my Verandah and smell the salt air. Most times I won’t debark at port just to have a slightly slower pace. Besides, everybody leaves and it is like having your own 750 passenger yacht! (That’s when I hot tub). I know now why ships are referred to in the feminine text. Each is beautiful in their own way, with alluring nuances and quirks. Like a perfect marriage, find the right one and you savor every minute.
On this particular trip, I had the pleasure of checking out Crystal Serenity. I can safely say I definitely developed a taste for 6-star cruises. A little bit more money, but extremely worth it. Our last cruise was on Regent and I wanted to compare the top two lines to see the difference. And there definitely was a difference. Really excellent choices if YOU know what lights your fire!
We are on a 15 day, Montreal to Ft Lauderdale sojourn. We port in Bar Harbor Maine tomorrow. I have to say coming out of the St. Lawrence into the Atlantic was an E-ticket ride. Strong winds added to our excitement. Fortunately, it was during our sleep hours, but all the jiggling made for interesting dreams!
One of Crystal’s strengths is its education/entertainment program. After 60+ cruises, I can say with some confidence that you can find no better offering. This morning, I heard lectures on Boston (Redcoats and Minutemen), North Korea (Controlling the Spread of Nuclear Weapons by Professor Louis Rene Barnes), and instead of going to hear how the wristwatch was invented, I slipped into a very informative lecture/instruction on iPad tricks. We ate lunch quickly and headed back to “Computer at Sea” for Adobe Photoshop Magic. And I’m only into day two! I didn’t go to that many classes when I was at Stanford 60 years ago!
Yesterday was just as hectic with fantastic night life. After a delightful Nobu dinner, we heard a Broadway production of “The Life of Billy Joel”, some great jazz and a nightcap at Karaoke (I’m working on my rendition of Big Bad Leroy Brown).
People who say they get bored cruising are on the wrong ship!
We are in Quebec and I had forgotten what a charming city it is. Really like a mini France with English spoken. Absolutely gorgeous fall foliage on a three-hour bus ride from Montreal. We got off to a booming start with a long bar session with my wife buying a $65 bottle of wine to take to the room. When asked why? “It’s only $25 at Costco.”
Too early to comment on the ship, except the foyer bar is terrific. Met some charming people, one lady on her 37th Crystal Cruise. Why? She loves to dance and the cruise line provides partners. Expensive shoe shuffling.
This Crystal ship is different than others we’ve sailed. No sports bar. No TV, or football, or baseball in the public areas. Each morning was packed with interesting lecturers. Listened to a former ambassador this AM. They have a large computer program with speakers and person to person instruction. I’m finally learning how to do stuff I was embarrassed to ask my grandkids!
Leisurely chugging down the St. Lawrence with Bar Harbor Maine as our first stop. Interesting sideline…we will plow through herds of migrating whales as we round Newfoundland. Ship has to slow down to 10 mph.
Love and wine bottles to all,
– John M.
Judy and I hit the sack early last night. Didn’t miss any of the entertainment as we watched a replay on our stateroom’s TV at 7:30am while enjoying our coffee and orange juice. Nice feature. They do the same with lectures.
We tender at noon into Bay Harbor. Before that, we go through a quick “face” immigration inspection in the Galaxy Lounge. We may decide to stay on board as we have tickets to the Magic Castle show at 4:30pm. Hard to get. They only accept 25 people per show, only do 8 shows per sailing, and we caught a lucky break as someone cancelled and we were next in line! The shows all sold out BEFORE the cruise left Quebec. 550 people are out of magic on this cruise. Not us, timing is everything! Ship sails at 6pm, temperature is up to 50 degrees and we’ve been here before influencing our decision. Dinner tonight is at specialty restaurant “Prego”.
Our Nobu experience was excellent. Such exquisite tastes and settings. Could eat there every other night. Each guest can dine twice in their specialty restaurants on the house and then there is a nominal charge of $30. Still a bargain! Food? Judy and I share different opinions. I think Regent Seven Seas Cruises is better while she likes Crystal. Either way, it’s overkill. You really have to have a modicum of will power or the notches in your belt disappear. I’m close to beltless already and more than a week to go!
One thing I will comment on is their soups. “Tastes” is one of their eateries on the 12th deck. It serves the same menu daily. We have been there twice for soup and salad. Soup is the only item they change. Each day I have had seconds. Yesterday I ordered the Tuna salad made with fresh Ahi Tuna, (no Bumblebee for me!). It was delicious.
How can you not love cruising?
A warm, bright, sunny day greeted us chugging into historic Boston Bay. I swear I see tea leaves floating alongside. We dock just opposite of the end of Logan Airport’s main runway which gives me a constant view of activity. Fun for me as I can sit on my Verandah and identify the different aircraft (using the ship supplied binoculars). It also is one of the main shipping channels which is busy, busy, busy with people and cargo heading out to far worldly points. The Holland America Zuiderdam tooted as it went by. Everybody was waving at each other.
Judy was all set to visit the Kennedy Library today but I talked her into going to a movie instead. Ship has a charming theater and shows a variety of movies from Blockbusters to “Indies”. Changes twice a day. They even provide you popcorn. Both of us have been to Boston a couple of times so I felt no urgent need to disembark. Besides, we both have come down with small colds so we are saving ourselves for tomorrow…Newport, RI.
The Magic show was terrific! Up close and personal – that really enhances the cleverness. Tonight’s plans are solid. Early dinner then off to the Cove to hear Frank Sinatra music, then to the major stage “Beatles” production, “Across the Pond”, and then hustle off to Stardust Club for the “Rock and Pop-A-Mania” show. Close out the evening with a nightcap at Karaoke (I’m still practicing my version of BBLB!).
What a trip! If you are rich enough and so out of touch with reality that you build a house with 21 horse stalls INSIDE the house (with horses, of course), this is your kind of town! What a fascinating place.
Absolutely gorgeous scenery, old, multi-million homes and stories galore. We had a wonderful guide driving us around in her red and white trolley car while she related the weird and wild history of America’s gentrified playground. This is one of those places you can’t mentally absorb. It is a place that is so full of excess, wacky egos and stunning scenery that you leave your jaw ajar automatically.
Serenity is parked in the middle of zillions of sailboats, tendering passenger’s back and forth at a rapid rate. The town of 24,000 swells by three during the summer season but is now slowing down to get ready for the cold winter. Not today! It’s warm and in the high fifties. Tomorrow is two days in New York. This place is the ying, the “Big Apple” is the yang.
Contact Kathy or Your Santa Barbara Travel Advisor to Book a Crystal Cruise
Travel Advisor, Ventura