A World Cruise has always been high on my bucket list … so when the Ensemble Travel Group (the consortium to which Alice Travel belongs) offered us the chance to host the 2015 Crystal Serenity World Cruise, needless to say, I was thrilled.
The 104-day itinerary circumnavigates the globe … from and to Miami. This was my dream come true. Unfortunately, Irene had other ideas, putting it succinctly, “no way.” In March, 2015, our grandson, Andrew was becoming a Bar Mitzvah so, after much arbitration, Irene and I struck our deal. We would host the tour for 46 days, taking us from Miami to Sydney, and be home in time to prepare for the Bar Mitzvah.
Our Fabulous Routine During Our Days at Sea
We flew to Miami the day before the cruise and boarded the Crystal Serenity on the afternoon of Thursday, January 15. Our sailing began with two delightful days. Days at sea aboard Crystal are like camp for adults — so many activities and great entertainment. (We actually had 20 full days at sea out of the 45 we were on the ship.) Irene started her mornings with an early yoga class while I exercised by walking the promenade deck for 30 minutes, then I checked my emails at the Computer Center. Breakfast was either in the Lido or the main dining room.
Most days we attended a lecture at 10:00 followed by a bridge lesson at 11:00. The lecturers on Crystal ships are second to none — ship historians, political leaders, destination expert, and more. Two of our favorites speakers were on our first segment. Bill Miller, our good friend from NJ, is a ship historian who gives the most fascinating accounts about old and new ships, cruise lines, ports, and much more. Jay Wolf, whom we have sailed with before, is a master storyteller who makes history come alive as he recounts places and people of significance.
We always enjoyed Trivia at noon. The ship sailed with about 1,000 guests (amazing to me, over 600 were making the full 104-day circle!), which gave us 17 teams of eight guests. No kidding, this became competitive and often resulted in arguments among team members. Hats off to the Crystal social director who was in charge of this activity. At one point the discussions got so heated, she half jokingly said she would have to call security to protect her. All this to win mugs or tee shirts!
Lunch was either in the dining room or a wonderful restaurant called Tastes, located on the pool deck. I was a very popular destination due to their wonderful sandwiches, salads, and grilled items. An ice cream bar was conveniently right around the corner!
Afternoon could be a movie, bridge, or various lectures. On balmy days (and there were many) we hung out at the pool. Then it was time for The Bistro for lattes — frozen or hot — crudities, deli meats, cookies, cakes and more.
Dinner on the Crystal Serenity was always wonderful with generous choices on the menu. Our dinners were always superb and included excellent wines. If you did not want the red or white being served that night, the sommelier was there to recommend others. We were partial to the Bordeaux from France or the Sancerre. We could also place special orders for dinner the following night. Irene and I are very partial to Crystal’s wiener schnitzel and their duck.
The specialty restaurants on the Serenity are outstanding. Whether Prego – the fabulous Italian restaurant –, or the Asian-inspired Nobu and Silk Road, the gastronomical experience elicited the highest praise. Tastes was also open in the evenings for “small plate” dining. Tastes was also a good option when we came back late from a shore excursion and did not want to change for dinner.