ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_Happy New Year from the Caribbean!
Today is a sea day as we make our way slowly to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. A good thing, too, since most of the ship is in a “Do Not Disturb” hangover from the late night partying that ushered in a new decade.
Party central was the Crystal Cove atrium, where, at the stroke of midnight, 5,000 balloons, assembled and inflated by a crew of eight, were released on dancing partygoers, along with the requisite confetti, as the Crystal Showband played “Auld Lang Syne.” There was champagne, noise makers, party favors and New Year’s headgear as well.
That capped off a black-tie optional night that for us included sharing dinner with friends Charlie and Beth in Waterside, where after some confusion, the sommelier located the Veuve Clicquot Pam had pre-ordered, or at least, a bottle. Of course, roaming photographers had their cameras in overdrive as they snapped guests in their elegant finest.
After the balloon drop, we and other guests hustled to the deck railing outside to watch fireworks light the skies over Barbados. That was a nice bonus.
With New Year officially here, we were ready to party hardy to music and dancing. To our chagrin, we found out the festivities were winding down fast. Within the hour or so, clean-up crews had everything looking like a party never happened — just who we need to hire after we host our next shindig.
So we wandered down to Stardust to catch the action there with the Crystal Quartet. There were one or two couples on the floor, and several young children doing the macarena who should have been in bed hours ago. The teens and younger set had already taken over Pulse, so the few adults still eager to bring in the new year were out of options.
Somewhat desperate, we headed topside, where recorded music was booming around the pool deck. There were a few scattered couples there. Still, it gave us a chance to dance under the stars — at least, for a hot minute. The music abruptly stopped 10 minutes later. Time to wave the white flag and head for the stateroom. On a lark, Pam stopped in the casino and after a few spins, won $60 at a slot machine. That was a nice way to end things.
While the balloon drop was a blast, we have a few suggestions: 1) More dancing options, even if it means keeping the canned music going later, 2) designate some adult-only areas, and 3) offer a late night dining venue — something more than gourmet snacks from wandering wait staff. You don’t always want to wait 45 minutes for room service.
Where once the balloons ruled, Serenity staff were busy preparing for an elaborate New Year’s Day Jazz Brunch Buffet. While not quite as extensive at the Christmas Gala, there were plenty of options in front of a “Happy New Year” ice sculpture.
After brunch, we headed for the Hollywood Theatre, where special interest lecturer Giancarlo Impiglia would be talking about “The Roaring 20s and 30s: The Revival of Art Deco” as part of the Crystal Visions Enrichment Program. Pam and I have long loved art deco and enjoyed learning more about its origins in Paris and adoption around the world. Impliglia is himself an artist, who launched his career in 1974, commissioned to paint a 60-foot mural for the lobby of the iconic 99 John Street building in New York.
Tonight we have reservations at Silk, which features Asian fare. While we have dined there for lunch, this will be our first foray into their evening menu. More on that in tomorrow’s post, and our day in Tortola. Stay tuned.
Cover photo: Balloons and confetti fall on partygoers