First Cruise

Pam and I took our first cruise almost 20 years ago, and one was all it took. We were hooked. Like many people, we never thought cruising was for us. While we both had a lifelong love of travel, it always involved exploring the world by train, plane and automobile. A cruise seemed too confining, too regimented. It was travel for people who like their vacations programmed. But on a lark, we decided to give it a …

Read moreFirst Cruise

Carnival Family Feud

It’s been almost a year since Carnival Cruise Lines announced their exclusive partnership with the highly popular game show “Family Feud.” Now set to debut on Mardi Gras, Carnival’s newest ship scheduled to launch in November, it was “time to play the Feud” last week at Carnival Studios, their giant production facility in Davie, Florida. The live run-through consisted of two shows — the regular version Face Off and a round of Fast Money. Two teams were …

Read moreCarnival Family Feud

Wrap-up: Crystal Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise

If I had to choose one word to describe a cruise on Crystal Serenity, it would be “family.” Pam and I just completed our first cruise with Crystal, the “Haute Caribbean Holidays” voyage — 16 days, round-trip Miami — and from the guests to the crew, family is fundamental to the overall experience. First, consider how many of the nearly 1,000 guests onboard were repeat customers: Almost 70 percent. Among the senior officers and staff, many told …

Read moreWrap-up: Crystal Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise

Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 15

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_Today is the last full day of our holiday cruise, and that means one more port of call: Key West, the southernmost point of the United States, the home of Hemingway and his famous six-toed cats, a city that exudes both party and charm, where the fishing is spectacular, and so are the sunsets. There’s only one problem: We won’t be there. When we awoke, there was the ocean in all directions, and no sign …

Read moreSerenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 15

Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Days 13 and 14

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_With Tortola in our rear-view mirror, we have two days at sea as we make a heading for our next — and last — port of call, Key West. Besides still decompressing from all the New Year’s festivities, this time will allow us to be, among other things, culturally-enriched and join Mozart for afternoon tea. For the former, there are a number of “Enrichment Program” onboard lectures scheduled, ranging from science and shipwrecks to the …

Read moreSerenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Days 13 and 14

Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 12

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_No sleeping in today. We have arrived at the British Virgin Islands and are preparing to dock in Tortola, where we have an early tour booked. Heavy clouds hang low over the island’s lush green hills, bringing rain with them. Given it’s the tropics, it probably won’t last long, but if you’re out and about, it’s a good idea to take the umbrella this time of the year. Beside us is Norwegian Encore, several sizes …

Read moreSerenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 12

Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 11 (New Year’s Day)

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 …

Read moreSerenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 11 (New Year’s Day)

Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 10 (New Year’s Eve!)

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_It’s here — the last day of 2019 — and Serenity is getting ready to PAR-TAY! Balloons are massed all over the Crystal Cove atrium, along with a giant 2020 Countdown Clock. Celebrations are planned ship-wide, starting with a comedy show in the Galaxy Lounge featuring John Joseph, who opened for Julio Iglesias for 10 years. The Crystal Quartet and Showband are performing in the Crystal Plaza, alongside the clock, starting at 8:45 and then …

Read moreSerenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 10 (New Year’s Eve!)

Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 9

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_When we return from last night’s show and dinner, the red message light is blinking on our stateroom phone. It’s the shore excursion team, reminding us to make sure and eat a hearty breakfast since there won’t be a lunch opportunity on our Barbados tour today. Like the previous tour in St. Lucia, we have signed up for the “late risers” option, with a late morning start time. It’s nice not to set an alarm …

Read moreSerenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 9

Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 8

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_Pinch me, please. Is it really the eighth day of our cruise already? It’s going by so fast. Outside our balcony door is the green, lush and tropical island of St. Lucia. Renowned for its natural beauty, it’s a picture postcard day, with high white clouds dotting an azure sky. The only thing that could spoil our day ashore is wearing CAMOUFLAGE. That’s right: Guests are advised that it is against the law in St. …

Read moreSerenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day 8

CLOSE
CLOSE