Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day Four (Christmas Day)

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_Not only is it Christmas, but also it arrived an hour earlier thanks to an overnight time change. There are big holiday doings all around the ship. The Big Man himself is scheduled to arrive at 10:30 in the Palm Court, where he’ll distribute gifts to the boys and girls onboard. Over in the deck 5 atrium, a battalion of chefs and ice carvers are preparing what has to be one of the world’s largest …

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Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day Three

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_It’s Christmas Eve, we have arrived at Grand Turk and Houston, we have a problem. While the sun has broken through the clouds, the windy weather continues, forcing Captain Giske to make a last-minute change: Instead of docking alongside Carnival Horizon, we’ll be using tenders to go ashore. Unfortunately, due to the winds, shore excursions involving the water — snorkeling, SCUBA, etc. — had to be canceled as well. As Hotel Director Hubert Buelacher explained …

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Crystal Serenity Haute Caribbean Holiday Cruise – Day Two

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_Today is a sea day, and a choppy sea at that. One of those extra Dramamine days that you sometimes get this time of the year. The first order of business is breakfast, which is being served in Marketplace, a new casual dining area that replaced the Lido Cafe during the ship’s extensive refurbishment in November, 2018. Bright and cheery, there are lots of breakfast choices at buffet stations.  Silverware and napkins are already in …

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Crystal Serenity Caribbean Holiday Cruise … Diary, Day 1

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_It’s finally here: The much-anticipated holiday cruise on Crystal Serenity is under way. And are we glad. The weather in South Florida has been abysmal for a week — gray skies and a relentless wind that just won’t stop. Pam and I were glad to be packing bags for 15 days in what we hoped would be the sunny Caribbean, with “bags” multiple being the operative word. Knowing there would be more “dress up” events …

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Preparing to Board Crystal Serenity for Haute Caribbean Holidays

In three days, Pam and I are boarding Crystal Serenity for their Haute Caribbean Holiday cruise, and we can’t wait. In fact, we wish we were leaving right now. We are Crystal first-timers, and who wouldn’t be excited to spend 15 days cruising the Caribbean, celebrating Christmas and New Year’s, on a cruise line that year after year, wins the industry’s most prestigious awards for excellence? Our departure point is Miami. Over the course of the cruise …

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Vantage Deluxe World Travel “Heart of Germany” voyage, 7-night sailing from Frankfurt to Munich on Ms River Splendor

Story and Photos By Gerry Barker In all the many cruises we taken over the years, there is one type of cruise we’ve never tried: River cruising. That all changed recently when we were invited by Vantage Deluxe World Travel to go on their “Heart of Germany” voyage — a seven-night sailing from Frankfurt to Munich on Ms River Splendor, touring six historic cities along the way. So it was with great anticipation that we boarded our …

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Vantage River Cruise ~ Day 3

Story and photo(s) by Gerry Barker … HEIDELBERG, Germany – Today starts early. We need to get a hardy breakfast before we board buses to tour this historic, romantic city and visit Schloss Heidelberg, one of Europe’s most famous castles. Ms River Splendor is docked at Aschaffenburg, from which Heidelberg is about 90 minutes by bus. The weather continues to be cold and rainy – pretty typical for November – so Pam and I add a few …

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Vantage River Cruise ~ Day 2

Story and photo(s) By Gerry Barker … KOBLENZ, Germany – It’s day two, and we just about have our body clocks adjusted to European time. This morning we are docked here in this historic city, described in our brochure as “a friendly town where its guests feel right at home.” Located where the Moselle and Rhine Rivers meet, its roots go back two thousand years, and has been governed at various times by the Romans, the French …

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Vantage River Cruise ~ Day One

By Gerry Barker MAINZ, Germany – Stepping off the plane in Frankfort, it was clear we had left Florida far behind. We had gone from the high 80s to the low 50s, trading swaying palms for trees in their full fall-foliage glory. For us, this was a trip of firsts: Our first visit to Germany, and our first river cruise. We were excited to experience both. Pam and I were here for Vantage Deluxe Travel’s “Heart of …

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Gerry Barker: Cabo San Lucas, Carnival Miracle’s Last Stop Before Cruise Ends in Long Beach

CABO SAN LUCAS – Here we are — Carnival Miracle‘s last stop before we end our cruise in Long Beach in two days. From our balcony we can view the Cabo’s iconic rock formations, including the famous arch where the blue-green surf sprays into the air. While the weather is beautiful, the morning is off to a rocky start onboard the ship. Apparently we have arrived later than planned, which has delayed the shore excursions and all …

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