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 …

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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 …

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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. …

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Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Day Seven

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_Today we are docked at St. John’s, Antigua, and the weather is almost perfect. Little wind and calm seas, with highs in the mid-80s. This is our first visit to this small island, one of the Leeward Islands located 200 miles east of Puerto Rico. Antigua and its companion island, Barbuda, are part of the British Commonwealth. This is a stop we’ve been looking forward to, not because of its 365 snow-white beaches or sightseeing …

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Serenity Haute Caribbean Holidays Cruise – Days Five and Six

ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_We wake up to a view of the crystalline blue waters that surround the island-nations (plural) of St. Marteen, also known as Sint Marteen or St. Martin. This half-French, half-Dutch country is one of our favorite Caribbean stops. The Dutch call it Sint Marteen; the French, St. Martin. One supposes St. Marteen is the compromise between the two. While we have visited here a number of times, we’ve signed up for an island shore excursion …

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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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