Thank you Cindy for your good wishes. We both walk quite a bit when visiting cities such as Miami. At home Keith also runs and does indoor cycling for exercise and Anne Marie walks and she puts in greater distances while traveling. If you enjoyed your first Crystal experience you should enjoy new Crystal as much and possibly more.
Thank you Jonathan for your good wishes and for following along.
This morning we awoke with great anticipation for our return to Crystal Serenity and to make new memories will last a lifetime. We enjoyed our last breakfast and got ready to be driven to the Port of Miami. We were driven on the same route that we have walked this stay and previously when before embarking or after debarking other Crystal cruises.
First a selfie at the hotel before we departed. Keith wishes his arm extended another few feet. LOL.
Similar to boarding on July 31 of this year, it was wonderful to be back on-board Serenity and we shed some tears. After all that occurred between Covid-19 in 2020 and carrying over to 2021 when Crystal was forced to stop operations because of the previous owner's insolvency, we feel blessed to sail with Crystal.
Since first sailing Serenity in the Fall of 2005 after prior sailings on Crystal Harmony in 2002 and Crystal Symphony in 2002, 2003 and 2004, we have sailed 1,200+ days on Serenity or the equivalent of 3 years and 4 months on this one vessel. We never felt the need to have a second home because Crystal is our second home and that includes Symphony.
Words cannot adequately describe how much we love and enjoy the Crystal product. We have met so many nice people, both crew and guests sailing Crystal, celebrated so many special moments including birthdays, family get togethers, wedding anniversaries, retirement milestones, and even renewing our wedding vows in 2017 with our family with us.
The ship has gone through many changes, including the most recent ones, after the vessels were purchased in 2022 that one would never know she in her 20th year of service. What has not changed is the glue which holds everything together, creating that special bond which is the crew. We have known some of the crew not only since our first Serenity voyage in 2005, but from earlier sailings on Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony.
This voyage marks our fourth Crystal Holiday Cruise. The ship looks beautiful decked out in holiday attire and within the first couple of hours we have seen so many of the crew who are part of our extended family, along with several guests who we have sailed with before along with others who we know from the Crystal Society Face Book group page. Our first meal on-board was at Waterside, where we enjoyed our traditional embarkation lunch of Cobb Salad and a flute of Champagne. We toasted our love for one another, our love of Crystal, and the anticipation of another amazing voyage with Crystal.
We received the best gift possible when news arrived that A&K Travel under the leadership of Manfredi Lefebvre d”Ovidio had purchased Crystal Symphony & Serenity, the name Crystal and the customer lists. It culminated when we had the honor of being on-board for the inaugural cruise starting on July 31 of this year and the one after that.
When we arrived to the Terminal we saw Golf Pro Joe Hubert outside as he was waiting to return to the ship. Once inside, we saw friends Ashley and Kelly, Christen and Carl, and a short while later friend Dave and Gary.
Eventually, Rao our butler came down and we also saw Hotel Director Hubert and Front Office Manager Marco. Once on board we saw Chief Concierge Ariela and Thomas who works in Reception. We saw Captain Birger who goes home today and Captain Vincent who just came on board. We sailed with Captain Birger on the July 31 Cruise and Captain Vincent on the following cruise.
We started to get settled in our room unpacking items from our carry on roller boards.
Waterside opened at 11:45 AM earlier than normal to coincide with embarkation starting at 11:45 AM as well. This is a full ship with every room sold out.
We enjoyed our traditional embarkation lunch of a flute of champagne toasting our love for one another and to a wonderful voyage along with a Cobb salad. Senior Waiter Ayhan who we have known for years took our order. We saw Senior Head Waiter Jacques and Restaurant Manger Paolo and several other members of the waitstaff team came by to check on us. We saw some guests we have not sailed with before and some who we have known for years.
We are super excited to being on board.
We will do our best to share our experiences over the next 13 days through words and photos.
Anne Marie & Keith