DAY 1 CRYSTAL SERENITY - EMBARKATION
We slept well last night. No false fire alarms. Thank goodness.
We thought we would begin with thoughts about our first ever stay at the Epic Hotel. Overall, we were pleased and plan to return. The rooms are fairly modern. While we prefer traditonal rooms the world is changing. We are reminded of our recent stay at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco where they went from a traditoinal to a modern look throughout the hotel. The layout of our room was quite nice. There was a separate living area with a large desk with plenty (and we mean plenty) of outlets and large couch and large televison. The bedroom is a nice size as is the bath area.
Service was terrific. A feature recently introduced is the ability to text before and and during your stay. If you have an issue or an item needing attendition they immediately respond via text. We used the text to request additonal coffee, to ask for early turndown and make up the room service and even to report that the desk swivel chair had a defect with one of the roller falling off. In each case, their response was timely and efficient.
Our room included a dedicated club room with a concierge and it served five small daily meal . While not as elaborate as the Ritz Carlton it most definely met our needs. We believe that all other rooms have a club room for use where there is wine offered for one hour along with some snacks.
We enjoyed the hotel location including its proximity to Whole Foods, Mary Brickell Village, Port Of Miami and even the taxi over to and from South Beach.
It was not an issue for us but if you are on a lower floor of the hotel and on the side of the bridge you might hear traffic at night so we would try to ask for a room on the other side or a higher floor. We suspect some of the lower priced room could have this noise issue.
We also wanted to mention how much we have enjoyed our stay in Miami. Like a fine wine it gets better overtime.
As you know by now we love to walk. Several years ago we commented that this is not a walker friendly city. We feel that has changed. There are many walkers and joggers on the streets of Miami. Drivers of motor vehicles are more respectful of those of us on foot and often yield to us. Just a couple of areas where improvment would be nice.
Many on bicycles go at high speeds on the sidewalk such as on Brickell. This should not be the case, and they should ride on the street. On Brickell there are actually bicycle lanes.
Those people walking dogs should all carry bags for you know what. You really have to watch where you walk. OK, enough said. LOL.
We have sailed close to 1,000 days on-board Crystal Serenity ever since our first Serenity sailing in September of 2005.
Our first cruise with Crystal Cruises was in 2002 on-board Crystal Harmony. Harmony left the Crystal Fleet in 2006. In 2003 we sailed Crystal Symphony for the very first time.
We are asked from time-to-time why we frequently sail Crystal Cruises. Although we love to cruise and have sailed with several other cruise lines, we feel very comfortable when we sail Crystal, It is a perfect fit for us. When we return for another Crystal voyage it is like coming home. Seeing members of the crew, guests and land base enrichment/entertainment personnel brings a smile to our faces. The ship has a feeling to us of being in a small village.
We prefer the size of both ships. We find them not too large and not too small for our liking. We enjoy the people including the amazing Crystal Cruises crew and the high level of service they provide, the cuisine, the enrichment program, entertainment, and the diversity of land programs. In short, we love the Crystal package.
As often as we have sailed Crystal, we are excited each time we cruise. Today has been no exception.
We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, freshened up, and finished packing. The drive to the Miami Cruise Ship Terminal was quick. We made our way to the Port on the same route we took when we walked over there. We took Uber for the very first time. It worked like a charm.
Crystal Serenity was berthed at Terminal B.
Check-in was efficient. After embarking Serenity we checked in on the main level. Check-in was efficient. We quickly ran into Captain Birger and Hotel Director Hubert and on the stairwell in the photo Hotel Director Scott Peterson who will be leaving today on a well deserved holiday. We also saw Head Butler Rao.
We enjoyed lunch at the Crystal Dining Room. For those who board after the dining room closes or just prefer a more casual dining experience The Trident Grill was also open. The grill serves an array of grilled items such as hamburger, hotdogs, chicken and salmon.
Our tradition is to have our "embarkation lunch" in the Crystal Dining Room with seated table service. A several course meal is available as it is each and everyday. There is a good range of entrees including seafood, poultry and even filet mignon. Keeping to our "tradition" we each had a Cobb Salad along with a flute of Champagne. We toasted our love for each other (this year will mark forty years of marriage) and to a wonderful cruise.
We spoke with several members of the Crystal Dining Room and Food & Beverage Team including Somellier Ricardo who poured the Champagne for us, Head Sommelier Mario, Head Waiter Franz and Senior Head Waiter Carmello and several Senior Head Waiters and Waiters too many too list here.
Later today we will attend the mandatory life boat drill, have dinner and possibly see the welcome show. We are very excited to be home.
We will post more about the remainder of the day tomorrow.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - This year marks our 25th year of cruising together beginning with a family cruise on-board the Big Red Boat. We remember that first cruise as if it was yesterday. Cruising appeals to us in many ways. This includes the ability to visit many places in a short timeframe, and to meet and develop relationships with people from cultures around the world. Cruising allows us to travel in a pleasant environment offering significant choices through the day and evening hours, with terrific cuisine and an extraordinary level of service.
We can think of no better way to see the world. In our early years of marriage we never could have imagined traveling so often by cruise ship, let alone doing so on a cruise line as special as Crystal Cruises.
Keith & Anne Marie