By WALLACE IMMEN
For my next cruise, I have the immense pleasure of returning to one of the most luxurious cruise ships ever built. Crystal Serenity is not only one of my all-time favorites, it’s a perennial favorite of those who appreciate the best. Crystal Cruises’ ships Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony have been voted by passengers as the best big ships afloat an unprecedented 16 times in both Conde Nast Traveller and Travel and Leisure magazine reader polls.
Interestingly, they’re no longer really in the category of big ships. Carrying around 1,000 passengers each, they’ve been dwarfed in recent years by ships that carry three to five times as many passengers. I’ll be exploring the reasons why they have such a consistent wow factor in my future posts from the cruise.
Suffice it to say, from the time you board, no detail is too small, and pleasant surprises abound. I’ll be seeing Serenity for the first time since its recent $25-million renovation, something that’s essential to keep a ship in shape. But given Serenity’s loyal following, even a change of upholstery color is news and cause for debate among Crystal aficionados.
Our itinerary begins appropriately enough in serene Venice then on to Croatia, and then we’ll be tickling the highlights of Italy’s boot and taking insiders’ tours of Rome and Florence. Near the end, we’ll spend two whole days in Monte Carlo for shore excursions along the Riviera and maybe a little high rolling at the casino. Stay tuned. It’s going to be an unforgettable Crystal experience. Tweet me your comments & questions at @avidcruiser.
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