I had the wonderful experience to take a fall foliage cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity in September of 2016. It was an experience full of the lively colors of fall foliage, but also the bright and shining personalities of the Crystal Cruises staff that really know how to make a girl feel at home.
The trip began in Montreal in the early morning, where my friend Isabel and I started our journey with a scenic drive to Quebec City. We ventured up the hill from the Port De Quebec and began to explore. Quebec City was certainly one of the highlights of the trip. It was chilly, but sunny and the quaint, charming aura was glowing around every corner. It was one of those days that I felt truly alive and happy, ready to see the world and gain a different perspective on life. The street performers awakened my senses and heightened my appreciation of all the beautiful surroundings.
We embarked the Crystal Serenity with about 900 people that day in Quebec City. Being an avid cruiser, I know how hectic the embarkation process can be. However, this particular experience was seamless. Smiling greeters directed us, and it was one of the smoothest and most efficient embarkations I have ever experienced. While some parts of traveling can be stressful, Crystal made it easy, and dare I say, actually enjoyable to board this exquisite ship.
We embarked that afternoon, and immediately were met by the gigantic Chateau Frontenac, within full view from our ship, The Château Frontenac which is operated as a hotel Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, is situated at an elevation of 54 m (177 ft.), and was designed by American architect Bruce Price, as one of a series of "château" style hotels built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company.
Cruising aboard the Serenity was just fantastic! We were given the royal treatment everywhere we went on the ship: in the dining rooms, bars, and lounges. The meal service was outstanding and the quality of the cuisine was exquisite. From the omelet stations in the morning, to the exceptional sushi bar in Silk Road in the evenings, or the Valentino inspired “Prego” where they serve the famous cream of mushroom soup in a bread bowl (some repeat cruisers come back again and again to have this famous soup). Although because of our special itinerary visiting great ports in Maine and Massachusetts, we had some of the best lobster and seafood you can have at highly-rated restaurants on dry land. Still, this mushroom soup is still on my mind.
One night, while in the dining room, one of the waiters turned around after hearing my voice and said, ‘Your name is Nina, right?’ I said yes, and we got to talking. It turned out that he remembered me from a Crystal Cruise I had taken 3 and a half years prior. I was blown away! How could someone remember me after all this time? And not just my face, but my name. We had a lovely conversation and he made me feel so special and welcome for remembering me. It made me want to sail with Crystal more often, a travel experience where I feel comfortable, thought of, and remembered.
Later that night, I went to the Avenue Saloon to have a cocktail with my friend and relax. When I went up to the bar to order a drink, the bartender ALSO REMEMBERED ME! At this point I’m thinking ‘Hmmmm, does Crystal have a file for all of their cruisers? Does the staff have to review the files of guests that have already been on Crystal? How can two staff members possibly remember me?!’ The bartender remembered that I like martinis and made me a superb cocktail, just the way I like it. It’s like the show Cheers. Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. I really felt that. And speaking of which, I went and visited the official Cheers bar in Boston on this trip. How appropriate for the experience I was having.
Traveling the Northeast coast of North America in the fall is kind of hit or miss as far as weather goes. We had some rainy days and made the most of it. When getting on and off the ship, Crystal provided us with hot drinks and umbrellas. They were thoughtful and prepared. They really exceeded my expectations as far as customer service goes. I can’t wait for my next Crystal adventure. No matter where in the world you’re traveling, I know I’ll have the best experience on Crystal, rain or shine!