Jenna and Beth were next to embark on the Mediterranean Passage cruise for the remaining 3 nights from Monte Carlo to Barcelona onboard Crystal Serenity. Jenna works on our Reservations team as a Cruise Consultant here at TCP and Beth is our placement student, working on the Marketing team.
Please note that the text in purple is from Jenna and the text in orange is from Beth.
Day 1: Embarkation/Monte Carlo
I flew early from London Gatwick airport and arrived into Nice Airport at around 12 noon, excited and ready for 3 nights aboard Crystal Serenity. From Nice Airport it was a scenic drive to Monte Carlo where I caught my first glimpse of the beautiful Crystal Serenity docked. I was a bit unsure how embarkation would work as we were joining mid cruise and not on a designated sector, however everyone from the port security staff to the Crystal front desk seemed to be expecting us and we were greeted with a ‘Welcome Home!’ as soon as we boarded.
We were starving after our early morning so decided to go for a quick lunch at Trident Grill up on the Lido Deck after dropping our handbags off at our room. Trident Grill was perfect for us after a morning of travel as it has a really relaxed feel, serving food such as burgers, hot dogs, toasted sandwiches and fries as well as table service for drinks. I went for a chicken burger and sweet potato fries and it was delicious – some of the best fries I have ever eaten! We then thought it would be rude not to try out some ice-cream at Scoops bar which is positioned right by the Trident Grill. We felt rejuvenated after our delicious meal and thought a tour of the ship was necessary as I had only been on a ship visit back in the summer, but have never actually sailed on Crystal Serenity so I needed to get my bearings of all the facilities onboard. After the tour we eventually made our way to Palm Court for Afternoon Tea. Between the four of us (2 of our lovely agents joined us) we had two stands of sandwiches, little cakes and scones and a full tea menu to choose a beverage from. There was a violinist playing which created a lovely atmosphere and we had beautiful views of Monte Carlo from the panoramic glass windows, what an amazing way to begin a cruise! We then went back to our room to unpack and settle in.
We met once again in Palm Court, this time for a pre-dinner cocktail. The staff were great and welcomed us aboard and it was good fun perusing the extensive cocktail menu. From there it was off to Churrascaria, which in the evening becomes a Brazilian steakhouse. The food at Churrascaria consisted of 7 different meats being offered on Skewers and a choice of side dishes (hot and cold) and salad was on offer at the buffet. I tried 6 out of the 7 meats (minus the shrimp) and can say they were all delicious and very well flavoured. After dinner we decided to watch the entertainment tonight who was a British comedian, Jeff Stevenson, it was a great show in the Stardust club. After that we headed to the Galaxy Lounge for the Music of Billy Joel show. This was really enjoyable and the singers and dancers were amazing. It was then off to Pulse for karaoke and canapés. After all that fun, we decided to call it a night and headed for bed.
Day 2: Marseille, France
We woke up feeling refreshed as the beds and pillows are so comfortable! We got ready for the day and opted for the buffet breakfast at Marketplace and then we made our way off the ship to explore Marseille. As the cruise port is not within walking distance to the town, Crystal provided complimentary shuttle buses to the Old Port which ran regularly (every 20 or so minutes). We arrived in the Old Port and despite the brisk, windy weather set off on a walk around the harbour. The harbour of Marseille is lovely but the wet, windy weather meant the lure of the ship was too strong and after a couple of hours we were made our way back to the Crystal shuttle and were soon back onboard.
We went to Silk for lunch which is also up on the lido deck. I had a range of dishes that were really good. I tried the bao bun with barbecue pork for starter and then the chicken chow mein for main alongside fried rice and stir-fried beef. I was not sure what to expect in Silk however the atmosphere was great and everything I tried was lovely. I would be very happy to come back here again for lunch or dinner where the menu is expanded even further.
After lunch we were very full so we decided to relax by the pool reading a book. The weather was a bit windy, but we made ourselves comfortable on the loungers with the blankets they have on deck. Afterwards, we made our way to the Bistro for some afternoon tea and hot chocolate. The Bistro was lovely and it felt like we’d stepped into a café in Europe. The Bistro also offers takeaway drinks if you do not have time to sit in and order. We sat in and I had some cake and a hot chocolate. After our afternoon stop at the Bistro we headed back to the room for a rest before we got ready for our black tie optional evening.
We all met at the Crystal Cove for drinks before our dinner reservation. The Cove was full of guests enjoying a pre-dinner drink and there was also a violinist playing. Tonight we had booked into the speciality restaurant, Prego and wow what an amazing evening! The restaurant itself had a really quaint, Italian feel and we were really looked after by the lovely staff. All my courses were very tasty, for starter I had gnocchi, for main I went for the steak and for dessert I went for the Panna Cotta. We were feeling very tired after eating such a delicious meal so headed off to bed ready for the next port.
Day 3: Barcelona, Spain
We woke docked in Barcelona and were welcomed by blue skies and sunshine and we were already hungry for breakfast so we decided to go to Waterside, the main restaurant. I chose eggs benedict and it came with Canadian bacon which I had never tried before and it was great. After breakfast in Waterside, we headed off the ship keen to explore Barcelona. We headed to Las Ramblas for a wander and found a local market with an array of fresh local food and produce and we spent a leisurely few hours exploring the picturesque surrounding areas.
After walking about and enjoying the sights in the lovely weather we decided to go back to the ship for a buffet lunch at the marketplace. Marketplace is lovely in the sunshine as it has floor to ceiling windows, but we decided to go one better and take advantage of one of the tables set outside on the aft deck where we could make full use of the sunshine and views over the city. The service was great – the staff took our drinks order once we sat down and made sure our glasses were never empty! The food was amazing and they had so much on offer – from a hot selection of dishes to an extensive salad bar and of course a range of desserts. After lunch we headed to the pool and spent a tranquil afternoon alternating between relaxing on the loungers, swimming in the pool and enjoying the Jacuzzi. The pool was just the right temperature and a good size to swim in. The hot tub was also lovely and it never felt too busy. After picking up some ice-cream from Scoops, the wind had picked up and it was getting a bit chilly by the pool so we thought we would try the spa facilities before we left. There is complimentary use of the sauna, steam room and the relaxation area and all spa/hair treatments are chargeable. It was a great way to end a relaxing afternoon before we got ready for our last evening on the ship.
As we’d enjoyed the Cove so much the day before we decided to have one last pre-dinner drink there before making our way to Crystal’s other specialty restaurant, Umi Uma. The food offered at Umi Uma is Japanese – Peruvian Fusion including a sushi bar. I was hesitant about it as first as I do not eat any seafood but I was interested to try the food because master chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa is world renowned. I ordered 7 dishes and each dish was just as good as the last. There is plenty on offer for people that do not eat fish or sushi. I had an amazing Wagyu beef main and a chicken teriyaki main. I found the food and staff in Umi Uma to be at a very high level and really enjoyed the whole experience.
After Umi Uma we went to see the second performance of a new show premiering on Serenity in the Stardust Club called ‘Sweet Soul Music’. Although I did not know many of the songs the singers and dancers were full of energy and it was really enjoyable to watch. As it was performed in the Stardust Club it had a much more intimate feel. It was a great way to end our last night.
Day 4: Barcelona – Debarkation
We had pre-booked a group transfer to the airport with Crystal and the details of this were provided to us in the stateroom a couple of days prior to arriving in Barcelona. You are assigned an area on the ship to meet at before leaving and getting on your designated coach, so with time to spare we decided to go back to Marketplace for one last breakfast before meeting our transfer. It was a quick coach trip to the airport for our flight home.
Due to this being my first time on Crystal I was unsure of what to expect on a luxury cruise line but I was blown away. Every part of the cruise was thoroughly enjoyable and had a really relaxed atmosphere. The crew, service, entertainment and food were all amazing. I would recommend the Crystal experience to everyone!
This cruise was everything I had anticipated from Crystal and more, the ship was so clean and lovely and had a really warm and welcoming feel, the staff were excellent and the food was consistently delicious. I really enjoyed the shows and entertainment onboard and felt the whole experience was very special.
Are you feeling inspired to book a cruise around the Mediterranean with Crystal Cruises?
Visit http://www.crystalcruises.co.uk for more information.
Stay tuned for Part 4 where Megan will embark on the ‘Iberian Influences’ cruise!