Travel Associates consultant, Karen Majsay, recently went on a Mediterranean cruise. From great food to stunning scenery, the benefits of cruising are crystal clear...
On October 1st, I had the privilege of going on a Crystal Cruise with my husband. We opted for Mediterranean Treasures, which is a 12 night cruise travelling from: Venice - Dubrovnik - Taormina - Sorrento - Rome - Livorno - Monte Carlo - Barcelona, with two nights prior to the cruise in Verona.
The 2 nights in Verona were the highlight of the trip. It is a wonderful small city, which is easy to get around by foot, with a lot of historical sights to visit, great shopping and a fabulous alfresco vibe for eating out. We stayed at "Il Sogno di Giulietta" which is an historic house opposite Juliet’s balcony, in the courtyard of her house.
We were delighted when we entered our suite to find a four-poster bed, French doors leading to a balcony overlooking the main street, with a giant spa bath and traditional furnishings - superb! The service was excellent, and the best thing is that after Juliet's House and Courtyard closes for the night, the hotel guests have private access to the balcony courtyard.
We boarded the Crystal Serenity in Venice. Even though the ship was docked away from the centre, Crystal provided a free boat shuttle from the ship to St Marks Square, making for two days of very easy sightseeing.
One of my favourite memories of the cruise was that initial first sailing out from Venice along the Grand Canal at sunset. It was truly one of the most beautiful European sights. Crystal made visiting all ports easy; there was always an efficient and very regular form of transport from the ship to the centre of town available, even if you were not taking one of their shore excursions.
My highlights from the ports visited would be:
- Walking the old fort wall of Dubrovnik, and having a local beer in the main square.
- The town of Taormina as a whole. Very picturesque, with a lot to see and do for a day
- Driving along the Amalfi coast
- The view of the town of Lucca and surrounds from atop one of its many towers
- Having 2 full days docked right in Monte Carlo and driving along the coast from Monte Carlo to Cannes and eating and drinking in many fun places along the way
- We loved that we had long stays in almost all ports - often 10-12 hours or longer
- We loved the onboard life
Our cabin was a lead-in cabin, without a balcony, but we found it very comfortable and stylish, with ample room to fully unpack and 'move in'. The bathroom was spacious, with two sinks - perfect for a couple.
We enjoyed the excitement of dressing up for formal nights, which included meeting the Captain and having formal portraits taken. We met so many interesting people from all walks of life and were pleased to find a real range of ages on board from couples in their 30's up to 70's , as well as family groups of a few generations, and many nationalities, although the majority were American.
The crew were incredible. The main thing I noticed is that they were all having a great time! Our dining room staff were a laugh a minute and kept us entertained nightly. All staff were extremely warm and friendly, remembered our names, and our likes and dislikes.
The ship was almost at capacity but it never felt like there were too many people around. There were no queues for anything. We very much enjoyed the Aussie singer and piano man entertaining nightly in the Saloon Bar. We also loved our dining experiences in the two "specialty" restaurants onboard, which were easy to book and a great alternative to the main dining room.
My experience is only half the story, share yours in the comments section below.
- Karen Majsay
Low & James Travel Associates
For more luxurious cruise holiday ideas, visit the Travel Associates cruise page.