Saturday, April 21, 2012

She's baaack!

My mother-in-law has just returned from her World Cruise. Fortunately for me, it ended in San Francisco so I got to tour the ship, the Crystal Serenity, when she arrived at Pier 35.

She picked a heck of a day to cruise into the San Francisco Bay. The sky was bright blue except for some fog which magically wrapped itself around the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Temps were in the upper 60s.

Dave and I had wanted to see the ship when we met up with her in Shanghai but the sparking white hotel-on-steroids was docked an hour outside of the city and we just didn't have enough time.

This is one gorgeous hunk of steel and glass! Much of it is done in Art Deco style, again, my favorite. What struck me was how beautiful the finishes are. Every space looks like it came from an Architectural-Digest-Featured home. Art is hung just so. The fabrics and textures are layered. There are no food or cleaning fluid smells. Yet the cleaning must be constant, as is the food preparation to feed 1,000 guests and who knows how many staff.

Linda showed me several restaurants: Sushi, Chinese, Italian, the main dining room, one off the main lobby, The Bistro, Lido Cafe.

We walked through at least two lounges with karaoke set ups. There was a cigar bar. A vintner's room for private dinner parties. A children and teen center. There were at least two auditoriums for seeing acts on stage. And a movie theatre.

The ship's library is beautiful -- cushy leather couches, built in hardwood shelving with glass-faced doors for English and other language books and DVDs. There's a reference librarian. The bridge room has at least a dozen tables. The computer lab easily has 20 new Macs set up classroom style and is nicer than some of the technology demo centers I've seen. The gym has at least a dozen pieces of cardio equipment in front of floor-to-ceiling windows. Plus Cybex weight machines and free weights. There was a barre studio. And an entire fridge of bottled water. Crystal Cruises bottled water.

Apparently 1/3 of the people on the World Cruise go every year. I think I understand why.

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