My son and I left Western North Carolina and our mountain bikes behind to travel to Turkey, where we will board the Crystal Serenity for a 12-day cruise from Istanbul to Monte Carlo.
I traveled with my 15-year-old, 6'5" son from Asheville, North Carolina, to Istanbul, Turkey. There, in that beautiful city on the Bosporus, we boarded the Crystal Serenity for a 12-day cruise that will disembark us in Monte Carlo.
My big question: Is the luxury line Crystal Cruises fit for a teen? Or will he be bored?
I am excited and proud to be able to show my son destinations that are on his wish list (if only you and I could have been so lucky as children to have such a list) and to be able to spend nearly a month with him traveling in Europe.
Alex doesn't yet know how fortunate he is to be cruising on a luxury ship like Crystal Serenity. In fact, it will be my first time on board Crystal's youngest vessel.
We step aboard at a lucky time for my wallet as the line only recently implemented its all-inclusive policy, which includes complimentary fine wines and premium spirits throughout as well as gratuities for housekeeping, bar, dining and Penthouse butler staff.
I'm not a big drinker, but it's nice to know that I won't be signing a check each time I order a tasty beverage. For those who do imbibe, I plan to see how Crystal's included beverages stack up against its competitors. Is champagne being poured or sparkling wine? What spirits and beers are on offer? And I wonder if sake is included at Silk Road and The Sushi Bar?
Alex and I plan to run on Crystal Serenity's open Promenade Deck; uncluttered thanks to a design that positions the lifeboats inboard one deck lower. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises
Alex and I have another mission on board and that is to stay fit. We plan to make use of the fitness facilities and to jog around the promenade deck. Alex is a rower, so he wants to keep the arms and legs pumped. For fitness buffs, I'll be writing about the facilities on Crystal Serenity.
Alex is a rower, and he wants to stay in shape while on board. Will Crystal Serenity's fitness facilities cut it?
Of course, I'm curious about staterooms, and I'll be reporting on those, as well as the entertainment, dining outlets and public spaces.
Then there is the itinerary. Crystal does a fantastic job with its shore programs, and we begin with a tour of Istanbul, where Crystal Serenity is overnighting.
I also expect we will experience more than a few moments of excellence. Crystal's crew is among the best in the industry.
One last thing: How will a 15-year-old boy experience Crystal Serenity? I suspect he will not be the only kid on board.
In the luxury segment, Crystal operates the largest vessels, so in that regard, there should be more for him to do than on a small luxury ship, which I will also experience with my 17-year-old daughter at the end of July on Silversea Cruises.
Serenity features a movie theater and, if he is interested, enrichment classes, including the Computer University@Sea featuring new 27-inch iMac computers.
Next week: Istanbul and a big luxury ship.