A Day in the Life of Crystal Serenity, 1st October 2010
24/04/2011 Leave a comment
A Day in the Life of the Crystal Serenity
0730 Stewardess wake-up call followed by an in-room breakfast of miso soup and grilled salmon with vegetables and Japanese condiments as the Crystal Serenity anchors off Portovenere at 0800
0830 Board tenders for a quick walk around Portovenere prior to boarding our coach at 0900 for a full-day excursion to the Cinque Terre, starting with a quick tour of the west side of the Gulf of La Spezia en route to the Cinque Terre.
1000 Arrive at the second village of Manarola and walk down into the town. These five towns, which are mostly located at the bottom of cliffs and high rocky hills, had no highway access until 1960, so other than for certain government and special delivery vehicles, one walks down into the town from hilltop parking lots. And although each town also has a railway station these were not opened until about 1925.
1045 We walk the cliffside promenade, called Via del Amore to the first village of Riomaggiore, where we arrive at 1100 for an independent tour of the town, its little harbour and castle. In the meantime, our guide, Fulvia, manages to perform magic when she gets permission from her bosses to change the whole itinerary of our tour from what might have been a somewhat boring return trip by rail to La Spezia for a coach transfer back to Portvenere. Instead, we will all return by boat along the Cinque Terre coast. This is the kind of guide that Crystal hires (complete with her little miniature pincher dog). Her father had been a naval officer and she lives on the other side of the Gulf of La Spezia.
1212 We catch the train from Riomaggiore for a 25-minute ride to the northernmost Cinque Terre town of Monterosso and then walk south from the railway station toward old Monterosso (there is a newer town to the north that has sprung up since the railway arrived from Genoa and Rapallo to the north in 1879..
1300 Lunch at Monterosso’s Enoteca Internazionale consists of tomato, arugala and Parmesan bruschetta with a couple of glasses of Cinque Terre’s renowned white wine, produced from grapes that are grown on 4,000 miles of terraces arranged along the cliffs and hillsides of this six-mile coast. We decide to acquire a couple of bottles to take back to the ship. For those who wish, lunch is followed by a brief guided tour of the old town of Monterosso.
1500 Thanks to Fulvia’s persuasiveness, we catch the coastal ferry back to Portovenere, passing en route all the Cinque Terre towns of Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, none of which we call at today because the seas are slightly rough (in fact we had originally booked to tour the Cinque Terre by boat but the tour had been cancelled because of sea conditions)
1600 After an hour’s boat trip along the sunny coast we arrive back at Portovenere for the 1605 tender back to the ship. Back on board for 1615, by 1630 we are enjoying an ice cream on the lido deck of Crystal Serenity.
1700 Back at our deluxe stateroom with verandah for half an hour checking emails and bank balances on my notebook, connected to Crystal’s satellite internet service. Through Crystal’s University at Sea one can connect in the privacy of one’s stateroom as well as from the internet centre. After this, we enjoy a glass of Cinque Terre white wine on our private verandah.
1945 Captain’s cocktail party in the Palm Court. But having made 8 pm reservations at one of the ship’s alternate restaurants that evening (Prego for Continental fare and Silk Road for Asian), we make our excuses and leave the cocktail party early for dinner.
2000 Dinner at the Nobu alternative restaurant, Silk Road. Both here and at Prego one need only pay an additional gratuity of $7 per head, as opposed to the $20/25 charges made y some of the more mainstream lines. That evening we enjoy a tasty lobster roll followed by spicy seafood soup, Oriental mushroom salad and Nobu’s very special lobster entree. xx.
2130 After dinner we adjourn to the Avenue Saloon on 6 deck aft, where drinks are accompanied by a pianist. However, we quickly move to the Crystal Cove, where an all-female string quartet from Odessa is providing the after-dinner entertainment..
2230 After a full day we adjourn to our private balcony for some more of that marvelous Cinque Terre wine and prepare for tomorrow in Livorno, the port for Florence. But that is another day.
Call Gay Scruton on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further details on any Crystal cruise. And remember, Crystal Cruises goes all-inclusve after the first Transatlantic crossing of the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony.