Wine & Food Festival Cruise
London to Rome
- May 7-19, 2008
Exclusive Half-Price Offer for
Clients, Friends and Colleagues of Roger Kershaw
and the TDBAB@SEA Reunion 2008
re-discovering the pleasures and the
convenience of luxury cruising last year,
we've been on four, each a delight in their
own way, but one stood apart: Crystal Serenity in the
It's hard to put into words the many subtle
differences. Some can be measured: the
highest ratios of space and crew per
passenger. Some are
endorsed by awards: 12 years running the
Conde Nast winner for best large ship cruise
line and, in 2007, the Best Spa. Some
are pocketbook-related: no extra charges for
soft drinks, specialty restaurants, gourmet
coffees. But the most
important are almost intangible: the highest staff-to-guest ratio on the seas (545 staff serving 1008 guests), the lack of
lines at the elevators and buffets, the
white-glove afternoon tea service (while
comfortably dressed in your shorts and tank
top), stateroom Internet access, the closer
dockings ... this list goes on and on.
Crystal is Clearly the best!
I am proud
to announce that I am Tour-Conducting a group
cruise on one of Crystal's most popular
itineraries: London, Northern France and
Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Southern Spain
and France, and Rome. Twelve nights, eight
ports, and all at half the brochure price!
This extraordinary opportunity
is exclusively for my clients, friends and colleagues, and to our previous
Toronto Downtown Bed and Breakfast guests, a group that's
hand-picked and guaranteed to be fun
companions. However, no "group" activities
are required: if you want a quiet, exclusive
two weeks of pampered luxury, this is also
ideal for you. Of course, you'll be tempted to join
one of our legendary Lemon Drop Martini receptions, but nothing is obligatory. Except
Air-included package available. Cost varies by departure city. Let me arrange that for you as well as you are assured of Crystal's personal service with luggage transfers, and airport to dock transportation. And with Roger's access to deeply discounted Business and First Class airfares on several airlines, you are assured of the best value.
We'll also ensure that you get a complete list of Creative Learning Institute Classes, Spa & Salon Services, Specialty Restaurant options and Shore Excursions so you may, if you wish, reserve any of these in advance of your trip, to make sure you can fit everything into your twelve days of cruising.
Tuesday, May 6: London Shopping and Lemon Drop Inn Reception
Join us a day or two early in London's exclusive Mayfair district (we have a block of rooms reserved at the Flemings Mayfair if you wish to stay with us there). This will give you a chance to acclimate to the time zone and explore London's legendary sights, including Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Parliament Square, Whitehall and the fashionable West End, provide memories to treasure during your visit to England.
By special arrangement, we have engaged the shopping guide services of Heather Brennon to give us a day out in the trendy Marylebone High Street. Marylebone gets its name from a local church called St. Mary by the Bourne. It grew as a residential district thanks to its location between relaxing Regent's Park and bustling Oxford Street, and it soon attracted legions of London's wealthy.
That evening, you're on your own for a pub dinner or local haute cuisine - but make it an early reservation because the first of what will be a series of Lemon Drop Inns gets underway in our suite that evening. Soft drinks and wine available, if you bring them. Purists, however, will stick with The Drop.
|Begin 13-day / 12-night Full Cruise: London to Rome
Wednesday, May 7: Departure from Southampton
We'll transfer this morning to the docks at historic Southampton, 90 minutes southwest of London, where the gleaming Crystal Serenity awaits our boarding.
At 68,000 tons and capable of serving 1,080 guests, Crystal Serenity is Crystal's largest ship. However, she maintains one of the highest space-per-guest ratios at sea, so you'll never feel crowded. Crystal Serenity serves up innovation in the form of new dining venues like Tastes, Silk Road and The Sushi Bar by Nobu.
Boarding is a breeze, and you'll have plenty of time to explore the ship before Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court.
Drop by the Business Centre to set up your on-board Internet access (with your laptop or theirs), which, combined with regular cell phone service even at sea, means you'll never be out of touch. While there, you may wish to sign up for computer, digital camera, or PhotoShop classes.
Spend some time just enjoying your Stateroom. 100% Egyptian cotton linens and towels, a menu of pillow options, Frette bathrobes and personal slippers,
elegant Villeroy & Boch china, and classic Riedel crystal assure you that this is going to be a luxury experience. Other features include twice daily housekeeping with nightly turndown service, 24-hr complimentary in-stateroom dining, refrigerator filled with complimentary soft drinks and bottled water, direct-dial ship-to-shore phones and voice mail, personal safe, flat-screen TV/DVD/CD player, with CNN, ESPN, CNBC and TNT (reception permitting). That's just the Staterooms. You should see the extras list for the Penthouses!
You'll join your table for dinner at your choice of early or late seating in the elegant Crystal Dining Room - one of seven evening dining options - and catch the first of twelve nights of some of the finest live stage entertainment on the seas in the Galaxy Lounge. Tonight it may be a Broadway extravaganza; tomorrow, perhaps an artist from the likes of Cirque de Soliel. Twice every night, a new show nightly, and all included
Thursday, May 8: Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
A day of total relaxation and luxury, or shipboard activities and excitement, awaits you each day at sea. Considered by many to be their favourite days, you will have four of them on this cruise. Seasoned cruisers spend the day at one of two salt-water pools, or curled up in the two-storey Library (over 2000 books), prying themselves out for a gourmet coffee at The Bistro, a European-inspired café open all day. In the morning, guests can enjoy fresh croissants and breakfast pastries served on The Bistro's exclusive porcelain created by celebrated artist Guy Buffet. During the afternoon, guests can sip exotic coffee drinks or premium wines by the glass and savor rich pâtés, international cheeses, and freshly baked desserts. On Crystal, only alcoholic beverages are an extra charge.
Or experience the sublime and the sensuous in the Crystal Spa: the first floating spa to use the principles of Feng Shui, named by readers of Condé Nast Traveler the Number One Cruise Line Spa in the world. Treatments include: Aroma Stone Therapy, Japanese Silk Booster Facial and Well-Being Massage…all enjoyed in the relaxing spa with beautiful Asian artifacts and the peaceful ambiance of Feng Shui. The spa features panoramic sea views, which surround a facility offering sauna, steam, a full-service hair salon and a well-equipped fitness center. Relax the mind, body and soul, and indulge in a Pathway to Yoga class, or enhance your physique with the modern-age Pilates Reformer, all under the guidance of a qualified fitness director. Other onboard fitness facilities include: a lap pool; an indoor/outdoor pool; two Jacuzzis®; 360º Promenade Deck for walking and jogging; paddle tennis courts; table tennis; golf driving ranges and putting greens; and shuffleboard courts.
Join us this evening for our first on-board Lemon Drop Inn Reception, a private party hosted by your tour conductors, and at this one, soft drinks and wine and anything else your thirst desires is available, and complimentary.
And tonight, and every night, dance away the hours in your choice of dance clubs, including the Stardust Lounge, Palm Court and the Pulse Disco. Oops! Forgot to bring your partner? Crystal can provide a professional Ambassador Host for the evening! Lessons anyone? Of course!
Friday, May 9: Bassens/Bordeaux, France (overnight)
Bordeaux was at one time France's richest community and largest port. It is second only to Paris as the country's most densely populated city.
Today it is best-known for its glorious châteaux, mouth-watering cuisine and incomparable wines. It is surrounded by the world's most famous vineyards including Médoc, St-Emilion, Pomerol, Graves and Sauternes. Our sojourn in this world-renowned wine capital is bound to please even the most discerning bon vivant.
This is an overnight stop. Due to tidal restrictions, Crystal Serenity will relocate from Bordeaux to Le Verdon, but you'll have plenty of time to sample the nightlife and vintages of this popular stop.
This stop, and every stop, offers an array of optional Shore Excursions. We'll send you full details for advance reservations, or you may reserve on board. Perhaps today you'd like a simple 3-hour coach and walking tour
highlighting the key attractions of this much-celebrated French city? It's all here.
Saturday, May 10: Le Verdun, France
A contrast to the lush countryside found inland, the Atlantic coast offers its own kind of beauty with its crashing waves, long stretches of beach and conifer forests. Resort towns dot the coastline, bringing their additional charms to the region. One such place is Le Verdon, sitting at the most northerly point of the Médoc. In its harbor stands the oldest lighthouse in France, the Cordouan lighthouse, which boasts a petite chapel and royal chamber.
A short distance from Le Verdon is the seaside resort of Soulac, the "Pearl of the Silver Coast." The nearly 500 neo-colonial villas built here give Soulac a unique air of history and sophistication. Its morning market, pedestrian-friendly streets and seaside shops and cafes give the village a sense of joie de vivre.
Today's optional Shore Excursions include an all-day air-conditioned coach and walking tour of the Vinyards and chateaux of the Médoc region, including a sumptuous lunch.
Sunday, May 11: Bilbao, Spain
Home of the newly-erected Guggenheim Museum, this bustling city epitomizes the merger of modernity and history. The gateway to the Cantabrico Sea from the plateau of Castilla, Bilbao has flourished from the middle ages as a busy port, and a major exporter of the metals found in surrounding areas.
Today, the city flourishes with a vital exuberance, as modern architects erect new buildings next to 19th-century structures.
Several optional Shore Excursions are offered today: exploring the historic area of Bilbao; a guided tour through the Guggenheim; a ride into the countryside around Bilbao. "Spoiled for choice" should be the tag line for everything Crystal!
Monday, May 12: Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Your second day at sea, and more time to explore the many activities on the ship. It's hard to count how many places there are to eat, from burgers and tacos by the pool, to Prego, where a seasonally-changing Valentino at Prego menu features signature dishes and wines that are served at Piero Selvaggio's revered Los Angeles and Las Vegas restaurants, Valentino, considered by many to be among the finest Italian restaurants in the country - and now on Crystal Serenity Reservations required, but no extra charge!
When Lady Luck calls, she'll be calling from Caesar's Palace Casino featuring Blackjack, Mini-Baccarat, Craps, Roulette and 3 Card Poker, as well as Slot and Video Poker machines.
This is the Crystal Wine & Food Festival Cruise, and Crystal has brought aboard world-renowned chefs and wine experts to lead a gastronomic exploration of the world with lectures, demonstrations, special menus and tastings aboard and ashore. Read your ship newsletter, Reflections, on your pillow each evening and don't miss a single taste!
A special opportunity for wine lovers is The Vintage Room, a unique dining experience created as a venue for promoting wine appreciation and the vast range of wine selections offered on board. This unique enrichment experience focuses on wine, with food specially prepared and paired to complement the specific fine wines selected for the evening.
You may partake in a variety of wine “themed” dinners on any evening of your choice during the cruise. By special arrangement with the Head Sommelier, private parties of up to 12 can be arranged. You may choose an array of fine wines from our exclusive Reserve Wine List, then the Crystal Executive Chef pairs unique culinary creations to enhance the qualities of the wines chosen. During the dinner, the Head Sommelier offers complete wine tasting notes.
Tuesday, May 13: Lisbon, Portugal
Cosmopolitan Lisbon was the center of the world's last great colonial empire. Today the city nostalgically reveres its imperial past while adapting to Portugal's role as a member of the European Economic Community.
Although located on the Atlantic coast, Lisbon has the soul of a Mediterranean city with Moorish castles, pastel and white buildings, orange-tiled roofs and luminous blue skies. Set amid the hills and valleys of the northern shore of the River Tagus, it is one of the loveliest capitals in the world.
We'll have all day to spend exploring Lisbon, from 8AM till 6PM, and still be back on board for another evening of dining and entertainment.
More than a half dozen options today for Shore Excursions! Lisbon with Less Walking, Lisbon by Historic Tram, Sintra Sojury and Quelus, Lisbon Acquaintance, Medieval Village of Obidos, The Gulbenkian Museum and Port Wine Institute, Spiritual Fatima & Batalha, or even A Day of Golf at Pehna Longa.
Wednesday, May 14: Gibraltar, United Kingdom
Like a crouching lion, the Rock of Gibraltar's imposing presence supports the legend that it is one of the two Pillars of Hercules. Dramatically soaring to almost 1,400 feet, it boasts one of the world's most recognizable silhouettes. Over 140 caves have been discovered within its limestone mass.
Although linked by land to Spain, the self-governing British colony of Gibraltar maintains a strong allegiance to Britain.
Each port of call offers a selection of Crystal Shore Excursions - usually about USD60 to USD80 per person. Here is an example of just one that is offered today:
"Gibraltar's rich and turbulent past is the highlight of this remarkable, brief excursion by minibus. Commence your exploration with a ride along the lower coastal road of Gibraltar. Pass the town's unique runway, one of the smallest in the world, as you journey along the border of the Spanish Frontier. Passing the Governor's residence, travel to Europa Point. On a clear day, the coast of Africa can be seen, which lies just 12 miles across the Strait of Gibraltar.
"Next, visit Nelson's Anchorage and walk briefly through the installation. Of particular note are the 100-ton cannon. Capable of firing 2,000-pound shells a distance of more than eight miles, this large gun provided protection by securing the Bay of Gibraltar from enemy ships.
"Continue to the Gibraltar Museum where you will gain insight into Gibraltar's turbulent history. From the Stone Age to the British occupation, your guide will enlighten you with tales about this tiny land.
"At the conclusion of your excursion, you may either remain in town or return to the ship."
Thursday, May 15: Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
Your third day at sea. Your sun tan should be developing nicely by now, and you will have already been tempted by the many fine shops aboard: A chic 3,000-square-foot Avenue of the Stars shopping arcade, featuring an exclusive selection of fine jewelry, designer apparel and cruise wear. Crystal Cruises also offers a full range of private-label logo apparel, and the award-winning Crystal Home Collection of popular items, such as The Bistro's Guy Buffet porcelain tableware. In addition, there is a selection of sundry items plus duty-free cosmetics and fragrances. Go ahead, splurge!
Check out the Hollywood Theatre , too. A full roster of especially selected guest speakers fill the schedule between a variety of Hollywood movies and popcorn presentations throughout the voyage.
The Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program features popular speakers such as celebrated authors, guest chefs and renowned wine connoisseurs, high-level ambassadors and foreign diplomats, historians, television journalists, celebrities, and noted business and financial leaders, including experts from The Smithsonian Associates. Or, borrow from the Library's selection of over 1000 DVDs to enjoy in the comfort of your own stateroom.
If you haven't already found a permanent perch there, make sure tonight that you enjoy contemporary Asian cuisine in the specialty restaurant Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, offering signature dishes created by internationally renowned Japanese master chef, Nobu Matsuhisa.
Or you may wish to enjoy Stateroom Service this evening. Everything served on board is available, at no extra charge, served in your stateroom with elegance and comfort. And no dress code!
Friday, May 16: Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, capital of Catalonia, is a celebration of history and heir to Greek, Phoenician, Roman, Carthaginian, Gothic and Arab cultural legacies. Since it is nearly as close to Rome, Geneva and Munich as it is to Madrid, Barcelona has long been the Spanish link to Western Europe.
It was the home of Picasso, Miró, Dali, Casals and Gaudí and has been described as a Mediterranean Manhattan, a cosmopolitan experimental center for political ideas and artistic movements.
In addition to its abundance of artistic and architectural treasures, Barcelona serves as the gateway to one of the world's most impressive mountainside enclaves at Montserrat. Discover the secret legends of the Black Virgin and the alluring chants of monastic life high atop the Catalonian plains.
Barcelona's ancient city walls and the narrow crooked streets of the town's old section are laid out for your discovery. You will find that Barcelona has something for everybody.
Explore this magnificent city on your own, or with one of Crystal's Shore Excursions if you want to get all the dates and names and dimensions of the city's attractions, but I hope you join me, as I lead a private tour (for no additional charge) of one of my favourite cities in the world. We'll walk, and subway, and bus from one end of the historic city to the other: we have all day and we'll make the most of it! And that means at least three coffee stops and a leisurely independent lunch on a sunny patio just soakin' it in, Spanish style.
Saturday, May 17: Villefranche, France
In a miracle of nature, the Cote d'Azur was blessed with superb natural beauty, as it lies sandwiched between the coastal mountains and the sea. The Maritime Alps tumble down to the ocean, preventing cold northern winds from reaching the sun-drenched slope that stretches some 60 miles westward from the border with the fairy-tale Kingdom of Monaco.
As we approach the shore, you'll be treated to a spectacular panorama of irregular peaks and scenic villages clustered on narrow ledges. Majestic cities like Nice, Monte Carlo and St. Tropez host pleasure boats, yachts and all the other trappings of glamorous lifestyles.
As always, you are free to wander or tour independently, or take advantage of any of several Crystal Shore Excursions.
Sunday, May 18: Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
Your last full day at sea to enjoy the never-ending variety of attractions, and food, and art auctions, and art classes, and entertainment, and lectures, and shopping, and spa delights, and bridge lessons, and golf and tennis and ... and... that Crystal has to offer. Or maybe you'ld like to arrive home with a suitcase full of clean clothes? Visit the complimentary self-serve laundry on board (of course there is also full valet service for laundry as well, charged to your room).
Tonight you won't find us at our normal stools in the Martini Bar - we'll be preparing the second Lemon Drop Inn Reception on board, with complimentary snacks and beverages and a chance to re-group with the group and exchange experiences and memories.
Monday, May 19: Rome/Civitavecchia, Italy and disembarkation.
The cruise is ended, and when you awake this morning you'll find we are already docked at Civitavecchia. Civitavecchia was founded by Emperor Trajan in the 2nd century. Today this port is noted for its fine seafood and attractive monuments, which, unfortunately, no one stops to enjoy, because, just 90 minutes away is the Eternal City of Rome.
Steeped in 2,500 years of history, Rome was for many centuries the center of Western civilization. It was both the focal point of the Roman Empire and of Christendom. Landmarks such as the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, Vatican, Sistine Chapel and Spanish Steps are reminders of the legacy of its rich past.
If you've never been to Rome, you'll want to spend at least, the very least, another three days here. If you've been to Rome a hundred times, you'll still want to spend at least a night, to savour it all just one more time!
Did someone mention kids?
Crystal Cruises' commitment to quality, choice, and personalized service promises children a Six-Star experience with dedicated facilities (unusual on luxury ships) and imaginative activities created specifically to suit the ages and number of children on each itinerary. Crystal Serenity has spacious staterooms with third berths in all categories as well as suites and connecting staterooms, child-friendly cuisine, highly acclaimed children's programs and activities for children ages 3-17.
Additional children's activities are offered under the supervision of experienced Junior Activities Directors. The Fantasia playroom offers arts and crafts, Sony PlayStation® and X Box 360® kiosks, a large-screen television and board games. The Library loans out children's books and videos for viewing in staterooms. Teenagers have their own video arcade, Waves. A children's menu offers dishes for picky eaters and those with allergies. Babysitting is available in-stateroom for a nominal charge.
Please note: Crystal Cruises is unable to accommodate children less than six months of age and reserves the right to restrict the number of those less than three years of age aboard the ships.
This tour is an example of many tours we can do that are all custom-made.
In fact, most special interests and any pre- and post-trip requirements can be accommodated. Just ask!
[Return to Main Itinerary Page]