Over the course of the last 8 years, I’ve developed a kind of holiday tradition of traveling to Europe the week or two before Christmas. It started as a way to take advantage of an air deal, but since then developed into a full-blown habit. I’ve stayed in rented condos, taken river cruises and enjoyed some incredible hotels from Belgium and France to Germany and Austria, all the way south to Italy and as far east as Hungary. It’s been a fun way to learn more about the Christmas traditions unique to these regions, and to enjoy lots of holiday cheer at the many Christmas markets I’ve visited over the years. This year though I wanted something a little different. The fact is, although I absolutely love Christmas markets and visiting Europe in December, it had become too formulaic. I knew what each market had to offer and I just got bored with it all. So, this year I’m excited to head somewhere that’s actually warm in December and to enjoy it all in the most luxurious way possible, working in partnership with Crystal Cruises.
Luxury Sailing in the Mexican Riviera
I’ve sailed with many different cruise lines over the years, starting with the very first trip my partner and I took together way back in 2003. Since that time the cruise lines have changed along with my own travel style, from the larger mega-ships to smaller, more intimate sailing experiences. While I have been on a couple of different premium cruise lines, I’ve never had a true luxury cruise experience, which is all about to change. I’m excited to announce that on Saturday I board the Crystal Serenity sailing with Crystal Ocean Cruises for the very first time. Crystal Cruises is just one of a small handful of luxury cruise lines around the world. Many companies use the term, but few actually offer what is a true luxury experience. I’m honestly very excited to see what the differences are in practice but, from having read as much as I could in advance, I do know what some of those key differences are. Most obvious is the fact that Crystal Cruises offers a real all-inclusive luxury experience. The idea of not being nickel and dimed on a cruise is almost too good to be true, and I’m sure it will take me a couple of days to get used to the concept. Add to that butler service, enhanced staterooms and decadent cuisine and I am absolutely positive that it will be an experience I won’t soon forget. I’m especially excited to be sailing on the Crystal Serenity, which just finished up a massive dry dock. Outfitted with new furnishings, experiences, dining and more, it’s essentially a brand new ship and I can’t wait to see what she’s all about. As with any cruise experience though, the destinations are very much at the heart of the adventure, and we have some great ports of call to look forward to.
Where I’m Going
Leaving behind the frigid temperatures of Washington, DC, I will join the cruise in sunny Puerto Vallarta, where I’m spending a little time before boarding the ship. From there we sail to exciting ports of call like Mazatlan, La Paz and Cabo San Lucas. We’ll also be sailing in US waters as well, spending a day in San Diego before finishing in Los Angeles. I’m excited to visit these mostly-new-to-me destinations, and even more excited to enjoy some sunny weather. I’m an active traveler though, so I also have lots of experiences planned, including two excursions that I’m particularly excited about.
While in La Paz, I’ll be visiting a very special town, Todos Santos – Town of Artisans. Featuring incredible Spanish colonial architecture and a unique location in the folds of Sierra de la Laguna, it looks picture perfect. My second adventure occurs in Cabo San Lucas, and as soon as I saw this Crystal Adventures Shore Excursion offered, I knew I had to sign up. The Camel & Mexican Outback Adventure starts at a coastal ranch, which we will explore on a unimog as it makes its way along the rugged desert terrain. I’ve seen photos of this part of Mexico before and I can’t wait to see it for myself. Add in a camel ride along the beach and homemade tortillas, and this is an excursion that seems to have been created just for me.
There will be many other adventures along the way of course, and I hope you’ll follow along as I share the experience in real-time on Twitter, Facebook and of course Instagram/Instagram Stories. (Also be sure to follow the #CrystalCruises hashtag!)
If you have any tips or questions I’d love to hear them and thank you as always for following along.