Crystal has a new name for the ever-growing number of solo cruisers--"independent travelers." The reason, according to Cruise Director Gary Hunter, is that the word "single," by definition, sounds a bit lonely, while the term "independent traveler" has an aura of spirit and adventure.which clearly defines the attitude a single cruiser will find onboard the Serenity.
There are always a large number of these independent travelers onboard, and, for this reason, says Hotel Director Herbert Jaeger of Salzburg, Austria, the ship will never be full even when fully booked. He estimates that there are always at least 100 singles onboard. On my cruise, there were 166, in all age groups, but mostly in the range of 50-60 years.
The get-together cocktail party on my Crystal Serenity cruise was warm, friendly, and well-presented. Held in the beautiful Palm Court/Sunset Bar observation lounge, with its breathtaking ocean views on three sides, skylights, and a large dance floor, it was hosted by Hunter and his staff, along with some of the ship's officers and key personnel, performers, and guest celebrities. There was live music for dancing, vocal performances, mouth-watering hors d'oeuvres and the drinks of your choice served by white-gloved staff.
Also working the room were the Ambassador Hosts. Cultured, well-traveled, and accomplished ballroom dancers, these carefully screened gentlemen not only urged the ladies onto the dance floor but afterwards smoothly guided them about to make introductions to the male singles in attendance.
Though this was not a coordinated singles cruise with escorts, freebie cocktail parties and games, a large number of "independent travelers" bonded and became a group unto themselves, but always welcomed newcomers. During the day I found groups of "new best friends" at Crystal's Creative Learning Institute, taking classes in Yamaha Keyboard and conversational French and Spanish, hanging out poolside, or in The Bistro, a popular social coffee and wine bar. In the evenings after dinner and the shows, a huge number converged on the Avenue Saloon, a cozy piano bar, and held forth until the wee hours. Singles also coupled up or "crowded up" for shore excursions and shopping trips.
During dinner, I had noticed that the Captain's table was quite large but was surprised to learn that it was mostly filled with single passengers. A journalist seated there told me he had asked to be at a large table in order to converse with as many people as possible. He had no idea he would be assigned to the Captain's table. Another surprise was finding among the single diners that heartthrob singer of the fifties, Eddie Fisher, who was himself an "independent traveler."
And, yes, besides the general camaraderie, there was romance. I saw a pair of singles gazing at the moon from the promenade deck, another walking about holding hands, and overheard many conversations about being in touch once back in the real world or even planning another cruise together.
For the independent traveler, the single, the solo-whatever you want to call those who cruise alone--I highly recommend Crystal's Serenity. And remember: ask for a large table at dinner, and you might wind up being seated next to a single movie star.
For additional information contact your travel agent or visit www.crystalcruises.com.