In June of 1877, a major fire ravaged Saint John, the largest city in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. In less than half a day, over 1,600 wooden structures were destroyed, leaving thousands of residents homeless. Rebuilt on a foundation of granite, the city has prospered since that time, as one might expect. Also built on a rock solid foundation, Crystal Cruises seems positioned for growth as we’re seeing while sailing Crystal Serenity.
We arrived in Saint John under the cover of fog and a cloudy day. It was not unlike that day in 1877 when fire took down most of the buildings, replaced with those we would see on our shore excursion, History In Stone Geopark By Foot.
The 90-minute walking tour visited 18 buildings and monuments in Uptown Saint John. Our amiable local guide explained the area was called “Uptown” because it literally was “up” from the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the St John River.
As we walked along on tour, we saw sandstone and granite of varying colors. Softer and easier to carve sandstone was used for ornate, decorative parts of buildings.
Granite, on the other hand, has weathered time and appears today as it did when used in rebuilding the city over a century ago. Granite was also used primarily on the front of buildings, facing the street, while brick was used on the side walls.
Frankly, we chose this tour simply because it would get us off the ship and into town, much like we might on a destination-focused river cruise. Learning about rocks is not normally on the top of our list of desired activities on big ship cruise vacations. But this is where we begin to see some of the previously mentioned rock solid foundation upon which Crystal Cruises has been built.
Our local guide was as passionate about sharing her city with us as crewmembers on Crystal Serenity have been about being sure we are enjoying our cruise. There is something simply captivating about coming in contact with people who are really into what they do, going beyond just getting the job done.
As we walked around Saint John, our guide was eager to show us the city park where even on a cloudy day, local residents spend time. They know that the moderate temperatures of Fall will soon lead to a cold, harsh Winter and want to enjoy all the time outside that they can.
Just across the street from that park is the city market, a bustling place where local merchants sell everything from fresh lobster to holiday ornaments. At a local restaurant after the tour our guide continued to hammer away at the topic of rocks. Again I could not help but draw a parallel comparison to her enthusiasm about what she does as a tour guide and the people we are coming in contact with on Crystal Serenity.
After just a few days sailing with Crystal Cruises, several unique elements of what the luxury cruise line does have emerged as undeniable.
There are plenty of people on duty to not only take care of our requests but to anticipate and deliver our dreams. There is none of this hunting for someone to let us buy drinks then make us wait an extraordinarily long time to get them, with an automatic gratuity added for ‘service’ we commonly don’t think occurred. At The Bistro, a casual eatery on Crystal Serenity, I had a cup of coffee delivered to me within 2 minutes of sitting down.
“Guests” Is An Appropriate Term Here
Every cruise line on the planet calls their passengers “guests”. I intentionally use the term “passengers” when writing about cruise vacations because the over-used term “guests”, also used everywhere from clothing stores to the place we have the oil changed in our car, does not really seem accurate. Here, it does.
Passionate About What They Do
Someone, somewhere along the way, has empowered the people who work for Crystal Cruises to take good care of their guests, whatever that might mean. Nothing is a problem. Everything is possible. I am pretty sure that if we asked our butler Almir for the moon that he would have it in his back pocket, gift wrapped. Enjoying specialty restaurant Silk Road our first night on board, Almir delivered dinner from the venue to us.
Crystal is a premium-priced cruise line. Undeniably, that premium price paid funds much of the above from abundant staff on duty to crystal wine glasses, included wine to fill them and more. Still, for those who might remember how nearly every big ship cruise line operated a decade or so ago, this is how they became successful.
Rumblings of growth at Crystal Cruises come up from time to time, and rightfully so. What they do here is deserving of our support.
- They are good at what they do.
- They take care of business and their business is pleasing people.
- They look for ways to please their guests, all the time.
To me, that’s a rock solid foundation for continued success and future growth.
Stay tuned for more live via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as we explore Crystal Cruises for the first time and make our way from Boston to Quebec City on a 10-day Autumn’s Palette itinerary. See all our blog posts on Crystal Cruises too.