Crystal Serenity steams into Freo

Crystal Serenity is here on a whistle-stop visit; she arrived this morning at around 8 am from Busselton and leaves again this evening at 5pm.

The cruise ship is on a 142-day, round trip World Cruise, themed as Easter. Her journey began on 18 January 2024 from Miami, Florida and ends on 8 June 2024. Her homeports are Fort Lauderdale, Florida, New York and Vancouver, British Columbia. She operates alongside her fleet-mate Crystal Symphony who visited us in December last, just before Christmas.

Serenity has visited a dizzying number of places before arriving here: Cayman Islands, Colombia, Panama Canal, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, California, Hawaii, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Sydney, Eden, Melbourne, Adelaide and Busselton . . . whew!

And here’s a gallery of her entry to Freo this morning.

After Fremantle, she’ll head to Broome, Bali, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Oman, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Bahamas and back to Florida.

Serenity has tied up in Freo before. She last visited Fremantle in February, 2019.

This is a transit visit, which means Fremantle is a day stop. So there are passengers on pre booked tours. A few may be embarking or disembarking. And there’ll be a free return shuttle bus from Fremantle Passenger Terminal into Walyalup Koort. Hopefully many of the ship’s guests will be out and about discovering Freo today.

The cruise ship is operated by Crystal Cruises. She was built in 2003 in France, and sails under the flag of the Bahamas. She is 250m long with a beam of 32m.

She can carry 794 passengers and a crew of 655. A nice cruise ship to be on. Dame Julie Andrews christened her and became her Godmother back in 2003 – yes Maria from the Sound of Music. Her portrait hangs in the ship.

Passenger Lee Wachtstetter known as ‘Mama Lee’, used to live on board Crystal Serenity full time. When the ship went out of business due to COVID, Mama Lee was aged 92, had been on the ship for 12 years and was the longest permanent luxury cruise ship resident. She spent about US$170K a year to live on the ship full-time. She is still alive and will be 96 in May 2024. She loved ballroom dancing and the ship provided dance partners for her. So maybe that’s the recipe for longevity? Live on a cruise ship and dance every night –it sounds a whole lot better than a nursing home!

Isn’t Crystal Serenity a great name? Though things weren’t always serene on board. She and Crystal Symphony were arrested in February 2022 – yes, arrested, after a warrant was issued. Over 4.6 million US dollars was owed for fuel.

Foxtrot down to the port at 5 o’clock this afternoon and watch her leave.

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS by Jean Hudson @jeansodyssey. Jean is our Shipping Correspondent and also a regular feature writer and photographer here on the Shipping News. You may like to follow up her informative Places I Love stories, as well as other feature stories and Freo Today photographs, right here.


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