Cruising into 2013

Gail Davis, 08 January 2013

I, as well as Conde Naste, happen to believe that Crystal is the best cruise line in the world. Why? It starts with size. Crystal has two ships: the Crystal Symphony and the Crystal Serenity. Each ship has around 500 cabins. That is large enough to offer all the great amenities and small enough to create a luxury experience. 

In 1993, I was the Manager of the Corporate Incentive Events department at a Fortune 100 company. I went to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale to “ship shop” for a charter for our sales incentive trip. I toured about nine different lines. I originally did a half ship charter on Celebrity, which was a wonderful experience, but two years later did a full ship charter of Crystal.  I then fell in love and have remained a loyal Crystal aficionado.


If you are responsible for a large-scale event and have not considered a cruise, be open to it. It is a completely different experience than planning an event at a resort. I could write a book about what I learned. Convincing my company leadership was the hardest sell of my career, but the pay off was huge. It was such a rousing success we did two more cruises in the following years.

People worried about “feeling trapped”, getting sea sick, and small rooms. They came away realizing the ship experience offered extensive variety, international cuisine and an opportunity for everyone to have their own customized trip.


I am a recovering Type-A. My phone is usually tied to my hip. I check email 24/7. I have been accused of not knowing how to relax. For that reason alone, folks like me should cruise once a year just for their health! 

You can be connected on-board, but it is a little more expensive than normal and the satellite signal is a little more delayed than high speed. It becomes the perfect excuse to unplug.  You start to feel the knots in your neck relax. And you realize one of life’s great lessons: the world goes on without you. Your employees manage and your clients appreciate your capable team. It is both shocking and amazing to let go.

Crystal does an amazing job of planning something for everyone. Yet, if you opt to do nothing, that is okay, too. I enjoy observing all the sub-cultures onboard a ship. There are those that love the entertainment and sit on the front row of every show. Some who place a high priority on fitness: running on the promenade deck, attending Pilates and cycling classes. There are folks enjoying the spa, the pool, games from bridge to bingo, and there are those that go to every single lecture to take advantage of the opportunity to expand their minds. The options provide for many individualized custom experiences.


I am convinced cruises are the answer for multigenerational travel! I love seeing the families on board. Everyone is so happy. Togetherness and contentment, can you ask for more?

On two different occasions, I have done the holiday cruise with my sons and my parents. During the day, my mom plays bridge and my dad may hangs out in his “office” (aka the casino).  I am usually in the gym and my boys … well, who really knows? That is the beauty of it!  Yet, at dinner, we all dress and have a world class dining experience.  A long, refined experience that provides ample time for each person to be heard. Not the typical fast experience from home.

My next blog will feature some of the cool entertainment and speakers I saw during my time with Crystal. There are some great ideas everyone needs to know about when planning your events for 2013.

Visit GDA's Facebook page for Gail's favorite pictures from the cruise.

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