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Blog Takeover: The ‘Blonde Abroad’ Sets Sail for the First Time

I’m Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad and I’m taking my first ever cruise with Crystal Cruises. Not only that, but I’m bringing my mom, and it’s her first ever trip out of the United States. I took my first trip abroad in college and have since traveled to nearly 50 countries as a professional travel and lifestyle blogger. It’s hard to believe my mom has never been out of the U.S.!

Crystal Symphony in Rio de Janeiro
Crystal Symphony in Rio de Janeiro

We will set sail this upcoming week aboard Crystal Symphony on the Brazilian Holiday cruise that begins in Puerto Rico and ends in Rio. Along the way, we’ll be celebrating Christmas “Crystal Cruises” style, scuba diving in Trinidad and Tobago, exploring Devil’s Island in French Guiana and ringing in the New Year on Copacabana Beach in Rio. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be taking this trip, and especially to share this experience with my mom!

In preparation for my first ever cruise, I have a few expectations, anticipations and, of course, things I’m excited about. Here’s a breakdown of my top 10!


Let’s be honest, this list is endless. But, considering it’s my first cruise ever, there are a few standouts that I’m most excited about.

  1. Food: Boarding an all-inclusive cruise is one thing. But, having Nobu Matsuhisa’s Silk Road & The Sushi Bar, fine wine & champagne, and afternoon tea service at my fingertips is an entirely different ballpark.

    Hiroshi Nakaguchi (Naka), corporate executive chef, Silk Road & The Sushi Bar, preparing sushi
    Hiroshi Nakaguchi (Naka), corporate executive chef, Silk Road & The Sushi Bar, preparing sushi
  2. Traveling to 4 New Destinations: As I mentioned, we’ll be stopping at more than a few dream destinations. What is so incredible about a cruise is that it makes it possible to see so many places in just 15 days. In Brazil, we’ll be visiting Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador da Bahia, Rio de Janeiro AND Buzios in about one week’s time. To do the same trip without a cruise, we would have to take countless flights, book a series of accommodations, and waste a ton of time in transit. Cruises for the win!
  3. Getting to Unpack Once: As a travel blogger, I spend about 9 months traveling each year and never fully unpack. This will be the longest period of time I get to unpack and not worry about repacking or checking in or out of a hotel for an entire 15 days. It’s a huge deal for me!
  4. Spending 15 days with My Mom: When was the last time that you spent two weeks of quality one-on-one time with any of your loved ones? For me, basically never. Even as a child, our vacations were a few days of camping or road tripping. It’s an absolute dream for me in my adult years to be able take my mom on the trip of her dreams and to get to spend so much time together.


So many cruise lines skimp on some aspect of the overall experience, whether it’s food, accommodations, destinations, excursions, etc. This is why I wouldn’t choose any other cruise than Crystal Cruises – the #1 luxury cruise line in the world.

  1. Champagne service in Crystal Symphony's Penthouse
    Champagne service in Crystal Symphony’s Penthouse

    World Class Service: Attention to detail and exceptional service are what set Crystal Cruises aside from other cruise experiences.

  2. Gourmet All the Way: With 25,000 bottles of fine wine onboard, master chefs and sommeliers, it’s a foodie’s dream.
  3. Fun Excursions: I was thrilled to be able to organize scuba diving in Trinidad and Tobago on a Crystal Cruises ”Crystal Adventure”. I’ve been diving for a few years, so to be able to spend a day “unda da sea” is a huge bonus for me.


Why is it that I’ve traveled to so many countries, but have never taken a cruise? To be honest, I’d been nervous that a cruise isn’t right for me. I have insatiable wanderlust and can never stay put. I know many people can relate to that feeling of wanting to be out exploring from sunrise and beyond the sunset. So how will I fare on a 15-day cruise?

  1. Cruise Fever:Getting restless on a ship for 15 days is definitely my #1 anticipation. However, it’s the perfect opportunity for me to stay put, relax, and be present – something I struggle with.
  2. Spending 15 Days with My Mom:One of the things I’m most excited about is also something I’m pretty nervous about. I want my mom to have the best experience of her life. But, considering I’ve never spent this much one-on-one time with anyone, I also have some concerns. Luckily, we both have our individual interests that Crystal Cruises caters to. Onboard, I know we’ll both meet other guests and enjoy spending time with new friends. There are also countless activities, enrichment programs and opportunities for us to explore our own interests.

    Swimming in the Seahorse Pool
    Swimming in the Seahorse Pool
  3. Getting Seasick:This is obviously a concern for most people taking their first cruise, but I’m taking every precautionary measure I can! I’ve sailed extensively and haven’t ever had an issue with being seasick. But, I know that Crystal offers guests Sea Calm at any time, just in case!

Our voyage begins on Sunday, December 19th, and ends on January 3rd. Throughout the journey, I will be sharing images of my adventures on Twitter and Instagram. Follow @TheBlondeAbroad and@CrystalCruises. I will also be taking over the @CrystalCruises account on Instagram, so be sure to follow along for updates along the way. I’m excited to share the experience with everyone. Stay tuned!


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Posted on September 1, 2016

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