Natalie Read, regional sales manager – south for Crystal Cruises, talks Asia, Antarctica, and why you should always travel with a spare pair of shoes.
Why is your cruise line the best of all cruise lines?
Crystal offers more space, choice and service than any other cruise line, and that’s why we’ve received more awards than any other cruise line in the world. It’s just like turning left on a plane.
If your cruise line was a famous person who would it be and why?
Julie Andrews. She is the Godmother of Crystal Serenity and represents the class and style of our West End and Broadway shows on board.
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on the road?
Driving for three hours to an important meeting, only to realise I’d driven in my comfy trainers and not brought my posh shoes… hooray for Sainsbury’s. I now always keep a spare pair of shoes in my car.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked about cruise?
I was asked if the staff stay on board our river ships every night. I know we have the highest crew ratio, but yes, they do all get to stay on board.
How many of your ship have you sailed on and do you have a favourite?
I love our ocean ships and Crystal Symphony is still my favourite as she was my first-ever Crystal experience. However, our new river ships take my breath away every time I step on them. I’m lucky enough to be travelling on the Crystal Ravel, which recently launched, and I’m so excited.
As for the future, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get to experience our upcoming expedition yacht, Crystal Endeavor, which will be the largest, most spacious purpose-built polar class expedition yacht in the world, accommodating just 200 guests and boasting all the luxurious amenities and special touches for which Crystal is known.
Do you have a favourite on-board restaurant and why?
That’s easy… it has to be our Nobu restaurant. Nobu’s Japanese-Peruvian fusion has been part of the complimentary service on board every Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity sailing since 2003 and 2008, respectively, and will also feature on Crystal Endeavor.
Which port would you definitely disembark in and what would you do there?
Any city in Europe. I fell in love with Budapest when I was on Crystal Mozart.
Which port would you stay on board in and why?
I’m a traveller at heart, so I always like to get off and explore. However, I have been to Monte Carlo numerous times, so I’d probably give that a miss and stay on board enjoying everything the ship has to offer.
Which cruise is on your bucket list?
Antarctica. Having seen a sneak preview of the launch of our new expedition yacht, Crystal Endeavor, this has to be on anyone’s bucket list.
If you didn’t work in the cruise industry, what do you think you’d do?
I’d be a marine biologist so I could get a job on Crystal Endeavor.