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This month as part of our Meet the Guests series, we wanted to introduce June Nelson, a valued guest who has been sailing with us for almost 35 years!

Written by

crystal cruises editor

Alexis Sweeney

Published on 07/20/2023

Originally from Dayton, Ohio, June now lives in Orlando, Florida, where she has been for the last 42 years. She was married to her husband, Jack, for 53 years before he sadly passed away in 2015. She and her family are avid cruisers and are looking forward to more fabulous times aboard Crystal in the future.

When did you take your first cruise with Crystal?

I was introduced to Crystal by my mother on the Crystal Harmony In the late 1980s, so I have been part of the Crystal family for almost 35 years!

That’s amazing. You must have some great memories.

I had so many great experiences, but there are a few which stand out. I remember in 2006, Jack and I sailed aboard Crystal Symphony to Antarctica. It was a bucket list destination for us, as it was our goal to tick off all seven continents. I remember one day, it snowed. I had just finished lunch, and I went outside to the pool deck, where many of the crew were having a snowball fight. It was the first time many of them had ever seen snow. I laughed right along with them. It was indeed a very joyous, memorable moment.

In 2019, I was on the World Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity. One of the calls we made was in Madagascar. It was hot and humid and tough walking. But when I saw the lemurs, I didn't even care how hot it was. They had been on my checklist for years, and that was all that mattered.

However, the best was in 1992, when my husband and I sailed through the Panama Canal for the first time. We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary – I was aboard a ship I loved, with the man I loved, in a beautiful part of the world. What more could I want?

June and her husband Jack aboard Crystal Symphony in 2011
June and her husband Jack aboard Crystal Symphony in 2011

That’s amazing. You must have so many wonderful family memories.

I’ve sailed with my entire family, my two daughters, their husbands, and grandchildren on the Crystal several times. Unfortunately, I was widowed in 2015 after 53 years of marriage, which was obviously a very sad time for me. But I just wanted to get back to sea, as we both loved being aboard. It was daunting, taking my first trip alone, but when I embarked, I knew a lot of the staff and crew immediately. One waiter in the dining room even remembered my mother and me on Crystal Harmony!

June tephanie Marli aboard Crystal Serenity in 2016
June and her daughters Stephanie and Marli aboard Crystal Serenity in 2016

How many cruises have you done with Crystal?

I have now sailed a total of 36 segments on Crystal, including the World Cruise in 2019. I was also on the World Cruise in 2022, which was from Miami to Miami. As you all know, in the end, that was just a 10-day cruise. We had to disembark in Bimini in the Bahamas due to the mismanagement of the company by previous owners. It was very challenging, and my memories of that time are not good. However, that is not the current ownership’s fault, and I have no blame for anybody except the company that owned it at the time.

What is it that keeps you returning to Crystal?

I tried other cruise lines and sailed on some beautiful ships, which were lovely, but when the company announced their return to sail, I knew I had to get back on Crystal. I have so many fond family memories. Crystal’s strengths are manifest, but I think all the long-time cruisers will agree: it’s that feeling of family that returns time after time. Every time I embark, I feel like I am home and safe.

As someone with a lot of sea days under your belt, what is your main takeaway from sailing with us?

One of the main things experienced cruisers like me notice is that the crew is happy. They come back. Year after year, they get to know you and you, them, and their families. It is an incredible home to have while you are sailing the seas. Of course, you make friends with other passengers, but family schedules are hectic and mean that sometimes you don’t see the people you meet for a few years. But the joy of sailing with Crystal is that you will always find at least a few friendly faces onboard. It is rare that a staff or crew member leaves. And so, you get the feeling when you arrive onboard, and everybody's smiling and calling you by your name – it's just priceless. You feel like a family is welcoming you back to their home, which they are sharing with you. And you know that while you’re onboard, they will take excellent care of you. If the crew were not happy, it would be a different story for me, especially because I now travel alone.

When is your next Crystal cruise planned?

On July 31st, I will board the Crystal Serenity In Marseille for the inaugural cruise. I have a penthouse suite on deck 11. And I requested the same butler I've had for the last couple of sailings and is one of the senior butlers. I am so excited. I will debark in Southampton. But when the ship comes to New York in October, I will once again joyfully board Crystal Serenity for the Canadian fall trip on October 13th from New York to Canada and back down to Miami.

And yes, I am also booked for the 2024 World Cruise once again from Miami to Miami. This time because of the superior new owners, I feel confident it will be completed. And my family is happy knowing that I will be safe and well cared for on board!

Have you got anything that you would like to say to them regarding the return to sail in July?

To the Captain and all the officers, butlers, and crew on board who are part of the Crystal family, I salute you! You are the sole reason I am returning to my home away from home. Thank you for coming back!

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