Crystal Symphony: Four-Star Marine General Anthony Zinni, former Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command, hosted an open forum at sea on Saturday, May 26. On Memorial Day itself, Crystal's President Gregg Michel will escort guests to the French site of D-Day. The shore excursion includes visiting the former German fortification at Pointe du Hoc, historian-guided military truck transport to Omaha Beach, and a memorial ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery, final resting place of 9,000+ American soldiers. All attendees will receive a commemorative medallion for the day.
Crystal Serenity: Memorial Day will begin with a morning veterans' get-together in Palm Court, led by foreign policy author Dr. Robert Freedman, and featuring refreshments and a poetry dedication. Like with Crystal Symphony's shipboard gathering, the event will be open to anyone wishing to attend, with participant introductions, personal observances, and sharing of stories.
Regular veterans' get-togethers, led variously by Cruise Directors and special guest presenters, are a new staple on board the fleet, providing opportunities to recognize soldiers' sacrifices and share past experiences, no matter what role or country they served. Paul McFarland, Crystal Symphony's Cruise Director and a veteran himself, explains the gatherings' significance: "The relationship between vets, male and female, is a 'brotherhood' that spans generations and wars. Regardless of when or where someone was stationed, soldiers have something in common, sharing life-altering experiences and a unique bond, unlike any other family or friend relationship."
Both ships will be sailing the western coast of France over the solemn holiday weekend, with Crystal Symphony spending the rest of the summer in the Baltic region, and Crystal Serenity cruising the Mediterranean area until December.
Image Courtesy of Crystal Cruises