This was our fifth World Cruise and fourth-full World Cruise all aboard the Crystal Serenity. Overall, our total experience was the best for this world cruise. This was also our longest continuous sailing which totaled 122 consecutive days.
This says a lot because sometimes in life after you have done something more than once the challenge can be the "wow factor".
We found this to be an extraordinary itinerary for us with some of the including Australia, Beijing, China, Singapore, and some of the other Southeast Asia sites along with the ease of beginning and ending our journey in the continental USA.
On top of this we found all of the other aspects of the cruise to be the best yet including cuisine, overall service, enrichment/entertainment and the various special events. In addition, the more we sail on Crystal and the more we return for World Cruises there is that highly unique bond that takes place between fellow guests and with crew members that just like a good wine gets better and better with each passing year. This is why several people we know return year after year for the World Cruise or similarly why many people return year after year for say the Holiday Cruise or a specific Crossing or even a Panama Canal Cruise.
We found the cuisine to be the best yet. The quality of the ingredients, food preparation, portion sizes and its presentation was superb.
This is another core strength of Crystal Cruises and goes up a notch or more on the World Cruise. Overall, there was a very strong group of entertainers and enrichment personnel on for each World Cruise segment and for the Full World Cruise.
On the enrichment side, there are so many activities offered on a regular cruise but even more on the world cruise that there is something for everyone. We hope that on a future World Cruise that we can make time so I can attend Memoir Writing. The same goes for Pilates as the two of us would like to take this class on a future World Cruise.
We also especially enjoyed Ocean Views, which is a panel discussion that includes a moderator along with three panelists and they will discuss and debate if you will a wide range of topics including political and world-wide events. Rather than present one viewpoint, we find that with a diverse set of panelists that all facets and points of view are discussed which we find preferable as we recognize that not everyone with one type of viewpoint is right all of the time. What made this years Ocean Views better than 2011 when it was first rolled out was that each of us in the audience could vote on which point of view we agreed or disagreed with using those electronic devices that were handed out to all guests arriving to the Galaxy Showroom. This allowed us to not only express our opinion but to see how our opinion compared to others.
Entertainment was terrific. We like the fact that a wide range of evening entertainment is offered recognizing that we all have different tastes. We saw some extraordinary shows, which included some entertainers who are part of the Crystal Family and even some first timers who surely will be invited back to perform for Crystal audiences again and again.
Itinerary and Shore Excursions.
We thoroughly enjoyed so many of the places we visited.
We selected some very special Crystal Shore Excursions and they were some of the best ones we have ever taken in our lives. In fact a couple that we had early on that wowed us was the evening shore excursion on the Missouri in Honolulu and the Military Site Excursion, which took us to a wide range of Military sites in Honolulu.
We also balanced the Crystal excursions with some private ones that we did through our travel consortium and also other places where we could just go out on our own.
We love Australia and can't get enough of this extraordinary area of the world and on this years World Cruise we had the opportunity to see more of Australia than ever before as we sailed all around this area. We also appreciate the overnights that we had including Sydney.
Service on Crystal Cruises is by far the best we have ever experienced on any cruise line. We do think our experience is enhanced because Crystal gets better and better at this each year and because of familiarity. There is no question that the more you cruise and get to know the people on the ship that the better it gets. With that said, if you come onto the cruise for the very first time you will likely be wowed an in no time you'll find that the Lido Deck Stewards learn your name and many of your preferences and the same is for the wait staff in the dining rooms.
We can't say enough about the wonderful service that we find throughout the ship and at all levels from the senior officers to all the individual crewmembers. Even those members of the crew who do not have much public contact provide extraordinary service and are just very helpful and friendly.
We love the improvements that have been made to the ship in last year's dry dock. We especially like the newly redesigned PH. We like the color scheme as we do of all of the other room categories. We love the new lighting system which provides a simple way to turn on, off most lights in the room by pushing on one button and we also found the lighting itself to be better than before and we also found it easy to change the amount of brightness by either raising or lowering it with one button. The new do not disturb/make up my room electronic panel is so much nicer and classier than anything we have experienced before on land or at sea and we prefer the new electronic doorbell system.
We like the new vanity desk areas in the PH which allow each guest to not only have their own desk as they have had before (a desk by the bed and a makeup vanity on the other side) but the lighting is better than ever, the makeup mirror is a nice addition with the lighting, and we also like the fact that there is an opening so you can easily pass the Ethernet cord from one side to the other side if you use multiple computers as we do. We also like the extra shelving that is in the wall unit providing more space for longer voyages and we like the new color scheme plus the little features such as the lights over the bed.
We like the new look of Silk Road and the new lighting that was installed in areas such as the Crystal Dining Room, which adds to the overall ambience. We like the new carpeting, wallpaper, and artwork on the passengers decks and we also like the new exterior paint on the ship. We also like the new furniture placed around the outdoor pool, and while the Lido Deck could not be redone in the recent dry-dock we like the fact that the trays were eliminated and that utensils and napkins are placed on each table.