(12:30 p.m. EDT) -- The younger of Crystal Cruises' two luxury ships, Crystal Serenity, recently received a $25 million facelift during a two-week dry dock in Hamburg, Germany. The overhaul was aimed at bringing the eight-year-old ship up to par with older sibling Crystal Symphony, which underwent a similar refurbishment in fall 2009.
With the project, Crystal continues its practice of investing heavily in existing hardware; the company's strategy has been to keep the upscale duo -- the biggest true luxury ships in cruising -- looking fresh rather than to opt for building new vessels. According to the line, it has spent more than $50 million in the last two years on renovations.
So what new fixtures and features did the hefty bill bring to Serenity? Here are the details on the multi-million dollar refurbishment:
Cabins. All of Crystal Serenity's boutique hotel-style accommodations received extensive upgrades. The soft goods in Serenity's Penthouses are all new, and Deluxe Staterooms, Penthouses, and Penthouse Suites boast new headboards, bedside cabinets, sofas, curtains, pillows and carpets. The new sofas also offer more third berths (single-bed foldouts). Additionally, all cabins received new flat-screen televisions, Blue-ray players (Symphony's cabins have mere DVD players) and lighting fixtures.
Public spaces. In terms of public spaces, the line added fewer new venues to Serenity than it did during Symphony's 2009 upgrade. While Symphony gained the nightclub LUXE and a remodeled casino and Bistro cafe, Serenity's refurb focused on refreshing existing spaces and tweaking retail venues. The ship's Apropos boutique was broken into three new shopping spaces, with one new area dedicated to Christian Dior cosmetics. Also, on the upscale retail side of things, Facets jewelry store was redesigned.
Pool deck. Serenity's top-ship pool area was re-designed in Caribbean-style colors (bright greens, blues and reds), and plush new loungers and large circular "pod-beds" were added (the same furnishings added to Symphony in fall 2009).
Miscellany. Less obvious updates to public spaces are centered on creating ambiance by way new carpeting, lighting and art. Textured walls were also added throughout the ship.
While much was added, much was also given away. Furnishings, electronics, and accessories removed from Serenity were donated to communities around the world. According the line, donations began during the ship's final, pre-dry dock voyage up the western coast of Africa when bedspreads were donated to Senegal. A donation plan was then instituted in Hamburg, with hundreds of sofas and televisions loaded onto eight 40-foot containers, and shipped to the Salvation Army in New Jersey.
If you want to get a decent idea of what Serenity's refurb was all about, check out our slideshow of sister ship Crystal Symphony's similar overhaul.
--by Jamey Bergman, Web Content Producer