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5 Athens (Piraeus) Crystal Serenity Cruise Reviews

In the past 3 years we have sailed with Silversea 4 times, with Regent 3, with Oceania 1 and with Seabourn 2 times. We had heard excellent comments about Crystal when their Mediterranean cruise caught our attention. We booked a penthouse ... Read More
In the past 3 years we have sailed with Silversea 4 times, with Regent 3, with Oceania 1 and with Seabourn 2 times. We had heard excellent comments about Crystal when their Mediterranean cruise caught our attention. We booked a penthouse suite and it was an overwhelming experience. After the other cruise lines we had become familiar with our expectations of Crystal were high, but the Crystal exceeded our expectations by far. For us no other cruise line comes even close. They are simply the best! If you really want to spoil yourself to a cruise of a lifetime, book a penthouse suite on Crystal. Before we left on this cruise we had already booked a cruise with Seabourn in January, but now that we have experienced Crystals Serenity, we are no longer excited to cruise with any other cruise line. Crystal is a whole new experience. Embarking with the penthouse suite ticket is like flying first class, within minutes your are on board, you are accompanied to your suite. All is ready and our luggage was delivered before we had a chance to admire the tastefully designed suite in delightful light colors, wow! We choose to have our lunch not in the main restaurant Waterside but in the Marketplace where a sumptuous buffet awaited us. This was the way to travel. Announcements over the public address system were practically non existent. We always were annoyed by the frequent PA announcements on other lines, too often in a phoney British accent. Soliciting for future cruises was prohibited, if you are interested in future cruises you were of course welcome to so on beard. This all added to a totally relaxed and comfortable and unique cruise experience. The food was divine, there were options for everybody, even for health food nuts like us. Personally we are vegetarians but do eat fish. There was always something new and delicious on the menu. Starting with the amazing breakfast buffet at the Marketplace. The fresh fruit selections, especially mangoes, papaya, pine apple and strawberries were of the highest quality and always perfectly ripe. What a better way to start a day. The lunch buffet at the Marketplace was always a special treat, unfortunately we were mostly on an excursion at lunch time and too often missed the feast. We always had the choice of freshly steamed rice and vegetables. If you prefer the buttered kind, of course that was offered too. After our first nights dinner in the Waterside restaurant, where we were spoilt by the best waiters Raj and Ewa we knew that was going to be our dinner table for the entire cruise. There was absolutely no reason to try a different table we were so much at home. Soon we started talking that this was the only ship so far, where we could imagine to sail into the perpetual sunset. Seriously, instead of moving into an old folks home, why not spending the last years aboard Serenity. We are still talking about it, maybe one of these days. This was the only ship we have ever felt we could sail on forever. Our Med. Cruise had so many interesting landfalls that we couldn't really appreciate all the amenities. One of the great pluses on the Serenity are the possibilities to move and walk a around freely. On deck 7 there is a wide teak deck all around the ship offering the best walking in addition to the possibility to walk on the top deck. There was an internet lounge with iMacs and a differnt lectures could be followed about working with apple computers. Of course internet was free and of a good quality considering the fact that we were on a moving vessel with a satellite link. The entertainment on board was first rate, we missed most of the shows as we were very busy during the days and went to bed early. But our fellow cruisers were enthusiastic about the shows. Often I had watched other people soon falling asleep during lectures, not on board Serenity. The lecturers captured their audience and even you could watch the lectures on live TV in the privacy of your suite, most guests went to the lectures including ourselves to enjoy the lecturers. Ken Walsh, a long time White House correspondent and Dr. Jim Rowe talking about our destinations more than enriched our cruise experience. Booking a Med. Cruise at the end of October is always picking a wild card, the weather can change suddenly and summer just a memory. Still the touristic hot spots during our cruise like Santorini, Sorrento, Rome, Florence, Monaco, Marseille and Barcelona were still extremely crowded by fellow tourists. Still it is more pleasant to experience the world famous sights without the heat of summer but, rainy and cool days are not rare late in the fall. Much too soon our 13 day cruise came to an end, we hated to leave. The disembarking process was so perfectly organised, not one P.A. announcement, no pushing or shoving, just a relaxed walking off the boat and the luggage so cleverly arranged that finding our luggage was so easy. Thank You Crystal. We can't wait to come back. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We selected the short May 4-11 cruise from Athens to Rome to have the opportunity of trying the Crystal experience. We have cruised in Silversea and Seabourn exclusively, and are happy with both lines. We found Serenity to be a solid ... Read More
We selected the short May 4-11 cruise from Athens to Rome to have the opportunity of trying the Crystal experience. We have cruised in Silversea and Seabourn exclusively, and are happy with both lines. We found Serenity to be a solid vessel...good bones, as is often said. We opted for a Penthouse with Verandah and were very pleased with its layout and features. I especially liked the back-to-back desk, one prepared to serve as a vanity. The lighting was very good in the suite and especially in the vanity area. The bathroom included two basins and a very comfortable shower enclosure. There was a jetted tub, which we did not use. I was pleased to see the many drawers, shelves and nooks to organize our belongings. However, the best feature of the suite was Rao, our wonderful butler, and the two housekeeping attendants. We are have had butler in Silversea (which provides butlers for any suite level) and they have been very good, but Rao was so pleasantly effective! The best of the lot. We were pleased with all dining venues, especially Waterside and Prego, except for The Marketplace. This venue acts as the breakfast and lunch buffet style cafeteria. The offerings were good, but not as good as in Colonnade and Trerraza (SB and SS respectively). We did not like it mainly for its layout. The table/chairs are set in a very narrow space, galley like, and most times the waiters' stations were almost besides us. We very much preferred Waterside. We had unusually cold weather and could not use the pool. However, we found the pool to be small, narrow and with less depth that those in SS and SB. Also, there is no food/bar service at the pool. Overall level of service was very good...except for one incident, reported and corrected. I rate the gym the best. I especially enjoyed the cardio-disco classes offered; they were a lot of fun and quite challenging. We never had any problems accessing the treadmills for our daily routines. Entertainment and daily activities offerings were so much better than in SS and SB!! The dance classes led by Beverly and Curtis were very popular, and all the participants enjoyed them very much. The shows were varied and included a comedian, as well as a magician from the well known Magic Castle in Los Angeles. In summary, we plan on booking Crystal in the future, especially longer trips, in order to enjoy all the daily offerings on sea days. However...if weather is very good, other pools may beckon us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We choose this cruise as I always wanted to go to Greece. We have sailed with Crystal many times. Initially we were ending up in Instanbul. They changed that as the cruise line deemed it not safe. The CEO of Crystal was on that cruise ... Read More
We choose this cruise as I always wanted to go to Greece. We have sailed with Crystal many times. Initially we were ending up in Instanbul. They changed that as the cruise line deemed it not safe. The CEO of Crystal was on that cruise so that may have had something the do with it. It as changed Athens to Athens. It was a good cruise but cost us a lot to Change airfares etc to accommodate this. The ports were all nice, it was a perfect time to go, right before Grrek Easter. The weather was perfect, it wasn't crowded yet and all the islands were beautiful. Negatives were no sea days which we had originally. Not getting to go to Istanbul was very disappointing. If I had to do it again, I might have cancelled. But it's Crystal and they do a wonderful job always. The food and wine is wonderful. The service is the best. The specialty restaurants are grea. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We hope in writing this review that it may offer some help to potential first time crystal cruisers. It is based solely on our experience and we have split the review into perfect and less than perfect in an effort to produce a balanced ... Read More
We hope in writing this review that it may offer some help to potential first time crystal cruisers. It is based solely on our experience and we have split the review into perfect and less than perfect in an effort to produce a balanced report. We would stress “perfect and less than perfect” as opposed to good and bad - the overall experience for us was fantastic. What was perfect for us The service – The food – The entertainment – Our fellow guests Service No location was ever crowded or so busy it was not possible to find a seat. The staff were fantastic and we were often served with what felt like genuine warmth. There were some real standout servers but not once did we encounter a surly staff member or feel like we were an inconvenience. Given that there is no commission incentive for lounge service staff we considered this quite an achievement. We found the service in the speciality restaurants to be particularly good and worthy of a special mention - which leads us to tips. We believe that when gratuities / tips are automatically added to your account they become a service charge and completely remove the spirit of tipping. In our mind (ok we are British) a tip is an amount of your choosing given directly to an individual who has delivered excellent service. It was therefore refreshing to restore tipping to what we believe it should be and we were able to tip because we genuinely wanted to. Food We did not have a single poor dining experience on board, having chosen dining by reservation, we planned our evenings in advance of sailing and secured times of our choosing at each venue. Generally we selected time slots around 30 minutes after the start of a sitting and it worked perfectly for us. We had chosen tables for 2 but found they were generally in close enough proximity to strike up conversation if desired. Entertainment Entertainment was excellent and we enjoyed the production shows and guest artists. Some of it was truly world class and whilst some was not what we would choose to see at home we could appreciate it nonetheless. I particularly enjoyed afternoon matinees in the cinema cocooned with my popcorn and about a dozen or so other guests it was like a private showing. I read here on the forums that each traveller finds the right spot for them in the evening and thought at the time that we wouldn’t, but the avenue saloon became our after dinner venue of choice and Marcie (pianist/entertainer) knew our names by the second night. We also liked crystal cove for a pre dinner drink but were not enamoured with palm court. Fellow cruisers Our fellow travellers were a real mixed bunch, we ended up spending most time with an Australian couple and a group from our home country. We also met some charming American, Chilean and Singaporean guests and found that generally there was a high level of courtesy throughout the ship with doors held open and go ahead gestures. Of course this was our experience on a single cruise but if it’s indicative of the majority of crystal cruisers that’s impressive. It’s an old saying but there’s always one! and in our case a gentleman in one of the Jacuzzi’s trumpeting to the whole deck just how much he earned each week was the one - but it was quite amusing and added to the entertainment, I’m glad I wasn’t sharing the Jacuzzi with him but I’m still chewing over the figures!! What was less than perfect for us The bed – Wine Service – Drinks menu – Our Departure The bed was probably the biggest let down for us. The gap between the zip link mattresses was very noticeable (speaking as someone who likes to have three quarters of the bed) so much so that we spoke to our room attendant who attempted to make it better but it was no different. After a few days our room attendant said the mattresses were fairly new and she believed they were different heights. Whatever the reason I wouldn’t accept it at my local Marriott and I would have expected a better resolution. I also think a waterproof mattress protector was in use which resulted in waking in a sweat. Wine & Drinks We would have liked to have seen a list of the inclusive wines, what we actually got was the sommelier informing us of that evenings wine selection, it was like what would you like for your wonderful dinner and by the way this is what we have chosen for you to drink. We never saw a list of wines (inclusive or otherwise). Similarly with drinks service we didn’t see a drinks list in any of the venues. Although we’re sure they are available on request we think it’s fairly basic and cannot recall needing to request a drinks or wine list in any comparable venue at sea or on shore. We prefer to browse at our leisure and it would have been nice to try something new and to mix and match a few drinks. Perhaps we simply didn’t see them - we were very relaxed and didn’t look too hard. (it took us a while to realise we weren’t being left an empty bud vase each time we ordered drinks!!) From reading cruise critic we were led to believe that a card would be in the rear of the guest information folder in our room allowing us to select alcoholic drinks for use in the room. We didn’t find such a card and upon asking were told to just call room service. We don’t drink much in the way of spirits but were hoping to have a bottle of champagne in the room. One call to room service and within 20 minutes we had a beautifully presented bottle of champagne. Departure We were very pressed for time either side of the cruise and were one of the last to board, similarly we needed to disembark a day prior to the end of the cruise and made the necessary arrangements in advance. Our plan was to have a brief look around our final port of call on the morning of arrival, returning to the ship to have lunch a quick shower and disembark at 3pm. We had packed first thing and got back to the ship about 1.30pm. Our cabin attendant informed us that she had been told to prepare the cabin for the next guests and on looking round, the room appeared almost completely prepared. Of course she said it was fine to use the shower etc, but we would not do that as we felt it would be unfair to her. All of this is our own personal view from our own personal experience, If your reading this review because you’re considering a crystal cruise I hope our experiences help in your decision making, please don’t interpret any of our less than perfects as a negative - neither of us can recall a holiday where we have been immersed in relaxation so completely and so quickly. Prior to departure we had numerous concerns and were a little sceptical that our expectations would be met. Well they were seldom met but almost always exceeded and we feel privileged to have experienced serenity. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I went on this cruise with a group of girl friends and we had a very good time. However, I will say that the ship was a big disappointment for me. Crystal is supposed to be nicer than the standard large cruise ships, and I was ... Read More
I went on this cruise with a group of girl friends and we had a very good time. However, I will say that the ship was a big disappointment for me. Crystal is supposed to be nicer than the standard large cruise ships, and I was disappointed that the ship was old and a bit worn around the edges. I've been on nicer ships which are supposedly not as highly rated. I will say that the food was excellent in pretty much every venue. Especially the Asian specialty restaurant. The ambassadors were very nice and fun to dance with. I liked that everything was included, with not extras to pay for on board. The entertainment was also very poor compared to other cruises I have been on. Cheesy acts, marginal talent. The classical musical trio was really good though. One bad spot in service was the DJ for the night club. Rude, bad attitude, and not welcoming at all. He doesn't belong on a cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015

Top Crystal Serenity Itineraries

Crystal Serenity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 5.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 4.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.2
Service 4.5 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 5.0 4.1

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