We have been Celebrity loyalists (with one Oceania cruise as well), but a Crystal cruise was on my bucket list, so when Crystal offered a sale and the itinerary was appealing, I jumped on it. My husband was skeptical—how could it be ... Read More
We have been Celebrity loyalists (with one Oceania cruise as well), but a Crystal cruise was on my bucket list, so when Crystal offered a sale and the itinerary was appealing, I jumped on it. My husband was skeptical—how could it be worth more than twice what we usually pay for a cruise? Now we know. This was everything I hoped it would be.
We always build in an extra day in our flight plans, and it was a good thing we did; our flight from Newark was about ten hours late getting into Marseille. We missed the day of exploring marseille, but didn’t miss the ship. Embarkation at the pier was slower than I expected (we waited maybe 20 minutes to board) but check-in on the ship was quick and easy. After a nice lunch on the aft deck, we went to our cabin a little past 2:00 and were surprised to find our luggage already delivered and on the bed ready for unpacking. Just the first of many instances of superior service.
The two areas in which Crystal excels, inour opinion, are service and food. Service was impeccable: our sommelier was the best we’ve ever encountered; our wait team in the dining room was first class; our room steward was great; and every staff person was friendly and helpful. We ordered room service a few times, and were impressed by how timely and gracious the service was. (Love the fact that the coffee table is raised to dining table height and set elegantly even for breakfast.). The food on Serenity was the best we’ve experienced on any ship. The main dining room offerings were varied and consistently excellent; we enjoyed breakfast and lunch dishes at the Lido cafe; but our favorite place for lunch was the grill. Best cheeseburgers ever, according to my husband, and I appreciate the fact that they have a variety of burgers, including salmon and a really tasty veggie burger. We tried both specialty restaurants, which were good but not as good as the main dining room, in our opinion. Oceania may claim to be the foodie line, but we rate
Crystal highest in that category.
One of the main reasons we like to cruise is that it gives us a chance to dance every night. Serenity has the largest dance floor and nicest dance venue in the Palm Court of any ship we’ve been on. The dance quartet is great; they play exactly the music dancers want to hear. The dance instructors did a wonderful job with dance lessons on sea days. Because we were always in Palm Court, we didn’t experience any of the shows, so can’t comment on those. We did enjoy trivia on sea days and wished they had it more often, and we enjoyed the world affairs speaker.
The ambiance of the ship is one of quiet elegance and casual refinement. Fellow passengers are well-traveled, though many we talked to were, like us, on their first Crystal cruise. Guests are better dressed than on the other ships we’ve sailed (a welcome change from the increasingly casual, even sloppy “fashion” that seems ubiquitous these days). We saw no sign that the ship needs to be refurbished, though it is scheduled to be this year.
With the exception of Barcelona, the ports on the itinerary were new to us, and we enjoyed all of them. We would have liked longer stops in Gibraltar and Guernsey, which were only half days. We didn’t take any ship excursions, preferring to explore on our own.
In all, this was a bucket list cruise worthy of the designation. I only wish we were able to sail on Crystal every year. Read Less