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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was my first cruise and first trip to Europe. With very few exceptions, the all-inclusive fare covers everything, including tips. The crew truly embodies the definition of service. It was top notch and always with a smile. They go ... Read More
This was my first cruise and first trip to Europe. With very few exceptions, the all-inclusive fare covers everything, including tips. The crew truly embodies the definition of service. It was top notch and always with a smile. They go to great lengths to make sure you wont for nothing. After a couple days onboard, the crew members knew us and addressed us by name. The ship is luxurious. There is something going on all day long and never a shortage of things to do. They provide a daily newsletter with a complete list of activities on board. Educational lectures are well done and provide information about the ports along the way. If you miss them, they are rebroadcast on one of the channels on TV. There is a library on board with a nice selection of books and DVDs that you can check out to watch in your room. We also took a tour of the galley for the main dining room. If you're a foodie, check it out. How they prepare and serve a gourmet dinner menu for 600 every night is fascinating. The fitness room is a bit small, but well equipped. The yoga class was popular and could have used more space. There is also a spa and casino on board. We did not use them. If you are really into wine, they have a wine tasting and pairing dinner. It is in a private dining room adjacent to the library and can be booked for an extra charge. There is also dancing every night. A string quartet and piano soloist play at various times of the day. You can send laundry out for a charge, but each floor had a self-service laundry that included detergent and ironing boards. I went home with clean clothes. We took excursions arranged by Crystal in every port. As we are both history buffs, they were the archaeological/historical tours. Tour operators were professional and Crystal staff accompanied us. They packed a lot into the time allotted for the tours. There are tours that are not strenuous and some that are. If you have mobility issues, do not book tours that state they are strenuous and require a lot of walking. They are not kidding. This was a Mediterranean cruise and all ports were very interesting. Noteworthy excursions: Gozo and Valletta Malta, Oia Village in Santorini and the Lindos Acropolis in Greece, Ephysis Ruins in Kusadasi Turkey, Herculaneum and Pompeii at the Naples Port, Taormina, Italy and of course, Istanbul. We saw a few of the shows (some nights we were too tired after exploring the ports) and the entertainment is excellent. The singers and dancers put on a variety of shows, so there is something for everyone. Gary, the Cruise Director is funny and you can tell he loves his job. In addition to the main dining room, there are many dining options aboard and room service any time you wish. The menu in the main dining room is diverse with four courses each night (appetizer, soup and salad, entree and dessert - several options for each on the menu and you can order as many as you want) and a sommelier keeps the wine flowing. Ice cream bar serves Ben and Jerry's from noon until 6PM. On this particular cruise, there were 2 formal nights. The winner of the 2015 Bocuse D'Or chef completion prepared dinner on the second formal night. He also did a cooking demonstration earlier in the day. Highly recommend Silk Road and Prego, the Asian and Italian restaurants aboard. All food was fresh and well presented. High tea is served every afternoon. There is also a bistro that serves tea, coffee and light hors d'oeurves in the afternoon. We ate breakfast at the buffet on the lido deck. It's huge. Anything you could want is there. Loved the fresh mango and fresh squeezed orange juice. Caution: the food is so good, book excursions that make you walk it off! The ship is spotless as it was remodeled in 2013 and all of the furnishings are updated. We also booked our airline and travel from disembarkation through Crystal and found it to be just as reasonable as booking ourselves, without the hassle. I think the only thing that needs improvement is the Wi-Fi aboard. Passengers are given one our of free Wi-Fi for each day aboard. It is pretty slow so it takes quite a bit of time to send emails. If you use more, there is a charge and it's expensive. At slow speeds, it doesn't take long to eat up the allotted free time. Many of the passengers are older and may not use internet, but those that do, might find it a bit challenging. I did have to attend to some work on board, so I needed the internet. Maybe it's their plan - keep you off your devices so you can enjoy your vacation-work can wait :-) All in all, it was a wonderful cruise. It is likely I'll be aboard the Crystal Serenity again someday. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
As avid independent travelers, my wife and I never thought we were cruise people. In fact we steadfastly resisted any suggestion of a cruise. Then the flyer arrived in the mail - we simply could not resist. Our experience on the Crystal ... Read More
As avid independent travelers, my wife and I never thought we were cruise people. In fact we steadfastly resisted any suggestion of a cruise. Then the flyer arrived in the mail - we simply could not resist. Our experience on the Crystal Serenity was absolutely impeccably perfect. All staff was extremely helpful and friendly - we felt like they were members of our family by the time we disembarked. A few highlights: - The dual dining choices in the main dining room (modern and classic) were perfect. We often mixed and matched, but in general the appetizers and deserts on the modern side were highlights. - Tastes is really so much more than "casual dining". The variety and quality of the tapas style dishes were exquisite and the service perfect and attentive. - Prego's lasagna is the best we've ever had. Yes I would have blushed to say I was ordering lasagna at such an exquisite Italian restaurant - but it was absolutely mouth wateringly good. - Silk Road has terrific, imaginative Asian fare. We were glad to have gone, but as we were more wine themed, we didn't repeat. - Crystal Cove is the perfect hide away very late at night - friendly staff, beautiful, quiet atmosphere. The ship itself is very clean and well maintained - everything is well thought out. Can't think of a thing we would change. We mostly took part in private shore excursions, but the one that we took from Crystal (Malta's Pre-historic Sites) was well organized with a fantastic local guide. Truly a terrific experience as the site we visited is extremely hard to book in advance. Frosch's wine theme was so special. We were lucky enough to have both Heitz and Kapcsandy on board pouring their magnificent wines. This added an extra dimension to dinner that is hard to overestimate. Also, the fellow wine enthusiasts were terrific to get to know. Disembarkation was orderly, easy - only problem is that it was so sad to leave. We loved the experience so much on Crystal Serenity that we are tempted to go somewhere that we are *less* interested in so we can spend more time on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My wife and I have always had a stereotypical opinion of what a cruise would be like having seen documentaries on the subject, portraying a negative view. So when the opportunity arose to try one we agreed with some trepadation. How wrong ... Read More
My wife and I have always had a stereotypical opinion of what a cruise would be like having seen documentaries on the subject, portraying a negative view. So when the opportunity arose to try one we agreed with some trepadation. How wrong we were! This cruise surpassed all expectations. We were greeted at the airport by three couriers who directed us to the transfer coach and from then on every detail was covered by a representitive. The cabin was comfortable with a sumptous kingsize bed and balcony. Our maid who looked after our cabin coudn't do enough for us and was always cheerful and attentive. Daily pamphlets were left detailing the next day's excursion. Many choices of restauraunts to choose from serving delicious food along with copious amounts of drink on offer throughout the day ( all inclusive). The excursions were plentiful and varied in choice, albeit a bit expensive! The entertainment was varied but nothing to write home about. All staff were extremely polite and helpful and always made us feel welcome. If there was one gripe it would be the long walk back from the Venice excursion boat that landed us at the quayside for us to walk back to the ship, which for a disabled person was a bit much! Many fellow passengers remarked that we have been spoiled by going on a first cruise at such a high standard which will make future cruise ships hard to beat. Would I go again, You bet. ( and I don't work for Chrystal). Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
For our first ever cruise and after much research using Cruise Critic my wife and I decided to on Crystal and the Crystal Serenity. But as many had told us - after Crystal it would be all downhill - yes we were spoilt!!! The Crystal ... Read More
For our first ever cruise and after much research using Cruise Critic my wife and I decided to on Crystal and the Crystal Serenity. But as many had told us - after Crystal it would be all downhill - yes we were spoilt!!! The Crystal Forum on Cruise Critic was a great help - many of our questions were quickly answered as were our ones directed to the Crystal website. As first time cruisers the sponsorship system worked very well and our credit helped with our excursions, As avid golfers and having never toured the British Isles together we booked the back to back Dover to Dublin - Dublin to Dover(the golf themed cruise) - Dover to Barcelona cruise from August to September. Everything we had read about Crystal was correct and everything fell into place without any problems. The golf theme section of the itinerary with Billy Casper as the featured guest was a great highlight. Such a gentleman who at 82 years old gave his time to everybody - even non-golfers. His lectures in the main auditorium were always full and he gave such a fascinating talk interspersed with a range of questions and answers that kept everyone in their seats until the end. On every golf excursion he was there with encouraging words and tips and the dinners with his wife and family towards the end of the cruise were another highlight. With a great deal of pre-cruise planning our son and his wife came on board for dinner to surprise my wife after we arrived at Barcelona and the staff could not have been more accommodating - the deck security and concierge had every angle covered in case there was a hiccup in the plans but it went off flawlessly. Truly a great experience for our first ever cruise and as a result we have already booked our next Crystal cruise. . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
I am 42, and DH is 47. We have been on one Regent Navigator cruise, one Silversea Silver Spirit cruise, and one Paul Gauguin cruise. I still consider us cruise newbies. We have specific needs as we are "quirky" at the best of ... Read More
I am 42, and DH is 47. We have been on one Regent Navigator cruise, one Silversea Silver Spirit cruise, and one Paul Gauguin cruise. I still consider us cruise newbies. We have specific needs as we are "quirky" at the best of times, and we have been looking for a cruise line that meets both our specific travelling eccentricities. Crystal seems to be able to meet this! This is my first review for cruise critic as feel compelled to share joy at discovering this wonderful cruise line. I get very seasick. I get bus sick. I get train sick. I get plane sick. Gravol and ginger pills are my friend. DH does not understand this AT ALL. Crystal Serenity provides a bigger ship experience, and I found that I did not need to wear my anti-nausea wristbands. The motion from the ship was negligible. This was helped by good weather and smooth seas. In comparison, I could not tolerate the buzzing that was a normal occurence even on smooth seas that I experienced on Regent Navigator. We booked a Penthouse Suite due to information from cruise critic that usual verandah rooms are smaller than Regent or Silversea rooms. We had 11029 mid ship near elevators. Despite proximity to the elevators the room was very quiet. The room was beautiful and spacious, and the decor was like a boutique hotel in Las Vegas (we usually stay at the Skylofts in LV). The balcony was so nice that we both spent lots of time outside here, and this was not cramped at all. DH wished there was a recliner, but the two chairs with one ottoman and a table was fine. I liked that the sleeping area was demarcated from the rest of the room. The two single beds pushed together works well for us, and we both had no trouble sleeping. DH had lots of choice from the pillow menu, although they did not seem to have buckwheat pillows. Firm worked just as well. Wi-fi two hours free with this room was a very nice touch. Skype does not work, but we were able to facetime no problem. Since the room is close to midship elevators we were able to get wi-fi reception in the room if we stood by the door. We did not use the free phone call time. Another reason that we booked the penthouse suite is the room service ability to choose from the specialty restaurants. I LOVE that there is Nobu restaurant on board. When travelling, I need to have soup, and was able to have Asian soup every day. Rock shrimp, mushroom soup "tea" and kelp salad was an added benefit! Sushi took too long for room service, so I stopped ordering this (sushi bar ws very popular). DH ordered room service from a mix of main dining, Nobu and Prego, and there was never too much problem with this erratic ordering style. Our butler was amazing- oh I'll start a new paragraph about Ural. Ural our butler. He was the most professional butler that we have ever had!! He was pleasant, efficient, and even jokey which put us very much at ease. We probably drove him crazy, but he was always smiling. Iced tea in a pitcher... no problem! A big tea pot... no problem! Room service dining from three places... no problem! Special order curry as room service.. yes, tomorrow for dinner! A question about the next port..... he knows the answer! Some things we asked about were not doable, but there was an explanation that satisfied us and we were not disappointed about this. We ate at the main dining room rarely, but each time the service and food was pretty good. We are not wine drinkers. However, we enjoy tea (eg high end high mountain oolong and Mariage Frere teas) and we found that although bagged tea is fine for everyday, high tea should be loose tea, not the same bagged tea. This was the only real glaring "not five star" thing we noticed about Crystal. Even silversea had high end loose tea with timers and everything, for their tea time. We eventually chose to not even bother with their teatime. However, I really love the self service element at the Neptune bar area for just helping yourself to iced tea and juice etc. This saves time and makes me instantaneously happy. The bar guys were helpful and friendly too, but I can help myself just as well. Breakfast at the Lido was crazy busy. This was also one area that they can improve on. I suppose it may be due to port intensive itinerary with everyone leaving for morning excursions all at once, but the omelet line was just too long (too many people, too much time). There seemed to be much confusion about breakfast, and it felt crowded and "grabby". An unpleasant morning experience. The coffee was not very good! The Bistro was not open early enough for breakfast for morning excursions. Excursions- these were some of the best I have ever attended. As this was the first time we have been in this region, we wanted to do an excursion at every port, and chose a Crystal excursion for every port. Our Copenhagen acquarium visit was cancelled, but this actually enabled us ot see Copenhagen itself, walking around everywhere, so we were not too disappointed. The complimentary shuttles were very convenient even if we did not use them all the time, as they provided an option for us if we decided to venture out later on our own. We took the 3 hour Sachenhausen and Berlin tour and were not disappointed. Our tour guide was informative and objective. He provided interesting facts mingled also with personal anecdotes. President Obama was in Berlin at the time of our visit, and many sites were closed, but our tour guide was able to walk us to many of the sites, parking the bus further away. A great experience, and makes us want to visit Berlin again. The 3 hour bus ride was not a problem for me as the autobahn was very straight. St Petersburg- a problem with initial immigration! Crystal let us know what to fill out on the immigration forms, but the immigration officials seem to take affront at the lack of filling out the info so everyone had to enter their birthdates etc on the forms once there at the front of the line. A long long delay. The next day, the Reflections noted that you should have your forms ready but we didn't need them for day 2! This was very confusing and I think Crystal could have done a better job with the information dissemination. Otherwise, despite disclaimers about limited bathroom options and possible poor english speaking guides, these were not issues at all with the tours. Tour guides had understandable english and were very informative about.....everything! Bathroom breaks were provided at set intervals. However, these are long long days!! Worse than work! Worse than a bootcamp conference! Catherine palace and peterhof palace started at 715am and you get back the the ship at around 5pm. However, this was worth it. Tour group dynamics apply (It's difficult to keep together and to keep up! ). The people on the ship were generally older than us, but we found many interesting and friendly folks. Granted there were a few people that tried to push in front of the line at Russian immigration (really? here?) but people are people.......Overall the passengers were friendly and quiet. The ship was noted to be full, but we never felt like we could not do what we had chosen to do due to crowding (except for breakfast at the Lido). A note on the Laundry rooms. Five washer/dryer combos! This means no fighting or awkward situations. Laundry baskets and magazines were provided. This was so thoughtful it made me want to cry with joy. Disembark/embark - no problems. We did not have to tender at all with these ports, although we docked at a yucky industrial area in Stockholm. All transfers were without a hitch. We had private car pickup at Copenhagen, and there were no issues. Smooth and seamless. Overall, we had a great time on this cruise. If DH continues to want to cruise, I will now press to have it to be this on cruise line.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
On the one hand, I don't want you to read this review, because we want to go on Crystal again, and don't want the ship to be sold out. On the other hand, the cruise was so nice, so special, that we feel we owe it to Crystal, and ... Read More
On the one hand, I don't want you to read this review, because we want to go on Crystal again, and don't want the ship to be sold out. On the other hand, the cruise was so nice, so special, that we feel we owe it to Crystal, and to potential cruisers to tell the truth. It was our first cruise in 20 years, and it was great. First, the service. Perfect. Everything you read on here is true. I've never met so many hard-working, friendly, efficient people in my life. Our on-ship experience was contrasted by the horrible service we had on our flight to Europe on American Airlines -- and we were flying business class. Richie, Clark, Benjamin, and our stewardess Malikova were too good to be true. Second, the food. Fabulous. I lived in Italy for six months, but the meal I had in the Italian restaurant, Prego, was better than any Italian restaurant I have ever eaten in -- and that includes all of Italy. Third, the spa. Fabulous. Enough said. Was everything perfect? Of course not. The classes on board --piano, computer, Italian language, bridge -- were so basic, as to be of little or no value to all but the absolute beginner. I would have liked some more intermediate and advanced classes, and I'm hardly an expert in any of those fields. Also, the report we received from fellow cruisers was that some of the shore excursions could have been better. Also, in the restaurant, when we asked for champagne, I thought it was a little tacky that they brought us the most expensive champagne, without giving us an option for the more "moderate" choice champagne. But these are minor quibbles. This is a truly great cruise line, that really knows how to do it right. If you take a Crystal Cruise, and you are bored, or unhappy, it is not the fault of Crystal. Look inside yourself. This is a first-class operation all the way. Enjoy! Read Less
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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