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9 Crystal Serenity Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Alaska

We chose this itinerary so we could see the Hubbard Glacier and not all ships go there. Also, we took a Princess cruise in 2005 and after that experience I couldn't have cared less if we ever cruised again. Then comes our 20th wedding ... Read More
We chose this itinerary so we could see the Hubbard Glacier and not all ships go there. Also, we took a Princess cruise in 2005 and after that experience I couldn't have cared less if we ever cruised again. Then comes our 20th wedding anniversary and I started the research. Crystal seemed to meet all of our criteria - outstanding dining, great wines, less passengers, and their staterooms. We booked a Penthouse with Verandah and it was worth every penny! Our cabin was HUGE, walk in closet, large bathroom with full size tub, good sized shower, double sinks. I loved the dressing area and make up mirror. The Nespresso coffee machine was a great feature and we used it every day. Our butler Neil was beyond delightful. The service provided on the entire ship (except for the Prego restaurant we visited one night- meh) was nothing but top notch. The hidden gem on this ship is the Tastes restaurant on the Lido desk. Dinner there was fantastic, as was Silk Road. I was never disappointed with the MDR. Their food was outstanding. Service exceptional. I read reviews about the ship needing some care and, yes, there are some things that show a little wear but it wasn't anything horrific as indicated in many reviews. I will say that it's an older crowd and the entertainment is geared towards them as well. The music in the Crystal Cover Bar got a little old but I realize they are appealing to a very affluent and well-traveled clientelle. We didn't care about the entertainment to be quite frank. We enjoyed being together, being on our balcony, dining well and just relaxing. NEVER EVER take an Alaska cruise without visiting the Hubbard Glacier. It's UNREAL! I would do this all over again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was my first cruise in decades, and the first ever for my husband. He was particularly worried about the "people" factor. Suffice it to say, we are converted and cannot wait for our next crystal experience! ... Read More
This was my first cruise in decades, and the first ever for my husband. He was particularly worried about the "people" factor. Suffice it to say, we are converted and cannot wait for our next crystal experience! Accommodations Our room was very nice and roomy enough. We had a balcony which I think is a must. We were traveling with my parents who had the cabin next to use and we were able to open the door between our balconies which allowed us some common space without giving up our privacy. We loved this. I was especially impressed with the bathroom - a double sink and roomy shower. The closet was a good size, room under the beds for luggage, and a stocked refrigerator. Dining We were extremely impressed with the food options and felt that every dinner in the dining room was like a fine dining experience. The dishes were elegant, delicious and well presented. The wine options were really nice as well and people really went out of the way to make sure everyone had their favorite drink. We also really enjoyed the specialty restaurant Prego - the carpaccio was amazing! Silk Road was good but I expected better. I think I would probably opt for the sushi bar next time around. Most mornings were had breakfast at the buffet and the options were comprehensive and of high quality - we especially appreciated all the healthy options. Lunches in the dining room were good but not as stellar as the dinners - although the coconut nut shrimp I had one had was one of my favorite dishes on the trip! We also enjoyed the fancy tea one afternoon and the spread for that was incredible. The bistro always had something available, if you just wanted a bite, and it was a nice area to enjoy an afternoon coffee or tea. Service One word describes the service: exceptional. Our waiters in the main dining room - Nicola and Emir were wonderful - very personable and great at making us feel welcome. Our wine steward Mila knew all our favorites after our second night and had my husband's drink almost as soon as he sat down. We felt like special guests everywhere we went. It was a great feeling. Our cabin attendant Jasmina was wonderful and always friendly and interested in making us as comfortable as possible. The ship The spaces on the ship were comfortable and attractive and spacious enough that everyone could find their spot without being on top of each other. There were lots of areas that looked lovely that I never got to spend time in because I was so busy. I especially loved the Saloon bar. Entertainment There are a lot of options hoping to appeal to a wide range of interests I never got to see a movie but thought the variety was great. The main stage shows were okay - I'm not a fan of singing to pre-recorded music so when that was used I wasn't a fan. The billy Joel show was good -a great lead and well produced. We also loved Perry Grant (who performed nightly in the Saloon) and his extremely unique style. There was a community that formed just from people who enjoyed Perry every night. We also thought the magician Derek Hughes was excellent and were super excited to see Crystal has a relationship with the Magic Castle. It means the quality of magic going forward will be high. My husband thought that much of the evening entertainment, while well-produced, lacked any edge. He would have preferred a nightly band (rock, jazz, blues) in one of the bars that strayed from the smooth lounge music that was ubiquitous on the ship. Activities I'm sorry that I did not have more hours in the day to take advantage of everything offered. I really wanted to take a dance class but never had the time. My dad loved the bridge classes and raved about the teacher on board. Excursions and sites We enjoyed all of our excursions. My husband was especially fond of the the fishing trip in Juneau and felt it was the experience of a lifetime. We also felt the trip to see the Davidson glacier up close was very special. Seeing the glaciers in glacier bay and then the Hubbard glacier were the highlights of the trip. They were spectacular!! The captain steered the ship to make sure everyone had a fantastic view. I would have liked to have at least an idea ahead of time what we would be seeing. I ended up canceling a massage appointment I had been looking forward to because it turned out to be right when we were passing the glaciers in Glacier Bay. I understand that likely the times are tentative due to weather, but I felt there wasn't even an idea given beforehand about what to expect. Perhaps that is my one complaint, it would be helpful to have more information earlier, instead of agendas delivered to cabins in the evening, so we can plan better. For example, if bridge classes are almost always beginners in the morning and intermediate in the afternoons, why not tell us that? or if dance classes almost always happen right after lunch - let people know that. Or that every evening a movie will be shown twice, and then again the next afternoon. For those of us new, it took us days to get the pattern and it would have been helpful to have a sense of this earlier. Overall, our experience was excellent. We can't wait to return. It was wonderful to cruise with family as everyone could do their own thing and meet up for dinner each night to share experiences. Crystal really impressed us at every turn. It's well worth the cost. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
First time Crystal Cruisers, spoiled for life. Very rarely do we see this kind of superior service. I can't even count them on one hand. The entire sailing was marked by pleasant surprises. We booked a year in advance, and I had ... Read More
First time Crystal Cruisers, spoiled for life. Very rarely do we see this kind of superior service. I can't even count them on one hand. The entire sailing was marked by pleasant surprises. We booked a year in advance, and I had forgotten that I had mentioned my birthday, and our anniversary. We were surprised 2 nights after dinner with a celebratory cake for our occasions, and well wishes from the staff. And lovely cards in the cabin, and our names on the daily occasions announcements on the TV. The bouquet of flowers that my husband sent to the cabin for my birthday, was exquisite! It's like the crew and staff are trained to never say no. We started to be careful to say, "Don't go to too much trouble, we were just wondering...." If we didn't start our inquiries this way, our wishes were carried out before we knew what had happened. The food was magnificent everywhere we went, and perfectly portioned. We always felt full, but when we got home, we had only gained a couple of pounds each. We were surprised at our traditional dining, as we were seated at the Assistant Chief Engineer's table. Thanks Samir for the company. What a treat to have an expert at our table to answer all of our cruising questions on the inner workings of our ship! We also enjoyed an invitation to the Captain's quarters for a cocktail. We are sushi lovers, and have never had a sushi experience on any cruise ship as fantastic as Silk Road. Again, if you don't see something you'd normally order at a sushi restaurant, on the menu, be sure to ask. Richie took excellent care of us at Silk Road! We very much enjoyed Tastes, and so much appreciate the Head Waiter fitting us in, after a late return from a shore excursion! At this sitting a huge eagle flew right past us, marvelous! We saw both of the comedians, and loved their shows! We enjoyed the rebroadcasts of the enrichment lectures in our cabin. We even enjoyed the brain teasers available in the library. The Bistro was always a great meeting spot to pick up a cappuccino or wine, and a little snack or fruit. Crystal Shore excursions- Skagway- Glacier Point Wilderness Safari-Loved this excursion! Not too aggressive, but a full day. The guides at the camp were delightful, knowledgeable, and charming. Davidson Glacier was spectacular! And when the boats were a little late picking us up at the camp, the guides went with us to pick wild strawberries. Victoria BC- Butchart Gardens and English Tea- we happened to be there on a very sunny day, and stepping into the gardens was like stepping into a movie. Just stunning everywhere we went. I used 2 of the pictures we took, for screen savers on my phone. So beautiful they don't even look real. They look like a graphic designer's summer dream. Be cautioned, the English Tea is amazing, and the tasty treats are plentiful and very filling. Go hungry, and expect to be full for a long time. Glacier Bay National Park- Once in a lifetime, perfect weather, dazzling! Just poetry. And be advised, soup and sandwiches are served in the Palm Court during the sailing through the park. This is also where the naturalist is stationed. There are neat little decks on the exterior of the Palm Court, where you can take breathtaking photos. I almost found this area too late, glad I caught it in time. In Prince Rupert and Sitka, we had no excursions. We wandered through town. Sitka was neat because there's a little hatchery on the main promenade, and salmon were lined up to spawn. These two ports, we lunched outside on the Lido deck looking over the pretty little towns below. And let me take a moment to let you know how amazing the meals on the Lido can be. We found on all of our visits, something that we wouldn't find on any of our other cruise line experiences, like perfectly cooked filet, or huge boiled prawns. This is not your ordinary buffet! Our cabin was perfect, balcony 8022. Loved the double vanity. The appointments were chic and inviting, from the marble top nightstands, to the plush bedding. Mariya kept us fully stocked with ice and plush towels. Really enjoyed the aft balcony on our deck, especially through Glacier Bay National Park. And the complimentary laundry was so very convenient. Lastly, I can't say how fantastic the all inclusive experience is! We've sailed some other cruise lines with drink packages, that we thought were adequate. But all inclusive is magnificent! It's obvious that when the servers don't have to deal with bookkeeping, that their attention is solely focused on taking care of cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
From embarkation to disembarkation we could not have asked for anything more. Our stateroom was situated on the Horizon Deck, midship. We dined in all of the locations and never once did we experience any upset stomachs. To us this goes ... Read More
From embarkation to disembarkation we could not have asked for anything more. Our stateroom was situated on the Horizon Deck, midship. We dined in all of the locations and never once did we experience any upset stomachs. To us this goes to show the high standard that Crystal adhere to. We also had a tour of the galley on our final day, this was very interesting indeed. Palm Court was a nice place to relax or at the Sunset Bar. It also tended to be where we went pre-dinner. We opted for four of the excursions. It was comforting to know that the ship would be waiting game for us, due to one of the excursions being late coming back. I will let you make up your own mind, for that is what we did. Lets just say we have already made an 'Open Booking'! Looking forward to making our next adventure aboard a Crystal ship. Happy sailing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Review Of Crystal Serenity: Alaska Cruise – Vancouver to Seward – 10 Days Northwest Passage – Seward to New York City – 32 Days Excluding my first cruise at age 12, my wife and I have been cruising since 1992 and have ... Read More
Review Of Crystal Serenity: Alaska Cruise – Vancouver to Seward – 10 Days Northwest Passage – Seward to New York City – 32 Days Excluding my first cruise at age 12, my wife and I have been cruising since 1992 and have taken well over 100 cruises. The sailing of the Northwest Passage ranks in our top couple of all-time cruises ever. It is by far the most unique cruise we have ever taken. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation at Vancouver turned out better than expected in spite of two other ships being in port that day. We stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel that is at Canada Place where the cruise ship terminal is located. Disembarkation was in New York City. It might have been challenging with two other ships in port, but since we had a private transfer with Crystal Cruises we had people from Crystal Cruises accompanying us the entire time from the time we were escorted off the ship to the time we got into our private vehicle. The one area for improvement would be having the luggage for those with Crystal private transfers in one section rather than combining it with another group of luggage. This is something that one of the Crystal representatives said would be corrected on the next cruise that disembarks in New York City. The Itinerary/Shore Excursions The itinerary including places on the itinerary plus the unexpected visits and all that we saw while at sea was incredible. Words cannot adequately express how much we enjoyed the itinerary. Following the first ten-day voyage when we did have rain in some of the ports we were blessed with incredible weather for the entire Northwest Passage voyage. While we were unable to get off at one of three ports in Greenland because of ice that in itself was unique as we had never seen so much ice while at sea. The visits and unexpected visits in the Northwest Passage were incredible. We took the community visits in each location. Although we were on an Ocean Vessel all of our visits had the feel and look of being on an expedition vessel. We took zodiacs to and from the ship and they were very organized allowing us to get on and off the ship in an orderly and safe manner. They were time perfectly so that we would not overwhelm any of the villages that we visited. Each visit allowed for interaction with the Inuit people and provided places to visit at each village. We also thoroughly enjoyed the hike that we took in one of the Greenland ports along with other community visits such as in Nome, Alaska. There were certainly many other options for excursions including Kayaking, Helicopters, Hikes and Overland’s. There were many highlights from the ship including seeing the ice and ten different polar bears, icebergs, glaciers, and the views of other sea life. Enrichment Program Crystal contracted with an expedition team over eighteen months before the actual voyage and they could not have selected a better team. They had a wonderful expedition leader and many interesting lecturers who covered a range of items including photography, history, geology, and so many other topics. They were not only experts in the areas they covered but they also were very personable. The same was true of others from the team including those who piloted the helicopters and those who drove the zodiacs. Typically three lectures were given each day. In addition, a daily 5:00 PM briefing was given that included a recap about the days activities along with information regarding next day plans. On top of this, they also had some lecturers who covered areas not related to the Northwest Passage. Entertainment: The entertainment was far greater than we thought it would be. It included production shows that are performed on most Crystal Cruises, some special events, and included several land based entertainers many of whom have performed on Crystal ships for years. Crystal also brought on some local shows for us. Cuisine: The cuisine was excellent.. We were wondering if some items such as fruits and vegetables would not be available as the voyage progressed but that was not the case. Crystal made special arrangements and chartered an entire 737 plane to bring on board perishable items in Cambridge Bay and then received another shipment in Nuuk, Greenland. Other than running out of some berries a day or two before taking delivery of new items we never felt like anything was missing. Service and The Crew: The crew on board Crystal ships has become the number one reason we sail with Crystal. The crew was better than ever. Many members of the crew helped out in areas that they normally would not be involved with and that included all of the crew that were present to assist in the process of getting guests on and off the ship via the zodiacs. Unlike typical voyages where the crew has the opportunity to get off in ports, the vast majority of the crew did not get off the ship until we reached Boston when the cruise was almost over. Yet, they were very positive and enthusiastic and took joy in listening to the guests describe their experiences to them. The Little Touches That Collectively Make A Big Difference: A lot and I mean a lot of thought was put into the planning of this voyage. They seemed to think of everything. They had high-powered telescopes and binoculars in one of the public rooms along with a special camera and large monitors in the public room to allow for getting wonderful views of sea life, other animals and the scenery. Realizing that there would not be enough items for guests to purchase at the first village, Crystal purchased art work for each guest that not only provided a memento for each of us but also contributed to the local economy. Realizing that it was very cold on the first unexpected zodiac voyage special zodiacs was deployed with hot chocolate, which was distributed to those guests on the zodiacs. A video was made for the guests and each guest received a jacket and a hat that worked out perfectly for the cold weather. Other items were provided along the way including a map and patches. Binoculars were placed in each room whereas they normally are only provided in the penthouse rooms. Internet: The Internet was quite a bit better than we expected. We thought that there could be outages each day and even that we could have days of outages. Other than one day where a good portion of the day the Internet was out of service we had many days with very little outages. The one area for improvement would be that on some days the internet would be out very early in the morning and would come up about fifteen minutes after the IT people began their workday. While 7x24 coverage might not be possible if there is away for someone from the IT group to start the day earlier or to be on-call that would help. Advanced Communication: Communications were very good and the web site for this voyage included an excellent question and answer write-up, which had answers to most of our questions. We also appreciated that Crystal made arrangements with a company called Ship and Shore allowing us to order clothing accessories and rent boots for this voyage. We could have the items sent to us at home or to the ship and we chose the latter. Their web site also had terrific recommendations on what type of clothing to have and we followed it and because of this we were very prepared for the voyage. We received three letters at home. A couple of minor items that could be improved for next year’s voyage would be to let those guests who are in standard staterooms to know that binoculars were being places in each of their rooms and to provide one specific letter on how the unexpected visits would work. While there was communication on the unexpected visits we found that some guests didn’t understand it as well as we did possibly because the information was contained in a letter that also covered other items. Planning: The planning that went into this voyage was amazing. I don’t believe that any voyage has ever had as much planning that went into this voyage and it clearly showed. While undoubtedly there might be some items that were not anticipated or that could have been modified, very few if any were obvious. It seemed to us that no stone was left unturned in the planning that went into this voyage. Bottom Line: This was clearly an epic and historical voyage. No cruise ship the size of Crystal Serenity and with as many guests and crew had ever sailed the Northwest Passage. The standards and planning that went into this voyage should be the model that other cruise lines who might sail this itinerary in the future should be required to follow. We are so very glad that we were on this very special voyage and we can say without a doubt that this voyage was a cruise of a lifetime. Congratulations to Crystal Cruises for allowing us to see a part of the world where very few people have gone and to do it in a manner that mirrored being on an expedition ship while enjoying all of the luxurious amenities that we enjoy on each Crystal Cruise. Kudos to Team Crystal including Team Serenity and Team Los Angeles. You have our respect and admiration for all that you do. You are the best in our book. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise 8 or 9 months ago to travel with our alumni group. A few weeks ago I looked at this site and saw some negative reviews. Well, our experience was quite different. Ship was clean and well organized. Our room had a ... Read More
We chose this cruise 8 or 9 months ago to travel with our alumni group. A few weeks ago I looked at this site and saw some negative reviews. Well, our experience was quite different. Ship was clean and well organized. Our room had a veranda, which certainly added to the experience. Crew was friendly and helpful from top to bottom. Excursions were pricey, but worth the money (especially the seaplane/Taku Lodge in Juneau). Food was terrific, varied, and plentiful. For most meals, you could choose from a buffet, a grill or the main dining room. The only food complaint from our table of 9 was on the lamb. I don't care for lamb anyway, so it didn't have an effect on me. The beef and seafood were stellar. Crystal is pricey, but no tipping and everything is included. We loved this trip and will be looking forward to our next Crystal Cruise. The variety of itineraries offered by Crystal is awesome, including river cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This is long so get ready...... Just experienced our first Crystal cruise and will begin by saying we have been crystalized! We were celebrating my husband's 50th birthday and our travel agent recommended a few Alaskan cruises for ... Read More
This is long so get ready...... Just experienced our first Crystal cruise and will begin by saying we have been crystalized! We were celebrating my husband's 50th birthday and our travel agent recommended a few Alaskan cruises for us to take and told us that Crystal was ranked #1 for some years and was well known for their customer service and cuisine. We were traveling with multiple families and children with ages ranging from 7-75 years old. Our older travelers who had been on luxury cruise lines before including Seabourne, Silver Seas and Regent were wanting a smaller cruise ship due to their past experience. I did A LOT of research on the various cruise lines we could take (luxury and non). After MUCH research and suggestions from our travel agent, we chose Crystal and everyone was SO HAPPY we did. We took advantage of their Crystal Family Memories Program. When looking at luxury cruises while traveling with children this option was a great value! We all liked the all inclusive and gratuities included too. EMBARKATION We did a short trip to Banff before our trip so we flew in the morning of embarkment from Calgary and took a cab straight to the boat around 12:30. When we drove into the parking garage, we were immediately met by a crystal rep and baggage handler who gave us a big greeting, quickly took all our luggage, loaded them up and said "enjoy your cruise, your luggage will be in your room shortly". We then needed to go through customs before boarding. There was a short line for customs, but since we are global entry we were directed straight to a customs desk, stamp stamp and within 5 minutes we were boarding the ship. My sister in law said when she boarded the ship later that day that there wasn't a line whatsoever and went through just as quickly. As we boarded the Serenity on Deck 6 my teenagers immediately said "Wow, this is soooo cool" Check in and pictures on Deck 5 took a max of 5 minutes while being offered champagne and then we were off to the Lido deck for an embarkment lunch. They told us that our room would be ready by 3:00. We ate at Tastes and had the Chinoise Chicken Salad (literally the same as Wolf Gang Puck's salad - delicious), burgers and spaghetti bolognese. The waiters continuously making sure all glasses were full and that we were satisfied with our welcome meal. We took our drinks and proceeded to look around the boat from the pool, spa, kids room, everywhere. No space was unaccessible and there was someone to ask us if we had any questions regarding the boat at every turn. CABIN and ATTENDANTS One of the biggest perks we had was made possible by our travel agent, Stephanie. Two weeks before our embarkment, she informed me that we all were upgraded to Penthouses with Verandas. We originally booked A1 rooms. This bump was a HUGE luxury and it would have not happened had we not booked through Stephanie and she arranging it for all of us. I think it is due to her relationship with Crystal. It was very much the cherry on top of a wonderful trip! One of the negative comments I came across when reading about Crystal was the room size in comparison to other luxury lines. The room IS small in comparison, but the set up is well laid out and the decor is very modern and clean lined. The bathroom with bath and separate shower was large and my daughter enjoyed her daily bubble jacuzzi baths. The walk in closet was perfect for the three of us (our room was a third berth room). The room is high tech with lighting, housekeeping & do not disturb. It is smaller than other luxuries, but very efficient with it's space. We did move the small coffee table often for more walk space with three people in the room, but who hangs out in their room with such a beautiful ship and great verandah! Our butler, Jijo, immediately introduced himself and asked if there was anything we needed. A complimentary bottle of champagne and two bottles of wine were there when we arrived with chocolates. We asked him for Crown Royal, another bottle of Cabernet, club soda, limes and Coke Zero to start. We never had to ask again. We were well stocked the entire trip. They also have fresh fruit everyday in the room. Jijo noticed that all we ate were the grapes. A few days into the cruise we would return with an entire bowl of grapes. Jijo had been with the cruise line for 10 years and his professionalism was evident. When we spoke to him about his career with Crystal he said that one of Crystal's missions is that happy employees make happy customers which make a happy ship. Jijo is a true gem to the Serenity. Our housekeepers were Sandra and Kaylie. They gave us a tour of the room, numbers to call and informed us that they changed the sheets daily and set up the third berth every night. They asked if we wanted help unpacking but we declined. Every day our room was spotless and with a teenage girl in our room that is a major accomplishment. They were amazing. We used the free pressing service (penthouse benefit) once for black tie night - perfect. I used the self service laundry down the hall on our deck and it was straight forward and easy. It was nice to clean the clothes from our pre-cruise excursion. DINING One of the main reasons we chose Crystal was because of it's reputation for it's food. After reading reviews this was probably the #1 reason we booked so I felt a lot of pressure for the others traveling with us that this was the right decision. Crystal did not disappoint even our most seasoned cruisers. We chose Dining by Reservation and selected our preferred times for dinner through the PCPC system. I chose earlier times like 7, 7:30 because we were traveling with a 7 year old and because of the entertainment schedules. Since Alaska does not have sunset until 10:30pm, I wish I would have chosen the late dining and seen the earlier shows. We did not have lunch until late everyday while on the boat and we had canapés served in our room every day around 5 (another penthouse perk - crab claws, lobster and boiled shrimp) so a late dinner would have been preferable. One of the perks we had being upgraded to a penthouse was that we could order from any specialty restaurant or the dining room for room service. My kids are HUGE fans of Nobu (a special occasion restaurant for them) which is Silk Road on the boat. They ordered room service from Silk Road 5 out of 7 nights on the boat and thought they were in heaven. All of the families ordered from Silk Road our first night on the boat and knew we were in for a special trip. Jijo ordered perfectly for us and it was wonderful! TASTES We ate dinner at Tastes on our second night and one other night (kids did Silk Road room service) and it was a great choice! Items ordered were Ahi Tuna Poke, Chimichurri Steak California Street Tacos, Oven Roasted Cauliflower, Alsatian Tart, Alaskan King Crab Dip, Roasted Beet Salad and a special fish dish. All were WONDERFUL. Only two things I didn't care for were Butternut Squash Frisee Salad (felt like it was a game of find the butternut squash). The service the first night was off and that is the only issue we had the entire trip. The view was beautiful but our meal was taking way way too long. There was a miscommunication in the kitchen and it seemed to have a trickle effect for our food service. The food and service manager, Tayfun Aybar, quickly addressed the situation and sincerely apologized for the inconvenience. We were surprised when an extremely nice bottle of wine ($275 value) with a note of apology was in our room the next day. We ate at Tastes everyday for lunch on the boat when cruising and other than that one mishap, it was a wonderful experience! CRYSTAL DINING ROOM We enjoyed two dinners in the main dining room. One with all of the families and one with just a mother/daughter dinner. It was hard pulling my son away from Silk Road room service. Everything was wonderful from food to service. My daughter and I had a two topper by the window and both enjoyed the Braised Beef with Whipped Potatoes - Excellent. One of the better appetizers during the group dinner was the smoked Beef Carpaccio. Unfortunately we missed lobster night in the main dining because that was black tie night and we had reservations at Silk Road that evening. We never made it to the main dining room for breakfast or lunch because we were spoiled by the Lido breakfast selection and Tastes lunch menu (personal taste) SILK ROAD Wonderful as expected. We actually dined here rather than room service. Unfortunately we chose lobster night in the main dining to do it. We ordered everything! Sushi, Sashimi, Appetizers, Main dishes. Service, food and level of presentation were spot on. We ordered Crispy Rice Cake with Spicy Tuna Tartar, Miso Black Cod, Grilled Wagyu Beef, Maguro, Rock Shrimp, Lobster, Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño, Tuna Tataki, Chicken Teriyaki, California Rolls and a Bento Box! Superb PREGO This was our last night dining experience and we brought the wine we were given by Tayfun to celebrate the trip. We ordered the famous Mushroom Soup which I had read about in many reviews. It lived up to the hype. We ordered the Warm Lobster Poached in Sage Butter which in my opinion was the best lobster I ate during the entire trip which says a lot. My main course was not what I thought it would be (my bad) and our waiter quickly replaced it with the Roasted Rack of Baby Lamb. My mother in law had ordered this twice already in room service and chose it for a third round that night. I understand now why she did so. It was cooked perfectly. She said preferred this lamb to the one served in the main dining room the night we went. LIDO CAFE We ate breakfast here EVERY morning. I think because it was the early bird breakfast for most of us and had everything you could imagine for breakfast buffet style (omelet station, bacon, fresh fruit, oatmeal, made to order waffles, pancakes, etc.. Our omelet server had it down to an art. By day four he knew my order which included egg whites before I even ordered it - impressive. We had Tastes for lunch while on the boat but did mix and match the day they served their Asian buffet. A young girl walked by me with a smoothie that had whip cream on top and it looked to die for. When I asked her, where is that on the buffet? She said, "It's not". If you get the fruit you want (she had mango) take it to them and they will make a mango smoothie for you. That was some of the best advice! Everyone took advantage of that little info. So good THE BISTRO We did not get to take advantage of this particular spot. Did not even think about it until second to last day. We stopped in for afternoon cocktails, coffee and dessert. Next time I will definitely stop by more often. TRIDENT GRILL & SCOOPS The salmon burgers and hamburgers along with the sweet potato fries were a favorite among some of our family members. Everyone agreed that the person running the Trident Grill and grilling the burgers is amazing. He would take 6 peoples orders at once and quickly turned the orders around with no mistakes. He really knew what he was doing and the burgers were delicious. Lunch was quickly followed by Scoops which is pretty much Ben & Jerry's with any topping you like. If you like Ben & Jerry's and frozen yogurt then you will enjoy Scoops. We do and we did! AFTERNOON TEA We attended Mozart Tea in the Palm Court which was a lifesaver. All the servers were dressed in their beautiful costumes and the violin quartet was playing soothing classical music. It was so pretty. We did not have any of the buffet items which were finger sandwiches, cakes, tarts, etc. We actually just popped in to enjoy a different part of the boat. My husband unfortunately developed an allergy cold the day before and was so congested & miserable. Our waiter asked him what he would like and he said "Nothing, I can't breathe right now" He told him that he knew just what to get him to make him feel better. He returned with a hot toddy. He had never had one before and from that day on we went to the Palm Court for an afternoon hot toddy or asked Jijo if he could bring one to our room. My husband's breathing misery turned around overnight! Thank you!!! ENTERTAINMENT We attended all the productions except one which was due to us not reading the morning Reflections which said that there would be only one production that evening. They had a broadway show, comedian (hilarious and witty), light show (least favorite), Billy Joel performer and a ventriloquist which we missed and heard was wonderful. One evening we went to try out another part of the boat to get my husband's nightly hot toddy and came across PERRY GRANT in the Avenue Saloon. This ended up being a surprise find. Although, he does not sing our style of music, you become very engaged with his performance. His voice is amazing and that is coming from someone who does not listen to his genre. He is extremely entertaining in his custom bright and sometimes sparkling suits. We went back the next evening to show my mother and sister in law who quickly became a part of his show. It was hilarious and then we got to watch unknowingly other passengers become a part of his act. Definitely worth stopping by to enjoy. POOL/PADDLE TENNIS AREA The actual pool was nice. Nothing to write home about with two hot tubs. We sat by one afternoon for some relaxation in the sun and we always like to try every boat's pina colada. We were on an Alaskan cruise so the pool was not really a priority for us but it was very nice sitting by in the oversized chairs and getting pool service. The sitting areas around the pool and very spacious, but as I said on an Alaskan cruise there are not a lot of people taking advantage of the heated pool. Very quiet. Many people reading books or taking outside naps. My kids played paddle tennis on the upper deck and had a good time since it is covered from wind. GYM & SPA I never got a spa treatment but my sister in law got two and said it was a great massage. I did sign up for one of their spin classes (beginner) and even though it was obvious I was a beginner and there were some true professionals in the class, I think everyone got the workout they were looking for. The gym is not big, but it never seemed crowded. My daughter ran on one of their treadmills which looks out onto the ocean and fortunately for her, she got to see whales blowing their spouts and flipping their tails during her run. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS I quite liked all the ports we visited. I have told everyone to repeat our itinerary or do one that has one less day cruising (ex: Sitka vs. Glacier Bay). Looking at the cruises in 2017, I do like that they split up the two days of cruising on our itinerary. I think that was a better decision. When comparing Crystal to Regent, it was interesting in price differences. Although Crystal is a larger boat and our cruise was sold out, it NEVER felt like the boat was crowded. In fact, it felt like we were on an even smaller boat because none of the spaces seemed filled. We were told that there were 90 kids traveling on our trip and I'm not sure where they hid all of them because other than those traveling with us, I felt like we only saw 10 now and then. The Regent is priced much higher I'm guessing for a slightly smaller size and excursions included, but when I did the numbers, it did not make sense to pay so much more for excursions you may or may not do. We knew what we were doing and the cost was a fraction plus kids sail free on Crystal vs. $999 on Regent Ketchikan - We got a fishing guide outside of the cruise line at the recommendation of our friend prior to the cruise (we did not catch anything but rockfish while other cruisers on the boat caught 5 king salmon - that was a bummer) but we saw tons of eagles who swooped down and picked up our fish. Expensive eagle watching trip Juneau - Mendahall Glacier and Nugget Falls in the morning - Gorgeous and tour guide was hilarious and knowledgable. We did the HELICOPTER/DOGSLEDDING in the afternoon. This was an expensive excursion and WORTH EVERY PENNY. Every family member of all ages said that was their favorite thing we did the entire trip. It really is cool and we were fortunate to have clear skies and weather around 75 degrees Skagway - We did the White Pass & Yukon Railway which is followed by gold panning, musher camp demonstration, lunch and musher puppies excursion. The train was beautiful and relaxing and about an 1 1/2 hr up into the mountainside. Afterward you depart the train, you board a bus heading back into town with a stop off at the Klondike Gold Fields. Honestly, when we pulled into the Klondike Gold Fields I kind of felt like we were at Disney ride and thought it was going to be really really cheesy but it was included in the train excursion so nothing we could do. It ended up being really interesting learning how to pan gold from comical Sluice-box Charlie (enjoyed more than I thought I would) and what really made the excursion worth it was Matt Hiyashida explaining what it takes/took for him to do the Iditarod race. He is extremely entertaining and engaging especially with small kids. We got to meet his dogs & watch them run and actually hold 5 week old puppies. Kids loved it. Went back into town and walked around. We heard that the Red Onion Saloon Brothel Tour is interesting but didn't make it in time for their tour and not kid appropriate. Hubbard Glacier Bay - Amazing hearing the glacier calving. You could hear cracking and then soon after look for the sheets of ice that break off and as they fall you hear the ooh and ahhhs from fellow passengers. We watched from top deck where they were serving hot chocolate and rum and provided blankets and then we returned to our room and put on our robes and watched from our balcony which was so surreal. Gorgeous blue colors and many seals laying on the ice that had broken off. As you can read, I drank the Kool Aid and am sold on Crystal. I use to be a management consultant and we specialized in customer service and process streaming. Crystal has mastered both. Amazing trip, boat, service and all the above. And the food, oh my goodness the food! Highly recommend! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Travelled alone with a couple. It was my first Crystal experience - every single bite of food was superb... they had 3 specialty restaurants in addition to the Main Dining. The service was excellent - all details were attended to. I am ... Read More
Travelled alone with a couple. It was my first Crystal experience - every single bite of food was superb... they had 3 specialty restaurants in addition to the Main Dining. The service was excellent - all details were attended to. I am now totally "crystalized"! The enrichment lectures were excellent, as was the entertainment. In particular I very much enjoyed PERRY GRANT entertainment - he is truly 'one of a kind'........ and now, like so many of his fans (see his website), I am "perryfied" and hope he will be aboard all my future Crystal cruises. I enjoyed my champagne throughout the cruise - I like the fact everything is included. There were 3 ladies who LIVE aboard full time - one for over 8 years! My cabin had a veranda which was was nice. he beds were super comfortable. Both the boarding and disembarking were done easily. There were no screaming children which was great. I have already booked another cruise with them, and investigating others. Not the cheapest cruise line, but the best for me. Absolutely no hesitation in recommending Crystal to all. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was the last leg of a Crystal World Cruise and went from Tokyo to San Francisco, with port stops in Japan, Russia, Alaska, and Canada. It was my third Crystal cruise and second on the Serenity. As always with Crystal, it was a ... Read More
This was the last leg of a Crystal World Cruise and went from Tokyo to San Francisco, with port stops in Japan, Russia, Alaska, and Canada. It was my third Crystal cruise and second on the Serenity. As always with Crystal, it was a top-notch experience. I bought my air from Crystal and it was a good experience. The hotel which Crystal provided, the Imperial, was the fanciest in which I have ever stayed. Embarkation was a breeze in Tokyo; as a start to a cruise, the opening of the main dining room for a table-service lunch is so much better than a whole shipload going to the buffet restaurant. The Ship: The Serenity holds about 1000 passengers so it is small and intimate. One never knows there are that many people onboard because the public spaces are so nicely done. The Cabin: The cabins on Serenity are small than those on other high or even mid level cruise lines. As a single traveler, I never have a problem with closet space and drawers. A couple on a trip of this length might. Dining: The food is generally excellent on Crystal. The appetizers and desserts are the high points of the main dining room. The food is not spicy enough for me, but it usually is not on any cruise line. The Lido, the buffet restaurant, had a nice assortment of items every day. Breakfast in both these venues was very good. The breads are outstanding. The Bistro provided an additional place for snacks, nuts and cheeses. Wine was very good everywhere on the ship. Prego, the Italian/steak specialty restaurant, is acceptable; again the appetizers and desserts are the high points. Nobu, the Japanese restaurant, is unbelievable. The sushi and sashimi were consistently the best I have eaten anywhere. The suppliers and the ship's storage must be the best to keep raw fish this good for this long. The cooked items were acceptable but not near the quality of the sashimi. Tastes, a casual, tapas type restaurant, was also very good, especially when shared with a group. On a cruise of this length, I had four complimentary dinners in Prego and/or Nobu; I ate in Prego one additional time and in Nobu about four additional times, paying a $30 upcharge each time. This is one of the few things which seems kind of chintzy for Crystal, since it is an all inclusive experience otherwise. The Entertainment: This was much better than on other cruise lines. The production staff and the musicians were excellent in every venue. There was a rotation of entertainers coming and going so we had new entertainment frequently. There were at least 20 lecturers, instructors, and enrichment providers, and a wide variety of day time activities. The Service: This is where Crystal shines. The service is excellent everywhere on the ship. And the staff are knowledgeable and courteous. Ports and shore excursions: This was an unusual set of ports due to the ship's route: Aomori and Otaru, in northern Japan; Korsakov and Petropavlovsk in the Russian Federation; Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Seward, Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan, Alaska; Vancouver, BC. Since the ship was the first of the season (and perhaps the first ever) in all these places, they were not crowded and the people were delighted to see us. Crystal provides excellent shore excursions that are usually worth the premium they charge for them. There was a ship's escort on every bus and the buses were not crowded. I took a ship shore excursion everywhere one was offered. They also provide a complimentary shuttle service in any port for which the town is more than steps away from the dock. In addition, we only had to tender once. It was an extra treat to spend a day at Hubbard Glacier and another in Glacier Bay, something that would not happen during 'the season.' Other: Because this was a segment of a world cruise, Crystal did not assign cabins until about 10 days or so before the cruise. The ship was not full; there were probably 40 or so empty cabins. We were heading into what could have been (and were) some rough sea areas. Nevertheless, Crystal chose to place some passengers in the very front of the ship; this was not a pleasant experience for them due to the noise of the ship smacking the waves all night long and due to the motion. It would have been better customer service to have placed passengers in the most comfortable portions of the ship. So be aware of this if you are taking a world cruise segment. The captain did an excellent job of navigating some unusual waters. And docking in some very tight places. Nothing ever moved in my cabin at the back of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016

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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