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18 Crystal Serenity Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Caribbean - All

The service in the MDR was very slow - often waiting 25 minutes even to get a drink. Some waiters do not know it is impolite to interrupt a guest when talking. One waiter told me I could not change the "almond potato" because it ... Read More
The service in the MDR was very slow - often waiting 25 minutes even to get a drink. Some waiters do not know it is impolite to interrupt a guest when talking. One waiter told me I could not change the "almond potato" because it was with the dish - eventually I persuaded him, but it still arrived wrong. Personally I'd like a choice of eating in the Lido in an evening. There was much less entertainment than in the past - what happened to variety of activities, and the Liars Club? Most passengers did not get off the ship for the day in Charleston, due to freezing temperatures - still nothing to do on the ship (not to mention the terrible custom check) - only a 20 minute show in the evening - how many hours does it take us to pack our bags? Most of the entertainment was good, but the volume could certainly be 20% lower (in Switzerland, they try to avoid ear damage by giving all free ear plugs!) - am not a fan of The Tourist, and quite a few didn't want to see it a 2nd time. Very attentive up on the pool deck, but I agree.. music was rather loud to relax. Check in and out was great as usual. Crystal also excellent in assisting with the change of flight arrangements. The front desk service is excellent, but I don't understand why a ship credit cannot be forwarded to a future cruise? My cabin girl was good, and the ship generally kept very clean and nice. Children were well behaved. Hope Perry Grant will return to Serenity. Will sail with them again, albeit not what it used to be! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I chose this cruise as a surprise for my wife as it encompassed our actual anniversary. Unfortunately, our travel agent messed it up within 48 hours by emailing my wife the receipt. We had sailed three previous times with Crystal. ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a surprise for my wife as it encompassed our actual anniversary. Unfortunately, our travel agent messed it up within 48 hours by emailing my wife the receipt. We had sailed three previous times with Crystal. This cruise was a 6 day "Getaway" voyage that is really one half of the normal cruise itinerary. We were worried about boarding in the midst of the cruise but those fears were quickly alleviated. Boarding was smooth and we quickly fell into the ship's routine. We were quickly recognized by staff who knew us from previous cruises (Tipping helps!). Service is always 10 out of 10 on Crystal and this cruise did not disappoint. Bar help and dining staff is excellent. We sometimes shy away from buffets or "the feeding trough" as we call it, but Crystal's staff makes the experience pleasant as the staff finds seats, carries food and is quick to refill drinks or clear plates. Our actual anniversary was in Prego where the evening was nothing short of perfect. Prego prepares the best dish I have had on a ship, the Beef Carpachio. We had a Penthouse, the smaller of the 2 but we actually prefer it to the Penthouse Suite with Veranda. The butler was excellent as was the cabin stewardess. The price on this short cruise was acceptable. However, we are finding that Crystal is taking major price increases. We inquired about the 2019 85 day World cruise in the smaller Penthouse. The price quoted was breathtaking and if anything will drive us away from Crystal it will be the pricing. Our opinion is that the Air cruises failed, Crystal is rebuilding both big ships in order to add larger Penthouses and that we are being asked to pay for it. Yes, we could step down to the standard cabins, but Crystal's standard rooms are too small. The closets are not walk in and are stuffed beside the bed, causing closet access and use issues which in turn turn into "marital discord". Our only other beef with Crystal is the lack of an outside bar. Trying and find a ship of any size in the cruise industry where you can't sit at the bar and enjoy a drink and fresh air. Crystal's staff will bring you a drink but it comes from inside. Overall, Crystal provides the best experience in cruising for us. We just hope that they will come to their senses on pricing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We have been repeat Crystal passengers. This last Carribean 14 days sailing was not up to par to past Crystal standards. let me share pros and cons: PROS: Our Butler , Costas was the best part of this sailing. An outstanding ... Read More
We have been repeat Crystal passengers. This last Carribean 14 days sailing was not up to par to past Crystal standards. let me share pros and cons: PROS: Our Butler , Costas was the best part of this sailing. An outstanding employee and a delight to see every day. Similarly, the stewardesses who cleaned our suite were most diligent and keeping our rooms in immaculate condition each day and night! Kudos to those spectacular staff members! Reception and Concierge desks were efficient and most welcoming! Production shows as well as individual artists were most entertaining and enjoyable . Similarly, most of the guest speakers were most informative and had good presentations, CONS: The service in the Crystal Dining Room was consistently slow, no matter what time we made our reservations and regardless where we sat. Some of the wait persons were quite lovely and attentive, while other appeared to be 'burned out' and ready to end their contracts and go home. The quality of the food in Dining room far less satisfactory than the alternative restaurants. Both the food and service was far better in alternative dining venues! Photographers not as well trained as they were in past. Phone operators usually most slow to respond Music played at pool whether it be recorded or live, far too loud. At times, not enough poolside attendants, requiring a long time to request a drink order. Towels left on lounges by guests who have clearly left the pool area, tend to be left there and not collected and new lounge covers replaced! Has Crystal cut back on staff? ALL excursions that we took were most poor.. One just showed flamingos, more flamingos and cacti FOR OVER TWO HOURS~! For us, the service in Crystal Dining Room was the most negative experience on this sailing as were the excursions. We are sadly questioning if we shall return to Crystal in view of the above. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Love Crystal but see traditional items going by the wayside, eg: no more guest list. Very thankful for the complimentary laundromats onboard. B1 cabin is just the right size for the two of us. Plenty of closet space (I bring our own ... Read More
Love Crystal but see traditional items going by the wayside, eg: no more guest list. Very thankful for the complimentary laundromats onboard. B1 cabin is just the right size for the two of us. Plenty of closet space (I bring our own wire hangers to get more space here) and have never lacked for drawer space. MDR staff is outstanding. Varied shore excursions with endurance level, in depth or not so much, Front desk is not as sharp as they used to be. We asked when the Cruise Critic gathering was to be and front desk person looked 3 places and said there was not one on our cruise. Got back to the cabin and there was an invitation to the Cruise Critic gathering which we very much enjoyed. Very much enjoy Tastes, Prego, and Silk Road as alternatives to the MDR. Crew keeps us coming back to Crystal. They are great. I hope Home Office get the new system up and PURRING soon. It has been a struggle for anyone trying to use the PCPC. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
If you enjoy First Class Service and Going to the Club to be pampered, this is the cruise for you. We are younger and had our 16 yr old daughter with us, so we did not fit the normal clientele, but that was just fine. ... Read More
If you enjoy First Class Service and Going to the Club to be pampered, this is the cruise for you. We are younger and had our 16 yr old daughter with us, so we did not fit the normal clientele, but that was just fine. Embarkation/Disembarkation where so smooth, we got on and off according to posted schedule with no delays. We stayed in room 9018 which is a smaller room, but the beds where comfortable, including the pull-out couch. First Class room amenities and if you need anything additional, just ask and it was provided. Stocked fridge was nice, Shower was great, balcony was large enough for the 3 of us. Specialty dining was Five Star, we did all 3 Specialty venues (Silk Rose, Prego and Tastes) and went back to the Sushi bar for an additional night. (I recommend getting there before they open because Sushi bar is first come first serve) Our experience in the main dining room for 3 nights was just OK, the food was Excellent, but the service was lacking, we are not wine drinkers, so they showed little interest in even taking a drink order, one night, we got our appetizer before getting a drink...seemed like they catered to the larger "Clubby" tables and did not think much about the little family. The excursions went as planned, but nothing first class about these island excursions, but the price was great and we got what we expected. We spent most of our time on the pool deck at a shaded table playing games or shaded couch/chair relaxing. Pool deck Staff is the best, always eager to satisfy your drink and comfort needs. Tastes, Trident Grill, Ice Cream Stand and the Buffet are all just steps away from the pool for easy dining throughout the morning and daytime. We went to the shows every night, Billy Joel and the Ventriloquist were our favorites. Don't expect Broadway or Disney quality, but they were fun. Casino was nice, and i was surprised to see the $5 Craps, Blackjack, Roulette and other table games. (I was expecting $25 minimums) The Lobby Bar is elegant and has a great drink menu, afternoon and evening. Even thou the crowd was older, it was so easy to just sit down anywhere and meet someone, everyone was so nice. *****Five Stars***** Pool Deck Staff Cabin Stewardess (Linda) Specialty Dining Venues Ice Cream Man Pizza Man Serenity Staff for great Communications throughout the Cruise Had internet and phone service most of 24 hours a day Clean Ship with Great Venues I know they say tips are included, but they go above and beyond.....PLEASE DON'T BE CHEAP and TIP ACCORDINGLY. (They have a "Crew Fund" you can tip to, just go to guest services) Thanks to our Crystal Travel Agent Marian for some on-board credits and great service. My wife and I will cruise Crystal in the future when our daughter is gone to college. Thanks again Crystal Serenity Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our fifth cruise with Crystal and it was wonderful. At first we were a bit wary because Thanksgiving week means families and although there were many aboard, we never encountered an unruly or bratty child the whole time. The only ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Crystal and it was wonderful. At first we were a bit wary because Thanksgiving week means families and although there were many aboard, we never encountered an unruly or bratty child the whole time. The only way to explain the Serenity is impeccable service, delicious food, clean ship and wonderful entertainment. The Serenity is the whole deal & once you sail her, you'll keep coming back. Two waitstaff remembered our names from 3 years ago when we had last sailed. That shocked me!!! Our cabin steward was Tatjana and she was okay. I'm pretty sure she was fairly new because she forgot to replenish and some other minor things but when I reminded her, it was there right away. She covered herself by saying, "If there's anything you need, just ask." I requested goose down pillows that were so soft, when my head hit them, my face disappeared!!! The linens were very soft & luxurious as well. The entertainment was very good: one night with James Fox's homage to Billy Joel, a wonderful Broadway singer named Rachel York, the Serenity dancers and of course, Gary, the social director and ventriloquist/comedian who was hysterically funny yet clean. The gym had plenty of machines and they offered spin classes, abs and all kinds of different options to work off those delicious desserts. You could also get individual training sessions. I found the people in the SPA to be very pushy. They were always trying to close a sale. I asked someone for a price on body wash, and she wanted my room number. I said, "Why do you need my room number just to give me a price? Just tell me the price." I'd say when dealing with them, proceed with caution and make sure you know exactly what you're being charged up front. Don't give them any information unless you're buying. The SWANK app for movies did not work on cellphone or I-pads while we were on board. I went to the computer room & they said it was a problem with the vendor. If you wanted to watch a movie, you had to have a laptop. The Serenity library was fully supplied with bestsellers and very recent books. Awesome! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We'd been to most of the places this itinerary went, before and several were not even worth getting off the ship, so the ship was the main reason to go on this cruise. We just wanted to relax. Crystal Serenity did not disappoint! We ... Read More
We'd been to most of the places this itinerary went, before and several were not even worth getting off the ship, so the ship was the main reason to go on this cruise. We just wanted to relax. Crystal Serenity did not disappoint! We arrived in Barbados and jumped in a cab for the 20 minute ride to the pier. The Pier in Barbados is a crowded area and after a few moments we figured out where to go. Luggage was collected from us to be delivered to our cabin and we were shuttled to the actual ship. Upon arrival onboard, we checked in ( took like 5 mins--so fast) and were told ( even though it was only 1PM) that the cabins were available. So we went to our suite. WOW, is all I can say. What a way to spend 10 days. The Deluxe Penthouse was awash with light from not only the sliding door to the oversized balcony, but the window in the bedroom area as well. Huge Tub and a separate shower was a nice feature. Walk in closet and the entire thing was immaculately maintained by Themyo, our stewardess, who was AMAZING! Our Butler, Richard, always seemed rushed. At one point I asked how many suites he managed and he said 14 in total. Compared to our cruise on Silversea where the butler did all kinds of things for us without being asked ( noticed we needed shoes shined- Made a bookmark as I was using a boarding pass as a bookmark). We really didn't ask much of him other than one night we had a few friends we'd met aboard over and he brought some extra snacks and some Champagne. Most of our interactions were signing for things Wine/Strawberries sent to us. . We never had a meal in the suite nor sent out any laundry. We were pretty low maintenance. However, he was always in a hurry so I guess others were more demanding of his services. I'd suggest Crystal consider a few more butlers per deck, if this indeed is the norm. We ate all of the breakfast and Lunch meals at the beautifully renovated Lido dining area. It was spectacular. We found the food to be hot, fresh and just fabulous. Breakfast was overwhelming, all the choices. Lunch too! The Bugers in the Trident Grill were amazing and despite the complimentary Ben and Jerry's I only gained a pound on the cruise. Dinner in the main dining room was ok, not great but ok. We found the best meal on the ship to be Prego, their Italian restaurant followed closely by Silk Road. The service in all venues including the main dining room was spectacular but we just found the food in the MDR to be a bit off. Tough steaks ( Improve the quality of beef) and somewhat bland flavors led to a few disappointments. However, we never left hungry, that's for sure! Portion sizes were perfect. We also tried Tastes and that was pretty good too. I'd give that a 7 out of 10. Shows were pretty good and quite varied but found the production shows to be a bit hokey. While very talented folks were in them, I think they could have better material to work with as the voices and dancing were just amazing. Seemed geared to a really old crowd. Speaking of which, I found that this was not nearly as old as I thought it would be. Since this was the last 10 days of the world cruise we thought it would be full of 85 plus year olds, but on the contrary I'd say the average age was 50 something with a smattering of young couples who looked to be on a honeymoon. Everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves and meeting new friends daily. I'll not go into the ports suffice to say the ship was the reason we came and probably is the reason we will come back to Crystal. It was just lovely! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our 12th Crystal cruise, and we found this cruise to be superb in so many ways. 10 days is a long cruise for us and we found enjoyment in each day. The ship, its décor, the size of the suites, have been discussed so no ... Read More
This was our 12th Crystal cruise, and we found this cruise to be superb in so many ways. 10 days is a long cruise for us and we found enjoyment in each day. The ship, its décor, the size of the suites, have been discussed so no need to reiterate. Yes the cabins are small by today's standards; they are well maintained with much storage. Our stewardess Hong was a super star and you needed a magnifying glass to find dust. Internet was just ok; I find it as slow as dial up. Cuisine: Outstanding . There were many choices and while I was not enamored with every meal( beef is just not as good as in past) I think Crystal does a superb job in their main dining room and specialty restaurants, Prego being our favorite. In fact if we are ever imprisoned and need a last meal it will be the Carpaccio served in Prego. The Lido was well maintained and always offered multiple choices for breakfast and lunch. The Ice cream bar, Trident Grill, Tastes and the Bistro were open to offer light snacks to full meals. Our only concern is the amount of food that is wasted, and especially in light of some of the ports that are inhabited by lesser fortunate. We realize Crystal does everything to eliminate waste; sadly it is part of the experience. I commend Crystal for reducing portion size; you can always request 2nds, 3rds, et al. Entertainment was varied. The shows by the special performer were outstanding and to think Crystal brought on 13 extra musicians. There were an abundance of lectures, classes, you name it. We used 2 new services, Luggage Free, which brought our large case to the ship in record time. We also used EMO Taxi to pick us up at the Barbados airport and give us a tour of the Island. Crystal has the reputation of being a ship with older aged passengers. This cruise certainly lowered the age range with a great deal of younger families, and singles. We met many new Crystal cruisers who were over the top with the cruise. Disembarkation in Miami was a breeze and we were able to fly home on an earlier departure. Thank you Captain Giske and your staff. Kudos to the Lido guys and many new faces such as Benz who went out of their way to make the 10 day cruise enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We went on our second Crystal Cruise after taking a trip on Crystal Symphony a year ago. Our experience a year ago was so wonderful that we booked for the next year right away. What happened Crystal? The food was mediocre, though the ... Read More
We went on our second Crystal Cruise after taking a trip on Crystal Symphony a year ago. Our experience a year ago was so wonderful that we booked for the next year right away. What happened Crystal? The food was mediocre, though the service was good. The staff it seems were equivalent to any other cruise line where with our last experience the staff were extraordinary. The food was the biggest let down. Breakfast & lunch remained the same but the dinners were awful. Everything served to us was luke warm and of poor quality. Menu choices were very limited which seemed to be similar every night. The daily "Reflections" scheduled advertised a film to be shown, when arriving at the theater, there was no movie and no notice that it wasn't being shown. We needed to go to the concierge desk to ask and got a blank stare saying, it must not be showing. For the price that line charges, it was ridiculous. That was our last cruise on Crystal. Frankly, I think we are done with cruises in general. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary - visiting places I had not visited before in the Caribbean. This was my first time sailing on Crystal Serenity and the ship was as elegant and well appointed as I expected. I did not feel as ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary - visiting places I had not visited before in the Caribbean. This was my first time sailing on Crystal Serenity and the ship was as elegant and well appointed as I expected. I did not feel as comfortable with its size, however, though this is no fault of the ship. I prefer the size and guest number of Crystal Symphony. The embarkation was not as quick and trouble-free as my previous two. This sailing did not have a pre-cruise hotel program and so the air/sea program flew me in on the morning of embarkation, which made for a long day. Upon arrival at the cruise terminal we had to wait an hour to be allowed to board, and we were not given any information as to why we could not upon arrival. Upon embarkation things settled down, with the service from the crew being lovely as I have experienced before. My cabin was well appointed and even though I do get motion-sickness the majority of the cruise caused me no discomfort, it being between two decks with staterooms and near the middle of the ship. The exception was one particular night when the waves were very high and the wind was fierce, which made it necessary for me to take medication for motion sickness. One thing I did not expect was the the wind making it very uncomfortable going out on the balcony. The few times I was able to utilize it I had to hold down the items brought by room service. In addition, I noticed some wear and tear on the balcony bulkheads, which surprised me, as Crystal Symphony was immaculately kept from what I could see on my sailings aboard that vessel. The dining was, as always, wonderful. The service and cuisine in the main dining room were such that I almost did not want to dine in the specialty restaurants, though I did. The dining at Silk Road was superb - the lobster and shrimp tempura were wonderful. The mushroom soup served at Prego was delicious. I did have lunch at Tastes one afternoon, and was very impressed with the stir-fried dish I ordered. On one occasion at breakfast at the Lido Cafe a large flock of pelicans flew by the ship - it was splendid to see the birds in flight, not to mention surprising. The shore excursions were very well staffed and fascinating. I visited three different archaeological sites and an incredibly beautiful cenote. The guides were well informed, as I expected, and very humorous. The only complaint I can make regarding two of the excursions was that they were too rushed. We visited multiple sites on each excursion and, because of the distances traveled, did not get enough time at each site due to having to return to the ship for departure to the next port. I chose the volunteer excursion on this itinerary and was very satisfied with the amount of hands-on work we were able to do while at the site, a soup kitchen for the elderly. We did everything from washing dishes to calling out a bingo game for the residents to singing with them. On this itinerary I did not attend many activities on board, as I preferred to take advantage of the sun and beautiful weather, coming from a city that was experiencing temperatures a few degrees above zero at the time of the cruise. I did attend one of the Broadway shows and it was very enjoyable, though I did feel that though the performers were professionals, they did not appear to me to be as engaged as those who work on Crystal Symphony. Regardless, they were great performers and very entertaining. Disembarkation was very straight forward with no hiccups. Just a few points: I did not attend any movies in the Hollywood Theater as the viewings were very scarce and not very interesting, at least to me. As I mentioned the wait at the cruise terminal, after my horribly early flight to get to Miami, was very taxing. Not knowing what the delay in embarkation was about made it seem longer. I feel it would have helped to make it less tiring if we had been informed why we were waiting to be allowed to board. Needless to say, I look forward to my next cruise with Crystal next year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose a seven day Caribbean Cruise leaving Miami on January 3, 2017 as it worked for our schedule. The sailing was on-board Crystal Serenity a ship that we have sailed numerous times. While the cruise was sold out, one never ... Read More
We chose a seven day Caribbean Cruise leaving Miami on January 3, 2017 as it worked for our schedule. The sailing was on-board Crystal Serenity a ship that we have sailed numerous times. While the cruise was sold out, one never had that feeling as we went around the ship. Two friends who never sailed Crystal joined us for this cruise and had a wonderful time. Highlights of the cruise included: The outstanding service provided by the Crystal Serenity crew, the wonderful cuisine we enjoyed at each of the dining venues, along with the enrichment program and evening entertainment. Since our last sailing in August and September of last year, the evening entertainment program has been expanded providing more choices each evening. We chose the cruise to enjoy the ship and as mentioned as it worked for our schedule. We stayed on board the ship at a couple of ports we have visited in the past which worked out very well for us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Had been on Serenity before, so our expectations were high and fully met. Staff everywhere were attentive and helpful. The bar tenders can actually make a cocktail--not just pour wine or make a mojito from a mix. (Seabourn, please note.) ... Read More
Had been on Serenity before, so our expectations were high and fully met. Staff everywhere were attentive and helpful. The bar tenders can actually make a cocktail--not just pour wine or make a mojito from a mix. (Seabourn, please note.) This may seem like a small matter, but clearly not as social time spent at the various bars reflected many more requests for a specific cocktail than for , example, scotch on the rocks. Beyond their capabilities, the three mixologists at the Crystal Cove bar--Riccardo, Maria and Johnathon--from 3 different countries--were charming and personable. Our cabin on Deck 10 was a Pure, meaning standard size bit with various features to make the space as allergen free as possible. (Again, we had a similar cabin on a previous cruise.) The chef happened to be Austria, and one night I asked Mario, the venerable controller of all things that occur in the main dining room, whether it might be possible to request saurbraten on a subsequent evening. A bit later i was informed by one of the head waiters that the dish would be available in 3 days as (with an unnecessary apology) the dish requires 3 days of marinating. And when it did arrive, ift did so with all the appropriate trimmings. Looking for things to carp about--and reallt does have to search--I would note that itb was impossible to get hot pancakes or french toast in the Lido. They were there, but the buffet process pretty much guarantees that hot food will never be hot when you get there. One clear exception was the custom egg station, manned by a smiling egg artists who flipped eggs with uncanny grace. Carp, carp. Well, the sweet potato fries in the Trident buffet were not very good, and the chili on offer was so mild as to disdain its description. And one last whine. One night the dinner menu offered curry, which I eagerly chose. The condiments offered were many, but the main attraction had no heat, no spice. Yes, I understand that many older folk have sensitive tummies, but curry must be offered at something approaching full strength--perhaps with a warning about its spiciness. Crystal is a very expensive and cossetting experience. I only wish I could afford it more often. A last comment: should your cruise include Grand Turk, I enthusiastically recommend the tour which takes you to Gibbs Cay, and a special gathering with stingrays. These noble creatures are not penned, they appear from the ocean while you stand in knee high water. seemingly as curious about you as you might be about them. It doesn't hurt that Gibbs boasts a tiny but perfect white sand beach, the ocean is a magical turquoise, and the December sun bright and warm. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have cruised with Seabourn many times, but have sometimes been disappointed at the limited opportunities to ballroom dance. Crystal has much more dancing so we decided to try a short cruise. In general, we found the level of service ... Read More
We have cruised with Seabourn many times, but have sometimes been disappointed at the limited opportunities to ballroom dance. Crystal has much more dancing so we decided to try a short cruise. In general, we found the level of service from servers and cabin crew to be comparable to Seabourn's. Facilities were also comparable. However,the increased size of the ship (Seabourn has less than 500 passengers and Crystal has over 1000) may have been partly responsible for a major difference which was the interaction between upper level personnel and guests. On Seabourn, every staff member seems to have the mission of providing every guest he encounters with an additional reason to be enjoying the cruise. Whether it's just a warm hello or an intervention to solve a problem, on Seabourn, every staff member, from the cabin stewardess to the captain, is "dialed into" the guest's pleasure. Not so on Crystal. The officers and administrative staff appear are likely to pass a passenger without even giving eye contact. It was obvious to both my husband and me that staff regularly turned away, rather than acknowledge either of us. Another difference was the issue of gratuities. Although we do give gratuities on Seabourn, most passengers do not and staff do not expect it. On Crystal, gratuities are very much expected and food servers, in particular, go out of their way to form a relationship with you which tightens as the cruise is ending. The gratuity was almost expected. Without question, a Crystal cruise is far better than most of the other cruise lines offer. But Seabourn is even better. In our opinion, anyone who has cruised Seabourn would find Crystal lacking. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
My wife and I took this cruise (Ft. Laudedale to New Orleans via several Caribbean islands) through a university alumni association group offer. We thought the cruise would be a great opportunity to experience the company before taking ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise (Ft. Laudedale to New Orleans via several Caribbean islands) through a university alumni association group offer. We thought the cruise would be a great opportunity to experience the company before taking another planned cruise from Mauritius to Cape Town next year on Crystal's sister ship, Symphony. While I had been on one brief cruise (Princess), my wife had never experienced the process, and she immediately appreciated the convenience and luxury of the experience. The "all exclusive" marketing message lived up to reality -- excellent food in the dining room, plus four free meals in speciality restaurants, and several room service meals. We asked for some wine with our dinner in the room once. The steward brought a full bottle unopened -- without the hint of a bar tab. I enjoyed the ship's library (some truly good and recent books) and its full fitness centre, not fully used -- in part because the cruise demographic is old, very old. (Symbolically, perhaps, as we joined the early deborders to catch our flight, paramedics were boarding with a stretcher, presumably for a passenger who could not make it out on two legs.) We had read less-than-enthusiastic reviews about the excursions, and so only took one, on Bonnaire. It was fine but not great. So we visited the towns and in one case, rented a car for a bit of island exploration. The free shuttles to town helped keep costs down. Since everything is included, and shuttle/tender service were frequent, there was a temptation not to eat anything on shore and instead head back to the boat for more of its excellent food. I found the staff were truly attentive and competent; and they seemed to be enjoying their work. The cabin was spacious, well-maintained and the two-sink bathroom certainly helped. As we enjoyed the cruise, I checked the price on the cruise I had booked for Dec. 2017, thinking we might extend it. I noticed the price currently was lower than we had committed to pay (though the deposit is fully refundable until 3 months before the cruise.) I questioned the ship's sales consultant and she said I would need to check with the travel agent, which I did, using some of my free internet time. Then I discovered more strange things. There was a special offer on for higher categories in the planned cruise, but for some reason the listed rates were LOWER than we had agreed to pay for our mid-range cabin. These included $999 business class airfare (not insignificant when you are flying to places like Mauritius and Cape Town from North America) and additional savings -- plus a fare base 25 per cent lower than we had confirmed. More emails to the travel agent -- and within hours Crystal confirmed we would indeed be getting much more for much less. This money-savings experience brightened my mood as the ship headed up the Mississippi River to New Orleans on the final day -- a truly amazing experience and certainly a great place to end a cruise. Two days home, and we are already looking forward with anticipation to our next Crystal adventure Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
HIGH EXPECTATIONS MET AGAIN It was going to be my 70th birthday as Crystal Serenity cruised up the Mississippi River to New Orleans. That seemed like the perfect combination, and it didn’t disappoint. We have taken 30 cruises, 12 on ... Read More
HIGH EXPECTATIONS MET AGAIN It was going to be my 70th birthday as Crystal Serenity cruised up the Mississippi River to New Orleans. That seemed like the perfect combination, and it didn’t disappoint. We have taken 30 cruises, 12 on Celebrity, and the rest on eight other lines (two defunct). This was our third Crystal cruise, second on Serenity. From embarkation to the minute we stepped off the ship, things ran so smoothly. Every place I looked, there was plenty of crew and staff, all cordial, all expert at their jobs. The crew and staff are appropriately professional and just friendly enough, as well as extremely well trained. It’s a well-oiled machine, almost always. I’m talking about the servers in all the dining venues, the staff at the computer lounge (no doubt answering the same questions, over and over and over again), the stewardess, the tender operators. Everybody! We usually eat breakfast and lunch at the Lido, and the variety is huge. Just as an example, there are at least four kinds of yogurt every morning, sometimes five or six. There are two hot cereals, a bouquet of cold in those little boxes, and then muesli and a few granola types. You like walnuts or pecans in your cereal, or dried fruit? Sure, there it is. Cut up fresh fruit continued to be available and delicious the entire 14 days. The gentlemen who make the eggs definitely know their job. My friend loves to have miso soup for breakfast. There it is, at its own station with all kinds of other things. Even the toast guy has his job mastered perfectly. That’s also true of the guys at Trident Grill, which really is a wonderful lunch option. Burgers, hot dogs, salmon burger, chicken burger, wrap of the day and soup! Oh, speaking of soup. In the Lido, there are always two kinds and served with the soup in the pot and the additions, separate, added per your request. The mushroom barley soup had the barley to be added separately, beautiful and tasty mushrooms to be added separately, and chopped chives. The albondigas soup had the little meatballs to be added separately and I can’t remember what else – perhaps cilantro? The matza ball soup had the broth separately, with the matza balls, the noodles and the shredded chicken all to be added separately. And that’s just the soup! So many other choices: always something being carved, always an Asian choice, always several other choices, always a sandwich of the day. On the cold bar, that’s where you’ll find herring (sometimes two kinds) and rare roast beef and all sorts of other goodies. And fruit, and cheese, and a big salad bar. Seriously, there really is pretty much everything. Oh, dessert? Sure, and again many choices plus many are mini desserts, to make it even easier. Dinners in the Crystal Dining Room were equally as pleasing. There are plenty of choices. Most nights there were two appetizers/soups/salads we wanted. One night our table mate had three! as well as her main entrée! I had the trifle dessert almost every night and they never disappointed. The Prego Italian specialty restaurant was better than last time (this time service was better and food was better) and the Silk Road Japanese specialty restaurant was definitely outstanding. Those are more intimate venues and specialized menus; every guest can have two complimentary specialty dinners/week. Unfortunately, you’ll always be missing a lovely menu in the Crystal Dining Room, to enjoy the specialties. From 9 am to midnight, there’s a snack buffet at the Bistro, where you can also get coffee drinks, and many tea options, plus wine. Cheese, fruit, deli items, desserts, and they’re all there in a lovely location with large windows to watch the waves or check out where you’re docked or anchored. Every day there’s afternoon tea, in Palm Court, which is high up and far forward, again with great windows to see what’s going on outside. There are a few telescopes, in case something interesting appears and you’d like a closer look. Ice cream is available until 6 pm (and then you can have ice cream for dessert at dinner, as well). It’s Ben & Jerry’s, hand dipped, about eight different flavors. Toppings, cookies, have a blast. You’re on vacation! Cabins are totally adequate and quite lovely. The bathrooms all have bathtubs and two sinks, with a good thing to hold onto, for stepping in and out. I know handicapped cabins exist, but I can’t report on them. Actually, there’s also something called a Pure cabin, for people who have allergies, I think. Basic veranda cabins are just like the picture window ones, but with a veranda, and then there are more expensive categories with much more space. On one of the at-sea days, there was one of each category open for inspection. The higher categories have walk-in closets. A few little touches that are really nice are the Port/Starboard annotations outside the elevators, so it’s easy to go in the right direction; the guest laundries, complimentary, with ironing boards for guest use; plus a lovely library, staffed for many hours every day and the place to pick up the daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, trivia questions and other puzzle choices, in addition to the tickets to a really enjoyable magic show for small groups of guests. Get your tickets early so you won’t be shut out! Entertainment (Galaxy Lounge) is almost always very enjoyable, and there’s a nice variety. Two different singers were extremely well received, and the production numbers are high energy and beautifully done. We had a famous organist, Hector Olivera, with his very special organ that stays on Serenity all year round for his performances. On our 14-day cruise, he performed on two different evenings (two shows per evening), with two completely different shows. Besides the main show, there’s often an additional show at 10:30, in a different venue (Stardust). A few times it was by the production team, and a few by guest entertainers. One guest entertainer needed to be rescued by Cruise Director, Gary Hunter, the ultimate professional host (and a great comedian and ventriloquist). Around the ship, there’s music for your listening pleasure and also for dancing. Palm Court, Crystal Cove and Avenue Saloon generally are all available – at the same time! – with popular tunes, classical music and show music. Crystal offers Dance Ambassadors to dance with the single guests, as well as a dance team to give complimentary dance lessons (no partner required). You want music before dinner? Sure. After dinner? Absolutely. Plenty of choices and all beautifully done. There are even three different times to see a movie in the Hollywood Theatre (or a sporting event on t.v. – or even election results, if the timing is right for you). In addition to the food, service and entertainment, how would you like to enjoy some enrichment on board? You can go to classes on computer skills (we learned about photo-shop, about Windows 10, about using Word, and about Excel), learn to knit, learn to play bridge (or play better), play in a sanctioned bridge game, take pilates or stretching or a cycle class. You can learn how to make iMovies. And the enrichment speakers just might boggle your mind. We enjoyed learning about the history of ocean liners from Bill Miller; we know perhaps more than we’d like, about terrorism, from Prof. Louis Rene Beres; and we were delighted by a trip down memory lane with two of the writers from Cheers, complete with clips of some of their favorite/best shows. I would go to all four of Cheri Steinkellner’s lectures, all over again. Actually, the same is true of Bill Miller and Prof. Beres, as well. If there’s a conflict, and you’d like to be taking dance lessons or out on deck 13 watching the Mississippi Delta or Puget Sound glide by, watch the lecture later on your t.v. Heck, if you don’t feel like getting dressed, watch the lecture, live, on your t.v.! Does Crystal try to cater to your every need, or what? Anyway, that’s my impression. Just for good measure, throw in the fact that embarkation was a cinch and debarkation was equally as smooth. Everything was amazingly on time, from the start of boarding, to all the shows on board, to arrival at various ports, to the time we got off the ship on the final day. It was a great cruise and I recommend Crystal to anybody who loves a refined experience full of food and fun. When you look at fares, remember that alcoholic beverages as well as specialty coffees, bottled water and canned soft drinks, plus gratuities to crew, are included. The level of the experience and the inclusions allow me to say this is a cruise vacation that is good value for my money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I have cruised on Crystal Serenity a few times before, when boarding as a repeat guest thoughts flash through the mind, will it be as good as before, have there been any cutbacks and will I recognise any of the staff who have previously ... Read More
I have cruised on Crystal Serenity a few times before, when boarding as a repeat guest thoughts flash through the mind, will it be as good as before, have there been any cutbacks and will I recognise any of the staff who have previously looked after me so professionally and attentively on previous cruises. The cruise line has undergone a change in ownership about two years ago and we all know that change is not always for the best in the Cruise Industry.  Did I need to worry? I will answer that question at the end of this review.  Fort Lauderdale was the embarkation port; Crystal have recently used Port of Miami almost exclusively when sailing from Florida some future sailings are also scheduled to go out of Fort Lauderdale. It was good to have the opportunity to stay in Fort Lauderdale for a couple of nights’ pre-cruise. It was a change from being in Miami despite being busy in early November due to the Boat Show, hotel prices hiked for that event, I spent a very enjoyable time exploring the area both on foot and by the inexpensive tourist tram. The usual tourist water taxi route was cancelled in order to ferry people to the Boat Show venues.  Embarkation from the Port Everglades went very smoothly and boarding started shortly before the usual 12:00pm.  Crystal always put on a very enjoyable relaxing embarkation day lunch in The Main Dining Room, Champagne flowed freely and the wait staff performed their usual professional and friendly service, at this stage a contented feeling overtook me, Wow, I'm home on a Crystal Ship and I'm here for the next fourteen days, how perfect can that be?  In this review, I am not going to mention any of the ports we visited in The Caribbean, tendering was needed for a number of the smaller islands, the tendering operation was always smooth, no need to collect tender tickets, it was open tendering from the start and the boats were not packed with people. When docked, Crystal provided shuttle buses without charge if the dock was a small distance from the main town.  I requested a table for eight late sitting at 8:30pm which was confirmed by a notification in my stateroom. Crystal is perhaps the only luxury line to operate two sitting dining, I prefer this arrangement as it gives the opportunity to bond with other guests on the table as well as the wait staff, Crystal also operate a dining by reservation system for those who wish to vary their dining time, reservations are made pre-cruise or on board with the maître di, an area of the dining room is set aside for these guests. Crystal have recently announced plans to go to full Open Dining in the near future which fits in with the industry standard on other luxury cruise lines, however my personal opinion is the present system helps to promote a friendly atmosphere, often Crystal guests who meet at a table become lifelong friends and often take future cruises together. It will be interesting to learn how Crystal will set about making the changes necessary to accommodate full open dining and whether it will change the general comradery around the ships. One also has to bear in mind that the timing of the evening entertainment may make certain specific times popular to enter the dining room.  Speciality dining in Prego for Italian and Silk Road for Nobu inspired Asian were both superb, Tastes on the Lido deck offers an evening menu of interesting Tapas style dishes, reservations are needed for each of these dining venues.  Crystal excels in providing enrichment talks and classes, sea days provide a host of things to do ranging from Berlitz language classes, current affair talks and instruction in various aspects of up to date computing. It is truly amazing on a smallish ship for around 1040 guests how many experts are brought on-board to impart their respective knowledge and experiences, I am sure every person will be able to find something to interest them and allow them to leave the ship with an added skill or a topic gleaned from a speaker which promoted further personal research.  Crystal have always been happy to accommodate Cruise Critic meet and mingle get togethers, on this particular cruise on embarkation day we were very fortunate and surprised to be given invitations to meet Andy Geller the new Crystal Media Ambassador and CEO Edie Rodriguez as well as a number of other Crystal executives. Edie outlined future company plans and then held an informal Q&A session. The meeting was a most interesting and an unexpected way to start a cruise for CC members who signed up for the meet & mingle.  As well as the enrichment program evening entertainment was plentiful and varied, on some evenings there were two different entertainment shows, one at 7:45 for both sittings and a different show or guest artist repeated twice one for early sitting and one for those eating late. The two main bars had pianists and often they were replaced with a jazz band or classical quartet or pop duo. There was certainly plenty of variation, it was very often difficult to fit everything in. I think this great variety is possible to the ship being larger than other luxury cruise ships with more guests on board, Crystal entertainment department seem to work hard to cater for all tastes in entertainment, there is a lot of activity around the ship in the evening especially in the bars, I have been on other upscale ships where most of the guests are tucked up in bed by 11:00pm!  Coming back to my original question, have there been changes or cutbacks? The answer in my mind is a distinct no, food and service was well up to expectation included wines and drinks were generously dispensed and of high quality, the ship was in immaculate condition, and as previously stated enrichment and entertainment could not have been any better. Were there any staff I knew and who recognised me? Definitely yes, from the great lido staff who seem to have been on the ship forever, one of the marvellous bartenders who even remembered my drink preference from a previous cruise and several officers, continuity is one of the great things on their ships.  Crystal are a class outfit but slip ups do happen, before boarding I booked a tour in New Orleans using their planning website, without sending me an email or other notification the tour was cancelled due to a timing issue, I only found out about this change by checking the tour page of the pre-booking website.reat; I look forward to sailing with them again in the not too distant future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We boarded the ship in NYC which was great as we live here. Embarkation was very easy, its on the ship. We were meet at the gangway and escorted to the desk, on the way a steward took our carry-on and delivered it to our stateroom. There ... Read More
We boarded the ship in NYC which was great as we live here. Embarkation was very easy, its on the ship. We were meet at the gangway and escorted to the desk, on the way a steward took our carry-on and delivered it to our stateroom. There was champagne and lunch in the MDR. I was surprised the lido was not open. The ship is 1000 passengers, about the right size for us. It is in excellent shape and very clean all around. Its about 25 years old so the design is dated, that said it is easy to get around and find places. You can see how it has been changed over the years as the decor seems rather hap hazard. The lido has just been done, looks modern and new. This should be carried throughout the ship. I missed the interactive TV in the room however the internet was OK although you just get 1 hour a day, the rest you must pay for. As a all inclusive luxury line I would expect it to be included. The public spaces were very spacious however the ship was just 2/3 full. If full some would be crowded. Cabin was a OV on deck seven, number 7068. Excellent location, quiet with little ship movement. Cabin is very small for a luxury line, that said it was in excellent shape, very clean at all times. Steward was eager to do all that was asked. If you go aboard expecting same cabin as a mass market line you will not be let down. Food was very good. There are plenty of choices and its apparent Crystal uses excellent ingredients and cooks to order. I liked most things, sent a few back. They are eager to please and do all they can to give you a nice meal. Dinning is the deal breaker for me on Crystal. I think the main dinning room has about as much ambience as the local dinner. Its small, noisy and restrictive. There is just first, second and reservation dinning. We had first sitting, it was full so we were stuck in a poor table for 2 for two weeks. Service was very rushed. The specialty restaurants were very nice, easy to make reservations for although I find paying for extra tackier in the luxury market. The service and ambiance they have should be what you experience throughout the ship. The lido, tastes and grill were excellent. A real downside for me is the lido is closed for dinner. If you miss your sitting its room service or nothing. The rooms are really to small to eat in. The Bistro was a nice place to stop for coffee however I found their snacks odd. Entertainment and activities are nice and plentiful. Like anything I found some great and skipped some. I liked the idea there are two shows most nights, easy to get a seat. There is so much going on day and night it would be hard to be board. Service is great all around the ship. Again it was just 2/3 full. This was a Caribbean trip so the ports were beach and shopping. We missed one and they gave 250$ FCC to each person. I felt that was very generous Overall this was a nice trip, I would judge it average, or a 3, comparing it to other luxury lines. I found my fellow guests to be extremely nice, I did not hear complaints, see fights for seats or get run over by a scooter however the pool chair hog's were out in full force. I would go again however Crystal is not my go to cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Although we have been on many cruises, this was our first time sailing with Crystal. I must say I was very impressed. A wonderful cruise. First class in every way - the ship, the staff, the food, the entertainment. Especially loved the ... Read More
Although we have been on many cruises, this was our first time sailing with Crystal. I must say I was very impressed. A wonderful cruise. First class in every way - the ship, the staff, the food, the entertainment. Especially loved the magic show with Doc, the comedians and the dancing of Curtis and Beverly. Only down part was that we missed not being able to go into Savannah, Georgia. Very understandable though. First and foremost was getting supplies to the people following the hurricane. We took tours in Baltimore, Maryland and Charleston, South Carolina. Both of these were excellent. The included meals on both tours were the best. We love seeing new ports and enjoyed going to Grand Turk and La Romana, Dominican Republic.We have been to Curacao and Oranjestad, Aruba before, but enjoyed visiting again. Overall, I would give this cruise top marks. Our departure in Ft. Lauderdale was handled very well with buses all labelled and ready to for our trip to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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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