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91 Crystal Serenity Luxury Cruise Reviews

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 decided on this itinerary since no other cruise line seems to be doing it. Flew into Manaus Brazil on AA #1265 non stop from Miami. Leaving the airport our cab was stopped at a military checkpoint, papers please. We stayed at the ... Read More
We decided on this itinerary since no other cruise line seems to be doing it. Flew into Manaus Brazil on AA #1265 non stop from Miami. Leaving the airport our cab was stopped at a military checkpoint, papers please. We stayed at the Wyndham Garden Hotel overlooking the Amazon. Beautiful location and hotel was OK for the one night. Took a cab to the port the next day and boarded the ship around noon. No line at registration and were in our cabin in about 10 minutes. We had booked a Manaus city tour through Crystal prior to the cruise and it was done very well. Tour included the city zoo, opera house and a native museum. There were a number of tours to choose from but this gave us a good overview of the city. Our first stop was Boca da Valeria, a small native village along the Amazon. More kids than adults here. The kids all had their exotic pets that they were holding and wanted you to take pictures in exchange of dollars. Next stop was the River city of Santarem. Went on a ship's tour that featured piranha fishing and a trip through amazon tributaries. Well worth it, great native guide. After leaving the Amazon we came to the Sanctuary Islands. There were 3 islands in close proximity of each other the most famous being Devil's Island. This was where a French Penal colony once stood and the movie Papillion was based on. The islands buildings still stand but most are in ruin. I found this to be a fascinating place to visit. Next stop Granada where we did a tour of a spice factory, rum distillery, and beach time at the Radisson Hotel which was very nice. The ship docked in Bridgetown Barbados where we disembarked for our flight home. Having sailed with Crystal before we knew what to expect with regard to dining and service. Everything was excellent although we prefer the Serenity over the Symphony only because she is a little bigger. The onboard lectures and guest speakers we great. A word of caution, if you plan on doing this itinerary you will need to get a Visa from Brazil. Even though Crystal recommended a passport service it was expensive. Also yellow fever vaccination is required and hard to find a local health facility who would provide it and again quite costly. Taking Malaria pills was also highly recommended and we did manage to get this medication. Even though these issues were problematic it was well worth the effort once we were in the Amazon and on our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our second Crystal Cruise and was part of the World Cruise. Once again Crystal did not disappoint! We boarded in Valapariso, Chile, Traveled the Fijords of Chile , spent 2 days crossing Drake passage arriving for 2 days cruising ... Read More
This was our second Crystal Cruise and was part of the World Cruise. Once again Crystal did not disappoint! We boarded in Valapariso, Chile, Traveled the Fijords of Chile , spent 2 days crossing Drake passage arriving for 2 days cruising Antarctica ....what a once in a life time experience and Crystal did it right, bringing on board 16 scientists from the USA Palmer station on Antarctica to give us a briefing on what these scientists do while stationed there. They also had enrichment speakers who spoke to the great explorers who went to the South Pole ,he was a real story teller supported by history. The Captain took the ship into the areas of Georges Island which was not scheduled due to the great weather we enjoyed. The service on the ship was excellent as usual staff is like family after 23 days at sea. ,they truly are the best. Food was fantastic, we couldn't think of anything we wanted that we weren't already served or offered. The chefs had two major lunch gala's ,they filled the atrium....all great food ,almost too much! The entertainment was also very good, even though one Billy Joel show we had seen on our last trip two years ago. It was mixed from singers, dancers, comedians, ventriloquists, opera, etc. A Madri Gras and Valentines day celebration were held with Roses to the lady at dinner. The enrichment programs were great two to three per day and included Former Ambasodors, Michael Hayden former director of CIA,NSA, etc ..as well as destinations speakers. The trip was worth the money and would recommend Crystal to anyone. In fact we are already planning our next Crystal trip. S.Mullen Read Less
Sail Date February 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
Lots of puzzle pieces to put this voyage in motion! The adventure all began because my brother-in-law wanted to embark from New Orleans, add that to the fact my husband and I wanted to sail over our anniversary (December 17) and on ... Read More
Lots of puzzle pieces to put this voyage in motion! The adventure all began because my brother-in-law wanted to embark from New Orleans, add that to the fact my husband and I wanted to sail over our anniversary (December 17) and on Crystal! Not to mention friends who wanted to join in on the fun, could not sail over Christmas. What was the likelihood?!?! A year and a half later, all I can say our time together on and off the Crystal Serenity during those two weeks was the best of best times! From one who is totally into Christmas and has sailed on various cruise lines enjoying many holiday cruises, this ship was decked out in absolutely the most gorgeous decor that I had ever seen while on the seas. We were even able to have our butler set up an artificial Christmas Tree in our suite. Trimmed by the staff, it was beautifully decorated, lights and all! Throughout the various ports, my husband and I would purchase a hand made Christmas ornament relective of the islands we explored. Talk about being spoiled...the food, the entertainment, the daytime enrichment classes, ... everything excelled. We loved reviewing our French from a Berlitz instructor who gave both morning and afternoon classes. The practice was fun and we were able to speak French on two Caribbean islands. Learning how to create I Movies was also a plus as both my husband and I have continued making short videos. Having taught school for thirty years, all instructors deserved an A+. That is what Crystal is all about. The finest in everything. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
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
My wife has never been to the east coast and I have on business. I wanted her to see the fall colors of New England so we booked this cruise. We did not get off to a great start, their shore people were pretty rude. But our butler was ... Read More
My wife has never been to the east coast and I have on business. I wanted her to see the fall colors of New England so we booked this cruise. We did not get off to a great start, their shore people were pretty rude. But our butler was phenomenal and the staff onboard was great with one exception.. I mentioned that I enjoy having Baileys in coffee as a nightcap and a couple of hours later there was a full bottle of Baileys in our cabin which I enjoyed for the duration of our cruise. My wife and I are private people and enjoy eating in our cabin rather than in the dining room. Our butler did a wonderful job of of taking care of this task for us. I still remember his"Happy Good Morning" when I would call him for a request. He did a great job of taking care of any special requests we had. The staff onboard were really great too. Anywhere you went the staff was helpful and courteous. This was especially true for the dining room and specialty dining. Speaking of which, I was able to get sushi onboard, a treat for me. Dining was definitely four star. The one disappointment was a person organizing the grouping for a tour. They got really grumpy when we were late and missed the boat to shore. We have not cruised with Crystal before and did not know where to look for the start times of the tours. So I checked with the front desk for the start time but they gave me the wrong time. Eventually they refunded the price of the tour. But all in all I would rate the staff on board as excellent. The ports were great. The mansions in Newport were spectacular and the history in Boston was wonderful. We opted for a private tour booked by our travel designer and followed the freedom trail. Bar Harbor and Nova Scotia were also interesting ports. The time in the ports was generous and the small size of the ship made for easy on and off. In general the tours were good. We did go on one where they turned us loose to walk through town and did not give us good directions for the place to meet back up with the bus. So we walked past it and had to rely on directions from a local to get back to it. But we did enjoy the tours. On one tour where we had lunch they went out of their way to accommodate my gluten allergy. We did not participate in any of the entertainment, so cannot comment on that. But the ship was great. There was often some kind of small group playing music in the atrium which added to the elegance. We definitely would sail with Crystal again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We had always wanted to try Crystal Cruises, and we weren't disappointed. Everything about the Crystal Serenity, the ship, the crew, our Penthouse stateroom, the food (AMAZING) and everything about the service and amenities met and ... Read More
We had always wanted to try Crystal Cruises, and we weren't disappointed. Everything about the Crystal Serenity, the ship, the crew, our Penthouse stateroom, the food (AMAZING) and everything about the service and amenities met and exceeded our expectations. Attention to detail, spectacular food in all the venues, and incredibly attentive service by ALL the crew, really made the trip special. We had many special requests, and all were satisfied to perfection. We were particularly impressed with all the meals, and the included drinks and wine were all top shelf, we had no complaints. Our Penthouse Stateroom and Neil, our Butler, were great. In the Dining Room, we had a great table and John, our head waiter, was probably the best waiter throughout all cruise lines. Our Captain, Igor, was amazing and took care of all our crazy requests with a smile and no questions asked. The entertainment was great, the bars were great, and the ship was perfect. There is absolutely no question that we'll be back!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
From the moment we stepped onto the ship , first class all the way . No issues other than a horrible port Sept Isles , Canada . Really why stop there when the only highlight of this town is a walmart ? Food was good , Silk Road ... Read More
From the moment we stepped onto the ship , first class all the way . No issues other than a horrible port Sept Isles , Canada . Really why stop there when the only highlight of this town is a walmart ? Food was good , Silk Road presentation was great , the black cod was ordered more than once , only issue was at 10 they started shutting down the sushi bar . Prego was tasty , get the mushroom soup bowl . Service was outstanding as usual. A special shoutout to Kasha who runs the connisour room . Always greeting me by name and very attentive . Never a wait for any machine in the gym , and I used it a lot as I tried uncessfully to maintain my weight . There is a reason we sail Crystal . Yes there are cruise lines that are less expensive , but for my money Crystal offers my wife and I want we want . Can't wait to cruise again . Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
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
We just returned from our first Crystal cruise, a quick 6-nite voyage from San Francisco to Vancouver. Crystal had been on our radar for a while and we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to do a test cruise before committing ... Read More
We just returned from our first Crystal cruise, a quick 6-nite voyage from San Francisco to Vancouver. Crystal had been on our radar for a while and we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to do a test cruise before committing to a longer voyage. By way of background, we've been cruising for over 20 years. In the beginning we sailed HAL almost exclusively and then moved onto Oceania and Azamara. We've also sailed on luxury lines, including Paul Gauguin, Regent and Seabourn. Our objective on this short Crystal cruise was to get a feel for the product and to determine if we'd be a good fit for the line. EMBARKATION Serenity was staying overnite in San Francisco and we were only a short flight away, so we decided to arrive on embarkation day. We made our own flight arrangements and booked Crystal transfers from SFO to Pier 27. Our outbound flight was delayed but Crystal reps were still at the airport to greet us and escort us to the transfer bus. We waited about 10 min for the bus to arrive and then were on our way. There was a quick check of passports and cruise tickets at the cruise pier, then we were aboard and ready to start our Crystal adventure. FIRST IMPRESSIONS We boarded Serenity on Deck 6 outside Apropos and were struck by the elegance of the ship. The atmosphere was decidedly calm and unhurried for embarkation day. We didn't know where to go for check-in and there weren't any staff at the entrance to greet us except security personnel. But we figured it couldn't be far. We wandered past the Bistro and spotted the check-in counters on the deck below. As we entered Crystal Plaza for check-in, flutes of champagne were offered and soft piano music filled the air. In a matter of mere moments, our photos were taken and we had our All Exclusive Passes. ACCOMMODATION We navigated our way to our deluxe veranda and discovered a nicely appointed and functional room. The bathroom was well laid out with generous cabinet storage and Etro toiletries. I loved the colourful packaging! The balcony was outfitted with comfortable furniture and there was excellent privacy between neighbours. Our stewardess introduced herself shortly after we arrived. We asked to have all items in our mini-fridge removed and restocked with only San Pellegrino and Club Soda. Done! We couldn't find the the beverage request card in our room and our stewardess told us Crystal wasn't providing them anymore but beverages were still available upon request. We asked for Grey Goose. Done! We also advised her we were early risers and would appreciate having our room serviced as quickly as her schedule allowed. Done! She did an excellent job of keeping our suite immaculate and replenishing our mini-fridge, usually by the time we returned from breakfast. DINING We had high expectations for dining aboard Serenity and were not disappointed. In every venue, menus were interesting, ingredients were fresh, flavors were delicious and presentation was artful. Dining and wine service across all venues was excellent. We chose Dining by Reservation and selected our preferred times for dinner in each restaurant in PCPC. When we arrived on board, there was a reservation card confirming our selections. I loved that PCPC gave a sneak peek at the type of entertainment planned for each evening as well as the showtimes, which aided us in making dinner reservations. Even on a short 6-nite cruise, we got an opportunity to sample every dining venue. We downloaded PressReader before we boarded and were able to read upcoming menus in advance. We got into the practice of always checking what was offered in the Crystal Dining Room, even if we had reservations in a specialty restaurant. I could see this feature being quite helpful in making dining decisions on a longer cruise. Tastes We ate dinner in Tastes on our first nite and it was a great choice. We were seated at a lovely deuce overlooking San Francisco and enjoyed multiple plates of cold and hot tapas with a fabulous Crystal "C" Pinot Noir. I had a list of gotta try items with me and we ordered everything on it. The tapas were delicious with authentic global flavours. We started with Ahi Tuna Poke, Pastrami Cured Salmon and Arctic Black Cod Chowder and then moved to Gambas a la Plancha, Saffron Lamb Kebobs and California Street Tacos. When I looked at my cheat sheet later, I noticed we forgot to order the Alsatian Tart. Next time! We loved the casual ambiance and returned for lunch the next day. Alsatian Tart wasn't available but Chinoise Chicken Salad turned out to be another great choice. We certainly would return to Tastes for dinner if we were on a longer cruise. Crystal Dining Room We enjoyed three dinners in the main dining room. DBR worked very well and we lucked out with great tables each time. We had different serving staff each evening, but all were professional and efficient. We mixed and matched our dinner selections from both Modern Cuisine and Crystal Classics. We were pleased with the overall flavours and preparations, though sometimes we were disappointed by being served lukewarm food that should have been hot. We weren't tempted by any of the wonderful dessert choices and instead opted for a cheese plate after dinner. The selections were very impressive and perfectly plated. We usually had the complimentary wine of the day. On a few occasions we requested a different wine and it was cheerfully poured. When we initially booked the cruise, it had a Black Tie Optional nite and we intentionally chose to be in the main dining room on that evening. Shortly before sailing, PCPC was updated to show no BTO and all Crystal Casual. We figured that many guests probably wouldn't notice the updated info, so we decided to go BTO anyway. I estimate that 70%-75% of guests showed up in more elegant evening attire. It was nice to have a more refined atmosphere on that evening. We never made it to the dining room for lunch but did have breakfast there once. We ordered Japanese Breakfast and a Crab Omelet with fresh squeezed juices. Excellent. Service was a little slow in the morning, which was surprising since wait staff outnumbered guests by a significant margin. Silk Road A fantastic meal. I had my trusty list of gotta try items and we got through them all and then some. We ate family style and shared everything from appetizers to sushi to entrees. We ordered appetizers from both Silk Road and the Sushi Bar. Some memorable bites included Salmon Tartar with Caviar, Broiled Eggplant with Miso and Crispy Rice Cake with Spicy Tuna Tartar. We then moved to a selection of Nobu New Style Sashimi from the Sushi Bar, which was simply outstanding in both presentation and flavour. Next up was Miso Soup and Spicy Seafood Soup followed by Nobu signature dishes of Miso Black Cod and Grilled Wagyu Beef. When it was time for dessert, we decided to have more sashimi from the Sushi Bar! We ended the evening with Whisky Cappuccino with Buttermilk Ice Cream. Not very Japanese but sure delicious. Prego Our meal at Prego was a disappointment. We arrived on time and were seated at a table squeezed between other diners along the banquette wall. We preferred something a bit more private and since the room wasn't full, we asked if we could move to a different table. So sorry, no can do. Maybe the better tables were being held for later reservations, but they remained empty for the entire time we were in the restaurant. We shared a few antipasti items as starters and while the presentation was impressive, they were uninspired. We each had the famous Mushroom Soup which was delicious. Next time, I'll have it in a regular bowl rather than the bread bowl. We had a tough time making secondi choices as nothing really appealed. We settled on Rack of Lamb (a house specialty) and Veal Parmigiano, with a side order of Penne in Tomato Sauce with Goat Cheese, which was the pasta of the day. Nothing was memorable, other than our entrees arrived lukewarm and the pasta was seriously overcooked. On the positive side, we had a very attentive sommelier who kept us well oiled. I'm sure our experience at Prego wasn't par for the course and we probably would give it another try on a future cruise. Lido Cafe What an impressive buffet in a lovely room! The divider screens which separate the dining tables from the buffet line are a brilliant idea. They make the space more intimate while also reducing noise and visual clutter. We ate most of our breakfasts at the Lido. The hot and cold buffet items were similar each day and featured the usual suspects, along with a made-to-order egg station and some Asian specialties. There were lots of fresh fruit and berries, most at the perfect stage of ripeness. As on most cruise lines, yogurt choices were no fat or low fat. I prefer full fat real Greek yogurt! We had lunch at the Lido most days. The cold buffet included an assortment of salads, deli, panini, sushi, seafood and cheese. Hot items included soup, a daily carving station and multiple entrees that included and went beyond those available in the Crystal Dining Room. The made-to-order pasta station was my go-to spot and it never disappointed. The pasta was actually better than we had in Prego! I had dessert a few times in the Lido, since my absolute fave Creme Caramel was always available. We were fortunate to have the Asian Buffet even on such a short cruise. It featured a large assortment of hot and cold specialties from Japan, China, Thailand, India, Philippines and Malaysia. It was a feast for the senses! The Bistro We boarded Serenity too late for embarkation lunch in the Crystal Dining Room and we weren't in the mood for Trident Grill, so we had a quick bite in the Bistro. We enjoyed charcuterie, smoked fish and cheeses, along with another glass of bubbly. Over the course of our cruise, we popped into the Bistro regularly to grab specialty coffees and to check out the daily offerings. I loved the chocolate covered strawberries! Trident Grill & Scoops Truth be told, the menu at Trident Grill was the least appealing to us and we didn't eat there at all. I had sweet potato fries on my gotta try list and we sampled them at the Lido. Yummy. I had a bowl of ice cream from Scoops on embarkation day and it was OK but nothing special. We really liked the living walls which surround the dining courtyard of Trident Grill. They create a very vibrant atmosphere. Afternoon Tea We attended Mozart Tea and thoroughly enjoyed the affair. Palm Court was transformed into a Viennese court with suitably attired wait staff and accompanying classical music. We resisted the lovely tea sandwiches and headed straight for the pastries, even though we're not dessert fans. We shared Black Forest Cake and Apple Strudel, along with Hot Chocolate Amadeus and Kapuzina. Everything was delicious. I was surprised that the food offerings at Mozart Tea were buffet style and not served by waiters from trolleys. We didn't make it to any other afternoon tea so I don't know if this is the usual set-up on Crystal. ENTERTAINMENT There were three production shows by the Crystal Ensemble of singers and dancers: Across the Pond; Curtain Call; and My Life The Music of Billy Joel. In a most unusual move for us, we attended each show and loved them all. Galaxy Lounge was a perfect venue and we managed to snag excellent seats for each show. There were also headliner entertainers but we didn't go to see any of them. We were lucky to get tickets to Magic Castle at Sea. There were initially six time slots that were quickly subscribed and the magician had to put on an additional shows. We were front row centre and close to the action but were still mystified by the magic! This is a wonderful Crystal exclusive. There were also live performers in the various lounges each evening. Perry Grant was super popular in Avenue Saloon and played to SRO every nite. We went once but found the venue too crowded and too difficult to see the performance unless you're right up front. Crystal Sextet were at Palm Court during cocktail hours and we went a few times. We found service to be spotty, sometimes great, sometimes not so much. Towards the end of our short cruise, we found our Goldilocks bar at Crystal Cove where we enjoyed pianist Scott Mitchel and the Capricco String Quartet, either at pre-dinner cocktails or after-dinner nitecaps. ENRICHMENT Dr. Jay Wolff was the destination lecturer and he delivered two outstanding presentations on the areas we visited. Professor Louis Rene Beres was a special interest lecturer and he gave two presentations with a focus on current affairs, specifically terrorism and espionage. Before we sailed, we had expressed interest in some classes offered by Computer University@Sea on PCPC. When we arrived in our stateroom, there was a confirmation card showing the date and time of each class. We attended an instructive presentation by Chip Adams on iCloud. There were other enrichment activities in which we didn't participate, such as Digital Film Making, Odyssey Art at Sea, Walkvest and Nordic Walking. There was also a Paddle Tennis Instructor and a Golf Professional available for those who were interested. We were very impressed that on such a short cruise, Crystal managed to squeeze in so many enrichment activities of such incredible variety. PORTS This was a close-to-home cruise and we had visited all the ports before so we took it easy. San Francisco: Crystal shorex to Muir Woods and Sausalito. Walked along Embarcadero to Ferry Building. Astoria: Crystal shuttle to Maritime Museum. Continued to Pier 39. Walked along Waterfront Promenade back to ship. Seattle: Chihuly Glass Gardens. EMP Museum. Pike Place Market. Victoria: Crystal shuttle to Empress Hotel. Walked to Royal BC Museum for Aboriginal Festival. DISEMBARKATION All good things must come to an end and it was soon time for us to leave Serenity. As independent guests, we requested an early disembarkation so we could make our transfer/ferry connection from Canada Place. We were assigned to the first group which was scheduled to leave the ship at 8:00 am. We ordered room service breakfast and then made our way to Galaxy Lounge. Our group was called about 8:10 am and we swiped our cards to get off the ship for the last time. Customs and immigration had already been handled in Victoria so it was a quick and simple breeze through Canada Place. The cruise terminal was busy with three ships in port but it seemed organized. We quickly spotted our transfer/ferry desk, checked in and were on our way. FINAL THOUGHTS Our short test cruise gave us a wonderful orientation to the Crystal product. It's amazing how much we got to experience and discover in such a brief period of time. We enjoyed our time on board and felt very comfortable among our fellow guests and staff. We concluded that Crystal is a good fit for us. On the last day of the cruise, we visited the Cruise Sales Consultant and purchased a Future Open Booking. We've been Crystallized! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
In the past 20 years, my husband and I have been fortunate enough to take 29 cruises, with 26 of them in the space of the past 11 years. We've been on a wide variety of cruise lines, from the most basic up to the deluxe Azamara and ... Read More
In the past 20 years, my husband and I have been fortunate enough to take 29 cruises, with 26 of them in the space of the past 11 years. We've been on a wide variety of cruise lines, from the most basic up to the deluxe Azamara and Oceania (one each). Crystal is the only luxury line we've taken, and so far we've done one on Symphony and now this one on Serenity. Our ship overnighted in San Francisco. We boarded around noon, which was a breeze. A crew member escorted us from deck six to deck five, and five minutes later, we were free to wander the ship, with all our check-in details taken care of. We had intended to have lunch in the main dining room but we were waiting for a friend whose plane was a bit late, so we had a light snack in the Bistro, which happens to be on deck six, where we had a perfect view of people boarding. Alas, by the time she arrived, we had gotten bored waiting, gone up to the Trident to share a burger, and then we forced ourselves to enjoy our third course of lunch, at Tastes. Cabins were ready earlier than expected and we made our cabin attendant, Casia, who was possibly the best cabin attendant we've had in all 29 cruises. Then we spent two hours wandering off the ship at its space at Pier 27, up Embarcadero to see the sea lions at Pier 39. It really didn't take long, but we were also people-watching and talking about past visits to San Francisco. It was sunny and balmy, a lovely bonus. The next day we had a glorious day for more wandering. The Ferry Market (the outdoor with the local people) is always fun to check out, and then two of us went up to the top of Lombard St. and walked down. The other one of us went to the Golden Gate Bridge and walked a small way across (we'd done the whole thing two years ago). Dinner the first night in the Crystal Dining Room was as nice as we remembered from our previous Crystal, and Serenity seems to handle Dine by Reservation a tad better (or they've perfected it a bit in the past year). I had made all our reservations in advance, but then when I saw the show times, I decided we'd prefer a different time. "No problem, sir!" after a brief check of the computer (sent husband to ask for the change while I was unpacking). Unpacking was easy. It was a cruise of just six nights, after all, but with a complimentary well-outfitted guest laundry, I could've easily had enough for two weeks and taken up the same amount of space (which was not all of it). The cabin gives us everything we need and the bed is super comfortable. I love the bathtub, and I think perhaps Serenity's tub is a bit more user-friendly than Symphony's, or perhaps I'm not remembering it correctly. I had enjoyed Symphony's, too. All of the service at the dining venues was excellent. The one weakest spot, same as on Symphony, was Prego. My husband had the halibut and he feels as though they overcooked it. He thoroughly enjoyed it in the Crystal Dining Room (and it was his favorite dinner a year ago on Symphony in the Crystal Dining Room). The wait staff in Prego failed to offer me mint jelly for my lamb, which I forgot about until I saw them (same wait staff) offer it to a nearby table. The three different serving pairs in the CDR were all very good, and we really enjoy Crystal's food. I mean, we REALLY enjoy it! Silk Road was good, and won the award for best dessert (the chocolate one) among many nice desserts. We are very happy with the Lido breakfast and lunch, and particularly pleased to have found an omelet-maker who definitely knows his job with no coaching from my picky husband. The Trident burger-chef is also extremely good at what he does. Even the ice cream guy wins our approval. You would think that would be easy, but alas, not always so! So we love the food, love the service, and are perfectly happy in our cabin. We enjoyed the evening shows very much (especially James Fox from Movin' On, doing Billy Joel), and Gary Hunter is a charming cruise director. We were particularly pleased to find Perry Grant in the Avenue Saloon. We are fans of his from years ago at Michael's Club on Celebrity Constellation. Still, the absolute best thing about this (and our previous) Crystal cruise was the enrichment. Both Jay Wolff and Dr. Louis Rene Beres are a pleasure to listen to, as far as I'm concerned. This was a port-intensive cruise, so they didn't have very much time to speak. On the morning we were cruising into Seattle, I had to choose between going to their live lectures and being up top to watch us cruise through Puget Sound. I could've watched the lectures later on the t.v. in our cabin, but there's just something about being there with them. I'm in awe of them! Both carry around a wealth of information with them at all times and deliver it to the audience in a way that I love. I am still sorry I missed Puget Sound, though! I took one port excursion. Crystal offers Voluntourism, complimentary little jaunts into the community. Two of the ones offered on this cruise were helping out for a few hours at a local food bank. The one I chose, however, was in Astoria, OR, and went to Fort Stevens State Park. Perfect! We (a group of just seven of us, with a local guide, in a school bus) went to three different areas of the park and picked up trash while learning about the history of the area. Perfect weather and a beautiful locale, ending at South Jetty, with a great view of Washington State across the Columbia River. For Seattle and Victoria, BC, we just wandered off the ship and did our own thing. In Seattle, we were a stone's throw from Pike's Market, which is exactly what I wanted to see (and the line for people waiting to go into the original Starbuck's). The fish markets there are just incredible. In Victoria, we took the Crystal complimentary shuttle into town and took a tour of the legislative building, then a friend took us to a garden and home that was an interesting place to visit. So -- why do I love Crystal? For all the big reasons: they cook perfectly for me; the crew is outstanding at taking care of me in a friendly manner; the ship is beautiful; and the small things all add up for me to an outstanding experience. Besides the voluntourism, here are some more small things: the three-plug outlet on the desk/dressing table; the do-not-disturb/clean-my-cabin lights at the door of the cabin; the signage that tells me, when I exit the elevator or get to the top or bottom of my stair climb/descent, which way to go for port and which way for starboard; the guest laundry rooms with pre-loaded detergent and always-up ironing boards. When I filled out my evaluation to Crystal for this cruise, I said: thank you for continuing to offer me a totally pleasurable cruise experience. We have three more cruises booked with Crystal and I expect them to keep me happy, yet again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Eviactive put together a ballroom dance program on Crystal Serenity. Her pros were outstanding and we took lessons every morning before touring. In the evening we danced the night away to the superb band provided by Crystal on their dance ... Read More
Eviactive put together a ballroom dance program on Crystal Serenity. Her pros were outstanding and we took lessons every morning before touring. In the evening we danced the night away to the superb band provided by Crystal on their dance floor. The pros from Eviactive partied and danced with us each night until 11 p.m. On the last night we dance until midnight and then some of the younger ones in our group headed for the pulse lounge for more dancing. What an amazing week we had. The ship provided a band for nightly dancing. I must say, the band was exceptional. Eviactive provided dance lessons every day with award-winning professionals. They were available for private lessons in the afternoon which turned out to be a treat, given how good they were. We took lessons every day and danced every night. Food was gourmet. Rooms were lovely. Nothing could have been better except skipping the port stop in Astoria. Can't wait to go to Buenos Aires with Eviactive and her dance pros. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose this cruise as a getaway cruise that we combined with a four night stay on land in San Francisco. It worked perfectly for our schedule. While this was our shortest cruise ever we had an absolutely wonderful time on board ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a getaway cruise that we combined with a four night stay on land in San Francisco. It worked perfectly for our schedule. While this was our shortest cruise ever we had an absolutely wonderful time on board Crystal Serenity and at each of the ports we visited. The enrichment and entertainment that was offered on the ship was amazing with so much to see and do during the daytime and evening hours. This included several land based entertainers brought on board for this cruise and also a couple of productions by the Crystal Serenity dancers and singers. During the day there was so much enrichment offered from lecture on destinations and politics and classes ranging from bridge to fitness to iMovie Classes. The service was outstanding and the food continues to amaze. With only five days we still made it to each of the dining venues for dinner including the Main Dining Room on two nights and each of the three Specialty Restaurants. This included a visit to Prego which is the Italian Specialty Restaurant, Silk Road which serves Japanese Cuisine based on the land based Nobu Restaurants and Tastes which serves Tapas representing countries from around the world. We had one sea day and then visits to three ports of call two of which we had never sailed to. This included Victoria, Canada which we have been to before but also Astoria, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. There were many first time Crystal Cruisers on board as this gave them an opportunity to try out Crystal. The overall Cruise far exceeds our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date May 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
This was my first cruise and first trip to Europe. With very few exceptions, the all-inclusive fare covers everything, including tips. The crew truly embodies the definition of service. It was top notch and always with a smile. They go ... Read More
This was my first cruise and first trip to Europe. With very few exceptions, the all-inclusive fare covers everything, including tips. The crew truly embodies the definition of service. It was top notch and always with a smile. They go to great lengths to make sure you wont for nothing. After a couple days onboard, the crew members knew us and addressed us by name. The ship is luxurious. There is something going on all day long and never a shortage of things to do. They provide a daily newsletter with a complete list of activities on board. Educational lectures are well done and provide information about the ports along the way. If you miss them, they are rebroadcast on one of the channels on TV. There is a library on board with a nice selection of books and DVDs that you can check out to watch in your room. We also took a tour of the galley for the main dining room. If you're a foodie, check it out. How they prepare and serve a gourmet dinner menu for 600 every night is fascinating. The fitness room is a bit small, but well equipped. The yoga class was popular and could have used more space. There is also a spa and casino on board. We did not use them. If you are really into wine, they have a wine tasting and pairing dinner. It is in a private dining room adjacent to the library and can be booked for an extra charge. There is also dancing every night. A string quartet and piano soloist play at various times of the day. You can send laundry out for a charge, but each floor had a self-service laundry that included detergent and ironing boards. I went home with clean clothes. We took excursions arranged by Crystal in every port. As we are both history buffs, they were the archaeological/historical tours. Tour operators were professional and Crystal staff accompanied us. They packed a lot into the time allotted for the tours. There are tours that are not strenuous and some that are. If you have mobility issues, do not book tours that state they are strenuous and require a lot of walking. They are not kidding. This was a Mediterranean cruise and all ports were very interesting. Noteworthy excursions: Gozo and Valletta Malta, Oia Village in Santorini and the Lindos Acropolis in Greece, Ephysis Ruins in Kusadasi Turkey, Herculaneum and Pompeii at the Naples Port, Taormina, Italy and of course, Istanbul. We saw a few of the shows (some nights we were too tired after exploring the ports) and the entertainment is excellent. The singers and dancers put on a variety of shows, so there is something for everyone. Gary, the Cruise Director is funny and you can tell he loves his job. In addition to the main dining room, there are many dining options aboard and room service any time you wish. The menu in the main dining room is diverse with four courses each night (appetizer, soup and salad, entree and dessert - several options for each on the menu and you can order as many as you want) and a sommelier keeps the wine flowing. Ice cream bar serves Ben and Jerry's from noon until 6PM. On this particular cruise, there were 2 formal nights. The winner of the 2015 Bocuse D'Or chef completion prepared dinner on the second formal night. He also did a cooking demonstration earlier in the day. Highly recommend Silk Road and Prego, the Asian and Italian restaurants aboard. All food was fresh and well presented. High tea is served every afternoon. There is also a bistro that serves tea, coffee and light hors d'oeurves in the afternoon. We ate breakfast at the buffet on the lido deck. It's huge. Anything you could want is there. Loved the fresh mango and fresh squeezed orange juice. Caution: the food is so good, book excursions that make you walk it off! The ship is spotless as it was remodeled in 2013 and all of the furnishings are updated. We also booked our airline and travel from disembarkation through Crystal and found it to be just as reasonable as booking ourselves, without the hassle. I think the only thing that needs improvement is the Wi-Fi aboard. Passengers are given one our of free Wi-Fi for each day aboard. It is pretty slow so it takes quite a bit of time to send emails. If you use more, there is a charge and it's expensive. At slow speeds, it doesn't take long to eat up the allotted free time. Many of the passengers are older and may not use internet, but those that do, might find it a bit challenging. I did have to attend to some work on board, so I needed the internet. Maybe it's their plan - keep you off your devices so you can enjoy your vacation-work can wait :-) All in all, it was a wonderful cruise. It is likely I'll be aboard the Crystal Serenity again someday. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Crystal Serenity is a very beautiful smaller cruise ship. It only carries up to 1000 passengers. The ratio of passenger to crew is one crewmember to every 3 passengers. That does make for unbelievable service. This was our first cruise on ... Read More
Crystal Serenity is a very beautiful smaller cruise ship. It only carries up to 1000 passengers. The ratio of passenger to crew is one crewmember to every 3 passengers. That does make for unbelievable service. This was our first cruise on Crystal Cruises and I am about to book another for 2017. I had told my travel agent that I wanted to pamper my wife since she had just finished her radiation for breast cancer and was found to be cancer free. It was a long six months for her. Our travel agent suggested the all inclusive cruise on Serenity. The service was on such a high level that it made the Four Seasons Hotels service and the Waldorf of New York services seem meek compared to Crystal's service. Believe me I should know for I was in the Hotel Industry for over 40 years and worked at some of the finest hotel companies in the world. Crystal's upscale service is seen as soon as you go to check in. It is one of the smoothest and quickest check ins I have ever experienced. Upon entering our beautiful stateroom one could see how well appointed it was. The bathroom consisted of double granite sinks, his and hers, plenty of storage spaces and a full bathtub and shower. Most comfortable and spacious bathroom on any ship I have been on. We really enjoyed the 24 hour room service. It definitely came in handy at 2 am after a night of dancing. The all inclusive package was the best I have ever had. Being able to have a standing order of beverage to be delivered at a certain time everyday was outstanding especially my 10 am bloody Mary. Lol The main dining room was found to be the best. Every night the menu exceeded our every wish. The all inclusive cruise included one night in their two specialty restaurants.. They both were excellent but my wife and I enjoyed the fare in the main dining room much more. Their European staff could not do enough for you. As soon as your wine glass was half full, along came a staff member to top it off for you. Anyone looking for a first class luxury cruise I would highly recommend Crystal. You will not be disappointed. Much value for your dollar. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
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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