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17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We went on our second Crystal Cruise after taking a trip on Crystal Symphony a year ago. Our experience a year ago was so wonderful that we booked for the next year right away. What happened Crystal? The food was mediocre, though the ... Read More
We went on our second Crystal Cruise after taking a trip on Crystal Symphony a year ago. Our experience a year ago was so wonderful that we booked for the next year right away. What happened Crystal? The food was mediocre, though the service was good. The staff it seems were equivalent to any other cruise line where with our last experience the staff were extraordinary. The food was the biggest let down. Breakfast & lunch remained the same but the dinners were awful. Everything served to us was luke warm and of poor quality. Menu choices were very limited which seemed to be similar every night. The daily "Reflections" scheduled advertised a film to be shown, when arriving at the theater, there was no movie and no notice that it wasn't being shown. We needed to go to the concierge desk to ask and got a blank stare saying, it must not be showing. For the price that line charges, it was ridiculous. That was our last cruise on Crystal. Frankly, I think we are done with cruises in general. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary - visiting places I had not visited before in the Caribbean. This was my first time sailing on Crystal Serenity and the ship was as elegant and well appointed as I expected. I did not feel as ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary - visiting places I had not visited before in the Caribbean. This was my first time sailing on Crystal Serenity and the ship was as elegant and well appointed as I expected. I did not feel as comfortable with its size, however, though this is no fault of the ship. I prefer the size and guest number of Crystal Symphony. The embarkation was not as quick and trouble-free as my previous two. This sailing did not have a pre-cruise hotel program and so the air/sea program flew me in on the morning of embarkation, which made for a long day. Upon arrival at the cruise terminal we had to wait an hour to be allowed to board, and we were not given any information as to why we could not upon arrival. Upon embarkation things settled down, with the service from the crew being lovely as I have experienced before. My cabin was well appointed and even though I do get motion-sickness the majority of the cruise caused me no discomfort, it being between two decks with staterooms and near the middle of the ship. The exception was one particular night when the waves were very high and the wind was fierce, which made it necessary for me to take medication for motion sickness. One thing I did not expect was the the wind making it very uncomfortable going out on the balcony. The few times I was able to utilize it I had to hold down the items brought by room service. In addition, I noticed some wear and tear on the balcony bulkheads, which surprised me, as Crystal Symphony was immaculately kept from what I could see on my sailings aboard that vessel. The dining was, as always, wonderful. The service and cuisine in the main dining room were such that I almost did not want to dine in the specialty restaurants, though I did. The dining at Silk Road was superb - the lobster and shrimp tempura were wonderful. The mushroom soup served at Prego was delicious. I did have lunch at Tastes one afternoon, and was very impressed with the stir-fried dish I ordered. On one occasion at breakfast at the Lido Cafe a large flock of pelicans flew by the ship - it was splendid to see the birds in flight, not to mention surprising. The shore excursions were very well staffed and fascinating. I visited three different archaeological sites and an incredibly beautiful cenote. The guides were well informed, as I expected, and very humorous. The only complaint I can make regarding two of the excursions was that they were too rushed. We visited multiple sites on each excursion and, because of the distances traveled, did not get enough time at each site due to having to return to the ship for departure to the next port. I chose the volunteer excursion on this itinerary and was very satisfied with the amount of hands-on work we were able to do while at the site, a soup kitchen for the elderly. We did everything from washing dishes to calling out a bingo game for the residents to singing with them. On this itinerary I did not attend many activities on board, as I preferred to take advantage of the sun and beautiful weather, coming from a city that was experiencing temperatures a few degrees above zero at the time of the cruise. I did attend one of the Broadway shows and it was very enjoyable, though I did feel that though the performers were professionals, they did not appear to me to be as engaged as those who work on Crystal Symphony. Regardless, they were great performers and very entertaining. Disembarkation was very straight forward with no hiccups. Just a few points: I did not attend any movies in the Hollywood Theater as the viewings were very scarce and not very interesting, at least to me. As I mentioned the wait at the cruise terminal, after my horribly early flight to get to Miami, was very taxing. Not knowing what the delay in embarkation was about made it seem longer. I feel it would have helped to make it less tiring if we had been informed why we were waiting to be allowed to board. Needless to say, I look forward to my next cruise with Crystal next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose a seven day Caribbean Cruise leaving Miami on January 3, 2017 as it worked for our schedule. The sailing was on-board Crystal Serenity a ship that we have sailed numerous times. While the cruise was sold out, one never ... Read More
We chose a seven day Caribbean Cruise leaving Miami on January 3, 2017 as it worked for our schedule. The sailing was on-board Crystal Serenity a ship that we have sailed numerous times. While the cruise was sold out, one never had that feeling as we went around the ship. Two friends who never sailed Crystal joined us for this cruise and had a wonderful time. Highlights of the cruise included: The outstanding service provided by the Crystal Serenity crew, the wonderful cuisine we enjoyed at each of the dining venues, along with the enrichment program and evening entertainment. Since our last sailing in August and September of last year, the evening entertainment program has been expanded providing more choices each evening. We chose the cruise to enjoy the ship and as mentioned as it worked for our schedule. We stayed on board the ship at a couple of ports we have visited in the past which worked out very well for us. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Yes this is cruise critic and yes I am a harsh critic. This was a first Crystal Cruise and we hoped to make it a habit. We are regulars on Oceania and Silversea and did not find Crystal any better -- in fact in some cases below the ... Read More
Yes this is cruise critic and yes I am a harsh critic. This was a first Crystal Cruise and we hoped to make it a habit. We are regulars on Oceania and Silversea and did not find Crystal any better -- in fact in some cases below the standards of O and Silversea. The cruise was a rather simple one – pretty much a western Caribbean with stops in Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize and Key West. I will not spend much time talking about the ports. Both my DW and me had bronchitis as it seemed to being going around the ship so our off ship activity was limited. Embarkation: First impressions were not good. We departed from Terminal B (same as Norwegian uses). The line was long. The hold time was unacceptable. This is at 1:30pm. Took almost 45 minutes from the entrance to the Terminal until we had our room card. The ship was built in 2005 and recently refurbished. It did look new – sharp style and not a blemish anywhere. Very well maintained. The Room: Were Crystal really fails is their staterooms in Veranda class. Since most guests travel this way – I will do the comparison here. Size is 246 sq feet which includes the veranda. What makes this feel smaller is the fact that the bathroom is large, including a tub and a double sink. This makes the room extra small. Closet space was good. TV was actually good with more choices including the NFL Playoffs and the NCCA Finals. Bed for me was comfortable. One BIG negative was the stateroom service. Just plain bad. We returned to the cabin generally around 8pm and room was still unmade. Unacceptable -- room attendant was told we generally come back quickly from dinner. The food: The best part of Crystal is its food. Some very unique menus are offered, plus also a classic menu. The classic menu also has a steak entrée nightly (whether Filet, Rib Eye or Sirloin strip). I suppose you can ask for any of the three, nightly -- just ask as they were very accommodating to our table mates, who did a special order on some nights. MDR has main and late seating – you can also op for dining by reservation. Service was prompt and well executed but generally was at least a 90 minute seating. Specialties – Prego is an Italian restaurant and food quality was excellent -- Osso Buco was good. Silk Road had a fusion Japanese menu plus excellent Sushi/Sashimi. In fact the Sashimi was so good ,I could make a meal out that alone – but I had the pepper Lobster which was excellent. Specialties are included. But additional bookings are $30 pp – done in order to make sure everyone has a chance to book a least once. They do not have an evening buffet like many ships. Their light meal is by reservation but we saw many on the last night come without a reservation. Place is called Tastes – but they should rename it Tasteless. The style is a Tapas menu where you can order many small items, Maybe the chef had a bad night – but the fish, chicken and lamb we had were all dry and overdone. The Ahi Tuna was done properly – raw. Trident Grill – is similar to Waves and serves the same fare. Exception is no lobster. Burgers were better than O, but the Fries on O are much better. They also have a ice cream bar next to the Grill. Bistro – a coffee bar. Good coffee plus food (fruits, cookies, cakes, cold cuts) throughout the day (late breakfast through late lunch. The Drink: Beer, house wines, and drinks (top shelf) are included. House wines were OK nothing special, no worse/better than O or Silversea. Drinks were strong and smooth – no water in these and they were large. No mini Martini’s like on Oceania. Service: Outstanding. Even the officers are always visible and friendly Enrichment: Love the term and their lectures were really good. Bob Ray was one which gave talks on Motown and also the Beach Boys with little heard recording takes and items that belong on trivia. Some negatives: The new Crystal web site is bad. Difficult to navigate and to book restaurant and shore excursions. So bad is it the after trip survey crashed. Shipboard Wi-Fi was slow and not free. They give you 60 minutes free. Inclusive certainly does not apply to the wifi with Crystal. As noted above -- the embarkation was really disorganized. Crystal does all of the work on board the ship so there were multiple queues at security, in the port hall where they checked the passenger heath and passport exam, then in the holding pen (Norwegian style), at the gangway, and then on the ship at the registration tables. So was I Crystalized?? Maybe, with the right itinerary yes. But they really need to up their game with some new builds with bigger staterooms which have become common with new builds from Seaborne, Silversea, Oceania and Regent. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We have cruised with Seabourn many times, but have sometimes been disappointed at the limited opportunities to ballroom dance. Crystal has much more dancing so we decided to try a short cruise. In general, we found the level of service ... Read More
We have cruised with Seabourn many times, but have sometimes been disappointed at the limited opportunities to ballroom dance. Crystal has much more dancing so we decided to try a short cruise. In general, we found the level of service from servers and cabin crew to be comparable to Seabourn's. Facilities were also comparable. However,the increased size of the ship (Seabourn has less than 500 passengers and Crystal has over 1000) may have been partly responsible for a major difference which was the interaction between upper level personnel and guests. On Seabourn, every staff member seems to have the mission of providing every guest he encounters with an additional reason to be enjoying the cruise. Whether it's just a warm hello or an intervention to solve a problem, on Seabourn, every staff member, from the cabin stewardess to the captain, is "dialed into" the guest's pleasure. Not so on Crystal. The officers and administrative staff appear are likely to pass a passenger without even giving eye contact. It was obvious to both my husband and me that staff regularly turned away, rather than acknowledge either of us. Another difference was the issue of gratuities. Although we do give gratuities on Seabourn, most passengers do not and staff do not expect it. On Crystal, gratuities are very much expected and food servers, in particular, go out of their way to form a relationship with you which tightens as the cruise is ending. The gratuity was almost expected. Without question, a Crystal cruise is far better than most of the other cruise lines offer. But Seabourn is even better. In our opinion, anyone who has cruised Seabourn would find Crystal lacking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
My wife and I took this cruise (Ft. Laudedale to New Orleans via several Caribbean islands) through a university alumni association group offer. We thought the cruise would be a great opportunity to experience the company before taking ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise (Ft. Laudedale to New Orleans via several Caribbean islands) through a university alumni association group offer. We thought the cruise would be a great opportunity to experience the company before taking another planned cruise from Mauritius to Cape Town next year on Crystal's sister ship, Symphony. While I had been on one brief cruise (Princess), my wife had never experienced the process, and she immediately appreciated the convenience and luxury of the experience. The "all exclusive" marketing message lived up to reality -- excellent food in the dining room, plus four free meals in speciality restaurants, and several room service meals. We asked for some wine with our dinner in the room once. The steward brought a full bottle unopened -- without the hint of a bar tab. I enjoyed the ship's library (some truly good and recent books) and its full fitness centre, not fully used -- in part because the cruise demographic is old, very old. (Symbolically, perhaps, as we joined the early deborders to catch our flight, paramedics were boarding with a stretcher, presumably for a passenger who could not make it out on two legs.) We had read less-than-enthusiastic reviews about the excursions, and so only took one, on Bonnaire. It was fine but not great. So we visited the towns and in one case, rented a car for a bit of island exploration. The free shuttles to town helped keep costs down. Since everything is included, and shuttle/tender service were frequent, there was a temptation not to eat anything on shore and instead head back to the boat for more of its excellent food. I found the staff were truly attentive and competent; and they seemed to be enjoying their work. The cabin was spacious, well-maintained and the two-sink bathroom certainly helped. As we enjoyed the cruise, I checked the price on the cruise I had booked for Dec. 2017, thinking we might extend it. I noticed the price currently was lower than we had committed to pay (though the deposit is fully refundable until 3 months before the cruise.) I questioned the ship's sales consultant and she said I would need to check with the travel agent, which I did, using some of my free internet time. Then I discovered more strange things. There was a special offer on for higher categories in the planned cruise, but for some reason the listed rates were LOWER than we had agreed to pay for our mid-range cabin. These included $999 business class airfare (not insignificant when you are flying to places like Mauritius and Cape Town from North America) and additional savings -- plus a fare base 25 per cent lower than we had confirmed. More emails to the travel agent -- and within hours Crystal confirmed we would indeed be getting much more for much less. This money-savings experience brightened my mood as the ship headed up the Mississippi River to New Orleans on the final day -- a truly amazing experience and certainly a great place to end a cruise. Two days home, and we are already looking forward with anticipation to our next Crystal adventure Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
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
9 Helpful Votes
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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We boarded the ship in NYC which was great as we live here. Embarkation was very easy, its on the ship. We were meet at the gangway and escorted to the desk, on the way a steward took our carry-on and delivered it to our stateroom. There ... Read More
We boarded the ship in NYC which was great as we live here. Embarkation was very easy, its on the ship. We were meet at the gangway and escorted to the desk, on the way a steward took our carry-on and delivered it to our stateroom. There was champagne and lunch in the MDR. I was surprised the lido was not open. The ship is 1000 passengers, about the right size for us. It is in excellent shape and very clean all around. Its about 25 years old so the design is dated, that said it is easy to get around and find places. You can see how it has been changed over the years as the decor seems rather hap hazard. The lido has just been done, looks modern and new. This should be carried throughout the ship. I missed the interactive TV in the room however the internet was OK although you just get 1 hour a day, the rest you must pay for. As a all inclusive luxury line I would expect it to be included. The public spaces were very spacious however the ship was just 2/3 full. If full some would be crowded. Cabin was a OV on deck seven, number 7068. Excellent location, quiet with little ship movement. Cabin is very small for a luxury line, that said it was in excellent shape, very clean at all times. Steward was eager to do all that was asked. If you go aboard expecting same cabin as a mass market line you will not be let down. Food was very good. There are plenty of choices and its apparent Crystal uses excellent ingredients and cooks to order. I liked most things, sent a few back. They are eager to please and do all they can to give you a nice meal. Dinning is the deal breaker for me on Crystal. I think the main dinning room has about as much ambience as the local dinner. Its small, noisy and restrictive. There is just first, second and reservation dinning. We had first sitting, it was full so we were stuck in a poor table for 2 for two weeks. Service was very rushed. The specialty restaurants were very nice, easy to make reservations for although I find paying for extra tackier in the luxury market. The service and ambiance they have should be what you experience throughout the ship. The lido, tastes and grill were excellent. A real downside for me is the lido is closed for dinner. If you miss your sitting its room service or nothing. The rooms are really to small to eat in. The Bistro was a nice place to stop for coffee however I found their snacks odd. Entertainment and activities are nice and plentiful. Like anything I found some great and skipped some. I liked the idea there are two shows most nights, easy to get a seat. There is so much going on day and night it would be hard to be board. Service is great all around the ship. Again it was just 2/3 full. This was a Caribbean trip so the ports were beach and shopping. We missed one and they gave 250$ FCC to each person. I felt that was very generous Overall this was a nice trip, I would judge it average, or a 3, comparing it to other luxury lines. I found my fellow guests to be extremely nice, I did not hear complaints, see fights for seats or get run over by a scooter however the pool chair hog's were out in full force. I would go again however Crystal is not my go to cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
Although we have been on many cruises, this was our first time sailing with Crystal. I must say I was very impressed. A wonderful cruise. First class in every way - the ship, the staff, the food, the entertainment. Especially loved the ... Read More
Although we have been on many cruises, this was our first time sailing with Crystal. I must say I was very impressed. A wonderful cruise. First class in every way - the ship, the staff, the food, the entertainment. Especially loved the magic show with Doc, the comedians and the dancing of Curtis and Beverly. Only down part was that we missed not being able to go into Savannah, Georgia. Very understandable though. First and foremost was getting supplies to the people following the hurricane. We took tours in Baltimore, Maryland and Charleston, South Carolina. Both of these were excellent. The included meals on both tours were the best. We love seeing new ports and enjoyed going to Grand Turk and La Romana, Dominican Republic.We have been to Curacao and Oranjestad, Aruba before, but enjoyed visiting again. Overall, I would give this cruise top marks. Our departure in Ft. Lauderdale was handled very well with buses all labelled and ready to for our trip to the airport. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
First you fly into Montreal and get to your hotel about 5 after being on the road since 5 am. The meet and greet is a bevy of repetitive tables in the lobby of the baggage area after YOIU put your luggage in a bin for transport at the ... Read More
First you fly into Montreal and get to your hotel about 5 after being on the road since 5 am. The meet and greet is a bevy of repetitive tables in the lobby of the baggage area after YOIU put your luggage in a bin for transport at the baggage handlers discretion. Crystal Serenity is a nice ship but shows are terrible for what I am paying them to cruise. WiFi is outlandishly high again for what I paid for the cruise. Remember STARBUCKS gives you free WiFi and you don't have to buy anything. Two of the 5 ports were terrible. School buses were used to transport people to shore excursion places from ship. Did I pay for school buses at the price I paid? And the two towns stopped at in Canada had maybe 45000 people combined. Each had 1 main street with many shops, more souvenir stores than anything, one traffic light and NO visible gas stations on Main Street. One town had a "Dollar Store" which was famous for being only one in the area. One town had a Catholic Basilica that had only two masses all year for Catholic residents b/c Archdiocese sub-divided the town area into 5 parishes and left out the Basilica. Now you can rent it for weddings, funerals and concerts. One town lost over 2000 people who migrated to big towns to be with children who had gone off to college. Bar Harbor was a nice quaint old rich town with 60 room/26 bathroom cottages for the Rockerfellers and Gettys. More souvenir shops than anything else. One major thing was that the cruise line DID NOT NOTIFY PASSENGERS OF CRUISE CRITIC MEET AND GREET. I found out second hand and told another who didn't get the message- 8 people showed up. Speciality restaurants were excellent as was the regular dining room food. They accommodated us when we asked to have something that wasn't on the menu but was available according to a Matre D. Also a great positive for "Single" travelers was a table of 8 JUST FOR SINGLES (that was one reason I took the cruise company again. The staff were not real friendly. No one I met offered to say "hello" or "Good Morning, afternoon or evening as the walked past you rapidly and bold you over if you were in their way. Very Rude. The major productions were terrible- lip-synched, costumes that didn't fit, dancers not in step w/one another. The "singer" in the piano bar was hideous. He screamed into the mike, never sang a song but talked it through every once in a while trying to carry a tune. There were maybe 10 people tops any night. On a previous cruise this same piano bar was overflowing with folks who "Sang along with the guy" and the crowd was much more into singing which is what a piano bar is all about. I am booked again in January with the same ship and I certainly hope I can give a better review then. I hope my critique to Crystal isn read and doesn't get thrown in File 19. If Cruise Critic is paying for these Meet and Greets or is sponsoring them through the cruise lines they need to look into the lack of cooperation from the cruise lines to accommodate their clients. On the big companies, RCL, Carnival, Norwegian etc they handle business for Meet and Greets very well. I Travel alone, had a great cabin and cabin steward, probably the best part of the trip outside of the food prep and presentation (I lost 2 pounds on the trip but ate well and left full after each meal). Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (Canada-New England) and because we wanted to try Crystal. We found lots to like. The ship is pretty, easy to navigate, and generally very comfortable. We enjoyed the food in the main dining room ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (Canada-New England) and because we wanted to try Crystal. We found lots to like. The ship is pretty, easy to navigate, and generally very comfortable. We enjoyed the food in the main dining room and had an excellent meal in Prego. I loved the cabin, which was admittedly small but otherwise perfect. Housekeeping was excellent. What didn't we like? We opted for an additional night in a Montreal hotel because it included airport transfers and transport to the ship, which was in Quebec City. This turned out to be a disappointing choice - most of the time was spent on buses, and the hotel served a buffet breakfast on the morning of departure that had a limited selection and hot food that was room temperature. In hindsight, I wonder why Crystal didn't offer the option of a Quebec City embarkation - a lovely town that we would have liked more time to explore than a couple of hours before we sailed. The actual embarkation was smoothly managed. We like the lectures on Cunard and looked forward to those on Crystal, which have been rated highly. We found them to be more entertainment than enrichment. The port talks only addressed US stops (including, for some reason, the Salem witch trials), and one lecturer devoted 3 talks to female musical and film stars of the mid-20th century. Entertaining, but not really informative or thought provoking. The food was generally good. Food in the main dining room was overall very good. We liked our dinner in Tastes but wished the menu was larger; one night there and we felt like we'd explored it fully. Lunch in the Lido was very good. Sadly, we thought Silk Road was a let-down. We love good sushi, but found the fish to be less than impeccably fresh. We ate only from the appetizer menu there and perhaps would have found the entrees more satisfying. The included wines are okay, typical supermarket wines where we live (Northern California). They are not "luxury" wines, which I mention because that is how Crystal chooses to market itself. The list of wines for purchase offers safe and familiar choices at a reasonable mark-up. We had a nice bottle with our dinner in Prego. Service was good, as it should be on a cruise in this price range. We were mistakenly seated at a table for 8 on the first night but were quickly reseated at the requested table for 2. The dining room is noisy and the staff move at high speed, but the table service was smooth and capable. Occasional oversights in the bars and Bistro happened but were minor. My final observation has to do with the public rooms. They are comfortable, but there are few places quiet enough to hole up with a book. I didn't actually see many readers on this cruise. We didn't try the entertainment or any of the excursions so I can't comment on those. The dress code is easy (we liked it). We decided that a fixed dining time is simply not our thing, at least if the choice is either 6:00 or 8:30. We learned that we could be seated earlier than 8:30 if a table was available, so we took advantage of that. I've tried to give enough detail so that people can judge if our experiences are relevant to them or not. I've highlighted the things we think are important. Obviously, other people will have their own priorities. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
The food was great in Silk road, average in Prego, inconsistent in the Crystal dinning room, but great in Tastes and Lido. Housekeeping missed an entire day in the middle of the cruise... Room service never showed, housekeeping had to ... Read More
The food was great in Silk road, average in Prego, inconsistent in the Crystal dinning room, but great in Tastes and Lido. Housekeeping missed an entire day in the middle of the cruise... Room service never showed, housekeeping had to bring the limes, tonic water, etc. Entertainment was average except for the Cruise Director who is a ventriloquist and was very good. One of the bartenders was great....however when asked for the same drink from a different bartender, it was not as good. The wines in the crystal dinning room were very limited....one of each one, chardonnay, one cab, one merlot, etc...that wine from from their own crystal vineyards. The shore excursions were not good, the tour director and bus driver were not on the same page and the bus left us in town and was lost at one point...tour guy who was a local could not find the bus. Some of these towns looked like third world countries. The add on tour to Montreal at the end, everyone complained because we were told it would be 2-1/2 hours on a luxury bus ....it was not...it was four hours and no water for us on that bus and no cup holders in the seats. The best part was the embarkation and disembarkation....it was the best on any cruise line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My mother, who is in her 80s, asked me to join her on this cruise. The itinerary and level of service created outstanding memories, as we might not have this opportunity again. I had been on the Crystal Symphony before, but never the ... Read More
My mother, who is in her 80s, asked me to join her on this cruise. The itinerary and level of service created outstanding memories, as we might not have this opportunity again. I had been on the Crystal Symphony before, but never the Crystal Serenity. The Crystal Serenity is a beautiful ship, and is extremely well maintained. We left out of New York, which is a mixed blessing. While the sail out is inspiring, getting to the pier, even on a Saturday (as offered by this itinerary, is daunting. It took me over an hour from Newark airport and took my mother over 1.5 hours from LGA to reach the cruise port. Still, the scheduled late departure (11 pm) allowed me to fly in from the west coast on the day of the cruise, rather than the day before. That schedule also eased the stress, as there was never a doubt that I could reach the ship before the scheduled boarding time. Crystal made embarkation very easy. There was a small line at the x-ray machine, but no other lines whatsoever. It was nice to check in on the ship itself. Staff was welcoming, and the cabin attendant did a great job of explaining the features of the cabin. As I had the cabin to myself, there was plenty of storage in my oceanview cabin. It might have been a bit tight for two people. Upon boarding, it became very apparent that there was a large group on board. I have always believed that cruise lines should warn the other passengers about large groups on their cruise, as such groups inevitably take over the ship, making areas inaccessible and making advertised features of the ship not available. It turned out there were actually two bridge groups books, totaling some 350 of the 900 passengers. The first evidence of the large group was that the groups had taken absolutely every main (early) dining opportunity, including the specialty restaurants. I have some health issues that require me to retire relatively early each evening, so late dining is not an option. My mother an I were waitlisted for main dining (despite booking 15 months ahead) and although we had informed Crystal of my health issue, the maître d' was unable to clear the waitlist upon boarding. He recommended that we come to the dining room at main seating and he would try to squeeze us in somewhere. He was in fact quite gracious when we arrive at main seating the first night and did give us a table. The second night he seated us at a table for 8 where two of the passengers were dining elsewhere. We had calculated that we could reserve space elsewhere, but we did not clear the waitlist anywhere. As Crystal does not open the buffet in the evening (families should be warned of this), the only options were to be squeezed in to a different table each night or to order from the extremely limited room service menu. Had this issue remained where it was on night 2, you would be reading a one or two star review. However, and kudos the Crystal for this, on the wifi logon site (and kudos to Crystal for providing an hour per day of free wifi), there is a feedback button, and I used it to express my concerns. Ten minutes after I sent my concern in, a waitlist cleared at Silk Road and we were seated there at 6 pm. The next night, a waitlist cleared at Prego for 7 pm. We were then seated at Captain's table the following night and, voila, the waitlist cleared at Tastes on the following night. I have never seen a cruise line work so hard to address a concern. Having a system to report a concern to the corporate office while still onboard is commendable. Responding immediately and so thoroughly is incredible! The group of passengers onboard was older (averaged mid to late 70s), and composed mainly of retired professionals and executives. There were just two children on board, both infants. Many of the passengers apparently do not understand the meaning of "casual" as the dressed in suits and ties and even formal wear on some nights. I guess that they were disappointed that there were no formal nights on the cruise, but I received many condescending looks when dressed appropriately (Tommy Bahama button down shirt, dark Dockers and loafers). If cruise lines can refuse to seat shorts after 6 pm, they should also refuse to seat ties and gowns. The food in the main dining room was very good, and the service was excellent. While the service was excellent in Silk Road and Prego, the food was disappointing. It was not as good as the main dining room, and I never like to get sushi that is not cold. At Tastes, the food was very good but the service was not up to the standard set on the rest of the ship. The entertainment was likewise variable. The singers and dancers were talented, and the Broadway tribute was a great show. The comedian was pretty good, but the other production show and the first and last night shows were just average. The house band was exceptional. I had concerns about the cabin that was assigned on a guarantee. It was an Oceanview cabin that was guaranteed to be mid ship. Technically it was (last room before the forward elevators), and I had been concerned that it might be noisy, as the doors to the promenade deck were adjacent to my room. It was not noisy at all, and in fact the only noise issue on the entire trip was on the final night with porters loading baggage. I would book this room again, as it was close to everything. The voyage was definitely rocky in parts, but I had very little movement in this cabin. Crystal always handles its shore excursions well, providing escorts and water to enhance the excursion. Our excursion in Bar Harbor was very good, even though the fog blocked many of the usually outstanding views. Still, the guide was great. The Baie-Comeau walking excursion was not as good, as the stuck us on a non-air conditioned, very tightly spaced school bus at the end to go back to the ship, and sat us there for 25 minutes. apparently, that bus also served as the shuttle from town to the ship, and as it was to be the last one, it waited for returning passengers. The advertised excursion described itself as including transportation to and from the start of the walking tour. If the plan was to rely on shuttles, it should have stated that. While the ship was completely booked, it never felt crowded. Unlike other lines, there was no need to arrive early for shows, although this may be due to the presence of large groups. With regard to those groups, other than the main dining issue, I did not feel the lack of facilities during their presence. Crystal handled the groups well. I had signed up for a number of computer classes, but almost none were given due to a lack of sea days. The lecturers were, as always, outstanding. My mother is an avid dancer and says that the four dance hosts on this cruise were the best she has ever experienced. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We wanted to see Alaska again and based on Crystal's previously held number one rating by a popular travel magazine and the many glowing reviews on CC we booked 10 days on the Crystal Serenity. We thoroughly enjoyed Alaska and our ... Read More
We wanted to see Alaska again and based on Crystal's previously held number one rating by a popular travel magazine and the many glowing reviews on CC we booked 10 days on the Crystal Serenity. We thoroughly enjoyed Alaska and our cruise. There were many things we enjoyed on Serenity, however, Crystal didn't live up to it's reported luxury status on our cruise. We are most likely "One and Done" with Crystal. The overall quality of the food was good to excellent. The overall layout, condition and cleanliness of the ship was excellent. The entertainment was a mixed bag but I would say it was above average to excellent. We thought the lectures and the iMovie classes were outstanding! Our cabin service was excellent and for the most part the crew was cheerful and engaging. So why the 'One and Done"? Our difficulties started with three trips to front desk to get functioning keys. (We all know about first impressions.) Next our experience in the Main Dining Room was the worst experience of any of our two dozen cruises. Our waiter was actually working in another section of the Dining Room so it wasn't poor service, it was literally no service. After three nights I complained and all subsequent visits to MD were excellent. We found Silk Road and Prego to be excellent. However, our worst dining experience was showing up 10 minutes before closing at Tastes without a reservation and being told we should consider room service. Ok, I was rather surprised but it was late and I agreed that RS would be ok. We ordered RS but somehow the order was lost or delivered to someone else. For the first time ever on a cruise we retired to bed hungry. We called RS after one hour had passed and were told it should be arriving soon. It never arrived! Crystal delivered a bottle of champagne the following day with an apology. Oh well, two points for that. Here's the issue I am most astonished by: We booked the train excursion in Skagway for 12:30 PM. That morning we wanted to shop in Skagway and asked the Crystal Excursion Rep if we would be able to board the train at the Train Depot in Skagway? Her answer: "absolutely"! At 12:15 we asked the ticket agent at the station where we needed to be to board the Crystal Excursion? Answer: "Back in front of your ship, the train for your excursion does not pass thru the station!" We had to literally run all the way back to the ship in an effort to make it back to the train in time! It left moments after we boarded! We were half way up the mountain before we stopped sweating.There was no miscommunications to the Crystal Rep, she was simply not educated on the specifics of that excursion, another simple fail for Crystal. In conclusion, in spite of these issues we had a overall enjoyable cruise. Crystal got a bunch right and a bunch wrong and that averages out to basically an "above average, also ran" experience for us. Not much different from other cruising we've done on other lines for substantially less cost. One additional observation was the intense preoccupation that the crew had towards preparing for the next NWP cruise. At times it seemed like we were aboard a sort of "dry run" for that cruise. Lastly, we are business owners that require the ability to stay accessible to clients for emergency situations. Crystal's internet access and speed does not meet our minimum requirements to stay connected to our business. That alone probably excludes us from future Crystal Cruising. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We had a wonderful 10 days despite the weather on our Crystal cruise to Alaska. We would prefer open seating rather than assigned 6 pm every night at the same table. It would be great to mingle with more people and dining with new ... Read More
We had a wonderful 10 days despite the weather on our Crystal cruise to Alaska. We would prefer open seating rather than assigned 6 pm every night at the same table. It would be great to mingle with more people and dining with new people on a regular basis would make that happen. The Breakfast and lunch buffets on deck 12 were very good. But dinner was a disappointment. I was so surprised that I was unable to dine on a good piece of salmon cooked to perfection on an Alaskan cruise. The shore excursions that we participated in were excellent. The guides were well informed, enthusiastic and enjoyable to be with. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, a couple of shore excursions were cancelled. I wish that we had additional lectures, as they were wonderful. Since the weather made it impossible for some excursions to go out, it would have been helpful to have additional lectures (repeats of those that were at inconvenient times (ie too close to early dinner)). Computer classes were helpful and enjoyable. Under the circumstances (weather), we could have had a few more classes as well! Entertainment mixed reviews. The dancers were wonderful as were some of the singers! Some of the other entertainers were not quite as good. Need some additional exciting entertainment. The Room Divisions Manager, Director of Activities, Captain, as well as other high level staff were always friendly. They went out of their way to make sure that we were enjoying the cruise. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Having taken many cruises on Silversea and Seabourn, this was my first Crystal experience, and although being mindful that while it is unfair to compare directly the Crystal product to the other two (due to Crystal's larger ship ... Read More
Having taken many cruises on Silversea and Seabourn, this was my first Crystal experience, and although being mindful that while it is unfair to compare directly the Crystal product to the other two (due to Crystal's larger ship capacity), given price, marketing and general feedback I read, I had high expectations. Overall the experience was very good, and I must say, that in terms of dining, Crystal were as good, or due to specialist dining venues, a touch better compared to Seabourn (my preference to date) - impressive given the increased capacity of the ship. With the exception of the main dining room, which I found noisy and frenetic at times, just OK food, with very inconsistent service, the specialist dining options of Prego and Silk Road were exceptional, as was the relaxed Tastes. One disappointment was afternoon tea. Tried it once and then to forget. Nothing compared with those on Seabourn and Silversea which really are lavish and exceptional daily events. Crystal's waiter service offering a small selection of boring sandwiches and cakes that you could find in the Bistro was extremely lack lustre. Customer service was overall very good, although it lacked some of the very personal touches on Seabourn that come with a smaller passenger number. Overall though I found the staff helpful and professional. One thing that I did note however (although this had no personal impact) was that our Cruise Director was the most low key, ineffective I have ever experienced, and seemed purely there to drift around the ship, open and close the entertainment, and record a daily briefing video. I'm sure he was doing a lot more, but we never saw it. We opted for the Penthouse Verandah. Lovely cabin, with plenty of space and storage, and our butler did a great job. Well worth the extra spend. Two things really left me disappointed. Overall, after the last refit, the ship is lovely, with a nice mix of traditional, modern and contemporary decor, all well maintained. I found the standard and style though was let down by an inconsistency in some of the public areas, for example the main dining room, casino most of all Palm Court. I was speechless at the decor in the Palm Court - potentially the most stunning space on the ship, on top deck with views forward. To me it seemed that during the last refurbishment, when they got there, Crystal ran out of money. The wicker furniture, fixed seating, and tired planting looked completely out of place with other public areas. The half empty pebble planters with plastic plants at the entrances were just dreadful. Did they put all this furniture together from other sources? It looked like something from the 80's. It did not even fill the space well. It looked tired and uninviting. Such a shame. My biggest issue and one that left me absolutely furious was disembarkation in Seward. Our pre-cruise documentation stated specifically that no flights could be booked from Anchorage International before 1400, due to docking time at 0800 and the long surface transfer from the ship. I was not at all happy given the implications for myself and my cruise companion, but duly complied. He was returning to Newport Beach California, and I was returning to Portugal via London. This restriction meant that I was unable to catch a flight form Anchorage to connect with any non-stop flights out of the US western seaboard that day to London, for a connection to Portugal. I therefore decided to travel back to Los Angeles with my friend, stay overnight and leave the next day. Given a schedule change by Delta, the only way for us to do that was at 1507 with Delta to Seattle, and with a change to Alaska Airlines, arriving LA at 0030 the following day! When we received our disembarkation details on the ship, 2 days before arrival, I was stunned to see that the ship was not arriving at 0800 but earlier. Indeed, our coach departure time was given as 0705!!!!!!!! I immediately queried this with the concierge, and to my further amazement, when challenged, he confirmed that some passengers had flights at 1215. I was absolutely furious. No explanation was given, only a suggestion to change my flights. When I explained that due to flight fare rules and change penalties, not least availability, that was not an option. I just got a blank expression. The result was that we arrived at the airport at 1030. We sat in the departure lounge and heard the boarding of a direct Alaska flight to LA, and even worse, a direct flight to Orange County (serving Newport Beach). So....we got up at 0600, had an exhausting day, arriving at LA at 0030, in to our hotel by 0200...wasting time, a day vacation for me,and money...and for no reason at all, had Crystal been accurate in their pre-cruise information. Strange that I have not been invited by Crystal to give feedback on this cruise (as today you cannot by a case of Coke without an online satisfaction survey), but I will be complaining about this. It was a horrible end to what had overall been a good experience. Would I go Crystal again? If the itinerary was good, and the fare competitive, possibly, but I have to say that I will probably be holding on with great excitement for the new launches of Silversea's Silver Muse, and Seaboard's Encore and Ovation. All three look stunning, and with products and service that I have always enjoyed tremendously. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
16 Helpful Votes
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We had a great time, but as quite a few other reviews suggest, Crystal is slipping. The service in the main dining room was atrocious. The server was so confused by the orders that my wife something with lobster, which she is very ... Read More
We had a great time, but as quite a few other reviews suggest, Crystal is slipping. The service in the main dining room was atrocious. The server was so confused by the orders that my wife something with lobster, which she is very allergic to, and so Heidi was sick all night. I would have expected at least a token from the ship. The rest of the time, service was just garden-variety mediocre, with no one coming by etc. I've had much better service on Disney and even NCL. To a lesser extent, it was clear throughout the ship that "tips included" means "we don't have to try that hard." Of course people did things they were supposed to, but it was perfunctory. The Bistro and Lido Deck were prime examples of lackluster service. Some cost-cutting is apparent, too. They used to have lavish lunch buffets with ice sculptures. None now. The ship is also looking dated, especially the common rooms and the atrium. Celebrity Solstice Class has a better hard product. Pluses: both speciality restaurants, Vintage Room (though it's overpriced given that food and wine are already included), logistics (embarkation, etc.). The shows are still great. The piano player in Avenue Saloon (Perry) was fantastic. The speakers and classes are still a cut above. Needless to say, it was still a great cruise, but the slipping standards are disappointing. Read Less
Crystal Serenity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 5.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 4.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.2
Service 4.5 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 5.0 4.1

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