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160 Crystal Serenity Luxury Cruise Reviews

First time Crystal Cruise...”Amazon Escape” Oct. 27 - Nov. 20, 2017 (24 Days) The Embarkation Process was disorganized & confusing...it took nearly 3 hours...Wasn’t a good start...apparently, the Crystal Cruises Headquarters ... Read More
First time Crystal Cruise...”Amazon Escape” Oct. 27 - Nov. 20, 2017 (24 Days) The Embarkation Process was disorganized & confusing...it took nearly 3 hours...Wasn’t a good start...apparently, the Crystal Cruises Headquarters decided to drastically reduce prices to fill the ship...this cruise required a Brazilian Visa and a Yellow Fever Inoculation...Which meant, several hundreds of guests, unable to meet the aforementioned requirements slowed the process for those who booked and paid a much higher price to have to wait...this could have been handled more efficiently and professionally... Once onboard, our Penthouse w/ verandah (PS Cat.) was very well appointed...we had fabulous room attendants (Anna-Marie and Raylene)...superior service was provided all around the entire ship... The Entertainment was just as billed...”Broadway” quality...so many talented individuals! From Irina, Richard, Boytan & Charlie James to the flown in Entertainment of Billie Joel Musician James Fox...the female vocalist, Helen, (supposedly operatic trained...???destroyed Julie Andrews’ “Sound of Music” lyrics...the Crystal Dance & Music Troupe were Awesome!! Shore Excursions were a “hit or miss”...could have done without the “Boca de Valeria” port of call...?? Indigenous People with satellites and pandering chained animals from the rainforest for money...poor taste for such a high-end ship... Found this cruise to have a high minimum age; 70’s...one English fellow described the cruise as “The recently resurrected...” Thought some of the Excursions were a little dangerous; as many were having trouble walking. Most guests were cheerful & friendly; some need to take classes in Courteousness...very rude to others and crew members. The ship is still outdated in some areas...however, the Amazing, enthusiastic crew made upfor any of the other failings... Leo, Igor, Charlton & Dining Room Team are all a Class Act! The food! The Cuisine was Incredible...I did not have one bad meal the entire river adventure... Edwin in the Tastes & Trident Grill area always, always had a beautiful smile and extremely polite! Erica & Okan (hope I am not butchering his name) & Kaustius Awesome Service! Truly, for just over 3 weeks, we found the Captain’s Mid-day History lessons very enlightening; as well as all the Keynote Speakers; Jean-Michel Cousteau, Dr. Jay Wulff, and others extremely knowledgeable in their respective fields of interest... Our stateroom was on the Penthouse House Deck 11...walk in closet finished in gorgeous walnut stain...the modern decor refreshing color palette of creams, grays & plum... Our State Room Butler Engin was superlative! So elegant and professional... We really enjoyed Tilmar (Head Sommelier) in the Vintage Room...very passionate & a delight Needs some tweaking in the Emarkation & Disembarkation for a more organized and smooth transition...this is after all a leader in the luxury industry... So, over all; we enjoyed our river adventure so much, I am booking the upcoming “World Cruise 2018” from LA to Rome... Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Crystal continue to be my preferred cruise line but there are plenty others nearly as good - and better - in some areas. The big gripe with Crystal has always been the size of their staterooms. I see they are finally addressing that in a ... Read More
Crystal continue to be my preferred cruise line but there are plenty others nearly as good - and better - in some areas. The big gripe with Crystal has always been the size of their staterooms. I see they are finally addressing that in a limited way by increasing the number of penthouses and penthouse suites but, for many, its too little too late. Personally I don't mind the trade off of smaller staterooms for so many large and well thought out public spaces. This cruise was pretty well sold out (we were lucky enough to get an upgrade of several categories from a picture window room to one with a veranda on deck 9) yet the ship never seemed crowded, we never had to queue for anything, the feeling of gracious spaciousness sets this ship apart in my view. Embarkation was a breeze, the greeting was warm and our room was ready pretty well after lunch. We ate at all the eating venues and the quality was consistently good - and sometimes outstanding. The matching wines at dinner were sometimes ordinary but its easy enough to request something different. One thing I noticed in particular (this was my 12th cruise with Crystal) was the quality of the evening entertainment. It has improved markedly from what used to look like amateur high school productions, the Billy Joel tribute show was again outstanding, I'm still not sure about the Illuminate light show, impressive enough in the first 5 minutes and then you are stuck in the dark for another 25 minutes for much of the same thing. I just don't think it matches the type of passenger which Crystal attracts. The staff were consistently friendly and helpful, I was remembered by several of them which I think is always a nice touch. We did a Crystal excursion in each port, they were all overpriced for what they were but pleasant enough. This is an area they could do better in although I like the fact they never completely fill the buses so there's room to spare always. This cruise was originally intended to stop at Monterey, they quietly cancelled that without advising anyone and added another day onto San Francisco - so we ended up being there two nights - great city but a bit lazy on their part. The call to Astoria was a waste of time, we went to a cooking demonstration which was interesting enough but there was clearly very little to do there. So overall a pretty good experience, I am booked again next February on Symphony which will be after their dry dock, looking forward to seeing the improvements. On a separate subject, no surprise to see their recent announcement that the "air cruise" initiative has been cancelled before it even got off the ground. Blind Freddie could see this was never going to fly. "Redeploying" it to charter work is just about saving face. As many others have mentioned, their crazy expansion plans under the new CEO will only lead to tears. They need to stick to their core business, in my humble opinion. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was out third Crystal cruise and probably our last for a while . While the service and food were top notch , the average age of our fellow cruisers had to be well in the 80's . I'm not young by any stretch , 59 . But ... Read More
This was out third Crystal cruise and probably our last for a while . While the service and food were top notch , the average age of our fellow cruisers had to be well in the 80's . I'm not young by any stretch , 59 . But anywhere we went walkers , canes , rascals, wheelchairs . I'm sorry but I want to be with someone closer to my demographic. Perhaps Crystal can have themed cruises catering to younger people , eg: classic rocker or jazz performers. Maybe a yoga theme . They are going to need to attract younger people , because soon their client base wont be able to travel or just wont be here any longer . Sorry if this seems cruel and I realize and hope that one day I will be this old man that everyone complains about . Its hard to give up all the great things crystal has to offer , but until I get older I just may have to . Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our second cruise on the Serenity and I would rate it very highly again, with a couple of areas for improvement. The food is consistently wonderful. Last October we thought that Prego was good, but not better than the dining ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Serenity and I would rate it very highly again, with a couple of areas for improvement. The food is consistently wonderful. Last October we thought that Prego was good, but not better than the dining room. This cruise we felt that the food was improved, with more selections that were different than what was served in the Main Dining Room. Silk Road was delicious again. The Main Dining Room and the Buffet were both impressive, as was room service. The second-to-last evening's Dover Sole meal was truly spectacular. Wait service was impeccable as always, with the exception of the second evening's dinner in MDR. Then, it was slow almost to the point of being ridiculous. I attribute this mainly to the fact that almost every seat was filled for the special lobster/chateaubriand dinner. They really do need to try to stagger people more on that evening. Our cabin attendant, Natasa, was very attentive. The room was always serviced at a convenient time, and extra items supplied quickly when requested. I loved our cabin, a veranda stateroom. Even though it is pretty small, it is well-designed and cozy. If only it were about six inches wider, it would be easier to get around the bed, and my hubby wouldn't keep banging into the waste can in the middle of the night. There is plenty of storage for a one-week cruise and huge amounts of space that we left unused in the bathroom. The one thing that disappoints sometimes on Crystal is the entertainment. We are 50-somethings, quite a bit younger than the average age on this ship. We loved the Billy Joel show. However some of the other entertainment seemed to be aimed squarely at the 80+ crowd. One night it was such a tired cliche presentation, almost like Lawrence Welk, that I walked out. The music that I enjoyed most from the last cruise, the Astoria Strings, were gone. Just the violinist remained, and she played in the Crystal Cove with the pianist Richard Pucci most nights. In fact Richard seemed to be the one remaining of my favorite acts from the last cruise. He is very talented and I could listen to him all night. The excellent lounge pianist in Avenue Saloon from our last cruise was also gone, replaced with another tired, hokey guy who talked constantly and played little of interest. If Crystal wants to bring in the 40 and 50-somethings they are going to have to revamp all this. The movies shown on board in the Hollywood Theater are also bizarre: titles I had largely never heard of. Yet they played new releases on the TV's in the stateroom. Why not in the Theater? Overall I enjoyed the cruise, a 7-day through California which was competitively priced. However I will be watching to see if there is more cost-cutting in the entertainment before I Take a longer cruise on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
A concise review here, we chose this cruise as just a nice one week getaway. I am a California native and my dear wife is just about, having lived here for the past 40 or so years. We have been to all of the port cities several times, so ... Read More
A concise review here, we chose this cruise as just a nice one week getaway. I am a California native and my dear wife is just about, having lived here for the past 40 or so years. We have been to all of the port cities several times, so for us, not too much to explore. We were basically taking this cruise to unwind, have some great food and drink and be treated in luxury. Crystal satisfied that need for us. In fact we have done this (or a very similar itinerary) on Crystal twice before. So we did no shore excursions, but did wander a bit at the port cities. We were upgraded from an Ocean View to a nice 9th floor Veranda. The stateroom was excellent as was our stateroom attendant (waitress). Food and Service were impeccable throughout. Prego was especially good this time and my wife was very impressed with the Mushroom Soup in a bread bowl. At Silk Road (Nobu's Joint), we ordered a ton of appetizers, the popular Black Cod and the Steak. Mushroom soup here as well was a treat. Overall very tasty, but apparently the same meal at Nobu's NYC restaurant would set us back $400. It was not $400 worth of food, but it was quite nice! The surprise here was TASTES! What a great concept and delivery. We ate there every other night other than the two aforementioned specialty restaurants. We also loved to snack at the Bistro. Good stuff in there. My wife loved the Casino! She actually won. I was neutral. Bingo was a bit lame and we did not care for the Afternoon Tea sandwiches. Those need improvement. The Mozart Tea was a bit more impressive though. Entertainment was good, but I do miss the String Quartet! The Piano players and the violinist were good, but a Quartet would have been quite nice. The show that played in the dark with flashing lights was quite an experience. Do see it! The price was right and the week was great. No complaints! Well done Crystal. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary - visiting places I had not visited before in the Caribbean. This was my first time sailing on Crystal Serenity and the ship was as elegant and well appointed as I expected. I did not feel as ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary - visiting places I had not visited before in the Caribbean. This was my first time sailing on Crystal Serenity and the ship was as elegant and well appointed as I expected. I did not feel as comfortable with its size, however, though this is no fault of the ship. I prefer the size and guest number of Crystal Symphony. The embarkation was not as quick and trouble-free as my previous two. This sailing did not have a pre-cruise hotel program and so the air/sea program flew me in on the morning of embarkation, which made for a long day. Upon arrival at the cruise terminal we had to wait an hour to be allowed to board, and we were not given any information as to why we could not upon arrival. Upon embarkation things settled down, with the service from the crew being lovely as I have experienced before. My cabin was well appointed and even though I do get motion-sickness the majority of the cruise caused me no discomfort, it being between two decks with staterooms and near the middle of the ship. The exception was one particular night when the waves were very high and the wind was fierce, which made it necessary for me to take medication for motion sickness. One thing I did not expect was the the wind making it very uncomfortable going out on the balcony. The few times I was able to utilize it I had to hold down the items brought by room service. In addition, I noticed some wear and tear on the balcony bulkheads, which surprised me, as Crystal Symphony was immaculately kept from what I could see on my sailings aboard that vessel. The dining was, as always, wonderful. The service and cuisine in the main dining room were such that I almost did not want to dine in the specialty restaurants, though I did. The dining at Silk Road was superb - the lobster and shrimp tempura were wonderful. The mushroom soup served at Prego was delicious. I did have lunch at Tastes one afternoon, and was very impressed with the stir-fried dish I ordered. On one occasion at breakfast at the Lido Cafe a large flock of pelicans flew by the ship - it was splendid to see the birds in flight, not to mention surprising. The shore excursions were very well staffed and fascinating. I visited three different archaeological sites and an incredibly beautiful cenote. The guides were well informed, as I expected, and very humorous. The only complaint I can make regarding two of the excursions was that they were too rushed. We visited multiple sites on each excursion and, because of the distances traveled, did not get enough time at each site due to having to return to the ship for departure to the next port. I chose the volunteer excursion on this itinerary and was very satisfied with the amount of hands-on work we were able to do while at the site, a soup kitchen for the elderly. We did everything from washing dishes to calling out a bingo game for the residents to singing with them. On this itinerary I did not attend many activities on board, as I preferred to take advantage of the sun and beautiful weather, coming from a city that was experiencing temperatures a few degrees above zero at the time of the cruise. I did attend one of the Broadway shows and it was very enjoyable, though I did feel that though the performers were professionals, they did not appear to me to be as engaged as those who work on Crystal Symphony. Regardless, they were great performers and very entertaining. Disembarkation was very straight forward with no hiccups. Just a few points: I did not attend any movies in the Hollywood Theater as the viewings were very scarce and not very interesting, at least to me. As I mentioned the wait at the cruise terminal, after my horribly early flight to get to Miami, was very taxing. Not knowing what the delay in embarkation was about made it seem longer. I feel it would have helped to make it less tiring if we had been informed why we were waiting to be allowed to board. Needless to say, I look forward to my next cruise with Crystal next year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have cruised with Seabourn many times, but have sometimes been disappointed at the limited opportunities to ballroom dance. Crystal has much more dancing so we decided to try a short cruise. In general, we found the level of service ... Read More
We have cruised with Seabourn many times, but have sometimes been disappointed at the limited opportunities to ballroom dance. Crystal has much more dancing so we decided to try a short cruise. In general, we found the level of service from servers and cabin crew to be comparable to Seabourn's. Facilities were also comparable. However,the increased size of the ship (Seabourn has less than 500 passengers and Crystal has over 1000) may have been partly responsible for a major difference which was the interaction between upper level personnel and guests. On Seabourn, every staff member seems to have the mission of providing every guest he encounters with an additional reason to be enjoying the cruise. Whether it's just a warm hello or an intervention to solve a problem, on Seabourn, every staff member, from the cabin stewardess to the captain, is "dialed into" the guest's pleasure. Not so on Crystal. The officers and administrative staff appear are likely to pass a passenger without even giving eye contact. It was obvious to both my husband and me that staff regularly turned away, rather than acknowledge either of us. Another difference was the issue of gratuities. Although we do give gratuities on Seabourn, most passengers do not and staff do not expect it. On Crystal, gratuities are very much expected and food servers, in particular, go out of their way to form a relationship with you which tightens as the cruise is ending. The gratuity was almost expected. Without question, a Crystal cruise is far better than most of the other cruise lines offer. But Seabourn is even better. In our opinion, anyone who has cruised Seabourn would find Crystal lacking. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
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
Sail Date October 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
Sail Date September 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
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
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date July 2016
Having cruised on Seabourn, Regent, Oceania and other lines that I won't mention, I finally decided to give Crystal a try after hearing from a friend how good the service was on Crystal. I had refrained from going on this ship ... Read More
Having cruised on Seabourn, Regent, Oceania and other lines that I won't mention, I finally decided to give Crystal a try after hearing from a friend how good the service was on Crystal. I had refrained from going on this ship because I thought the patronage might be a bit old for me. But, we booked it with some younger friends and so I felt that I had my safety net. Hands down this was the best wait staff I have encountered on a cruise ship. The moment we were on board, Ricky was waiting on us, friendly, and helpful. He immediately new our names, and throughout the cruise greeted us with our names and gave us our drinks. He was exceptional, but the rest of our waiters were great. So my friend was correct about the service. I never saw one person scowl or look grumpy, they were all extremely pleasant. The not so great. Veranda rooms are tiny compared to Seabourn and Regent. We should have booked a suite, so please do that, or not. The cruise itself I knew would not be exciting, but my main reason for going on the cruise was to visit Quebec. Great city, got off the ship early in the morning and wandered through the old part of the city. Beautiful. Went up to take a city tour which was great. Walked back down and noticed that now there were many large cruise ships in port, so about 6,000 people milling about, but not smartly, ha. Nothing to do with Crystal, just the nature of cruising now. To get to the improvement part. Dining is set, 6:00 or 8:30. I much prefer open dining but apparently Crystal cannot accommodate this. I was assigned late dining and begged to be changed to no avail. I ended up paying for specialty restaurants to eat at a more reasonable hour, which was fine, just please, please don't make me wait till 8:30. So really, between the small room and the dining hour, things were ok. The piano player was great, and if you are a night owl the karaoke was fun. Trivia was a disaster!!! They ask a question and offer multiple choice answers. The questions were so hard, even guessing there were teams that got less than 25% correct. There was no interaction between the staff member and the teams. No joking around, no comraderie amongst the teams. In other words, no fun. But I know this only impacts a few. By the way, saw the cruise director once and he was a nice guy, but interaction between passengers and entertainment needs to improve. You really cannot complain about cruising, after all, you are waited on and pampered. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our third cruise and first on Crystal Serenity so we are fairly new to cruising. We embarked in Rome and the process was effortless. Disembarkation in Istanbul was terrible. We left the ship about 9:30 am and stood in line for ... Read More
This was our third cruise and first on Crystal Serenity so we are fairly new to cruising. We embarked in Rome and the process was effortless. Disembarkation in Istanbul was terrible. We left the ship about 9:30 am and stood in line for about two hours to go through passport control. We had prearranged transportation to our hotel in Istanbul and that was perfect although a bit chaotic. I was disappointment in both restaurants. The food at Prego was ordinary at best as was the service. I really enjoyed Tastes. We chose the open seating because we preferred to be free to dine when we wish. Our friends were disappointed that with open dining, we would be seated as a twosome or foursome when we ate together. In hindsight, they would have enjoyed sitting at a table for 8 so they could to meet new people. We would enjoy either. The ship was simply perfect for us. The weather this time of year couldn't have been better. I arranged most of our excursions independently of the ship and they were perfect. The Port of Sorrento was lovely. I have been to Pompeii and Capri before, so my husband and I chose to wonder on our own. Capri was crazy crowded and with several ships in port, it was a nightmare of chaos. Sorrento was lovely the next day as I think most people take the other excursions and miss how lovely Sorrento is. Entertainment was good, although we preferred to go to our room and relax after a busy, busy day. Overall a wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our 13 cruise on crystal all have been on symphony, this was our first on Serenity. This was our third crossing that lectures were over the top the shows were also good. I thought the food service in the main dinning room ... Read More
This was our 13 cruise on crystal all have been on symphony, this was our first on Serenity. This was our third crossing that lectures were over the top the shows were also good. I thought the food service in the main dinning room was ok not great. The presentations of the plates had no garnish at all. We were in Penthouse with a regular suite not worth the money. Flowers were dead most of the time. Service was nothing to write home about. The seas were very calm the Captain was delightful. The ship was very clean as clean as you can get with all the people on board. But I would sail symphony any time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We have taken a few cruises on Crystal and for the most part we have been quite satisfied. Service is generally very good but Crystal needs to rethink their tipping policy and advertise accordingly. Is it included or not? The staff has yet ... Read More
We have taken a few cruises on Crystal and for the most part we have been quite satisfied. Service is generally very good but Crystal needs to rethink their tipping policy and advertise accordingly. Is it included or not? The staff has yet to be informed. Crystal's brochures claim tipping has been included in the cost of the cruise. Yet if you research "inclusive" cruise line tipping policies, Crystal states "tipping is not expected but will be appreciated" whereas Regent and Seabourn state "tipping is not expected" period. The Crystal staff clearly expects to be tipped, especially the staff in the dining rooms. They all but had their hand out the next to last night of the cruise and their behavior made for an uncomfortable evening. Crystal has also taken to cutting corners. Initially their "all inclusive" included meals in their alternate dining venues. Crystal has instituted a policy where only one evening is included now and Crystal imposes a $30 per person charge if you eat in the alternate dining venue more than one time. We chose to do so and noticed the dining rooms were half empty - apparently other cruisers are not reacting well to the up-charge. Also, their wine choices are limited and Crystal now has their own "label" of lower end wine that they encourage the staff to pour. Really - on a luxury line! Unlike other luxury cruise lines Crystal does not truly provide for open seating at dinner as other luxury lines do. Crystal makes a half hearted attempt to allow "open diners" to eat in a segregated area buried in the back of the dining room. They clearly discourage open dining - big mistake. Service at second seating can be rushed - often thought waiter was in a hurry to get off duty. These flaws aside, Crystal delivers in most other areas. Cabin was spotless and well maintained. Room service was prompt. Public areas were large and meticulous and there is always a quite place to curl up with a book.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This review is written from the perspective of long-time cruisers on “mainstream” lines who decided to try a “luxury” line cruise aboard Crystal Serenity. The question with which we’d always wrestled was, “Is it worth it?” ... Read More
This review is written from the perspective of long-time cruisers on “mainstream” lines who decided to try a “luxury” line cruise aboard Crystal Serenity. The question with which we’d always wrestled was, “Is it worth it?” While the answer obviously depends in large part on how much you can and want to pay. However, for those who can spend the money, the question is whether they should. We would say “definitely yes” on luxury lines – we’re less enthusiastic about Crystal. A pure dollar per dollar comparison doesn’t really work. If you compare the cheapest Crystal cabin (ocean view) with a similar cabin on a mainstream line, you’re better off financially on the mainstream line even with all of the Crystal all-inclusives. Ditto suite to suite. However, the cheapest Crystal vs. a suite on a mainstream line is more comparable. In the end, there are many reasons that a Crystal cruise is “worth” the extra cost – you have to decide if these things are important to you. Embarkation involved several steps/stops. At the first, we showed out cruise ticket and passport. That led to security. Then a stop for your picture. Then a final stop to get your cabin card. While we’re used to “one stop shopping” when all the above is done at the same time, the Crystal process was fairly quick. By the time we arrived at our cabin, our bags were already there! Cabins weren’t ready until 3:00 but they invited passengersto the main dining room for lunch (vs. the buffet restaurant on most cruise lines). There were plenty of tables, service was exemplary, food was tasty, and, when you’re given a glass of soda or wine without signing for anything, you start to realize what all-inclusive means. We splurged for a Penthouse suite. The cabin is nicely decorated, in great condition, and very modern. However, compared to mainstream lines, the cabin is small. There is a very small sitting room, a makeup area (nice for ladies but somewhat a waste of space), a walk-in closet, and a bath with Jacuzzi tub, separate shower and two sinks with marble aplenty. We found the size fine for two – if you have a third person, it would be crowded. The balcony had two chairs with ottomans. We never heard noise from above. They give you large sizes of bath amenities and the towels were superb! The PH butler was exceptional – he made our cruise. Pleasant, responsive – willing to do things we hadn’t even thought about. There was a mini-bar that was stocked with whatever we requested and exceptional hors d’hoeuvres were always available. MDR food was uniformly very good – better quality and more choices than MDR on mainstream lines but not quite as good as their specialty restaurants. There were plenty of delicious options every night and we never had a bad meal. Desserts were a tad disappointing. Our dinner at Silk Road was a highlight in terms of food and service. Prego was fine but no better than the best of the MDR. Service throughout was excellent – we’re fast eaters and we never waited for any course to be served. There was a quiet efficiency (speed, lack of “clatter” of dishes, lack of confusion) to the service that was very nice. Dinner was uniformly a pleasant experience. We didn't attend all of the shows, but those we did see were quite good. The production numbers were definitely a huge notch above most mainstream lines. There was always plenty of seating. The "secondary" entertainment (other venues) wasn't really to our tastes and the timing was skewed late, but that's simply a matter of personal preference. As mentioned above, a huge plus was not having to pull out our cruise card and sign for something every five minutes. There is a certain serenity (no pun intended) in being able to order a soda or cappuccino or glass of wine or ice cream or bottled water, etc. without pain. The first (and only) time I used my key card was making a gift shop purchase. Yes, you’re paying for it in the long run, but the “price” of the freedom and flexibility counts for a lot in our book. Another plus was the fact that Crystal wasn’t trying to take more of your money at every pass. No “inches of gold” or “T-shirt sales” or spa pitches or “bingo, bingo bingo,” or art auction or . . . If you like those things, you’ll be disappointed with Crystal but not having the constant pressure to buy, buy, buy was an unexpected joy. Along those lines was the lack of constant announcements. Crystal treats you like adults – they put the information you need in the daily bulletin and trust you to read it. Basically, the “noise level” is much lower, which for us at least led to a more enjoyable and relaxing vacation. However, not all was perfect, and there were several areas where Crystal did not live up to our expectations. The first was shore excursions. Of the five we took, the average grade would be a C+. On the plus side, the wine tasting with Dewey Markham in Bordeaux was simply outstanding and the Douro river cruise in Porto was very good thanks to an excellent guide. Among the other tours, one left 30 minutes late due to “traffic” (on a Saturday morning) even though none of the other buses was late. On the next tour, our first (unscheduled) stop was 30 minutes at the airport restrooms. The Crystal escort was always the last one on the bus and a stop for "coffee" was completely disorganized. Two passengers became so frustrated with the delays that they took a cab back to the ship. The Crystal escort was constantly the last person on the bus -- invariably arrived 10 minutes after all the passengers were aboard, without apology. Our final tour to fishing villages was mismanaged in terms of time (we spent more than an hour at a sardine factory) with a guide who was silent 75% of the tour. We discussed this with Crystal shore excursion personnel. Our concerns were met with versions of “we can’t control the guides” or “every guide does things differently.” Wrong. Crystal ultimately bears responsibility for its tours and especially its Crystal hosts. We were told someone would follow up with us – no one ever did. In the end, Crystal’s indifference was surprising and telling. The worst experience came near the end of the cruise. All passengers disembarking in Lisbon had to clear Portuguese customs on the ship. The event was an unmitigated disaster. Timing was 4-7 pm, meaning everyone with early dinner came around 4. Over 1000 people had to go through customs and there were only two officials. The event was held in a small room and the line outside was literally longer than half the length of the ship. The crowd soon overwhelmed the air conditioning making it unbearably hot. Passengers stood in line for 75 minutes. There were no chairs. No one brought water or food. We showed up at 4:15 and finished at 5:30; we missed the final sail-away and had to sprint in order to make dinner on time -- not exactly a relaxing last evening. We understand that certain aspects of customs are beyond the ship’s control. However, Crystal did absolutely nothing to ameliorate the situation, such as handing out numbers with assigned times, handing out water, moving the event to a larger venue, etc. There was no senior officer present and there was no apology to the passengers. Bottom line: we've "pre-cleared" customs before and this was the most mismanaged event on any cruise we’ve taken. On departure, we’d arranged a private car through the ship’s concierge. We arrived 15 minutes before our assigned time only to be told we were “late." The concierge showed up a short time later and assured us we were definitely not late. Not a great way to depart. In the end, there were many great things about Crystal. We loved the all-inclusive approach and the lack of constantly being hit up for activities and dollars. And for the most part, the crew was incredibly professional and personable -- their experience shows. If you can afford it, an “all-inclusive” line is a real pleasure and, in our view, definitely "worth it." But, too many things didn’t go well on this cruise and at times there seemed to be an attitude of “we don’t really care” that we found unsatisfying. While we will definitely try a luxury line again, it probably won’t be Crystal.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My husband and I (late 40s/early 50s) took this cruise with his brother's family which includes his wife and 2 daughters who are in their early 20s. This was our 17th cruise, but our first on a "premium" line. We were ... Read More
My husband and I (late 40s/early 50s) took this cruise with his brother's family which includes his wife and 2 daughters who are in their early 20s. This was our 17th cruise, but our first on a "premium" line. We were expecting an older crowd, similar to what we saw on HAL, but were pleasantly surprised that there was such a mix of passengers. I can understand that now as getting around the ports and doing most of the shore excursions would have been pretty challenging for most older folks. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, found the ship to be clean and the layout convenient, but with one or two minor exceptions, we did not find the food, service or entertainment/enrichment to be significantly better than what we have experienced on lines such as Celebrity and Princess. Yes, having drinks and gratuities included was great, but you certainly pay for that in the price of the cruise. Embarkation in Barcelona went quickly as we arrived in the late afternoon - it was a Friday so traffic getting from the airport to the port was a nightmare - we used Crystal's transfer service and somehow between taking our bags from the van to our cabin, they misplaced 2 of them and it took hours for them to find the bags again. Our in-laws said they were greeted with champagne when they arrived earlier in the day, but we were not. Our cabin was on deck 10, and was pretty much the size of other cabins we have been in, but the bathroom was bigger including double sinks and a real tub/shower, which we appreciated. We had a whole day in Barcelona the next day and had hired a private tour guide that was recommended by someone we know. Barcelona is a great city with lots to see and do, and we'd definitely like to go back again. Other ports/excursions included: Valencia - bike tour: nice ride through a very large park, spent some time in the old city and then rode around the City of Arts and Sciences which is very interesting; Palma de Mallorca - did the Valldemossa tour as it was recommended by a couple of friends, very quaint town; St Tropez - chose the winery and beach excursion and were expecting a picturesque estate and then onto a beach resort for relaxation and lunch (we're in France, right?) - it was actually a very small, rustic winery in a barn with a beach on the property and if you didn't bring a beach towel, you had nowhere to sit - fun and the food and wine were great, but not what we expected - maybe they need to rewrite the description of this one; Porto Venere - my favorite stop - we did the island trek and then walked around the town and went up to the fort and church - very beautiful; Genoa - the palaces tour did not disappoint; Florence - a long day but worth the bus ride. The entertainment on board was typical of what you would experience on any cruise - production shows, magician, string quartet, piano players, bands scattered around the common areas each evening. We particularly enjoyed the dancing in the Palm Court throughout the evening, and the Avenue Saloon was a crowd favorite with lots of sing-alongs. Overall we enjoyed this cruise, as we love cruising and it was our first time cruising in Europe, but I don't know if we would choose Crystal again.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
The cabin was as advertised and as expected. The bedding was luxurious. The bathroom was spacious by ship standards. The food was good, not great, which was disappointing, since we expected great. The cheese selection was outstanding. The ... Read More
The cabin was as advertised and as expected. The bedding was luxurious. The bathroom was spacious by ship standards. The food was good, not great, which was disappointing, since we expected great. The cheese selection was outstanding. The "included" red wines were not good; the included white wines were acceptable, but no better; there were a couple of sparkling wines that were very good, and one very good champagne---but they ran out of the latter before the cruise ended and didn't replenish, although we were in France at the time. (And the sommeliers didn't want you to order it anyway. They were, on the whole, not helpful. They pushed the wines which cost extra, and those wines were expensive.) If you were lucky and got a good maitre d', he steered you towards the better-prepared food choices. The specialty restaurants were good if you knew what to order (one night the Italian restaurant had linguini made with fresh clams from that day's port, and it was outstanding.)Room service was good.The shore excursions were outrageously overpriced. A $635 Grand Prix ticket (plus a mediocre boxed lunch, ear phones, a thin seat cushion and a guide per 20 people to walk you from the ship to the grandstand) cost $829. I agree that a mark-up is appropriate, but 30% is too much. We booked the cruise at the last minute, so had no choice but to purchase from Crystal. We were told that other shore excursions also had astronomical mark-ups.Crystal's representatives told us that wi-fi was free; it was not, which was very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was our fifth Crystal Cruise and possibly our last. In my eyes, it was the classes and fabulous, educational lectures during sea days during our prior Crystal Cruises which distinguished Crystal from other luxery & non-luxury ... Read More
This was our fifth Crystal Cruise and possibly our last. In my eyes, it was the classes and fabulous, educational lectures during sea days during our prior Crystal Cruises which distinguished Crystal from other luxery & non-luxury lines. With port days each day of our cruise, there were no lectures. We found the attention of the crew much worse than it had been in the past. There were no beautifully presented luncheon buffets or the final buffet extravaganza that was too beautiful to touch. Our housekeeper didn't refill our refrigerator with items that had been used. She left empty, used glasses and plates so that we had to call Housekeeping to remove them. We needed to flag down waiters to refill our drinks during breakfast. This isn't acceptable on a luxury cruise. Also, they bill the cruise as providing top shelf liquor however, the wines were only mediocre. We keep kosher and as always, we found the food extraordinary. We even asked our head waiter to bring out enough of our baby lamb chops to share with the other diners at our table and they devoured them and rated them an A+! However, my intent when I go on a cruise is to experience the cruise experience which can only be done shipboard. As there is nothing happening on ship when in port, that defeats my purpose. Will I go on Number 6? I don't know. So far I haven't found any itineraries that satisfy my requirement for sufficient sea days. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Although still very good, this cruise disappointed us from the perspective of service that is Crystal's trademark. The new all-inclusive program has resulted in a profound lack of enthusiasm among the staff. Now that everyone receives ... Read More
Although still very good, this cruise disappointed us from the perspective of service that is Crystal's trademark. The new all-inclusive program has resulted in a profound lack of enthusiasm among the staff. Now that everyone receives the same gratuity regardless of service rendered, the extra attention and care that spoiled passengers in the past has fallen away. For example, our cabin stewardess was adequate but there was no automatic replenishment of bath supplies when they got low. We had to ask for more shampoo, soap and for the mini fridge to be refilled. Also, no more Aveda products except for the body lotion :( The girls were very polite and reserved, but nothing one would not encounter on another ship. DINING: The food is still fabulous. Everything on board was delicious! I sent only one thing back and it was not their fault. Mario the Maitre d' helped us after the first night when we requested to have our table moved. Our waitress was slow yet thorough,but again,nothing exceptional. Every night I requested a glass of ice for my wine. On past Crystal cruises, I only had to ask once and after that, it was brought to me automatically. Thanks to Christian,the sommelier,who on the final two nights,remembered and brought it to me. To us, the all inclusive alcohol is not attractive since we don't drink that much, however, many found it so. Also, I noticed a lot of wasted drinks around as people might try something for the first time, not like it and put it down. In my humble opinion, mixing alcohol and a passenger roster that's mostly senior is risky.ENTERTAINMENT:The Crystal singers and dancers were good,and the costumes were beautiful. The Galaxy Theater is small enough to be intimate. They did the usual salutes to Hollywood & Broadway. The very best was THE ROCKET MAN show with Jonathan Kane. He was unbelievably good and received a standing ovation. The Casino kept busy after the show and the roulette wheel was good to me!LOL A TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT:I'm going to keep this short,but an unforeseen fiasco arose when we innocently tried to exchange a CRYSTAL SERENITY shirt purchased on last year's transatlantic cruise.Rather than give it away,I recommended that we bring it back because Crystal is SO service oriented. I was positive they would gladly accomodate us. BIG MISTAKE!!!Enter the senior retail manager who places her rulebook before customer satisfaction. SHE: "NO EXCHANGE! Shirt was purchased over a years ago(by 5 days). NO EXCHANGE! Shirt is covered with food. NO EXCHANGE!You definately wore this more than once in spite of what you tell me.NO COMPROMISES!I do not have that decisionmaking ability." We saw a pattern, so we backed off. In spite of her best efforts,she did not spoil our good time, I was totally caught off guard though because I firmly believed that Crystal prided itself in customer satisfaction at any price. Had I known that we would meet with such resistance, I would not have even bothered packing the stupid shirt :( MAMA LEE:Crystal Serenity's best asset and overall goodwill ambassador. She's a wonderful little lady and semi-celebrity on the ship. Everyone who meets her, loves her. I did, too. Crystal had better treat her right because if Mama's not happy, NOBODY's happy. Also, Crystal's Japanese customer rep, Urara, is absolutely adorable and very, very helpful. I HATE to criticize Crystal because past cruises have made up some of the best memories in my life. I still have a soft spot in my heart for them but I cannot in good conscious, recommend them unconditionally like I once did. Other cruiselines are chasing Crystal by training their staffs better and they are catching up. In many instances, we received the same level of service on other ships that we did this time on Crystal. Unfortunately, the price is no longer a direct reflection of the value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
For Christmas 2012, I decided to return to Crystal after a 4-year break to try other lines. I had always said that nothing else at sea compares to Crystal. But this cruise was a disappointment. Too much smoking, no one to greet us on ... Read More
For Christmas 2012, I decided to return to Crystal after a 4-year break to try other lines. I had always said that nothing else at sea compares to Crystal. But this cruise was a disappointment. Too much smoking, no one to greet us on embarkation day, unmotivated staff. It really seems as if the once-great Crystal has fallen a few notches. This wasn't a bad cruise. The food was fabulous and we had a great time enjoying the sea day activities. But for the premium fares we paid, and based on prior experience with the line, we expected more. I had read that the 10-year old Serenity had been updated. Yes, our Deck 9 Verandah Room was lovely. But everything else on the ship still seemed dated and boring, with enough wicker to fill grandma's summer home. We did love the storage space in our room and the double sinks in the bathroom. And the verandah was a good size to accommodate us, two chairs and a table. Our room stewardess was just so-so. Everything we ate on the ship was amazing. There wasn't one misstep in the 14 days we were onboard. Even the desserts, usually blah on most cruises, were fabulous. Food was always available whether through the main dining venues, the Bistro, or servers bringing around trays of hors d'oeuvres late at night. We really enjoyed both Prego and Silk Road for alternative dining and also enjoyed the big Christmas day buffet. Service was where Crystal really messed up this time. Once we embarked, there were no stewards to greet us or welcome us onboard. Even on Celebrity, which is roughly half the price, employees are swarming you on embarkation day offering mimosas and directions. When we sailed on Crystal before, the dining room servers would always remember our names, drink preferences, etc. This time, they asked us every night what we wanted to drink, eventhough we ordered the same thing everyday. Dining room service was slow. And most of the crew didn't seem particularly happy to be there. It was hard to get attention from servers in the Lido, as they were busy cuddling up to all of the guests who cruise several times a year. Those of us who cruise occasionally, were left waiting for someone to come take an order for a soda. And on the first day of the cruise, as we were taking a tour of the ship, the Maitre'D blocked us from entering Prego to have a look, saying that we didn't have an appointment to speak with someone. We explained that we didn't need to speak with anyone has we had pre-booked a dining time - we just wanted to see what the room looked like. It was the most awkward cruise we had ever been on. Also, Crystal really needs to step into the current trends, and eliminate smoking from their ships. Most of the Deck 6, the casino and the Crystal Cove were filled with smoke and we stayed away from those locations. The whole ship feels musty with old smoke. Daily entertainment was fine, filled with the usual Bingo, trivia and enrichment programs. Dr. Ruth Westheimer was the guest speaker, and I heard great things about her 2 lectures. The shows in the Galaxy Theater were fine. We had seen a few of them before - especially the "Million Dollar Musicals" production that they refuse to retire (we first saw it in 1996). There was one show which completely stood out - "Rocket Man" was an Elton John tribute show with amazing singing and a great Elton John impersonator. It's not as cheesy as it sounds. It was one of the best shows I have seen on any cruise ship ever. We sailed roundtrip out Miami to the Eastern Caribbean. The ports weren't anything remarkable, but it was nice to have a relaxing warm weather cruise. Our cruise had a maiden port call at Ponce, Puerto Rico. There was nothing there. The cruise even only offered one excursion to a museum. Based on feedback from other guests, I doubt Crystal will stop there again. I would not completely write Crystal off after this. But it would be hard to win back my loyalty unless they offer a fabulous itinerary when I need to cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We returned this week from our second cruise on the Serenity - about our 25th cruise overall. This was a 14 day itinerary from Miami to LA through the Panama Canal. Boarding was effortless. A nice buffet was ready for us to help kill ... Read More
We returned this week from our second cruise on the Serenity - about our 25th cruise overall. This was a 14 day itinerary from Miami to LA through the Panama Canal. Boarding was effortless. A nice buffet was ready for us to help kill time until our cabin was ready. Food - Overall the food was excellent with one notable exception. We requested a table for 2. We were assigned one but in a very poor location that could not be corrected for a couple of days. Apparently many more oele than expected requested early seating and this created seating issues. Eventually more and more people starting opting for room service and this opened up more tables in the dining room. My wife did get I'll afterveating in the Italian restaurant - not sure exactly what the culprit was but it took her a couple of days to recover. Food at the grill was very good. Room service was quick but the food could have been hotter. I thought the lunch buffet could have had more variety - roast chicken of one type or another every day. The 2 special buffets were excellent. Cabin - we had a deluxe stateroom with balcony. Nice size, comfortable bed, very nice towels in the bathroom. Our stewardess was fantastic. Major drawback was shortage of electrical outlets. Service - the room, pool, and bar staff were friendly, knowledgeable, and very good at their jobs. Atmosphere - I am 59 years old and felt very young, definitely in the youngest 20 percent of the guests. The ship seemed very empty except just before and after the early dinner seating. I'm not a fan of formal nights but most everyone on this ship loved it. No other options other than room service. Someone even complained because some people dared to walk around the ship not appropriately dressed up. Too snobby for my tastes and almost a deal killer if I consider Crystal again. Excursions - one of Crystal's strongpoints and excellent on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We were totally delighted with the service of ALL the staff and crew on board. To be truthful the stateroom was a bit smaller than we expected based on what is show on Crystal's web page...More narrow space between bed and ... Read More
We were totally delighted with the service of ALL the staff and crew on board. To be truthful the stateroom was a bit smaller than we expected based on what is show on Crystal's web page...More narrow space between bed and walkththrough towards bathroom. Silversea equivalent cabins are bigger. The prodcuction shows were the best! The food was quite above average but again not what I expected..either in the main dining room or the specialty restaurants...I expected a ***** experience and it was a as ***+ experience...the service in all the dining venues was indeed ***** They need to get their 'open seating ' program better organized...one tended to miss several show room numbers [only one several evening] if one booked a 7:30 reservation! Shops are delightful and well stocked..The photography on board is way too expensive..mark up from their costs probably is 500%. But again, purchase of photos is voluntary. Bottles of water were not consistently available on shore excurcusions. Personally we were disappointed with all the tours that Crystal provided. The guides, while knowledgeable, were boring and appeare tired at what they were doing. We felt rushed through at several of the sites. The private tours that we had arranged prior to the cruise were far better! The description of the shore excursions in their brochure can be misleading! In spite of the above, we thoroughly enjoyed our voyage, priamrily due to the staff on board.....A bit costly $20,000.00 for this vacation [incl. business class upgrade] was it worth it......YES... Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I have taken a couple of weeks to reflect on my first experience on Crystal cruises. I think, all told, I am glad for the experience, but it did not live up to the very high standards I had set based on other reviews and the boards. The ... Read More
I have taken a couple of weeks to reflect on my first experience on Crystal cruises. I think, all told, I am glad for the experience, but it did not live up to the very high standards I had set based on other reviews and the boards. The good (and very good): -Our agent had secured early boarding for us, so that was great. We arrived at about 12:15. There was no one else in line, and we were escorted to lunch and then had a little time to explore before we were able to access our cabin. When we did get to our cabin, our luggage was already waiting, and we were unpacked and enjoying the ship by 3pm. -Our head waiter and senior waiter were an absolute treat. Our head waiter especially went way out of his way to ensure we had a wonderful dining experience every night. -Our stewardess was lovely. She tried really hard to accommodate our every need, although the ship did not have certain things which surprised me (like green apples and pretzels--??). -Having Marvin Hamlisch on board for a performance was a delight. -We also enjoyed the special NFL greats speaker series. -The main pool is very nice; and there were always chairs available to sit and enjoy the day -The food in the main dining room was very good; better than many mainland restaurants, actually. We thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the cruise...especially the "special" desserts that the head waiter prepared each night. -The European itinerary was perfect; exactly what we were looking for! -The cruise director on board was simply phenomenal...a real joy to meet! -We really enjoyed the daily Reflections...especially the introductions to each of the ports. -The excursions were well thought out and put together, albeit a little pricey. The one time there was a problem with one, they did refund part of the price, which was appreciated. -We thoroughly enjoyed most of the other guests we met...a treat since we were not sure what to expect (we are in our late 30's/early 40's) The not very good: (ps: I have names of the individuals below, if someone from Crystal is reading this and is interested) CABINS: -The couches in the cabins uncomfortable, and they are itchy when you sit on them with shorts...I know they are supposed to be getting leather ones very soon, which will be a LOT more comfortable. -The beds are actually pretty uncomfortable. It took a couple of nights before I realized I could ask for another featherbed to make it softer. That helped a lot. -The scent of the Aveda products in the bathroom was overwhelming, and I was very surprised that there were no other options. I ended up buying something on the shore. I think Crystal might investigate "scentless" options for passengers with sensitive skin/allergies, or at least one of Aveda's milder scents for passengers who prefer them. -The cabin doors are unbelievably thin...even conversation at a normal volume in the hallway can be heard in the rooms...as can the kids who kept running up and down the hallways. DINING: -The couple of nights with "open seating" in the main dining room were the worst nights for us, since the service was so spotty. There were also some service challenges on the Lido deck in terms of getting food in a timely fashion for both lunch and dinner. -There were some incredibly rude waiters in Prego--the specialty restaurant. Both nights I was there they were actually making fun of other passengers. I could not believe it, and actually reported it to the guest hostess on board since it made me so uncomfortable. She told me the dining manager would get in touch with me, but he never did. BOOKING AGAIN: -I wanted to take advantage of the on-board booking discount, and I got the feeling that the woman who was working at that desk did not care if I booked again or not. It was a stark contrast to how she had been talking to the older couple right before me...and quite disappointing. PUBLIC AREAS/LAUNDRY: -The ship does not have any comfortable places to sit to just read a book in the evening, except the bar in the main lobby, but the smoke often chased me away. In fact, ALL of the bars have smoking, which for me is an obstacle to enjoying the space. I wonder if Crystal might consider creating a non-smoking bar??? -A lot of the public areas seem a little dated; I am hoping this is rectified soon! -The laundry room ran out of dryer sheets quickly and were not replaced. Also, Crystal should place signs in the laundry rooms reminding guests to be aware of the timing of their washers and dryers. Especially when one machine is out of order (which it was for the entire cruise), the ability for quick "turn-over" is only respectful, although some passengers had no qualms about leaving their laundry for hours at a time and returning whenever it suited them (and then they had the nerve to complain about people removing their items!). NOT CRYSTAL'S FAULT, BUT STILL AFFECTED OUR TRIP: On this voyage, there were over 100 children, ranging in age from a couple of months to teenagers. The older kids were actually pretty good (except for running up and down the halls at night), but the parents really let their little kids run rampant around the ship and pool area. They were throwing toys in the pool, almost hitting other guests, and they were running around playing tag, and yelling, etc. Since they were with their parents, there was nothing Guest Services could do (or so they told me). But this is NOT a playground at home!! Again, a simple reminder in the daily cruise reflections might have made a positive difference. I made this suggestion, too, but it was ignored. So, all in all, I am glad for the experience. I did like it better than Regent, with whom we have sailed twice (Tahiti and Alaska trips). But, I am not looking to rush back either...I do have my $100 deposit down, so perhaps 2012...we'll see. At least now I have a more realistic expectation for my experience that should help next time... Read Less
Sail Date August 2010

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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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