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4 Crystal Serenity Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Caribbean - Western

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
Sail Date January 2017
Lots of puzzle pieces to put this voyage in motion! The adventure all began because my brother-in-law wanted to embark from New Orleans, add that to the fact my husband and I wanted to sail over our anniversary (December 17) and on ... Read More
Lots of puzzle pieces to put this voyage in motion! The adventure all began because my brother-in-law wanted to embark from New Orleans, add that to the fact my husband and I wanted to sail over our anniversary (December 17) and on Crystal! Not to mention friends who wanted to join in on the fun, could not sail over Christmas. What was the likelihood?!?! A year and a half later, all I can say our time together on and off the Crystal Serenity during those two weeks was the best of best times! From one who is totally into Christmas and has sailed on various cruise lines enjoying many holiday cruises, this ship was decked out in absolutely the most gorgeous decor that I had ever seen while on the seas. We were even able to have our butler set up an artificial Christmas Tree in our suite. Trimmed by the staff, it was beautifully decorated, lights and all! Throughout the various ports, my husband and I would purchase a hand made Christmas ornament relective of the islands we explored. Talk about being spoiled...the food, the entertainment, the daytime enrichment classes, ... everything excelled. We loved reviewing our French from a Berlitz instructor who gave both morning and afternoon classes. The practice was fun and we were able to speak French on two Caribbean islands. Learning how to create I Movies was also a plus as both my husband and I have continued making short videos. Having taught school for thirty years, all instructors deserved an A+. That is what Crystal is all about. The finest in everything. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
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
I was finally able to take my mother on her first Crystal cruise (Serenity 01-04/10-01/11/10).After 30+ cruises on other lines (mostly Holland America and Royal Caribbean), Crystal made it a short and somewhat affordable cruise available. ... Read More
I was finally able to take my mother on her first Crystal cruise (Serenity 01-04/10-01/11/10).After 30+ cruises on other lines (mostly Holland America and Royal Caribbean), Crystal made it a short and somewhat affordable cruise available. Everything about the Serenity was as advertised. It's accommodations were luxurious and the service was spectacular. My mother wanted to go on the Serenity in order to take advantage of the Nobu sushi bar. After reading reviews on Cruisecritic.com I was a bit worried we might not be able to get into the first come first serve sushi bar. What a joy it was to find that it was not as popular with the cruisers on this trip. We were able to eat at Nobu 3 times and we were so awed by it we are planning our next cruise on Crystal. What we would have spent at Nobu's NYC restaurant would near $300. Three nights on the cruise almost paid for the trip itself. I would be hard pressed to find any flaws with the cruise. The only problem would be the lack of passenger activities made available to us.It seams that Crystal is targeting an audience of people who take shorter cruises.This would also be the first time I have never even made it to the "Lido" buffet as the dinners in the main dining room as well as the sushi bar made it unnecessary to bother with the buffet.One other thing about the cruise, of which Crystal had no control was the cold weather.It was overcast in the Turks & Caicos and Grand Cayman islands. But it was spooky cold (30 degrees F) in Key West. I hope to see more reviews about this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010

Top Crystal Serenity Itineraries

Crystal Serenity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 5.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 4.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.2
Service 4.5 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 5.0 4.1

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