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Crystal Serenity Review

5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
291 reviews
43 Awards

Disappointing Cruise

Review for Crystal Serenity to the Eastern Caribbean
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TxnAquarian
10+ Cruises • Age 40s

Rating by category

Embarkation
Dining
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Additional details

Sail Date: Dec 2012
Cabin:

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.

Cabin Review

Cabin A

Port Reviews

Tortola

We were very unimpressed by Tortola. However, to be fair, our booked excursion to see The Baths at Virgin Gorda, had been cancelled due to high swells. So that left us on our own to wander around the uninspiring port town. I'd like to go back and do an excursion next time.

St. Lucia

The port town of Castries is scary. But we did a lovely tour to Soufriere, which included a hike and scenic views of the Grand Pitons. Very beautiful day.

Guadeloupe

We docked at the town of Pointe Pitre. It was a really grungy, scary town. We only wandered for 45 minutes or so before going back to the ship. The vendors were aggressive and it was very uncomfortable. Next time we go here, we will take an excursion.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten is you typical, overrun island port. I think the best bet is to head over to the French side to Marigot or find a quiet beach area. The port area is nice, clean and modern with plenty of shopping. We had a great day, as we went to Maho Beach to watch the planes land. They are so close, you get blown over. It was really fun. Our friends went to Marigot and really enjoyed it. I have been to St. Maarten several times and always find great spots to visit away from the crowds.

St. Thomas

St. Thomas is beautiful. We docked at Havensight and walked into the town. It was a Sunday, and all the vendors were going to close at 2pm, so the town was packed with shoppers. There is not much to buy there, other than jewelery. We looked for a place to have lunch, but didn't see many appealing options. We ended up stopping at a place closer to the ship, in a little yacht club / shopping area. There wasn't much to do here, but it was scenic and modern.

San Juan

We actually stopped at the town of Ponce, Puerto Rico. It was a maiden call for Crystal. There was nothing to do there. The cruise only offered one excursion and even the shore excursion staff couldn't offer suggestions. The two options were to take a trolley to a promenade area or take a taxi to the town itself, where there is nothing more than a square. Ponce was the running joke with the crew for the rest of the cruise about horrible places to visit.

Key West

I've never found Key West particularly interesting. But as far as cruise ship ports go, I really like it because everything is close to the pier. The main downtown area offers interesting shops and places to eat. Stick to Duval Street and the downtown area (to the left of where the ship docks). If you go the other way, it is a little scary and ghetto. We enjoyed the day here. It was really crowded, and we were the only ship in town. I can't imagine how congested it gets with more than one ship.

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