CRYSTAL LOSES LUSTER: Crystal Serenity Cruise Review by Annalise

Crystal Serenity 4
Member Since 2002
97 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating


Sail Date: January 2013
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
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 More 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. Less

Published 01/20/13

Cabin review: C7059

The cabin logistics are very well thought out. There are drawers and storage everywhere and a large closet with wooden hangers. Crystal also provides a laundry bag, robes and slippers. A double sink in the bath and a shower/tub combination are perfect. Plenty of water pressure came from the shower and the temperature rarely varied. Huge king size bed with comfy sheets and pillowcases. Overall, one of the best cabins we've ever stayed in.

Port and Shore Excursions


Went on the Ultimate Snorkeling Adventure and it was a another home run. The men who took us out were terrific, funny and very attentive to those who were wary of snorkeling for the first time. We snorkeled over a live reef and saw hundreds of colorful fish, a sea turtle and two nurse sharks. We were out for 3 hours, but it felt like 1/2 hour. It was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. I will never forget it.

This is not in order as we went to Guadeloupe directly after Tortola, but I have to mention it because it was absolutely awful! We set in an industrial area that spewed out stinky, sulphur fumes. I thought at first that the ship had a sewer back up or something. We went into town because I needed to buy needles for needlepoint. Everyone speaks French. I speak fluent French so there was no problem, but again, I would've preferred another day at sea. Guadaloupe is not an appropriate port for Crystal clientele.

Can you say 'SHOP'??? WOW!!! I was so happy that day! Another French-owned island, St. Bart is an absolutely gorgeus island with huge yachts moored in its bay and beautiful houses dotting its cliffs. I shopped till I dropped. I met two ladies from the ship and we shopped Ligne St. Bart, a small store with beautiful body lotions and creams. The lotions are lush and creamy and very reasonably priced. We walked around the town until my feet throbbed and I had to return. That was a very good day:)

Island tour

This was a wonderful tour that unveiled the beauty of St. Kitts before our eyes. Michael, our guide, was wonderful and described everything in great detail. He was also very kind to passengers with special needs. We saw the Fairview plantation, a batik store in the middle of the rainforest, Brimstone Hill Fort, Frigate Bay and the great divide between the Atlantic and the Caribbean. It was a wonderful tour and I highly recommend it.

We were so impressed with St. Kitts tour, we decided to take same for St. Lucia.Unfortunately, although naturally beautiful, St. Lucia does not have as much to see as St. Kitt. Our guide, Amaible, was very informative and he looked like the actor, Morgan Freeman. He even sounded like him when he spoke. It was a good tour, but St. Kitt was better.
Read 1136 St. Lucia Reviews

We've been to St. Maarten many, many times. It's a great place to shop for jewelry and table linens. I purchased all my table linens there many years ago and they are still in great shape. There's something for everyone in St. Maarten.

Tortola consisted of a shabby little town with colorful little huts directly outside the pier. Native inhabitants hawked their wares like bags, mugs, postcards, etc. A 10-minute walk from the pier will get you to the huts and after that, there's not much to see. I would've rather had another day at sea.
Read 1240 Tortola Reviews

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