1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Crystal Serenity
This was my first cruise and first trip to Europe. With very few exceptions, the all-inclusive fare covers everything, including tips. The crew truly embodies the definition of service. It was top notch and always with a smile. They go to great lengths to make sure you wont for nothing. After a couple days onboard, the crew members knew us and addressed us by name. The ship is luxurious. There is something going on all day long and never a shortage of things to do. They provide a daily newsletter with a complete list of activities on board. Educational lectures are well done and provide information about the ports along the way. If you miss them, they are rebroadcast on one of the channels on TV. There is a library on board with a nice selection of books and DVDs that you can check out to watch in your room. We also took a tour of the galley for the main dining room. If you're a foodie, check it out. How they prepare and serve a gourmet dinner menu for 600 every night is fascinating. The fitness room is a bit small, but well equipped. The yoga class was popular and could have used more space. There is also a spa and casino on board. We did not use them. If you are really into wine, they have a wine tasting and pairing dinner. It is in a private dining room adjacent to the library and can be booked for an extra charge. There is also dancing every night. A string quartet and piano soloist play at various times of the day. You can send laundry out for a charge, but each floor had a self-service laundry that included detergent and ironing boards. I went home with clean clothes. We took excursions arranged by Crystal in every port. As we are both history buffs, they were the archaeological/historical tours. Tour operators were professional and Crystal staff accompanied us. They packed a lot into the time allotted for the tours. There are tours that are not strenuous and some that are. If you have mobility issues, do not book tours that state they are strenuous and require a lot of walking. They are not kidding. This was a Mediterranean cruise and all ports were very interesting. Noteworthy excursions: Gozo and Valletta Malta, Oia Village in Santorini and the Lindos Acropolis in Greece, Ephysis Ruins in Kusadasi Turkey, Herculaneum and Pompeii at the Naples Port, Taormina, Italy and of course, Istanbul. We saw a few of the shows (some nights we were too tired after exploring the ports) and the entertainment is excellent. The singers and dancers put on a variety of shows, so there is something for everyone. Gary, the Cruise Director is funny and you can tell he loves his job. In addition to the main dining room, there are many dining options aboard and room service any time you wish. The menu in the main dining room is diverse with four courses each night (appetizer, soup and salad, entree and dessert - several options for each on the menu and you can order as many as you want) and a sommelier keeps the wine flowing. Ice cream bar serves Ben and Jerry's from noon until 6PM. On this particular cruise, there were 2 formal nights. The winner of the 2015 Bocuse D'Or chef completion prepared dinner on the second formal night. He also did a cooking demonstration earlier in the day. Highly recommend Silk Road and Prego, the Asian and Italian restaurants aboard. All food was fresh and well presented. High tea is served every afternoon. There is also a bistro that serves tea, coffee and light hors d'oeurves in the afternoon. We ate breakfast at the buffet on the lido deck. It's huge. Anything you could want is there. Loved the fresh mango and fresh squeezed orange juice. Caution: the food is so good, book excursions that make you walk it off! The ship is spotless as it was remodeled in 2013 and all of the furnishings are updated. We also booked our airline and travel from disembarkation through Crystal and found it to be just as reasonable as booking ourselves, without the hassle. I think the only thing that needs improvement is the Wi-Fi aboard. Passengers are given one our of free Wi-Fi for each day aboard. It is pretty slow so it takes quite a bit of time to send emails. If you use more, there is a charge and it's expensive. At slow speeds, it doesn't take long to eat up the allotted free time. Many of the passengers are older and may not use internet, but those that do, might find it a bit challenging. I did have to attend to some work on board, so I needed the internet. Maybe it's their plan - keep you off your devices so you can enjoy your vacation-work can wait :-) All in all, it was a wonderful cruise. It is likely I'll be aboard the Crystal Serenity again someday.

Prepare to Be Pampered

Crystal Serenity Cruise Review by KAARON

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2015
  • Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah
This was my first cruise and first trip to Europe. With very few exceptions, the all-inclusive fare covers everything, including tips. The crew truly embodies the definition of service. It was top notch and always with a smile. They go to great lengths to make sure you wont for nothing. After a couple days onboard, the crew members knew us and addressed us by name.

The ship is luxurious. There is something going on all day long and never a shortage of things to do. They provide a daily newsletter with a complete list of activities on board. Educational lectures are well done and provide information about the ports along the way. If you miss them, they are rebroadcast on one of the channels on TV. There is a library on board with a nice selection of books and DVDs that you can check out to watch in your room. We also took a tour of the galley for the main dining room. If you're a foodie, check it out. How they prepare and serve a gourmet dinner menu for 600 every night is fascinating. The fitness room is a bit small, but well equipped. The yoga class was popular and could have used more space. There is also a spa and casino on board. We did not use them. If you are really into wine, they have a wine tasting and pairing dinner. It is in a private dining room adjacent to the library and can be booked for an extra charge. There is also dancing every night. A string quartet and piano soloist play at various times of the day.

You can send laundry out for a charge, but each floor had a self-service laundry that included detergent and ironing boards. I went home with clean clothes.

We took excursions arranged by Crystal in every port. As we are both history buffs, they were the archaeological/historical tours. Tour operators were professional and Crystal staff accompanied us. They packed a lot into the time allotted for the tours. There are tours that are not strenuous and some that are. If you have mobility issues, do not book tours that state they are strenuous and require a lot of walking. They are not kidding. This was a Mediterranean cruise and all ports were very interesting. Noteworthy excursions: Gozo and Valletta Malta, Oia Village in Santorini and the Lindos Acropolis in Greece, Ephysis Ruins in Kusadasi Turkey, Herculaneum and Pompeii at the Naples Port, Taormina, Italy and of course, Istanbul.

We saw a few of the shows (some nights we were too tired after exploring the ports) and the entertainment is excellent. The singers and dancers put on a variety of shows, so there is something for everyone. Gary, the Cruise Director is funny and you can tell he loves his job.

In addition to the main dining room, there are many dining options aboard and room service any time you wish. The menu in the main dining room is diverse with four courses each night (appetizer, soup and salad, entree and dessert - several options for each on the menu and you can order as many as you want) and a sommelier keeps the wine flowing. Ice cream bar serves Ben and Jerry's from noon until 6PM. On this particular cruise, there were 2 formal nights. The winner of the 2015 Bocuse D'Or chef completion prepared dinner on the second formal night. He also did a cooking demonstration earlier in the day. Highly recommend Silk Road and Prego, the Asian and Italian restaurants aboard. All food was fresh and well presented. High tea is served every afternoon. There is also a bistro that serves tea, coffee and light hors d'oeurves in the afternoon. We ate breakfast at the buffet on the lido deck. It's huge. Anything you could want is there. Loved the fresh mango and fresh squeezed orange juice. Caution: the food is so good, book excursions that make you walk it off!

The ship is spotless as it was remodeled in 2013 and all of the furnishings are updated.

We also booked our airline and travel from disembarkation through Crystal and found it to be just as reasonable as booking ourselves, without the hassle.

I think the only thing that needs improvement is the Wi-Fi aboard. Passengers are given one our of free Wi-Fi for each day aboard. It is pretty slow so it takes quite a bit of time to send emails. If you use more, there is a charge and it's expensive. At slow speeds, it doesn't take long to eat up the allotted free time. Many of the passengers are older and may not use internet, but those that do, might find it a bit challenging. I did have to attend to some work on board, so I needed the internet. Maybe it's their plan - keep you off your devices so you can enjoy your vacation-work can wait :-)

All in all, it was a wonderful cruise. It is likely I'll be aboard the Crystal Serenity again someday.
KAARON’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Crystal Serenity price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah
Cabin A1 9016
Our stateroom was on Deck 9, with a nice balcony with table and chairs and a full bathroom with double sinks and great water pressure in the shower with a deep tub if you wanted to soak in a bath. Robes, slippers, all the towels you could ever want, a stocked fridge and a stateroom attendant that visited the room twice each day. We did give our attendant an additional tip as she was excellent.
Seabreeze Deck Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Arkadi Monastery
    Beautiful monastery. Only 4 monks live there now. Make their own olive oil and wine. Very quiet and peaceful.
    View All 3 Arkadi Monastery Reviews
  • Chania City Tour
    Neat town. Lots of shopping and restaurants on the waterfront.
    View All 5 Chania City Tour Reviews
  • Topkapi Walking Tour
    Excellent tour - very thorough, friendly guide. Nice lunch at restaurant in the palace, overlooking the Bosphorus
    View All 38 Topkapi Walking Tour Reviews
  • Herculaneum
    Awesome place to visit. Smaller than Pompeii, but also buried in the eruption of Vesuvius. The guide was very thorough and was able to point out the similarities and differences of the two sites. Naples was built on top of it, so only 50% of the town has been excavated.
    View All 76 Herculaneum Reviews
  • Pompeii Walking Tour
    This place is huge. Best to go with a guide that can explain how the residents lived. It is a popular tourist destination so it is crowded. Lunch at the Hotel Vittoria adjacent to the gate was average, but they provided plenty of food.
    View All 451 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
  • City Tour
    Saw most of the city from the bus. Stopped at a Cathedral which had a combination of architectures from different centuries.
    View All 27 City Tour Reviews
  • Monreale Walking Tour
    You would never know from the outside how beautiful this church is inside. The walls and ceiling are covered in tile mosaics portraying stories from the bible. The amount of gold tile is stunning. (Note: wear clothing that covers your knees. If you don't dress appropriately, they will sell you a smock for one Euro). Stopped for delicious cannoli and drinks at a restaurant with a nice view of Palermo, down the hill.
    View All 10 Monreale Walking Tour Reviews
  • City Tour
    Beautiful town with old churches, narrow streets and amphitheater. High end stores for shopping. Stopped at a local restaurant for hors d'oeurves and wine. The only thing that took away from the tour was the rain that day. Nothing the guide could do about that.
    View All 92 City Tour Reviews