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We recently returned from Crystal Cruises Serenity Vancouver BC to San Francisco cruise from 5/22 till 5/28. We took this cruise because we wanted a short break. We hoped to go in early June, but could not find a cruise that met our requirements: Less than a week and easy access to and from the ship. Convenient flights were available on both ends of the cruise and we have been to all the ports, so we planned not to get off the ship until the end of the cruise. We just wanted to be idle, comfortable, and extremely well fed and wined. Unfortunately, idle was the only thing that lived up to our expectations. We were very disappointed in the food. Veal chop and lobster were the only good dinners. I had veal scallopini which I sent back and the replacement was just as dry, but it was hotter than my original serving. Two nights I ordered different cuts of Angus steaks and both were overcooked and very dry. The fish was very fishy and/or dry. Breakfast on Lido deck was quite good. We had lunches in the main dining room and on Lido. They were okay, but not as good as we expected. The wines included in the cruise price seemed to vary depending on where we ordered them. We tried chardonnay twice and did not like either one. So we changed to Sauvignon Blanc that was sometimes very good and sometimes only so-so. The one Cabernet we had was good and the Pinot Noir was another iffy wine. Our cabin was the smallest we’ve ever had on a cruise and it was called deluxe! I did like the buttons for door access ‘do not disturb’, ‘clean up’ and ‘ring’. The organization of the cruise and dissemination of information were poor. I was told the only choice for the main dining room was early or late seating and there were no tables for two. When we received our cruise documents, I learned that the ship offered ‘dinner by reservation’. But by then, I could not get that choice. And when we went to the dining room the first night, we discovered there were many tables for two. The first information I got about transfers on embarkation was that, for no cost, we would be taken to a hotel near the port where a ballroom was reserved for the afternoon because we could not board the ship until 6pm. Then I was called and told that this plan was only for people who booked directly with Crystal. So, I called our travel agent, who contacted Crystal and was told the room was for all passengers, but we would have to pay for the transfer. We were finally on board about 7:30pm. For disembarkation, Crystal’s original schedule was that its transfers to the airport would only be available for flights departing after noon. Our flight was at 11:55am, so I arranged a private transfer. Then 2 days or so before disembarkation, we were notified that we could use the Crystal transfer, first bus would leave about 8:20am, and because of the embarkation confusion, Crystal was giving us a shipboard credit that we could use for the transfer. Fortunately, I was able to cancel the private transfer. I like detailed plans (with no surprises), so the multiple changes and conflicting information were annoying. The weather was good and the sea calm so cruising was pleasant, and the staff was courteous and helpful, but the overall experience was dominated by the unsatisfactory food & wine service, so that this was the least pleasant of some 16 cruises plus 3 river cruises. This was the first time we reserved a cruise so late that we got the "fill the ship" price. But it was still a bit much for our experience. This was our first and most likely will be our only Crystal cruise.

Very Disappointing Food and Wine

Crystal Serenity Cruise Review by Ray4545

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2016
  • Destination: Pacific Coastal
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah
We recently returned from Crystal Cruises Serenity Vancouver BC to San Francisco cruise from 5/22 till 5/28.

We took this cruise because we wanted a short break. We hoped to go in early June, but could not find a cruise that met our requirements: Less than a week and easy access to and from the ship. Convenient flights were available on both ends of the cruise and we have been to all the ports, so we planned not to get off the ship until the end of the cruise. We just wanted to be idle, comfortable, and extremely well fed and wined. Unfortunately, idle was the only thing that lived up to our expectations.

We were very disappointed in the food. Veal chop and lobster were the only good dinners. I had veal scallopini which I sent back and the replacement was just as dry, but it was hotter than my original serving. Two nights I ordered different cuts of Angus steaks and both were overcooked and very dry. The fish was very fishy and/or dry. Breakfast on Lido deck was quite good. We had lunches in the main dining room and on Lido. They were okay, but not as good as we expected.

The wines included in the cruise price seemed to vary depending on where we ordered them. We tried chardonnay twice and did not like either one. So we changed to Sauvignon Blanc that was sometimes very good and sometimes only so-so. The one Cabernet we had was good and the Pinot Noir was another iffy wine.

Our cabin was the smallest we’ve ever had on a cruise and it was called deluxe! I did like the buttons for door access ‘do not disturb’, ‘clean up’ and ‘ring’.

The organization of the cruise and dissemination of information were poor. I was told the only choice for the main dining room was early or late seating and there were no tables for two. When we received our cruise documents, I learned that the ship offered ‘dinner by reservation’. But by then, I could not get that choice. And when we went to the dining room the first night, we discovered there were many tables for two. The first information I got about transfers on embarkation was that, for no cost, we would be taken to a hotel near the port where a ballroom was reserved for the afternoon because we could not board the ship until 6pm. Then I was called and told that this plan was only for people who booked directly with Crystal. So, I called our travel agent, who contacted Crystal and was told the room was for all passengers, but we would have to pay for the transfer. We were finally on board about 7:30pm.

For disembarkation, Crystal’s original schedule was that its transfers to the airport would only be available for flights departing after noon. Our flight was at 11:55am, so I arranged a private transfer. Then 2 days or so before disembarkation, we were notified that we could use the Crystal transfer, first bus would leave about 8:20am, and because of the embarkation confusion, Crystal was giving us a shipboard credit that we could use for the transfer. Fortunately, I was able to cancel the private transfer.

I like detailed plans (with no surprises), so the multiple changes and conflicting information were annoying.

The weather was good and the sea calm so cruising was pleasant, and the staff was courteous and helpful, but the overall experience was dominated by the unsatisfactory food & wine service, so that this was the least pleasant of some 16 cruises plus 3 river cruises.

This was the first time we reserved a cruise so late that we got the "fill the ship" price. But it was still a bit much for our experience. This was our first and most likely will be our only Crystal cruise.
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah
Cabin A1
Very small.
Seabreeze Deck Balcony Cabins