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We chose this cruise for the itinerary (Canada-New England) and because we wanted to try Crystal. We found lots to like. The ship is pretty, easy to navigate, and generally very comfortable. We enjoyed the food in the main dining room and had an excellent meal in Prego. I loved the cabin, which was admittedly small but otherwise perfect. Housekeeping was excellent. What didn't we like? We opted for an additional night in a Montreal hotel because it included airport transfers and transport to the ship, which was in Quebec City. This turned out to be a disappointing choice - most of the time was spent on buses, and the hotel served a buffet breakfast on the morning of departure that had a limited selection and hot food that was room temperature. In hindsight, I wonder why Crystal didn't offer the option of a Quebec City embarkation - a lovely town that we would have liked more time to explore than a couple of hours before we sailed. The actual embarkation was smoothly managed. We like the lectures on Cunard and looked forward to those on Crystal, which have been rated highly. We found them to be more entertainment than enrichment. The port talks only addressed US stops (including, for some reason, the Salem witch trials), and one lecturer devoted 3 talks to female musical and film stars of the mid-20th century. Entertaining, but not really informative or thought provoking. The food was generally good. Food in the main dining room was overall very good. We liked our dinner in Tastes but wished the menu was larger; one night there and we felt like we'd explored it fully. Lunch in the Lido was very good. Sadly, we thought Silk Road was a let-down. We love good sushi, but found the fish to be less than impeccably fresh. We ate only from the appetizer menu there and perhaps would have found the entrees more satisfying. The included wines are okay, typical supermarket wines where we live (Northern California). They are not "luxury" wines, which I mention because that is how Crystal chooses to market itself. The list of wines for purchase offers safe and familiar choices at a reasonable mark-up. We had a nice bottle with our dinner in Prego. Service was good, as it should be on a cruise in this price range. We were mistakenly seated at a table for 8 on the first night but were quickly reseated at the requested table for 2. The dining room is noisy and the staff move at high speed, but the table service was smooth and capable. Occasional oversights in the bars and Bistro happened but were minor. My final observation has to do with the public rooms. They are comfortable, but there are few places quiet enough to hole up with a book. I didn't actually see many readers on this cruise. We didn't try the entertainment or any of the excursions so I can't comment on those. The dress code is easy (we liked it). We decided that a fixed dining time is simply not our thing, at least if the choice is either 6:00 or 8:30. We learned that we could be seated earlier than 8:30 if a table was available, so we took advantage of that. I've tried to give enough detail so that people can judge if our experiences are relevant to them or not. I've highlighted the things we think are important. Obviously, other people will have their own priorities.

Nice, not outstanding

Crystal Serenity Cruise Review by alc13

13 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2016
  • Destination: Canada & New England
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (Canada-New England) and because we wanted to try Crystal. We found lots to like. The ship is pretty, easy to navigate, and generally very comfortable. We enjoyed the food in the main dining room and had an excellent meal in Prego. I loved the cabin, which was admittedly small but otherwise perfect. Housekeeping was excellent.

What didn't we like? We opted for an additional night in a Montreal hotel because it included airport transfers and transport to the ship, which was in Quebec City. This turned out to be a disappointing choice - most of the time was spent on buses, and the hotel served a buffet breakfast on the morning of departure that had a limited selection and hot food that was room temperature. In hindsight, I wonder why Crystal didn't offer the option of a Quebec City embarkation - a lovely town that we would have liked more time to explore than a couple of hours before we sailed. The actual embarkation was smoothly managed.

We like the lectures on Cunard and looked forward to those on Crystal, which have been rated highly. We found them to be more entertainment than enrichment. The port talks only addressed US stops (including, for some reason, the Salem witch trials), and one lecturer devoted 3 talks to female musical and film stars of the mid-20th century. Entertaining, but not really informative or thought provoking.

The food was generally good. Food in the main dining room was overall very good. We liked our dinner in Tastes but wished the menu was larger; one night there and we felt like we'd explored it fully. Lunch in the Lido was very good. Sadly, we thought Silk Road was a let-down. We love good sushi, but found the fish to be less than impeccably fresh. We ate only from the appetizer menu there and perhaps would have found the entrees more satisfying.

The included wines are okay, typical supermarket wines where we live (Northern California). They are not "luxury" wines, which I mention because that is how Crystal chooses to market itself. The list of wines for purchase offers safe and familiar choices at a reasonable mark-up. We had a nice bottle with our dinner in Prego.

Service was good, as it should be on a cruise in this price range. We were mistakenly seated at a table for 8 on the first night but were quickly reseated at the requested table for 2. The dining room is noisy and the staff move at high speed, but the table service was smooth and capable. Occasional oversights in the bars and Bistro happened but were minor.

My final observation has to do with the public rooms. They are comfortable, but there are few places quiet enough to hole up with a book. I didn't actually see many readers on this cruise.

We didn't try the entertainment or any of the excursions so I can't comment on those. The dress code is easy (we liked it). We decided that a fixed dining time is simply not our thing, at least if the choice is either 6:00 or 8:30. We learned that we could be seated earlier than 8:30 if a table was available, so we took advantage of that.

I've tried to give enough detail so that people can judge if our experiences are relevant to them or not. I've highlighted the things we think are important. Obviously, other people will have their own priorities.
alc13’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Cabin
Service
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah
Cabin P2 10104
Loved the cabin - very pretty, small but functional, comfortable, and welcoming at the end of the day. We were assigned this room on an upgrade. The PURE system doesn't make a lot of sense to me in a room with a veranda that opens to the outside (there must be plenty of allergens present if you open the door at all), but at least the air purifier wasn't noisy.
Penthouse Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins