Greetings! I am a former luxury cruise TA and had sailed on Serenity 3 times in a PH, about 12-14 years ago. This is the my first time back as a 'civilian' and first time on Crystal for my husband. Our last 4 cruises have been NCL, NCL, Cunard, Cunard.
Much has changed with Crystal since my last voyages and I had been warned that it 'isn't what you remember' but my expectations were exceeded in almost every way,
We had a standard Oceanview on deck 7. Sure we missed a balcony but otherwise the cabin was great.
The most outstanding & memorable aspect was the dining. Every single day, no matter where we ate, every meal was great. I don't know how many times one of us would taste something & say "mmm..wow, that's so good" And we're foodies...not easily pleased.
I am a pescatarian but I never felt there weren't enough non-meat options for me. All the fish & seafood dishes were wonderful, fresh and creative. My husband did have beef a few time and this in the only time he felt a bit let down.
Having had very dismal desserts, pastries etc on our previous cruises, the outstanding desserts on the Serenity were a welcome relief. Kudo's to the Exec Pastry Chef!
We dined at every venue for dinner & in order of most liked to least, we would rate them:
Prego, Waterside, Umi Uma, Silk, Churrasqueira. We would gladly do all again but pass on the last...not quite up the standards of the others. Prego is wonderful, best menu, best service, a real highlight.
The other 'bests' for us were the production shows - top notch singers & dancers, very professional & entertaining. And the guest/space ratio. My husband was so impressed with how much public space vs guests there is on the Serenity. We were never crowded, virtually no lines, always a lovely, calm atmosphere.
My 3 top observations:
- relaxed dress codes were noticeable since my last Crystal voyages, but I was pleasantly surprised that about 80% of the guests still dress up for dinner...women in cocktail dresses, men in casual office or suits/sport jackets. We dressed up every night but 1 (after a very long day in Florence/Pisa) I love this aspect of cruising and so did most of my fellow pax from the look of things
- the service was great, especially the bar & wine stewards... far more attentive than any cruise we've done where alcohol is a revenue maker. At dinner I had to start saying 'no, thanks' with my hand over my wine glass! Too much of a good thing and all that!
- I did find that the friendliness of the crew overall may have been a wee bit less than I remember but it was still excellent and I wish I had written down some names to include in the survey sent by Crystal. Definitely some outstanding service by some individuals.
Our slightly obstructed view meant we could see the steel girders holding up lifeboats above our deck, so really just a 'slice' of vertical white on either side of the expansive window. Location within the ship was very good.