We thought a summer cruise in the Bahamas would be hot and stormy but we lucked out with unseasonably dry weather, and the trade winds kept the temperature pleasant at least in the mornings and evenings.
This was our first cruise on a luxury line and on a ship of this size. We usually cruise on Celebrity or sometimes Holland-America on ships that are twice the size of this 1,000-passenger vessel, not including crew. We found the service to be excellent throughout the ship and the quality of the food was quite good and very consistent. The food/service was, for the most part, better than we’ve had on Celebrity and HAL, but we expected this since Crystal’s fares are considerably higher and it’s a luxury line. Because we don’t drink alcohol, we didn’t get the full value of an all-inclusive cruise. That’s the only thing that might keep us from cruising with Crystal again.
Embarkation and debarkation were efficient and well organized, and overall, this is a very well-managed ship. Although the Serenity is on the older side (2003), much of the interior was updated in a 2018 refit, and the public areas are attractive and contemporary without being flashy. Our favorite space was the lovely glass-roofed area of the Lido deck that houses both the Trident Grill (burgers, etc.) and Silk (Chinese restaurant open for lunch and dinner). The space is flooded with light and walls of live plants and there is plenty of room to sit and relax with a coffee or a drink even if you don’t want to eat. It’s also open longer hours than the adjacent Marketplace buffet, which has surprisingly limited hours for breakfast and lunch, and in the evening the buffet transforms into a Brazilian steakhouse, the Churrascaria. Yes, there’s no buffet in the evening, but the Churrascaria is terrific and reservations were not required for our cruise. We ate there twice. This rodizio-style restaurant, where servers bring large skewers of beef, lamb, pork, chicken and shrimp to the table, works well in this space.
Our balcony stateroom was fairly tight but storage was ample in the main cabin as well as the bathroom. There was a newish flat-screen television directly across from the bed but otherwise the room felt quite dated, with worn and out-of-style built-ins. I believe the suites were completely updated in 2018 but the balcony staterooms missed out. The bathroom has very dated tile and a combination tub-shower with a shower curtain. I would much prefer a glass-enclosed walk-in shower. The stateroom is the reason this is not a five-star review. However, our attendant, Olena, kept our room spotless.