19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
We have sailed on 30 Crystal cruises, the longest cruise prior to the World Cruise was 21 days. This was our first World Cruise. Transfers The included Carey Limo SUV transfers from home-airport-ship-airport-home were seamless. ... Read More
We have sailed on 30 Crystal cruises, the longest cruise prior to the World Cruise was 21 days. This was our first World Cruise. Transfers The included Carey Limo SUV transfers from home-airport-ship-airport-home were seamless. Drivers there to meet us on time, assistance at the luggage carousels in FL and back in Houston, and strong enough to hoist all the luggage into the SUV. So nice to see a friendly, smiling face in the midst of airport and port commotion. Ports We sailed to 44 ports (47 ports if we count the missed/sail-by ports of Rarotonga, Port Elizabeth and Alter do Chao). Best ports: Cape Town, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland, Dunedin, Akaroa, Milford Sound. Ports we can say we’ve been to, and don’t need to return: Maputo, Manta Most unique and exotic ports: Easter Island and both ports in Madagascar Onboard Observations Dining: Main dinner sitting in the dining room was full capacity during all segments. We always opt for the late dinner sitting, and the dining room was never more than 2/3 full, often it was ½ full or less at the 8:30pm sitting. Service was unrushed, extraordinarily attentive, and the ambient noise level of the room very quiet. The menu choices, between the Modern Cuisine selections, the Crystal Classic selections, and our occasional off-menu special requests, were varied to suit everyone’s palate. Many appetizer and entrée selections did repeat during each segment, but we always found at least two courses (and often more) every evening. We were generally pleased with the all-inclusive wine selections; however, as we were sailing through some of the world’s best wine regions, we did purchase wines while ashore in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and thoroughly enjoyed them onboard during several dinners. (Whenever we chose to enjoy our own wines, I would bring the bottle to our sommelier in the dining room about 6:00pm, and it was then already decanted and on our table when we came to dinner at 8:30pm). Specialty Restaurants: Since so many guests chose to dine early, with the exception of the last segment, it was never a problem to eat at Silk Road, Prego or Tastes after 8:00pm. Especially for a table for 2. We often made reservations the same afternoon for dining that evening. And even during the last segment of the WC, Antonio and the specialty restaurants’ staff made every effort to accommodate everyone who wanted to dine. Again, reservations for smaller tables (i.e. 2-4 people) were much easier to reserve than tables for the larger 6+ groups. Cabin Comfort: We have sailed Crystal before, so we are very familiar with the amenities and idiosyncrasies of the standard verandah staterooms onboard. All of our luggage nested within each other and fit under the beds with no problem. We used the space under the sofa for storage of snorkeling gear and new purchases from ashore. We brought 25 extra hangers (the dry-cleaning type) which were very handy, supplemented the ship’s hangers and took up less space in the closet than the wood hangers. The cabinets under the bathroom sinks easily absorbed 4 months’ worth of toiletries. We brought a collapsible mesh clothes hamper from the Dollar Store, which was stored under the desk; we knew when it was time to do laundry when the mesh hamper was full! We raised the cocktail/dining table to its highest position and it stayed at that height for the entire cruise. Since most of the desk surface was occupied with electronics (PC, I-phones, Kindle, camera), the table became the only multi-purpose “flat space” in the room. We needed more magnets! The walls are metal and become a giant bulletin board. There are so many pieces of paper to keep track of! (Invitations, shore excursion tickets, restaurant reservations, WC newsletter, etc.). Entertainment and Special Events: We were wowed and our expectations exceeded the minute we arrived onboard. We were welcomed by name on the gangway by both Crystal CEO Edie Rodriguez and Captain Giske. Our checked luggage was delivered to the stateroom within an hour. The onboard gala (dinner, bands, and entertainment) just blew us away. And it only got better during the next 108 days. We have sailed many Crystal repositioning transatlantic voyages because we enjoy the multiple sea days with all the activities. Well, the World Cruise was like a transatlantic crossing on steroids. With the exception of the Billy Joel “My Life” production show which was repeated on all segments (and we attended all 6 performances, btw), the variety of guest entertainers and large production shows were incredible. There were a few “misses”, but overall, the entertainment was truly world class. The lecture series offered so many options and so many differing views, there was something to suit most everyone’s interest. On some sea days there were 4 speakers scheduled: 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. The World Cruise special event in New Zealand at Hobbiton was jaw dropping. The laser light show, followed by the fireworks was an amazing production. And to be served and entertained by an entire village of costumed Hobbits, was something very special. The special event at the private estancia in Montevideo was a miracle of logistics. The weather more than cooperated, and it was like a massive, huge, gigantic picnic with about 550 of your best friends, with wine, beer, food and lots of entertainment. Lessons Learned: We brought about 1/3 too many toiletries; better to bring too much rather than too little, but we won’t haul as much the next time. We brought too many clothes, especially casualwear and underwear. The self-service laundries are so convenient, and the ship’s laundry & dry cleaning so efficient, we did laundry more often than we had anticipated and will cut down the amount for future long cruises. We will take an extra suitcase with us, even if it is under-filled on the outbound. Based on how much we bought during port calls, as well as the bulkiness on the special WC segment gifts, we could have used the extra space for the return home. We ate smart, exercised often, rarely used the ship’s elevators, and “only” gained 10 lbs. I got on the scale this morning and I’m “only” 4 lbs. heavier than when we left. We are so fortunate, lucky and blessed to be able to have experienced such a journey. So few people on the planet can even imagine an adventure such as this, especially after seeing places like Madagascar, Mozambique, and the less affluent areas of South America. Every day I look at the Crystal brochures and our upcoming booked adventures with a great sigh. I still tear up describing this adventure to people. This was not a cruise. It was a life changing experience. We are so glad we were there. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Please note that we were on board for 162 days but the number of nights we could show in the summary has a maximum of 100 days. We sailed Crystal Cruises and remained on board the same ship for 162 consecutive days. We boarded ... Read More
Please note that we were on board for 162 days but the number of nights we could show in the summary has a maximum of 100 days. We sailed Crystal Cruises and remained on board the same ship for 162 consecutive days. We boarded Crystal Serenity on 12/21/14, remaining on board until 05/31/15, representing our longest cruise ever. Our first voyage began with a Holiday Cruise, continued with a Caribbean cruise, until the start of the 2015 World Cruise in mid-January of 2015. At the conclusion of the World Cruise, in Miami on May 4, we stayed on-board for two final voyages; Miami to Lisbon and Lisbon to Rome. Summary ======== We had an amazing time. Highlights included the places we visited and circumnavigating the Globe on World Cruise 2015, the cuisine, service, enrichment, entertainment and some very special shore excursions, most notably a Safari Overland in South Africa and attending the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. In the end, it was the people who made it most special for us including the extraordinary crew and so many nice people we sailed with. This was our seventh full and overall eighth World Cruise and for us it was wonderful. One of the main reasons we keep returning year after year is the people including the crew and the guests who in many ways have become our extended family. On this year’s World Cruise we not only sailed with friends from previous cruises but made many new ones several of whom were on their first World Cruise. The World Cruise on board events, which were created exclusively for the 2015 World Cruise, was the best yet in my opinion. To me this says a lot since the challenge was having 600+ full World Cruisers on board instead of an average year which is about half of that number, making logistics the more challenging and planning even more important. Some highlights included the on board World Cruise Gala which was the best yet and much nicer than what can be done at a Hotel, and then all of the on board shows created just for the World Cruise and the two themed on board dinners. I want to note that there were more on board shows created and performed on board Crystal Serenity just for the World Cruise than ever before on a World Cruise.. We also enjoyed a good deal of the other entertainment such as the Beatles Celebration Group. With very few exceptions, most of the events were for everyone whether on the full world cruise or one or more segments which we applaud. We appreciated the added diversity of food offerings in the Crystal Dining Room, which is a hallmark for the World Cruise given the overall duration and time spent on board by those taking the full World Cruise. The Modern Cuisine menus, which rolled out in May of 2014, added more choices than ever before. We were unable to attend the first of the two Shore-Side Events due to an illness, but heard that it was a lot of fun. We thoroughly enjoyed the second event held in Montevideo, Uruguay. The events were more challenging given that they were attended by close to 600 people. Crystal was very wise to make most of the on board events available for everyone even if they were not booked on the full world cruise including those who remained on for the start of the World Cruise from the previous voyage and attended the Gala, to the various themed dinners and on board shows created just for the World Cruise. I used a one to five * rating with five being the highest and one the lowest for my ratings and a plus sign (+) to go above the rating. Overall Experience ***** =============== Itinerary ****+ ======= The World Cruise itinerary was the first time a Crystal Cruises World Cruise has ever circumnavigated the globe, which we thought was extraordinary. We especially enjoyed visiting Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and the diversity of ports on this World Cruise. The reason I didn’t give the itinerary five stars is because of the timing of some of the ports which had Noon or later arrival times for some ports that only had a one day visit as well as a few ports which had overnights, but the arrival time the first day was around noon. I thought this limited the time in port and the selection of shore excursions and think that even if it means skipping a few ports it is better to arrive in the early morning than midday. I realize that sometimes timing has to do with issues such as the tides and how to put an entire itinerary together but if it was possible to eliminate a few ports to have created more full days in ports to me that would have been desirable. Post World Cruise we enjoyed Bermuda and especially the Mediterranean. Cuisine ****** ====== Recognizing that two thirds of the passengers for the world cruise would be on board for at least 108 days, the Crystal Dining Room menu continually offered new items in addition to those that one would expect when coming on board for one voyage. The Modern Cuisine Menu introduced on Serenity last year coupled with the Traditional Menu offers more options than ever before. In addition, menus in Tastes and Prego were changed from time-to-time and the menu in Silk Road was changed once. Although we don’t eat at the Grand Gala and other Special Buffets, we were very impressed with their offerings and they were offered one time on each World Cruise segment and on a couple of other voyages. Entertainment ***** ============ We were very pleased with the diversity of the entertainment knowing that we all have different tastes when it comes to this area. There was a wide range of offerings and something for everyone. Show times were adjusted based on where we were sailing. On the World Cruise there were more special performances than ever before, which were created just for one night that were absolutely amazing. As was the case with last year’s World Cruise, the on board entertainment team was augmented with two vocalists who performed in all of the shows created on board the ship and performed from time to time in other venues. The talent of the Entertainment Team is amazing and I am reminded of all of the hard work that they must put into creating these special one-time shows for all of us to enjoy. The preparation is more challenging that people realize. Other items related to entertainment-included movies, the pre-dinner magician shows along with the Strings Quartet and the Pianists. We thought that the movies that were available this year for viewing in the Crystal Cinema were quite diversified and included many highly rated movies. On the two voyages we were on before the start of the World Cruise we had the opportunity to see Pianist Mark Farris perform. Mark is one of the pianists who regularly perform on the Crystal Symphony and we thought he was amazing. Our only disappointment was the departure of pianists John Mentis and Colin Salter during the World Cruise. I also wanted to note that the crossing had terrific entertainment with no only the evening shows but some performances held before main dining. Enrichment ***** ========= Crystal offers more enrichment than any cruise line we have ever sailed and on the World Cruise this is augmented several-fold. There are so many programs offered on sea days that each day represents several days of activities. My wife participated regularly in the Odyssey at Sea Knitting Class and the Gentle Yoga Class, and I participated regularly in the Indoor Cycling Classes. We enjoyed many of the lectures with three lectures or more available on each and every sea day. We wish we had time for Memoir Writing and the Apple Computer Classes and hope to do this on a future World Cruise. Fifty+ enrichment programs are offered each and every sea day. I would say that 50% of the lecturers were exceptional, 40% strong, and about 10% weak. The ones that I rated weak are ones that either essentially read word for word from slides or from a prepared speech sounding more like a college professor from one of those introduction courses or ones where I simply had no takeaways from the talk or left without learning anything new. Because on a World Cruise, Crystal makes an extra effort to bring on first time lecturers you will see some being weak but to me that is fine because by bringing on new people you often find outstanding lectures who are asked to return on future voyages with some becoming part of the Crystal Family. I especially enjoyed Ocean Views, which is a panel discussion, and was hosted by Ken Rees and allows audience participation via hand held electronic devices. There were actually more activities offered during the World Cruise than ever before with additional courses offered on devices such as the iPad, a Book Club and a Zumba class offered on many sea days in addition to so many activities that have become a hallmark of World Cruises such as the College Computer Class, Memoir Writing, Language, and Piano Classes just to name a few of the programs. Similar to the entertainment, there was a tremendous amount of entertainment on the themed Miami to Lisbon Cruise, which followed the World Cruise. Shore Excursions/Land Programs ***** ========================== The Shore Excursion and Overland Programs offered not only increase in volume each and every year but also with the addition of many unique program offerings. Some of the start times were adjusted to later in the morning for those who are late risers. For us the highlights were private cars arranged through the land program department for some selected places including Bermuda, Colombia and Peru and attending the Grand Prix and also the three-night four-day overland program at the Phinda Private Reserve in South Africa. I also wanted to note that to me each year the on-board Shore Excursion Department gets stronger and stronger in terms of the personnel. We find them to be very knowledgeable and helpful and they do their utmost best to deal with any problems that come up and they were terrific in adjusting shore excursions when we missed a couple of ports and when our arrival was delayed to a couple of ports. Internet *** ======= Overall, the Internet was more reliable and faster than in 2014, which is positive given that overall occupancy was quite high with some voyages sold out and the one-hour per day of complimentary Internet for all guests who have previously sailed with Crystal Cruises. There were a couple of issues. One occurred on one of the World Cruise Segments when there was an equipment failure while we were sailing several days at sea which could not be rectified until we were in port. The other one happened on a couple of other crossings when there were times when we were moving from one satellite to another and encountered very slow connections or dropped connections and some outages. The latter is part of the challenge when sailing on a World Cruise or on a crossing. The bottom line is that there were days when the internet was very reliable and rather fast given the limitations of satellite technology, other days when speed was average, and other days when the internet was either down or very slow. As I mentioned, one of the challenges of the Internet this time around unlike in prior years that we sailed was that one hour of complimentary internet per day is now offered to each guest who has previously sailed with Crystal Cruises. This was even more challenging given that most of the voyages we were on were at full occupancy and the fact that more people come on board with more devices than ever before. Overall, the internet was the best we have ever experienced on board either Crystal Ship. The enhancements made not only in infrastructure, and augmented Satellite bandwidth but in the area of monitoring and control has really added to improved service. With that said, the speed and reliability of the Internet will never be the same as at home. The challenges include a sailing like the World Cruise where you are sailing in areas where access to a satellite is difficult and where you go from one satellite to another requiring manual intervention. On top of this there is the potential for equipment failures, interference caused in port or when sailing near land and the fact that Satellite technology in no way compares to fiber optics. There were a few times with durations lasting a few days at a time when the Internet was very slow or even not available. Because the Internet experience is just not going to always be the same depending on where one is sailing or if there is an equipment or some other issues, this is why depending on where or when you are sailing that you may have different experiences with one person saying how wonderful the internet is and another person saying it was not good. We also appreciated that FaceTime was often available which was not our experience in 2014. The investments made in 2013 to upgrade the internet infrastructure, the fine tuning that was made in 2014 before the rollout of the complimentary 1 hour per day of Internet for Crystal Society Members along with some other changes that were made did pay off in my opinion. Finally, the device one uses can make a big difference. For example, I find that the MacBook will provide a better experience than say an iPad. Even the type of Internet Browser that one might use can make a difference Finally, other techniques that one might use such as reducing the number of pixels in a photo before attaching it to an e-mail or including it in a blog will make a world of a difference in speed. Planning *****+ =========== I touched on this earlier but wanted to give the Crystal Cruises Senior Executives and the Senior Officers of Crystal Serenity excellent marks for all of the effort that went into planning the 2015 World Cruise. Changes were required based on the record number of full World Cruisers on board and the overall occupancy rate when most segments were 100 full. A wide range of items had to be addressed including: WORLD CRUISE GALA. Unlike in previous years when the kickoff to the World Cruise was held at a hotel on land, this was not possible given the significant number of World Cruisers. As a result the voyage began one day in advance and the Gala was held on Serenity. The Serenity was transformed for this as the Crystal Plaza was made over with lots of cocktail like tables with table cloths and lights providing a wonderful spot for the kickoff and the welcome by President and COO of Crystal Cruises Edie Rodriquez, a cocktail party and a balloon drop all in one. Following this, we enjoyed a sit down dinner in one of three dining venues with an assigned table and seating. There was lots of entertainment and by far this was the best World Cruise Gala we ever attended. All of the planning and coordination of this event was truly amazing. MEDICAL NEEDS. With so many full World Cruisers a very wise decision was made to have more than one physician on board for the World Cruise. As it turned out there were three Physicians as when the second person was hired he asked if his spouse who is also a Physician could share his contract and that is exactly what happened. All of this was a very wise decision because in addition to a couple of months of various upper respiratory viruses going around the ship, there were more major medical issues given the number of World Cruisers on board Serenity and the ages of some of the guests. DIVERSITY AND QUANITY OF ENTERTAINERS. Getting entertainers on and off the ship to make way for other entertainers and towards the end of the cruise getting additional land based musicians onto the ship when sailing full for the Crystal Serenity Pops Concert was amazing. SAFETY DEMONSTRATIONS. With two-thirds of the guests on board for the entire World Cruise Captain Giske thought it would be a great idea to offer a safety demonstration that gave passengers an opportunity to gain a more detailed insight into safety on board Crystal Serenity. This program was repeated twice during the World Cruise and provided us with a lot of information relate to safety. This included seeing a safety movie that was developed for each crew member, seeing one of the crew rafts which was deployed in the outdoor pool, seeing a life boat with all of the equipment that is on the life boat, seeing one of the fire fighter teams and also walking up a smoke filled corridor (smoke was simulated) when the safety lights were on. We thought it was superb and provided us with a wealth of information related to safety. The crew was on hand at each location to answer questions. WORLD CRIUSE SHORE SIDE EVENTS. Creating shore-side events that would work for 600 World Cruisers plus the Crystal escorts. This is no easy task and congratulations to the vice President of Crystal Land Programs and Port Operations, the on board team and the respective tour operators from the two ports of call for all of the efforts that went into these events. Service *****++ ====== I’ve listed service last so that we could save the best for last. For us service is one of the main reasons that we sail on Crystal Cruises. We find that the Service is the finest of any other cruise line we have sailed and any place we have dined or stayed at on land. The on-board crew is absolutely amazing. They have become our extended Crystal Family. There are many members of the crew that we have known since we first started sailing with Crystal Cruises as well as other members of the crew whom we have known for one or more years who just make each of our voyages the best it can be. On top of this even members of the crew who are on their first contracts quickly learned the Crystal Culture which stresses a high service level. The key for us is that the high level of service can be provided in not only a professional manner but in a manner that is highly personal. Rather than walking around like robots if you will, as they do on some cruise lines, the crew performs their responsibilities with caring and warmth for the guests they take care of. This culture is evident at all levels both on board each ship but also at the Crystal Headquarters. In the end, it is my belief that any successful enterprise is successful because of the people. You could take the most modern ship afloat and with the wrong people it will be a disaster. Crystal has mastered this area and it continued to be evident throughout the time we were sailing on board Serenity. There were certainly different ways to provide feedback on issues and that included comment cards that were provided to the full World Cruisers on two different occasions which could be filled out and submitted to the Hotel Director, and/or using the on-line form to submit comments to President of Crystal Cruises President, Edie Rodriquez, a conversation with a Senior Officer, or a conversation when Edie Rodriquez and Senior Vice President, Thomas Mazloum were on board. At the same time on the other voyages, there was a letter sent to the room from the Hotel Director providing his phone number in the event that there was some issue that needed to be resolved. While resolution cannot be realized for each and every comment I can point to numerous examples of items that were identified by people we know that were resolved expeditiously. In the end, this is my experience. At times I have used the word “we” rather than "I" as my wife also felt the same way that I did. I realize that we all have different opinions and see things in different ways. What one person enjoys another person might not and what one person does not care for, someone else might like. If we all saw things in the same manner, this would be a boring world. As I have said often, the only experience that matters the most is our very own. I am grateful that my wife and I had the opportunity to sail on Serenity for this extended period of time and have been humbled by all that we experienced on and off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Background ========= My wife and I have cruised with Crystal Cruises for many years and have also cruised on several other cruise lines. Prior to this cruise, we had cruised on two full world cruises with Crystal in 2007 and 2008 ... Read More
Background ========= My wife and I have cruised with Crystal Cruises for many years and have also cruised on several other cruise lines. Prior to this cruise, we had cruised on two full world cruises with Crystal in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Cruise Overview ============ This review is for our combined voyage on the Crystal Serenity, which included two cruises. The first cruise was a seven-day round-trip Miami cruise, which included stops in Grand Turks, Grand Cayman and Key West along with three full days at sea. The second cruise was a 108 day World Cruise that began in Miami, Florida and concluded in London, England. This cruise included stops in North and South America, Africa, The Middle East and Europe and included 59 days in port and 49 days at sea. Combined, we spent 115 glorious days cruising on the Crystal Serenity Summary ======= We had an outstanding cruise. While this was our third world cruise it was by far the best one yet. The World Cruise provides a wonderful opportunity to really get to know fellow passengers and the wonderful crew. In many ways the cruise ship becomes a village for everyone since you share many of the same experiences and memories over the course of this cruise. While some cruise lines have cut back on the services and amenities offered to their passengers during these challenging economic times, Crystal has actually enhanced the overall cruising experience. This World Cruise included more diversity in entertainment and other offerings then ever before. Crystal continues to exceed expectations with respect to service, cuisine, evening entertainment, enrichment programs and other daytime activities and the overall cruising experience. Their customer focus is unsurpassed. The other highlight of the itinerary was the extraordinary itinerary. We visited many unique ports of call including several in the Middle East that very few ships visit. This included ports of call in the UAE including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, and ports in places such as the Ukraine which very few cruise ships visit during this time of the year. Pre-Cruise ======== We enjoyed a wonderful pre-cruise in Miami, Florida. We visited with friends and took care of some last minute purchases for some items that we could not take with us on the airplane. We were joined in Miami for three days by our daughter and son-in-law and for one day by our son and his fiancE prior to them sailing with us for the seven day voyage. We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown Miami and enjoyed the facilities at this hotel. We stayed here last before we boarded the Crystal Serenity for the 2007 World Cruise. Crystal took care of all our travel arrangements. This included sending two vehicles to our home to transfer the two of our luggage and us to the airport for our flight to Miami. Upon arrival to the Miami airport, two vehicles took us over to the Hotel and then on embarkation day we were transported over to the Miami Cruise Ship Terminal. Crystal also made our flight arrangements, as this was included in the cruise fare. Embarkation ========= Embarkation was very smooth and orderly and we were on the ship by 12:15 PM. Once on board the ship we all enjoyed a wonderful lunch in the Main Dining Room. We toasted the start of the cruise with flutes of complimentary champagne provided by Crystal. Our room was ready by 2:00 PM and when we arrived most of our luggage was already in the room. The Ship ======= The ship began service in 2003 and we have sailed on the Crystal Serenity many times. For us it is the perfect size ship for voyages of this length. The Serenity is a mid-size ship. At almost 69,000 tons it is capable of carrying as many as 1,100 passengers and a 650 passenger crew. It very rarely carries this number of passengers as it also appeals to many guests traveling solo. The ship has a total of thirteen decks, ten of which are used by passengers. As the World Cruise is comprised of seven individual voyages the number of passengers on board the ship at anyone time varied by voyage to voyage. We had almost 950 passengers on the seven-day sailing. There were 201 passengers who took the entire world cruise and the total number of passengers ranged from around 400-450 on the first two voyages to anywhere's from 500 to 650 passengers on some of the legs. Like any ship there are probably a few minor areas showing some wear and tear but these items are normally addressed in dry-dock. The crew is always taking good care of the ship. They can be seen thoroughly cleaning the ship throughout the day and evening hours and also painting outside areas of the ship on a frequent basis. Accommodations ============ Our room is called a category PH Penthouse Suite. It was a perfect size for us for this length voyage. The room was located mid-deck on Deck 10. The room has a nice desk area which could be utilized for the computer and other related items while also having a vanity makeup table with mirror. There are shelves adjacent to the desk where we could store items along with a refrigerator and storage areas for bar and glassware. There is a nice walk in closet, which comes in very handy given the amount of clothes that are needed on a world cruise. Overhead lighting in the room is fine and the size of this category room and outside verandah works very well for us. The bathroom is quite spacious with both a separate shower and whirlpool bath and the bath products are quite nice. We are able to use the wireless Internet capabilities that are available in the room and other areas of the ship. We had the same room stewardess for the entire world cruise and the same assistant stewardess for both the seven-day voyage and almost the entire world cruise. They both kept the room looking great. The PH and above categories also have butler service and we had an outstanding butler who we also had in 2008. He takes care of the snacks and beverages and also will set up breakfast, lunch or dinner. For dinner he can serve meals course by course either from the Main Dining Room or from either one of the specialty restaurants on board the ship. While our children were on board he served the six of us a beautiful breakfast and also one night we all enjoyed shrimp, lobster, caviar and other canapEs and champagne. He sets a perfect table and everything was always perfect. During the course of the World Cruise he also served us dinner from one of the Specialty Restaurants a couple of times and he also served appetizers and champagne when we had some guests meet us for a pre-dinner drink and appetizers. Dining & Cuisine ============= There are many dining choices on board the Crystal Serenity. There is the main dining room serving breakfast, lunch and dinner at either the main or late seating's. There is open seating for breakfast and lunch and assigned seating for dinner. We enjoy the assigned seating as we like to have the same wait staff that quickly becomes familiar with all of your preferences. We sit at a table for two but there are various size tables from two to ten people. While our table was for two we could fit four people there so from time to time we would invite others to join us for dinner. For breakfast in addition to the main dining room there are other dining options such as the Lido Cafe serving a buffet breakfast, or The Bristo serving a light breakfast or Tastes serving a later risers breakfast. For lunch in addition to the main dining room there is also the Lido Cafe serving a buffet lunch, the Bistro serving various luncheon items, Tastes serving a nice lunch and also the Trident Grill serving hot dogs, burgers, wraps and other items For dinner there is the Main Dining Room. There is also Prego serving Italian Cuisine, Silk Road serving Japanese Cuisine under the direction of Nobu, Tastes which is open on most evenings which serves dinner by the pool in a casual atmosphere, The Vintage Room which for an extra charge serves a nice pairing of various wines/champagne with a multi course dinner. Of course there is always room service. The service and cuisine on board the ship are just outstanding. With 24 hours you can have almost any item you can think of. The staff is very accommodating to each individual. There are also many healthy items to choose from and these are designated on the various menus. The Crew ======= The Staff is the best of any staff that we have sailed with. The crew does not know the word "no" and makes every effort to please each passenger. It is amazing how quickly many on the staff learn your name and preferences. We saw many staff that we had not seen in two years and they not only remembered us but they remembered those items that we enjoyed from the previous cruise. Sometimes I felt that they know more about us than we do. The crew retention rate by Crystal is outstanding. Many on the crew have been with Crystal for many years and many have been promoted to increasing levels of responsibility. They like their jobs and it really shows. The Passengers =========== We know many passengers from previous cruises and we met many passengers for the very first time. We have made many friends from our previous cruises and this cruise was no exception. While we dined at a table for two, its size would accommodate up to four guests. From time to time we would invite one or two other people to join us for dinner in the Main Dining Room. Other times we would get together with others at one of the specialty restaurants on board the ship. As mentioned, over the course of such a long cruise many of the passengers and the crew become like an extended family and are clearly one of the reasons we come back to Crystal again and again. Itinerary/Shore Excursions =================== This itinerary was quite unique and diverse. We began in Miami, visited a few ports in the Caribbean and then made stops in Brazil and Argentina. From South America we cruises eight days until we reached Cape Town, South Africa. We made several stops in Africa and from there sailed to the Middle East. We not only stopped in places such as Jordan, Oman, UAE, Israel and Egypt but also stopped in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Kuwait. From there we stopped in stopped in various ports of the Mediterranean and then we sailed the Black Sea before ending the cruise in London. It was a very unique itinerary. We took many shore excursions through Crystal and find that they offer a nice array of choices. They also offer several overland tours for those who want to spend additional time on land to then meet up with the ship a few days later. We stopped at various ports of call that such as Kuwait that had not been visited by other passenger cruise ships or some other ports that only on occasion are visited by passenger cruise ships. We congratulate and commend Crystal Cruises for putting together such as unique itinerary. There were some who criticized the cruise line for including the Iranian Port of Call so it would have been easier for them not to have included this port of call and a couple of the others to avoid criticism. We respect the fact that Crystal Cruises believes in providing their clientele with an extraordinary experience and providing their guest with the opportunity to explore and discover the world. In short, this itinerary surpassed our expectations. Internet ====== Internet connectivity including speed was quite good. We had less delay than I anticipated and less delay than we have had on previous cruises on board this ship. We brought our own computer on with us but there are plenty of computers located in the computer university. There are many Internet plans to choose from. Per minute pricing varies by Internet plan. Crystal also has a computer university offering help to technical computer issues and also offering a variety of computer classes from basic classes to more advanced classes. My wife and I both took classes and enjoyed them. Fitness Center ========== We used the Fitness Center throughout the cruise. It is open 24 hours a day seven days a week and has a wonderful array of machines such as treadmills, elliptical and stationary bikes and a nice variety of weight lifting equipment. There is a wide range of classes offered, especially on sea days. Enrichment Programs, Activities and Entertainment, Special World Cruise Events ===================================== This is core strength and Crystal offers what we consider to be the best enrichment and entertainment program on the high seas. There were so many great and interesting activities to choose from and on sea days there are 50+ activities offered during the daytime and afternoon hours. On the World Cruise there were many special programs in addition to the core entertainment and enrichment programs and we found that we kept very active each and everyday. We enjoyed wonderful sea days because of all of the wonderful activities. The lecture series offered on this cruise was the best ever. The world cruise is divided into seven voyages and each voyage had a diverse set of very knowledgeable lecturers. In fact, one of the seven legs had twelve lecturers. Each sea day two to three lectures were offered. There were two special shore side events for those on the full World Cruise, which were fabulous. On each leg there was usually a special world cruise cocktail reception with drinks, dancing, and a special performance. There were also two special dinners held on the ship; both of which were truly outstanding. One of the shore side events that we will remember for the rest of our lives was one that was held in Israel. It was held in a very unique location and featured wonderful food, entertainment in a breathtaking location. There were several other activities and entertainment which were fabulous. Shopping ======= On board the ship there are several stores featuring sundries, jewelry and clothing. There is also a photo studio featuring cameras and video equipment and also there are several photographers on board the ship taking pictures. Disembarkation ============ The disembarkation process was a snap. We were off the ship by around 6:40 AM and the process was perfect. We were escorted off the ship by a member of the crew who carried our carry on luggage to the area where the checked luggage was stored. All our checked luggage was not only in the assigned area but our luggage was grouped together. After we claimed our luggage we were taken to an area where luggage concierge was located as they will be sending all of our luggage back to the United States. We then proceeded outside the terminal where we were greeted by a familiar face from Crystal. The person responsible for the shore excursions' took us to the vehicle that was waiting for us. Summary/Final Thoughts =================== For us, each time we sail with Crystal we feel that we are returning home as we know many of the crewmembers and fellow passengers so very well. This was our third World Cruise with Crystal and by far the best of the three Everything was perfect and we really appreciated all of the thought and care that went into both the planning and the implementation of the World Cruise. Crystal has a very loyal customer following because of their strong desire to make each and every sailing the best it can be for each and every passenger. Success can be measure by the customer service surveys which consistently rank Crystal number one and by the number of repeat cruisers that Crystal attracts. I hope others will find this review helpful. Keith Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise