This was the last leg of a Crystal World Cruise and went from Tokyo to San Francisco, with port stops in Japan, Russia, Alaska, and Canada. It was my third Crystal cruise and second on the Serenity. As always with Crystal, it was a ... Read More
This was the last leg of a Crystal World Cruise and went from Tokyo to San Francisco, with port stops in Japan, Russia, Alaska, and Canada. It was my third Crystal cruise and second on the Serenity. As always with Crystal, it was a top-notch experience. I bought my air from Crystal and it was a good experience. The hotel which Crystal provided, the Imperial, was the fanciest in which I have ever stayed. Embarkation was a breeze in Tokyo; as a start to a cruise, the opening of the main dining room for a table-service lunch is so much better than a whole shipload going to the buffet restaurant.
The Ship: The Serenity holds about 1000 passengers so it is small and intimate. One never knows there are that many people onboard because the public spaces are so nicely done.
The Cabin: The cabins on Serenity are small than those on other high or even mid level cruise lines. As a single traveler, I never have a problem with closet space and drawers. A couple on a trip of this length might.
Dining: The food is generally excellent on Crystal. The appetizers and desserts are the high points of the main dining room. The food is not spicy enough for me, but it usually is not on any cruise line. The Lido, the buffet restaurant, had a nice assortment of items every day. Breakfast in both these venues was very good. The breads are outstanding. The Bistro provided an additional place for snacks, nuts and cheeses. Wine was very good everywhere on the ship.
Prego, the Italian/steak specialty restaurant, is acceptable; again the appetizers and desserts are the high points. Nobu, the Japanese restaurant, is unbelievable. The sushi and sashimi were consistently the best I have eaten anywhere. The suppliers and the ship's storage must be the best to keep raw fish this good for this long. The cooked items were acceptable but not near the quality of the sashimi. Tastes, a casual, tapas type restaurant, was also very good, especially when shared with a group. On a cruise of this length, I had four complimentary dinners in Prego and/or Nobu; I ate in Prego one additional time and in Nobu about four additional times, paying a $30 upcharge each time. This is one of the few things which seems kind of chintzy for Crystal, since it is an all inclusive experience otherwise.
The Entertainment: This was much better than on other cruise lines. The production staff and the musicians were excellent in every venue. There was a rotation of entertainers coming and going so we had new entertainment frequently. There were at least 20 lecturers, instructors, and enrichment providers, and a wide variety of day time activities.
The Service: This is where Crystal shines. The service is excellent everywhere on the ship. And the staff are knowledgeable and courteous.
Ports and shore excursions: This was an unusual set of ports due to the ship's route: Aomori and Otaru, in northern Japan; Korsakov and Petropavlovsk in the Russian Federation; Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Seward, Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan, Alaska; Vancouver, BC. Since the ship was the first of the season (and perhaps the first ever) in all these places, they were not crowded and the people were delighted to see us. Crystal provides excellent shore excursions that are usually worth the premium they charge for them. There was a ship's escort on every bus and the buses were not crowded. I took a ship shore excursion everywhere one was offered. They also provide a complimentary shuttle service in any port for which the town is more than steps away from the dock. In addition, we only had to tender once. It was an extra treat to spend a day at Hubbard Glacier and another in Glacier Bay, something that would not happen during 'the season.'
Other: Because this was a segment of a world cruise, Crystal did not assign cabins until about 10 days or so before the cruise. The ship was not full; there were probably 40 or so empty cabins. We were heading into what could have been (and were) some rough sea areas. Nevertheless, Crystal chose to place some passengers in the very front of the ship; this was not a pleasant experience for them due to the noise of the ship smacking the waves all night long and due to the motion. It would have been better customer service to have placed passengers in the most comfortable portions of the ship. So be aware of this if you are taking a world cruise segment.
The captain did an excellent job of navigating some unusual waters. And docking in some very tight places. Nothing ever moved in my cabin at the back of the ship. Read Less