A review of the Crystal Serenity by Mike & Anita King , November 2011
Mid size ship 1,080 passengers, similar size ship to QE2 with half the passengers
Great choice of Dining options
Not All-Inclusive until early 2012
The Penthouse suites are the place to be – spacious, very well appointed and most of all comfortable. classic contemporary furnishings in soothing up to date colours. An up to date system of do not disturb/clean the room LCD displays have been added to replace the old system of cards which fell to the floor when the door handle was touched or were turned round by mistake. Lutron lighting, efficient air conditioning system. Ample size bathroom which had a good size bath, separate spacious shower, twin bowls in a marble surround. There was a separate dressing area with sufficient drawers, safe and hanging space. A magnifying glass was to be found both in the bathroom and dressing table area, very thoughtful. The fridge was full of both soft drinks and beer. Extremely comfortable beds with a pillow menu. Crisp white Frette bed and table linen throughout the ship and Villeroy & Boch crockery.
We were aware that the Penthouse suite has an allocated butler, in our case we were lucky enough to have the very efficient Head Butler, but he is not intrusive, arriving with evening canapés at around 4.30pm. He will take items which need pressing free of charge and return them the next day in a smart protective over. He can also take care of restaurant reservations for you at Prego or Silk Road. One can soon get used to this Jeeves character helping you wherever he can.
A spacious veranda with table and chairs is a welcome area to have a little time to yourself whilst taking on the fresh air or just reading a book. In the suite there were far more cupboards and drawers than you would ever need but they do not clutter the room.
Golf practice areas complete with clubs and balls can exercise your skills whilst still at sea, indeed there are Golf cruises where you are able to play at new courses of your destination ports with like minded cruisers.
A teak promenade deck wraps around the ship, one of the best at sea is suitable for both walking and jogging with clear markers how far you have walked or run.
There is a large gym on board, sufficient to satisfy those who take their fitness seriously, has an extensive range of the usual equipment with studio classes being held each day by fitness personnel.
If you love The T at 4 experience, you won’t be disappointed. Waiters dressed in tails and white gloves allow you a choice of favourite teas with sandwiches and pasties galore. All this takes place in the Palm Court lounge which either has the pianist playing softly in the background or a string quartet will serenade you with light music. Not to be missed but leave room for dinner and the butlers canapés.
Choices of evening dining are numerous. The traditional dining room eating at either the 6pm or 8.30pm sitting,or dining when you wish – just get Jeeves to make that reservation. Eat when and with whom you like.
Other dining options are the speciality restaurants – Silk Road a Nobu experience with sushi and Asian fusion food. For those nights when you fancy Italian cuisine, there is Prego, where service is exceptional, the food divine. We have been advised that the mushroom soup in a bread bowl is a must, and having tried it, would agree wholeheartedly.
During the day when you fancy that cup of tea or coffee with a bite to eat, then visit The Bistro, an informal cafe ideally placed in the centre of the ship.
For breakfast try either the formal dining room or the Lido cafe, which caters for the early riser or a late breakfast when you want that much needed lay in. The Trident Grill at lunch time caters for those naughty but nice Burger/steak and melt in the mouth fries either standard or sweet potato for that healthy kick!! There is also Tastes for those light lunches, salmon salads, stir fry noodles and the like.
So, numerous choices to tempt your palette whatever the time of day. Of course there is also room service if you cannot be prised out of your delightful suite or just want to eat alone with your book for company.
Dont fancy the gym, but want a degree of fitness, then there are two pools to choose from, both indoor and outdoor. Two large jacuzzis grace the pool deck – have a glass of champagne to complete the experience.
For those days at sea, when you want to keep busy, there are Creative Learning at Sea courses in subjects of photography, computing, keyboard skills etc. etc
Now I hear Bridge lovers say, what is there for me? Both hosted and non hosted classes are held in a large room where you will not be disturbed. Of course there is always the comprehensive library to spend a few hours relaxing.
Showtime is taken care of by The Crystal Production Team of singers and dancers. Every so often there is an individual act either musical or comedy which will grace the stage. Vincenzo Martinelli was one such act. A classical guitarist of immense talent captivated the Theatre audience.
If we have forgotten a subject. Do forgive us. A book could be written about all the wonderful experiences aboard a Crystal ship. Many of the staff have been with the company for 10 or more years but are still alive with enthusiasm for the Crystal product which is evident by their smiles, helpfulness and wish for the guests to enjoy their cruise to the full.
HAPPY CRYSTAL CRUISING. Will there be another ship to join Symphony and Serenity? That is a closely guarded secret, if we hear more, we will be the first to let you know the good news.