Number of Cruises: n/a
Cruise Line: Crystal
Ship: Crystal Serenity
Sailing Date: n/a
We had a fantastic time on the Crystal Serenity Norwegian Fjord Cruise. The real standout feature of Crystal is the service. If you are a “service freak” like me, you will love it. We have cruised on several lines and several ships (most recently on the QM2) and found this to be the best line for service, bar none. The only thing even close is the service we had on the Paul Gauguin on out Tahiti cruise. The thing that is most impressive is that the staff really wants to help you – they are not going through the motions. They want to get you what you want, really! The friendliness is genuine and it applies top to bottom. The food is the next best feature. In two weeks we had only one meal that was less than excellent, and perhaps the only reason I didn’t like the American lunch buffet was that I chose the wrong things to try. You will never want for excellent food or drink. Dining service was the best we have ever had, period. This applies to all the restaurants. We got really spoiled. If you want to relax and be pampered for a week or so, this is a great way to do it.
The spa was excellent, as was the fitness room. We went to several shows (more than we expected) because they were consistently good. The ship is spotless and impeccably maintained. I don’t remember waiting in line anywhere except for brief, expected, and insignificant waits to get on and off the ship. Pickup at the airport was seamless and easy, so I recommend using their program. We made our own arrangements for disembarkation at Dover, but I assume their plan there was equally well handled, because our departure was effortless.
One of our biggest questions is always, “Who should go?” Our family consisted of my mother (83), me (55), my wife (49) and our daughters (20) and (16). We all had a great time. What the girls liked the most is that they felt welcome and free to use the facilities and activities, and that this wasn’t just for old folks, despite the fact that the demographic is heavily 50+. They had teen get togethers and a young adult mixer for them. There were several extended families on board. The girls did not feel welcome like this at all on the QM2. The real joy is that you can do pretty much what you want, when you want (of course you need to book spa appointments, etc., but they are pretty easy to get or change if you find an activity that conflicts). Book your favorite treatments for sea days when you get on and you won’t have much of a problem. Just ask - people are extraordinarily helpful.
Minor (and I do mean minor) downsides – the much touted “Computer University at Sea” is too basic and the classes were already full when we went to sign up (the morning after we embarked). They had a long waiting list but still didn’t add a class. A couple of the excursions were not as accurately or thoroughly described as we would have liked (it makes it a little hard to select). We were, however, able to get all of our first choices with no problems and even changed one without a problem.
Cabins are very nice, and bathrooms are roomy and well laid out. Tub/shower is roomy enough for a tall guy (I’m 6’5”). We were very satisfied with the 8th deck balcony cabins we had. The 7th deck ones are the same size without the balcony and are a better value. I will consider them next time we go. You really don’t need to book a penthouse unless you need lots of space. They treat you really well no matter what cabin class you are in.
The real test is: “Would we book
again?” Absolutely. We thought long and hard about booking cabins for next
summer. Second test: “Did you get your money’s worth?” For sure! No, it’s not
cheap, but there is real value here in my opinion. You do get what you paid for.