Crystal Serenity - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Crystal Serenity


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 434 out of 500

Accommodation: 168 out of 200

Food: 341 out of 400

Service: 339 out of 400

Entertainment: 84 out of 100

Cruise: 345 out of 400

Overall Score: 1711 out of 2000

Crystal Serenity Statistics

Size: Mid-size Ship

Tonnage: 68,870

Lifestyle: Luxury/Premium

Cruise Line: Crystal Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9243667

Builder: Chantiers de l’Atlantique (France)

Original Cost: $350 million

Entered Service: Jun 2003

Registry: The Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 820.2/250.0

Beam (ft/m): 111.5/34.0

Draft (ft/m): 24.9/7.6

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel/2 azimuthing pods

Passenger Decks: 9

Total Crew: 650

Passengers (lower beds): 1,090

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 62.6

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.7

Cabins (total): 545

Size Range (sq ft/m): 226-1,345.5/21-125

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 465

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 8

Wheelchair accessibility: Best

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 8

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 2 (1 w/sliding glass dome)

Hot Tubs (on deck): 2

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/202

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


This is an elegant, spacious ship with good food and service

Overview. Crystal Serenity is best suited to sophisticated travelers, typically over 50, who seek contemporary ship surroundings, with fine quality fittings and furnishings, a wide range of public rooms and facilities, and excellent food and service from a well trained staff. This ship has just about everything for its target clientele, including an excellent program of guest lecturers.

The Ship. Crystal Serenity is the slightly larger but still mid-size close sister ship to Crystal Symphony, and has a similar look and profile. While some might not like the exterior’s ‘apartment block’ look, it is in fashion today. The ship was given an extensive multi-million dollar refit and refurbishment in 2013 and looks almost new again.

The ship has an excellent amount of open deck, sunbathing space, and sports facilities. The aft of two outdoor swimming pools can be covered by a retractable glass dome in poor weather. There is no sense of crowding anywhere (although the self-service buffet can get very busy). There is also a really wide walk-around teakwood deck for walking, pleasingly uncluttered by sunloungers.

Elegant public rooms include Palm Court, evoking images of Colonial-style grand hotel lounge; the Avenue Saloon, a favorite watering hole of late-nighters and a throwback to traditional gentlemen’s clubs; the Connoisseur Club, for cigar and cognac enthusiasts; and the Stardust Club, a lounge/nightclub. There are new shops and a private jewelry room, a computer-learning center with 24 terminals, and an Internet center. One neat feature is a Vintage Room, a private dining room where 12 invited diners can enjoy exclusive vintages, paired with food, in special wine-tasting dinners. Another is a Yamaha keyboard learning center for the excellent ‘Passport to Music’ program, which gives you a chance to learn how to play a keyboard instrument (and you get to take home a manual, so you can carry on learning); the program is free - great value indeed.

Crystal Serenity is an all-inclusive ship whose fare includes all gratuities, decent wines for lunch and dinner, and bar drinks.

Accommodation. This consists of: four Crystal Penthouse Suites with large balcony. Other accommodation: penthouse-grade with balcony; superior outside-view cabins with balcony; outside-view cabins with balcony; 84 outside-view cabins without balcony; All the best accommodation is on Decks 11 and 10; all other accommodation is located on Decks 7, 8, and 9. Each has an electronic ‘Do Not Disturb’/doorbell system.

All accommodation has duvets, down pillows, a refrigerator and mini-bar, flat-screen infotainment TV (close-captioned videos are available for the hearing-impaired), data laptop socket, satellite-linked telephone, and hairdryer. There’s a range of Aveda toiletries (suite-grade occupants get personalized stationery on request, plus a larger list of ‘inclusive’ brands to choose from), a plush, cotton bathrobe, and plenty of cotton towels, the largest a generous 70 by 34ins (180 by 85cm). The air conditioning in bathrooms and walk-in closets is quite noisy and cannot be turned off.

Butlers provide good service in all the top category suites on Decks 10 and 11, where room service food arrives on silver trays. Afternoon tea trolley service and evening hors d’oeuvres are delivered in butler-service suites.

Crystal Penthouses (with balcony). There are four, each 1,345 sq ft (125 sq m), and ideally located in the center of the ship on Penthouse Deck 11. Each has a large private balcony with outside light, a lounge, separate master bedroom with king-size bed and electric curtains, large walk-in closets, and large vanity desk. Marble-clad bathrooms have ocean views; they feature a whirlpool tub and shower, two washbasins, separate shower enclosure, bidet and toilet, and ample storage space. They were completely redesigned and rebuilt in 2013.

Penthouse-grade (with balcony). These measure 538 sq ft (50 sq m), on Penthouse Deck 11 and each has a separate bedroom and walk-in closet.

Penthouse-grade (with balcony). Located on Penthouse Decks 10 and 11, these measure 404 sq ft (38 sq m). Note that eight of these located at the aft of Deck 11 have larger balconies.

Deluxe outside-view cabins (with balcony). Measuring 269 sq ft (25 sq m), these are larger than the standard outside-view cabins aboard many ships.

Deluxe outside-view cabins (with balcony). These measure 269 sq ft (25 sq m). These are about the same size and shape as the ‘Deluxe’ version but, on a ‘superior’ deck (Penthouse Deck 10), are longer than cabins that don’t have a private balcony.

Deluxe outside-view cabins (no balcony). These have a window that looks onto a walk-around promenade deck outside each cabin. They measure 226 sq ft (21 sq m).

Wheelchair-accessible accommodation. This is spread over several different grades and locations.

Dining. There is one main dining room (the Crystal Dining Room), two specialty, reservations-required dining rooms. The Crystal Dining Room is quite elegant, with a crisp, clean style that includes plenty of space around each table. It is well laid-out and has a raised, circular central section, although it is noisy at times and not conducive to a fine-dining experience. There are tables for two, many positioned adjacent to large ocean-view windows, and for four, six, or eight.

Other dining options. There are two, one Italian and one Asian, both requiring reservations but without any extra charge. They are aft on Deck 7, with ocean-view windows. Prego is for Italian food from a menu created by Piero Selvaggio, Italian wines, and service with fine flair.

Silk Road has Asian-California ‘fusion’ food. Although there is no extra charge, a small ‘gratuity’ is suggested. The alternative dining spots provide an excellent standard of culinary fare with food cooked to order. A semi-separate sushi bar with counter stools is part of Silk Road, which features items selected by superb Los Angeles-based Japanese super-chef Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa, and skillfully prepared on board by Nobu-trained chefs; the high-cost ingredients are flown regularly to the ship. Note that to eat in a Nobu restaurant ashore would cost a considerable amount of money, but aboard the ship, this outstanding food is free.

The Bistro, located on the upper level of the two-deck-high lobby, is the delightful casual spot for coffees and pastries, served in the style and atmosphere of a European street café. The Bistro has some splendid Crystal Cruises-logo china that can be bought in one of the ship’s boutiques.

For informal eats, the Lido Café has an extensive self-serve buffet area. It’s high up in the ship, with great views from its large picture windows. For casual meals, Tastes features regional cuisine and family-style service, and four vertical ‘living walls’ of greenery, There’s also an ice cream/frozen yoghurt counter (no extra charge), and a Chinese street food zone with popular favorites like steamed dumplings.

Entertainment. The Galaxy Lounge, the main showlounge, is a large room with a high ceiling, but on one level, with a nicely sloping floor for good visibility. Indeed, the sight lines are good from almost all seats (both banquette and individual seating is provided). The stage, lighting, and sound equipment are all excellent.

Spa/Fitness. The Crystal Spa is located aft on one of the ship’s uppermost decks. Facilities include men’s and women’s changing rooms with sauna (which has a large porthole-shaped window) and steam rooms, gymnasium with high-tech muscle-pumping equipment, an aerobics exercise area, and a reception/relaxation area.