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Crystal Cruises: Crystal Serenity

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Crystal Serenity Review

From cruises in the Caribbean to the far-flung regions of South America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, Crystal Serenity offers voyages that last from seven days to several months in length (for the annual World Cruise). Many itineraries can be booked back-to-back

for a longer trip without repeating a port of call.

Crystal Serenity was introduced in 2003, the line's first new ship since 1995. Although more than a third larger than Crystal's earlier ships, it's similar in layout and follows the successful formula of creating intimate spaces in understated yet sophisticated surroundings. Stylish public rooms, uncrowded and uncluttered, are clubby in the tradition of elegantly proportioned drawing rooms (even the main show lounge is on a single level).

Muted colors and warm woods create a soft atmosphere conducive to socializing in the refined environment. The Palm Court could be mistaken for the kind of British colonial–era lounge you might have seen in Hong Kong or India in the 19th century. A thoughtful touch is an entirely separate room for scrutinizing the art pieces available for auction. The understatement even continues into the casino, although it contains plenty of slot machines and gaming tables.

Winner of accolades and too many hospitality industry awards to count, Crystal Cruises offers a taste of the grandeur of the past along with all the modern touches discerning passengers demand today. Founded in 1990 and owned by Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) in Japan, Crystal ships, unlike other luxury vessels, are large, carrying upward of 900 passengers. What makes them distinctive are superior service, a variety of dining options, spacious accommodations, and some of the highest ratios of space per passenger of any cruise ship.

Beginning with ship designs based on the principles of feng shui, the Eastern art of arranging your surroundings to attract positive energy, no detail is overlooked to provide passengers with the best imaginable experience. Just mention a preference for a certain food or beverage and your waiter will have it available whenever you request it.

Afternoon tea in the Palm Court is a delightful daily ritual. You're greeted by staff members in 18th-century Viennese brocade and velvet costumes for Mozart Tea; traditional scones and clotted cream are served during English Colonial Tea; and American Tea is a summertime classic created by Crystal culinary artists.

The line's Ambassador Host Program brings cultured gentlemen on each cruise to dine, socialize, and dance with unaccompanied ladies who wish to participate.

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What You Should Know

Pros

  • Alternative restaurants are yours to enjoy at no additional cost
  • Every bathroom has a full-size tub
  • A wide teak promenade deck encircles the ship

Cons

  • Few staterooms have a third berth for families
  • Reservations for specialty restaurants can be hard to secure
  • The clubbiness of repeat passengers can be off-putting to people new to Crystal
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 655
  • Entered Service 2003
  • Gross Tons 68,000
  • Length 820 feet
  • Number of Cabins 544
  • Passenger Capacity 1,070
  • Width 106 feet

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