July 2016 - Crystal Serenity to Alaska
Overall, this was a typical Crystal experience- mostly first rate. But we noticed some things slipping: the staterooms were getting a little tired- decor frayed around the edges- leaking shower, etc. Needs some sprucing up.
The wi-fi on the ship is awful. They give you "one free hour per day" and charge an outrageous fee beyond that- and then, the wi-fi is so slow, your single hour is spent in frustration trying to connect to anything at all. They are WAY behind the times with wi-fi, and for what you pay for a Crystal cruise, wi-fi should be free.
The Italian dining room "Prego" was by far the best dining experience of the cruise. Excellent. However, Silk Road, the Japanese place, needs work. Soggy and smelly sushi. Unacceptable.
In five cruise, all in penthouses, we've admittedly gotten spoiled by the butler bringing the afternoon snacks each day. Crab claws, shrimp, caviar, cheese, fruit etc etc. This time, the offerings had sunk pretty far. We would rather have skipped the snacks altogether. Pretty bad.
They have added private laundry rooms on each deck, with several washer and dryers. EXCELLENT idea. Very useful and convenient.
Now that Crystal allow flexible dining reservations, not just the usual "early and late seating", it makes it much better when planning shore excursions etc. We very much appreciate the flexible options.
We booked our own shore excursions throughout the trip, rather than pay the (sometimes ridiculous) prices they charge- for the exact same excursion. We paid $99 per person for a snorkling-with-the-seals adventure in Nanaimo - Crystal charged nearly $500 per person. No excuse for this.
Of the five Crystal cruises we've done, this was the only one that I would give four (not five) stars. Nothing that can't be improved upon, and we would likely go on another Crystal ship (or more likely, a yacht or river cruise). And, we are in no way chronic complainers. Crystal still is miles above most other large-ship cruise lines we've experienced.