October 2016 - Crystal Serenity to Canada, New England, New York
We have cruised a lot...and by a lot, I mean more than 200 times and mostly on the Big 7 cruise lines in a variety of cabins from balcony to suites. We are in our mid-40’s and look forward each year to a special trip that we splurge on. Prior to this cruise our favorite overall experiences were Oceania and Windstar. We have now set the Gold Standard to which all future cruises will be compared to. We LOVED our experience on Crystal and from the moment we stepped into the terminal at NYC all the way through to getting to our cabin, there were smiling faces welcoming us and escorting us to each step.
This was our Anniversary cruise so we selected the Penthouse category on Deck 10 complete with a butler. Our butler, Damien, greeted us within minutes of arriving to our cabin to show us the features of the cabin, pour us drinks and find out our preferences and expectations for the cruise. He was warm, welcoming and we looked forward each day to his afternoon canapés and cocktails. He along with cabin stewardesses, were absolutely fantastic.
Our cabin was well appointed and VERY comfortable! We had a nice size couch and chair where you could look out to the oversized balcony...with actual real patio furniture that was comfortable to lounge in and soak up the views. The room has two twin bed or they push together to make a large queen size and was one of the most comfortable beds and pillows I've ever experienced on cruise or land. Nice comfy bathrobes and changing robes were included in the large walk-in closet. The bathroom was complete with his/her sinks, full size shower and separate jacuzzi tub. A really cool feature was the speaker in the bathroom pipped in whatever TV show/movie sound from the TV right into the bathroom.
The food and service across the ship and at every venue was top notch! Always warm smiles and attentive service. The food selection was various and each dish was fantastic. Prego the Italian restaurant and Silk Road Sushi (by Nobu) are the two most sought after specialty restaurants and require advance reservations. The main dining room exceeded our expectations with our waiters, Nikola and Alen being the highlight. There were 4-6 options for every course from appetizer, soup, salad, entrée and dessert. The breakfast and lunch buffets in the Lido were as extensive as they were varied. All the food venues across the ship were truly exceptional, of the highest quality and tremendous options…not to mention outstanding taste! We were truly impressed by the food and service on this cruise and life after the cruise has become very disappointing. Our first dinner home we looked at each other and lamented as to how much we missed Nikola and Alen…and the amazing meals.
There was a variety of shows, lectures and events throughout the day on the ship. Most impressive was the computer lab with an extensive offering of classes during the cruise. The library was well stocked with books and movies, which could be taken to your cabin for viewing. Also, there is a movie theatre onboard that shows a variety of movies and also used for lectures and other events.
If there is one constructive feedback to offer, it’s that the wifi is very slow! There is an hour per day complimentary per person but unless you have a lot of patience or time to spend connecting and for pages to load, you will likely not use all of the time allotted and give up in frustration. Being working professionals (not retired) we needed to check email during our trip, which was quite cumbersome but given the long port days, it was pretty easy to use wifi in the port. My suggestion would be to give up on being connected and go spend time eating, drinking and enjoying all the ship has to offer!
Crystal is an all-inclusive experience from food to drinks and everything in between. You would not need to spend another dollar while on onboard except for the obvious/expected things such as shore excursions, casino, spa and onboard shopping. Tipping is included in the cruise fare but we felt the service was so exceptional that we opted to give our waiters and room butler a little extra at the end of the cruise.
We can’t wait to book our next Crystal cruise as we were truly spoiled! Acclimating back to real life after this cruise is very hard and this will be a trip that we will talk about for months and years to come!