Emerging from a $17 million extreme makeover in December 2013 (bringing the total cost of the two year makeover to $52 million), Crystal Serenity is quite simply, the best. Forget five stars, or even six. Crystal Cruise' standards exceed a sterling 10. Its guests — mostly couples over 50 — are well used to the finer things in life and expect impeccable service and pristine public rooms. They are likely to travel with Crystal Cruises time and again, occasionally sampling Regent Seven Seas or Oceania.
Accommodations are tastefully furnished and spacious, especially in the Crystal Penthouses on decks 10 and 11. The 1,345-square-foot Crystal Penthouses were completely redesigned to include a spacious living room, dining area, master bed and bath rooms with natural marble and wood floors with Italian mosaic tiles on the floor and walls in the bathrooms. A newly redesigned media room/den, which can serve as an alternate sleeping room (ideal for families), a private workout room, pantry with butler entrance and guest bath and shower. With a private verandah and butler service, it won’t be a surprise if you find yourself wanting to stay in every so often. These penthouses resemble, in space and design, the elegant rooms in grand hotels, but have the added bonus of the sweeping ocean views.
In a cruise industry first, 70 deluxe verandah staterooms were transformed into PURE® Hypoallergenic environments. Cruisers that suffer from allergies or mild respiratory issues will find the comforts of the 99.9% clean filtered air and hypoallergenic bedding most accommodating.
There are no inside cabins anywhere on the ship. Walk-in closet? Check. Separate shower and bath? Check. Pillow menu? Check. (Naps are good for your health, don't forget.)
Dining and Entertainment
No detail went untouched in the redesign of the Lido Café. The Lido Café was redesigned to maximize space for service and seating areas. The long buffet counters were replaced with modern light stoned island counters.
Vertical living walls, olive trees and a retractable glass roof give the Trident Grill, located on the Lido deck, an airy rooftop restaurant vibe.
The Palm Court, with its floor-to-ceiling window walls, is one of the most elegant venues at sea. And the Avenue Saloon, Crystal Cruises' signature cocktail-and-piano bar known for its intimate atmosphere, is a great hangout.
Only two letdowns: Although the quality of food and service are top-notch, the Crystal Dining Room with its low ceiling is loud when crowded. The Pulse nightclub is a dated disco whose decor is not yet retro enough to have become trendy.
Entertainment options include an enthusiastic resident troupe and proficient house band support visiting singers and comedians in the main Galaxy Lounge. Crystal Cruises has a tie-in with Hollywood’s Magic Castle, which provides entertainers for intimate shows in front of no more than 20 guests at a time. There’s also an extensive program of enriching onboard speakers from institutions such as The Smithsonian and Sotheby's, and innovative complimentary education offerings through Crystal’s Creative Learning Institute.
Serenity also features the Studio music-and-language learning center, a bridge lounge, Computer University @ Sea, cinema, paddle tennis courts and the golf clinic with resident professionals.