Five Things to Know About Crystal Cruises' Serenity Cruise Ship
World's Best 2018 Awards Rank: #2 Large Ocean Cruise Line
Best for: High-end cruisers seeking above-and-beyond service and excellent specialty restaurants.
Sails: Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Baltic, Caribbean, Central America, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Mediterranean, Middle East, Northern Europe, Pacific Coast, Mexican Riviera, World Cruise, Western Europe
At a Glance: A Travel + Leisure World’s Best 2018 winner, placing second in the Large Ocean Ship category. There’s a reason why passengers keep coming back to Crystal Serenity again and again: stunning refits (including a big one in November 2018), a chic look, and sublime service puts Crystal’s largest ship at the forefront of luxury cruising.
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All Cabins Have Windows
Like everything else on the Crystal Serenity, staterooms, more than 80 percent of which have balconies, are understated and luxurious: Think earth tones, fresh flowers, and a chic leather sofa. Amenities are on point, too. There’s beer and wine in your refrigerator, a basket of fresh fruit on your desk, and Frette bathrobes and kimonos in the closet. And since cabins range from 226 square feet for a Deluxe Stateroom with a picture window to 1,345 square feet for one of four lavish Crystal Penthouses (completely redesigned in the November 2018 refurbishment), you’ll have plenty of room to move. If you splurge on a penthouse, you’ll have a personal butler at your beck and call 24 hours a day to pack and unpack your suitcases, bring you afternoon tea, and deliver meals course by course.
The Dinners Are an Event
In the lavish Waterside, the ship’s main dining room, passengers choose from dishes on a classic menu and a modern menu. The former is filled with refined fare like a seafood crepe, lobster cobb salad, and a whole roasted duck, while the latter ranges from snapper sashimi to a slow-cooked Shiraz-braised oxtail ragout. Best of all, the dining room is (as of November 2018) open-seating, so you can dine whenever you like and with whomever you like. Passengers also get to dine at the ship’s fantastic specialty restaurants. If you feel like upscale Italian, head to Prego for beetroot-ricotta ravioli and veal rib eye steak. Or go for Japanese at one of two restaurants helmed by Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa. At the Sushi Bar, order salmon tartar and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, or head to Umi Uma for Nobu-style masterpieces like black cod and miso or lobster and truffle with yuzu sauce. Crystal Serenity also has two new dinner options: Churrascaria, a Brazilian steakhouse, and Silk Kitchen, a pan-Asian restaurant.
Sea Days Are Busy
Crystal’s enrichment program is legendary, so if your trip requires a few days at sea, this is the ship to choose. Do wine tastings with sommeliers, attend a wellness lecture led by an expert from the Cleveland Clinic, check out a magic show in partnership with Neil Patrick Harris’ L.A.-based “Magic Castle,” enjoy language lessons from Berlitz, take tai chi from a Stanford research physicist—the list goes on and on. You can even channel your inner artist with classes in sculpture, drawing, and painting, and the new Silk Kitchen restaurant serves dim sum at lunchtime.
The Spa Wins Raves
The Asian-inspired Crystal Spa & Salon was designed with Feng Shui principles in mind, so passengers leave relaxed, whether or not they’ve done a treatment. (The sauna and steam room are complimentary.) Sign up for aroma stone therapy, a Japanese silk booster facial, or even a dermal filler treatment — medi-spa services like acupuncture and wrinkle treatments are available — before heading to the private canopied relaxation area to zen out a little more.
It’s Easy to Do Good
As part of Crystal’s You Care, We Care program, passengers can sign up for a complimentary volunteerism excursion. Spend a day pitching in at a salmon hatchery in Sitka, Alaska, doing arts and crafts with children at a burn center in Lima, Peru, or helping out on an urban farm in Cartagena, Colombia. Not only will you have a chance to give back, but you’ll also get to spend time with locals in port.