Crystal Serenity

Crystal Cruises

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The Verdict

Crystal Serenity is Crystal's best, largest, and newest ship, offering an ultra-elegant cruise with a huge array of onboard choices, from dining to activities and public spaces.

Size (in tons) 68870
Number of Cabins 535
Number of Cabins with Verandas 465
Number of Passengers 1070
Number of Crew 655
Passenger/Crew Ratio 1.6 to 1
Year Built 2003
Last Major Refurbishment 2008
Cabin Comfort & Amenities 4.5
Ship Cleanliness & Maintainence 5.0
Public Comfort/Space 4.5
Dining Options 5.0
Children's Facilities 3.5
Decor 4.5
Gym & Spa Facilities 5.0
Enjoyment 5.0


Typical Per Diems: $460-$780

Serenity sails the Caribbean from Miami (winter).

The largest truly ultraluxe vessel afloat, Serenity is 38% bigger than the older Symphony, but carries only 15% more guests. She's one of the most spacious ships out there, from her beautifully designed public rooms to the expansive Pool Deck. There's simply no crowding at any time. With many refurbishments and improvements made in late 2008, this ship continues to shine.


Standard staterooms on this ship are somewhat bigger than those on Symphony, and the bathrooms and balconies are larger. The majority of standard cabins (categories A and B) are 226 square feet, not including balconies; even with this increase, cabin size is not Crystal's strong suit when compared to the line's luxury peers. There are 100 suites in three different categories, with the largest running 1,345 square feet. The 2008 refurbishment added eight more Penthouses by eliminating 16 Deluxe Staterooms.

Most of the standard cabins, called Deluxe Staterooms, have a veranda, while 70 rooms have a large picture window. All feature a seating area, complimentary soft drinks and water, TV and DVD, a small fridge, a computer dataport, Egyptian cotton sheets and feather bed toppers, and a pillow menu. Choose from "regular" king- and standard-size pillows or four specialty options, which include round, foam-filled neck pillows for neck or lumbar support. Besides all of this, Penthouse Staterooms toss in butler service and free beer, while the Penthouse Suites also throw in complimentary liquor and wine setup at embarkation, a flatscreen TV, a separate bedroom area with a vanity, a Jacuzzi tub, a bidet, and a walk-in closet. If you're going straight to the top, the ship's Crystal Penthouses are incredibly spacious abodes, with a separate living room, a dining area, a CD player, three TVs (one in the bathroom, if that floats your boat!), a cordless phone, a library, a pantry, and, believe it or not, a small gym.

Decor-wise, wood accents and furniture in the staterooms are on the medium to dark side, creating an elegant atmosphere offsetting the more colorful curtains, wall coverings, upholstery, and bedcovers. The feel is soothing. As aboard Symphony, the bathrooms are nicely laid out, but still on the small side for a ship of such high quality. You'll find plenty of drawer and closet space for a cruise of up to about 2 weeks.

Only a handful of cabins have a third berth available, and none offers four berths. Eight rooms are designated as wheelchair accessible.

Dining Options

Fine dining has been a trademark of Crystal's since the line began sailing in 1990, and the Serenity carries on the tradition with her two impressive alternative, open-seating specialty restaurants, both of which require reservations (and a suggested $7 cover charge). In Prego, the surroundings make you feel as if you're really in a fine Italian restaurant ashore, with meat, pasta, and fish dishes served a la carte or through a tasting menu with items selected by Piero Selvaggio, proprietor of the Valentino restaurants in Santa Monica and Las Vegas (the table-side prep of the carpaccio is worth the price of entry). On the Asian side of things, famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa oversees the menus in Silk Road, an ultrastylish space designed in a sea of ethereal shades of mint green and white, with seating at tables or at the sushi bar (go early for a sushi snack, have a drink, and then go to late-seating dinner). Just forward of Silk Road, the Vintage Room is an intimate, boardroom-style wine cellar that hosts special wine- and champagne-themed dinners and other events. In the ship's formal restaurant, the Crystal Dining Room, there are two seatings at assigned tables each evening. The lovely decor is a rich blend of dark woods with blue-and-mauve chairs. The latest dining spot on board is Tastes, a casual eatery serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner under a retractable roof near the Neptune Pool. It has a completely separate menu from the other dining areas and is a great dinner alternative when you don't feel like dressing up.

Other dining outlets include the Bistro Café, open for a variety of snacks and beverages all day long; the poolside Trident Grill; and the Lido Café, which serves buffet-style breakfast and lunch, with some made-to-order specialties such as omelets and pastas.

The 24-hour room-service menu is quite extensive. During dining hours, guests can also order from the Crystal Dining Room menu for in-cabin delivery.

Public Areas

Public rooms on the Serenity are all so appealing that it's difficult to pick a favorite. The ship has such a quiet, elegant atmosphere throughout that you won't even find glitz in the casino. Color schemes are muted and calming, with lots of blues, greens, reds, golds, and grays. As aboard Symphony, one of the most popular lounges is dark and cozy Avenue Saloon, with its wonderful round bar and plenty of table seating. The two show lounges, Galaxy Lounge and Stardust Club, have great sightlines and comfy seating, both theater- and table-style. The lobby bar has been redesigned, making the whole area more enjoyable for daytime or evening drinks.

The ship has a good library that's well stocked with books, DVDs, and CDs that can be checked out only when the librarian is on duty. Two large rooms are dedicated to the line's learning programs: one for computer instruction and the other for classes offered in partnership with well-known institutions, such as piano instruction by Yamaha, language immersion by Berlitz, art classes conducted by the Parsons School of Design, and wellness programs run by the Cleveland Clinic and the Tai Chi Cultural Center. The casino features a gorgeous gold, purple, and magenta color palette.

Pool, Fitness & Spa Facilities

There are two reasonably sized pools, one of which features a sliding glass roof. Indoors, the stunning Crystal Spa was designed according to feng shui principles, putting you right into relaxation mode. The complex includes a quiet room with very comfortable seating and great aft-facing views for those relaxing moments before or after a spa treatment. The changing rooms are stocked with lotions, shampoos, hair dryers, clocks, and bottles of water, while the steam rooms have large picture windows for great views while you roast. A wide range of treatments includes a handful geared to men, such as a pro-collagen shave, frangipani hair conditioning, and aroma stone therapy massage. There's also a spacious beauty salon and a gym with a separate weight room, aerobics studio, two full-size paddle-tennis courts, table tennis, golf driving nets, and a putting green.