In anticipation of our arrival on Crystal Serenity, the bar had been set high. Award-winning Crystal Cruises defines what they do with absolutely no ambiguity, confidently stating “At Crystal Cruises, we are motivated by a single goal: to provide you with the finest experience not only in cruising but in all of luxury travel” on their web site. Frankly, I had my doubts…until we walked on to the ship.
On any other ocean cruising ship, on any other cruise line, we overlook something not quite right here or a bit less than anticipated there. Examples:
- The first cruise line representative we come in contact with on arrival has a “man, am I busy” scowl on their face. Overlooked, we focus on the big picture.
- The first meal brings the anticipated crowd of ravenous cruise travelers, loading up buffet plates and hunting for a place to sit. Not to be concerned, it IS the first day, after all.
- Good service for the duration of the cruise = a generous pre-tip to the overworked cabin steward. We’ll stand out from the crowd and hopefully get better service because we have shown them we mean business.
Still, we always manage to have a glorious time on a variety of cruise lines, not allowing “the little things” to get in the way. We’ll find a workaround, don’t really require much attention and love sailing. Regular readers here know we spend a great amount of time preaching how to have a good time on a cruise by defining your own experience.
But today we are sailing with Crystal Cruises and that line of what to expect and what will be delivered is a bit blurry.
Ready to let the little things go, we had no opportunity to do so. Walking on to the ship, embarkation was quick and moved right along, much like any other cruise line. It was going to be a while before staterooms were ready, so up to the top deck we went for lunch at ‘Tastes’, a casual service eatery by day and a reservations-only open-air venue by night.Immediately greeted by a server who took our drink orders, another was right behind him for our lunch order, spaghetti for Whitney and a Burger for me. No line. No buffet. Plenty of seats. Champagne flowed freely. Passengers talked with one another in a normal voice volume. We were off to a good start.
Still a bit early to go to our stateroom, a Penthouse Suite that looked about the size of a Junior Suite on Royal Caribbean or Mini-Suite on Princess when researching online, we decided to give it a try anyway. The thought: Let’s see if they kick us out or let us in.
Arriving about a half hour ahead of schedule, we found stateroom 10062 ready to go, fully stocked and a very nice space to spend the next 10 days in. Beginning with a selection from the hand-made Crystal Chocolates collection started things off right.
Moments after we entered, our butler Almir arrived to welcome us, show us around the suite and answer our already plentiful questions.
About an hour into the experience it was clear: the bar had not been set higher than Crystal could deliver. More accurately: it appears that there is no bar.
“Whatever you need, whatever you want, we have it for you,” said Almir, quite confidently.
Thinking our pre-cruise reservation for dinner at specialty restaurant Silk Road would come quicker than we were ready for, Almir suggested “I can serve that for you here in your suite, no problem. Let me get the menu, you can make your selections and I will set it up for you right here.”
We ended up keeping our reservation at Silk Road and are glad we did. More on that later. For now, I’ll wrap up this first post from Crystal Serenity by tagging our first impressions of what Crystal Cruises does as #AbsolutelyBlownAway
Stay tuned for more live via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as we explore Crystal Cruises for the first time and make our way from Boston to Quebec City on a 10-day Autumn’s Palette itinerary. See all our blog posts on Crystal Cruises too.