Expectation Defined: Crystal Promises Finest Experience In Luxury Travel

Sailing with Crystal Cruises for the first time later this month, we’re scouring their website; defining the expectation set for guests of the ultra luxury cruise line.  Whitney and I will be aboard Crystal Serenity September 19 for a 10-night sailing from Boston to Quebec City themed Autumn’s Palette.  The itinerary has us overnighting in Boston before sailing to Bar Harbor Maine then on to Canada’s Saint John, New Brunswick followed by Halifax, Nova Scotia then a full day sailing the Cabot Strait. We’ll stop in the Magdalen Islands then continue to Havre-Saint-Pierre and Baie Comeau before ending with an overnight stay in Quebec City.  Throughout the voyage, our home away from home will be a Penthouse that includes butler service, a private verandah, living room, Jacuzzi bathtub with separate shower and more.  Let’s start right there, defining the expectation set by Crystal Cruises for our sailing enjoyment.

“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”- Crystal Cruises Website

At a generous 403 square feet, our Penthouse is not the largest on the ship by a long shot.  Higher categories come in at 536 and 1,345 square feet respectively.  Still,  the bullet-point list of features is impressive.  We’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s touch on the inclusive experience promised by Crystal to each and every guest.

  • Complimentary fine wines, premium spirits, open bar service, all non-alcoholic beverages including bottled water, specialty coffee drinks, soft drinks, fresh juices and Afternoon Tea service in the elegant Palm Court
  • Gratuities for housekeeping, bar, dining and butler staff.
  • Complimentary evening of specialty restaurant dining in Prego and at least once in Nobu Matsuhisa‘s Silk Road or The Sushi Bar
  • Early Embarkation Luncheon and Welcome Champagne
  • 24-hour room service
  • The Bistro, a European-style sidewalk café, now with extended hours into the late evening
  • Innovative Modern Cuisine as well as Global Inspired specialty menus

Also included, a variety of Enrichment & Entertainment options that all passengers may take advantage of

  • Computer University@Sea® classes with software instruction as well as a Technology Concierge with “how to” tips on latest high-tech gadgets and apps
  • Digital USC School of Cinematic Arts Digital Filmmaking classes
  • Productions shows including Rocket Man!: a tribute to Elton John, the high-energy, rhythmic6/8 Café, plus pianhttp://www.chriscruises.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=45882&action=edit&message=10o bars and chic nightclubs
  • Magic Castle® at Sea offering intimate up-close performances and educational classes
  • Recent-release films in spacious surround-sound Hollywood Theatre
  • Concierge services for personal arrangements ashore

On the fitness front, I’m excited about the wraparound teak Promenade Deck for uninterrupted walks, jogs and sweeping ocean views.  While a gym with state-of-the art fitness equipment is available, after two back to back river cruises, I am more interested in getting off the ship and engaging the places we will visit, many of which have new Crystal Boutique Adventures available, which we have written about here previously.

Crystal_Serenity_Crystal_Penthouse_BathroomIn Penthouse accommodations, we also have the services of a butler to unpack us upon arrival and pack us before departure.  We will be graciously attended to by our Penthouse Attendant also, where Crystal promises “our every conceivable need is fulfilled with expert care.” Amenities include plush down comforters, 100% Egyptian cotton linens, wireless in-room Internet access, Frette robes, Aveda bath amenities, 24-hour complimentary in-room dining service, twice-daily housekeeping including nightly turndown service, and more.  You see, Penthouse accommodations offer an expanded roster of services and amenities.

Personal Butler Service:

  • On call 24 hours a day
  • Unpacking and packing upon request
  • Confirming dining and spa reservations
  • Crystal Adventures shore excursion reservations
  • In-suite afternoon tea service
  • In-suite pre-dinner cocktail and gourmet canapé service
  • In-suite dining, including menus from Silk Road and Prego, served by course
  • Garment pressing and shoeshine upon request


  • Queen-size bed or twin beds with plush duvet, and 100% Egyptian cotton linens
  • Frette bathrobes, kimonos, and slippers
  • Flat panel television with Blu-ray DVD/CD player
  • In-suite satellite TV; movies available from the library
  • Free Crystal email
  • Two telephones
  • Wireless Internet access and data port for laptop computer hook-up
  • Fresh flower bud vase
  • Complimentary welcome bottle of champagne upon arrival
  • Complimentary soft drinks, beer and bottled water in room
  • Complimentary wine plus choice of spirits upon embarkation
  • Fresh fruit basket replenished throughout voyage upon request
  • 24- hour room service
  • Order-in from specialty restaurants Silk Road and Prego
  • A la carte canapé menu served daily
  • Reidel stemware
  • Guaranteed preferred dining in the Crystal Dining room
  • Dining at an Officer table upon request
  • Crystal Spa in-suite massage (Spa rates apply)
  • Aveda bath amenities
  • Sophisticated one-touch lighting
  • Electronic “Do Not Disturb” doorbell
  • Security safe
  • Stocked refrigerator
  • Mohair blanket
  • Binoculars
  • Personal stationery upon request
  • Hairdryer
  • Twice-daily housekeeping including evening turndown service
  • Self-service launderettes (exclusive to Penthouse Deck)
  • Fast-track Check-in on board ship
  • Complimentary champagne and welcome lunch for early embarkation

Crystal Serenity, in many ways, is a new ship after a 2-14 $17 million remodeling.  In this video we go behind the scenes to see how it all came together. Cruise industry-firsts implemented include a chef’s herb garden as part of vibrant “vertical walls” of greenery and 70 new PURE hypoallergenic staterooms. Redesigns range from chic new Crystal Penthouses (the coveted top accommodations) to dramatically transformed indoor/outdoor casual dining spaces, including the Trident Grill, Scoops ice cream bar, Tastes Bar, Lido Cafe, and Tastes restaurant, featuring a brand new “Global Street Food” evening menu.


Follow along as we explore what Crystal Cruises is all about right here (see IN PROGRESS) before sailing and live while sailing and after via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Exposure, PinterestTumblr and Flickr