Taking a break from …no, that’s not right.
Pausing for a moment as we…wrong, that’s not it either.
Continuing our luxury sailing with Crystal Cruises but not going ashore…better.
Ok, here we go:
Halfway through an enlightening 10-night sailing with Crystal Cruises, a day at sea gave us time to luxuriously catch our breath.
“How might one catch their breath luxuriously”, you might ask? Just about any way you want to on a Crystal cruise, as we tackle some reader questions.
On board Crystal Serenity, the most luxurious yet one of the least ostentatious cruise ships we have had the pleasure of sailing, core elements of what makes a cruise a popular vacation choice are quite present. Unpack once, see many places; compared to a land vacation, a better value and more. That said, let’s talk value first and get that out of the way right up front.
Ralph J. from Omaha asks, quite simply: “Do you think Crystal is worth the price?”
Ralph, your question is overwhelmingly the most asked about this sailing from day one. The answer lies in what part of a cruise vacation you value most.
- If it’s the least expensive way to go from point A to point B via cruise ship, this is not for you. There are a number of other lines that do similar itineraries and are more price-oriented.
- If it’s a family-oriented cruise experience with plenty to do for the kids/teens, there are other lines better equipped and staffed to handle them. On our sailing I have seen three kids, which I am told is typical for this time of year.
- If it is top deck ship features to occupy your time, on Crystal they are few in number. A tennis court, walking/jogging promenade deck, exercise facility, hot tubs and one pool is about it. The nicely stocked library, on the other hand, is a beehive of activity on a day at sea.
If I were recommending a Crystal cruise as a travel agent, it would be to mature travelers who like sailing with others who also enjoy a top of the line, upscale experience.
Frankly, I would imagine that Crystal Cruises’ biggest competitors are river cruise companies; the top accommodations on big ship cruise lines (like The Haven on Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Suites and above on Royal Caribbean International, MSC’s Yacht Club, etc) and small-ship ocean lines like Azamara Club Cruises, Seabourn and Star Clippers. I’m seeing that same clientele here.
Sally R from Houston asks “The food looks fabulous Chris, I don’t think I have seen you post more photos of food from any other cruise line. Is it really that good?”
Actually, Sally, yes it absolutely is that good. Not that other cruise lines don’t have their signature items that are (my) standalone favorites, they do and they range from Guy Fieri Burgers on Carnival Cruise Lines to Fettuccini Alfredo on Princess Cruises and cupcakes on Royal Caribbean.
But I can not remember ever sailing on any other ship, on any other cruise line, that got food right so much of the time…like always. This is coming from someone who commonly looks past reviews and criticisms of food and other subjective elements of the experience for the most part. After all, something you like, I might not; no matter how well prepared it is.
“It does not look like there is much to do on the ship. How are you occupying your time?, “ asks Roger C from Tulsa.
Other than eating? This is probably one of those questions I should wait to answer when this is over but I’ll give it a try now.
We are booked in a Penthouse Suite, category PH. Before sailing, this level of accommodations looked to be about the size of a Royal Caribbean Junior Suite or Princess Cruises mini-suite. It is not. It is bigger and has more features. One of the best features is the butler that comes with it and we are totally enjoying Almir’s service in all areas.
I know, odd answer to your question but the ‘suite’ life is a wonderful way to travel, absolutely carefree. Probably a more usable answer would be Crystal Cruises focus on ‘creating your own story’ which begins with a smartphone app that enables Crystal guests to post photos along the way. A clever idea on the surface, down deep the concept is more than a photo-sharing app.
Crystal Serenity is very much like a blank canvass, decorated in neutral colors, tones and fabrics, enabling each individual to make of the experience what they want it to be. If that sounds vague, that’s because it is. All the systems are in place here to enable a fabulous travel experience, but no one is going to lead guests around and point them in the right direction as they might on another cruise line.
There are zero announcements over the ship’s loudspeaker system other than a daily briefing by the Captain. I have gathered few printed materials along the way, none of which are selling anything. Still, our days are full and go quickly, in a luxuriously relaxed way unlike any other cruise line we have experienced so far.
The title of this post, Your Crystal Cruises Questions (Sort Of) Answered speaks to the entire Crystal experience. This is a place where there are many possibilities for those who can see beyond the standard fare, are willing to pay for it and will appreciate the outcome.
Hard questions out of the way, here are answers to some easy ones:
Joe M from The Villages asks “Is there a casual eatery onboard that you recommend for those who like the International Café on Royal Caribbean or that atrium place on Princess Cruises?”
Yes, the Bistro…and it’s the Café Promenade I think you are referring to on Royal Caribbean and International Café on Princess Cruises, both favorites of ours.
No, Doris, Jane, Roberta and Mike, I will not ‘slip one of those cups’ in Whitney’s purse, even though “they might not miss just one”…although it is tempting.
Are You Getting Your Steps?
“I know you wear a FitBit to keep track your steps every day and try to hit your goal. Has that been easy, hard or what?” asks Cynthia S from Florida.
Cynthia, my goal is 11,000 steps a day and I have made that all but on our day at sea, mainly because on every day except that one, we went on a walking tour of the places we visited. There is a wonderful wraparound deck to walk on but it has been a bit chilly which keeps me more inside. I can tell you though that up and down the hallway on both sides of the ship = 400 steps. That’s a bit less than larger ships and more than smaller ones but a reasonable amount in a pleasant atmosphere.
Jim R from Kansas City chimes in with “Enough with the food photos Chris!… then asks “What has been your biggest disappointment on this cruise? There has to be something?”
Easy question Jim. When leaving Boston, Crystal Serenity sailed right past the end of the runway of Boston Logan airport. It would have been nice to pause there, as the photo opportunities could have been amazing. If Crystal could have arranged for one of the new 777 aircraft to land at that exact time, all the better. Too picky?
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.
Catch up here with these posts:
At ChrisCruises.com, in itinerary order:
- Riot Of Color Or Subtle Change, Crystal Fall Foliage Cruise Will Be Epic
- Crystal Cruises First Impressions: Absolutely Blown Away
- Crystal Cruises Adventures, On And Off The Ship
- Themed Moderation On Crystal Cruises
- Crystal Cruises, Saint John, Built On A Rock Solid Foundation
- An Outstanding Day In Halifax with Crystal Cruises
Facebook Photo Albums:
- Our First Day On Crystal Cruises
- My Crystal Story
- Crystal Cruises Room Service
- Bar Harbor, Maine with Crystal Cruises
- Crystal Cruises Visits Saint John, New Brunswick
- Halifax, Nova Scotia with Crystal Cruises