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PaulaJK

Just back from 6/4-16 Serenity

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We are quite fond of Crystal and repeat pax. This rather long report

reflects our impressions for this cruise, 'Riviera Romance".

 

PRE CRUISE We had made our own air arrangements. Following several earlier posters, we had arranged transfers from Venice, Civitavecchia and to Rome airport through the highly recommended Elena of Rome Shuttle. I had her

confirmation of the detailed transfers and had given my credit card # in guarantee. Unfortunately, their driver was NO SHOW in Venice. We spent about 30 minutes looking for him, then had to struggle w. 4 valises on to /off the bus shuttle....haul bags to water taxi area...get dropped off not close enough to our hotel. What a disappointing and exhausting hassel. Once aboard, I emailed Elena and asked for verification of the Civitavecchia pick-up. Gave her 48 hours to respond. Nothing, so arranged through Crystal. Hope that the story ends here and that this story will not roll on to credit card issues.

 

Serenity: Venice was the port of embarkation. Serenity was in the

Maritme Station which essentially required a water taxi transfer. Luggage

was quickly collected by Crystal personnel. The embarkation process was prompt and very well organized. Staff greeted arriving passengers as they stepped into Crystal Cove.

 

Serenity is well maintained and very clean in both macro [the ship] and micro [your cabin]. We had an excellent stewardess and enjoyed our well appointed cabin. Since there have been previous discussions, let me note that whenever we opened a toiletry [e.g. shampoo], a new, full bottle was placed in the bathroom. The bathrobes were exchanged mid-cruise, a pleasant touch.

 

Unfortunately, the weather gods were not overly kind and we had

several days when it was too chilly to utilize the pool or terrace. Ouch!

 

This was a port intensive cruise. Obviously we realized this and although we love sea days [there were only 3], we booked because we had been to most of the ports and planned to revisit at a leisurely pace. But what we had not taken into consideration was the overall impact on the ship's tempo and feeling tone of the port inteisty/ limited # of sea days. Furthermore, these 3 days were so packed w. the Creative Learning, lectures, computer classes, galley tour,etc that there was no relaxing way to enjoy them! Italian lessons had been posted on Crystal's web site for months but french lessons were given.[" No italian teacher available!"] Also, no art at sea was offered/ no explanation offered.

 

We had two areas of disappointment...which I will discuss in the next post.

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Post #2

 

Unlike previous Crystal Cruises we [and many others] found the entertainment quite WEAK. 1st and last nights were those amorphous hello/ goodbye shows. The night we stayed in Monaco until 2am they offered dancing to the Galaxy Orchestra rather than a show. This left 9 nights of which five were used for their productions. The talented Kwan sisters performed classical music one evening. Jimmy Dunn, the comedian, was weak and audience members were leaving at an embarassing rate. So,too, w. Rita McKenzie who performed as Ethel Merman. The trumpeter would have been a good act but not a 45 minute show. This was a Fashion & Style theme cruise which seems a rather presumptious designation as there was one 45 minute talk by Arnold Scaasi & Pat George re-iterating what was in his book, ?Women I have dressed and undressed......

 

Our second area of mild disappointment was the sameness of the food.

Like many of you, we have our Crystal favorites. We also appreciate the

excellent quality of the produce/meats/fish, the attention to plate appearance & the generous hospitality. However, we found DR lunch to be

a very weak 'meal ' w. entrees such as quesadillas, sandwiches, quiche,

abounding . Pastas tended to be overcooked, even when ordered al dente. Over the past decade I don't think that Crystal's dinner entees have changed that much....but the world of contemporary cuisine most definitely has! Perhaps it is time for entrees such as Mama's veal cordon bleu, roast duck and some others to be re-thought. One day there was sliced lamb or lamb gyro for lunch, lamb chops for dinner and lamb being carved at the Med. buffet the next day!..fried flounder for lunch and lemon sole for dinner. The tableside prep of cherries jubiless seems more outdated than special. However, the rack of veal & steaks were very good, the king crab legs & lobster scrumptious, the salads and soups as good as always. DR waiters seem to be mostly eastern European w. few from western Europe. There are more women. Some Indian waiters have been added to the staff. The sommeliers were very good.

 

Lido deck staff is fabulous. Since they are now also working Tastes and

the Captain's parties, I wonder if they will eventually staff the DR.

 

So clearly we won't seek another port intensive cruise....and these were our disappointments. Crystal still has a wonderful on board product.

 

More about demographics to follow!

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Perhaps the most stunning difference on Crystal was what I was term the demographics! Leaving from Venice, we had many more Europeans on

this sailing. Also, about 10% of pax were Asian, mostly Japanese..and there was a group of 50 on from Australia. There were many families traveling w. college age or slightly older children. [Pulse was pulsating!! Can you believe it??] There were about 35 young children on this sailing. 75 were expected on

the 6/17 sailing and several summer cruises had 100. There were quite a few honeymooning couples [late 20's thru 30's]. There were lots and lots of couples in the late 30's, 40's and 50's....all in all quite a different mix than we

have previously experienced.

 

Other notes; Tours were well run but sometimes too long. Sadly, we had booked the Florence/Uffizi Gallery tours months ago. About 3-4 days pre Florence we rec'd letters saying that the Uffizi was "oversold" and unable to accomodate us. ??????????????????

 

 

If you have any questions, I would be happy to try and answer them

either here or pcloguda@comcast.net.

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Well I tried editing. Can a computer savvy person assist me?

 

When I write the post, it appears in a block...then when it

is posted, some lines are short, some long. What am I doing

incorrectly?

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PaulaJK,

 

Thank you for your very comprehensive report of your recent Serenity cruise. I'm glad you enjoyed it in spite of the few minor disappointments.

 

I'm surprised no one else has commented on the number of children expected on board during the Summer. I must say I wouldn't be too pleased if there were 100 children on my Crystal cruise on Serenity this Summer if I was doing one. Is this a change or is it in fact normal even in the Mediterranean? I know the Alaska cruises on the Harmony have more children on board. Was there any particular reason for the large number of children on board on specific cruises this Summer?

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After all that has been debated on this board re: Crystal & children, I also am surprised re: lack of comments. We were a bit thrown when a week or two pre departure, Crystal's web site suddenly listed Childrens' Activities Directors!

 

 

There was no particular reason that I could identify. That is, the children were not part of a group of travelers...of one nationality...of one age group.

 

Perhaps marketing [altho I haven't seen this in my region and many of these were American children] .....or wealthy parents??

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I was on the Symphony last summer cruising the British Isle. There were no more than 10 children on the cruise. I really don't expect there to be very many kids sailing through Europe on Crystal. Paula, it seems like your itinerary was not the norm. Nancy

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Nancy, I have never run into many kids on any previous Crystal cruise...regardless of itinerary or season. What I was suggesting

was that things may be changing in this regard because I was

told [reliable source] that 75 children were expected on the 6/17 sailing

and that several summer cruises {med itinerary] had 100 children booked.

This # doesn't include the 'young adults' who were also now present in

significant #.

 

I'm not making an anti-anybody comment.....just noting the change.

What may be positive for Crystal may not appear positive to some potential

pax. I suspect that the pool will be the hot spot because the clusters

of chatting adults and lap swimming adults had scowls on their faces

when youngster jumped off the sides into the pool.

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Paula, just wanted you to know that I didn't take your post as an "anti-anybody" item. I too am surprised the amont of children on these itineraries. If I had kids that age, Crystal would not be the product I would take them on. Regardless of the amount of kids, they do not have the enough facilities for the kids. I do feel that Crystal is trying to attract a larger age range of people for the future. However, I still feel that the demographics for "luxury" cruises is still primarily an older crowd since they generally have more time and disposable income. While my husband and I are in our 40's, it isn't an issue for us to be among the youngest passengers on Crystal. We have met amazing people on Crystal and can't wait for our next cruise. Again, sorry if you misunderstood my post, I totally agree with you. Nancy

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On all the Serenity sailings between now and 27th August there are either 2, 3, 4 or 5 Junior Activities Directors. There are also 2 on the Symphony 17 June sailing and 3 on the 28 June sailing. They are obviously on board because a large number of children are expected.

 

It doesn't appear that PaulaJK's cruise was unusual for this Summer...

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Looks like more parents are spending the $$ this year than compared to previous years. Boy I wonder what cruise line these children will travel when they grow up. Spoiling them young?

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