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Crystal Serenity Lido & Tastes Makeover


ryndam
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We just returned home from the TA Barcelona-Miami. This is my first opportunity to look at the various threads posted about the cruise. The redesign of the Lido and Tastes is very remarkable. An incredible number of two-top tables are now available, with the larger tables that seat 4-6 not as abundant as in the older design. This seemed to work out much better than the older arrangement, since we never had any difficulty at all finding an empty table either in the Lido itself, or in the newly expanded Tastes/Trident area.

 

Instead of the roving Lido guys scrambling all over the deck trying to serve everyone, there appeared to be many more waiters and bar tenders assigned to both the Lido and Tastes/Trident area. These servers appear to have designated, assigned, specific areas, so if your favorite server is assigned to an area in the Lido or Tastes, you can pretty much be guaranteed of finding them at their stations during breakfast and lunch. Our dining room assistant waiter had an assigned "area" in the Lido at breakfast and our dining room senior waiter could be found at his assigned Lido "area" at lunch. Since we rarely eat in the MDR for breakfast or lunch, it was a very nice service arrangement for us to be served by "our" same service team throughout the ship.

 

The I-pad method for ordering at Trident appears to be an improvement over the old method, but as with most new innovations, the service staff is still working out the kinks and tweaking the process. Instead of standing in a line at the Trident to place your own order and wait for it to be served, you now place your order with either the waiter standing right next to the grille, or to one of the roving Lido waiters, who types in your order on their I-pad and then give you a numbered sign to place on your table. That way, you can select a table, enjoy your beverage (which arrives very quickly) and the server will deliver your order directly to the table.

 

The Tastes lunch menu has been tweaked a bit from the past. Our only disappointment was that the duck quesadillas have been eliminated from the menu. We looked at the Tastes dinner menu, but the offerings did not really appeal to us and we never dined at Tastes for dinner. We met quite a few others that really enjoyed the lighter meal opportunity at Tastes in the evening, and the evening ambiance and mood lighting was very pleasant.

 

I have attached a few photos of the renovation since I did not see that any others have posted before. I'll be glad to answer any questions, from our perspective, as best as I can. For those sailing soon on Serenity, enjoy! It's a great ship and crew.

 

Rob

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Rob, welcome home and thank you for sharing your observations/thoughts about the new Lido and Tastes makeover. Thank you for also sharing the photos. All of the changes look and sound wonderful and we look forward to seeing them two weeks from today.

 

Happy Holidays.

 

Keith

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Rob,

 

Welcome back to reality and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and terrific photos.

 

The renovations look amazing. I've really liked the Lido cafe renovation on the Symphony and it's great that there are so man wait and bar staff that assist the terrific Lido guys and it has worked so well. I love the redesign of the Trident and Taste areas and hope to see it in person one of these days.

 

Happy holidays to you.

 

Nancy (a fellow Houstonian)

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One thing that I did want to mention about the renovations to the Trident area. While on Symphony, the Trident area has both dining tables and also an abundant number of sofas and easy chairs for lounging, on Serenity, the Trident and Tastes area is really just a dining area. Although there are one or two areas with a small, straight backed sofa and chairs, these are rather uncomfortable and not designed nor suitable for lounging like the ones on Symphony. We took full advantage of many nice sofas and the round orange love seats outside around the pool. The problem would be on a cruise, such as our crossing from Iceland last year, when the pool deck outside was unusable. On that one we were still able to lounge around under the glass on the sofas on Symphony's Trident deck. If you run into bad weather on Serenity, even though heat and air conditioning is available under the glass, you would not be able to lounge comfortably in the Trident/Tastes area.

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ryndam,

 

Many thanks for your recent posts about the Serenity. The observations sound pretty good to us. The pictures are very helpful, too. --Photoshopping ourselves into the shots is not the same as being on a Crystal cruise!-- just easy on the finances.:D

 

Happy Holidays!

Edited by 8dimsum
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This is quoted directly from Reflections:

"Reservations for Tastes: Reservations are required for evening dining and can be made in advance by dialing 0 anytime or with the Maitre d' in the Crystal Dining Room during opening hours".

 

I also noticed that there was a manned "control desk" in Tastes where evening dining reservations could be made in person during the 1:00pm-3:00pm Tastes lunch times when there were senior dining staff in attendance.

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...on Serenity, the Trident and Tastes area is really just a dining area. Although there are one or two areas with a small, straight backed sofa and chairs, these are rather uncomfortable and not designed nor suitable for lounging like the ones on Symphony.

 

Also, some of those tables for two have large wicker based that leave no room for knees, and the ladies complain that they are murder on stockings.

 

Maybe they decided that the array of snoring guests wasn't quite elegant. Still when is one supposed to lounge when in cold cruising climates?

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Also, some of those tables for two have large wicker based that leave no room for knees, and the ladies complain that they are murder on stockings.

 

Maybe they decided that the array of snoring guests wasn't quite elegant. Still when is one supposed to lounge when in cold cruising climates?

 

We also noticed that the bases of the new tables in Trident were so thick that they interfered with legroom under the table, including the larger tables.

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Also, some of those tables for two have large wicker based that leave no room for knees, and the ladies complain that they are murder on stockings.

 

Maybe they decided that the array of snoring guests wasn't quite elegant. Still when is one supposed to lounge when in cold cruising climates?

 

That actually was a complaint that I've heard many times, including here on CC a couple of times. It wasn't so much the snoring, but that people were using the sofas to "lay down and nap", and that people had their feet up on furniture in what some passengers considered to be a "food service area". I don't personally have a problem with it at all, but I think in general Crystal found that leaving the Trident too multifunctional made it less than ideal at any function, so they tried to bend the purpose of it a little more in the direction that most people have elected to use it. Thankfully there are still a few sofas around, but not enough that it's as conducive for people to use them like chaise lounges.

 

Maybe in colder climates they'll remix the furniture on the sides a little to accommodate more demand for lounging and less demand for dining?

 

Vince

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The very thin, not very long sofas that are in the new Trident area on Serenity could not be used like a chaise as they are not built like the thick, longer ones found on the pool deck on Serenity and in the Trident area on Symphony. On Serenity these little love seats and the tables are set up for dining rather than lounging and one could not comfortably stretch out on them or lean back on them with feet up. In fact the new sofas are not comfortable even for sitting and visiting with friends as the cushions are very firm and the backs lean at an odd angle.

 

I find that the sofas in the a Trident area on Symphony are perfect for lounging, reading, or even taking a nap and I don't see how anyone could find that objectionable.

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The very thin, not very long sofas that are in the new Trident area on Serenity could not be used like a chaise as they are not built like the thick, longer ones found on the pool deck on Serenity and in the Trident area on Symphony. On Serenity these little love seats and the tables are set up for dining rather than lounging and one could not comfortably stretch out on them or lean back on them with feet up. In fact the new sofas are not comfortable even for sitting and visiting with friends as the cushions are very firm and the backs lean at an odd angle.

 

I find that the sofas in the a Trident area on Symphony are perfect for lounging, reading, or even taking a nap and I don't see how anyone could find that objectionable.

 

Not saying I agree with it, just that I've heard it repeatedly from people and read the same thing here. A lot of people found it unappetizing and for some reason unsanitary -- like they're eating off the cushions?

 

The change up of the mix in furniture would seem to reflect that feedback though, and shift more to a dining venue.

 

Vince

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Looking forward to seeing the changes in just 10 days. :)

 

Like most things in life, there are going to be differences of opinion on all of this.

 

I am reminded that when the Serenity first came out some people did not like the color scheme and that was a big discussion item on this board ten years ago. Ouch! Ten years sure goes fast and I have not heard color scheme mentioned for many years now. Similarly, when the new furniture was added to the Symphony's Lido Deck I remember some being very concerned with the white and saying how would they keep it clean.

 

My reaction is always the same. I am not buying the place and certainly what I find comfortable in my very own home some people visiting don't care for. And as to keeping it clean, my view was that Crystal would know what to do.

 

While most people loved the makeover of the Symphony I remember a few didn't. Some wanted a greater number larger tables and also I know some who found it challenging with some of the new tables. Even some didn't like the order in which the food was presented. These are items rarely discussed now.

 

Again, like most things that are discussed there is not really a right or a wrong because it all comes down to personal preference. And over time I've found most people adapt. They figure out what locations work best for them on the ship.

 

Crystal went with what they thought made sense and I suspect that each person will come to their own conclusion and each person should be able to give their opinion. Again ,no right and wrong and this is yet another item that you are likely not going to please all the people all of the time.

 

Again, I can't wait to see it in person as the photos look great and we have heard from many people on board the last sailing and the current one who used words such as "stunning" and "wonderful" to describe the changes.

 

Happy Holidays to everyone.

 

Keith

Edited by Keith1010
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Keith, the new Trident area definitely looks beautiful and is a very nice area to have lunch or even to have a casual dinner at Tastes. It just does not happen to be designed for lounging in case that is important to anyone.

 

What I am more interested in is your impression of the lunch service at Tastes once you are on board.

There are basically 3 ways to have lunch there:

1 .Order from the Trident grill and take a number to your table and a waiter will deliver your salad, burger, pizza, etc. from the grill. (this is a definite improvement)

2. Carry a plate from the Lido buffet and have the waiters in the Trident area bring you drinks.

3. Order off of the Tastes menu from a waiter beginning at 1:30 P.M. Some of the items like potstickers are very good. I don't understand exactly why they do not open until 1:30. It creates a bit of a problem if say, your trivia team walks in at 12:30 and, as was typical with us, some order from Trident and others go to the buffet, but the person who wants to dine from Tastes cannot order until 1:30. It is very high tech: the waiters take orders on iphones which are relayed immediately to the chef, but the service is not always stellar. There are a couple of Lido/Trident guys who are assigned there and help out, but the service mainly depends on the waiters and sometimes it is a little slow.

 

Just my observations. I look forward to yours.

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Danny, I will be sure to check out each of the areas and items you mentioned and will share observations.

 

Anne Marie and I typically mainly have lunch at the Lido Cafe, where we make a nice salad entree and when we are not in a rush we go to the Crystal Dining Room, but we will definitely check out the other areas this time around.

 

I'll ask about the hours of Tastes and also let you know what they are. On all my sailings on the Serenity Tastes would be open 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Lido Cafe was Noon to 1:30 PM and I believe The Trident Grill was 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM. I am not sure if the change in opening time to Tastes to 1:30 PM is a permanent change or if it was a temporary change related to the recent makeover. I think the concept of varying the opening times was to have say Tastes open later for those who don't want an early lunch or for those getting back from tours a little later since Lido Cafe closes at 1:30 PM. I realize tours was less relevant on your cruise. Again I'll find out if 1:30 PM is the permanent opening time or the temporary time and if permanent what led to move the opening time back 30 minutes.

 

We will also be sure to try Tastes at least one time for dinner and the Trident Grill for lunch. A friend has been telling me to order the Salmon from the Trident Grill for lunch so it's time for me to do that.

 

We actually used to eat at Tastes for lunch from time to time until I started paling Paddle Tennis. I actually started playing on that seven day voyage we were all on in 2010 with both my family and also with your boys too.

 

Keith

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Taste' lunch hours were in fact 1 - 3 on 3331. There was seemingly confusion on who was delivering the drink orders. Several times we received our food before our beverages even though we could see them sitting on the bar a few seconds after we had placed the order. Service was much better in the evening in my experience. I'm sure they'll get thinks running smoothly soon.

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The waiters in Tastes started taking orders at 1:00pm during the four times that we lunched there on v.3331. I know it was a challenge for those attending the noon-1:00pm trivia sessions to be at Tastes before 1:00pm. We miss the duck quesadillas, but the potstickers were a very tasty substitution.

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Taste' lunch hours were in fact 1 - 3 on 3331. There was seemingly confusion on who was delivering the drink orders. Several times we received our food before our beverages even though we could see them sitting on the bar a few seconds after we had placed the order. Service was much better in the evening in my experience. I'm sure they'll get thinks running smoothly soon.

 

I stand corrected...yes, tastes did open at 1:00 rather than 1:30, which was still a problem when we dined at 12:30 following trivia and those who ordered from Tastes had to wait until 1:00 to order, and yes, we had a problem once or twice getting drinks and the waiters were slow to take away dirty dishes. I also agree that the place was brand new and the kinks will probably be worked out.

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Glad to hear that the opening of Tastes is the way it's always been. Again, the concept is to have a venue that while opening later than the Lido Cafe and Crystal Dining Room stay open later for those who want to eat a later lunch and/or for those who get back later from tours. Also remember it's the same concept for Breakfast where Tastes has always offered the late risers breakfast. With Tastes closing for breakfast at 11:30 AM ,the 1:00 PM offering provides time for the set up for lunch to commence and all of the prep that takes place in the galley.

 

Yes, for someone like me 1:00 PM is one of the reasons why we don't eat very often at Tastes but then again there are people who have posted on this board wishing that the Lido Cafe was open later. Many of us are on different schedules. So, this is one of these items that you can't please all of the people all of the time but it's nice that there is a lot of choice out there when it comes to dining.

 

I will be sure to check out the food at each these locations along with the new way of taking orders.

 

I agree with all of your comments about the areas being brand new so there are undoubtedly kinks that they are worked out as well as everyone getting up to speed on the new systems that were also implemented. It usually takes a few voyages (about a month or so) to work through all of this. Same has been true with other changes such as dining by reservation. It took a month or two to gain the experience and work through the kinks. My son manages a land based restaurant and three or four times a year they introduce new menu items and even then there are some kinks to work through.

 

From everyone's descriptions and the photos, we are very excited to see it for ourselves.

 

Keith

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I think this Tastes schedule is going to be very useful. We have often come back from port "too late" for lunch. This will fill that void nicely.

 

I hope there will be some flexibility in getting into Tastes at night. I recall at least one evening we dilly-dallied too long and didn't make our dinner time. We would have loved to call for a quick Tastes reservation. Instead we went to try and make dinner out of the Bistro. That was not a satisfying option for us. In the end our friends invited us to their late seating table and all was well.

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Ilene,

 

My experience is that on a World Cruise Tastes for dinner is even more popular as the cruise goes along as some people want the casual atmosphere of Tastes so that will be a challenge for availability. The positive news is that Tastes is now open on most nights. The key would be to make a reservation sooner rather than later.

 

On some nights another way for you to take a break from the dining room, etc is to order something to your room. We do that a few times just to change things up when we are on board for quite a while and we've done this when we know we have a full day tour that gets back after early dining and when we would prefer not to have to change to go to one of the other venues.

 

So, good news is there are several alternatives.

 

Keith

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We had a fantastic dinner at tastes on 3331. I know food is subjective but we thoroughly enjoyed everything we tried and it was fun sharing. To us the food had authentic ethnic tastes, a nice change from MDR and specialty restaurants even though we enjoyed them all!

 

The chocolate creme brûlée was really special too.

 

The setting was casual yet elegant and the lighting is very well done. The little white lights in the olive trees are also a nice touch.

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We had a fantastic dinner at tastes on 3331. I know food is subjective but we thoroughly enjoyed everything we tried and it was fun sharing. To us the food had authentic ethnic tastes, a nice change from MDR and specialty restaurants even though we enjoyed them all!

 

The chocolate creme brûlée was really special too.

 

The setting was casual yet elegant and the lighting is very well done. The little white lights in the olive trees are also a nice touch.

 

Cruisun,

 

Thanks for sharing this info and so glad you had a fantastic dinner at Tastes.

 

Nancy

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We had a fantastic dinner at tastes on 3331. I know food is subjective but we thoroughly enjoyed everything we tried and it was fun sharing. To us the food had authentic ethnic tastes, a nice change from MDR and specialty restaurants even though we enjoyed them all!

 

The chocolate creme brûlée was really special too.

 

The setting was casual yet elegant and the lighting is very well done. The little white lights in the olive trees are also a nice touch.

 

So glad you enjoyed it.

 

I like the concept of the family style dining.

 

Can't wait.

 

Happy Holidays.

 

Keith

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What time is Tastes open for dinner on Serenity?

 

We have two Crystal shore excursions which are scheduled from 6:30-9:30 and 6:30-9:00 [on different nights -- Hermoine Granger I'm not ;)]

 

I made reservations in the Crystal Dining Room for 6:00 those nights, but that doesn't leave enough time for a decent meal.

 

Can we make an earlier reservation in Tastes, or should I just expect that Crystal has this under control and will take care of us? [Obvious first-time Crystal cruiser question :o]

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