I joined the Crystal Serenity on May 11, 2010 for the Seaways of Antiquity cruise sailing from Rome to Athens via Sorrento, Taormina, Aghios Nikolaos, Kusadasi, and Mykonos! My friend and I were able to board early in Civitavecchia (port for Rome) and leave our carry-on bags with an attendant while we enjoyed lunch in the dining room with welcome glasses of champagne. Off to a good start!
We were in a Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah (AA 10009) on deck 10 starboard side forward. Very nice accommodations and those double sinks and double hair dryers are very convenient for two people getting ready to go places. The weather and scenery were enjoyed daily from our
verandah on this itinerary. Our room attendant, Mirela, kept everything neat and clean at all times.
DINING & SERVICE
The service and food in the main dining room (we were at a table of eight) were very good. Special requests were accommodated with no issue. The Chateaubriand on the Captain’s Gala formal night was perfectly prepared and several people at our table enjoyed their fill of lobster. We ate in Prego and Silk Road once each as well. The presentation and food in both were excellent. Both specialty restaurants were very busy and we noticed how the servers and supervisors all covered for each other – clearing service items, refilling beverages, etc. – to keep things moving. In Prego, the polenta with mushrooms and white truffle oil was a delicious treat and the mushroom soup in the bread bowl lived up to all its praise. At Silk Road, we started our meal with a selection of sushi then tried several of Nobu Matsuhisa’s special signature items. The “cappuccino” dessert cup was a fun way to finish the meal.
We ate breakfast in the Lido each morning. The staff there would offer to carry your tray as soon as you started down the buffet. They also brought coffee, tea, juice, water, and whatever else you might request to the table. There were no lines and I only had to wait behind one or two people on occasion at the made-to-order egg station. Once you place your order, they offered to bring it to the table so you didn’t have to wait there. With such a port-intensive itinerary, we barely ate lunch onboard, however, on the one sea day a special Mediterranean buffet was set up on deck with some really wonderful foods – the couscous and chicken tagine were my favorites. The turnout was great for this so it was the one time we experienced a short wait in line, but it was only a few minutes and it was definitely worth it. The menu was printed ahead of time in the Reflections daily program to let people know all the specialties being featured from all the countries surrounding the Mediterranean.
Some of our tablemates took advantage of the Computer University @ Sea classes to learn how to edit their photos and another enjoyed the Yamaha keyboard classes. We attended the destination lecture – a knowledgeable and entertaining speaker from the U.K., Ken Rees, an award-winning former foreign correspondent. We also used the fitness center, which was well maintained and each treadmill, exercise bike and elliptical machine had a towel and bottle of water at it. The attendant immediately cleaned and restocked the equipment when a guest was finished using it. The internet room and library were very popular, too. At the Captain’s welcome cocktail party, the four Ambassador Hosts went around to ask single ladies to dance. The band did a nice job at that party and the farewell cocktail party on our last evening out on the Lido deck. The friendly ship’s photographers took pictures at the welcome party, during formal night, and each time we came in to port. They were also ashore in Taormina and on some of the tours.
The tours were popular – a highlight for many being the evening at Ephesus. I had been to most of the ports previously and did a lot of independent exploration this time. The ferry to Capri was a great side trip option from Sorrento. 9.80 Euro round trip per person on Caremar gave us half a day in a whole other port. Many of the guests made this trip in the morning and spent the afternoon back in Sorrento. Crystal offered complimentary shuttle service from the tender pier up the cliff to the main part of Sorrento, from the tender pier at Giardini Naxos up to Taormina, and from the dock in Mykonos to the town center. No shuttle service was needed in Aghios Nikolaos or Kusadasi from those docks. We spent a day before and a day after the cruise sightseeing in Rome and Athens. Several people we met did a couple days pre and post in these great cities.
What I most enjoyed onboard was having only 1,070 passengers in the space that would accommodate several hundred more people on most other lines. We never had to wait to get on and off a tender, never had to wait to get on and off the ship, walked right up to the buffet at the Lido, and always found a seat in the Lido or on deck. Also, I thought it was pleasant that there were no intrusive announcements for ship’s activities or disembarkation. We can’t wait to sail on Crystal again, if you are interested in booking Crystal visit our Crystal Cruises deals!