ABOARD CRYSTAL SERENITY_Today is a sea day, and a choppy sea at that. One of those extra Dramamine days that you sometimes get this time of the year.
The first order of business is breakfast, which is being served in Marketplace, a new casual dining area that replaced the Lido Cafe during the ship’s extensive refurbishment in November, 2018. Bright and cheery, there are lots of breakfast choices at buffet stations. Silverware and napkins are already in place at the tables, and the wait staff is at the ready to take drink orders or take care of any need. The service we’ve encountered so far certainly lives up to the reputation Crystal has for taking care of its guests.
The 2018 makeover made a number of important changes to Serenity, which we’ll detail here and in future posts.
After breakfast I’m headed for the Computer University at Sea on deck 7, laptop in tow. I’ve been having Internet connection issues and run out of trying the usual solutions. While Serenity and her sister ship, Symphony, have both been upgraded with new technology that doubles satellite speed, technical issues with their provider is making for some glitches. The good news is that Crystal offers free, unlimited Wi-Fi throughout the ship, and guests can connect as many devices as they like to the network.
It took a while, but the knowledgeable techs on duty got me going again. But you already knew that, since you’re reading this post. Duh.
As we continue to explore and learn the ship, we popped into The Bistro, a cozy coffee shop on deck 6 featuring a wide choice of coffees, hot teas, pastries and an assortment of other snack items that change throughout the day. Pam raved about the coffee, and I was equally wowed by the organic fruit tea, served on colorful china bearing a pattern created by artist Guy Buffet — indicative of how Crystal pays close attention to every detail. We’ll be coming here more often.
For lunch, we returned to Waterside, where I ordered the Dim Sum and Spicy Orange Chicken while Pam had a delicious Chicken Salad. You can’t help but rave about the food — so far it’s been outstanding.
Speaking of food, tonight is the first of several “Black Tie Optional” nights, and we have reservations at their Italian specialty restaurant, Prego, on deck 7. Guests are allotted one free visit to the three specialty restaurants onboard, and if available, can return for a very reasonable $30 a person.
Donning my tux, with Pam in her elegant finest, we start our evening with a stop at the Avenue Saloon on deck 6 for a pre-dinner cocktail. “Saloon” really doesn’t fit. It’s a New York-style bar with rich, dark woods and intimate seating options. With the lights low and a piano playing in the background, it’s the perfect setting for kicking off our night. Two lemon drop martinis, please, with sugar on the rim. We’re in heaven.
All too soon, it’s time to head for Prego, where we are seated window-side at a table for two.
Pam starts her dinner with the Parma Ham and Sopressata appetizer, while I opt for the Italian vegetable soup. For the main course, I choose the Handmade Beetroot-Ricotta Ravioli, while Pam has the Homemade Potato Gnocchi. It’s all so good we go light on dessert.
After dinner, we pop into Pulse, the ship’s nightclub on deck 6 aft. It has also gotten an upgrade during the refurbishment. With a DJ booth and small dance floor, it’s a late night spot for dancing, disco and having a drink. On this night, it’s also hosting karaoke, and we haven’t had enough to drink to appreciate “Sweet Caroline” in screech minor. So we make a hasty retreat back to the Palm Court on deck 12.
This is more like it. The Crystal Quartet is grooving on classic songs while guests hit the dance floor to show off their skills at cha-cha-cha, waltz and tango. We (read “I”) may not have all the skills, but we enjoy dancing nonetheless.
By this time, it’s well past midnight and time to return to our stateroom, where we order up a late night room service breakfast.
Tomorrow we dock at our first port of call, the Turks and Caicos. Stay tuned.
Cover photo: Two lemon drop martinis at the Avenue Saloon, credit Gerry Barker