No-no-seven: The best things about Crystal are what’s NOT on board

Home/Cruise ships, Cruise views, Luxury cruises/No-no-seven: The best things about Crystal are what’s NOT on board

IMG_1412.jpgCruise lines love to boast about what they have on board their ships that might be better than their rivals. They trumpet every innovation and little extra.
By contrast some of the best things about Crystal Serenity, as I discovered during my 12 days on board, are the things it does NOT have. For example . . .
1. No announcements: Captain John Økland broadcast a daily message from the bridge at 9.00 am each morning. But passengers having a lie-in were allowed to sleep on undisturbed. The message is played on the PA in the ship’s public rooms, but not in cabins. For the rest of the day there was perfect peace – apart from one announcement on the outer deck when a school of dolphins was spotted off the port beam. Oh, and the signature moment every time we cast off from port and the strains of Louis Armstrong singing What A Wonderful World.
2. No towel animals: They’re fun the first time you encounter them on a cruise ship. Frightening sometimes, if you open the cabin door to find a monkey hanging from the pelmet – wearing your sun glasses! But the novelty soon fades, and I feel sorry for the cabin stewards who have to spend valuable time turning a fluffy white towel into a graceful swan or a lumbering elephant. On Serenity the stewardesses were able to concentrate on keeping the rooms clean and tidy, and a perfect job they made of it, too. Incidentally, is Crystal the only cruise line which provides different day and evening uniforms for cabin staff?
3. No shortage of a sun loungers: There are plenty to go round by the pool on Deck 12, even on sea days, and there’s no unseemly squabbling or rush to reserve the best. Sun or shade, take your pick. More sunbeds are available forward on Deck 13, and they are also laid out on each of the aft deck tiers. Mo shortage of clean, fresh towels either, and there’s always a steward on hand to help lay them out.
4. No sweat: Ready for a drink? Those stewards are never more than a glance away – although because they are not dependent on gratuities to make up their earnings, they are never a nuisance. After the first day on board they’ll greet you by name and they never need reminding whether your preference is still or sparkling water, Diet Sprite or full-fat, or whether you take milk and sugar with your coffee.
5. No obstructions: I mentioned this in an earlier post, but the wide open acres of the Promenade on Deck 7 are a stunning sight. No lifeboats – they’re carried inboard, one deck below, with direct access from the muster stations. No chests full of spare life vests. No sun-loungers, just a couple of benches. And the statutory collection of cylinders containing inflatable life rafts, stowed as unobtrusively as possible. There’s nothing but warm, inviting teak decking, stretching into the distance like the midwest prairies (above).
6. No easy questions: The trivia quiz was fiendish. I left it until the final day before going along to Palm Court for the quiz. The question setter did say she had chosen some tricky ones, but my wife and I failed to reach double figures out of a possible 16. We were struggling from Question 1 – for two points, what were the given names of the first set of conjoined (Siamese) twins? As a result, I never did get to find out what prizes are on offer.
7. No extras: This is the best bit. Since Crystal went all-inclusive earlier this year, there are no hidden costs. No bar bills, no checks to sign, no fretting about whose round it is – you can always be generous towards your fellow passengers. And that goes for every bar, throughout the day, and includes the in-room mini-bar. It’s never a problem obtaining a drink; glasses are topped up with unfailing regularity. The wine on offer in the dining room at lunch and dinner changes nightly but if tonight’s is not to your taste, the sommelier is always happy to bring an alternative. There are superior wines on offer at an extra charge, but I never saw a single passenger asking to see the list. I managed to stay away from the casino and the ship’s four boutiques during the cruise and the only items on my account at the final reckoning were our shore excursions.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:42+00:00 27 October 2012|Cruise ships, Cruise views, Luxury cruises|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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