Getting a taste for Crystal luxury

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Crystal Serenity is looking fresher than ever after an £11 million facelift in a Spanish dry dock. The 12 days out of the water were enough for unseen mechanical overhauls and a touch-up job on the underwater part of the hull with slippery, fuel-saving silicon paint costing £160 a litre but there wasn’t enough time to complete the re-design of the ship’s Lido restaurant.
As the ship filled with passengers, 150 workmen remained on board to finish off the transformation into a lighter, airier buffet with new server islands and lattice-work screens to separate tables from passengers queuing for their food.
It opened for business yesterday lunchtime – appropriately enough when the ship was back in Cadiz during a cruise which has taken it from Lisbon to the Canaries and Morocco, and which will end in Barcelona on Monday.
The work has also involved the removal of an undercover swimming pool and the extension of the Trident Grill food court, popular throughout the day serving leisurely late breakfast, casual burger and salad lunches, and unlimited ice creams from the gelateria.
At night the space becomes Tastes restaurant with a new international street food menu created by Chef Azmin Ghahreman from the Sapphire Restaurant in Laguna Beach, California.
He is on board this week supervising the chefs who will be creating the food, and gauging the response from passengers.
Born in Iran and educated in Switzerland, he has developed a style of cooking which encompasses French, Mediterranean, Asian, Middle Eastern, Australian, and both south-west and Pacific America.
On a sneak preview night I was able to sample a tapas-style selection of dishes that included saffron-marinated lamb kebabs, Wagyu burger, Alsatian tarte, Tunisian crab Warka, and two different salmon dishes – Tacoshimi and Scottish-cured, complete with oatmeal crumble and crisp turnips.
I can’t wait to go back for more.
The whole refurb, which also includes the construction of four brand-new Crystal Penthouse suites, was put together by Alexandra Don, Crystal’s vice-president of hotel services and design.
The company is continually refreshing its two ships; this year’s work on Serenity is the culmination of a £35 million investment and Alex – originally from Hayling Island in Hampshire, but now living in Los Angeles – is already planning improvements to be introduced to sister ship Crystal Symphony next year.
She could be even busier in the future. New president and chief operating officer Edie Bornstein has been talking this week of her ambition to add as many as five ships to the fleet over the next 10 years.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:28+00:00 6 December 2013|Cruise food, Cruise ships|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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