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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 27th, 2004, 11:35 AM
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Default Just returned... Serenity in the Med

Just returned from 12 day Med cruise on the Serenity. I'd be happy to try to answer any questions/concerns regarding this ship or itinerary.

In a nut shell... ship is beautiful, crew is outstanding, Med is HOT this time of year, alternative restaurants so-so, dining room excellent, evening entertainment boring (never fell asleep at a show until this cruise).

Ask away and I will try to help.

Stacy
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Old July 29th, 2004, 08:41 PM
JudyB
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Default Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

Hi Stacy,
Yours was a post I was just looking for! We are on this ship, departure August 6th (a week from tomorrow). We are going to be in Rome for 3 days prior to sailing.

l. What time can you actually board the ship? While we have done many cruises, Europe and elsewhere, never on Crystal. We like to board as early as possible, and have found the "boarding time" on other lines not accurate, ie. you can actually get on earlier.

2. "Hot" is relative. I just flew in to Michigan from our other home in South Carolina. It is routinely 90 plus lots of humidity, with heat indexes always in the 90's or even higher at this time of year. Your definition of the Mediterreanean being "hot."

3. Dress for women: Formal vs. Informal. Is there a great difference, what did you wear and find other women wearing?

4. Any port trip you would recommend? I rather prefer setting up my own, but this time I have not except for finding a private guide in Rome.

5. I have read some reviews of the dining experience-----many of them nothing to rave about, comments about the waiters dropping dishes, and the dining room being very very noisy. ????

6. How did you find the Fitness Center??

Thanks so much,
Judy of SC and MI (I happened by this Board by accident, and don't know if I can find my way back! If you wish, copy the reply to my email, JudyMI@AOL.com
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Old July 30th, 2004, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

Judy... hope this helps! I was with my mom, so my answers reflect that experience.

l. What time can you actually board the ship? While we have done many cruises, Europe and elsewhere, never on Crystal. We like to board as early as possible, and have found the "boarding time" on other lines not accurate, ie. you can actually get on earlier.

Boarding time was listed as 3:00. We boarded at 1:30 and there were already people on board. There was someone just inside the entry taking handluggage so you didn't have to drag it around the ship with you. They told us at embarkation that the cabins would be open at 2:30, once on board they told us 2:00. We went straight to our cabin and it was ready.

2. "Hot" is relative. I just flew in to Michigan from our other home in South Carolina. It is routinely 90 plus lots of humidity, with heat indexes always in the 90's or even higher at this time of year. Your definition of the Mediterreanean being "hot."

You should be right at home with this kind of heat in SC. The hottest day we had was in Debrovnik. Even the local tourism person on board to give information told us it was expected to be the hottest day of the year there. She said, "Do NOT walk the wall today." If the locals think it's hot, it's hot. All of the days were bright, sunny, hot and humid. You instinctively looked for shade whenever possible.

3. Dress for women: Formal vs. Informal. Is there a great difference, what did you wear and find other women wearing?

Overall, I find Crystal to be dressier in general. I didn't see very many women in typical "Carribean vacation attire" (shorts/t-shirt/sneakers) unless they were exercising. I think you'll find that it's a virtual fashion show regardless of the time of day. We saw some real get-ups going ashore. Women in full make-up, hats, high heels. My mom and I wore capris, flat sandals or Keds and a short sleeved top. You'll need to have your knees and shoulders covered if you plan to enter churches, etc.

As for the dining room... I don't think some of the women knew what "casual" meant. Many we saw were quite dressed up all the time. The first formal night was the dressiest, the 2nd one was next and the last one was the least dressy. We went to Prego on the second one so we only brought two formal outfits and wore one to Prego and one to the dining room. We saw long gowns, cocktail dresses, simple "little black dresses" and a few dressy pant outfits. I don't think you could be too dressed up on this ship. I looked at the men as well, to see if they were wearing tuxes and I had to look to find a man NOT wearing one. Lots of white jacket tuxes.

4. Any port trip you would recommend? I rather prefer setting up my own, but this time I have not except for finding a private guide in Rome.

We didn't do any shore excursions. My mom is older and tires easily. We usually spent 2 hours or so wandering the port and then went back to the ship. I can tell you, though, that we heard many people say that the ship's excursions were LONG and tiring. One lady described it as a "long bus ride, followed by walk here and look, walk there and look, walk some more and look some more then get back on the bus and ride some more."

5. I have read some reviews of the dining experience-----many of them nothing to rave about, comments about the waiters dropping dishes, and the dining room being very very noisy. ????

We found the dining room a little bit noisy. Not bad, though. And no dropped dishes! As for the food, it was a bit of a disappointment. It looked delicious but lacked flavor many times. The presentation seemed to be the focus in preparation. We tried Prego and didn't think it came close to Prego on Harmony. The atmosphere is lacking even though it is beautiful. It's too close or something. We felt like we were part of every table in the room because you could easily follow everyone's conversation. Silk Roads got rave reviews but I learned that I don't like Japanese food. If you do, you'll love it there. I heard one woman claim to have gotten her cruise fare back at the sushi bar! Our favorite place to eat was the Trident Grill. Be sure to stop by the ice cream bar and say hello to Noli! The ice cream is very (very) good. We went to the Lido Cafe or the Bistro for breakfast. Both are good. We didn't go to the dining room for breakfast or lunch. The service is incredible in all areas of food service. However, be prepared for room service to take up to an hour in the middle of the afternoon when your steward/stewardess is off duty.

6. How did you find the Fitness Center??

I did not attend any of the classes or use the equipment but I walked through there several times. They have a small fridge filled with bottled water. I would go there and get two for going ashore. The bottled water in the cabin was the really big bottles. You can also get the smaller bottles in the Lido Cafe. Just ask any waiter and he will bring it to you. We did this twice during breakfast to have them later. The gym is quite small, though. Plan to go at "off" times would be my suggestion. Many people chose to walk the Promenade deck. If you like to walk, check out Debbie Rocker's Walk On Water (WOW) program. There is also a cruise long walkathon. Record your laps in the notebook on the stern of deck 7. At the end of the week they total them and give out prizes. I came in 2nd with 103 laps (31 miles) and got a Crystal hat as my prize. Lots of people walked more than I did, but they didn't bother to record their laps. My goal was to walk 20 miles in 10 days so I made sure to keep track.

Have fun on your cruise!!!
Stacy
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Old July 31st, 2004, 11:00 AM
darci
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Default Re: Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

You will love the Serenity. Food and service is really top notch. Don't miss the mushroom soup or osso buco at Prego. If you like Asian food or sushi, Silk Road is wonderful. Also, if you don't want to go the the formal dining room, Tastes, the more casual restaurant, is open some evenings for dinner. There are options for both breakfast and lunch other than the formal dining room. If you're a late riser, there's the Lido and if you're a really late riser, the Bistro is another place for a good cup of coffee and things like bagels, danish and fresh fruit.

Crystal is one of the most formal dressing ships in the industry. You will find that 98% of the men wear tuxes or dinner jackets and the women go all out on formal night. Lots of sequins and long dresses, evening pants with sequined jackets and sparkly cocktail dresses. Informal nights the women wear things like dressy dresses or dinner suits. Think along the lines of a St. John (even though you don't have to wear that line, but that's the basic idea of what the women wear) or a dress you would wear to a more dressy wedding. Another thing to know, people don't go back to their room and change into other clothes after dinner. On Crystal, if you're going to be in any of the public rooms after dinner, Crystal asks you remain dressed in the code of the evening for the entire evening. During the day, you will find all types of clothing. I mostly wear capri pants, tops with sleeves (so I can go into all the churches) and comfortable shoes. You will see the older couple who wear fancy clothes even during the day (why, I don't know---I just can't see wearing a pantsuit and pumps to walk on a tour).

If you like desserts, that's a strength for Crystal. I'll give you a couple of things to ask for. Talk to your head waiter and tell him you would like a special dessert the next evening. I've asked for chocolate souffle, bananas foster, and my absolute favorite--Saltzburg Knuckle (it's absolutely heavenly, fluffy meringue floating on a sea of vanilla and lingonberry creme sauce---YUM). They will also prepare tableside dishes for you, so don't be afraid to ask for anything. I usually ask for garlic shrimp over linguini for dinner one night.

While some might find the ship's tours to be rather expensive, Crystal does a great job in that area. They limit the number of persons in each group and the guides are very knowledgeable. I usually hire a private car and guide because I'm disabled, but I've been a more than a few Crystal tours and they are great. The concierge can arrange private tours for you if you give them enough lead time.
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Old August 1st, 2004, 07:58 AM
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Default Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

darci... good point about not changing after dinner. On formal evenings they do not allow anyone not dressed formally into the public rooms. And yes, they enforce this rule. We didn't mind, except we ate at 2nd seating (8:30 pm) and some days we had to go back to our cabin and hang out because we didn't want to get dressed that soon. You could be up by the pool, on the Promenade deck or in the hallways but not in any of the rooms such as the shops, casino and lounges.

We requested our Head Waiter to make us Steak Diane one night. He needed 24 hour notice for any special requests, he said. It was excellent! He also made several desserts for his "area" and passed them around after dinner. If you like Ceasar Salad, they make that as well.

Stacy
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Old August 1st, 2004, 06:35 PM
JudyB
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Default Help Stacy & Darcy! Dress Nights!

Help! I was just looking through my cruise tickets, and unlike other lines we have been on (Seabourne, Raddisson, Celebrity) they didn't give us a list of how many nights exactly are formal, informal (which seems pretty close to formal), and casual----excepting they stated three formal nights. The only reference is "depending upon departure." Whatever that means!!
So, how many formal, informal, and casual nights on the Serenity next week???
Thanks!!!!!!!!! judy
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 05:31 AM
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Default Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

How many sea days do you have? How long is the cruise? We had three formal and one informal on our 12 days cruise in the Med. The 1st formal was the first sea day, the last formal was the last sea day, the 3rd was in the middle on a sea day and the informal (like you said, barely any difference except the men didn't wear tuxes) was in the middle of the 2nd and 3rd formal nights, also on a sea day. Our port days were long, many times the ship didn't sail until close to midnight. We left port before 8:30 once that I remember... out of Toarmina, Sicily. The Captain took the ship out around Capri so that we could see it.
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 08:51 AM
JudyB
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Default Re: Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

Stacy,
12 days leaving from Rome, ending up in Barcelona, Cruise 4315 on Serenity
Thanks!
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 03:50 PM
darci
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Default Re: Re: Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

Judy, I would think August 7 will be the Captain's welcome aboard party and that's the first formal night. Your second will probably be on August 12 when you're at sea and the third will most likely be on August 16 because you sail out of Portofino at 2pm---that will also be the farewell party. Are you sure they didn't tell you how many nights of each you'll have? On the cruise document that lists your ports and departure times for each port, they usually have a place on the right hand side of the page that lists how many formal, informal and casual nights there are on your cruise. It's been that way on all 12 of my Crystal cruises. I just did the 29 day final leg of the world cruise this past April and we had 6 formal, 12 informal and the rest casual. From looking at your itinerary, my best guess would be that your stops in Florence and Monte Carlo would be casual because you leave those ports so late, your overnight in Barcelona will probably be casual also. I would also say that your informal nights could be in Sorrento, Corfu and Dubrovnik.
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Old June 11th, 2005, 11:47 AM
pauli
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Default Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

Dear Stacy,
My husband and I are thinking of a 12 day Med cruise on the Serenity with our 9 year old daughter- she is a very well behaved child that "prefers the caribbean to Disneyworld'. Are there any children aboard? Do you know anything about the Seabourn? which do you think would be better suited for our family? thanks for you input-Pauline
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Old June 11th, 2005, 11:49 AM
pauli
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Default Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

d
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Old June 13th, 2005, 06:54 PM
kellie james
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Default Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

I don't think either would be a great idea for children, no matter how well behaved they may be. I've been on Crystal and Seabourn, and found very few, if any, on board their ships. Seabourn, with their very small ships, don't cater to families at all, and they don't have much for them to do. Dinners last nearly 3 hours, so if your child can handle that, then go for it, but be aware she will most likely be the only child on board. Seabourn is also a very formal cruise line, as is Crystal, with dress codes being enforced in the evening. I'm not saying your child won't like to dress up, but both those cruise lines are the most formal of any cruise line. Seabourn has no children's program or even a room for kids to play in. As for Crystal, again, they don't much cater to families. I've done a number of Crystal cruises in the Med and Baltic, and I've not seen many children on board. They need a minimum of children before they have any kind of kids program and even then, they don't have anything like you find on RCCI, Princess or Celebrity. A better choice might be Celebrity. They offer a very good children's program and there are a lot of kids on board in the summer. Celebrity is a more upscale cruise line, with excellent food and service and they serve a very wide range of ages. Your daughter would be among at least 200 or more children. But, in the end, it's your decision. As I said, neither cruise line caters to children, and the average age of both cruise lines is well over 60, even in the summer. If your daughter won't be bored with no organized activities, a very upscale and formal experience, and hanging around with you for most of the time, then go for either cruise line.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 07:45 PM
PaulaJK
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Default Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

By any chance were you on the 6/4/05 sailing?
The entertainment was surprisingly weak.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 07:49 PM
PaulaJK
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Default Re: Re: Just returned... Serenity in the Med

Pauli

Although this represents quite a change for Crystal.....we
sailed Serenity 6/4/05. There were about 35 children aboard....
they were expecting 75 on the 6/17 sailing and 100 sometime
later in the summer.

That said, there really isn't a lot offered for the kids.....more
arts and crafts quality.
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