Review: The New Crystal Cruises
Review: The New Crystal Cruises
Carol and I just spent five days sailing with the new Crystal Cruises, and we’re happy to give you our review.
Writing this review is a bit of a conundrum as the “new” Crystal Cruises is the result of the bankruptcy of the “old” Crystal Cruises. Let me explain.
Crystal Cruises was founded in 1988 by the Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha, and for nearly two decades, their two ships enjoyed a near cult-like following.
When Carol and I first sailed with them in 2016, we were impressed with the many awards they had garnered over the years, but we also found the experience to match all of the hype.
I will never forget meeting a lady onboard who had sailed with Crystal Cruises 93 times. And to further our amazement, two widows were living on the ship year-round. It was pretty remarkable and a testament to the quality of this storied cruise line.
Crystal Cruises was sold to Genting Hong Kong in 2015, and when we made our second sailing with them somewhere around 2019, we saw a dramatic shift in the quality of the service and onboard experience. It was so dramatic that we quit booking Crystal Cruises when we returned home.
Crystal Cruises didn’t make it through the pandemic and, in 2022, filed for bankruptcy.
On June 22, 2022, it was announced that A&K Travel Group, owned by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio (former Silversea Cruises owner) and Geoffrey Kent (owner of Abercrombie & Kent), had bought the bankrupt line’s brand and two ocean vessels, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, intending to return the ships to service in 2023.
We have confidence in Geoffrey and Manfredi to bring this formerly illustrious cruise line back to its glory days. However, I was concerned that they had bought two old ships (the Serenity was launched in 2002, and the older Symphony was launched in 1995). Old ships and old tech.
How could they compete in the luxury cruise space with the likes of Regent, Silversea, and Viking cranking out new ships every year? And further, there are also notable newcomers to the industry, like Explora Journeys.
When I took this all in, Carol and I decided not to book our clients on these old ships. However, it was our clients who forced us to reconsider our position. Some of our clients, old Crystal Cruises fans, called and wanted to book a cruise. And when one of them returned, he proclaimed, “They’re back!”
After hearing that a few times from our clients, I figured I had better get aboard the “new” Crystal Cruises and see what all the commotion was about.
And so, Carol and I are just back from sailing on the Crystal Serenity, and here’s what I found.
Our Review of the Crystal Serenity
When we approached the ship in the Port of Miami, its exterior was pristine, and you’d never know that this ship had been sailing the seven seas for over two decades.
The Staterooms & Suites
We stayed in one of the newly refurbished Sapphire Veranda Suites (see video above). It was lovely and spacious and gave us all of the creature comforts Carol and I enjoy while traveling. We also had a butler available to take care of any busy work and reservations that needed to be accomplished. About half of the ship’s staterooms and suites have been refurbished, so when you book with us, we’ll ensure you get in one of the newer suites. Oh, the butler is included with every stateroom and suite.
We found the cuisine on the Crystal Serenity to be very good. The Serenity offers eight restaurants, one ice cream bar, and 24-hour in-suite dining. Included are two specialty restaurants: Uni Uma (Japanese-Peruvian) by Nobu and Osteria D’Ovidio (Italian). Both specialty dining restaurants require advance reservations and are limited per passenger on each sailing. I enjoyed the best Miso Black Cod I’ve ever tasted in Uni Uma. WOW!
The Service & The Vibe
As I mentioned above, Crystal Cruises has enjoyed remarkable loyalty with its passengers over the years. And now that they are back, those thousands of loyal passengers are returning. And as they said in the video above, we saw tears of joy between the guests and the crew. I’ve never seen anything like it. The bond between the crew and the returning passengers was clearly very meaningful to both. It made you feel like you were invited to experience something extraordinary, and it made you feel like you wanted to be a part of the family.
Summing It All Up
As I mentioned above, we were not planning on booking the “new” Crystal Cruises. I figured, why would I put my clients on two 20-year-old ships with all the new luxury small ships available in the marketplace?
Well, frankly, the experience changed my mind. And even though they still have some refurbishing work to do on their ships, a little birdie whispered to me that Crystal has two new ocean and two new expedition ships in the works. So, they, too, will have brand new ships to offer their guests in the future.
We are happy to offer our clients a booking on the new Crystal Cruises for these reasons. And for now, we will call Crystal Cruises a 4.5-star experience.
How to Book a Crystal Cruise
The price to book a Crystal cruise is the same whether you book directly with the cruise line or with Roaming Boomers Travel Services.
However, Crystal is a member of our Virtuoso Voyages program. Therefore, we have complimentary VIP perks to share on select voyages.
Virtuoso Voyages VIP Perks when you book Crystal with Roaming Boomers Travel Services:
Enjoy up to $250 USD shipboard credit per person on select voyages (credit varies by voyage length):
- 7-8 night voyages: $125/person
- 9-10 night voyages: $200/person
- 11+ night voyages: $250/person
For more information or to book a fun cruise with Crystal, please call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here), and we’ll reach out to you.
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Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40