My Cruise holiday aboard the Crystal Serenity

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My girlfriend Krissy and myself have just returned from an amazing cruise holiday on the 6* Crystal Serenity Fashion Capitals cruise from Venice to Monte Carlo.

I had not sailed on a 6* ship before and my girlfriend hadn’t even set foot on a cruise ship before so we were both excited to see what Crystal cruises would have in store for us.  We certainly weren’t disappointed, this really was a perfect holiday for us.

We started by flying out to the Marco Polo airport in Venice, when we got there we found that the water taxi’s were quite expensive, so we took a normal taxi to the ship, this was 40 euro’s which wasn’t too bad really. 

The check in at the terminal was very smooth, our bags were taken away and we went straight onto the ship.  Once we got onto the ship we were both shown to our cabin by someone who showed us where everything was.

 We stayed in a Verandah stateroom on deck 10 (penthouse deck).  We found the stateroom to be luxurious, comfortable and had everything we needed.  There was European and US power outlets.  A tv with a dvd player and cd player (a massive collection of dvd’s and music cd’s can be borrowed from the library free of charge) the music or sound from the tv also plays through speakers in the bathroom.

There was also an electronic safe in the wardrobe and a minibar fridge that was stocked up daily with soft drinks.
Our stateroom stewardess called “Jas” came and introduced herself to us, she had a good chat to us and was lovely to deal with and was very helpful to us with anything we needed to ask.  She serviced our stateroom at least two times a day and everything was kept spotlessly clean and well organised.
We had an overnight stay in Venice on the first night of the cruise so we deceided to stay on board the ship for the first evening and then go out to explore Venice the next day.
We went to dine in the Crystal dining room on our first evening on board and were introducted to our senior waiter Krysztof and our waiter Darko. These guys were extremely professional and friendly and the service they gave us was second to none, we couldn’t have asked for anymore.  Thank you so much both of you.

 
 The food we ate was some of the best we had ever eaten, we were both completely blown away by the quality of it, food heaven !

We headed out to see Venice the next morning, Crystal cruises had arranged a boat for their passengers from the ship to the centre of Venice free of charge.  I hadn’t been to Venice before, it really is a beautiful sight, we were lucky that the sun was shining for us too.

Next onto Dubrovnik, where we went and explored the walled city.
We took the tender to the pier and then took the free shuttle supplied by Crystal to the entrance of the walled city.
Our next stop was Sorrento, we deceided here that we wanted to visit the Pompeii ruins.  We took the free shuttle bus from the ship into the middle of town where we walked round the corner to the train station.  We paid approx 17euro’s each for a return train to Pompeii with inclusive entrance to the ruins, the ruins are right next to the train station so no long walking involved.

We had some amazing views from our verandah, the sea was so calm and there were some lovely sunsets…
Our next stop was Civitavecchia for Rome.  The train station there is only 5 minutes walk from the entrance to the port.  We took a return train to Rome, a return train ticket cost us about 9 euro’s each and took just over an hour each way.  When we got to Rome we deceided to go around the city on an open top tour bus, this was a hop on hop off service and cost us 16 euro’s each.
Our next port of call was to Porto Venere, this was a very picturesque little port.  We were taken in on a tender here, lovely views to be seen.  There was some sort of naval base close by though and we could here explosions going off all day, we had a war ship come up by the side of our cruise ship before we left.
The next day we went to Livorno for Florence and Pisa, we deceided to go to Florence as we thought it would be more interesting to see.  We took the free shuttle into town and from there it was a 10 euro ride to the train station.  The train was about 10 euro’s each return direct to Florence and leaves and comes back once an hour.
The last place we cruised to was Monte Carlo, rather than the ship docking in Villefrance, the ship docked in Monte Carlo bay and we had an amazing view from our Verandah in the morning.  My mother and step father were taking a holiday in Nice at this time so they came and met us from the ship.  We took a bus from Monte Carlo to the centre of Nice for just 1 euro and left our luggage in their appartment while we enjoyed the day in Nice with them before flying home.
For us what really made this cruise special was the quality of the ship, the service and the food.  The level of service from the crew was always of a very consistently high standard, nothing was too much trouble for them and they were all really friendly.  They called us by our first names and treated us like royalty.  We didnt really go to the shows on the ship as we ate on the 20:30 dining and went up to bed at a reasonable time so that we could get up early and make the most of our days.
We did get chance to try the two speciality restaurants on board the ship, the first one was called Silk Road which is created by Nobu Matsuhisa.  The food here was really good I especially liked the Rock Shrimp but everything we ate there was out of this world and if you get chance to sail on this ship you must eat here.
The second speciality restaurant is called Prego’s which is an Italian restaurant.  This was our favourite restaurant and we felt it has the best food (we love itialian food) the atmosphere was really good here too.  The mushroom soup in a bread bowl, the crab meat salad and the lasagne here are amazing, also you must try the suggested chef’s daily special’s !
The speciality restaurants do not have an extra charge, just suggested gratuities at $7 per person.
We had breakfast each day in the Lido Cafe, this was surrounded by floor to ceiling windows and also had a section outside where you could sit at the rear of the ship.  The crew here are brilliant, so many people dealt with us but there are a few that Krissy and myself would like to mention, Clark, Demi (waiters) and Christian (cooked our omelettes) these guys put a massive smile on our faces every morning.
On the days at sea they have speciality buffet lunches that we went to.  They had an asian food and a mediterrainian one these are well worth going to.  One the other days when we had time to eat in the day on board we went to the Trident bar and grill and the Scoops ice cream bar, again everything was cooked perfectly and tasted great.
There is also a little cafe called The Bistro, this has a small buffet and serves coffee’s.  We didn’t really use the buffet here but they did do take out coffee’s which we often grabbed as we were passing by.
We had a shipboard newspaper delivered to us called Reflections every day which told us what was going on board the ship the next day and also told us any useful information we needed to know concerning our cruise.  We also had mini newspapers with the latest headlines delivered to us everyday, a British one for myself and a German version for Krissy.  There are also plenty of Crystal on board tv channels, these are quite useful to keep informed of what is happening on board and also what you can see and do at the various ports of call.  We always watched Gary Hunter’s (cruise directors) show while getting ready for dinner in the evening.  We met Gary on the way to dinner one evening and he stopped to chat to us, what a nice chap.
The ship is 68,000 tons and holds 1072 passengers.  We felt that there was so much room around the ship, nowhere ever felt crowded.  We never had to queue or wait anywhere.
I really could go on for a lot longer about our cruise and this ship but it would take me forever so I will leave you with some more pictures. 
For anyone considering a 6* luxury cruise I really feel that you should look into cruising with Crystal, for us it was perfect in every way and we look forward sailing again with them one day.  I will certainly be recommending Crystal cruises to anyone who would like a luxury cruise !

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