Style, Decor & More: Cruising The Mediterranean In Luxury and Style

Cruising The Mediterranean In Luxury and Style

Style, Decor & More Disclaimer:  The views and opinions of the author are based on the actual experience of the author. Other experiences may vary. Style, Decor & More received a complimentary cruise in order to facilitate this review.


Imagine cruising the magnificent Mediterranean Sea in luxury and waking up to post-card worthy ports of call each and every morning. Cruising is more popular than ever and is the best way to experience several destinations without the stress or hassle of packing and unpacking luggage, bustling through busy airports and train stations, or driving in unfamiliar territory. On our recent trip to the Mediterranean, we arrived on Crystal Cruises' Serenity and unpacked, sat back, and enjoyed a front row seat to breathtaking views on our private verandah! 


Crystal Serenity is an all-inclusive cruise ship and is one of the two magnificent ships that has earned Crystal Cruises the distinction of being

The World's Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line™.

Travel Weekly readers also voted Crystal Best Luxury Cruise Line in 2017. Once onboard the Crystal Serenity, we were quickly introduced to the service and quality that makes Crystal stand out from a fleet of other ships. 

We enjoyed not having to worry about any hidden extras. With an all-inclusive cruise, there is no nickel and diming! It is a nice experience to not have to sign for items or have them appear on your guest account at the end of the cruise. Cheers! It's all included in your Crystal experience:

*Complimentary fine wines, champagne, premium spirits, and beer;
*Complimentary gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff;
*Complimentary laundrettes with irons, detergent, and dryer sheets;
*Complimentary shuttle service to and from ports, where available.
*Complimentary specialty dining
*Complimentary room service
*Complimentary Wi-Fi/Internet access
*Complimentary beach bag;
*Complimentary Men's & Women's Steam and Sauna at Crystal Life Spa;
*Complimentary fitness programs, PGA Golf instruction, and so much more!


PORTS OF CALL


Our voyage began in picturesque Venice (Italy) and we sailed on to Piran (Slovenia), Rovinj (Croatia), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Corfu (Greece), Katakolon (Greece), Taormina (Sicily), Sorrento (Italy), Gaeta (Italy), and Rome (Italy). Stay tuned to our special feature highlighting these historical and scenic ports of call!

STATEROOM 

Our luxuriously appointed stateroom on Deck 8 had all the comforts of home and a private verandah. We had a queen-size bed, writing desk, leather sofa, and a spacious wall closet.  Our fear of a small, stuffy cabin quickly disappeared when we walked into our cabin with a view of the Mediterranean's endless blue sea. 

Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

We enjoyed the complimentary beverages in our cabin's stocked refrigerator. Upon our arrival, I quickly consumed the three Pellegrino bottles in the fridge. When the room steward came to our cabin for turndown service, she saw the empty bottles and placed several bottles of Pellegrino in our fridge. She continued to do this on a daily basis for the remainder of our cruise. She also replenished the ice in the ice bucket twice a day. 

The spacious bathroom in our cabin was a pleasant surprise and had a full-size tub/shower, granite countertops with double sinks, and full-size ETRO spa amenities. Kudos to Crystal for including hooks on the doors, a built-in hairdryer, and ample shelving and counter space in the bathroom. 

Our cabin had a standard 110v U.S. two-prong outlet and a 220v European two-prong outlet. Crystal provides a U.S. socket extender with three, two-prong outlets. We used our converter on the European outlet and had a total of four U.S. outlets in our cabin.

CRYSTAL DINING

Where do I even start when it comes to the incredibly delicious cuisine we had aboard Serenity? We took delight in mouth-watering creations prepared with the freshest and finest ingredients and the presentations were works of art! From tasty seafood dishes to melt in your mouth cuts of beef, we were in awe with our fabulous dining experience. 

Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

After an exceptional culinary experience in the dining room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we were spoiled. We had a casual, al fresco lunch at the Lido Cafe on two occasions when we were enjoying the salt water pool. It had an assortment of fresh fruits, made-to-order burgers, wraps, and more. The Lido Cafe is certainly worth a try, but it doesn't compare to the fare you receive in the dining room. Yes, we were spoiled rotten. 

Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

Crystal Serenity offers two specialty restaurants: 

Silk Road. Known simply as "Nobu," Master Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisaster brings his innovative cuisine to Silk Road and The Sushi Bar. Make your complimentary reservation early and be sure to try the savory signature dishes, Wagyu Beef and Miso Black Cod. We were offered a sampler platter and highly recommend it. The specialty restaurants book quickly. Make your complimentary reservation early. We were able to book online prior to boarding. 

Silk Road

Prego. Savor a seasonally changing menu of the flavors of Italy and the Mediterranean. You won't want to miss the delicious appetizers, risotto and pasta dishes. Make your complimentary reservation early. Dining at Prego was extra special and thanks to the maitre'd, Augusto, for surprising dad with a birthday cake for his 81st birthday!   
Prego

Service on the ship is exceptional and exceeded our expectations. We traveled with a large group of 16 family members and all of us experienced impeccable service. My father didn't even look at a menu after the first night on the ship. Thomas, our waiter, could see my father enjoyed fine cuts of pork and beef and went above and beyond to please him. Every evening my dad's dinner began with an appetizer plate of thin-sliced prosciutto & melon followed by melt-in-your-mouth beef or pork dishes. While my parents enjoyed the specialty restaurants, they said they would have rather dined in the main dining room every evening. Thomas made their dining experience extra special. 

Note: We were the last Crystal Serenity cruise to have early/late seating in the dining room, and Crystal Serenity now offers open dining for passengers allowing you to dine with whomever you wish, whenever you wish.

ROOM SERVICE

Room service is offered 24 hours a day and is outstanding, to say the least! We had champagne and caviar in the evening, steak and eggs for breakfast, chocolate covered strawberries as a mid-afternoon and late night snack, and it was only a phone call away! And, when we were too tired to dine in the dining room, we dined in bathrobes in the privacy of our own cabin.

 
It is noteworthy to mention our wine and champagne bottles were delivered to the cabin uncorked! This is not a standard practice on most cruise ships and it is small details such as this that make Serenity stand out from a fleet of other cruise lines. We always had a bottle of wine at our disposal and let's face it, popping bubbly in private is extra fun and special! There is a bottle opener in the cabinet with the ice bucket and glasses, and just in case you are not a fan of uncorking your own bottle, your room steward will be happy to do it for you!  

TEA TIME

Tea lovers won't want to miss afternoon tea service and sweets off the Lido deck in Palm Court. We relaxed sipping loose leaf teas from silk bags, nibbled on tasty scones, pastries, and an assortment of delicate sandwiches, and listened to a violinist playing a variety of genres on the violin. The dress code is dressy casual even though the service is first class with waiters in formal tuxes and white gloves. 

Each tea has its own unique ambiance. The Mozart Tea is a visit to 18th-century Vienna as you are greeted by staff dressed in velvets and brocades and treated to a selection of the finest cakes and pastries from Austria. The English Colonial Tea offers a taste of tradition, complete with scones, finger sandwiches, and assorted sweets. The American Tea pays tribute to the classics of the American summertime. 

ENTERTAINMENT


There is an endless list of things to do on Crystal Serenity. If you like shopping (Who doesn't?), you can shop the fine boutiques onboard, catch an afternoon movie, try your luck at gambling, or go dancing in the disco. We found there were not enough hours in a day to do everything we wanted to do! Passengers can also participate in a game of shuffleboard, take dance lessons, brush up on their golf swing with a golf instructor, master new technologies with Computer [email protected]'s extensive enrichment courses, or simply relax on the seahorse pool deck.    

Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

CRYSTAL SALON & SPA

Toward the end of our cruise, we each received a $50 gift voucher to use in the full-service salon. My husband had an express shave and I had a fabulous Keratin treatment by Gloria. The treatment left my hair straighter and smoother and I couldn't be happier with the results. It was also great meeting Gloria who is from Italy and lives 45 minutes from my husband's hometown!

Regretfully, we didn't have time to experience the award-winning Crystal Spa. We tried to fit in a massage on the last day of the cruise, but it didn't work out. The extensive selection of specialty massages sounded incredibly relaxing and we are disappointed we missed a chance to be pampered. Next time! 

SUMMARY

Crystal Serenity is scheduled to dry dock this fall for an extensive redesign in order to maintain its cutting-edge luxury to their passengers. Personally, the condition of the ship was fine and we did not notice signs of wear and tear. This speaks volumes to Crystal's continuous efforts to set the bar high. 

We have been home for over a week and are still on cloud nine. We continue to reminisce about the wonderful time we had onboard the  Crystal Serenity. We made memories to last a lifetime and our cruise experience was nothing short of spectacular!  We look forward to cruising with Crystal again soon.

  xoxo,







53 comments :

  1. This really does sound like luxury and it has all of the little conveniences you'd need. I'd definitely be excited to dine at those restaurants.

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    1. Hi Liz, Yes, it was an amazing cruising. We are already planning to cruise again next year and looking for an itinerary that includes Monte Carlo. We're hooked! lol

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  2. I have never had the desire to go on a cruise but this may change. This cruiseline looks so good and they seem to treat you so well and all inclusive is so nice.

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    1. Hi Melissa! Yes, Crystal Cruise's all inclusive is the only way to go! We've been crystalized and are planning another cruise in 2019!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      nancy

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  3. I would LOVE to cruise the Mediterranean. I've been to Greece and I've cruised A LOT. It's the best of everything for me.

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    1. Hi Stacie! We loved Greece! It sounds like you're hooked on cruising, too! I feel so spoiled because it really is the best of everything! The food, service, ports of call, etc. were outstanding!
      Thanks for swinging by! :)

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  4. Your post so makes me want to go on a cruise!! I have always wondered if I would become seasick since I do get small boat sick!

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    1. Hi Amy! Lol. My cousin was worried about seasickness too, but with the stabilizers on ships nowadays, you hardly feel the boat moving. I felt the ship moving only one time through an open sea area between Greece and Sicily and, again, it was ever so slight. It was just enough movement to remind me I was on a ship, but not enough to disturb my evening meal or keep me from dancing. ;)
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I hope to cruise again soon. I love the all inclusive aspect of traveling this way!

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    1. Hi Krystal! I agree. The whole tipping thing is uncomfortable to begin with and not having to worry about tipping or running up a tab for an occasional glass of wine, Pelligrino water, etc., was very nice, too.

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  6. My husband and I want to go on a cruise. I love the cabin you stayed in. Plenty of space for what is needed.

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    1. Hi Sherry, Yes. The cabin was beautiful! We are already planning another cruise and while the cabins with a large window are nice and less expensive, I don't think I can give up having a verandah. I really enjoyed it.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. We have never been on a cruise before even though we know people who have and enjoyed themselves. This luxury cruise looks like the way to go and really have a good time.

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    1. Hi Candy! The cruise was amazing and yes, a luxury cruise is the way to go. There was no comparison to our past experiences cruising. I'm not putting other cruise ships down, it is just an entirely different experience altogether. Can you tell I've been crystallized by Crystal?! :)
      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      nancy

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  8. This is truly my dream vacation! What a better way to see so many beautiful spots in the Mediterranean than on a cruise ship? One of these days!

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    1. Hi Allison, It was a dream vacay! Our Crystal Cruise was a last minute booking and we really didn't have much time to think about it. I'm just sooo glad we went. It was truly the best experience ever.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      nancy

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  9. I've always wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise! I've done the Caribbean ones but I'd love to take this luxury cruise and visit places I've only dreamed about.

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    1. Hi Alli, If you have the chance you should go. It was amazing! No regrets! And, if there is one thing I learned after seeing elderly people struggle on the excursions, do it while you are young enough to enjoy it!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I’ve always wanted to take a cruise! I’ve never been on one and visiting the Mediterranean is on my bucket list!!

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    1. Hi Jennifer, Cruising is a great way to get a flavor for several destinations in 7-10 days, depending on the length of your cruise. The only recommendation I would make is to do your research and go with a luxury cruise line. After having cruised other non-luxury ships, there is NO comparison. Crystal doesn't even have inside cabins for a reason! You can, however, get a nice sized window cabin for about $1,000 less than a verandah! It just pays to do your homework. :)
      Thanks for stopping by!
      nancy

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  11. I love this Mediterranean cruise. This is the ultimate vacation and I hope that I get to do it fairly soon. I hope this ship is up and raring to go when I am!

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    1. Hi Terri, The ship's itinerary is ever-changing, but I'm sure they will set sail in the Mediterranean again in 2019. I met a 94 year old women who lives on the ship (YES, SHE HAS BEEN LIVING ON THE SHIP FOR 5 YEARS!). The staff treat her very well and she has sailed all around the world with them. Heck, it's better than an assisted living facility. It speaks volumes to the quality of the ship and staff, too!

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  12. I've always heard good things about the Crystal line, and seen them come into Prince William Sound, Alaska many times. It is great to hear from someone with firsthand experience on a trip. And the Med! GORGEOUS!

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    1. Hi Kita! You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country. Prince William Sound is gorgeous!
      Yes, the Crystal Serenity was amazing and exceeded our expectations. All 16 members of the family and friends want to return to Crystal next year. :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. I would love to do this one day. What a beautiful area. Going on a cruise is on my list of things to do for sure.

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    1. You would love it! The only recommendation I would make is to do it right. Don't take a mediocre cruise. Do your research and go on a luxury cruise. I've now done both and there is NO COMPARISON! If you want are looking to cut cost, verandahs will cost you about $1,000 more. On the Crystal cruise line, even the window cabins are large and very nice.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      nancy

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  14. Cruising down the MEditerranean sounds absolutely relaxing. I would probably spend the day lounging on those orange chairs. LOL

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    1. Hi Cheryl, That was probably my only complaint (if you can call it that). We didn't have a day at sea. Every day we were in a gorgeous port of call and we struggled whether to go ashore or stay on the ship and relax. Most of the time we went into town early and lounged on deck in the late afternoon.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      nancy

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  15. I would absolutely LOVE to go on a cruise one day. They always seem like such a lovely way to go out there and just see the world. I worry about getting seasick though which I guess is why I've not done it yet. But I've heard so many amazing stories.

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    1. Hi Sarah-Louise, My cousin was worried about getting seasick as well. Today's ships have stabilizers and I would often forget I was on a ship. I don't know how the open waters of the Atlantic or Pacific would be, but the Mediterranean was super smooth sailing.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. This looks like an amazing cruise. So much attention to detail! I would love to check out one of the teas in the afternoon.

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    1. Hi Pam,
      The afternoon tea was very nice and I had never been to an 'authentic' tea before, which made it extra special. The waiters dressed in tuxedos, fine tea served in silk bags, an assortment of dainty sandwiches & scones, and a solo violinist, definitely gave us the full afternoon tea time experience.

      Thanks for stopping by! nancy

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  17. I have yet to go on a cruise but i like the trip you went on. Will have to investigate this one.

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    1. Definitely! You would love a luxury cruise. Be sure to compare apples to apples. If you're on a budget, you might want to look at the cabins with a window instead of a verandah. The verandah is considerably more, but on the Crystal Serenity, the window cabins have a very nice, large sized window. Not a port hole. Also consider all inclusive savings, including tipping. Good luck!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      nancy

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  18. Nancy!! What a beautiful, beautiful trip you were able to take. Who knew that all of those perks came with the Crystal package? Now I totally want to go on one - you've totally inspired me. This trip was so well-deserved for you, so happy you got to go!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! It had been many years since Ralph and I were in Europe and it was absolutely wonderful. The cruise ship far exceeded our expectations.

      Hugs to you and Leo! xoxo, nancy

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  19. Cruising is life although I haven't been to one but reading personal experiences such as yours encourages me to experience it myself.

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    1. It is absolutely wonderful! When you decide to look for a cruise, consider the itinerary, and read several reviews. I like cruisecritic.com for reviews from seasoned travelers.

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  20. That is the way to do it right there! Being comfy at sea really makes it all worth it!

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    1. Hi Kita, It was the trip of a lifetime. Luxury cruising is the only way to go! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  21. You've convinced me I need a luxury cruise. I can't believe how everything was complimentary! Caviar and champagne? Heaven!

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    1. Hi Maria, Complimentary and high quality, too! I'm very picky when it comes to my food and trust me, it was outstanding. The dining room was fine dining at its best! The food up on the Lido deck was very good, but the dining room was much better.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  22. One of my dream vacation! It looks so fab, and everything looks so perfect.

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    1. Hi Ruth, It was an amazing trip! From the ports of call to the impeccable service and amazing food, it was truly outstanding.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  23. It's been a long time since I last went on a cruise! I think this is the best way to treat yourself especially if you want to escape the busy life and just relieve stress! I love all the amenities and features!

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    1. Hi Karen, Thanks for stopping by! Yes, the cruise was amazing. It's easy see why the Crystal cruises receive so many luxury cruise ship awards. Their service and food far exceeded my expectations.

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  24. If you hate being nickeled and dimed on a cruise, all-inclusive is the only way to go!

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    1. Hi Marien, I couldn't agree more! I don't think I could ever go on anything but an all-inclusive cruise again. :)
      Thanks for stopping by!
      nancy

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  25. It sounds like luxury at its best. I can't get over the all you can eat caviar!!! Yes!

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  26. Hi April, The cruise was incredible. We had whatever we wanted whenever we wanted it. It doesn't get any better than that. The service was amazing, too! Highly recommend it!

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  27. With a jaw dropping $500+ bill at the end of our last cruise, I'm sold on Crystal's all inclusive service. I don't like surprises like that at the end of my trip.

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    1. Hi Anne! I agree. I don't like surprise tabs at the end of my cruise or the nickel and diming that happens. We did not have to reach into our wallets during or after our cruise. Unless you request top, top shelf alcohol, you do not pay extra for anything. Tips, unlimited in-cabin refreshments, specialty dining, wi-fi, were all included.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  28. Incredible. It looks like you had an amazing time, Nancy.

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