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Ship Visit to Crystal Serenity
Crystal Cruises
Belfast- 27th July 2011

Report by Tony Ablett
Photos ©2011 Matt Sudders



CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: © Crystal Cruises
Official postcard of CRYSTAL SERENITY



   

2011 Visit Reports
Revisited ships in 2011 will not be shown unless significantly revised since previous visit

Crystal Serenity

Rotterdam

Saga Ruby

 
CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY in Belfast
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - Seahorse Pool
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - De Luxe cabin
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - Nobu Restaurant
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - The Vintage Room
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - The Studio
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - Bridge Lounge
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - Prego
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - Stardust Club
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - Avenue Saloon
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders



CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - Seahorse Pool
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


Life, as they say, is full of contrasts and when the chance to visit the 5 star luxury cruise ship Crystal Serenity occurred, I jumped at the opportunity. The contrast was my previous experience of a cruise, many years ago, on the Queen Frederica which was built, I think, in 1929. The Crystal Serenity docked in Belfast having called at Dover, Leith and Lerwick in the Shetlands. Belfast has become very popular with cruise ships in the past few years and the port is well geared to cope with the large influx of tourists.

The OLS group numbered seven and was led by Matt Sudders, who had flown in from Paris. One other member had flown in from Leeds-Bradford and the remaining five were all locals Once we were cleared through security we made our way to the forward facing Palm Court lounge where we were given coffee and a short sales pitch from Bob, the Crystal representative. There were thirty people on the tour, the remainder being travel agents and guests. We were split into three groups and fortunately the seven OLS members were kept together and led by Paula Jean, the company sales coordinator from America.

The unadulterated luxury is immediately apparent when one views the upmarket shops such as Apropos and Facets in the main atrium. From there we made our way via the Lido café to the Seahorse pool where some of the passengers were sunbathing - bikinis beside the bistro in Belfast! Our tour of the various staterooms was impressive with king size beds and marble bathrooms, all with private balconies. The majority of passengers were American plus a large number of Japanese, probably influenced by the Japanese owners of the two Crystal ships which, incidentally, have been voted the best large cruise ships for the past seventeen years. While travelling the corridors I noticed that all cabins had news sheets in the relevant language inserted into racks beside their cabin doors.

The Crystal Serenity has a gross tonnage of just under 70,000 tons, so is by no means in the superliner league and as these giant ships, to my eyes, seem to be getting progressively uglier, this is no handicap. She is reasonably attractive and is aesthetically pleasing. She recently had a major refit at Blohm und Voss in Hamburg, which is in line with company procedure on both ships. The company is always aiming to be the best of the best and in this respect, each ship has a major refit every few years.


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - Connoisseur Club
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders


The recreational facilities on board were eclectic with areas set aside for bridge, computers, languages and one that appealed to me was a room with twelve Yamaha electronic organs plus a grand piano. I could foresee opportunities for a talent contest after a week's tuition on the organ. On second thoughts that would not be in line with company thinking! During our tour we visited the cinema which is also used for recitals, and we were lucky to see a dress rehearsal for one of the musical galaxy shows put on every night in the theatre. Other venues included the Stardust Club for late night dancing and the Pulse disco for those who have survived the fitness suite, swimming and running around the 360 degree teak deck. Just in case one wanted to relax after all that exertion, one could retire to the library or the Crystal spa and salon. My favourite venue was the Connoisseur Lounge decorated and furnished in the style of a gentleman's club. This, incidentally, is the only room where smoking is permitted.

The ultimate dining experience can be enjoyed in the Vintage Room where, for £180 fourteen people can enjoy a superb gourmet meal with fine vintage wines. Talking of which, we had our own fine dining experience at lunchtime in the Crystal dining room. The seven OLS members were split into three groups and my wife and myself sat at our host Bob's table with a travel agent and her guests. There was a continuous supply of wine which my fellow diners assured me was excellent (l was a designated driver so could not imbibe). The meal and service was superb with the finest piece of beef I have ever tasted.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my day on this superb vessel - I just wish I could afford to sample even a short seven day cruise. One has to pay for quality and there is no doubt in my mind that Crystal provide a Rolls Royce experience, one that could possibly spoil any future cruise liner experience. I just hope that more opportunities may arise for OLS members in Northern Ireland to visit ships in the near future. To those who did not avail themselves of this opportunity, please ensure you book for the next visit. Only next time could we please be shown the bridge, which as an ex-Blue Funnel man, was the one area, as a ship enthusiast, I really had hoped to experience.

Tony Ablett


(Webmaster: Getting bridge visits is extremely difficult these days due to the heightened security on all cruise ships)


CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders
CRYSTAL SERENITY - Atrium
Photo: ©2011 Matt Sudders



CRYSTAL SERENITY - Photo: © Crystal Cruises
Official postcard of CRYSTAL SERENITY




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