After more than a year docked in Trieste, Italy for reconstruction, Crystal Serenity is back at sea in North America. On Sept. 27, the newly refinished Crystal Serenity sailed into Pier 88 at Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New York City to embark on its sixth sailing post-renovations.
“It was a beautiful day, the sun was up, we passed the Statue of Liberty, and the helicopters were up taking pictures,” Scott Peterson, Crystal Serenity’s hotel director, told TMR. “It was emotional because it was our first time coming back to New York rebuilt.”
For most guests boarding the 8-night cruise from New York to Quebec City, it was their first time seeing the renovated ship since A&K Travel Group bought Crystal from its previous owners. Known for its personalized service that attracts repeat guests, the luxury cruise line is now on a mission to prove that it is back and better than ever – and it starts with Crystal Serenity.
Here is a rundown of all the biggest changes on board the beloved ship.
In the renovation of Crystal Serenity, decks 8 and 9 were completely gutted. Those decks previously housed smaller cabins. Post-renovation, they now house larger suites. This means that the ship’s guest capacity was cut down to 740 passengers from about 970.
“We raised the level of the accommodation to match the rest of the product,” said Peterson, a 22-year veteran with Crystal, who’s been Serenity’s hotel director since 2016.
The ship’s new Crystal Sapphire Veranda suites have a modern look while showcasing Crystal’s signature teal blue colors. Notable features include a walk-in closet; a spacious sitting room with a couch, vanity, four chairs, and table; and a balcony with a table and two chairs.
Although Crystal has built new Sapphire Veranda suites, the classic Sapphire Veranda suites remain intact, as do the four Crystal Penthouse Suites, which were renovated in 2013. Many longtime guests have come to love the classic design of the original Sapphire suites and are able to choose to book them over the newly updated ones.
Crystal Serenity’s single and double guest rooms with ocean views, as well as the six junior penthouse suites and four ADA-compliant Aquamarine suites, were all redesigned for the 2023 relaunch. All rooms include butler service.
Crystal Serenity’s two specialty restaurants, Umi Uma and Osteria D'Ovidio, underwent complete renovations and now sport more refined, elegant, and modern interiors.
Umi Uma, a Japanese-Peruvian restaurant with a menu created by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, is the most popular eatery on board, so it requires advanced reservations, and guests can only dine there once per sailing. Crystal Serenity and its sister ship, Symphony, are the only cruise ships with a Nobu restaurant.
“Crystal’s guests have come to know and love the exquisite offerings Chef Nobu has created specifically for Umi Uma, and we are so grateful for Crystal to be the only cruise line with a Nobu restaurant at sea,” said Bernie Leypold, Crystal’s senior vice president of hotel operations.
The Bistro is another onboard eatery that’s been completely revamped. It serves breakfast pastries and small bites for lunch, as well as offering a coffee bar for tea and lattes on the go. Also, Tastes Kitchen & Bar has returned opposite from the Trident Grill. In between the two, Crystal has opened Scoops Ice Cream Bar, a gelato spot, as an homage to its new Italian owner.
Another popular eatery that has returned is Marketplace, which offers a breakfast and lunch buffet. In addition, the menu at Waterside has been elevated to offer a diverse selection of appetizers, soups, main courses, and soups on a menu that changes each day.