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Click here for Crystal Serenity Shipboard Guide
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With the Satchmo classic "What a wonderful world" playing over the PA System, Crystal Serenity moves away from the dock, leaving the hustle and bustle of Nassau behind. I sit out on my balcony as we sail into a picture-perfect Bahama sunset, realizing that I am indeed living in a "wonderful world" on this beautiful ship. Offering its guests an unprecedented number of options when it comes to entertainment, enrichment and food, Crystal Serenity is definitely "the right ship at the right time", offering a wonderful combination of big-ship feel and small-ship service.

In 1990, Crystal Cruises introduced their first ship, the 48,621-ton Crystal Harmony. Years of research preceded the much-anticipated launch of the high end cruise line, offering passengers the best of all worlds. Financially backed by Japan's NYK Line, Crystal Cruises was set up by respected industry veterans. And ever since the maiden voyage of Crystal Harmony, now 15 years ago, the line has received numerous accolades and awards, culminating in being voted "Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine nine times in a row..
Five years after the introduction of Crystal Harmony,. near-sister Crystal Symphony was launched. And in 2002 a third ship joined the Crystal fleet. Crystal Serenity was built at the prestigious French Chantiers de l'Atlantique yard and incorporates many of the same features as her two older fleet mates, albeit on a slightly grander scale. With a gross tonnage of 68,870, she carries only 1,096 passengers in spacious surroundings. Sailing on worldwide itineraries that often bring them to far-off and exclusive harbors, the Crystal triplets offer a product that is a innovative cross between the ultra-deluxe boutique ships and the upper crust of the premium mass market. Crystal Serenity is friendly enough to feel right at home on, yet she is large enough to be anonymous if you want. And she is definitely luxurious enough to feel utterly pampered.

Cruise Line: Crystal Cruises
Year built: 2002
Price tag: US$ 350 million
Yard: Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St Nazaire, France
Gross Tonnage: 68,870
Length: 250.0 m (820.2 ft)
Beam: 32.2 m (111.5 ft)
Passengers (norm.): 1,096
Passengers (max): 1,140
Crew: 655
Service speed: 22.0 knots
Flag: Bahamas

I joined Crystal Serenity for a 7-day Thanksgiving cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, calling at Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas, Cozumel and Key West. With the ports of call being run of the mill for most guests, the ship took center stage on this fully booked voyage. So, let's quickly see what Crystal Serenity has in store for us!

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Crystal Serenity anchored off Cozumel, Mexico

Crystal Serenity docked in Nassau, Bahamas

 

All photos and text: © 2004 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

This cruise review was first published on January 2, 2005.

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