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Click here for The Bistro's Coffee & Tea Menu
Click here for The Bistro's Coffee & Tea Menu







Page 2 of 9

Rise and shine! At precisely 8:00 am each morning, a look down from my balcony reveals a steady trail of guests walking briskly around the gorgeous teak Promenade Deck, many of them wearing peculiar black vests with W.O.W. written on the back. What is going on? I quickly find out that the wrap-around Promenade Deck is Crystal Serenity's social hub. With no lifeboats to block the view this is the place to catch up on some gossip with fellow shipmates, burn calories or simply stand and gaze at the sea.  

Crystal Serenity's design is unique when it comes to the placement of her life-saving equipment. The designers cleverly moved the usual clutter of lifeboats and rafts down in the ship and thus created the most beautiful Promenade Deck afloat. Overlooked by rows of balconies (no restricted views here!), many guests can be seen putting on their Walk On Water vests, getting ready for their morning exercise at 8:00 am sharp. Devised by Debbie Rocker, the cotton vest has weight pockets around the waistline and is designed to maximize the benefits of walking. Unique to Crystal Cruises, the vests can be picked up at no extra charge at the start of the cruise from the Sports Director. Then it is up to you: join in any of the organized Walkathons (1 lap is 0.5 km), or simply Walk On Water at your leisure.

The most beautiful Promenade Deck afloat

After my own morning walk (no vest needed - I'm heavy enough as it is!) I'm off to one of my favorite places on the whole ship and another Crystal Cruises exclusive: The Bistro. Why other lines haven't followed suit with this very successful concept is beyond me.   Modeled after a European "Grand Café", the Bistro is located on deck 6 overlooking

Crystal Plaza, the heart of the ship. The design team did a terrific job here. On one side of the Crystal Plaza, you will find the Pursers Office, Concierge Desk, Shore Excursions Desk, Cruise Sales Consultant and Crystal Society Hostess. On the other side, there is an attractive atrium piano bar called Crystal Cove. Each evening, Richard Berman can be seen here tinkling the ivories and chatting away with guests. And around the corner is the entrance to the Crystal Dining Room. A grand staircase leads to the upper level of the Crystal Plaza, with numerous shopping possibilities and ... The Bistro.

Crystal Cove

During my cruise, I often make my way to the Bistro mid-morning and order a frothy cappuccino from the special tea and coffee menu. On Crystal Serenity all food and all non-alcoholic drinks on board are included in the cruise fare and the delicious coffee specialties served in The Bistro are no exception. So why not order a second one? 

Feeling like I have landed in a Crystal Cruises commercial, I sit here in beautiful whicker furniture, sipping coffee, browsing through the day's issue of the Reflections daily program and simply enjoy the good life. An important feature of The Bistro is its buffet table, which is filled to the brim with goodies all day long. In the morning, look out for freshly toasted bagels. Later in the day, munch away on yummy cakes and pastries, perhaps accompanied by a pot of Leaves of Provence tea. And in the afternoon, order a glass of wine from the wine menu and grab a cracker and some blue cheese. The Bistro is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and has my vote for "Shipboard Space of the Year".

Lido Café outdoor seating

Pool Deck at dawn

Pool Deck with the Seahorse Pool at sunset

Palm Court

Sunset Bar within the Palm Court
Sunset Bar within the Palm Court
The Bistro's custom-designed cups
The Bistro
The Bistro

Crystal Plaza with Crystal Cove and The Bistro

The Bistro

Morning coffee (and cakes!) in The Bistro

Crystal Plaza with Front Desk and shops
Crystal Plaza


All photos and text: © 2004 Bart de Boer -

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

All rights reserved.