Crystal Insider Joe Kita divulges some special hidden places aboard Crystal Serenity to do your favorite things.
When you first embark on a Crystal cruise, the entire ship is one big special place. But after you’re on board for a while, you discover little niches that are even more special. Guests currently on Crystal Serenity’s “Southern Celebración” World Cruise have been sailing since January 11, and most have quite a few favorite places by now. As your Crystal Insider, I coaxed them into divulging some of these “secret” spots. Seek them out next time you’re on board.
Best spot to request your favorite song: In the Crystal Cove, there’s a table for two tucked behind the Crystal piano. From this unique vantage point, you can watch the pianist’s fingers dance along the keyboard. Order a glass of champagne, request As Time Goes By, and make it your own private Rick’s Cafe.
Best place to curl up with a good book: On Decks 10 and 11 aft, there are little-known verandas with comfy lounge chairs. They’re out of the wind and sun, with a pleasant view of the ship’s emerald-blue wake and the horizon beyond. These are great spots for reading because they’re so peaceful. Grab a classic sea-faring yarn such as Moby Dick or In the Heart of the Sea. The ship’s gentle motion and your view of the ocean will actually make you feel like you’re part of the novel.
Best place to feel adventurous: In the Palm Court on Deck 12, settle in at the very nose of the ship. Slanting floor-to-ceiling windows create the impression of being in a glass bubble surrounded by sky and sea. But the view, especially at sunset or during a storm, is only half the reason this spot is so special. There is a unique beer on board called La Finn du Monde, which translates as “The End of the World.” It’s elegantly served in a cognac glass, making it conducive for sipping and noticing that from this special spot it actually looks like you’re sailing toward the ends of the earth.
Best spot for a romantic dinner: In the hubbub of the Main Dining Room are three very special tables. They’re located as far back in the dining room as you can go, next to windows offering expansive views. What makes these spots so secret and special, though, is that they’re tucked into corners so quiet and cozy that you’ll feel like you’re in your own private six-star restaurant. Ask your maître d’ for table 114 (for two) or 115 (for four) starboard, or (my favorite) Table 42 (for two) on the port side.
Best place to weather a storm: If your stomach gets a little choppy when the seas get rocky, drop anchor in the Crystal Cove. Because it’s located in the belly of the ship, there’s significantly less movement there. Order a ginger ale or, if the mood fits, a Ginger Cosmo. (Ginger is a natural stomach settler.)
Best spot for an outdoor workout: Everyone knows about the beautiful promenade on Deck 7 that’s ideal for walking or running. But on Decks 8 and 9 aft, the Crystal Serenity also has a new “Fitness Garden.” Eight exercise devices, which actually resemble sculptures, allow you to work out outdoors in new ways. Ask one of the directors in the Fitness Center to show you how to use them.
Best place to celebrate a special event: The Vintage Room on Deck 7. This is the height of gastro-indulgence on Crystal. You choose the guests (up to 12). You pick the menu. You consult with your private sommelier to match the wines. Then you just sit back and enjoy an unrivaled private dining experience that will make any anniversary or birthday or, for that matter, Wednesday, forever memorable. Should you prefer a surprise element to the soiree, Crystal’s team can design the wine list and complementary multi-course menu for you.
Best place to start the day fresh: From mid-morning in Tastes on Deck 12 mid-ship, the blender is whirring up healthful smoothies. Favorites include “Happy Kidneys” (celery, spinach, cucumber, honey, grapes, orange, cranberries), “Smiling Liver” (beet leaves, parsley, red beets, lemon juice, ginger, water); “Cell Polish” (parsley, grapefruit, kiwi, dates, coconut milk), and “Coco Flush” (bok-choy, parsley, pear, banana, ginger, coconut milk).
Best place to put together a puzzle: On Deck 7 portside aft (not far from Silk Road) is a glass door with the frosted name “Century Suite.” During the World Cruise (and by request on other cruises) it’s used as a puzzle room. Inside is a cabinet filled with all kinds of challenging jigsaws. (If it’s locked, ask the librarian next door to open it). A perfect haven for rainy sea days.
Best spot for a sail-in or a sail-away: While everyone is heading to Decks 12 and 13 for a crow’s nest view, in-the-know guests head for the bow on Decks 8, 9 and 10. Look for white hatch doors on either the port or starboard sides with what look like steering wheels from a car. Turn one of these wheels in the “open” direction, and you’ll emerge onto a small deck with a view not unlike what the captain sees from the bridge. If the urge strikes, feel free to bellow, “Land ho!”