Crystal Serenity North Cape and Beyond Cruise Review
Day 1. Embarkation in Copenhagen
Wonderful wonderful Copenhagen as the song goes, and indeed it was wonderful in the very warm summer sunshine. We arrived via Norwegian air from Gatwick (free Wi-Fi on the plane, very good!) and Crystal Serenity is docked overnight in the capital of Denmark. Embarkation took place on board the ship and was quick and easy, and as we were staying in a Penthouse, we were advised that our suite was ready straight away. So after dropping off our hand luggage in our room, we headed to the main dining room for our first lunch, a delicious burger, with a lovely glass of chilled champagne.
Crystal Serenity in Copenhagen
Rather than giving you a small glass of bubbles when you embark, as you are juggling hand luggage, tickets, passports, hand sanitizers,forms and room keys, Crystal have waiters roaming the dining area with trays filled with glasses of champagne, allowing you to enjoy it in a more relaxed environment. I thought this worked very well!
Our Penthouse with Verandah
After eating, we headed back up to our suite to unpack. Our penthouse suite with veranda is 400 sq foot of luxury accommodation. As you enter, there are hooks for coats etc. on the left and lovely panelled walls on the right. Turning left you see a dressing table with large walk in wardrobe and storage area opposite. Adjacent to that is the spacious bathroom with marble twin sinks, Jacuzzi bath, separate shower and toilet. Lots of storage for all your pills, potions and lotions, and the supplied Aveda toiletries were a lovely touch. Lots of fluffy Egyptian cotton towels too! The suite then opens up into a living area with a comfy three person settee, adjustable height coffee table with large queen sized bed with quilted headboard. Also here is a built in fridge, flat screen TV, and more drawers and cupboards for storage. Colour pallet is neutral earth tones of browns and creams, punctuated with caramel coloured cushions and throws.
Welcome aboard champagne
A bottle of champagne was waiting for us along with a box of chocolates which was a nice touch (Crystal doesn’t leave them on the pillow at night time). Our butler arrived and introduced himself (Rao) and talked us through the features of the suite and his services. The suite has a wonderful lighting sytem, with different "moods" pre set, such as "Bright" and "Relaxing", all available at a flick of the switch, and an efficient doorbell and "make up the room" light on the door. One of the great benefits of taking a Penthouse is you get complimentary pressing! Just leave it out in the morning and it is magically returned all ironed that evening - certainly saves time in the laundry room down the hall! It was then off to explore the ship, and we ended playing paddle tennis with a few other guests up on the sports deck! At about 4.30pm Rao was back with a selection of hors d’oeuvres consisting of lobster and shrimp with a lovely dip.
Our itinerary for this cruise is as follows
- Copenhagen, Denmark (overnight)
- Geiranger, Norway
- At Sea (Svartisen Glacier)
- At Sea
- Murmansk, Russia
- Honningsvag, North Cape, Norway
- At Sea
- Tromso, Norway
- Leknes/Lofoten Islands, Norway
- Alesund, Norway
- Olden, Norway
- Bergen, Norway
- At Sea
- Stockholm, Sweden (overnight)
That evening the dress code was resort casual, so polo shirts and short sleeved shirts and smart trousers or even jeans are all acceptable. It was open sitting in the dining room, followed by a welcome aboard opening show time. This consisted of an opening number performed by the ships dancers and singers, followed by an introduction to the cruise by the very likeable cruise director, Gary Hunter, and finally another song and dance number to close the show. Very good and enjoyable, and quite unusual for a first night of a cruise, as it is usually very quiet. Other entertainment options were Marcie Castro on the piano in Avenue Saloon for sing-alongs, The Crystal Sextet up in Palm Court (with the Ambassador dance hosts for the single ladies), and pianist Bruce Johnson playing the Crystal Piano (yes it’s really see through) in the Crystal Cove area. Today’s drink special was an Orange Blossom, which is Gin, Orange Juice and Grenadine syrup.
Pulse, the ships nightclub, was our next destination. We were the only ones in there and had a good chat to the DJ Paul James and the excellent bar man, Paulo, from Portugal. Paulo liked to create new and exciting cocktails and after a few of his (and our own) concoctions we headed to bed.