Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Serenity refurb a breath of fresh air

Serenity refurb a breath of fresh air

By Tom Stieghorst
Outside the Galaxy Lounge on the Crystal Serenity.The Crystal Serenity's $17 million makeover is notable as much for what was subtracted as what was added.

After emerging from a drydock in Cadiz, Spain, the most noticeable change to the 2003-built ship is the complete disappearance of one of its pools.

The space that had been devoted to a pool area with a retractable roof for shelter in inclement weather has been turned into another restaurant, called Tastes. The area, now filled with wicker seating, is also home to the Trident Grill and Scoops ice cream bar.

"It's great to say we have two pools," said Crystal President Edie Bornstein. "But the reality was it was really never used."

Tastes, which has an eclectic menu that runs from Alsatian tarts to California street tacos, opens in the early afternoon for lunch and then is transformed after 6 p.m. into a casual eatery with what Bornstein called a "summer-in-the-Med feeling."

The Serenity's other pool remains, as do other fitness facilities such as a 360-degree outdoor promenade for walking, a golf driving range and putting green and two paddle tennis courts.

Another focal point in the makeover was the four penthouse suites.

In an ultracontemporary remodel, interiors of the 1,345-square-foot suites were gutted and the dining area moved closer to the outdoor veranda. The former dining room became a den/library/media room. The color scheme has been lightened to light gray and creme with purple accents.

Another change during drydock was the addition of air- and surface-cleaning equipment to 70 cabins, meant to reduce the irritants that cause allergies.

The so-called hypoallergenic rooms, an industry first, are a boon to passengers who have allergies or other sensitivities that can disrupt a vacation. Now a state-of-the-art, medical-grade air purifier filters out 99.9% of all airborne impurities on an ongoing basis.

A new cherry wood dance floor in the Palm Court gives that area a fresher, richer feel. And the Lido Cafe area has been remodeled with more tables for two and food stations replacing older-style buffet counters.