Before Travel Weekly's Rebecca Tobin left for a weeklong cruise on the Crystal Serenity she downloaded the line's free "Storyteller" app. It enables users to customize iPhone photos with Instagram-style filters and frames and captions and share them via email or Facebook (either on personal pages or on Crystal's "Never Ending Journal" page), or as an actual postcard using a third-party program. Needless to say, Tobin became hooked on the Storyteller app. Here she shares "photo dispatches" based on some of the photos she took and converted to Storyteller images. Previous dispatch: Arrival.
I used our one at-sea day to poke around the decks. I hadn't been on a Crystal cruise since 2009, and my most recent cruise-ship visit was to the activity-packed Carnival Breeze, so I'd forgotten how much open deck space there is on the Serenity. It has a huge, teak-floor promenade that's reserved simply for strolling or jogging. There are large swaths of space that's used for, well, nothing. It was almost shocking at first, but I quickly appreciated the luxuriousness of open space: walking into an empty Lido cafe, for example, or finding this row of unused sunbeds on one of the aft decks.
We were traveling with a toddler, so we spent a lot of time in our cabin. We also supervised our daughter on the balcony quite a bit, since she loved looking at the "big boats!" in each harbor and exclaiming about the water. Crystal offers a babysitting service, which we used twice on the cruise, but as a general rule the ship's nighttime activities like the shows, casino and bars are a no-go when you have a sleeping child in your cabin. So my husband and I also spent most of our evenings on the balcony once she'd settled into her travel crib, drinking a glass of wine (alcohol is now included in Crystal rates) and sharing a cheese plate and talking or reading. Crystal's commitment to roominess extended to our balcony as well. It was big enough for a cafe table and two comfortable, wicker-style armchairs and ottomans.
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