Thursday, February 6, 2014

Crystal Cruises Serenity, journey of 4 hours

Nadine Kam photos
At the entry to Crystal Cruises Serenity ship, with first- and second-story lounges.

I'm always looking for different dining experiences, so that's how I found myself on board Crystal Cruises Serenity when it docked in Honolulu Harbor Jan. 25 as part of its "Pacific Ocean Odyssey" voyage to Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan, with stops in Guam and Saipan.

While in harbor, cruise passengers are allowed to invite friends on board for dinner, or you might be able to arrange it as part of a sales tour.

I've heard about Crystal Cruises wonderful restaurants, and have always been intrigued by the idea of cruise dining because it can be several days before the ship arrives in ports allowing the pantry to be restocked, no such thing as emergency shopping. While in Hawaii, I definitely saw regional influences on the menu in the formal Crystal Dining Room.

Once on board, it's very tempting to stow away. Who wouldn't want to head on to Tokyo, without the hassle of air travel?

Only the idea of leaving our pets at home to starve over the next few weeks got us to our feet before the ship set sail at midnight.

The Crystal Dining Room.

The journey to Tokyo takes seven days. When you're not dining, you can spend time in the casino. It was tempting to put some money in the slot machines, but they are locked when the ship reaches Honolulu Harbor.

Salmon tataki and poke salad with julienne carrots, daikon and beets.

Luau taco of kalua pork in a soft tortilla with red onions, pickled cucumber and kogi BBQ sauce.

Corn chowder with bacon. It was supposed to have poached lobster as well, but none of us could detect the lobster. It didn't stop some of our tablemates from having a second helping later that evening at the bar.

Grilled Black Angus filet mignon with peppercorn Hollandaise.

Macadamia tiger shrimp with creamy sweet chili sauce, broccoli, rice and caramelized macadamia nuts.

Just a few of the cheese selections.

Sour cherry crumble tart with vanilla ice cream.

In the lounge after dinner, more treats awaited, including savory appetizers, more pastries and chocolate fountain fondue.

Musicians in the lobby.

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