Meet the man who ensures the Crystal Serenity is one of the world’s best luxury ships

Crystal Cruises was recently crowned the best luxury liner in the world, in a new global ranking.
MailOnline Travel talks to Herbert Jäger, hotel director onboard Crystal Serenity, to find keys to its success.

Luxury design features, innovative menus and high levels of service set this luxury vessel apart.


Cuisine from Nobu, Philippe Starck furniture and a 360-degree promenade deck – US brand Crystal Cruises is redefining luxury at sea, offering guests a boutique hotel experience on water.

With Crystal Serenity described as the world’s number one ship, Crystal Cruises was also recently crowned the best luxury liner in the world, in a new global ranking by US News & World Report.
MailOnline Travel talks to Herbert Jäger, hotel director onboard Crystal Serenity, to discover why this six-star brand is winning such high praise. He reveals the team does everything in its power to meet the demands of the world’s most discerning guests – even re-upholstering a suite for someone who didn’t like its colour.

‘For one guest we changed their penthouse chair upholstery as they did not like the colour’.

While Conde Nast Traveler describes Crystal Symphony as the most spacious ship at sea, its sister vessel Crystal Serenity has won the accolade of the world’s best ship.

With 85 per cent of the staterooms featuring a balcony, cruisers can dine and unwind in privacy. Those staying in a penthouse state room can indulge further with their own Jacuzzi and butler service

The vessel boasts an extra-wide promenade deck encircling the entire ship for guests to explore while taking in the view and inside there are full-sized cinemas, a nightclub and a kids’ centre.

At the floating spa and fitness centre, holidaymakers can immerse themselves in complimentary classes, personal training sessions or be pampered by six-hour beauty treatments.

But despite these impressive features, Mr Jäger claims that attention to detail, personalisation and service are key to Crystal’s award-winning voyages.
Crystal vessels have a high staff-to-passenger ratio and guests can expect the team, hailing from 40 nations, to recognise them during their journey. He explained: ‘Guests feel at home when they return to the vessel and are recognised by the various staff members. Many of our guests stay for an extensive period on board – they don’t come for one cruise but sometimes several weeks and even months.’

Up at 6:30am each day, Mr Jäger makes sure he is known to guests and even hosts a dinner for them each evening.
Serving 1,078 guests, holidaymakers aboard Serenity are welcomed with Champagne and can enjoy an array of liquor and international wines throughout their trip.

While aboard the high-end ship guests can indulge 24 hours a day, choosing from fine dining options including sushi by the legendary chef Nobu Matsuhisa.  The ship prides itself on providing innovative ‘high tech’ menus in the Crystal Dining Room where diners can choose between modern molecular gastronomy such as exploding caviar balls and citrus foam or classic international cuisine.

On a sister river vessel, Crystal Mozart, visiting wine experts curate seven-course dining experiences with some of the world’s rarest wines in the Vintage Room.
Aboard the Serenity anyone with unique dietary requirements or just a craving for something on shore can have these desires satisfied.  Mr Jäger explained: ’Guests can make special requests for a particular food item or dish and if we have the ability we will prepared it just for them, even though it is not on the menu. For a guest celebrating a special occasion such as a birthday we arrange a surprise birthday breakfast which is served in their room with French Champagne.’

‘We once flew in decaffeinated Diet Pepsi to Europe because it was not available there for a guest.’

In a bid to provide unparalleled service, the team have fulfilled even the most extreme guest requests.

Serenity has all the design hallmarks of a luxury hotel – the cutlery is Elkington from England and the China is Wedgwood, Villeroy&Boch and Mikasa. Furniture is custom-made with special design pieces such as Philippe Starck chairs also featuring.

To ensure that this ‘six-star’ level of luxury is maintained throughout, the vessel has four carpenters, one upholsterer and two French polishers on board who fix, repair, change or refurbish furniture.

Mr Jäger is responsible for inspecting the ship and walks around it every morning before 8:30am while greeting early rising guests.

He said: ‘I always take a few minutes in the early mornings to walk the ship, open decks, food outlets, back of the house areas to ensure the ship is running smoothly.’ He added: ‘I usually inspect staterooms and penthouses on turn-around day; this is the day I have full access as guests are leaving that morning and new guests don’t arrive until noon.’

‘I usually look at various categories, check balconies, room set-up and bathrooms to make sure the suites are ready for our new guests.’

fotorcreatedgznxfgThe beds in all guestrooms are dressed with 100 per cent Egyptian cotton sheets, feather bed toppings and mohair lap blankets. There is also a pillow menu for the more discerning sleeper.

Alongside unlimited internet access, flat screen TVs and music entertainment systems, penthouse guests make use of Riedel stemware while sipping on Cristal champagne from their fully stocked bar.
It’s unrivalled details such as these that ensure Crystal keeps making waves in the luxury cruise sector.

Take a Cruise Ship Tour below:




For all the latest news, promos & events at CHS subscribe to our newsletter.

Get In Touch

  • 919 Stanza Bopape (Previously Church) Street, (between Hill & Orient Street), Arcadia, Pretoria, Gauteng, 0083, South Africa
Facebook You Tube RSS Feed Instagram Twitter