1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Crystal Cruises
  4. Crystal Symphony Review
  5. Crystal Symphony Cruise Reviews
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
My wife, Rosy and I chose this cruise as it guaranteed warm / hot weather and having traveled from Singapore to Hong Kong last year, experiencing cool weather as we moved north, we decided we were more bothered about the weather than the ... Read More
My wife, Rosy and I chose this cruise as it guaranteed warm / hot weather and having traveled from Singapore to Hong Kong last year, experiencing cool weather as we moved north, we decided we were more bothered about the weather than the itinerary. We booked a package through a UK TA, including club class flights on Emirates and hotels / transfers in Singapore and Bali. Emirates offer club class pax free luxury transfers to and from home to LHR and from Singapore to hotel and on return from cruise terminal to airport. We booked one night at the Marina Mandarin, in Singapore and two nights at the Conrad Bali. Our package included a club flight on KLM from Singapore to Bali and transfers. After two nights at the very comfortable Conrad Bali, we were excited to be taking our first Crystal cruise. We took a 'blue' cab to the port, a journey of about 30 minutes costing about £6! This included a toll on the new access road and another to enter the port! On arrival, porters took our luggage for a fee, to the official porters and we entered the terminal building. Check-in soon commenced albeit a tad chaotically and we were soon on board. We were advised that lunch was being served in the dining room, but instead we opted to sit in the sun on deck 11/12. We were impressed by the pool deck, including decent sized pool and very large hot tub. We enjoyed some cool drinks before heading to the Lido Cafe for lunch. This was going to be a real challenge for me, as I had just been diagnosed with diabetes and had to eat and drink in 'moderation'. I was used to eating and drinking in liberation, on cruises. Lunch offered a good selection, but this didn't change much during the cruise, so I was a bit limited in what I could eat on a sugar free diet. Never mind, rather unusually I hardly gained any weight, whereas I usually gain at least a pound a day! The afternoon was spent unpacking, doing the laundry and on orientation. We didn't leave the port until the following morning, so the usual afternoon emergency drill took place just before departure. We had booked dinner in Prego, which was excellent, but it meant we would miss our late seating dinner on a table for eight, not meeting our table-mates until the 2nd evening. Our table seemed to be the place they used for occasional diners, as it was rare for even 6 of us to be there. Two couldn't have liked us, as after two days they switched tables only to return 6 days later. Anyway the 6 of us regulars got on really well. There was a couple from Miami Beach and another English couple from Somerset, very close to our home in Dorset. Thousands of miles from home and we meet near neighbours. Our waiter, from Poland, was a real misery, which was a huge disappointment. He kept recommending unsuitable dishes to me, despite several reminders of my medical condition. We found the evening entertainment a bit mixed, but I was often in bed by 10.30, so wasn't up to much myself. We loved the violinist / pianist duo in the lobby. The enrichment lectures were well attended and loved by Rosy. We both enjoyed the computer lessons and tips for I-phone / Ipad users. I completed an online travel survey and was rewarded with unlimited internet, so my needs were sorted. We were able to Skype family around 8pm, when we guessed most people would either be preparing for dinner or eating it. The dance lessons also seemed extremely popular and singles were well catered for with hosts of both sexes readily available. There were several tender ports and this operation was managed very poorly, with long lines on the staircases, which could be very dangerous. Disembarkation was a breeze, which was a relief after standing for 1-2 hours clearing immigration just to go shopping the previous day. Do Singapore want visitors? Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
I had great hopes after reading reviews on this company. what I found is that my husband and I are not a "good fit" for Crystal. On this trip while the passengers were nice we were younger than most of them who had been on ... Read More
I had great hopes after reading reviews on this company. what I found is that my husband and I are not a "good fit" for Crystal. On this trip while the passengers were nice we were younger than most of them who had been on numerous cruises with Crystal some from when Crystal was started. The atmosphere to me is one of a "Country Club" with the majority of the cruisers being well educated repeat cruisers in their 70s who share similar interests etc. Most seem to like the all inclusive plan of cruising. For those of us who use alcohol sparingly this can feel like we are not getting good value for our cruise $. I would prefer to pay for my beverages alcohol and non-alcohol . I found the ship to feel dated, lacking the glamor of newer ships e.g. the carpets were fraying in areas. I was told that the ship will go to dry stock in September in Germany for 21 days. It is easy to navigate being a smaller ship. Our cabin 8135 a balcony at the end of the hall in the stern felt cramped. The furnishings were similar to what I have experienced on Princess. Nothing special. The advantage of our location at the end of the hall was that it was quiet with minimal foot traffic compared to where we usually have our cabin mid-ship. Food was consistently excellent and the service in dining room good. The lido deck does not serve dinner and for me this was a negative as I don't always want to spend the time going to the dining room for dinner. I wish the calorie content with nutritional content of the food for at least a few items would be stated. Knowing the calorie and nutrition content would aid passengers wanting to eat healthy to do so. The trident grill could be crowded at peak times and service could be improved by increasing staffing. Crystal has changed vendors for the stores on symphony so the stores were closed the 1st days at sea for restocking. I found the new vendors to be expensive, clothing jewelry and perfume. I prefer the vendors on Princess which have clothing items that are more reasonable in cost and fit my life style in retirement . I don't buy high end jewelry and my active retirement community does not permit us to wear perfumes to events or while working out in gym. The gym is small and I heard some of passengers complain that there was insufficient room for the stretching classes. My husband commented that the spin bikes were old and he was told the bikes would be replaced in September. Speaking of perfume all the soaps and hand cremes in the bathrooms public and in cabins are highly perfumed. With many people allergic to perfumes, I question why the soap etc need to have these strong odors. The lectures on board are excellent and the quality of the speakers are the best that I have encountered on cruises. I was impressed by the library, selection of books and its lengthy hours. The best on ship library that I have encountered in the 20 years that I have cruised. The entertainment was not to my liking but I heard positive comments from other passengers. The SPA was expensive and I had some complaints which I feel weren't adequately addressed. On the other cruise ships the spa would offer fruit, a pitcher of water with cut up fruit etc. On Symphony I was offered bottled water at the SPA but no flavored water. I wont be using the SPA on board ship on future cruises as I cant justify the pricing compared to what I pay at my local spa for similar services--over 2X. The SPA like the ship felt small & dated with a need for updating. It was not as nice as spas that we have experienced on other ships. Will we cruise Crystal again, not likely as we would like a more informal less "clubby old school" atompshere". We like good food but dont need 1X1 staffing and lengthy time required to eat in the dining room . The excursions were the usual nothing unique or creative. What we did appreciate is that there was someone from Crystal on each excursion to help out. Water on excursions was complimentary--no charge and it was offered when leaving on excursions and on the excursions. We would like a cruise that could offer more opportunities to learn about nature and have the option of a less formal setting for dinner. Some of the passengers that I talked with used room service for dinner while we don't care for room service. So in conclusion, Crystal does have many superior services but for some of us just isnt a "good fit" in meeting out needs but for other cruisers is a "good fit". Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
This was our fifth Crystal cruise, all have been on the Symphony. Our first, in 2010, was the best. Since then, the quality of Crystal's offerings have declined slightly, but noticeably, with each succeeding cruise. There seems ... Read More
This was our fifth Crystal cruise, all have been on the Symphony. Our first, in 2010, was the best. Since then, the quality of Crystal's offerings have declined slightly, but noticeably, with each succeeding cruise. There seems generally to be less attention to detail. For example, there were stains on our stateroom carpet, there was a broken table in the stern lounge area that was never repaired, there never (not once) were both red and white wine glasses for each place setting at our dinner table in the main dining room, and there were windows that needed washing, especially in Palm Court. This was especially irritating on Feb. 8, 2014 as we viewed New Zealand's majestic fjords through dirty windows. Why were they not washed in Dunedin (the previous port). Finally, the wines offered in the all inclusive service were generally rather mediocre and so was the coffee in the restaurants. These offerings need to be upgraded. Crystal seems no longer to be competitive with Seabourne and, perhaps, not with Regent either. People at our dinner table compared Crystal unfavorably with Oceania and we believe that the Symphony could even be in danger of becoming an all inclusive version of Holland America or Celebrity. We suspect much of this has to do with a cost driven attempt to increase staff productivity. Many of the public contact personnel seem to be seriously overworked. Perhaps the new CEO will make the restoration of Crystal's image of very high quality and attention to detail one of her priorities. Here are some of the things Crystal continues to do well: Louis Armstrong at sail away is a lovely tradition. The spa is excellent and the health club is also first rate. Our cabin attendants have always been excellent and the butler on our 2012 cruise (Greg) was absolutely outstanding. The talent of the on-board performers is remarkable. Where do they get these people? We understand free internet access is being added to the all inclusive package this fall. Bravo!   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We signed up for our first cruise experience with Crystal with many recommendations from friends. We were not disappointed. Crystal Symphony's crew made us feel welcome from the get go. We were part of the "Mix & Mingle" ... Read More
We signed up for our first cruise experience with Crystal with many recommendations from friends. We were not disappointed. Crystal Symphony's crew made us feel welcome from the get go. We were part of the "Mix & Mingle" reception and met a few other Cruise Critic board members plus the cruise directors and hotel manager. We shared questions and got great support. We were especially pleased to have met Jane Salk, Crystal Society's hostess for this cruise. She made us feel part of the "Crystal family". We had delightful table mates, who will be our friends forever. The waitstaff was outstanding and it seemed "no problem" for our special requests that veered from the menu set for the day. Amazing! We did get great information ahead of time from Crystal Cruises and Cruise Critic which was an enormous help for us as first time cruisers. We would highly recommend that new cruisers seek out the info we did and just ask. Most folks gave us good info. We know we will be cruising with Crystal in the near future and it's just deciding as to where do were want to go. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
We are well seasoned cruisers and have sailed on several different cruise lines. We were introduced to Crystal the year after they began service. We have been on Crystal 19 times, on all three ships (although the Harmony does not sail ... Read More
We are well seasoned cruisers and have sailed on several different cruise lines. We were introduced to Crystal the year after they began service. We have been on Crystal 19 times, on all three ships (although the Harmony does not sail for the general populous anymore). The ships are beautiful, the wait staff incredible and the entertainment top notch. The food is not my favorite because I am not a foodie, and I like rather plain stuff. My husband, on the other hand, loves it. One person mentioned that the food was not very good. That is not the norm. Also, they were usually make anything you want at any time. There are a few things they ask you to order the day before. To those who have only been on once, try again. They are wonderful to return cruisers. They also have the most loyal staff you can ever imagine. The "bus boy" on our first cruise had worked his way up to Matre'D on our last. They have to treat their employees well to inspire that kind of loyalty. This means the staff treats the guests really well. Do not be scared of the age range. One person commented the average age was 70+. I cannot imagine. We travel with any one of a dozen couples and have for years, and none of us are close to 70 (ok, maybe 1 or 2 are) and we never have trouble finding people in our age group, or even younger. Oh, and we work for our money, not the other way around, as do most of our cruise buddies. It is true that the average net worth of Crystal Cruisers is higher, but to me that is a benefit. I am too old to appreciate the 20 somethings on Carnival.... Read Less
Crystal Symphony Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

Find a Crystal Symphony Cruise

Email me when prices drop