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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Second time on Symphony and can't wait to get back.  First class service all the time, never a let up. Great ports of call in Beijing and all over Japan.  They took the entire ship to Beijing for a three day, two night excursion, ... Read More
Second time on Symphony and can't wait to get back.  First class service all the time, never a let up. Great ports of call in Beijing and all over Japan.  They took the entire ship to Beijing for a three day, two night excursion, all part of the cruise fee, nothing additional.  On top of that, the accommodations and food were first class and the sightseeing just incredible.  We had an amazing tour guide the entire three days, Oscar on Bus #22, and his contributions were essential in making Beijing a memorable stop. Japan is in full bloom with cherry blossoms so every stop was beautiful. All the stops were exciting.  The ship made the decision to miss a port to avoid possibly being stranded in the strait for a couple of days, courageous and correct decision and one that was well communicated to the entire ship. We had one problem on an excursion and Crystal immediately refunded our cost to us. Food was incredible.  Just cruised on Celebrity Solstice around New Zealand two months ago and they are about five levels below Crystal.  Nice having all inclusive cruising as well, even though we don't drink. Nice to be on a smaller ship, much easier to navigate around the place and to get to know other guests. Crystal did a good job filling up our "shared" dining table each night and we got to meet very nice people. The compromise in a smaller ship is the entertainment. While enthusiastic and well prepared, it is not to the level of quality we enjoyed on the Solstice sailing around New Zealand in February. We attended most every one of them, and enjoyed them, but it is a compromise in the more intimate ship size. We loved the destinations, all were up to our expectations and Crystal really know how to treat a guest. The staff are a complete cut above other cruise lines, a real distinction, and delightful to be around. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
chose the tour for Bali and Singapore. The good news: The food was superb, our sommerlier Mladen and Maitre D' Mario made the general seating dining a delight. The entertainment was a little old school but fun. The bars and ... Read More
chose the tour for Bali and Singapore. The good news: The food was superb, our sommerlier Mladen and Maitre D' Mario made the general seating dining a delight. The entertainment was a little old school but fun. The bars and nooks were great. It made us feel that we were frequenting our own little neighbourhood. We stayed in Ubud in Bali doing our own touring with the Safest Driver in Bali's driver. We loved our tour, our dinners, our experiences. We enjoyed Komodo Island. Brunei was a slice of life. Malaysia had an interesting mountain tour. Singapore is dazzling and fun. The bad: The ship boarding process was disappointing. There was no-one at the car park to direct us and welcome us (We've done Oceania in the past and you were passed from one warm greeting to another). Hence a bit of confusion finding our debarkation point. It was a dodgy gangplank. The ship's rooms are small (we had a balcony on the 9th floor just below the penthouse level) and had the whole ambience was 80s nostalgia. We understand at the end of this cruise the entire ship is in for refurbishing. There were 2 designated sittings. This created a sense of chaos of the first night - it wasn't dining, it was feeding. We spoke with Mario and thereafter we ate between the two sittings and it was divine. Our waitors and sommelier Mladen were relaxed and capable and we loved every meal and enjoyed a wonderful wine experience. The gym is too small for classes - I worried that weights being used by individuals may be a threat to class members. The port days needed work: Komodo island could have been tightened up; the snorkeling in the Philippines was dodgy and there were no flippers, the descent off the boat was hampered by lines that could have been unsafe, a lot of unhappy people, but the beach we ultimately ended up at was beautfiul; Rombon is a poor island - thought should be given to working with the community to organize an event that would benefit it and engage the visitors - something with the schools?; Brunei day tour dragged - 1/2 day was sufficient to see the main buildings and then perhaps an experience that deepened the appreciation of the museum. singapore we did our own thing and had some amazing walking tours and experiences. Read Less
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
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Having cruised with Crystal before, we knew what was in store for us as we first cruised in 1995. The ship has aged graciously but there are tell tale signs after 22 years of tiring which is to be expected. The Hull of the ship was the ... Read More
Having cruised with Crystal before, we knew what was in store for us as we first cruised in 1995. The ship has aged graciously but there are tell tale signs after 22 years of tiring which is to be expected. The Hull of the ship was the worst I have seen her. In years gone by, you would have had to strain your eyes to find any rust marks but alas the maintenance in this area seemed lacking. Yes there have been cuts in services since she was first launched. Just small things, probably most noticeable in the Dining room. It does not have the class and grace it once had. Sad but probably a sign of the times. Food portions are much smaller and the service is much more rushed. Not unlike a cafeteria in some respects. Having your plate taken away when not finished for example would never have happened in the past. One thing that remains a standout are the staff. Good work guys and girls. A credit to you all. The dress code has been allowed to slip. Once apon a time it would be unthinkable to wear a singlet around the ship let alone into the breakfast restaurant. If I wanted to see that I would have gone on a Princess Cruise! The occasional vibration that emanates from the stabilizers during certain sea conditions continue to permeate throughout the ship and has done for many years. Maybe at the upcoming dry dock in September this will be addressed finally. Having said all of the above she is still a magnificent vessel and my wife and myself had a truly wonderful time on board. Embarkation was the quickest I have ever experienced. In fact we were the only people there. 10mins and we were in our Cabin. As was the disembarkation. No complaints here. Our Cabin attendant was without peer. The entertainment to be honest was noticeably below par from previous experiences with a few notable exceptions. Activities were good as were a few of the Lecturers. Couldn't really fault the service. Only did one shore excursion. It was on the dune buggies. These were very old and not safe. That bad in fact, we received a 50% refund from Crystal. I am assuming that the person who was responsible for reconnaissance for this trip is no longer in the employ of Cruise Line. Nothing much wrong with the Food but the sliding decline of authentic deserts is very evident despite their impeccable presentation. Breakfast was always of a high standard.The Trident deck food was excellent and casual as well as the ever effervescent attitude of the Ice cream Bar attendant. The Palm Court without doubt has its own special aura which has to be experienced. Silk Road stands out above the rest for both its excellent service and Food. At one stop the Ship allowed family members of some of the crew who obviously had not seen each other for a long period of time to come aboard. Seeing these families walking around the ship, impeccably dressed and with behaviour to match was wonderful to see. Would my wife and I cruise Crystal again? Absolutely. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
chose this cruise for destinations and inclusive options, we were not disappointed with either, my wife and I loved the ship staff, dining and itinerary, honestly can not fault the perfect cruise, magic castle at sea was such a treat as ... Read More
chose this cruise for destinations and inclusive options, we were not disappointed with either, my wife and I loved the ship staff, dining and itinerary, honestly can not fault the perfect cruise, magic castle at sea was such a treat as were the lectures, especially DR Laurence Blair, even on a sea day their were plenty of sunbeds to choose from and always a good conversation with mostly the nicest passengers we have had the pleasure to sail with, of course there's always going to be the odd exception, always a pleasure at the main restaurant, evening entertainment somewhat mixed, but loved the professional ballroom and Latin dancers on board, my wife made the most of the excellent ambassador hosts, and since returning home we are both having private dance classes as a result, of course when tender ports are involved there are always going to be issues but nothing to be worried about, all our tours were enjoyable, and cabin comfortable, we have since booked a cruise on the serenity. only negative is my wife usually has gym classes but deemed as previous passage mentioned area and size of gym not suitable, which is a shame. embarkation and disembarkation was seamless. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We just spent 10 nights aboard the Crystal Symphony. We have traveled on Disney, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian so we have a lot to compare Crystal to. After experiencing the high level of service and great food it will ... Read More
We just spent 10 nights aboard the Crystal Symphony. We have traveled on Disney, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian so we have a lot to compare Crystal to. After experiencing the high level of service and great food it will be hard to go back to any other line. It started at check in, swift, easy and no line, NO HASSLES. The Symphony strikes a nice balance between size and intimacy, just right, with immaculate public areas and nice lounges. Our balcony room was as expected size wise with a WAY above average sized balcony. Food was 5 star, I do not equate a lot with great, just because you can eat all day does't make it great, Crystal's food was great. Only little complaints were I would have liked to see consistent items on the appetizer menu, like shrimp cocktail. The buffet hours were somewhat constrained, IE lunch from 12-2. Service was OUTSTANDING, servers asked your name on the first day and remembered them, not just some servers, MOST servers did! They couldn't help enough. It is so nice being all inclusive and not having to dig out your cruise card every time you want something. Yes you do pay for it up front as Crystal is not cheap, but you definitely get what you pay for. Crystal is not for kids as the ships have kids rooms but I doubt would have enough to keep most kids happy, if you want a rock wall better look elsewhere. Great experience overall!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
First Crystal cruise. Relevant previous cruises 21 days on Regent. Beijing to Hong Kong. This might be my favorite cruise. Never a wait for anything on board. OK, Regent cabins are 300sf and Crystal Sympony 200 sf, both plus balcony, ... Read More
First Crystal cruise. Relevant previous cruises 21 days on Regent. Beijing to Hong Kong. This might be my favorite cruise. Never a wait for anything on board. OK, Regent cabins are 300sf and Crystal Sympony 200 sf, both plus balcony, but otherwise Crystal gets the nod, for service, especially drink service, and a bit better food. Service great for both. I really prefered the main dining room, no advantage to the (fake) Italian restaurant, Prego. Waiter mispronounced "limone." Regarding food, seafood on board arrives frozen, like on all ships. Salmon and lobster tails survive freezing well. Whole lobster, and crab legs, not so much, IMHO. Entertainment was pretty good. Nice that the lead singer/dancer was seasoned and not just another kid. So cabin was bit cramped but the ship was first class in great shape, and we would cruise on Crystal (which recently changed hands) again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
We were first time Crystal Cruisers and had always heard how wonderful they were. Well, in some ways that was true, in others, it was not. First, what we loved: outstanding staff, smooth boarding and leaving, the best evening ... Read More
We were first time Crystal Cruisers and had always heard how wonderful they were. Well, in some ways that was true, in others, it was not. First, what we loved: outstanding staff, smooth boarding and leaving, the best evening entertainment we have ever experienced on a cruise, good food, excellent "included" wine, like the always open Bistro, large comfortable rooms and bath, better than average casino rules, superb Apple instructor, top notch lecturers (but not enough of them). However, we experienced some areas where we thought they could improve: lack of information about where we were, poor use (not many talks) by the excellent "experts" onboard, only one buffet lunch of Asian foods, absolutely no information on shopping beforehand and little to no time for any shopping in tours booked through them, lack of information about when things would be open which we would expect when you have a guide. We were not informed until one evening after being back onboard that the town we most came to see would be closed for a holiday the next day--too late to go more that day. We were informed when we boarded one bus that the main point of one tour was closed because it was Friday--their regular closing day. Little bridge (2 lessons and 3 games in 12 days). Pool not filled until the pm on the first sea day. Would we go on another Crystal Cruise? Absolutely. But if both had the same route, we would choose Oceania over Crystal. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
We sailed on the Crystal Symphony January 2015 from Bali, Indonesia with 3 port stops in Indonesia (Belawan was cancelled because of channel dredging), 3 ports in Malaysia, one in Thailand, and ending in Singapore. We’ve sailed on the ... Read More
We sailed on the Crystal Symphony January 2015 from Bali, Indonesia with 3 port stops in Indonesia (Belawan was cancelled because of channel dredging), 3 ports in Malaysia, one in Thailand, and ending in Singapore. We’ve sailed on the Crystal Serenity before, like the line very much (not quite up to Regent), and were generally quite pleased with this cruise. Okay, you probably know why Crystal is a top-rated line, but here are a few things of which you should be aware. The cruise started in Bali and you could embark anytime on Jan 17 or 18. Crystal met passengers flying in on Jan 17 but refused to do so for people like us who arrived on Jan 18. Moreover, they didn’t tell us this in advance, so we were stuck at the airport trying to find the Crystal shuttle before we finally took a taxi to the port. Once on the ship things were fine, although we were surprised to find the 246-sq ft stateroom about 10% smaller than those on the Crystal Serenity (269 sq ft) and 22% smaller than the corresponding level room on Regent (301 sq ft). We were also surprised that the “free” Internet service for Crystal Society members (those who have cruised on Crystal before) was for just one hour a day (not unlimited like Regent). Moreover, the connection was quite slow so uploading photos used up your hour in short order. Dining was excellent after we negotiated to be moved from a tiny table way in the back at the door to the galley to a table in the middle of the room. Although window tables were often empty, they were never offered to us. We had the early seating (be in place by 6:15), which was okay except on the days we didn’t get back from a shore excursion until late afternoon. On those days, we would have liked to go to “casual dining” at the Lido, but that was only open on 3 nights of the 12-day cruise. One wonders why? Smokers like me weren’t happy with the Connoisseur Club, a small room which was the only place to smoke on the ship. There were two types of smokers aboard: ones in Group 1 who wanted to read a book while having a quite smoke. Too bad for them as the room was dark, there were no reading lights, and there was Group 2. People in that group wanted to watch loud TV, talk even louder, and basically have a party. I resorted to bringing ear plugs and a flashlight in the late afternoon, but evenings were just impossible. A number of shore excursions were cancelled because not enough people signed up. Seems to me they could have arranged for a 6- or 8-passenger van rather than the usual 40-passenger bus and run the excursion like that. Perhaps because we were in a hot climate, the lowest we could get the cabin temperature was about 73 degrees F, which was okay during the day, but too hot at night. We traded the duvet on the bed for a blanket, but even that was often too hot. So a good night’s sleep wasn’t one of the high points of the cruise. Oh, yes, there was one toddler on board whose parents, after the second day finally got the message that a kid whining in the dining room wasn't enjoyed by most of the adults and we (thankfully!) didn't see too much of them at meals. What on earth were they thinking bringing a one-year-old on a cruise like this? Don’t get me wrong: Crystal is a great cruise line. The new emphasis of the dining staff to be friendly and really get to know you is extraordinary. Our cabin attendant was superb. The food in all the restaurants (except the outdoor grill) was outstanding. The bartenders mixed excellent drinks. The wine and champagne choices were first-rate. The shore excursions were very good (except for Malacca where we had a mediocre guide). The people at the concierge desk went out of their way to be helpful. All the staff were smiling and friendly. A few flaws, but we’ll be back.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
My wife and I, both very senior citizens, have completed over 20 cruises with Crystal and we continue to rate the line as the best we have encountered (Seabourn, Regent, Silver Seas and Cunard). While some of these luxury lines have larger ... Read More
My wife and I, both very senior citizens, have completed over 20 cruises with Crystal and we continue to rate the line as the best we have encountered (Seabourn, Regent, Silver Seas and Cunard). While some of these luxury lines have larger cabins and much larger baths, they do not measure up in the overall cruise experience for us. We particularly prefer the fixed sittings for meals rather than the open sittings on the other luxury lines. With an assigned table at a fixed time, we have the advantage of not having to wait until a table is free nor do we have to share the dining experience with others. We recognized that many who cruise like to meet others at meal time, but we do not. Furthermore, as we have the same wait persons at every evening meal they are very aware of our particular likes and dislikes and make sure that such things as salt sticks are on the table and that berries with heavy cream (my favorite desert) appear every night. The review written by two gentlemen who were ship-mates and trivia partners with us reflects their experience but not ours. We are ballroom dancers and believe that only Cunard and Crystal, provide truly rewarding opportunities for us to enjoy this past-time. The availability if four gentlemen host for single ladies is a bonus. We would agree that daytime activities while in port are very limited and need improvement and that the on-board shops are very poor. On the other hand, we have no problem with ordering our drinks before evening shows start so that waiters do not disturb others enjoying the very good entertainment provided. As a summary, in our opinion, Crystal is by far the best luxury line for those who want a traditional luxury cruise experience but it is not for all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Went on a "test drive" with Crystal after hearing positive things from acquaintances that sail repeatedly with them. We are long time Silversea and Seabourn loyalists, more so Seabourn nowadays. The itinerary from Jakarta to ... Read More
Went on a "test drive" with Crystal after hearing positive things from acquaintances that sail repeatedly with them. We are long time Silversea and Seabourn loyalists, more so Seabourn nowadays. The itinerary from Jakarta to Singapore was not captivating but the length of cruise was appropriate as it was a first time try out for us. Embarkation was a bit of a horror show. Not once we got to the ship, but leading up to it. The port area around Tanjung Priok was industrial, chaotic and hard for the taxis to find in terms of location of the piers. Taxis could not drive up to the ship and we were dumped in some corner and had to climb onto a rickety van for the final meters to the ship (not visible to us at that time). No Crystal representative were there to reassure us that we were "on the right track". We flew into Jakarta at 11pm at night after 24 hours of travel and took a Silverbird taxi (Mercedes sedan) to Four Seasons for an extraordinary good fare of $35. Again, from the hotel to Tanjung Priok, where the ship was docked cost about the same with another executive taxi service arranged by the hotel (also a Mercedes sedan). Why I mention this was the quote I got from Crystal for airport transfer to hotel or hotel to the port was well over $125 per segment. Absolutely obscene! We could not help but compare everything with our past experience with Seabourn and Silversea (their larger class ships). The embarkation process once on board was seamless, our suite was ready by 12 noon and we were shown to the Lido for lunch. That was an encouraging welcome. The cabin is definitely smaller and the bathroom does not have an independent shower nor a full bathtub. No walk-in closet but adequate storage space. Our large suitcase would not fit under the bed. Supposed to be a "PURE" room but not being allergic to anything we did not notice any special benefits. The carpets along the corridors to the suites looked worn but everywhere else, the ship looked very clean. Public areas very nice and open atrium around the lobby and front desk showed spaciousness and class. Major disappointment was the pool area. In both Silversea and Seabourn, the pool areas are far more attractive with comfortable loungers, poolside bar and often multiple jacuzzis as well as showers for guests to use before and after being in the pool/hot tub. True, you can get drinks brought from the Trident Bar, but it just isn't the same as eating or drinking next to the pool. A major minus in our view. Seabourn Odyssey class ships have multiple areas with hot tubs and deck chairs in the front and back of the ship providing a lot of choice for guest who prefer more privacy etc than the main pool area. On Crystal, an entire side of the pool area was allotted to smokers. If the sun is from the wrong direction and you want to avoid second hand smoke......well you had better hope that the smokers were watching a movie in the Hollywood salon. The really major problem we could not compromise over is the the lack of open seating at dinner time AND the lack of dinners at the Lido where you can sit outside except for a couple of nights where casual menu was provided. We used to have theme nights on the other lines which we enjoyed. They advertise DBR which stands for dining by reservation. It is supposed to counter the criticism of no open seating. From the time we booked and confirmed this cruise, we found that we already had to be wait-listed for the DBR option; not that it made a blind bit of difference. You actually cannot choose when you want to dine. You either can come at 6:15 or the latest 6:30pm or else after 8:30pm - no in between. When we explained that ideally, 7:30 would be the perfect time for us, the assistant M'd in charge of the DBR program said that 7:30pm would never be allowed as each table must turnover twice per evening. There goes custom dining. The alternate dining venues were good, particularly Prego. Worth another $30 pp for a second visit. Silk road was good but not totally Nobuesque. You have the choice of picking items from the Sushi Bar menu also, and when we chose a tempura roll as an appetizer, a roll came that had absolutely no tempura in it. Even allowing for Chef's creative license, I thought it went a bit far. The Nobu signature dishes like miso blackcod was good but my wife makes a better version back home using fresh sable fish and the Nobu recipe obtained from the internet. Would we pay $30pp to visit a second time? maybe not, depends how long the cruise segment is I guess. We did not go on many excursions but the only one I went on was a 10 hour snorkeling trip around Phi Phi and Bamboo islands at Phuket. We literally started at 7:15am and returned at 5:30pm. For the ten hours of travel we had about 70 minutes of swim/snorkel. For $199, is it worth it? you might well ask. If they ever let the guests know ahead of time of the ratio of travel to activity, I wonder how many would have still gone. In conclusion, would I go on another Crystal cruise? well it very much depends. If the itinerary+price+length of cruise wins over my preference for Seabourn, I may well revisit Crystal, otherwise, I'll just stick to a cruise line that I am comfortable with and avoid the daily hassles of deciding when to eat. There were a couple of instances of lack of courtesy shown by the staff to us but I think that can happen on any line. There were also some pluses that I have not put too much weight on : not having staff call you by your name constantly, not having waiters at the Lido always offering to take your plate for you, not having to sit with ship's officer at dinner (not that it is compulsory). Maybe we will try Regent next Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We were first time cruiser on Crystal having sailed many times on Seabourn, Silverseas and Cunard. In our view Crystal is no way competitive. Embarkation was rather slow. Food quality was average, very often food was not served hot. ... Read More
We were first time cruiser on Crystal having sailed many times on Seabourn, Silverseas and Cunard. In our view Crystal is no way competitive. Embarkation was rather slow. Food quality was average, very often food was not served hot. Service in the main restaurant was sometimes poor. Dining by reservation program is not recommended. You eat during cleanup and setup for second dinner time. We think a ship in that category should not have two seating services. The lido cafe was often crowded and sometimes the food at the buffet ran out and was not replaced and we also missed that no dinners were served outside. Shows are good and well presented. Cabin stewardess was excellent and friendly every day. Standard suites are extremely small in comparison to the other cruise lines we have been. There are no walk-in closets nor does the bathrooms have an independent shower or a full bathtub. Everything looked a little worn out, especially the carpets. Front desk and cruise consultant were unfriendly. Debarkation was very quick and we were in the car to our Singapore hotel within minutes. Overall we would definitely not cruise again with Crystal. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
This was our 3rd family cruise on Crystal, tho we were 4 cabins of repeaters there was zero recognition of our spending large amounts of $$$ with Crystal cruises...even the repeaters party was only offered at 7:45pm leaving out the 6:15 ... Read More
This was our 3rd family cruise on Crystal, tho we were 4 cabins of repeaters there was zero recognition of our spending large amounts of $$$ with Crystal cruises...even the repeaters party was only offered at 7:45pm leaving out the 6:15 diners! Other cruise lines have a bottle of champagne to welcome back repeaters. We did receive, when we arrived back home, 4 rather tacky aqua baggage tags that went directly into the garbage! After sailing with Seabourn many times, we find that the little tiny cabins are quite confining compared to the suites. The two seating for dinner (to early and too late) vacation should not include rushing around to get ready for dinner...I know that there is the option for dining by reservation but with a family of 8 that is a pain. The food is very good, however some dishes are way over salted....the service in the MDR and Lido is still very good. We encountered waiters we had on previous cruises. We did encounter problems with the MDR for breakfast...just stopped going the food was not good and the service dis-jointed. Attention to detail was sadly lacking: use to get served pop corn in the movie theater, last movie no pop corn at all! The laundry was closed in Hong Kong & Shanghai , including the irons & ironing boards use!. I understand the gray water issue in port but there was no attempt to make ironing available...and no advance notice to guests prior to the cruise. Time to update the fleet Crystal! We also did the 3 night post to Beijing, the check-in was well organized, a nice buffet dinner the first night, breakfast buffet in the mornings was nice. The China World hotel is huge a bit worn around the edges, but very attentive staff. The post was jam packed with early starts and long days. The second evening was a dinner and show at the Great Hall, the show was great, service was attentive but the food was so bad we all ate when we returned back to the the hotel...need to some how allow time to explore and shop. The last night was in the hotel but the menu was a set menu in the Chinese restaurant. The reason we use Crystal for our family cruises: kids club, which is great, activities on board, Mark Ferris in the Avenue Salon, and the superior entertainment and high quality food.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
There are two deal breakers for Crystal. The first is the fixed dining times. They do offer dining by reservation but we found this a rather annoying fudge. We threw our toys out the pram the first night as we not only were allocated a ... Read More
There are two deal breakers for Crystal. The first is the fixed dining times. They do offer dining by reservation but we found this a rather annoying fudge. We threw our toys out the pram the first night as we not only were allocated a table in the central area which meant that during the transition between main and late dining we were in the centre of a whirlwind of table set ups but to add insult to injury there were loads of empty window seats. We were initially denied but after further moans were allocated a nice (we suspect the ‘naughty’) table for the remainder of the cruise. This was with conditions that meant it really wasn’t dining by reservation and guessing if the ship was full it might not have been attainable. No matter what a 7.30 dining time which would be our preference did not work as the atmosphere due to the changeover was weird. The second is that in order to achieve a similar space and standard of stateroom as I would have in a veranda suite with Silversea or Seabourn I had to pay for a Penthouse – lovely but way more expensive per square foot. The normal room seemed very cramped by comparison (we looked). Because of the fixed dining times the bar areas are empty and too large for the ship – particularly for pre dinner drinks (arguably at times Seabourn’s and Silversea’s are too small!). This (coupled with fixed dining times and tables) means spontaneous social interaction is tricky. We are quite social but don’t like to be forced and are happy in our own company. An ideal cruise for us is 4/5 evenings as two, 3/4 with another couple and 1 or 2 nights at a large table. This would be hard to manage on Crystal but so easy on the other two. Where Crystal won out over all our other cruises was on the food which was pretty much universally excellent. In fact in all honesty the best we have had. The butler service on the Penthouse deck was exceptional and charming – thank you Sebastian for lending great character to our holiday and enhancing everything you could. The Trident Grill indoor / outdoor space is also a great facility and if this could be added to Seabourn ships would make IMHO the perfect cruise liner! The Silk Road restaurant would be exceptional on land. There were a few children on this trip. They were very charming but the fact of the matter is they were there. Some were quite young - toddlers. We have not found this with Seabourn. The Kids' Club is next to the Palm Court so sitting with a post dinner drink one night was like being next to a school yard. Bad location if it is going to be used in the evening. Hard to give the entertainment a star rating as some was excellent and some not so. The show 'Diva' was great, the show 'Maestro' was dire. The cruise itself was a good balance. Dalian was a great start – possibly due to it being a gorgeous day and so unexpected. Shanghai rocked and having three days meant you felt you had actually given some time to this absolutely amazing city. We did Xian and Beijing before joining the cruise so weren’t under any pressure to tick more boxes and I would recommend this. Seeing Japan from a cruise ship is possibly not the best way but we stayed on afterwards so were able to dispel the industrial edges of the islands with some of the more pastoral parts (and the amazing bullet train). Good cruise and would definitely go with Crystal again but only if it offers an itinerary or timing where Seabourn wouldn’t work.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
We were first time cruisers on Crystal Symphony, having cruised many times on its principal competitors - Seabourn, Silverseas, Regent and the Queens Grill categories of Cunard. In our view, in a number of respects, Crystal compares ... Read More
We were first time cruisers on Crystal Symphony, having cruised many times on its principal competitors - Seabourn, Silverseas, Regent and the Queens Grill categories of Cunard. In our view, in a number of respects, Crystal compares unfavorably to all of these. Food quality in the main restaurant and Lido Café was average at best and occasionally fair to poor (particularly seafood and fish, which on several occasions were served nearing the end of their shelf-life). In both venues hot food was often served (or in the case of the Lido Café made available on the buffet stands) at room temperature. Service in both venues was rarely better than average. Courses in the main restaurant were often served too quickly. Often times, one course followed the removal of the previous course within less than a minute. When on two occasions we asked that something that tasted bad be swapped for another choice - things as simple as replacing a wilted salad with a soup - we were told we could do it, but only if the replacement was served with the main course, as the main course "was ready". Table settings were often oddly incomplete - missing wine glasses, cutlery, etc. The dining by reservation program does not work. If you select a middle range dinner time - for instance 745pm or 800pm, you eat during the clean-up of the first seating and set-up of the second - it's very unpleasant to eat amid the transitional chaos of the removal of dirty dishes, cutlery and table linens throughout the entire restaurant and the rushed delivery from the kitchen area of their replacements for the next seating. You get the very real sense that you are there at the wrong time - that while yes, they offer dining by reservation, the restaurant remains geared up only for what is essentially a two seating service. Also, nearly 50% of the nighttime entertainment/shows were scheduled on a one time presentation basis only, always at 745pm (designed to begin at the completion of the first seating and to end just before the start of the second seating). If you selected a middle range time when dining by reservation (which you are required to do before sailing and in advance of show scheduling), you missed the nightly entertainment. Had we known this before we sailed, we would have chosen different times. The Lido Café was overcrowded for lunch - with opening hours too compressed and a very short time period to serve the rush of guests arriving at the conclusion of morning shore excursions. On a number of occasions featured food items ran out and were not replaced. Closing times were fairly strictly enforced, with food removed shortly thereafter. Rarely, if ever, were we offered assistance with maneuvering our plates through the crowded eating area to our table. When simple requests for things as mundane as mustard were made, we were told that they would have to order it from the main dining room and that "it would take a long time". There is an oddly ungenerous quality to the "all-inclusive" program on Crystal. Small things (presumably to save money or create additional revenue) build to create the sense of pettiness. Delivery of the daily news summaries have been eliminated from the rooms - guests are invited to read them in the library - under the guise of protecting the environment - but in the same paragraph of the first day's daily itinerary guests are invited to subscribe to a $6.50 a day to a newspaper delivery service. Drink service in the show lounge is limited - you must arrive and order your drink before the show begins or you are not served (this with the explanation that they didn't want disturb the show - with signs posted at the entry to the venue). Plan on arriving early if you want to be served a drink. The specialty restaurants are $30 per person after the initial visit to each. While advertised as a way to ensure that all guests have the opportunity to eat at both venues, the fee was enforced even during the latter stages of the cruise when each of the two restaurants had many empty tables. That said, Prego and Silk Road were both excellent. We ultimately chose to pay the add-on fees to eat at each of these restaurants more than once, mostly to limit our exposure to the main restaurant. There were only two nights when the Lido Café was open for dinner (with Crystal's daily program emphasizing that both seating and selections were limited). The Trident Grill closes at 6pm. There was never outdoor evening dining there, which would have been nice given the warm weather venues. We tried that Vintage Room one night. The wines, while better than those served in the main restaurant, weren't worth the steep $420 fee for two charged for the Vintage Room dinner. Shipboard activities during port call days (which on our cruise were 10 of the 13 days) were virtually non-existent (much more so than on Crystal's competitors). The much touted Crystal enrichment program was surprisingly limited. The port/current affairs lectures were good, but not unique to Crystal. This was a wine and food specialty cruise - there were two food demos (one scheduled when many passengers were on land excursions in Cambodia). It was truly a demo, no participation and no tastings. A mixologist was on board and we found his lectures excellent and fun. There were several wine tasting presentations (decent, but serving to some extent as a promo for ordering the wines available for purchase on board). A very ordinary galley tour was touted by the cruise director as being a part of the wine and food program. We were in a penthouse suite with verandah, but had an opportunity to look at the basic "suites". They were quite small in comparison to those offered on Seabourn. The penthouse verandah suite was a decent size (but at a very high price). Fixtures and furnishings in the room were ok, but looking a little tired and worn. Be mindful of Crystal's policy regarding shipment of private luggage on departure, which we only learned about onboard and too late to effectively make alternative arrangements. We had booked and paid for a disembarkation luggage shipment (with a well-known and reputable luggage shipping company that we had done business with many times on the competitor lines). In this case, we had a very tight connecting flight necessitating the baggage shipment. We learned only several days before disembarkation that Crystal would not allow any company other than it's "exclusive" shipping service - Luggage Concierge - to retrieve bags left onboard with the front desk or at port with its local agent for same day pick-up. No manner of attempts to get the front desk or onboard concierge (or the home office of Crystal) to accommodate us were successful. Crystal's policy was that we would have to do a luggage handoff ourselves (which was not possible with a 7am departure time) if we wanted to use a competitor shipping service. We were offered a free phone call to our shipping company to make alternative arrangement (which in our case meant to call to cancel the luggage shipment). If you plan to ship your bags home, pay the extra fee charged by Luggage Concierge, unless you are there to hand your bags over yourself to another shipping company. Cabin steward and butler service were excellent. Front desk and concierge service was institutional and cold. Embarkation greetings were perfunctory and unfriendly. The daily program had an odd tendency to repeat silly disclaimers of liability for a whole host of things, everything ranging from failing to complete port entry forms correctly to being untruthful when completing customs forms when returning to one's home country. Reading the daily itinerary should be a source of excitement for the guests - not the delivery mechanism for legalistic disclaimers already addressed in the booking contract. When returning to the ship each day, disengaged card swipers and security screeners rarely said hello or smiled. We had one sail away function on deck a number of days after embarkation. It consisted of the band playing a set of songs. Nothing else. Perhaps the ship is too large to offer the personalized level of service and warmth offered by its price point competitors. Whatever the explanation, there is substantial room for improvement.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We have heard that Crystal Cruises is the best of the best. What we found and my husband and i disagree, is that Crystal certainly i premier with regard to service and food. But, we also found that there was sloppy service in the main ... Read More
We have heard that Crystal Cruises is the best of the best. What we found and my husband and i disagree, is that Crystal certainly i premier with regard to service and food. But, we also found that there was sloppy service in the main dining room. The service level depended on how many staff was in attendance and their level of training. The food certainly ranked among the finest we've had, including, Regent, Silver Seas and Celebrity, but and there are many buts. I found the meals were inconsistant as far as preparation and serving temperature. The Crystal Symphony is a beautiful ship, well laid out, but certain public areas are too crowded with chairs to be comfortable. The Lido Buffets at breakdast and lunch are overcrowded. The food selections at lunch are sparse. Compare these to Regent and Silver Seas, where each lunch offers many, many choicesof both hot and cold entrees. Our reluctance to travel on Crystal has been the reputation for a strict dress code after 6PM. We were most comfortable without donning tuxedos and gowns. Most of the other passengers as well dressed as we did in "country club casual except for formal nights" Read Less
Crystal Symphony Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 4.5 4.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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