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14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my first Crystal Cruise and my second ocean cruise. I was charmed and amazed by the lovely ship (Crystal Symphony) and especially the service. I couldn't sit down anywhere without someone popping up within the minute asking ... Read More
This was my first Crystal Cruise and my second ocean cruise. I was charmed and amazed by the lovely ship (Crystal Symphony) and especially the service. I couldn't sit down anywhere without someone popping up within the minute asking if they could bring me something. The pool deck (Deck 11) was blissfully uncrowded with comfortable seating and plenty of throws to wrap up in on a cold day (and this was a cold, windy cruise to the Pacific Northwest). Nice place to read a book and look out over the water. The service at the Marketplace buffet on the Lido deck was swift and attentive. My husband has a hard time walking, and a waiter or waitress was always on hand to carry his plates to our table. I liked that during lunch, you could carry your food anywhere on that deck (the grill, the Silk restaurant when it wasn't serving, basically any table you saw) and eat there. No one chased us back into the Marketplace eating area but waited on us where we were. Food was good, and the desserts tempted me a long way off my diet. Another thing I loved about dining on this ship--you can have anything you want, you have only to ask. One day at lunch in the Waterside dining room, I craved a sandwich, but didn't want the one on the menu. The waiter was happy to recommend another not listed and brought it to me quickly (and it was good). The public spaces on the ship are bright, airy, and relaxing. I found myself heading for the Bistro (coffee bar) on Deck 6 every afternoon for a pot of tea a scone or cold cuts (or both), to read a bit and relax. I attended one tea in the Palm Court (the Mozart tea), which had a full buffet of pastries and cakes. It was crowded that day, as it is the most popular tea of the voyage. The Library: Not many people review the library I imagine, but it is a book lover's dream. Shelves upon shelves of books of all subjects and fiction genres, plus niches to listen to audio books or just to read. They have a "swap" shelf where you can leave whatever book you brought with you and grab another. Just don't forget to return your library book, because the fines are high (understandably so--hardback books are expensive). Fitness Center: The fitness center, while small, has treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bicycles, and a rowing machine. Plus four or five weight machines that were multifaceted (worked more than one muscle group). I was pleased to see so many free weights from light to heavy, plus kettle weights, medicine balls, and exercise balls. I could replicate my usual workouts exactly. I took a few of the free classes with the fitness director who was very good at keeping the exercises easy for beginners but explained how to make them more advanced for those who were longtime exercisers. She was patient, friendly, and encouraging. The center offered personal training (for a fee), though I was too busy to sign up. Spa: Easily fit me in for appointments. I had my hair cut and got a massage. The massage was last minute on the last day, and they slid me in without a problem. Excellent massage--one of the best I've had. (Note, the spa is an extra fee, and they automatically add 18% gratuity.) Cabin: While small, it was comfortable and nice. The bathroom, while again small, had new fixtures, plenty of hot water, and best of all, lots of large towels. Anytime we needed something extra or when our TV remote stopped working, someone was there within 10 minutes to help us out. Voyage overall: I had been to some of the ports of call before (Seattle, San Francisco), but we found plenty to do. I did not take any of the excursions, because we booked this cruise at the last minute, and any that looked interesting to us were already sold out. I didn't mind, because I prefer to sightsee on my own anyway. Easy to call an Uber or taxi and head to whatever we wanted to do. Recommendations: San Francisco: Legion of Honor Museum, a branch of the SF Art museum. Beautiful place with amazing collection. It lies on the western edge of the city in Lincoln Park near Land's End. Worth the trip. Seattle: MoPop museum. Especially for music lovers and sci fi lovers! Right next to the Space Needle and the Chihuly Glass garden. Astoria: Columbia River Maritime Museum. Small but intense, full of information. I did not do the river walk or the trolley along the river walk, but I would do that on my next visit. Victoria: Tea at the Empress, of course. If you like dollhouses or miniatures, Miniature World museum right around the corner from the Empress. A fascinating collection of miniatures and dioramas. Well done. Butchart Gardens: While crowded that day, a beautiful not-to-miss botanical garden. Roses were in full bloom. A taxi is a must for that. (The free shuttle from the Symphony took us right to the Empress hotel). Overall, I loved this brief vacation on a very relaxing and surprisingly uncrowded ship. The lecturers were great too, as was the new show the Crystal singers and dancers debuted. I like the smaller ship experience--lack of noise, little stress, no lines (I rarely, rarely stood in a line on this ship). I felt like I was truly on a *ship*, not a condo block with a shopping mall that happened to be floating. I highly recommend the Crystal Symphony. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is our third cruise on Crystal and Symphony. Our first was 22 years ago from Istanbul. Our second was February 2017 Singapore to Hong Kong. Both were amazing. We chose an easier quick trip out of New Orleans with our daughter and ... Read More
This is our third cruise on Crystal and Symphony. Our first was 22 years ago from Istanbul. Our second was February 2017 Singapore to Hong Kong. Both were amazing. We chose an easier quick trip out of New Orleans with our daughter and her spouse. We both had suites, we decided on the new Seabreeze suites which were just redone in 2017. They were very nice woth a large shower with excellent water pressure... Anyway the ship was superb, from the staff, the AMAZING speciality restaurants and the fabulous entertainment. I even had time for the casino. Keep in mind everything is inclusive, all liquior, wine, WiFi, grautuities. This time there were children on the ship and the staff seem to handle well. We are in 9051 and as I said it was very nice. We have taken over 45 ocean cruises and three River Cruises and Crystal and Silverseas remains at the top of our list. You cannot go wrong with this cruise line. Good luck and keep cruising. We loved it! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our first luxury cruise and our travel agent highly recommended this line. We have sailed many times and the most recent had been with NCL Haven. While we loved the Haven, we hated the crowds, overwhelming smoke and mediocre food ... Read More
This was our first luxury cruise and our travel agent highly recommended this line. We have sailed many times and the most recent had been with NCL Haven. While we loved the Haven, we hated the crowds, overwhelming smoke and mediocre food and service on the rest of the ship. We couldn’t wait to disembark. That was when our agent recommended we move up to Crystal. We will never go back. From the first minute, we noticed the huge difference from other cruise lines. We were greeted by name immediately and by evey crew member. Honestly, before we sailed, we were greeted by our names by every crew member each time. I don’t know how the do it. By the first day at sea, everyone knew our preferences. From Clarry at the pool to Jonathan at the Marketplace and Viktor at the Bistro. I could ask Clarry to leave a message for my husband and he would keep an eye out for him and relay the message. Anyone who has ever lost their husband on a cruise ship knows how impressive and helpful this is! We enjoy good food and entertainment and Crystal impressed us more than we thought possible on both. The entertainment was spectacular thanks to the regular ensemble, great costumes and programs. On top of that, it was a Jazz themed cruise with the most amazing visiting artists. Perry Smith jazz guitar was exceptional and Crystal should continue the relationship with this amazing artist!! Another huge shout out to Carl Wishnewski, best piano man since Billy Joel. Umi Uma, by Chef Nobu is not to be missed. The miso cod is “last meal” worthy and the mushroom soup is sublime. We ate there twice and could easily have gone again. Don’t be worried if you don’t like sushi. There is plenty of variety for anyone. I love sushi but my husband doesn’t. His Kobe steak was one of the best he has ever had. The main dining room was always available, we never waited. The food was excellent with a few exceptions. Shout out to Roger and our fav, Viktor as waiters!! The pool was where we noticed the amazing crew that took care of is with outstanding service. Clarry, Kiko, Rikkii and Ronnie are fabulous! From cold drinks to cold towels and little treats throughout the day. Most surprising, from other cruises, deck chairs around the pool and elsewhere always available! I never had to fight for a deck chair at anytime of the day, even on sea days!! Crystal passengers on our sailing were around 40 -80. Some younger some older. There was one baby that everyone on the ship saw once. He was our great white whale in baby form. Everyone talked about the one sighting. The passengers were a nice mix of US and internationals. Out of 860 passengers, we encountered 2, only 2, somewhat grouchy people. Everyone was just so friendly and enjoyable. Again, a first in our cruising experience. The most important part of our cruise was our cabin and attendants. It’s literally your home for 2 weeks. While I am convinced there is not a bad cabin on this ship, we always want a balcony and this time we wanted to try the suite. We selected the Seabreeze Penthouse with veranda and we are so glad we did. Our butler, Ay, the best on the ship! I’m serious. When we immediately booked another cruise, a first for us, we requested Ay. We never used our butler on the NCL Haven. He was never around. But Ay was omnipresent in the most unobtrusive way. He helped us switch reservations around as we met new friends and served a full dinner from the main menu to my husband on the first night as I had a raging migraine. He didn’t want my husband to miss out just because he was taking care of me. And for me, he brought the best consume I have ever had and a huge bucket of ice for my ice bag. Mayori and Alexandra were our attendants who cleaned our rooms throughout the day with the loveliest smiles and service. Our final shout out to Sergio the head concierge who was willing and able to do anything to make our first Crystal experience even better. And the Captain who was generous enough to invite us and a small group to his private quarters for cocktails. It was a unexpected surprise. Thank you. We are Crystalized! We aren’t going back to the other lines. I am counting the days until our next sailing in December and trying to figure out how to squeeze another in between. Choose Crystal. You will love it! You will never want to leave. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My first cruise 7 years ago was on Marco Polo a small cruise ship in the Cruise and Maritme fleet. With nothing to compare it to but other holidays in European resorts I thought it compared very favourably. Since then I have cruised ... Read More
My first cruise 7 years ago was on Marco Polo a small cruise ship in the Cruise and Maritme fleet. With nothing to compare it to but other holidays in European resorts I thought it compared very favourably. Since then I have cruised with P&O three times , NCL , and Royal Caribbean, and again with Cruise and Maritime. However the cruise I am on at the moment with Crystal on the liner Symphony beats them all hands down . The reason I have titled my review as ‘Don’t cruise on this ship’, is because it has well and truly spoiled me , and I don’t think I would be able to cruise on another liner without feeling that that they had fallen short compared to Crystal. Unfortunately I might be a while saving up for my next Crystal cruise as it works out at about double the price of the ones I have named above, but goodness is it worth it! From the moment I boarded I was treated like a treasured guest. I think the main reason is that the ship never appeared crowded , the staff had time to be attentive to the guests. In order to make my point a little more clearly I will try to give examples. On previous cruise liners - long queues for the bar during the day on the all inclusive deals,wine waiters in the restaurant only coming to the table once during the meal as they all appeared rushed off their feet. Crystal- no queues anywhere, waiter service round the pool, public areas and in the dining rooms ,constantly replenishing glasses, stopping to chat with guests. On previous cruise liners - sea days when the weather is good , don’t bother trying to get a sun bed or seat of any kind after 10 am as they are either reserved with book, towels or bodies! On sea days when the weather is bad , everywhere noisy and crowded with public areas looking like my mum’s nursing home , or Butlins , depending on which cruise line you are on. Crystal - nowhere is crowded , on the sunniest days barely half the sun beds are occupied with anything, and inside is the same , no loud piped music , no queues for anything. I don’t mean it to sound like a graveyard , it is just quiet and understated and not intrusive. On previous cruises- tips , and drinks are extra. Even on the all inclusive cruises speciality coffee and certain drinks , ice cream ,plus the mini bar in the room and certain room service menus are all extra . Crystal - All included , no staff being extra nice at the end of the holiday in the hope you will leave them an extra tip , on Crystal the staff are attentive , happy and welcoming the whole time.All speciality coffees included, with waiters on hand in public areas to dispense drinks of all sorts, and don’t get me started on the ice cream , with about 20 different flavours ( no cheap imitations) they were brilliant , and of course all included. On previous cruises- Being tendered into port whilst other ships have the cruise terminal position, queuing up for an hour before breakfast to get tender tickets so that we can get off the boat at a reasonable time . Paying extra for shuttle buses out of the port , and again having to queue up for ages in order to get a ticket that insures we get a shuttle at a reasonable time. Crystal - certainly on this cruise whenever there was a dock/cruise terminal , we got it. On the couple of occasions we were tendered in , there were no queues , no waiting , and shuttles when needed were waiting with plenty of room , and ran frequently. Food- on previous cruises tables for two have been few and far between especially on P&O. The food has been OK , but things like steak have often been tough and sometimes inedible. Self service has been good , but often the food would only be warm. On one liner our dinner companions (no table for two available) had paid a substantial amount for the drinks package and eventually having managed to get the attention of the wine waiter they were poured a glass of wine each , they didn’t see the wine waiter for the rest of the meal. On Crystal the food has been excellent , no expense spared and steaks have been so tender and cooked to perfection , as has all their food. We did try the speciality restaurants which were very good , but the main restaurant was so good that we didn’t feel the need to try anything else , also your wine glass is replenished before it ever becomes empty. The cabin we had on Crystal was a comparable size to that of other liners , but the fittings were superior . Our cabin attendant was efficient and friendly and tailored our cabin cleaning/turn down service around our movements which wasn’t the case on some of the other cruises we have been on. Of course it is very much horses for courses and if you like loud music, sing alongs , karaoke , bingo and announcements from your cruise director throughout the day , or water shoots and bumper cars , then this cruise line might be a bit quiet for you. The larger proportion of passengers are American , the rest are English , Asian and European. I think there is quite a bit to do on board with lectures , a cinema , and Dvd’s That are played through your TV . We only had 3 sea days so we were able to find plenty of quiet spots to sit and read ,so to be fair we didn’t really try out their activities, although we did play table tennis - this had its own part of the deck with a large heavy net covering the area where you played , thus preventing the ball escaping under sun loungers etc. Afternoon tea served in one of the lounges was a sight to behold and was of the same standard as the Ritz or Fortnum and Mason! We didn’t tend to watch the entertainment in the evening , as we are not really into shows , but we did catch one of the comedians one evening (John Joseph) who was hilarious. I feel that throughout the whole cruise nothing was too much trouble , the passenger and their comfort was the important aspect, not how much money could be generated from them. I think it is well worth the extra money and have started saving my pennies already! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
South Pacific Cruise on the Crystal Symphony March 3-April 6, 2018 This is a review of two segments of the Crystal Symphony World Cruise, from Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete, Tahiti and Papeete to Valparaiso, Chile. Ports of call ... Read More
South Pacific Cruise on the Crystal Symphony March 3-April 6, 2018 This is a review of two segments of the Crystal Symphony World Cruise, from Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete, Tahiti and Papeete to Valparaiso, Chile. Ports of call included two stops in Fiji, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, Easter Island and Robinson Crusoe Island. Overall Crystal lived up to its reputation among the best of the upper tier of cruise lines. It is essentially all inclusive other than shore excursions, and naturally the price reflects that. Other than some minor areas for improvement, I have little reason not to rate the experience highly. As with any cruise the experience starts long before boarding as you register online and if so desired, reserve excursions and make speciality dining reservations. Unfortunately Crystal was in the middle of transitioning from their legacy web site to a new site and they made the classic rookie mistake of going live with the new site before it was fully checked out and functional. This certainly detracted from the initial impression of Crystal as this was our first cruise with them. Through several attempts over a period of weeks and exchanges of phone calls and emails with Crystal eventually everything was set. Interestingly, Crystal is one of the remaining lines that still sends paper brochures and boarding documents. For a line that prides itself on being “Green” sending duplicates of everything to a couple sharing a cabin is quite wasteful. My one other minor complaint is that none of the theme nights were mentioned in the advance information and thus we had not packed for these. These minor annoyances were all forgotten once embarkation began. Crystal has a unique process where the health forms, clearing security, registering your card and getting your cabin key are split between the terminal and onboard in stages. This spreads out the activity and minimizes congestion. It proved to be efficient and fast (helped by a passenger load less than 700) and we were quickly in our cabin, which was ready as soon as we boarded. Our luggage also arrived promptly. We had a verandah cabin on deck 9. We found it roomy enough and were impressed with the closet space, more hangars than we have seen on almost any of our previous cruises and ample drawer and shelf space so that our clothes and accessories for 35 days onboard could all be stored with room to spare. The refrigerator was larger than the standard minibar size one usually found on ships and the safe was large enough to fit two iPads and the rest of our valuables. The Symphony had only recently emerged from drydock and the cabins now feature large flat screen TVs. Regrettably our cabin still had only one 110v and one 220v outlet, a serious shortcoming in today’s wired world. The bathroom was adequate and the only minor issue was that the lighting could have been a bit better. As always my pet peeve is the light switch is on the outside, making for the usual acrobatics at night to try and turn on the light and quickly close the door without waking your partner. The balcony was large enough for the two of us to enjoy it comfortably with a nice table in between. With so many sea days on this cruise we took full advantage of the balcony. Returning to the TV, the interactive system was superb for accessing information on entertainment, dining, etc. I particularly loved the fact that any enrichment lectures you miss are available on demand or can be viewed live in your stateroom if you don’t make it to the venue. The number of TV stations is dependent on satellite coverage and so varied greatly during our voyage. Internet access is totally free and for most of the trip was surprisingly fast. Once we got into the more remote parts of the South Pacific it did slow down considerably as satellite coverage there is spotty. The pool on the Symphony is large enough to swim short laps. Obviously not Olympic size, but reasonable for a ship of this size. The one downside is that it apparently uses ocean water because it was very salty to the point that I stopped using it as my eyes were getting irritated. There is an oversized hot tub that was very relaxing after a long day of touring and I frequently had it to myself. There are three main shops onboard. All were focused on higher end merchandise (clothing, jewelry, watches) with only a token amount of souvenir cruise wear like polo shirts and tees. There was a small section of sundries. Dining is probably the most subjective and personal topic to comment on. The Symphony has switched to an all open dining format for the main dining room, called Waterside. We never had to wait for a table whether we wanted to dine alone or with a group. We found the food quite good and there were always at least 6 choices of entrees, often more. There are also several speciality restaurants including Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Brazilian steakhouse. Passengers get at least two complimentary meals in the Italian and Japanese restaurants per segment and unlimited dining in the others by reservation. In addition up until 6 pm the Trident grill serves sandwiches and other light food and the Bistro has some snacks and deserts throughout the day and evening. One nice feature is you can order off the Waterside menu for room service during their regular dining hours, plus a more limited room service 24/7. With all these options you should never go without! Our one “complaint” is that we are used to having access at night to a buffet for casual dinner if we did not feel like a sit down meal and this option is no longer available on Symphony. Without question Symphony’s entertainment offerings are world class. The resident singers and dancers are multi talented and professional and their production shows were as good as any we have experienced. The guest performers included opera singers, a famous pianist, an array of well known vocalists and more. There was no decrease in quality in the lounges either, with a magnificent violinist, pianist, a Quartet in one lounge and a dance duo in another. If none of these were to your liking, the ship also has a dedicated movie theater showing first run films. During our cruise we could see the Shape of Water, Darkest Hour, Three Billboards and many more feature films. The enrichment lectures were generally first rate. The mix included marine biologists, military generals, a CNN reporter, a cultural anthropologist, and a Hollywood talent agent/former performer. If you wanted to skip all that and curl up with a good book, the Library had an extensive and varied collection. We generally opt for doing independent shore excursions wherever possible in lieu of the ship’s offering. Due to the extremely limited infrastructure on many of the islands we visited this was not always possible, so we ended up with a mix of independent and ship’s tours. For the most part the ship’s tours did the islands justice with a good mix of culture, nature and history. One tour was a bit subpar but I feel it was more due to the limitations of what the island had to offer than the tour operator. In Tahiti we took a ship’s tour one day and a private tour the second day and I can honestly say the ship’s tour was better than the private one we arranged. As far as our port stops the one area for improvement is the research done by the shore excursion staff. For the main islands the information was adequate and with the Internet there was lots we could study on our own ahead of time. However for some of the smaller islands, particularly two atolls, there were no excursions available either through the ship or privately due to their small population and size. The information on what to do in port from the shore excursion desk was meager to nonexistent. Thankfully the local population had set up information tables at the tender pier to provide the information on nearby beaches and points of interest. It would seem that the shore excursion folks could have contacted the island tourist information center or local government for advanced information. The island of Rangiroa stands out as an opportunity missed. The beach on the Pacific side was quite rocky and had a notable undertow so it was not suitable for anything but wading. The lagoon side had clear waters and looked inviting but the only beach within walking distance was at the island’s one resort. Crystal could have explored making arrangements for day use of their beach for a fee, as many other cruise lines do. Beyond the all inclusive nature of the cruise, the real standout was service. Even if the ship was full the passenger to crew ratio is less than 2:1. On the second leg of our cruise because of the lower passenger count there were actually more crew than passengers! Every single crew member we encountered from the Captain to dining service to housekeeping was happy to go out of their way to help and provide an above and beyond experience. Disembarkation in Chile was quick and as easy as possible given the logistics of the port. The cruise terminal is away from the place where the ship docks so one has to board a shuttle to get to the terminal where one clears customs and security and retrieves one’s luggage. This went smoothly with one glitch. When the people from Pitcairn Island came onboard one of their sales items was pure honey. Because of the island’s remote locations the honey is certified as disease free and we were assured by both the folks from Pitcairn Island and the Symphony folks who oversaw the operation that we would have no trouble getting the honey home if we showed the certificate of purity. Not so. The Chilean Customs folks amassed a large collection of jars of honey. All in all it was a cruise to remember and I would not hesitate to recommend Crystal to anyone. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Our preference is for ships of a decent size able to offer a variety of venues whilst maintaining a high level of service. We dislike smaller ships, ships within a ship, ships with specific areas reserved for specific cabin types or ... Read More
Our preference is for ships of a decent size able to offer a variety of venues whilst maintaining a high level of service. We dislike smaller ships, ships within a ship, ships with specific areas reserved for specific cabin types or titanium plus members etc, continually signing for goods and services, mandatory tipping, crowded spaces etc. We like what we have found on crystal and are beginning to think we’ve found our Goldilocks cruise line. This was our third crystal cruise (2nd on Symphony) and her first sailing after dry dock. We’ve attempted to summarise our highlights and closed by listing our favourite 5 and least favourite 5, I confess we were scraping the barrel to come up with 5 things we liked less!! An email arrived the evening before sailing to inform us that there would be a 24 hour delay leaving port, but that no ports of call would be missed and we were each to receive $150 on board credit for any inconvenience. We felt this was very fair and crystal also laid on a half day complimentary excursion for the additional day in Lisbon although we chose to do our own thing (a highly recommended visit to Sintra.) We are always late boarding so embarkation is a breeze, we then stop by the cabin and head up to the trident grill for a snack and glass of champagne. Because of the delayed departure the emergency drill was postponed to the following day which was nice as we felt more able to relax and have a look round the refreshed areas of the ship. We knew about the dry dock and expected a few glitches; we heard (from a lady in the lift ;-) that some of the deck 9 cabins were not ready and that a number of guests had been accommodated on land for the first night. We subsequently heard that those guests were well taken care of for the inconvenience. Our cabin on deck 8 was as expected although it had not been properly cleaned (several items in drawers and bits of debris on the floor) our room attendant was lovely and we felt bad for bringing these things to her attention, it appeared that someone else had made up some of her rooms. During our conversations we got the impression that the room maids have more work than before (she wasn’t complaining - we were probing) She did however provide us with excellent service throughout the cruise and the shaky start was soon forgotten. The only change in the regular cabin is the new TV and desk chair which now fits under the desk more readily than the previous chair. I had hoped to be able to order room service and check billing / menus etc. through the interactive TV but that functionality was not available on our cruise; hopefully this will change in future. We did on occasion hear the TV in the neighbouring room and whilst not an issue for us it could be if larks and owls end up as neighbours. Internet was spotty, I didn’t have too much trouble but was aware that others did and there was a mention in reflections regarding internet connectivity one day. Again I’m sure these things are all tied up in the refit and will be ironed out. In over 40 cruises across a variety of cruise lines we felt that the entertainment in terms of variety and quality was the best we have ever experienced on a cruise ship and we’re really glad we made the effort to get to most of the shows. The only thing to take the edge from this was the lack of drink service before the shows, particularly as there is no convenient bar serving the theatre. The quality and consistency of food was excellent throughout the ship, bearing in mind that the staff in the main dining room did not only have to adapt to open seating but also a new ordering system on small hand held devices. One evening, two of everything we had ordered was delivered which caused some amusement. There was a short line for dinner on the first black tie night but the wait was not significant. The team was under some pressure though they coped admirably. This was the only occasion when it was noticeable that tables are quite close, on other nights we rarely had a neighbour when seated where the tables are closely grouped together. We were also asked if we would like to join an open table, we chose not to so can’t say how this worked. Wine is now generally served by your waiter although sommeliers are on hand and delivered other drinks (ordered via the servers hand held device) The trident grill functions like clockwork, we’re always impressed by the way the main man keeps those lines short and the rest of his team in check. Sadly there were no fries or onion rings for the first few days which was good for my waistline but piled pressure on the staff as every second guest questioned “when will you have fries” something which they very obviously didn’t have the answer to. The Churrascaria was a delight with the additional opportunity to eat outdoors, it’s nice to have an informal option for those evenings when you just want something simple washed down with a nice cold beer. You have a little card labelled yes please one side and no thanks on the other for when you want the meat to continue coming or to stop. It’s not the easiest thing for the meat waiter to see and perhaps a coloured light or flag would make their life easier. Silk was another absolute pleasure and has its own evening ambience to differentiate itself. We felt the food to be authentic and thoroughly enjoyable. I have a shellfish intolerance and am a little nervous in restaurants where a fair amount of shrimp is used. The staff were wonderfully accommodating and we ended up eating there several times. Umi Uma and Prego are pretty much unchanged in appearance and food offer. What we liked best 1. The phenomenal staff, many of whom are new to crystal though you would never know it. I hate to pick out favourites when they are all so good but on this trip Sophia (waterside and bistro) and Fabio (waterside) we felt were truly brilliant. 2. The transformation of deck 11, the way in which new venues have been laid out gives each a separate and clear identity and a really nice fresh feel. 3. Entertainment was truly fantastic each and every evening and we also loved the greater use of starlight for shows than we had experienced previously 4. Food throughout the ship was outstanding 5. Our fellow passengers – we have never failed to meet wonderful passengers on Crystal and this journey was exactly the same. What we liked least 1. Lack of drink service pre-show in the theatre (especially as the nearest bar is some walk away) 2. Avenue saloon vibe was not the same this trip; we just didn’t warm to the pianist (nothing wrong with him) guess we have been spoiled previously. The plus side to this being a far less woolly head the following day. 3. Movie selection in the theatre was odd, I think we had wonder woman one day followed by Spiderman the next plus a few other oddities in the mix (again just my opinion) 4. Birthday breakfast was a bit of a damp squib, this was the first time we had been to breakfast in the restaurant and we didn’t find it decadent or particularly special, just a bit strange. 5. Although I’ve said the food was top notch throughout we still comment on the use of reformed frozen onion rings with the beautiful steak at dinner. It should be obvious from the list of things we liked least that we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise, in fact we both agreed this was our best cruise ever with the exception of our very first on P&O Canberra in 1992. (I think your first cruise will always be special) We’re struggling to find a crystal cruise to fit our travel plans for next year even though everyone on our sailing received a letter offering ($1000 per room - $500 pp On board credit) for a booking in 2018/19. The only answer is for us to change our travel plans!! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our 3rd Crystal cruise and whilst all have been excellent, this was probably the best. We booked fairly late due to life getting in the way of a previously booked cruise in July so did not have the best choice of cabin, and ended ... Read More
This was our 3rd Crystal cruise and whilst all have been excellent, this was probably the best. We booked fairly late due to life getting in the way of a previously booked cruise in July so did not have the best choice of cabin, and ended up right at the front of the ship. It was absolutely fine most of the time, but we did have one rather rocky night in the Bay of Biscay! Embarkation was remarkable. We were very lucky to be within driving distance of Dover, where our cruise started. From leaving the car, we were in the Crystal Dining Room within 15 minutes – having stopped off to check out our room on the way! We have stayed in this room category on Symphony previously (PS), so it was just as expected and very comfortable. As I have said in previous reviews, I do think a little updating is required and hopefully this will happen in the upcoming dry dock. In particular, the TVs are very small and somewhat dated and some of the furnishings are looking a little tired. However, it is a well-planned and thought out space with plenty of storage, and a good-sized and equipped bathroom. The bed was very comfortable with quality linens and pillows. We forgot to bring a phone charger, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that there was an integral charger in the clock. We sampled many of the facilities on the ship – the gym, spa, cinema (rather weird choices of films sometimes!), Vintage Room, lectures, casino, shops etc. We also enjoyed several specialty restaurant reservations. Service throughout the cruise was outstanding. Where we did have an issue, it was resolved quickly, efficiently and with good grace. The crew, across the board, were unfailingly friendly and helpful – I know they are trained to be so and ‘have’ to be, but it makes for a great ambience nevertheless. We found the food to be excellent, as previously. We did eat several times in the specialties and never tired of either. The CDR was also good, but I felt service was a little below par at times and that they were over-stretched with so many people to take care of especially on the BTO evenings. This resulted in either long waits before ordering and between courses, or conversely one plate being whipped away and the next course being served almost simultaneously. We found the included wines to be very drinkable and of course there was always the option to purchase wines when we felt like splurging. I wish they had a better included champagne though! We are reluctant to buy a bottle of champagne because we would never get anywhere near finishing it, but I cannot drink the included stuff. We had signed up for the Ultimate Vintage Room, but perhaps there wasn’t enough interest because it was not offered. Instead we did the regular Vintage Room dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Great food, wine and company.. a really good evening. We thought all the ports were well worth visiting, but perhaps didn’t make the best choices with a couple of our excursions which were a bit long/boring/expensive. We didn’t get to all the shows but enjoyed those that we saw, with the exception of the new light show which wasn’t to our taste, but I’m sure many would disagree. We also found the lectures interesting, informative and entertaining. All in all, we had a wonderful time and look forward to our next Crystal cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Friends raved about Crystal and we loved the itinerary from Reykjavik to England. This cruise had no sea days and was packed with interesting ports. It was a perfect way to celebrate a 30 year wedding anniversary. We arrived late ... Read More
Friends raved about Crystal and we loved the itinerary from Reykjavik to England. This cruise had no sea days and was packed with interesting ports. It was a perfect way to celebrate a 30 year wedding anniversary. We arrived late afternoon to meet Symphony in Reykjavik harbor. Our exploration of Iceland in a rental car convinced us that driving requires more time than expected, so we opted to miss the first evening's dinner and drove off to the Fontana spa for a wonderful adventure. Every other evening was spent on the ship and we loved it. Food and entertainment exceeded our very high expectations each night. Symphony is a wonderful ship. It is well arranged and spacious enough that a full load of passengers won't ever feel very crowded. Service is great and the ship is kept "crystal" clean. We were impressed with how well the ship performed in very rough seas. A quick comment about the food is in order. The dining room and two specialty restaurants are wold class. They rival the best restaurants in major cities. The food options elsewhere on the ship were somewhat mixed. There were many choices at the Lido buffet, but the offerings were too often lukewarm or cold. We also had a couple of mediocre breakfasts in the dining room. A second cup of coffee was sometimes easy but sometimes difficult. By contracts, the Bistro Cafe was always terrific. There were usually wonderful espresso drinks, service, and snack selections at that location. Also, Symphony will be greatly improved by tech and decor updates this October. I would definitely cruise on her again after the next dry dock refurbishment. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose this cruise on Crystal Symphony because it would take us from San Diego to Auckland in time to visit family in New Zealand for the holidays. The first leg was a film and theater theme and took us to Papeete. This segment was at ... Read More
We chose this cruise on Crystal Symphony because it would take us from San Diego to Auckland in time to visit family in New Zealand for the holidays. The first leg was a film and theater theme and took us to Papeete. This segment was at capacity. The second leg was food and wine and was only half full. On the first leg, the dining room was always full and a bit noisy but the service did not lag. There are enough public spaces that, even at capacity the ship does not feel crowded. For the Christmas season, the ship was very nicely decorated with Santa’s, trees, elves and nutcrackers in abundance. We took most of our dinners in the main dining room and found the food in quality and choice to be excellent, as was the service. We also dined once on each segment in Silk Road and Prego. These meals were superb as was the service. We had several lunches at the Trident Grill. A toasted ham and cheese sandwich for one lunch was less than satisfactory. It gave the impression of being production line product that was pulled out, unwrapped and toasted. Other than that, the Grill food was satisfactory.. Breakfasts in the Lido Grill were fine with a large selection from the buffet and we discovered the person who had access to the berries (in a drawer behind the serving line). The Grand Buffet lunch in each segment was a great showing of the prowess of the chef and culinary staff. There was one issue we experienced with wine. When we boarded and went to our first lunch, my wife asked for a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (her favorite) and the wine steward said there was none on board and had not been on board for three years. She settled for a French SB. However, the second night at dinner we learned that there was an Ara Marlborough SB carried for the dining room and had been for sometime. We could not understand why the first wine steward was ill-informed. When we called room service to have a bottle sent to our stateroom, we were informed that Ara was only available in the DR and could not be sent via room service. We found this strange for an all inclusive cruise line, especially as the Ara was not a premium wine. Service at all levels was excellent - dining room staff, bar staff, and stateroom attendant. Before dinner, we found a glass of wine in the Avenue Saloon to be quite nice and this venue was never crowded. Palm court was also a great venue and we were impressed by the Mozart Tea served there. The on-board entertainment was excellent. Dr Sobey’s lectures on the ocean and Dr Sowell on the history and culture of the various islands we were to visit were very informative and enjoyable. The iMovie course by Kerry Merrick and Dina Sterr was fantastic and I now use the skills I learned to capture pleasant memories of this cruise. My wife also learned knitting from the on-board knitting instructors. The Magic Castle at Sea shows (one per each segment) were amazing especially because the venue was the intimate Avenue Saloon and even being so close to the action did not permit us to crack the slight of hand. Cooking demonstrations were not so successful as there is not a convenient venue for these and the Galaxy Lounge stage elevated the chef above the audience. The port guides for each stop were very useful with maps and information. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our fourth cruise within three years having previously sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, and Princess. We are a couple in our mid-thirties. We chose this cruise because it fitted in with times we could both take holiday, ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise within three years having previously sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, and Princess. We are a couple in our mid-thirties. We chose this cruise because it fitted in with times we could both take holiday, left from a UK port, and was going to places we hadn't been before (in France) - a final important check\consideration was that Crystal was reasonably well rated well by recent passengers. The ship was in superb condition, arguably better than younger ships; everything was polished, clean, and in 'close to new' condition. A fairly small ship by today's standard we found it to our advantageous as it cut down unnecessary time walking between different venues. A similar size to Ryndham (Holland America) however a key difference we observed was that it never felt crowded on Symphony, in fact it was the least crowded ship we've sailed on yet. There are potentially two reasons for this; either it was undersubscribed (possibly because people concerned about terrorism), or the age of the passengers meant they slept a lot or otherwise entertained themselves - possibly a bit of both. We stayed in cabin 7087, which is the E1 category with a limited view, for which I've written a separate review in the cabin section (and hopefully it will let me upload a photo so you can judge the level of obstruction for yourself). Dining; breakfast was very good and we always ate it in the Lido cafe (I think you could also go to main dining room). I like healthy breakfasts and wasn't disappointed as there were a lot of tasty options including birchers, smoothies, yoghurts, fruit, as well as the usual eggs, sausages, beans, bacon (for less health conscious people). I was very happy with the variety of juice on offer, and had fresh carrot juice almost every day - while other cruise lines have also offered variety of juice, other than fresh orange, it's always been from the carton, so this was a step up for me. Lunch was also very good with a reasonable variety of food, and different things served each day so we didn't get fed up with the same thing, and again we opted to eat lunch in the Lido cafe. Dinner was reasonable to excellent - the three courses in the main dining room were to a good standard, we also ate in both of the specialty restaurants (at no extra charge) and found them both (Japanese & Italian) excellent even though I don't eat sushi (luckily there were other options at the Japanese restaurant). The Italian restaurant Prego was my favourite though, and it's the first time I've ever been served soup within a bowl made of bread (maybe I've led to sheltered a life!). Besides these dining options there are also other smaller venues where you can grab a sandwich, burger, or cakes depending on your fancy - these places were never crowded. As Crystal is all inclusive, all drinks are free unless you order something really special (I'm not sure what as I ordered anything I liked and was never charged). There are a number of bars you can get drinks from (also available when dining or lounging by pool) and staff are very available to take your order and will even walk to a different bar for you if the one your at doesn't make that kind of drink. As well as my juices I had a number of cocktails, mocktails, beers, wines, and penacolada's (apology for the spelling?!), and I saw a lot of other passengers enjoying copious amounts of what looked like champagne. Entertainment was low key, the main show entertainers were really good performers though they are only on for 45 minutes a night and generally do a bit of singing and dancing which while excellent, I would have liked to see a proper full musical play (even a mini one) instead of just excerpts of musical plays. That said though, it was good enough to go back to each night as they did mix\change it up so it didn't get repetitive. There was also a magician on board however you needed to book to see him which we didn't so I can't whinge about that as my own fault. The rest of the entertainment consisted of people playing piano, some big band playing, some jazz, and a bit of pop music from different era's - nice and pleasant to listen to while having a drink but all fairly laid back. Activities consisted of some lectures (mostly UK monarchy and WWII), knitting / needlework classes, how to use your ipad, and some other things I can't recall. All said and done, there wasn't much going on and to be honest given the age demographic I don't think there was a lot of demand for much to be going on. For myself this was a bit disappointing but I can't complain too much as I knew the activities would likely be tailored towards the older generation. For information, about 95% of guests are probably in bed by 10 pm - the upside is you'll always find a seat and ready waiters in any bar around the ship!! In fact I think a lot of the staff seemed underused so it really was very quick service in all respects no matter what the time of day. Our ports of call were; Tilbury (we live in London so no point discussing this), Honfleur, St Peter's Port, St Malo, and Bordeaux. Honfleur was quaint and lovely, St Malo was amazing and I wish we could have stayed overnight (as well as going around the city we also went swimming in the sea). St Peter's Port was a bit boring but perhaps that's because I'm British and it wasn't so novel to me as I may be to an American. We got the plane back to UK from Bordeaux so can't comment on it - though I have stayed there a week once in a chateau which was refreshing. The age demographic is slightly older than other cruises we've been on, I'd say 97% of passengers were over 60, I'd guess the average may be around 70. That said they certainly weren't geriatric and there were almost no zimerframes in sight, they were mostly pleasant to talk to - even the ones voting for Donald Trump. Although we are in our 30's we were looking for a laid back \ lazy holiday as our last one was a tour of Iceland in a rented motorhome followed by a week in New York, so we were not objectionable to the pace of life on board as we felt like being less active than our previous holiday. The library was well stocked with DVDs including some very recent releases. There was also a cinema on board though we didn't take the opportunity to use it. Worth a mention is that this is the first cruise where they didn't try and sell us art, jewellery, or pointless crap they we don't want and don't need, in fact the shops were barely open at all - quite refreshing! All in all, a good cruise, and recommended to those who want a laid back holiday and be able to order whatever food and drink they like without thinking about the cost or tipping. I would go again if in a similar mood and I liked the ports of call. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
My husband and I were traveling as a couple to celebrate our 20th anniversary. I booked with Crystal cruises because in my travel magazines, it has been rated a top cruise line. We were expecting a luxurious staterooms and a ship that ... Read More
My husband and I were traveling as a couple to celebrate our 20th anniversary. I booked with Crystal cruises because in my travel magazines, it has been rated a top cruise line. We were expecting a luxurious staterooms and a ship that looked like it had undergone a major restoration, like I had read. We expected the ship to be modernized and opulant. I can't relate how disappointed we are that we picked this cruise line. My husband and I are in our mid 40's. We have cruised Disney, Royal Caribbean's newest ships, and a couple celebrity cruises. Crystal Symphony was the biggest let down ever... Our itinerary was from Copenhagen to Stockholm. We spent a couple of days in Copenhagen, at the beautiful Hotel D'Angleterre --- great review from me on trip advisor. Copenhagen is a wonderful city. We had expectations that going from a 5 star hotel in Copenhagen to a modernized and restored Crystal ship would be an effortless transition. Unfortunately, not. The common areas of the ship were nice, but I was expecting so much more from Crystal cruises. The embarkation was very smooth, and it was probably the most organized and expedited embarkation ever! The ship's common areas didn't wow me at all. The common areas were nice, but still looked worn to me. I like the size of the ship, it felt cozy, and you weren't bumping into people. We booked a deluxe room with verandah. The room was a bit smaller than on other ship's we had been on in that category, but I was told to expect that. The room size did not bother me. The bathroom was a good size with double sinks, and tub/shower. Crystal should be ashamed of themselves for charging $12,000 for two people, for a dated and awfully decorated stateroom. The wood and cabinetry are original from 20 years ago. The hardware is worn. The bathroom decor was awful. They couldn't get our beds to fit together properly. After the third attempt, we decided to stop asking. The mattresses were ok, and you get a nice pillow menu. Crystal made out like bandits, taking our $12K. We paid for a dated and awful looking stateroom, with the exception of a leather couch and a fancy mirror. Still angry and stammering obscenities under my breath on that one! The dining experience was very nice. We had the dining by reservation. They had to switch us around a couple of times, so our waiters were switched up. We had a bit better service with our original wait staff, but still a good experience. The buffet in the morning is very good, but after about the 7th day, it all looked the same. The food was very good. We ate everywhere on the ship. It is a bit more elevated than a Disney or Royal Caribbean. Dining, buffet, grill... All excellent service and we couldn't be happier. Wait staff was very accommodating! Unfortunately, the service fell short with our stateroom attendant. We found her to be very lazy: our drinking glasses were not changed out daily, the linens were stained, bathroom cabinets were not wiped down from the previous occupant, nor were they during our stay. By about the 6th day, we had to make a list for our attendant to tend to. I went to the spa almost every day. The facilities are very nice, and a good spa menu. I tried acupuncture for the first time. Dr. Kara is excellent -- I bought a package of 5. (The spa usually carries Elemis products, and they have added another generic brand that I didn't like, and returned. Stick with the Elemis.) When we booked this cruise, I was aware of the itinerary, and did check out some of the places on line. They are really reaching with a couple of the ports: Karlskrona, Klaipeda, and Mariehamn. These places were not interesting at all, and had nothing to offer cruisers. We felt it was a wasted day for us, and were very disappointed that the ship docked in these places. St. Petersburg --- we were in port for 3 days. My agent at the time told me that a visa was not necessary. Well, it is. Get one. It gives you more freedom to get off the ship and explore on your own, or explore with a Crystal excursion. Our St. Petersburg tour was excellent! The guide was excellent and very knowledgable. The lunch was extremely disappointing: The excursion included lunch. Apparently it was catered out by another company. A dining hall was rented out and lunch was served in the area. This was not a restaurant and you could not order off a menu. Instead, you were served powdered potatoes, and some sort of mystery meat in a gravy sauce. It was like dog food, and I never touched my plate. I asked for another option, and was given rice with some vegetables that I was allergic to. We did make guest relations aware of this experience, but were met with a smiling face and an empty apology. Stockholm was an overnight. That was one of our best days. It was nice to be able to move on and off the ship freely. Stockholm is an interesting city and easy to get around. We couldn't wait to get off the ship at this point. We are used to staying at 5-star properties, and our bar is high. We had a trip booked with Crystal for 2017, that we booked before we left for this cruise, which we are cancelling. My husband and I are young, active and independent. We have realized it is best that we explore larger European cities on our own, and do not do well being contained on a ship with a regimented itinerary. Cruising is subjective. A lot of people swear by Crystal cruise line and love it. We unfortunately had a negative experience, and it didn't work for us. We feel like the price for traveling on a ship with dated stateroom cabins needs to be urgently reevaluated. Definitely a poor value for what you are getting, even though there were some positive highlights to the cruise line. Cheers... Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My first cruise. What a great service. What a great food. This cruise line is the total relaxation experience. After three days you can sail on for months. The constant high quality of service, friendliness of all the staff plus the ... Read More
My first cruise. What a great service. What a great food. This cruise line is the total relaxation experience. After three days you can sail on for months. The constant high quality of service, friendliness of all the staff plus the excellent restaurants on board where a great pleasure. The all inclusive works fine for me, no checks to be signed no bills to think about. The other travelers where mostly from the U.S., friendly and easy to get along with. We had a midship cabin on deck 8 with balcony, sitting there watching the ocean was another pleasure I experienced for the first time. Ok, the cabin was small but in good condition, the stewardess did a first class job keeping it clean and tidy. Crystal Symphony is sailing the oceans since 20 years, for that age the ship is kept in good condition. She sails quiet and smooth, very little rolling and pitching. The entertainment program was a bit outdated for my taste, to much 90's sexiness and not the best dancers. We spoke to many other passengers and met quit a few that sailed on other cruise lines. Their verdict was clear: Crystal ist the best cruise line. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This pair of back-to-back cruises were our 2nd and 3rd cruises. Ever since we cruised on Crystal Serenity in 2014, we have been hooked on Crystal. Symphony is a little smaller so it is a little more intimate too. Public spaces are ... Read More
This pair of back-to-back cruises were our 2nd and 3rd cruises. Ever since we cruised on Crystal Serenity in 2014, we have been hooked on Crystal. Symphony is a little smaller so it is a little more intimate too. Public spaces are great, but staterooms are a bit small vs the Serenity. We might eventually try another cruise line, but it will be hard to beat the only cruise line named a top pick for 20 consecutive yrs by the readers of Conde Nash and members of Cruise Critic. The reasons are impossible to list as they are so many and they can be so personal in choice. With a doubt, the food is beyond compare for a ship feeding just under 1000 passengers. The Main Dining Room is our favorite place for lunch if we are back early enough from our excursions and we love both the food and the people we have met at dinners there. Breakfast on early excursion days means we eat at the Lido Restaurant, which serves an amazing buffet of virtually everything. Of course they also serve a terrific and very varied lunch buffet. And there's also the Trident Grill for those days when you want to hang around the pool/spa and enjoy a fantastic burger, tasty hotdog, excellent fries, etc. Their menu includes salads too. And right after lunch, you have the opportunity for sweet desserts like ice cream ( Ben & Jerry's) or soft serve. Did I mention there's a bar too? When you disembark, it takes but a few hours before you realize just how much you miss the 24/7 pampering. Decompression after Crystal takes us about a week! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
I read the negative reviews before we left the usa and started to get nervous. Having done the full cruise now -- they are ridiculous. This was an incredible experience from top to bottom. We are a young couple (34 and 30) and this was our ... Read More
I read the negative reviews before we left the usa and started to get nervous. Having done the full cruise now -- they are ridiculous. This was an incredible experience from top to bottom. We are a young couple (34 and 30) and this was our first cruise. I mostly want to address the negative stuff that has been written or that I noticed. First of all, the rooms are fairly small - it's a boat folks. Whatever you have you have to float on the ocean and sail. Our room was def cozy but 2 people lived there and felt luxurious from day 1 on. The shower blasts high pressure water, there are his and her sinks. Oh and btw you can order whatever you want whenever you want. We would get a wake up call at 7:30a and then at 7:40a there would be the steward with out piping hot coffee and english muffins. The rooms is just not going to be the same size as a suite at the Holiday Inn in Mobile, AL. Anyone who complains about the food on this ship needs their head examined, it is all-you-can-eat fine dining, full stop. I was incredibly skpetical of the all you can eat concept; I've been to plenty of crappy all inclusives in my day. This is 1 Michelin star quality every night and that's just the dining room. The service is incredible from top to bottom, my wife couldn't carry a plate to her table at lunch without having 3 guys swoop in and take it from her. The clientelle is older but so what? If your goal is to party hard don't got on a cruise. Go to Mykonos, Ibiza, etc. We had tons of fun meeting new people. Guess what folks? Senior citizens are more interesting than 18 year olds. If you're like me and you were worried that you had overpayed for this stop worrying and get ready for the trip of a lifetyime. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our first Crystal cruise. We have cruised several other cruise lines including Celebrity, HAL, RCI and Carnival. We chose Crystal for this cruise because we normally cruise with our children and we wanted to do something special ... Read More
This was our first Crystal cruise. We have cruised several other cruise lines including Celebrity, HAL, RCI and Carnival. We chose Crystal for this cruise because we normally cruise with our children and we wanted to do something special for our romantic 20th anniverisary just for the two of us. We had an amazing three day precruise stay in Rome. On embarkation day, we had beautiful weather. The embarkation process was extremely smooth and easy. My evaluation in a nutshell: Cabin: We had a GTY cabin and received a category upgrade. We had a Deluxe Verandah Stateroom on Deck 10. The loaction was excellent. It was near the elevator and stairs. Easy access to everything. The decor was lovely. Very elegant and subtle. We had a nice verandah with comfortable furniture. Lots of storage space and a great bathroom with 2 sinks. I didn't give the cabin five stars only due to space issues. For the price point, more space would be nice. Dining: Dining on Crystal is extremely refined . The quality of the ingredients and the care in the presentation is apparent in each morsel served. In the main dining room, there are 2 sides of the menu with traditional and modern cuisine. All very good. We enjoyed our meals at the specialty restaurants: Prego, Silk Road and Tastes. Our favorite was Tastes, a casual dining option with creative and flavorful dishes. Our only criticism of the dining on Crystal was the relative lack of options if you wanted a casual dining option or wanted to eat a later lunch after coming back from shore excursions. I loved the ice cream and the coffee at the Bistro. Service: Service shines on Crystal. Absolutely impeccable in every aspect. Kudos to Crystal. Activities: The enrichment speakers were truly outstanding. I actually learned a lot on my vacation! The Magic Castle and evening entertainment were all very well done.I did feel that this was an area that the bigger ships do have a bit of an edge ( barring the enrichment was is superior on Crystal). Public Spaces: The ship was perfect,y maintained. The decor was thenepitomy of quiet elegance. Lots of quiet areas tonrelax and read or enjoy a drink. Never had a feeling of crowding. Just an oasis of relaxation. Spa Services: I had an excellent massage with no hard sell at the end...a welcome change from other cruise lines. The Ports: We had incredible luck. Perfect weather throughout the cruise and wonderful ports. All were enjoyable. Malta, Sorrento, Santorini, Ephesus, Taormina, Rhodes, and Istanbul. We loved having overnights in Malta, Sorrento and Istanbul as it gave us more time to explore. Excellent itinerary. Disembarkation: We disembarked in Istanbul. It was quite chaotic. Not sure how much control Crystal had over the process there. We enjoyed 4 extra days in Istanbul . A pity it has been cancelled as a cruise destination by most major lines. We loved Crystal and have booked a cruise i. juky for our entire family. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Everything was wonderful- from the itinerary, to the speakers to the food. We missed a port due to icebergs, but with so many things to do on the ship it did not matter. Glacier Bay with 4 park rangers and a buffet sandwich lunch was ... Read More
Everything was wonderful- from the itinerary, to the speakers to the food. We missed a port due to icebergs, but with so many things to do on the ship it did not matter. Glacier Bay with 4 park rangers and a buffet sandwich lunch was perfect. wWe left deposits for 2 more Crystal cruises in the future! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2012
I cannot believe that this cruise line claims "6-star-service." While the food was very good and the service throughout the ship (except for the housekeeping in the cabin) was better than average, I certainly would never again ... Read More
I cannot believe that this cruise line claims "6-star-service." While the food was very good and the service throughout the ship (except for the housekeeping in the cabin) was better than average, I certainly would never again pay what they charge for the experience. The staff in the Trident Grill was excellent. They remembered our names and always made sure to find us a nice table. While we only ate in the main dining room one night, the service there was fine. We very much enjoyed the food and service in Prego and Nobu. Paolo did a great job of trying to get us a table each night in those restaurants. The staff in the casino was great. We took one of the classes they offered and really appreciated their tips. The pianist in the lounge was wonderful as was the pianist they brought in for a special performance. Most of the staff was polite and accommodating. When you sat down in a lounge, usually they quickly came over to serve you. However, the one day when we did decide to try the afternoon tea, the servers seemed uninterested in serving you. We watched one woman get up numerous times to find someone to serve her. We also saw one of the servers told angrily by a superior to start waiting on the guests. There was chaos during embarkation in Montreal regarding where to park. Everyone had a different answer. We wondered if the car was going to be there when we got back. The housekeeping experience we had was quite unbelievable. To not allow it to ruin our entire trip, we made jokes about it. The morning after our first night on the ship, I dropped my book onto the floor beside the bed. I bent down to get it and noticed a dried substance on the bed skirt. It appeared to be vomit. I found the stewardess and explained what I had found. She did not appear to understand me. I asked if she could please replace the bed skirt. I had been under the impression that a 6-star-line would launder ALL linens between guests. We also found what was obviously vomit or another organic material smudged on the door to the bathroom. The first night we were on board, we found slips that allow you to order room service for breakfast so long as you place them on your door by a certain time. My husband loves doing that, so we placed our order and hung the slip on our door. Our stewardess delivered it the next morning, but you could tell she was not happy about it. A day later, we tried to order breakfast to the room again, only to find that the stewardess had removed the slips from our room! We also found out that slips for ordering wine and drinks to your room were supposed to be in the room, but none were in our room. Our tub was never cleaned. I placed dirty towels in the tub (as instructed), only to find them there after the room had been cleaned. Our tub was dirty and when we attempted to clean it ourselves, the dirt came right up, meaning it was not stained; it was dirty. Our room was dusty. My husband put some clothes on the shelves in the closet, only to have them come out with dust on them. The slats on the outside of the closet were so dusty and dirty that I didn't like touching the closet doors. Our fruit was never replaced, so we had rotting fruit in a basket on the desk in our room. On the morning we pulled into Quebec City, it was raining. We noticed everyone had large, umbrellas with the Crystal logo on them. Nice touch! We asked where we could get one and they said that they should have been placed in your stateroom. Not in ours. Our room was not vacuumed. My husband lost a contact our first night on the ship, and we found it on the floor as we were packing to leave. We are very envious of the little contact. He's going to get to see the world! We're sure no vacuum will come into the room to scoop him up. My husband says he only wishes he would've had time to teach the little guy to write so he could send us stories of his travels. We were jealous of the guests who received the daily activity sheets in the morning outside their room. We rarely got ours before late afternoon. I'm certain we got a few odd looks from people wondering why we were lingering in the hallways outside of their rooms trying to peer at the list of activities on their sheets. Our water bottles in the room weren't replaced. We assumed they were trying to tell us to just fill them with bathroom tap water. The beds were comfortable but the pillows WAY too soft for our taste. We heard from others with better housekeeping service that their stewardesses had made sure they were happy with their pillows and that there was a whole selection of pillows available. Our toiletries were never replaced. I warned my husband to use the soap sparingly, since there wasn't much left of it during the last few days... In closing, the ship was beautiful; the ride was comfortable and the food and (most) service was very good. But, a dirty room and unacceptable housekeeping don't cut it when they charge what they do. I would not cruise with them again. If I do, I will pack my vacuum. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Starting with the best.... The dining experience was incredible, Silk Road was so good, we made another reservation immediate after dinner. The sushi, black cod, dessert were all memorable. The dinning room food was near equal in quality ... Read More
Starting with the best.... The dining experience was incredible, Silk Road was so good, we made another reservation immediate after dinner. The sushi, black cod, dessert were all memorable. The dinning room food was near equal in quality to the specialty rest. Great mix of cruisers but more on the older group ( we are 52), met some very nice people. Many repeat cruisers on the ship, one person told us they have cruised with crystal for over 20 years and have seen some of the crystal staff aged over the years. The ship is clean, service is great. My husband celebrated his birthday on board, he was provided a "special birthday breakfast" ( it was over the top) along with an invitation to the Captain's quarters for champagne. Speaking of champagne, as soon as you board, you are presented with champagne. Within 2 hours on board, we had a great lunch , tipsy, and very relaxed. The not as good.., activities were limited, I read 4 books during the cruise, the lecturers almost put me to sleep. The casino was empty most of the time except for a few of us. The cabin is the smallest of all ships we have been on. We sailed in late November and shop inventory was extremely low. I wish there was a better selection of merchandise especially when it came time spending the on board credits. Despite the " not as good" we would definitely sail with Crystal again , they made us feel special and welcome. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2011
Before boarding the "Symphony" October 25 for a 12 night to Bermuda and the Caribbean, a three night New York pre stay was delightful, anchored by a fine hotel "The Setai", newly built from the ground up, staring at the ... Read More
Before boarding the "Symphony" October 25 for a 12 night to Bermuda and the Caribbean, a three night New York pre stay was delightful, anchored by a fine hotel "The Setai", newly built from the ground up, staring at the Empire State Building. My wife and I, treating ourselves to a belated 47 year anniversary, watched a top Broadway Show "Going Away" and the the next evening,a Cuban band while dining. We visited The Whitney and New York City museums, Ground Zero Memorial and the protest encampments. We strolled the High Line Park, ingeniously landscaped on top of an abandoned railway trestle. Also we took Greenwich and East Village walking tour in which residents spend millions for historic quarters with tiny AC boxes in the windows. I boarded the "Symphony" with an incipient cold which manifested itself fully mid cruise. However, the seas were smooth. I managed to attend most ship events and go ashore in which I found the Caribbean Islands less interesting and exotic than Far East Ports and environs, which have more variety than the proliferation of endless tax and duty free stores which envelope the Caribbean ports. However, a satisfying out of town alternative is the fine beaches and water sports. We discovered two gorgeous beaches as the swimming was calm, buttressed by sugary and rock free sand. In contrast, Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach was disturbed by a recent storm.(The beauty of travel is that that one's perceptions can change for better or worse, no matter how many travel books, cruise folders,or weather reports one reads. Nicely, Crystal Cruise Lines was a good cocoon). The Caribbean island taxi rides seemed exorbitant, as in Bermuda, but there I liked the shop keepers best as their manners seemed more refined and street touts were rare. Antigua was lively and rollicking, with clothes, behavior and cars mimicking inner city youth culture in America, a country and president they admire. The street scene was a relief from the social rigidity and constant activities aboard the "Sympathy". Dining,lectures,card games,table tennis, fitness instruction,dance lessons, just never ending.. The ship, not unlike a wondrous summer camp for retirees, like myself, had luscious dinning and endless activities, but the cramped window only cabins forces couples to escape early elsewhere on the ship. Never mind, Crystal has some event or activity to entertain you to relieve any boredom. My advice is to book a balcony, if affordable, as the wonderful promenade deck has few chairs to escape the pool crowd and really be left alone, not trading stares. The bathroom was compact but the shower water forceful and always hot. The cabin AC was quiet. One could sleep, but the bed was too firm so a crew member brought foam immediately. I felt as if I was cruising in a ocean retirement estate with nice wealthy passengers, dressed expensively, but if you can mask your true social station, such as mine, and update your clothes, you will be fine. The ship and passengers seemed tolerant as there were gays and handicaps sprinkled about who had good taste, apparently enjoying the space and tolerance. I found all passengers cordial and admired the determination of those in wheel chairs. However, at the disembarkation breakfast, I went to shake hand and say farewell to a senior dining staff member, who, excluded from ship tip recommendations,(which I innocently followed),was surprisingly rebuking and told me "I did not appreciate his service". Indeed I had tipped the stewardess beyond the recommendation as she was very helpful dealing with my cold. Bitter and feeling ostracized, I felt everything had been a fraud and I was duped.I contacted the line who gave the profuse but standard apology with a small future credit, with conditions. I did not accept this they as they only had one other ship remaining, "The Serenity", and frankly, I need more ship credit to dare splurge again, as middle class financially, I shouldn't extinguish my savings with endless cruises no matter how much I enjoy pampering. Actually, my top demand was for a direct apology from the ship member who offended me. As of yet, this has not been forthcoming. To deal with the tipping agony, the line is transitioning to " all inclusive". This will prevent such incidents as mine, reducing any temptation for dinning room staff pandering. Nevertheless, I still recommend Crystal, if you can afford a balcony. Overall I remember all the good mornings, the endless pepper offerings, the tea servings by deferential servants in long tails. But my fantasy evaporated at the end. Was everything a fraud, including myself? Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2011
This was our 1 cruise on a Crystal ship and we had heard only good things about Crystal Cruises, but there were also some negative items we did not appreciate at all. First to the good things: nice ship, good size (below 1'000 ... Read More
This was our 1 cruise on a Crystal ship and we had heard only good things about Crystal Cruises, but there were also some negative items we did not appreciate at all. First to the good things: nice ship, good size (below 1'000 PAX), never crowded, excellent food in all restaurants, excellent service and staff. Perfectly organised boarding in Valparaiso and de-boarding in Buenos Aires. Well organised excursions (but VERY expensive but that's the same on other cruise lines). Some of the excursions did not fulfill the expectations, but most of them did. Negative things: Small cabin (everything we needed was there, but we would have appreciated a bit more space in the room as well on the veranda), considering the price paid. Lido Restaurant openings: We would expect that this (morning self service restaurant) would also be open EVERY evening for a light (self-service or service) dinner (why not a steak restaurant) or a place for a 'sightseeing dinner' (nice large windows, ideal for a dinner in places such as the inside passages on the Chilean side, the Magellan Passage, the Beagle Street or the Cape Horn as well as during the evenings in Antarctica or between Puerto Madryn and B. Aires with sunset around 10 pm or regions with warm climate (but unfortunately the Lido was only open on 3 evenings); The other item which disturbed us a lot, was the frequent closure (or closed bar service) at the PALM COURT (the nicest place on board above the bridge with large windows to the front and the sides and a splendid view). We instantly fell in love with this place, but many times when we wanted to go for a drink before dinner (were on late seating), we were refused entry because of some Bridge club happenings or just because the Bar was not attended). Even at times when the Bar should have been open (as per the daily Reflection), the Bar was unattended). I reported this fact, got an excuse from the Hotel manager, but nothing changed. This is, for a deluxe cruise line as Crystal pretends to be, totally unacceptable, since the remaining 3 Bars (one next to the lobby and two very dark and noisy ones, were not at all our taste). What we did is get a bottle of wine and install ourselves on the terrace of the closed Lido Cafe or on our veranda (weather permitting). We were also quite unhappy, with the opening hours of the various food places (everything closed at 6pm !! except the for the dining room and the 2 restaurants). There was no place open to get some finger food after 6 pm, something we have not seen on any other cruise line. Final remark: Crystal Cruises are expensive, provide excellent food and service, have well trained staff. As 1st time cruisers we felt sometimes a bit neglected compared to the C.C. society members. We would have expected to be personally informed about the future Crystal cruise society benefits (there was plenty of time on a 19 day cruise for an information session on a sea day with all 1st timers). So yes we liked some of it, but it was not enough to convince us to book again. 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 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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