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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The cruise was recommended by some of our friends who had taken it in the past. We have sailed with Crystal 3 times before, but this time was truly a disappointment. The Symphony is old, tired and worn. The air conditioning could not ... Read More
The cruise was recommended by some of our friends who had taken it in the past. We have sailed with Crystal 3 times before, but this time was truly a disappointment. The Symphony is old, tired and worn. The air conditioning could not keep up with the tremendous heat outside and consequently the common areas were warm, the dining room was warm and my cabin had an electric fan to try and cool the air. It was very uncomfortable. Everyone was complaining, not just a few guests. The enrichment classes that Crystal is known for were almost non existent. The exercise room is far from capable of serving a boat that size in a health conscious world. The lack of updated outlets and electronic capability is a problem and requires you to have extension cords running through the room (plus the electric fan supplied by Crystal) and this must be against all fire codes especially on a boat. The Piano Bar entertainment was boring. The night entertainment was fair and there was actually nothing to do after dinner for folks who did not want to go to bed at 10 pm. On Deck 8 the laundry room is too small and was so hot that besides the washers overflowing because they did not work properly, it took many trips there to be able to wash your clothes. This was the first time I stayed on Deck 8 ( I was usually stay on Deck 9) so I am not sure if this is always a problem for those guests. Besides the outstanding service and very good food, there was nothing about the cruise itself that would bring us back to Crystal to sail again, unless they make some real changes to the ship. We went with two other couples and this was their first Crystal trip and they would also not travel with Crystal again. What a shame. I think the Crystal base and its fabulous reputation is about to change maybe as a result of the new owners. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I choose Crystal over the years for the magnificent service and standards. I know the company for the last 10 years, I have sailed onboard Serenity and Symphony few times. I feel the crew members are lacking motivation and training, ... Read More
I choose Crystal over the years for the magnificent service and standards. I know the company for the last 10 years, I have sailed onboard Serenity and Symphony few times. I feel the crew members are lacking motivation and training, their can do spirit from the past is gone, food is fantastic but isn't enough for a premium line, I'm frankly disappointed with the onboard experience and lack of identity crystal have these days.. The upside is that itineraries are very good, casino is very good also but overall I did not leave the ship satisfied this time. I contacted corporate to make some comments and I'm still waiting for a reply (not good). At this time I don't think I will go again, it is time to try the competitors, I have cruised with seabourn once and I think I will try again when the time is right, if not silversea could be a good option. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our 35th cruise on Crystal Cruises. Our stateroom has always been on the penthouse deck because of the walk in shower. Over the years we have noticed with the change of ownership and executive management Crystal has been ... Read More
This was our 35th cruise on Crystal Cruises. Our stateroom has always been on the penthouse deck because of the walk in shower. Over the years we have noticed with the change of ownership and executive management Crystal has been tinkering with their delivery of service. Just small things at the beginning that really did not add much to the "Crystal Experience". However, limiting the number of reservations to the speciality restaurants and then assessing thirty dollars a person over and above the two visits was not "all inclusive" marketing. The dining venues are exceptional, mainly due to the excellent service staff. The lecture series have always had knowledgeable presenters both on current events and cruise itinerary. Both ships are showing their age. Our stateroom and some public rooms furnishings were a bit well worn. We were informed that Symphony was going to be in dry dock for a month. What Crystal needs is a new cruise ship and forget about yachts and airplanes. They had a great business plan at their inauguration. It served them well. Their greatest selling point is their officers and crew. They are top notch. Best in the cruise industry by far. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
This review is only highlighting two major problems that Crystal has had with its policies for the ships. 1. Children are only looked after by kids club care while a parent is onboard. - If both parents (Authorized person) leave to go ... Read More
This review is only highlighting two major problems that Crystal has had with its policies for the ships. 1. Children are only looked after by kids club care while a parent is onboard. - If both parents (Authorized person) leave to go on a shore trip they MUST take the kids with them - Noting that a number of the shore trips are not for children - 2. The only compromise is to have a staff member - not trained in child care are not having any basic emergency medical training baby sit them in your room. That's not to the same standards as kids club as they staff member could be any volunteer - 3. The Internet on board continually dropped out for a lot of the day, while my 4G/3G Modem to Norway telco was providing 50 - 100 Mb/s from the room - for all the trip other than a 8 hour ocean trip from Norway to Scotland. When I pointed out this to the IT staff they said that Satellite was the only way they could provide the service. In addition that noted that Internet complaints where the largest item of complaint. 4. Children leaving the vessel can be marked for checking that they have a parent with them. However, every time we left the ship our child ran ahead and was never stopped.. There identification system rang a bell and they then turned it off at no stage stopping the child I pointed out the kids club issue during the trip to the Director of Services and they advised that its company policy and there is no flexibility I showed the engineering and IT staff the speed I had with 3g/4G while at sea and was advised that they have 32 Mb/s to the satellite and that it ...When they loose the Satellite they have a backup but on trip to far northern latitudes they will continually have a problem. this was not a good family experience. I have rated below ignoring tese issues Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This cruise was our Honeymoon, the itinerary was fantastic, the duration just right and my wife used to work on the Crystal Symphony 20 years ago so perfect to see it from the other side, expectations were high. We spent the night in ... Read More
This cruise was our Honeymoon, the itinerary was fantastic, the duration just right and my wife used to work on the Crystal Symphony 20 years ago so perfect to see it from the other side, expectations were high. We spent the night in Sydney before departure and travelled to White Bay Cruise Terminal to board the Symphony, whilst not Crystals issue, this is the worst place to get to for a cruise, there is no public transport, however we had researched this so $30 Taxi just part of the holiday experience. Sydney should really look at this port as there were 3 big ships in on the 9th Feb. Embarkation fantastic, had our bags whisked away as soon as we got out of the Taxi and quickly onto the ship via security for pictures and card etc., Had 3 hours to wait until room ready but no great shakes lots to explore. Straight to the Trident for a Burger, fries and bubbles fantastic. Then off to the cabin to unpack. We had a verandah all in all cabin tidy, cozy, but worn. Side note, the shower is amazing fantastic pressure. The ship is well maintained for its age and spotless however is showing its age, worn carpets, holes in the sheers on cabin window. Dining: Main dining room was fantastic, had a table of 6 and met some fantastic people. The food was excellent with choices, quality wine and drinks offered too. Had dinner here most nights, lunch once and breakfast once, couldn't fault it. Lido Buffet, often had breakfast and lunch here, the staff here were very different, was like walking into a mafia run establishment quite threatening, had table cleared whilst going for dessert, this despite drinks still being on table. Was refused porridge as "this side is closed" even though it was sitting staring at me just without a spoon to serve it. Food quality exceptional unless you want a poached egg as "you only get them in the main dining room" was interesting to see the slide in jams etc., for the first couple of days small jars of jam, marmalade and honey, by the end of the trip just jam in jars, the Honey was only available from a pot on the counter, not what you expect from 6 star+ Trident Bar and Grill: Provided the best service, the grill was great, the staff attentive, professional and friendly, the Ice Cream and frozen yoghurts were to die for. Speciality dining: Prego good Italian Fare, our booking had been deleted, but they managed to find us a table. Silk Road the Japanese Restaurant was exceptional, highly recommend the "Nobu Box". Entertainment and Activities: Never short of something to do, they supplied speakers giving lectures, we took dance lessons, the trivia at 12:05 was entertaining, the pool was quiet and usable to help stave off the extra kilos. Deck 7 provided a wrap around deck for walking. Everywhere you walk after 5pm you will be greeted with music, pianos, violins, flutes, and bands, all good quality artists. Evening shows were varied and scheduled to fit around dinner. Ports and Excursions: We signed up for a few activities on this cruise, snorkelling Great Barrier Reef, Climbing Volcano, Mud Baths and Hot Springs all good, not especially value for money not just our point of view as the guests we spoke to all said the same. Service: Unfortunately this is where it starts to go down hill. Most of the service staff are professional, friendly and attentive (see notes above re Lido and Trident), however when it come to front office,concierges, and shore excursions staff (who we believed should be brand ambassadors) we had a different experience. Firstly security gave our camera to a guest whilst returning to the ship (my passage through security was delayed as I was wearing belt!). Without going into full details we were left bewildered (we knew who had the camera) and stressed for an hour whilst they "investigated" it. During this time NO communication OR follow up, was offered, then "stories" came into play and complete lack of respect and responsibility towards us. We did eventually get it back, however the process and management of the whole situation was completely unacceptable.! Secondly we had a change of itinerary around New Caledonia, this came with a new list of excursions which we found out about whilst talking to table friends, Crystal had neglected to deliver the options to our corridor, by the time we found out they were all booked out. We complained and they added a snorkelling one for the afternoon, this was cancelled at time of departure due to weather! (Nothing to due with the morning one being late back and chances of getting back in time for departure were very slim). Conclusion: This cruise was fantastic, the itinerary delivered everything it promised (apart from as mentioned), the food was fantastic, the entertainment and activities were great. The ship is old, the cabin is old and tatty in places, the service from waiting and serving staff predominantly good front office less than acceptable. We did suggest it would have been a good idea for Crystal to supply or have available snorkelling equipment (as it is bulky and difficult to transport in luggage) as on the North West Passage they supplied binoculars and Parkas, we were told that was a "special" cruise. We thought this one was? To call this 6 star+ is stretching the imagination mainly due to quality of accomodation and little things like having to ask for honey, berries "One Request" The lack of responsibility and falsehoods when things go wrong. Suggest it is a good 4 star, with a 6star plus price tag (who regulates these ratings?). I know I can get as good as this for less money, will be looking for future cruise to see if I can get better for the same. Came away not feeling influenced by the Crystal attitude, which they have in the past prided themselves on. Would we go again? Not at the price we paid! If it was more realistic with a suitable itinerary then we would consider it but would not be our first choice. Did not book on board for future cruise as we did on Cunard! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We went to Crystal Symphony because our past experience was excellent even though the company was bought by an Asian company. We had been cruising with different cruise lines for over a long time. We still decided to try again even when we ... Read More
We went to Crystal Symphony because our past experience was excellent even though the company was bought by an Asian company. We had been cruising with different cruise lines for over a long time. We still decided to try again even when we saw some bad reviews recently. First, the embarkation was a total disaster at Melbourne. There were hardly any Crystal agents and there were no instructions where to go and what to do. The lines to the security were long and the check in once we board the ship was confusing. The whole cruise experience was very disappointing. The food especially with the main dining room was very poor. Even with the specialty restaurants Prego and Silk Road, they were below par. The menu choice was small and food was ordinary. They don't deserve to be called specialty restaurants. The chef at the kitchen tour apologized that because the ship is required to purchase everything from Australia and the price was experience, the ship had to purchase the lower quality produce. This is absurd, so Crystal decided to buy lower quality food for their customers for the Australia/New Zealand trip when the theme of this cruise was supposed to be Food and Wine! Their chef table only offered twice through out the trip and they were already filled even the first day. I don't know why they didn't do the chef table every night like other cruise lines. The excursions for New Zealand were almost identical in every port so there weren't much to choose from. The worse was the entertainment in particular the shows. They were so outdated in comparisons to the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Sea which we went in October. The dancers and singers were low quality, their costume are ordinary, the stage was small and lacked scenes. The lighting and sounds lacked the newer digital equipment, sound and lighting. The entire program was similar to what we experience more than 15 years ago. As for enrichment program which they pride themselves in, they had old retired guests to talked about outdated material. One of them was an old security guard whom he talked about his experience with Jackie Kennedy for many nights. Another one was a pianist and singer that followed the John Elton style. The music and singing are mostly classic and lacked the dynamics. The computer work shops was based on only Ipad or Mac fo old people with no computer experience. The ship was supposed to have renovated but they are still old and showed wear. Many of the activity rooms were so small and old fashion. There were hardly any stores. They only had three, 1 jewelry store, 1 sells handbags and convenient items and 1 on low quality clothing. We met 2 couple of friends from the main dining. The only item that was still of good quality was their service personnel at the restaurants and cafe. The wait staffs still continued to remember and called us by our name and some times helped to carry our trays. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Comparisons are important, and a good way to paint a valid description. Crystal is considered one of the best 6 star line if you will. We've cruised with them previously which we enjoyed and can serve as an easy comparison. The ... Read More
Comparisons are important, and a good way to paint a valid description. Crystal is considered one of the best 6 star line if you will. We've cruised with them previously which we enjoyed and can serve as an easy comparison. The boarding experience in Lisbon was up a shabby ramshackle tented gangway. Not even a "Hello and welcome aboard" and certainly no welcome drink nor semblance of service . Following a pleasant check in clerk we were directed to the elevators dragging luggage. What 5 star hotel or cruiser have to been on where nobody accompanied you to the room/cabin ? That should have been the warning signal of what to expect. Don't swallow the ploy that Crystal sell the 'first night in port' as a plus for arriving pax. Not so, its another cost saver for the company calculated you lose whilst the company gains. $500 per person or more a night buys the best luxury accommodation in 5 star hotels with a wide choice of dining possiblities in any major cities departure port, instead of wasting time and money in a tiny uncomfortable cabin on board. However this cruising standard we considered; in common with many of co cruisers, was lower than the benchmarks Seaborne or Silver Sea. The Symphony is well down the scale. Claims as to being 6 star and the # 1 exclusive cruise line are wild exaggerations of the truth. Without doubt Crystal is on a major cost cutting exercise under the new management. If you are looking for luxury cruising and value for money you are advised to look elsewhere. The Symphony is tired, and badly in need of a refit. Old cheap prints do nothing to enhance the outdated furnishings in very small cabins.The overall impression is clearly of overwhelmingly sloppy management. On day 2 we attempted to speak with the Hotel Director and was told we have to make an appointment by email instead of simply calling him on his mobile or pager. Herein undoubtedly lies the root of the management problem. This is an incapability or planned device to avoid responding in a timely manner. 6 hours later and only after contacting the head office in California, did the Director respond. The only positive is the ship is immaculately clean.. Waiting crew on open decks (breakfast or lunch) mainly Philippinos have an uncontrolled tendency to be over friendly and in ones face. Failing to clear dirty dishes from table in a timely fashion because theres never a manager in sight, doesn't make their presence more appealing. 48 hours following my complaint, the matter was recitified to normal anticipated standards, proving the management had dropped standards as a norm. Sloppy as accused. Dining room waiters are very good and we have no complaints. However, again the restaurant manager is noted by his absence during service. Food is above average, but the kitchen does not excel merely good Bistro standard to be found in any major European City. . Housekeeping likewise is not paying attention to their managing, or the beds would be properly dressed instead of simply being thrown together. They do not turn beds down at night. No flowers, chocolates nor fruit nor champagne in the pokey tiny cabins. Two normal sized people cannot pass each other between the wall and the foot of the bed. Bar staff are acceptable, but here as all of the ship, in every single aspect lacks professionalism. There's not one part of the ship nor its operation I would commend as being excellent or at best equal to 4 star. Unfortunate, for it is precisely that Holy Grail which ships of this calibre strive for. Entertainment was very poor. A Transatlantic cruise needs distracting quality shows. A scheduled stop at the Azores was cancelled by the Captain, claiming a risk of Hurricane force weather conditions. This was either a figment of his imagination or more likely an economic decision driven by cost cutting. I was a professional racing yacht skipper, well able to read meteorological charts and forecast weather with the best and I saw no valid reason for this decision. In fact I was 100% correct , there was no bad weather for the day we should have docked. The CEO and her Board need to travel more, taking note of their competition. Sampling it would have them disembarking with their eyes cast down and worried for the future expectations of their shareholders. Improvement will not occur rapidly, requiring a major change from CEO and management. This particular cruise remained an unfortunate place to be, for 13 days failing our high but justifiably balanced expectations in every field. The experience will likely leave an unpleasant memory as a waste of money. This fairly ordinary form of transatlantic transport could be had at half the price and probably more enjoyable for expectations wouldn't be high. it was a relief to disembark in Miami. Detailed letters of justifiable complaint to the CEO remain unanswered 2 months later, as yet another indictment of poor management . When the CEO has not to common commercial decency to respond, nor make a offer of retribution is an indication of where the root problem lies. She couldn't care less - shareholders take note ! Watch this website for further in detail description. Finally. Take our valid advice as regular cruisers for more than 20 years, always in 5 star or better ships. You would not be doing yourself any favour by cruising Crystal. David. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We waited a bit to write this review of our Crystal Symphony transatlantic in October in order to gain perspective and not overreact. After reading the previous post on the same cruise, we felt we also needed to provide feedback on what ... Read More
We waited a bit to write this review of our Crystal Symphony transatlantic in October in order to gain perspective and not overreact. After reading the previous post on the same cruise, we felt we also needed to provide feedback on what was, overall, a disappointing cruise. This was our 5th Crystal cruise and second transatlantic. We loved the first transatlantic and have always loved the lectures, dancing, Silk Road, Prego and the Big Band theme. We booked this cruise for relaxation, dancing, food and our experience with past Crystal cruises. Boarding in Lisbon was unorganized with no welcoming signs or agents. We found our way to registration and, after we were on the ship, found our own way to our cabin. The cabin was just as expected in size and amenities. However, there was no welcoming bottle of champagne. There was, as we had requested in the past, a fan and a top sheet on the bed. We had brought our usual duct tape to tape down the lights in the closet, which turn on every time a door is opened. We were appalled to open the refrigerator and find a moldy, half eaten canister of caviar. There were no water bottles in the cabin. We opened a dresser drawer and found a plastic bag full of a white powder. It was obvious the cabin stewardess had not been vigilant in her preparation of the cabin. This, unfortunately, continued throughout the cruise. We consistently had to ask for water, four times for Kleenex, for wine glasses, new shampoo and towels. We finally called the head of housekeeping just to get basic amenities. We asked for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for the cabin. We received Pinot Noir. The stewardess said they did not have Sauvignon Blanc. When we told the sommelier, he sent two bottles to the cabin. We did not ask her again. After the third day, the air conditioning in the room did not work properly. We went to the desk and put in a maintenance request. When we returned to the cabin there was a note that they had “adjusted” the vents. It made no difference. The cabin remained very warm and we were so grateful that we at least had a fan to move air. We asked two more times for repair of the a/c and no one came. We finally went to the desk again and demanded to see the hotel director. They would not let us but said they would be certain to get the a/c fixed. No one came. Finally, the second last night of the cruise, we were woken at 11 pm by someone who offered to change our cabin due to poor air conditioning. We were shocked at being called so late and declined to move cabins at that late date. This lack of maintenance is totally unacceptable and not what we have experienced in the past. We were given a table for 2 next to the waiters’ station in the dining room. We considered asking to move but really liked our waiters Nuno and Fabio who did a fantastic job in serving us. They were just exceptional. We also appreciated Roland’s extra efforts and genuine care. Julius did a nice job as sommelier and found us some lovely complementary white wines such as Sancerre and Chablis which frankly, were as good as the four bottles of wine we purchased off the proprietors list. We also loved the staff at the Trident and Lido, especially Rikki and Norman who went above and beyond in service. Food in the main dining room was for the most part very good. It was prepared as ordered and hot when it arrived. Trident Grill sandwiches were delicious. We highly anticipated our dinner at Silk Road and even made a second, fee-required, reservation because we had enjoyed it so much in the past. We do not know what happened, but our dinner there was a disaster. We were seated at a table and ignored for at least 15 minutes. We finally got menus and water. We then waited another 15 minutes to order. When the shrimp tempura arrived, it was all batter and almost no shrimp. Another guest that I spoke with later also told us they were very disappointed in the lack of shrimp in their dish. My husband’s sushi was mushy and my cod entrée was “off”, did not smell right. I could not eat it. That evening, my husband was sick with food poisoning from the sushi he had eaten at Silk Road. Luckily we had medication for food poisoning and he felt better the next day, but he was off his feet and did not eat for a day. We reported this but no one contacted us. We cancelled our second reservation at Silk Road. Prego was better, especially on our first visit. The service was good and our food, especially my lamb chops, and the beef carpaccio, were excellent. The second time, on a fee required basis, the service was slow and impersonal and the veal was overcooked and tasteless. The carpaccio and mushroom soup were as good as usual. I do not know what happened to the specialty restaurants. But they are not really “special” anymore. The staff seemed to go about the motions, but there is no enthusiasm and the menu offerings are getting old. The ship itself was very clean and the Palm Court especially looked nice. We enjoyed time in the Avenue bar, especially when Name That Tune was on. Our team won twice out of three times. I wish I could say the same for Trivia. There was a large crowd attending Trivia each day and we had a convivial team who won a few times. However, the dancers who put on Trivia gave the impression they would have preferred to be anywhere else. They had no enthusiasm and in fact, a number of the answers were totally incorrect. This resulted in a small altercation with one member of another team and the staff. And, the worst incident was the final sea day when a passenger was allowed to ask his made up questions for Trivia. It was insulting to the rest of the passengers who love Trivia to have this man flaunting “his” knowledge. The highest score was 3 correct, as he showed off his esoteric “knowledge,” and trick questions. But I guess it gave the staff responsible for Trivia time off. BAD IDEA! And one of the worst changes to Trivia and other games were the “prizes.” We do not play Trivia for the rewards, but now Crystal is giving certificates for 15% off items in the shops and the spa. The problem was the spa coupon was only good for port days – we skipped the Azores due to weather and had all sea days, and no item I wanted in the shop qualified for the coupon. Crystal should not force passengers to buy something (or give worthless certificates) in order to have a prize for Trivia. Bring back the t-shirts or don’t give anything at all. The theme of the cruise was Big Band, and the Tommy Dorsey orchestra was the main event. We have sailed with them before and they gave good performances. There was an emphasis on ballroom dancing and it is the reason many passengers book this crossing. However, this time there was a real issue with the dance instructors, Ambassador Hosts and the dancers. It is wonderful that Crystal accommodates the single lady passengers who wish to dance by having Ambassador Hosts with which to partner. In the past, they have done a marvelous job. However this time, at dance lessons morning and afternoon and in the evenings with the bands, the regular passengers were literally shoved to the side and off the dance floor. We were forced to dance in the aisles and side of the room while the Ambassadors and their alternating partners took over the floor. After about 6 nights of being pushed, shoved, and banged into, we simply gave up and went to listen to the piano player in the Crystal Cove. This also applied to the dance lessons. The morning teachers were good and took time to explain steps and practice. Then we got with our partners and practiced. However as time went on, the Ambassadors and single ladies took over the floor, edging others out. We practiced in the aisles. In the afternoon, the instructors went so fast and added so many steps that no one knew what was going on except those who were experienced dancers. And, when we asked questions of the instructors, they said they were too busy to answer. We are not new to dancing, but we truly hoped to be able to refine our steps. This did not happen. Perhaps Crystal needs to separate classes into experienced and less experienced. It would give more room on the dance floor for practice as well. The worst incident with an Ambassador Host occurred in the Lido one day when we were having lunch. One of the Hosts was eating with the Golf Instructor at the table next to us. Both of them were loudly making fun of and criticizing guests for their appearance and inabilities. It was embarrassing to hear and they should be ashamed of their attitude toward paying guests. We skipped the Azores due to “bad weather” although the seas remained calm. We therefore had 9 straight sea days to St. Thomas. The usual lineup of speakers were onboard and the speaker on the oceans and sea life was exceptional. Also the speaker on Broadway and the theater who provided singing commentary was great. However, the general’s presentation, in our opinion, contained bigoted comments with incorrect information on his slides. For example, they were not the “Mongrels”, they are the Moghuls. We can’t quite put our finger on what went wrong with this cruise. Some of the service was exceptional. Others were rote and unfeeling. The ship, although clean, seemed tired and in need of refurbishment. Basics such as maintenance of air conditioning were lacking. Front desk staff, while pleasant, did not act on requests. Officers were non-apparent. Overall it just lacked that special “Crystal feeling.” It was the first cruise we completed where we were glad to be off the ship. We reported all the problems on our survey. We have heard absolutely nothing from Crystal. Due to our issues, we cancelled the Serenity Antarctica cruise we had scheduled for February and booked with another cruise line. It is too important a cruise to take another chance on Crystal at this time. Read Less
41 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
I just returned from the Grand Britannia cruise with my mom, sister and daughter. We had adjoining staterooms. Here are my thoughts: The good: Overall food quality was very good in all venues. We loved Prego and Silk Road, liked the ... Read More
I just returned from the Grand Britannia cruise with my mom, sister and daughter. We had adjoining staterooms. Here are my thoughts: The good: Overall food quality was very good in all venues. We loved Prego and Silk Road, liked the MDR, liked Lido, and liked Trident. We got room service breakfast several times and that was also good. And we had WONDERFUL service in the MDR and in Prego, very fun, warm, and caring servers (Nikola and Stanko in the MDR). We also loved the Avenue Bar and their bartenders. We liked the overall itinerary as well, circling the UK. The bad: I am in the camp of those who feel the veranda staterooms are cramped and very worn. The "couch" was stained, the carpet coming up by the veranda door, the chair ripped, the throw pillows disgusting, and the design of the lights in the headboard absurd when the beds are twinned. The veranda was dirty and sticky (they cleaned it our last day). The cabins were also not wonderfully cleaned, with extraneous hair and an old shampoo bottle greeting us at the start. Not fun. Crystal's website is also horribly designed and primitive, with very unreliable functionality on mobile. Hello, 20th century UI! 1995 called and they want their systems back. The ugly: Five things really made me dislike this cruise. First, the ports used by Crystal for London, Dublin, and Edinburgh really made any kind of immersive experience in those cities impossible to achieve, given the horrible shuttles employed. I sat on the Edinburgh shuttle for over an hour and a half one day, and only part of that was due to traffic. Even more fun, I sat on a bus for the final day's shore excursion (and there were only FOUR choices on that day) for more than FIVE HOURS due to traffic from the stupid location Crystal used. Even Dublin was disappointing as no shuttles ran after 8 PM so it was difficult to stay late in the city. The combination of horrible docking locations and abysmal shuttle services really cut into my enjoyment of the cruise. Second, I made spa appointments very early on for all of us, but the experience I had in the spa is the worst I've ever had in a spa due to cleanliness. There's only one bathroom in the changing room. When I entered, it was full of diarrhea and blood, completely disgusting and very smelly. Bloody toilet paper was in the trash can. All the other trash cans were overflowing as well, and cast-off robes and slippers were on the bench. I brought this to the attention of my provider and they were going to clean it up, but when I finished my service (also really disappointing because the massage table was ancient and could not be adjusted for the proper angle for my neck) things had been only slightly cleaned (the smell still lingered). I took a shower and there were HUGE clumps of hair in the one shower where the tap worked. UGH. If you're going to have a spa with prices like this and a tiny changing room, you MUST keep it FLAWLESSLY clean. Otherwise, yuck, yuck, yuck. Third, I am mid-fifties and I like technology. The internet connection available on this cruise was AWFUL. The wifi did not work more than it did work, and even the wireless data was not available for entire days at a time. I have to occasionally look in at work when away and there were days when I could not. I am not cruising again until this problem is fixed. Fourth, I think $50 for the jpeg of pictures purchased is outrageous given the cost of the printed pictures themselves. Those flash drives cost 50 cents, so this is a markup of what, 10000%? The photographers were good but the price overall, even on prints, is beyond gouging. Finally, the lack of any evaluation of shore excursions made it difficult to choose good ones. While we had great fun with, for example, the Belfast Food Tour, other excursions ranged from disappointing to excruciating. Other cruise companies provide an opportunity to rate the shore excursions publicly to help guide one's choices (and I would assume to help the cruise company offer the best of them). The shore excursion staff was not even interested in my verbal feedback. One got the impression that some of the staff (shore ex and front desk) felt they were babysitting spoiled kindergartners, that they had heard this all before and were listening only because they had to (indeed, one person said, "I have heard this complaint many times before." Excuse me? If you have heard it many times before why did Crystal not change things?). Overall, while the dining staff was very good, I am left with a huge feeling of fundamental disrespect for passengers (particularly A and B category passengers). Crystal is expanding like mad, but I recommend they look again at their core competencies. Good food and great wait staff is only going to get the line so far. I do not plan to cruise Crystal again (I had a much better experience last year on both Silversea and Seabourn). PS Ironically, when I tried to do Crystal's followup survey on my iPhone it failed and crashed. So Crystal, here is your feedback. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Sadly, we witnessed the effect of new ownership on this cruise line. After five positive experiences on the Symphony, 'economic pullbacks' took a toll on our most recent experience. Previous sailings included live string ... Read More
Sadly, we witnessed the effect of new ownership on this cruise line. After five positive experiences on the Symphony, 'economic pullbacks' took a toll on our most recent experience. Previous sailings included live string quartets at tea time. No more. Midnight chocolate festivals in the central lobby. No more. Ice sculptures. No more. Chocolates and fresh fruit bowls in the cabin. No more. Even jars of mixed nuts at the bar were downgraded to peanuts. Should we say something about the quality of tissues in the bathroom? For six days, we dealt with foul odors in our balcony cabin. The only solution management offered was a cheap-o humidifier. One was added in the hallway as well. BTW: we expressed our concerns to Crystal as soon as we got home. 4 weeks later they responded with an acknowledgement saying they would get back to us within a month. They never did. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We've sailed Crystal quite a few times. The earlier cruises were great. However, since the new president took over, there have been cutbacks & disappointments all over . Quality of food has gone way down. Portion sizes have ... Read More
We've sailed Crystal quite a few times. The earlier cruises were great. However, since the new president took over, there have been cutbacks & disappointments all over . Quality of food has gone way down. Portion sizes have shrunk greatly . "all inclusive " is Totally bogus - just includes a few poor quality wines. Everything else, you have to pay for. Service is good in some areas & nonexistent in others. Entertainment not what it used to be. We have cruised about 40 times, on many cruise lines. This cruise was so overpriced for what we got, it was absurd. Embarkation was slow & unfriendly - not so in the past. Ship was not as clean as before. Looks like they are cutting costs everywhere Lots of wear in the cabin, which was tiny Dining room service not good. Stateroom service, however, was quite good. Did not use their shore excursions - way overpriced. Concierge was unfriendly & condescending. Crew - some quite good, others poor. Entertainment okay, but used to be much, much better. We will not sail with Crystal again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
I don't even know where to begin. Let me say that the crew and service staff were excellent. That is the only good thing about this cruise line. 1) For the amount of money, WIFI should be included with the price. I took my husband ... Read More
I don't even know where to begin. Let me say that the crew and service staff were excellent. That is the only good thing about this cruise line. 1) For the amount of money, WIFI should be included with the price. I took my husband over 10 minutes to connect for his job, which ate up many of the minutes we purchased. 2) The cabins are small. You cannot both get ready at the same time, unless you dance around each other. The sofa was very uncomfortable. And the "queen" bed was actually two singles pushed together. The carpet is thread bare. The cleaning staff however, did a really good job. 3) If you don't care to visit the cities, this is the cruise for you. We, however, like to absorb what each city has to offer, and could not due to the time constraints. 4) Be prepared to NOT enter ports that require tender service. The 2 we wanted to see, Waterford Ireland and Iceland, became "days at sea" due to the captain and pilot thinking the seas were too rough, 5) Days at sea - if you are under 80 years of age, be prepared for total boredom. Substitute activities included scarf tying and dollar bill origami. REALLY? Where was the wine tasting? Only 1 tour of the galley? 6) Music and dancing - If you are under 80, be prepared not to dance, nor to hear any music created in the 21st century! 7) Shipboard shopping - Forget about it! 8) Crystal Cruise excursions - Use the internet to book your own. Our guide in Iceland spoke very poor English, told us nothing about the country, the people, and what we were seeing. Lobster feast? How about rock lobster parading as lobster. A waste of our short amount of time in Iceland. 9) Best tour - Booked a "FabFour Beatles Tour" in Liverpool. Do this! 10) Do not rely on the Crystal maps provided at the excursion desk. We ended up NEVER finding the shuttle stop and had to take taxis to and from the ports. 11) Food was good, however there was nothing regional, and we cannot remember what we had. 12) Wine list adequate for California wines (not much from other countries). 13) For 20K, this trip should have be fabulous. We could have purchased a SmartCar. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Well folks........it's time to say "good-bye". We've had a few glorious years, lots of good memories, made new cruising friends, but after our last 26 days aboard the Crystal Symphony, back to back from Lax to NYC ... Read More
Well folks........it's time to say "good-bye". We've had a few glorious years, lots of good memories, made new cruising friends, but after our last 26 days aboard the Crystal Symphony, back to back from Lax to NYC through the Panama Canal, it has become "Crystal Clear" that Crystal is not the enviable cruise experience it once was. We have cancelled all of our future bookings and will be looking to other premier lines for our cruising experiences. I feared that this would happen; it usually does when a cruise line gets a new CEO (Oct 2013) and then the sale to another owner (completed May 2015). First, let me tell you a little about us. We are "older folks", both of us in our 70's, who don't require any special attention. This is not our first cruise; we've sailed some 35+ cruises with Celebrity, RC and Azamara, who just got tired of the herding, the over-crowding, the signing for every little amenity, and the average food on the larger vessels. We found Crystal in the spring of 2012 and this was our 12th cruise in 3 years. We are not "destination" cruisers rather "journey" travelers......we love the ship for its elegant, relaxing atmosphere and great dining experiences. We're not driven to cruise to the far corners of the earth to fulfill any "bucket list". If I want something "up close and personal" , I turn on the National Geographic Channel on my TV. We sailed with Crystal for their exemplary service, their elegant atmosphere, the ease of small ship inclusive cruising and for the OUTSTANDING, GREAT FOOD they once offered. Having said that, Crystal was a real disappointment this time: FOOD: Seems that there is a real disconnect between the recipes and the chefs who prepare them. The best I could figure out, is that the recipes come from the corporate office and the chefs were asked to change or "re-invent" some of their tried and true offerings they once prepared. I never knew that there were so many ways to prepare mousse! Mousse with appetizers, mousse with entrees, mousse for dessert! And, what's this "foam" stuff sprayed on my food? The fish were dry, salty and fishy tasting (with the exception of the Dover Sole). The shrimp were rubbery and undercooked. The quality of the meats were sometimes down-right poor, both in the Lido and MDR. There was absolutely no difference between the coating on the pre-prepared Wienerschnitzel and Veal Parmasan. Alaskan King crab legs on the last formal night....what happened to the Lobster? I could go on, but you get the point. Silk Road was still excellent, but Prego's menu was undergoing changes too....mushroom soup didn't quite taste the same. The Lido salads and fresh breakfast fruits were still excellent. The German potato salad in the Lido was awesome! ATMOSPHERE: Of the 26 nights aboard, 23 were Resort Casual. The cruise itinerary originally had a few Elegant Casual nights scheduled, but after boarding, those dress codes were changed. There were not many men wearing sports jackets in the MDR, in spite of the fact that the Crystal Cove and other public areas, had an average temperature of about 55 degrees.......always, VERY COLD!! There were more children on board this cruise than I've ever seen before, but then that's probably due to the new(?) policy of FREE sailings for kids on "select cruises". It took me awhile to figure out that the dress code of "European Trousers for men", was nothing more than denim pants that weren't manufactured in the USA (Levis, Wrangler). Most were appropriate attire for the MDR.......absolutely not problem with a nice pair of Armani jeans with a sports coat and Hermes belt, but before long, other passengers will start showing up in their Levis! That brings me to another disconnect between the emphasis on "Casual" by Crystal and the Retail shops selling Designer clothing and accessories like Gucci, Prada and Burberry when so many passengers are content to wander around all day in their Logo and gym gear. And what's with this ENDLESS stream of parading travel agents wined and dined by Crystal in EVERY port? I would love to know how much of my cruise fare is spent on that. SERVICE: This was the only "WOW" factor left aboard Crystal. Our standing Room Service of juice and coffee every morning always arrived on time and our Stateroom Attendant was awesome. The bar staff always remembered our drink orders and our waiters always tried to remedy the disappointments that came out of the MDR Kitchen. Just a special group of fine young people that worked so hard! I have gotten to know many of them over the years and will miss them very much! Enough said, but I wanted to give our assessment of the "New" Crystal from 2 journey cruisers that still remember the "refined Crystal experience". We will be looking to other premier luxury lines in the future until Crystal regains it's past reputation. I'll be checking on Cruise Critic for future assessments! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
While most reviewers give the Crystal Symphony an excellent or very good rating, we felt it was, at best, average. Not up to the standards of the Seabourne, Regent or other luxury cruise lines. The "positives" were that the boat ... Read More
While most reviewers give the Crystal Symphony an excellent or very good rating, we felt it was, at best, average. Not up to the standards of the Seabourne, Regent or other luxury cruise lines. The "positives" were that the boat had been refurbished, the crew was helpful and the entertainment was very good. On the negative side, the trip was expensive and "all-inclusive" yet they always seemed to be cutting corners and there were many extras. Specifically, 1) The food was below par. We asked and they said they that load it all at the beginning so after 2-3 days, fish, etc. is frozen. And it tasted that way. When I asked why there weren't any New Zealand mussels (we were in New Zealand) the unbelievable answer was that having them would raise expectations on other Crystal cruises when they would not be available. 2) Dining times were not convenient. The dining room closed for breakfast at 9 a.m. and also closed too early at lunch. When I asked one day what time the buffet closed, I was told "10:30." I got there at 10:17 and all of the food had been cleared. Snacks at the cocktail hour were lousy. At the grill area, after two days of potato soup as the only soup option, it was changed. I asked "what happened?" The answer was "people complained." 3) Most annoying were the daily tours, which were definitely not part of "all-inclusive". They charged 2-3 times the rate I was able to get by going direct on the internet. That was time consuming and shouldn't have been necessary. For example, they had the nerve to offer a helicopter tour of the White Island volcano for $1,429 per person. I found a similar one for $515 (still very expensive but, but at $1429 we wouldn't have gone). Other annoyances were having to pay for internet (they didn't even let employees, who were away from their families for months at a time have any free access to the internet, from what an employee told me.). A 15 minute visit to the doctor for the two of us came to $280. there was no warning of any charge until the bill arrived a few hours later. I could go on, but you get the idea... If we go Crystal again, some internet usage is free, but that isn't going to happen. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
We have cruised oceans and seas with Radisson, Regent and Oceania, the Med with Star Flyer, the Baltic with Renaisance, the Danube with Amadeus and Rhine with Viking. Those are our credentials for some comparisons below. The Crystal cruise ... Read More
We have cruised oceans and seas with Radisson, Regent and Oceania, the Med with Star Flyer, the Baltic with Renaisance, the Danube with Amadeus and Rhine with Viking. Those are our credentials for some comparisons below. The Crystal cruise we took went from Valparaiso to Sydney. It was considered three cruises: Valpariso to Tahiti, Tahiti to Auckland, Auckland to Sydney. I am writing from Sydney. In general I found that those passengers who had not experienced very many other lines thought Crystal was just great. Also, Crystal, as with most other lines, makes might efforts to sign you up for more cruises and, this may be unique, encourages you to link up with what is essentially a "handler." That person assists you in getting used to the Crystal Way. I did not get used to it. Dining One of the pleasures of cruising is the chance to meet new and interesting people often followed by an extended conversation over dinner…at an hour that you mutually choose. Not on Crystal. You are assigned the table, the time and the companions you will sit with. Whatever flexibility is offered is done as if your request to sit with people of your choosing is somehow "unusual." The food itself is very good and the waitstaff hardworking, smiling and delightful. Managers can be officious. Speakers It is good to feed both mind and body on a cruise. On the Serenity there was a full speaking program that had a lot of fluff (how to lose that tummy, the glories of chocolate) but the more serious speakers were an ex-general and a former Likud party advisor, both of whom conveyed a Fox News view of the world. Also speaking was a remarkably accomplished storyteller who, when pressed, advocated a vigorous continuation of the American Empire, but was otherwise well practiced and entertaining. On a cruise from Anchorage to Hong Kong on Regent a few years ago, they did it this way. A general lecture was followed by a continued discussion of the issues raised in a smaller venue. This lead to real discussions and exchanges of ideas instead of the Fox News view presented with “news conference” type questions, that is, wth no follow up and no exchange. The Crystal way is neither intellectually engaging nor satisfying. But, during the 38 days we were aboard, for pure intellectual depth, Dr. Bulent Atalay’s lectures on Leonardo were extraordinary and his manner that of a cultured Levantine gentleman. I also enjoyed some of the less intellectual stuff such as two sessions on Steve Irwin. Internet It was expensive and slow. Not only that, but the concessionaires are deceptive. First, we were told that it was not possible for my wife and I to share a plan. Not true. We just could not use it at the same time. Second, as a result of the initial misinformation we bought two maximum time plans. That covered most, but not all, of the three segments. We asked to extend the fifty hours we had purchased at the same rate…but no. They wanted to DOUBLE our rate for another five hours. DOUBLE! And, if you would like a little salt with your wound, they have an advertisement for their services that takes over your computer screen, no matter what you are doing, every five minutes that your computer is on, requiring you to manually delete it. And here’s some acid to add to your salted wound. In the advertisement is a line to click that allows you to email the new President of Crystal with any concerns…but it didn’t work. I took it to the computer center and was told that it was “still under improvement.” The Library Four comfortable chairs and doors that are not closed “for safety reasons.” Four chairs for a thousand passengers!? Are there other weather protected chairs? Yes, but none of them in a quiet Library environment. There were lots of movies to borrow for in-room watching on dated TVs and a barely adequate collection of books. The Gym Oh please…very little floor space to stretch, Brand X machines, and for those who like to ride the stationary bike…welcome to the wall. No ocean views for riders. As I said, it was our first and last Crystal experience.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
While the Crystal Symphony is perfectly nice and the service outstanding, the overall experience left many of us who were not travelling as a couple or with a group feeling bored and left out. Mixers and other informal get-togethers were ... Read More
While the Crystal Symphony is perfectly nice and the service outstanding, the overall experience left many of us who were not travelling as a couple or with a group feeling bored and left out. Mixers and other informal get-togethers were not organized; there was little to do other than sit in a lounge and drink/listen to music or on deck and read. Other than the one day at sea, the lack of programming options and communication designed to bring people together was a great disappointment. Yes, there were classes, but unless you wanted to focus on iPad skills or dancing, not much else. The lecturer offered little in the way of insights not widely available in basic media, and he misrepresented himself by claiming a non-partisan outlook. The excursion staff, the few hours that they were available at the desk, were misinformed about several aspects of the (costly) excursions; for example, in Saguenay, the zodiac tour did NOT include the likelihood of finding beluga whales, or even seeing much in the way of fjords, and they did NOT provide any kind of protective outerwear as the excursion staff indicated. The talented musicians were mostly limited to nightly show presentations; most other cruise lines employ them elsewhere to entertain in different formats at other parts of the ship at different times of the day. Staterooms are TINY, even compared to other less high-end cruise lines. While smoking was restricted, it was allowed in the worst possible place: in the bar right at the only central place to congregate in the main lobby outside the dining room. Many of these issues would be very simple to overcome, if Crystal wants to earn a continued reputation as a leader in this industry rather than complacent reliance on past perceptions. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2012
Few years ago when we started taking cruises to enhance our land tours, we carefully chose Crystal because of its reputation and its offer "$1000 as you wish" that made Crystal distinguished from "all inclusive" offer ... Read More
Few years ago when we started taking cruises to enhance our land tours, we carefully chose Crystal because of its reputation and its offer "$1000 as you wish" that made Crystal distinguished from "all inclusive" offer by other luxury lines. We really had a wonderful experiences from the past few cruises with Crystal. However, V2226 Oct 21,2012 New England Cruise with Crystal Symphony disappointed us. SERVICE After Crystal changed to all inclusive, all service are going downhill. First, in Lido and Neptune: except Filipino crew, most of the servers were not smiling and friendly, no one chasing us for coffee as before. Most of time, we needed to ask for coffee instead. No one tried to remember and were greeting us with our names. No one took your tray when you just turned around from the food serving table. It was the first time, we ordered food in the Grill, and the food got forgotten and did not show up. All those little friendly gestures I experienced in the last Crystal cruises impressed me very much and could tell the differences of luxury cruises and other cruises Second, The steward was so different from Serenity when $1000 as you wish" was offering. Never restocked our refrigerator and shampoo, body cream etc. I needed to call room service for Perrier water and wrote her a note about the body cream. The litter in the room stayed on the floor for few days. I always ask some fruits in refrigerator every evening. The previous stewards in Serenity put the fruits in small plate so that the refrigerator door could be closed. In Symphony, the steward sometimes forgot the order or put the fruits in big plate to make the refrigerator door not closed. Few times, I almost dropped bottles from the refrigerator. Third, the management was not friendly as Serenity, I requested hosted table when I paid in full six month ago as I did with previous Crystal cruises. After we boarded the ship this time, the maitre D told us that I didn't get it this time because those tables were reserved for special guests. Fourth, in the past Crystal cruises, we enjoyed talking to friendly bar tenders. Just took a couple of days, all bar tenders remembered our names and chatted with us when we were there. The lady bar tender in Serenity Crystal Cove even remembered us after a year. It really made us feel welcome and at home. In this cruise, no bar tenders made an effort to chat with us, not even mentioned they remembered us. Fifth, afternoon tea was always my favor activity, in Serenity, the head waiter always came to talk to us. The waiters all were very friendly and attentive. This cruise, we needed to walk up to the head waiter to tell him that no one served us tea for a couple of time. MIGHT BE ALL INCLUSIVE WITH GRATUITIES MADE THE CREWS FEEL EXTRA MILES IN SERVICE MEAN NOTHING TO THEM NOW. FOOD The food in dining room and Silk Road were still very good. Prago was not as good as before. The all inclusive wine lists were so short and never showed to the guests unless you asked for it. In Prego, the sommelier told us the ship didn't stock that many good wines now because few people asked for connoisseur wine list. In Serenity with $1000 as you wish, since we didn't drink that much, we usually order better wines for dinner. Now, I even drank less because I didn't like their all inclusive wines. Really missed "$1000 all you wish". Without this offer, I do not see Crystal is different to other luxury cruise line. Final words, regarding the way Symphony handled the situation caused by its own mechanical problem and the storm, I quite agreed with another reviewer Marvick600. If Crystal were willing to give information or help about how to go to Quebec and Newport by ourselves, we definitely would rent a car to do day trip to Quebec and Newport. When we heard about the option from other people in the ship, it was already too late for us to plan the day trip. Might be, Crystal thought giving $150 per person to compensate missing Quebec was good enough. However, the money was not the issue for people taking luxury cruise. Extra service in the difficult situation is the most importance for people going for luxury cruise. Especially, the ship's mechanical problem caused customers missed a port and scenic cruising. Will we take Crystal again? Might be. But, trying other luxury cruise line become our priority now.   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
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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