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Sail Date: March 2005
Here is Tim's review of the Crystal Symphony. 3-17-05 to 3-24-05 Since this my first cruise with Crystal (11th overall)I relied on alot of tips from Judith02 since the Crystal Symphony is her favorite ship. By the way, this was the ... Read More
Here is Tim's review of the Crystal Symphony. 3-17-05 to 3-24-05 Since this my first cruise with Crystal (11th overall)I relied on alot of tips from Judith02 since the Crystal Symphony is her favorite ship. By the way, this was the best cruise ever. We arrived at 1pm to board the ship and there were 3 people in the 5 lines to board the ship. The time it took to board the ship was 5 minutes. Since I have cruised on Celebrity, Princess and Carnival this indicated to me that Crystal would be different. On top of the easy check in they did not demand a draft of my credit card, in fact they stated to go to the Reception area at my convenience within the next four days. (This was weird because every other cruise company immediately takes a draft of your credit card) Upon boarding they took our picture and advised us that lunch was being served on the Lido Deck, they further offered to take our carry-on luggage and place it in our room so we could immediately explore the ship. (A very nice touch) Furthermore, one of the cruise staff gave us a guided tour of the ship. Judith stated to verify our table seating with Remi and of course we did get our table for two. (Yes) When I inquired if there is availability to move to a different table for two, he advised me that 60 people are on the waiting list for a table for two. So I was very pleased that my TA requested the table in advance. So far the service was amazing and the food was fantastic and this was only the first day. My companion Doug commented that even the Lido food was better than the main Dining rooms on Princess, to which I totally agreed with him. Food thought the ship was excellent. We did five of our breakfasts in the Dining Room. I always ordered the same thing, waffles with Strawberrys and whipped cream. The Strawberrys were always big and juicy and the whipped cream was freshly made. Even their Decaf coffee was good and strong, a usual complaint on cruises. Lunches were also mostly in the dining room, though we did have two occasions to eat at the Lido Deck Buffet. Nice Waffles (but not as good as the dining room) and an egg station. We never ate in the alternative restaurants because Doug is a real meat and potatoes kind of guy and did not find either Menu that interesting. I was happy with the dining room for dinner and when I ordered Filet Mignon that was not on the menu they made if for me cooked exactly the way I like it. The highlight of my cruise was having the Assistant waiter asking me what I wanted for my Birthday Meal. So I asked for Steak Diane, Mashed Potatoes and veggies. For dessert I asked for a Strawberry Shortcake (Cake). I figured they would have giving me a nice mini cake instead it was a full 9 inch cake. Made with a light yellow cake with vanilla cream another layer of cake, more vanilla cream and strawberry puree toped with more cake and a strawberry Glaze. The outside parts of the cake there was toasted and shredded coconut. It was absolutely Amazing. I shared it with our Waiter, assistant waiter, Remi and some new friends I made on the cruise. Itinerary: To me this really was not that important, im not a fan of Jamaica nor Grand Cayman but did enjoy Cozumel and Key West. For me a cruise is about the spa and total relaxation. And the spa treatments were great as was my haircut and facial. Typical Steiner prices but coming from the San Francisco Bay Area not to bad price wise. This ship was beautifully maintained and I had coffee with Rolf the Captain and Cato the Vice Captain twice in the Bistro. (Excellent Mochas and free too) They were so friendly and personable. We were joking and having a great time. This is also a new experience as every other cruise I have taken I saw the Captain only during the welcome and goodbye Galas. All of the employees were professional and nice. It was like seeing family on the ship. Always friendly. The Captain said they take very good care of their employees and it shows. The employees have a party every night and all of the wait staff I spoke too loves Crystal as they only have them work 10 hour days, unlike the 12 & 14 hour days the other cruise companies have them work. I enjoyed our stateroom, with two sinks in the bathroom and a tub. (That was a first for me) Our Stewardess made sure our mini fridge always had, Coke, Sprite and Bottled water per our request. She was sweet and unobtrusive. I also enjoyed the fact that any bar you went to you could always order complementary Sodas or water. The Ice Cream Bar serves Edys which is Dryers here in California and its free. They have really good Coffee Ice Cream shakes and Cookies. The bad stuff: The only down side to the cruise is that we couldn't continue with the 10 day cruise following this one. I really did not want to leave. Now I have been Crystallized, it would be extremely difficult to go back to Celebrity. (Since all drinks including water and sodas cost extra and the food really blew Celebrity away) Wow was this experience awesome and I cannot wait to take my next Crystal Cruise. I hope this review helped anyone out there considering a Crystal Cruise. Take Care, Tim Read Less
I joined the ship in Sydney for last 20 days. Air travel involved 3 planes to Sydney, usual scenario, long lines at security, searches and of course no meals on the 2 planes from FL to LA. Hotel room in Sydney was good, hotel food rather ... Read More
I joined the ship in Sydney for last 20 days. Air travel involved 3 planes to Sydney, usual scenario, long lines at security, searches and of course no meals on the 2 planes from FL to LA. Hotel room in Sydney was good, hotel food rather poor and very expensive. Boarding was as per usual, lines and confusion. Once on the ship, a crewmember took my carry-on to escort me to my cabin. He got the deck correct but then did not know if he had to go right, left, forward or aft once he got there. I found out that he had joined Symphony only a couple of hours prior to my arrival and had never been on a Crystal ship before! Luckily I knew the ship better than he did. Once in the cabin I found my luggage waiting for me which was excellent. When I read the ship activities sheet I realized things were going to be very different on this cruise. There were 100 Full World cruisers on board and just over 200 segment cruisers. Dining was not two sittings or assigned table, but "open seating, doors open from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m." This was a bad error. With Crystal still using personal gratuity plan, the staff would be financially short at end of trip. The kitchen proved to be in chaos, since it meant that some passengers were requiring desert whilst others were just starting their appetizers. This resulted in incorrect food or badly cooked food being served up. Examples: When I cut my breakfast pancake it oozed a gooey mess of uncooked batter over my plate. An order of "link sausages and broiled tomatoes," came up as one thin sausage and one half tomato. I asked the waiter to return it to the kitchen for a bigger portion. He returned very upset, still only one sausage but they had added an extra half a tomato. I was told the kitchen "had no more sausages, that it would take half an hour to get further supplies from the storeroom and to cook them". I made do. I ordered "Fresh raspberries with ice cream" and received "Blueberries and whipped cream," and an order of "fried Oysters" came up as "Oysters Rockefeller", a side order of "Fried Onion Rings" came up as "two spoonfuls of chopped braised onions "as is usually found on a hamburger. On the French night I ordered the soufflE at 7:50 p.m. and was then informed that "the soufflE will not be served so early, you will have to wait until 8.30 p.m. for it." As I was going to the film at 8.15, I settled for vanilla ice cream. Never have I experienced such poor service from Crystal. There were other equally upsetting events. It became very obvious that the Full World cruisers regarded the ship as their own private domain, and I regret to say Crystal actually encouraged this attitude. The President of Crystal came on board for last 5 days. He held a public forum. A demand was made by a group of full world cruisers that "in future Crystal will not sell segments of this cruise, or if they do they will charge the segments buyers much higher rates than those of us buying the whole cruise, this will limit the numbers." I was horrified at this blatant and arrogant demand. I expected the President to point out that Crystal could not sail with just 100 passengers, and that segment buyers had paid their fares and had as many rights as any other passengers. He did not do so, he agreed with the demand! As a matter of interest a check of the rates will show that if there were full world cruise passengers and segment passengers from my town, the full world passengers would have received greater service and luxury than segment passengers. Full world cost for cabin E was $399 pp pd. For this they received Limo service from their home to airport, limo service from destination airport to ship, and same service on their return. They would receive "free First class" air travel. Hotel at port with Welcome dinner and party pre cruise, all gratuities paid, $1000 shipboard credit. Special parties, dinners and shore events. Just to mention a few of the "goodies." For last segment, the cost was $389 pp pd, but passenger had to make own way to gateway airport, (an extra $180 return fare by car for myself) pay own air costs ($895 economy to $4600 for business class Fl to Sydney). Bus to hotel, room was provided but no food, my dinner cost me $45. Bus to ship next day, gratuities were paid. $150 shipboard credit. From this it is clear that the full world cruise passenger a got great deal for the extra $10 pp pd to Crystal. Due to the events which happened on this cruise and in view of the attitude of the Full world contingent, together with the remarks made by the President of Crystal concerning future charges to segment passengers, I have to state that I would not recommend anyone to take this cruise unless they were going as full world passengers. rafex1@earthlink.net August 2003 Read Less
While I realize there is not a large market for world cruises, I would like to offer suggestions and comments based on our recently completed voyage on the Symphony between 1/12 and 4/27. In regards to the ship itself, all of the ... Read More
While I realize there is not a large market for world cruises, I would like to offer suggestions and comments based on our recently completed voyage on the Symphony between 1/12 and 4/27. In regards to the ship itself, all of the category A-E cabins are the same size and configuration, excluding the verandahs in cat. A-B. These all feature twin/queen size beds, 2-person sofa, desk and chair, TV with tape player, minibar, safe, adequate storage even for a world cruise, and a bath with tub/shower and twin sinks. The cat. E cabins are on the 7th and 8th decks and have obstructed view of varying degrees, with those on the 8th having in general a greater degree of obstruction, i.e. lifeboats. We were in 7088 and had about 20 % blockage by the bottom of the lifeboat, which was no problem. Our only objection was that this lifeboat was always used for tender operations, which usually meant a fair amount of noise around 06:30. Fortunately there were only a few ports that needed tenders. The 4 aft lifeboats are larger than the others and therefore always are used. The cabins between 7064-7085 are probably the best. One nice thing about the promenade deck is that it is lower than the floor level of the cabins, so that people are not on eye-level with the windows. Cat. D cabins are all on the 5th deck, which is the same level as the dining room and the usual gangplank level, so they are handy for those with walking difficulties, although there were several wheelchairs on other levels as well. Cat. C is the unobstructed cabins on deck 7. Cat. A & B are identical with B's on deck 8 and A's on deck 9. Those more forward and aft have wider verandahs. We visited people in Penthouse cabins and they are luxurious with lots of room, free mini-bar and a butler, but very expensive. The food was quite good, with 4 main entrees each night in the main dining room, plus 2 other plain fish, chicken or steak choices, plus a vegetarian dish, a pasta and an entrEe-type salad. In addition the headwaiters would perform tableside dishes and special orders, such as rack of lamb or kosher chicken, as well as desserts. There were 2 additional restaurants, Prego (Italian) and the Jade Garden (Asian). Both were excellent, especially the mushroom soup in Prego. It was suggested that a $6 tip/ person should be given. We usually had breakfast and lunch in the Lido, since it was generally faster than the dining room. However I did notice they had fresh-squeezed orange juice in the dining room, but not in the Lido. There were numerous buffets, usually on the Lido deck outside, as well as the Trident Grill, where you could get sandwiches and pizza, and a separate ice-cream bar. There was also the Bistro on the 6th deck, where you could get a late breakfast, light lunch or afternoon snack. Afternoon tea was served in the Palm Court. We started out with the late seating, but at 8:30 it was just too late, so we eventually switched to a table for 4 at the 6:15 seating, but since the ship was not full, we could come as late as 7:00 and still be out in plenty of time. Occasionally they would have a casual dinner at the Trident Grill with open seating, but the menu was limited and never changed, so we only did that 3 times. The entertainment was outstanding as a rule, with names such as Jim Nabors, Debbie Reynolds, Regis Philbin, Tommy Tune, etc, The ship's productions were good, but were repeated every segment, so one could go elsewhere. The movies were not first runs, but we did see Cider House Rules, Gladiator and Fantasia 2000 as well as others. There is a very extensive video library as well as the regular library. There were 3 fulltime pianists, 2 groups and an outstanding six-piece orchestra, so that dancing was always an option. During the day there were enrichment lectures, with such speakers as Buzz Aldrin, Irvine R. Levine, Peter Arnett and others, so that there were usually 2 and sometimes three lectures a day, plus 2 dance lesson, 3 bridge lectures, bridge games, art classes, bingo, so on and on. On the physical side, there were two heated pools, two Jacuzzis, a large gym with 7-9 treadmills, six bicycles, 6 Cybex machines and lots of free weights. The promenade deck was a quarter mile, and on 12 there were a paddle tennis court, a putting green and two golf nets plus a golf pro, offering group and individual lessons. We had 36 ports of call: three were changed, 2 because of civil unrest (Zanzibar and Ivory Coast) and one because the captain felt the harbor could not be entered safely and the tender operation would be too far out. Substitutes were obtained for all three. In addition we had an extra day in Capetown because a supply ship was slowed by an Atlantic storm. In spite of all this we managed to stay on schedule with minor juggling of the ports. The highlights we felt were Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar and the Taj Mahal, although we also enjoyed the safaris in Kenya and South Africa. We frequently either rented a car or hired a taxi with another couple to go sightseeing, although we also did many of the ship's excursions. One of the main points I would like to make is that is a better deal to go on the entire cruise rather than the segments. The total fare for the entire trip was only $1,010 more for the world cruise than the total for each segment, but for that we each got $1,000 shipboard credits, prepaid gratuities (worth more than a $1,000}, limos from home to airport, airport to hotel, hotel to ship, ship to airport and airport to home, a night's stay at the Beverly Hills Hotels with meals and a dinner-dance the night before sailing, and first-class or business class airfare, depending on your cabin grade, plus there were at least 4 special dinners aboard, invitations to the Captain's cabin, and special tours around the ship. The Captain was super and his wife, Terry, was the World Cruise Hostess and did a marvelous job. It was an eye-opener to see how many people had been on previous world cruises, with several that had been on all 5 of the prior one's with Crystal, as well as many who have been with Royal Viking and Seabourn in prior years. Most of the ship's officers and sailors were Norwegian with one Japanese, the waiters and stewardesses were European, the hotel director, maitre'd and chef all being Austrian, and the busboys and cleaning people Philippine. As mentioned above the laundrymen were Chinese. The crew was very pleasant, and were very gracious in their interactions with the guests and each other. Crystal goes to great lengths to keep them happy. All in all it was a memorable experience. Mp17706@aol.comMay, 2001 Read Less
With the current crisis around the world I was booked originally to be on the Crystal Symphony doing the East Coast of Africa to Cape Town. As the itinerary was quite dangerous Crystal changed to the West Coast of Africa concluding ... Read More
With the current crisis around the world I was booked originally to be on the Crystal Symphony doing the East Coast of Africa to Cape Town. As the itinerary was quite dangerous Crystal changed to the West Coast of Africa concluding in Cape Town. As I have been to most of the ports before this was not going to deter my making this cruise as I will not let any terrorist change my plans or frighten me from traveling. Upon arriving in Rome we were taken to Civitavecchia and boarded the ship immediately. Crystal has always had the highest security before but now they have more check points and besides the X-ray machine have portable instruments that they check all carry ons. No one is allowed on the ship without the proper identification and there are NO visitors allowed. All the ports had guards posted in front of the ship and the police were very visible. As many canceled the ship was not filled and with the Superior Crystal Service and Fabulous restaurants one felt that this was their own private yacht. The dining room had an open seating for dinner and as this is a first I loved it but because of the loss to the waiters and the cruise line I hope it never happens again. We visited great ports: Portofino, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Lisbon, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Bom Bom Island , Walvis Bay, Namibia and then Cape Town. We had 12 sea days and all the usual Crystal entertainment's as great lecturers, production shows, and the most fabulous spot Computers At Sea with the most considerate staff and the highest advance computer set up on any cruise ship. One can create their own web page and have your friends see you via the Internet while you are cruising. Having cruised on many other so called Superior Cruise Ships I can state that Crystal Cruise Line Is The Best cruise line afloat. They Are The SUPERIOR Cruise Line and all the rest are far behind. They are concerned about taking care of their passengers with the finest cuisine, entertainment, amenities, and security. No one need fear to go anywhere on a Crystal Ship. I wanted to assure anyone who is concerned about cruising in these times that having experienced this fabulous cruise they can be assured that they will be in good hands and have a fantastic time on either Crystal Harmony or Crystal Symphony. Bubbiemame@aol.com October 2001 Read Less
Crystal Symphony Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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