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18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Past experiences on Crystal have been superb. Symphony has recently been remodeled and things have changed. While it continues to be a very good cruise, there are some very evident changes. As a repeat World Cruiser, my hundreds of days ... Read More
Past experiences on Crystal have been superb. Symphony has recently been remodeled and things have changed. While it continues to be a very good cruise, there are some very evident changes. As a repeat World Cruiser, my hundreds of days aboard Crystal gives me a basis for comparison. The overall atmosphere is not as friendly. Many of the crew are top notch but the remaining leave much to be desired. The uplifting can-do spirit of the past is gone. Many of the crew look and act exhausted. Service has fallen off too. It is no longer top notch, only acceptable. Longer wait time before being approached to take orders or serve drinks and food is too frequent. The open concept of the dining room works as far as being seated. Then the wait begins. In some cases the noise is so loud that conversation is impossible. This seems to be a problem when the tables are filled with groups of 6 or 8. Adjacent tables for 2 do not have a chance. Entertainment runs the gamut - outstanding to spotty (like filler food). The production performers of dancers and singers continue to excel. Current cruise director, Shane, shines. The cruise hostess, Sarah, and special events director, Jonathan, all excel in their jobs. Food in specialty restaurants is excellent, but the Brazilian steak house is not. Here again, service is sloppy. We served ourselves from the salad/vegetable/bread bar which was good, but did not get the much bragged about meat course until we had finished everything else. Same with dessert - serve yourself but what about the coffee?? Servers are inattentive and understaffed. A good cruise at a hefty price. Perhaps it's time to try a competitor. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was interested to see if the hype around the recent dry dock was justified, it was not. Sure the new penthouses are impressive, our request for one of the new penthouse suites prior to the cruise went unanswered by Crystal, yet on the ... Read More
I was interested to see if the hype around the recent dry dock was justified, it was not. Sure the new penthouses are impressive, our request for one of the new penthouse suites prior to the cruise went unanswered by Crystal, yet on the open day there was one available for viewing, very annoying. However, the existing penthouse suite allocated was very comfortable, if a little dated, for my mother and sister. My other sister and myself were on deck five and personally I think these are great value for money, they are the same size as the much more expensive staterooms and missing a balcony isn't an issue, for me anyway. There are only a small number of these, tucked away behind reception, very private and quiet, yet very handy to MDR and one of the bars, also located on deck five. But getting back to the renovations, the new large smart TV's in every stateroom are great, with a huge variety of on demand movies, but where the old tv was there's now an ugly and unfinished "hole", they could have tidied that up way better. The renovated MDR is impressive, much quieter and more sophisticated, many more tables for two and food And service as good as ever, some dishes truly memorable. I felt sorry for the waiters, having to use a tiny device, smaller than a cell phone, to take orders, in the main they mostly got it right. The Starlite Club "reimagining " was no more than new carpet and a recovering of the same old awkward and uncomfortable chairs - a bit of a non event, the room still as tired as previously and easily the most dated public room, especially compared to Palm Court, which I personally think is the most beautiful space on any ship I have been on. Elsewhere the new spaces on the pool deck are good, the old Trident Grill area now extra smart. As usual, the staff were outstanding in all areas, cannot be faulted. Overall, a very enjoyable cruise, up to the usual standard, just don't expect too much from the "extreme makeover" Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We wanted to see as much of Australia as possible in a brief time. We also went to Tasmania, which was a bonus! Best shore excursions were in "The Bush" where we got to look around for kangaroos and koalas in the wild. Though ... Read More
We wanted to see as much of Australia as possible in a brief time. We also went to Tasmania, which was a bonus! Best shore excursions were in "The Bush" where we got to look around for kangaroos and koalas in the wild. Though I am not a big drinker, I enjoyed not having to pay attention to the drinks I was ordering and once I gleaned on to it, I enjoyed trying the "featured drink" listed on the daily newsletter. We felt the entertainment was mostly too late after days hiking around all day - but we tend to go to bed around 10:00. Our friends enjoyed the live lectures, while I preferred watching those later in our cabin. Trying different dining rooms was great, and I really enjoyed the cafe where I got specialty coffees and pastries or fruit in the mornings while my spouse cleaned up. They got to know me on a first name basis. Then I'd join my spouse and friends for a more complete breakfast later. Food was *always* varied and fantastic!! We never had to wait in line to get back on board - which we appreciated! Worst part of the trip was when our transfer didn't pick us up at the airport when we arrived. When I called the emergency number, they were disorganized and confused. After multiple "holds" they said we were in the computer, but didn't come out on the print out - so they weren't looking for and left us, which didn't help. Then they didn't know how to help us at the emergency number - said they had to wait to hear from ONE person, who wasn't answering her phone. Since this was our friends' 1st cruise - this made an unpleasant 1st impression. We were stuck in the airport baggage pickup about 2 hours on the phone with them, before we finally gave up grabbed a taxi on our own. We were later reimbursed by the concierge later on-board the ship. They also gave us ship credits to spend as a consolation. I would have still rather had the transfer without the stress. The bathrooms were pristine and I loved having both fresh laundered individual finger towels, then paper towels to open the door to leave. Exceptional! Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We booked a Sea Breeze suite on deck 9 in mid 2017. These suites were created when the ship was refurbished in October. 14 days before we were due to step on board our agent was told by Crystal that due to electrical problems the Sea ... Read More
We booked a Sea Breeze suite on deck 9 in mid 2017. These suites were created when the ship was refurbished in October. 14 days before we were due to step on board our agent was told by Crystal that due to electrical problems the Sea Breeze suites required repairs and we had been upgraded to a Penthouse Suite on Deck 10 under the pool deck. Our agent knew that after 25 years of regular cruising there are locations of a ship that we would not accept even if free. Under the pool deck is one area. Upgrade rubbish - suite size the same, fare the same and services to the suite the same. We asked if we cancelled would there be a penalty. Yes there would be no refund and read the small print we,Crystal, have the right to change the suites. We had also taken a 3 day pre cruise hotel package in Mauritius. Two days before flying out to Mauritius we checked the weather to discover the island was about to be hit with a category 3 (severe) cyclone and all air travel was cancelled to and from the island. We telephoned Crystal in Sydney and identified ourselves with the booking number etc. The voice at Crystal told us that they had no official notice of any Cyclone and they would only talk to our travel agent. Hello a cruise ship capable of holding 848 passengers heading into a cyclone forecast area and they did not know that fact. Does anyone in Crystal tell the truth? The coach from the hotel to the ship was a shambles. We arrived after 1.30 pm so lunch was not available - part of the service was suppose to be a champers lunch, which no one knew about. When we arrived on board we were told that deck 9 was closed due to flooding. Hello the ship must have great scuppers (drains) if only deck 9 was effected. When we told the Concierge that our concern with the Penthouse Suite was noise from the pool deck we were told they had never had a complaint about noise. Hello again. The now have one. For the next 14 days we had foot steps over our heads from around 7 am to 10 pm or later. Furniture was dragged across the deck. From time to time heavy trolleys trundled across the deck. At 5 pm the staff rearranged the sun lounges by moving them into position and dropping them. We complained to the Concierge and the time moved to 9 pm. When the deck was hosed down in the early hours of the morning we had the benefit of an early wake up call. On the second day we became aware that there were only 380 passengers on board, so that really explains why deck 9 was closed. The climax of the treatment we received came on day 5 when we discovered that the on board of US$1200 was not on our account. You had to spend that on board. Yes, we do read the fine print. After a meeting with the Chief Accountant it took another 2 days before the credit was put onto our account. Although the web site sets out the service to the suite we had to ask for such service each time. We only have a butler because we select the better accommodation and the butler comes with such accommodation. On the ship the Butler did not offer any service. On day one there were no canapes. Afternoon tea was never suggested etc. Service in the dining areas was initially very good but fell away in the last 7 days to poor. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I have cruised often as a solo traveller but this is the first cruise line, in my experience, that completely ignores the needs of those travelling alone. A welcome cocktail party, afternoon tea party or coffee morning to bring solos ... Read More
I have cruised often as a solo traveller but this is the first cruise line, in my experience, that completely ignores the needs of those travelling alone. A welcome cocktail party, afternoon tea party or coffee morning to bring solos together would be so simple to organise but there was nothing. The new open-seating concept in the main dining room works against solo travellers. Finding dining companions is a lottery every night. And crew are impatient. On my first night on board I wanted to dine at 8pm and, upon arrival, asked to be seated at a large table with other solos. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I should have eaten at 6.30pm as a table of singles had been available then. Refusing to be intimidated into eating alone, I told the Maitre d’ I would sit to one side and await the arrival of others and, sure enough, there were soon enough solos to fill a table but we shouldn’t have to battle 'solos discrimination' for that to happen. The speciality restaurants on board offered three evenings when solos could sit on a table together - one at 6.00pm, one at 6.30pm and one at 8.30pm. When I tried to book these a few days into the cruise, the Maitre d’ there told me I could not be fitted in and should have booked immediately upon boarding. So, 190 solo travellers on board (this number told to me by Crystal themselves) for 17 days and the solo speciality dining provision was just 3 tables for eight spread over the whole period. In fairness, I did eventually manage to eat in the speciality restaurants but why does everything have to be a battle? Is Crystal trying to tell us solos something? Another evening a fellow solo braved the Brazilian restaurant on her own and left almost in tears. She was, quite simply, ignored throughout the meal while surrounding tables were well served. She said she had never been made to feel invisible in her life before. Some of the staff and crew are a delight but there is a problem with those who fail to respect single female travellers. We have paid over the top 'single person supplements' yet we receive inferior service that occasionally verges on the offensive. ILLNESS ON BOARD I knew I was going to be ill the first time I walked the promenade deck on Christmas Eve. The air extract for the whole ship is sited on that deck (as told to me by the Front Desk) and, as I passed the outlet vents that first day, I was astounded by the sour stench being emitted. Comparing notes with other walkers later, they also smelled the foul air and told me they'd held their breath at that point on each circuit! Sure enough I picked up something evil confining me to bed with aches, pains and flu like symptoms. Nearly two weeks later I was still feeling drained with a hacking cough and chest and back pain. I tried to report my suspicions of the source of my illness and was told Crystal check the 'air conditioning' daily. Whether that includes the emissions direct to a passenger deck I was not told. I asked to see the results for the days I walked that deck but my request was denied. I was told data is not released. My request for contact details for the shore-based person who is responsible was also denied. One of the staff on the front desk felt obliged to shout over me during a long conversation when she repeated herself endlessly and continually quoted ‘Crystal Policy' as the reason she would give me no means to escalate my complaint. She wanted to keep my complaint ship-based and offered me customer services. Is that Crystal policy so that onboard problems and issues remain 'contained' and shore-based management don't get to see there's been a problem? Is there a duty log? Was my complaint even logged? If I were CEO Tom Wolber I'd put in place a method by which complaints CAN be escalated. How else will he know what is going on if he only ever receives a sanitised/edited version of events? And why is he trying to hide from the day to day reality of passengers' experiences? Incidentally, later in the cruise that foul stench had gone convincing me even more that there had been an emission problem. FOOD SAFETY A minor point but it could bring someone down with food poisoning. I refer to refilling from the front! I noticed that crew were refilling foodstuffs as they were taken so fresh produce was used to fill gaps made by passengers at the front of displays. Products to the rear were left to fester and come up to room temperature (to be taken away and chilled again?). This is poor food hygiene practice and makes one wonder what goes on behind the scenes. CHAMPAGNE This is supposed to be 6-star, all-inclusive cruising but this ship ran out of champagne almost a week before the end of the cruise! And even though we were in port for three consecutive days during that period, none was taken on board. The reason given for them running out? 'New Year's Eve!' Yes, it must have come as a total shock to Crystal that New Year's Eve has occurred during this cruise!!! Occasionally, if I spoke to the right person, a glass of champagne could be found for me but I'd have to try all the bars AND the theatre and it really was a case of pot luck. One day, miraculously, a bottle was found and offered to me to have in my cabin. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, what use is that to a sociable solo who wants to meet others over a glass of champagne at the bar? Am I to carry my own bottle around with me? 6-star? I don't think so! OK, I've got all that off my chest now and I'd hate anyone reading this to assume all was bad. It wasn't. My bed and the quality of pillows and bed linen, the food in general, the entertainment and the majority of warm and wonderful crew are all pluses. Crystal are getting a lot right but where they’re getting it wrong impacts so negatively on the whole experience. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This cruise, Symphony/ So Africa was a bucket list add on to a remarkable safari experience..As the title says the jury is still out.. Pros; beautiful ship, great staff, super spa, casino that was fun but only successful for the casino ... Read More
This cruise, Symphony/ So Africa was a bucket list add on to a remarkable safari experience..As the title says the jury is still out.. Pros; beautiful ship, great staff, super spa, casino that was fun but only successful for the casino owners HAHA. Awesome food. awesome venues for food and drink. Clergy aboard (a plus) Great evening enterainment, Good music. Several tours very good ie: 4x4 adventure in Walwis Bay. ***Now the cons--- The first night the toilet in 5024 developed an airlock. Overflowed all night and I stepped into ankle deep cold toilet water (clean???) in the am. Fortunately I was able to grab the counter and stop my fall. This overflow was corrected within the hour BUT no one called, messaged or knocked on my door to show any concern for the inconvenience.. Very poor customer relations! The activities that were available, knitting,, needlepoint, bridge were certainly not exciting Exercises and yoga were too early for me.. Gymn was usually pretty full. . Computer classes were of such a broad spectrum of ability that after feeling out of place for a couple I left. The staterooms at the edge of the Crystal reception area were very noisy, could use a door to separate Concierge desk out of earshot. Running out of champagne was inexcusable especially while So Africa has an acceptable bubbly right there. "Gentlemen Ambassadors" are a great idea but personalities should be vetted a little bit. One dinner at the solo table was enough (good dancers they might be). No solo events were provided not even a meet and greet venue. There were quite a few solos on board (poor cousins?) The ports of call were somewhat lacking in interest unless you were lined up for a tour and even then some complaints were heard. Shuttle services "into town" were disgusting as we were dropped off at substandard malls. Not even interesting malls and who wants to pay $$$ to be on a cruise that thinks a trip to a mall is appropriate.. In all it was a new experience for which I am grateful. I will cruise again and as often as my age (87) and physical condition will let me. Crystal? Maybe another try who knows but the cruise planners should do a little more planning and look a little more into their ports of call in this particular geographic area if the ships go that way again.. I see I am not alone in my comments re: solo travels Pay attention Crystal folks..Your prestigist position may diminish rapidly if cruisers note the negative comments that are on this board.. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I judge this cruise against my previous Crystal Serenity trip, a few years back. The old ship felt old despite the recent expensive makeover/dry dock. At times I thought there was an odd vibration even on deck 8 fwd. For sure when ... Read More
I judge this cruise against my previous Crystal Serenity trip, a few years back. The old ship felt old despite the recent expensive makeover/dry dock. At times I thought there was an odd vibration even on deck 8 fwd. For sure when you eat at the back of the ship on deck 11 you are likely in for movement. Staff seemed spoiled by Crystal but not the passengers. The food spend seemed way down. The Waterside (MDR) is now very attractive and perhaps over staffed, yet in 16 days I never got a decent dessert. Old "A Tour of the Galley" notes tell of 8 pastry cooks, well I never saw a decent bit of cake. Restaurants close earlier than some want so returning to the ship after paying plenty for a tour, all you could do may be join the crowd at the cramped Bistro, (popular with staff meetings from the Captain down) unfortunately this area needs redesign. Uncomfortable chairs, poor snack selection.Prego and Umi Uma also look tired now. As for our little cabin, no flower, fruit, champers, gifts, nor chocolates on boarding. We did get a single bloom twice in 16 days! The very next hotel I visited gave us all that. The tender boat ride was well done, these being large tenders. The entertainment was well put together, the Crystal dancer's and Band being excellent. Some of the bar crooners were not so good. In the bars service was shall we say tired, I tried to explain how a British champagne cocktail would go together but they were not interested. Afternoon tea was poorly served and one common tea bag was out of stock. The ship feels old and the experience has gone backwards. No matter how smart the decor nor how many staff I did not feel value and wont be returning. The new cabin TV's are huge at the foot of the bed. Plenty of movies and lectures can be viewed, but it serves no other purpose, still no menus, bill nor room service ordering. Using the old phone to room service often joined a long cue and delivery and food was poor. Despite a number of LBGT passengers at no time did Crystal welcome us with any get together. Despite the fact the award at the Crystal Society "party" for most cruises with Crystal went to a Gay couple. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Staff is wonderfully friendly and helpful. Food is amazing in variety, quantity and quality with a variety of venues and styles.The main dining room always accommodated our table preference with no/minimal wait no matter what time we ... Read More
Staff is wonderfully friendly and helpful. Food is amazing in variety, quantity and quality with a variety of venues and styles.The main dining room always accommodated our table preference with no/minimal wait no matter what time we arrived. Ship is modern, comfortable, with plenty of on-board activities and "hide-outs" for spending free time. Evening entertainment was magnificent - especially the "Rocket-Man Elton John Tribute" performance - and even the Cruise Director had a great sense of humor which he shared following each performance. Special comment about "Bluenea" jazz duo whose musical artistry at some of the the lounges was amazing. Variety of South African stops and excursions provided a broad array of experiences from very modern to very rustic. Daily briefings and tour guide yielded great insight into unique cultural perspectives for each stop. Only negatives were multiple required immigration interviews and last-day lengthy debarkation delay due to fog which caused much chaos in rearranging flights. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
The shore excursions were extremely expensive but sub-par. The exercise room is average but no one cleans or sanitizes the equipment if the guest fails to do so. Crystal installed new technology to support free wifi for everyone. ... Read More
The shore excursions were extremely expensive but sub-par. The exercise room is average but no one cleans or sanitizes the equipment if the guest fails to do so. Crystal installed new technology to support free wifi for everyone. BUT I felt that the old system worked better. It was hard to connect to the internet and we could not make phone calls in airplane mode. The food was mediocre., Prego, the Italian specialty restaurant, and Umi Uma, the Japanese specialty restaurant, are excellent. The bar/bartenders were very nice and recommended great drinks. However at waterside, it was not pleasant. We had to wait so long for our food and it was not even busy. The buffet during the day at The Marketplace is open till 1:30 for lunch which is pretty convenient if you like to take your time in the mornings. The buffet, again, is mediocre and it changes very little. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We had some luck with our second Crystal experience. A combination of special offers/incentives and some fortunate timing resulted in bonuses including return business class travel to Mauritius and returning from Cape Town (from Canada) ... Read More
We had some luck with our second Crystal experience. A combination of special offers/incentives and some fortunate timing resulted in bonuses including return business class travel to Mauritius and returning from Cape Town (from Canada) for $999 -- and a surprising last minute upgrade to the Penthouse level, with butler service and an extra-large stateroom. Then Crystal topped things off by advancing us three trips in the Crystal Society program, resulting in a milestone bonus (credited at Penthouse level) of $200 each -- meaning virtually all of our modest shipboard/excursion costs were covered. The Penthouse gave us the opportunity to experience the butler service and constantly refilled wine (we could have had spirits if we preferred) in the stateroom, plus room service from Prego when we wished it. But even if didn't have these extras (which we certainly enjoyed), the services overall aboard the ship certainly met the standards of our first experience when we travelled in an ordinary verandah stateroom. There were extra sea days because of the cancelled Madagascar stop (because of the plague there), but the shipboard enrichment/programs were truly satisfactory. We also enjoyed Hanukah services with a guest rabbi and about 30 other Jewish people, some of whom ordered the kosher food service available with preplanning. The only flaw: An unpleasant smell in the room a few days; staff certainly worked to try to resolve it. I'm not sure what caused the problem but it corrected itself by the time the voyage ended. Overall, the experience proved satisfying enough that we are planning our next journey in 2019. 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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