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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Dining in main dining room was average. However, the dining in the specialty restaurants was very good. Liked the choice of 5 dining options. High cost for tours. Best decision is to organize a private tour on Cruise Critic and use Tours ... Read More
Dining in main dining room was average. However, the dining in the specialty restaurants was very good. Liked the choice of 5 dining options. High cost for tours. Best decision is to organize a private tour on Cruise Critic and use Tours by Locals. Overall service was very good. The butler was excellent and the cabin service was very good. Prices in the shops was way out of line. No general sundry shop to purchase small items. Did not like the idea that they would not let you on the ship until noon. Other cruise lines will allow you to board early and wait in a common area until cabins are ready. Disembarkation was not satisfactory. Since we had a late flight we purchased a transfer package that included wait time in a hotel. The hotel day room supplied a minimum of snaks and drinks along with broken chairs. Probably not Crystals fault. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise based on homeport, itinerary and time of year. To add some context it was our 4th cruise this year, princess - 19 days, Holland America- 15 days and Celebrity - 12 days. Given the per diem rate and our previous ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on homeport, itinerary and time of year. To add some context it was our 4th cruise this year, princess - 19 days, Holland America- 15 days and Celebrity - 12 days. Given the per diem rate and our previous experiences on Crystal we had high expectations some of which were met and some not. Crystal exceeded our expectations in the areas of enrichment, learning and specialty restaurants. Plenty to do and see. The food and service at the sushi bar,Umi Uma, Prego was first rate as was the food. Charrascuria is a novelty, service was very good but some of the meat was tough. Silk and trident grill were great for lunch. The soloists in crystal cove and avenue saloon were very professional and enjoyable. The production shows and guest entertainers were same as any other line - we’d seen a lot of them elsewhere. Service in crystal cove, silk bar and avenue saloon was exceptional. Good job! There is self serve laundry and free wifi. All inclusive and the pours were almost too generous. Disappointments were more than we expected for a 5 or is it 6 star line. The market place buffet (only open to 1:30 daily) was just plain minimalistic, minimal choice, poorly prepared and self serve (ick) regurgitated leftovers. Better choices on all three other ships. The Waterside dining room was just awful. In the centre of the room with a low ceiling there was lest than 6 inches between tables whether it be 2 or 4. No engagement with the waitstaff, no one ever came and asked if your food was good. If you wanted a different wine other than what the sommelier had in his had it was a big ask. No flowers on the tables, no decorations at all even though it was a Christmas and New Years cruise. A little sprig of holly would have perked it up. The only cheese available for omelets were cheddar or Swiss and the only berry jam was strawberry. They used to have the best cherry jam ever. The food was inconsistent- poultry was tough and stringy, lots of veal dishes, interesting sides - not cohesive at all. Expected more elegance and finis. Suspect they are still trying to sort out open sitting but in the mean time it’s worst dining experience in a very long time. The bistro was basically ritz or water crackers and aforementioned cheese and desserts including a chocolate waterfall (self serve with lots of kids on board). There was no lido (buffet) after 1:30 pm , no dinner or afternoon snacks. Smoking was permitted in the pool area port side, on aft of decks 7,8,9,10 and in the connoisseur club on deck 6. Maybe time to rethink - couldn’t get to avenue saloon without cutting through the smoke. Depending on the wind the pool area was stinky. It could just be rethought to accommodate both the smokers and nons. In the casino, obviously a different ownership, you need3d to sign up for a card, long line, then they gave a questionnaire wanting additional personal info - trashed that. The casino was well run but drinks were scarce. Deck chair hogs - need I say more - and shade was at a premium. Our previous experiences with crystal always lead us to say it was the ultimate experience - after this trip we don’t think we will return. The value for money just wasn’t there. Not even an uptick in the quality of champagne on New Years . Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I was interested in a cruise that either left from New York or came back to that port which meant I would be home in and hour or so. I flew to Montreal and spent the first night and second day onboard, unpacked and being pampered. ... Read More
I was interested in a cruise that either left from New York or came back to that port which meant I would be home in and hour or so. I flew to Montreal and spent the first night and second day onboard, unpacked and being pampered. Crystal met me at the airport and escorted me to a waiting bus. That was a lovely touch since it was raining and the hostess carried the umbrella. The line has buses waiting for all arriving customers throughout the day leaving every half hour for the ship. Your luggage is taken at the airport and to your room within hours while you can start eating and drinking on your ship. My room was quite nice with a more than comfortable bathroom. SInce I had twin sinks, I used one in the AM and one in the PM. There is a tub shower that I really enjoyed, bathing most of the time with the luxurious ETRO products supplied by Crystal. There was more than enough space for all my things and plenty of hangers. I toured the ship and found lots of nooks to hang out in, some of which served coffee and nibbles. There is a lovely library, well stocked and just 3 shops which are open when at sea. There are 4 specialty restaurants including Silk, a wonderful Chinese restaurant that served the best hot and sour soup I've ever tasted and I eat a LOT of Chinese food! You are able to eat in the specialty restaurants 3 times during the cruise and I found Prego, the Italian, to be my favorite. There is also Umi Uma Nobu's Japanese restaurant and a lovely main dining room which serves 2 different menus at each meal. Breakfast is also served in the Market as a buffet. Fun can be had in Churrascaria, a Brazilian style restaurant where you get your salad at the bar and then after sitting down, waiters come around with skewers of meat, chicken, shrimp, pork and the tenderest lamb chops you can find anywhere. Most of the trip was fine with 2 nights of rockin' and rollin' on rough seas but that's to be expected in the north Atlantic. I saved my real raves for the entertainment which was the BEST of any I've ever had on a cruise. From the singers and dancers to the special guest stars, it was First Rate and memorable. Too many to name but needless to say, every night was a joy! Another standout for me was the lectures by General Nick Halley. He was fascinating and informative. Kudos to Crystal on that aspect of the trip. About the leaves, not the greatest but not the fault of the cruise line either. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Firstly a little bit of background. My wife and I are long time cruisers, mostly on smaller and the R8 ships. Pacific Princess and the unfortunate Adonia have been our regular choice, but in recent years have looked into alternative cruise ... Read More
Firstly a little bit of background. My wife and I are long time cruisers, mostly on smaller and the R8 ships. Pacific Princess and the unfortunate Adonia have been our regular choice, but in recent years have looked into alternative cruise lines. Windstar, Regent and now several Cruises with Oceania. Back to this review. We chose the Crystal Symphony because of the itinerary and to experience another mid sized ship. Whilst the ship is physically large the passenger count is still below 1000, which means alot of public space and larger staterooms. The décor and luxury is immediately apparent but certainly not over the top. The main dinning room Waterside, is reasonably spacious and although open dinning times we never had to wait for a table. The food was always delicious and well presented. My only comment here would be the slightly limited menu. The Market Place at lunch time has the largest and most varied salad bar we have ever encountered. This was always backed up with a large variety of meat and fish. This venu changes to a Brazilian theme in the evening, where again the choice of food is good. Uni Uma is the Japanese fusion restaurant which undoubtedly serves the finest food on the ship. Prego is the Italian speciality dining. The food was good but the whole experience was not any better than some and certainly does not compete with Oceanias version. Entertainment was average and the casino little used. As this itinerary was port intensive, deck game and lecture were not so well attended. I have not touched on the topic of crew and staff, internet, poolside etc but suffice to say they are all in keeping with a Premium targeted cruise ship. Overall impression! A Premium cruise line providing a premium experience. So why only four stars? There is a general lack of Wow factor and generally only doing what one might expect at a level that others have achieved and in some limited areas are doing slightly better. Would we choose Crystal again? Not until all the other options have been tested out Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We have gone on other Crystal cruises before and were anxious to check out the new Seabreeze Penthouses. While they are 50% larger than the standard Veranda Suites, they also cost about 50% more. The Suite was beautiful and the extra ... Read More
We have gone on other Crystal cruises before and were anxious to check out the new Seabreeze Penthouses. While they are 50% larger than the standard Veranda Suites, they also cost about 50% more. The Suite was beautiful and the extra space was fantastic. On the negative, the TV is in an awkward place, the vanity area is very tight and the lifeboat just below our balcony interfered with our view. Also, while some passengers will appreciate having a private butler, we did not see this service as a big plus. Although the refurbishment of the ship had occurred months ago, some elements were still being completed. The WiFi was being worked on and required technicians to go into all staterooms. The in-room movies were limited because they were still loading them into the new system. The food and service in Umi Uma and Prego was wonderful as usual. The service in Waterside was excellent but the menu seemed a bit uninspired. The Mozart Tea still featured waiters in period costumes and a generous selection of treats, but overall it felt less grand than it used to be. Compared to other luxury cruise lines, Crystal is still our favorite and we will be on Serenity later this year after it is refurbished. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This is my 4th Crystal cruise, my 3rd on the Symphony, and it was wonderful in so many ways. I love the Symphony, because it is luxurious but casual (I feel like I can take my shoes off and put my feet up on the couch to read), and ... Read More
This is my 4th Crystal cruise, my 3rd on the Symphony, and it was wonderful in so many ways. I love the Symphony, because it is luxurious but casual (I feel like I can take my shoes off and put my feet up on the couch to read), and carries a nice amount of passengers (about 750-ish) - not too few that I see the same people everywhere, but not too many that I feel crowded or anonymous. I was traveling solo on this cruise, but knew a few people on board from previous cruises and met several more mutual friends while on board. As I said in the title, there's been a little slippage in the food and service on the ship since its drydock, but in other ways there's been a lot of improvements since the drydock. There are 2 additional dinner restaurants on board, both of which outshine the main dining room ("Waterside") in service and food quality. Both of the new restaurants do not count towards your allotted number of included visits to specialty restaurants -- those (Umi Uma and Prego) still remain the premiere dinner spots on the ship, in my opinion. Crystal put a limit on the number of included visits to those spots several years ago (generally 2 per week) in an effort to keep people from monopolizing them, but now that there are more dining options, I wonder if they will continue to do so (extra visits beyond your allotted amount are $30 each, which is still an incredible bargain for that quality and ambience). Of the new restaurants, I particularly recommend Churrascarria, which is Lido deck aft, in the same location where the breakfast and lunch buffets are......you get views of the sunset, and excellent food. Salads, veggies, and side dishes are available as a buffet, and 6 varieties of grilled meat are brought to your table on skewers (chicken, shrimp, pork, lamb, beef). Be sure and stay for some grilled pineapple for dessert. My friends on board very much enjoyed the evening shows, but I never attended (I don't, on any cruise), but I did enjoy the musicians who played in the lounges throughout the ship. Afternoon tea is served every afternoon (even port days), and it was a good time and place for our friends to meet up to chat before dinner. Going through the Panama Canal was interesting, but I don't feel the need to do it again. As this was an August cruise, in general the ports were all hot and humid, and I stayed on board for most of them. A warning should you take a Crystal cruise that stops in Bimini: The tender to port is at least 30 minutes, so you should take that into consideration before deciding if you want to go ashore. I did not, as there wasn't much on shore I was interested in seeing, especially if it meant an hour (round trip) in a crowded tender. Service is known to be wonderful on Crystal, but this trip I found it to be lacking in several places. Some was still wonderful (restaurants other than Waterside, cabin attendant, library and computer room), but some had slipped from terrific to merely good (Lido deck) or from terrific to pretty bad (Waterside). I submitted my concerns to Crystal in their post-voyage survey, so I hope these are just growing pains that will be worked out now that there have been some significant changes since the dry dock. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We wanted to take a more relaxing trip this summer and friends highly recommended Crystal. This was our first trip although we have been on other similar ships on Regent and Silversea. The staff onboard was delightful - everyone went out ... Read More
We wanted to take a more relaxing trip this summer and friends highly recommended Crystal. This was our first trip although we have been on other similar ships on Regent and Silversea. The staff onboard was delightful - everyone went out of his way to accomodate. The public areas of ship were great. Food was good - breakfasts in particular the buffet were excellent. Dinner at the specialty restaurants was quite good. We loved all ports except Astoria which was a total waste of time. Our only complaint was the size of our cabin. We had chosen a midship veranda cabin and just found it way too small. In particular the bathroom (although it had two sinks) was exceptionally tiny. I know cruise ships never have large rooms but found this to be the smallest cruise cabin I have ever experienced. If we go on Crystal again we will have to consider when of the suites. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This is our 10th Crystal cruise so we obviously like the line. Service is very good, but little things have been taken away, from chocolates on the pillow at night to overcrowded tenders. The food is good but boring--it used to be very ... Read More
This is our 10th Crystal cruise so we obviously like the line. Service is very good, but little things have been taken away, from chocolates on the pillow at night to overcrowded tenders. The food is good but boring--it used to be very good and creative, Prego, the Italian specialty restaurant, and Umi Uma, the Japanese specialty restaurant, are excellent. The bar/bartenders are excellent, One night at Waterside, the main dining room, we spent almost an hour waiting for our food--and they were not busy, Waterside used to offer a steak option every night, now offerred less often and tasteless,The new Brazilian steakhouse provides mostly pork and the beef offerings are tasteless. The Marketplace, the buffet during the day, is open till 1:30 for lunch, but excursions often last longer and there is not a g option those days. The buffet is good, but changes little. Cabins are old and only have one USB port and one electric outlet although there are ones hidden behind the bed. For most of the day the hot water supply is insufficient, Luxury should not include a cold shower, The entertainment has improved but the lectures are now just OK, used to be great. Also there were nights with hardly any entertainment. Crystal now has a magician on board, ours was excellent. Crystal installed new technology to support free wifi for everyone. BUT the old system worked far better, we often could not connect to the internet and we could not make phone calls in airplane mode--prior trip with prior technology it all worked fine. The shore excursions remain VERY expensive and sub-par. The exercise room is average but no one wipes down the equipment if the guest fails to do so. Read Less
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I chose this trip because of the itinerary and I like all inclusive cruises. Few cruise lines go down the coast of Africa from Dubai. The food and wine were very nice, although maybe not to an extreme foodie and wine lover’s standards. ... Read More
I chose this trip because of the itinerary and I like all inclusive cruises. Few cruise lines go down the coast of Africa from Dubai. The food and wine were very nice, although maybe not to an extreme foodie and wine lover’s standards. Most people would be more than happy with the selection and food presentation. The cream soups were fabulous. Entertainment by a fairly small group of entertainers in a small venue was excellent and the speakers for the enrichment lectures were good. Unfortunately there was very little information on ports of call, but lots of history and demographic info. This was unfortunate if you wanted to know about a port and didn’t want to spend the additional cost of going on a ships tour. Speaking of ships tours, this is where Crystal was a let down. The tours seemed to be poorly planned, with many participants complaining about the tours when they returned. They were too expensive compared to the price of booking your own tour to not be top notch. In almost every port the shuttle bus seemed to only go to malls or dirty, unattractive outdoor markets. Gardens, beaches, historic areas were ignored and required taxis to see them. I would suggest that we have plenty of malls at home. Some passengers were unhappy that we did not stop in Madagascar because of the plague outbreak, but we did get an extra day in the Seychelles. This satisfied my husband and I. We liked the new unassigned dinner arrangements and made lots of new friends by eating with different people most nights. We could eat whatever time we wanted and watch the show that best matched our dinner. This is a very positive change from earlier fixed dining on crystal. The overall feeling on the cruise was a little less stuffy than on previous cruises we took on Crystal although we would love to hear some real rock and roll music. The type that does not require dancing cheek to cheek. Crystal clients idea of casual is far from what the rest of the world considers casual. Bring very nice ‘casual’ clothes with you. At least half the men wore tuxes and black suits on formal nights and all the women wore fancy cocktail outfits or long dresses. The service at meals and service from cabin attendants was very good. The rooms are of a standard size. We were not in the new upgraded rooms so the room was just like ones we have been in previously, on the small side but functional. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We booked the cruise when Egypt was on the itinerary and had 4 friends book with us. When Egypt was pulled, it was too bad Crystal did not add another day in Israel instead of wasting the time on Cyprus and Shalalah, Oman (no offense to ... Read More
We booked the cruise when Egypt was on the itinerary and had 4 friends book with us. When Egypt was pulled, it was too bad Crystal did not add another day in Israel instead of wasting the time on Cyprus and Shalalah, Oman (no offense to anyone). Regarding the ship, for the most part, well done. But it is difficult to understand how they left the option on the stateroom TVs out with respect to CC. As a result, you had to turn up the TV to hear (if you have a problem--I do) and the wall partitions with the TVs is paper thin and our neighbor could hear us and we them. The entertainment started off slowly but quickly picked up pace and was excellent as the cruise went on. Crystal's staff continues to excel and made the cruise very nice. Fix the few problems (I hope) and we'll be back. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was my 7th Crystal Cruise. We normally book Penthouse cabins on the Crystal Serenity so the Symphony, with its older staterooms, was a bit of a let down. Service was very good, as usual. Food was not as good as it usually is. There ... Read More
This was my 7th Crystal Cruise. We normally book Penthouse cabins on the Crystal Serenity so the Symphony, with its older staterooms, was a bit of a let down. Service was very good, as usual. Food was not as good as it usually is. There was more than one meal where neither my father nor I ate more than two bites of our entrees. Thank goodness for Penthouse room service from the specialty restaurants (Prego and Silk Road) or we'd gone hungry. I'd like to try other cruise lines but my dad prefers Crystal. The biggest disappointment had to do one of the excursions. For convenience, we book most of our excursions through Crystal, understanding that we pay a premium for the convenience and peace of mind. Typically a 3-4 hour tour costs $69-99 per person which I think is fair. We like active tours so we booked a very interesting and fun Me-Mover excursion in Copenhagen.It's an unusual tour, sort of like a bicycle powered by a stair master. Everyone enjoyed it immensely. The next day, we happened to walk by the tour operator's storefront again and asked the proprietor much they charge for the 3 hour tour we had just taken. He told us it costs 300 DKK which is about US $46. I was floored. Crystal had charged us $229 each. Even if you add in an extra $50/person for the 10 min shuttle ride to the bike shop where we began our tour, we felt gouged. I'd sure like to know how they justified that price. Needless to say, I won't blindly book my excursions via Crystal ever again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Loved the pampering and special attention of the wonderful staff. Although they have to, most of them were very genuine. Our head waiter worked with us each night to ensure our dietary needs were met at dinner. Did not have a bad meal. ... Read More
Loved the pampering and special attention of the wonderful staff. Although they have to, most of them were very genuine. Our head waiter worked with us each night to ensure our dietary needs were met at dinner. Did not have a bad meal. All special requests were taken care of. Wines in the main dining room were a good choice and the price of the higher end wines was very reasonable - almost retail. The room was well designed and lovely. We unpacked 3 full suitcases and still had an empty drawer! The balcony though not large was suitable(dlx. stateroom), unfortunately the weather did not permit much usage.And our room steward was very helpful with info and genuinely pleasant. Loved taking a couple of tub baths, but it was a bit tight. We only did shore excursions in St. Petersburg and they went smoothly.All ports except one had shuttle buses and that worked well. The only reason I did not give 5 stars is I think the cruise should have started a day later. Departure port Stockholm was having a national holiday so most everything was closed for 2 days, the only day we could have done Moscow on our own was thursday and the Kremlin is closed that day and Warnemunde was a sunday when stores had limited opening. I loved the Crystal experience...although a full cruise at no time did anywhere fell crowded. One tip for this itinerary==wear sneakers or laced shoes...the cobblestones are a work out! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Friends raved about Crystal and we loved the itinerary from Reykjavik to England. This cruise had no sea days and was packed with interesting ports. It was a perfect way to celebrate a 30 year wedding anniversary. We arrived late ... Read More
Friends raved about Crystal and we loved the itinerary from Reykjavik to England. This cruise had no sea days and was packed with interesting ports. It was a perfect way to celebrate a 30 year wedding anniversary. We arrived late afternoon to meet Symphony in Reykjavik harbor. Our exploration of Iceland in a rental car convinced us that driving requires more time than expected, so we opted to miss the first evening's dinner and drove off to the Fontana spa for a wonderful adventure. Every other evening was spent on the ship and we loved it. Food and entertainment exceeded our very high expectations each night. Symphony is a wonderful ship. It is well arranged and spacious enough that a full load of passengers won't ever feel very crowded. Service is great and the ship is kept "crystal" clean. We were impressed with how well the ship performed in very rough seas. A quick comment about the food is in order. The dining room and two specialty restaurants are wold class. They rival the best restaurants in major cities. The food options elsewhere on the ship were somewhat mixed. There were many choices at the Lido buffet, but the offerings were too often lukewarm or cold. We also had a couple of mediocre breakfasts in the dining room. A second cup of coffee was sometimes easy but sometimes difficult. By contracts, the Bistro Cafe was always terrific. There were usually wonderful espresso drinks, service, and snack selections at that location. Also, Symphony will be greatly improved by tech and decor updates this October. I would definitely cruise on her again after the next dry dock refurbishment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Chose this cruise as a friend (a Crystal novice) was interested in seeing what the excitement is about...her room was on the same deck but opposite side so we were close by but not running into each other constantly. Did our own version ... Read More
Chose this cruise as a friend (a Crystal novice) was interested in seeing what the excitement is about...her room was on the same deck but opposite side so we were close by but not running into each other constantly. Did our own version of shore excursions: using a combination of public transportation and ship supplied shuttles, mapping out our potential routes in advance. Saw a lot of New York in little time, same true of Boston (a very short duration--are their dock fees too high?) and had no complaints about the tender services in Bar Harbor or Newport. Easy to maneuver. Service continues to be the major Crystal distinction. Wonder how the prices will fare with the announced ship revisions and associated decrease in the number of cabins. Will welcome a complete revision to the tedious and dated dinner time and assigned table model which has been slowly disappearing. Lido deck evening options? I'm all for that! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I chose this trip because of the abundance of sea days, which are my favourite. The ship is showing some age and looking a little worn in its finishes and decor, but I don't mind -- to me, there are far more important things to make ... Read More
I chose this trip because of the abundance of sea days, which are my favourite. The ship is showing some age and looking a little worn in its finishes and decor, but I don't mind -- to me, there are far more important things to make a great cruise. My cabin was a window cabin with a partially obstructed view, but the obstruction was truly minimal. Crystal is known for having some of the smallest cabins among the luxury lines, but I found it had more than enough space for my 2.5 week cruise, and I know had there been two of us in the cabin the storage space still would have been enough. I don't know why there's a tub rather than a walk in shower, and I don't see a need for double sinks, but those are likely personal preferences. Also personal is the opinion of the food.......in my opinion, the food was terrific, ranging from very good to outstanding (particularly excellent in the two specialty restaurants). I didn't attend the evening entertainment, with the exception of the Dixieland Jazz performance, so I can't comment other than to say other passengers seemed to enjoy it. My shipboard routine is to do as little as possible other than relax, though I did take part in the daily trivia contests. I heard some of the lectures on the television in my cabin later, and they were interesting and in a bunch of different subjects. One of the nicest things about being aboard is the calm atmosphere and lack of interruptions: There are no announcements other than a daily status update, and no sales pitches or other things to distract from the relaxation available. I love walking the promenade or laying on the Lido deck with a book or puzzle as the ocean drifts by. \ The ship is showing its age, but there's a major refit due in the fall. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
chose the tour for Bali and Singapore. The good news: The food was superb, our sommerlier Mladen and Maitre D' Mario made the general seating dining a delight. The entertainment was a little old school but fun. The bars and ... Read More
chose the tour for Bali and Singapore. The good news: The food was superb, our sommerlier Mladen and Maitre D' Mario made the general seating dining a delight. The entertainment was a little old school but fun. The bars and nooks were great. It made us feel that we were frequenting our own little neighbourhood. We stayed in Ubud in Bali doing our own touring with the Safest Driver in Bali's driver. We loved our tour, our dinners, our experiences. We enjoyed Komodo Island. Brunei was a slice of life. Malaysia had an interesting mountain tour. Singapore is dazzling and fun. The bad: The ship boarding process was disappointing. There was no-one at the car park to direct us and welcome us (We've done Oceania in the past and you were passed from one warm greeting to another). Hence a bit of confusion finding our debarkation point. It was a dodgy gangplank. The ship's rooms are small (we had a balcony on the 9th floor just below the penthouse level) and had the whole ambience was 80s nostalgia. We understand at the end of this cruise the entire ship is in for refurbishing. There were 2 designated sittings. This created a sense of chaos of the first night - it wasn't dining, it was feeding. We spoke with Mario and thereafter we ate between the two sittings and it was divine. Our waitors and sommelier Mladen were relaxed and capable and we loved every meal and enjoyed a wonderful wine experience. The gym is too small for classes - I worried that weights being used by individuals may be a threat to class members. The port days needed work: Komodo island could have been tightened up; the snorkeling in the Philippines was dodgy and there were no flippers, the descent off the boat was hampered by lines that could have been unsafe, a lot of unhappy people, but the beach we ultimately ended up at was beautfiul; Rombon is a poor island - thought should be given to working with the community to organize an event that would benefit it and engage the visitors - something with the schools?; Brunei day tour dragged - 1/2 day was sufficient to see the main buildings and then perhaps an experience that deepened the appreciation of the museum. singapore we did our own thing and had some amazing walking tours and experiences. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Crystal Symphony cruise departing on January 5, 2017 I chose the cruise for two reasons. One was the ports of call and the area that the cruise was visiting. The other was the fact that it was a bridge cruise and I wanted to but ... Read More
Crystal Symphony cruise departing on January 5, 2017 I chose the cruise for two reasons. One was the ports of call and the area that the cruise was visiting. The other was the fact that it was a bridge cruise and I wanted to but participate in playing bridge and learning bridge I loved the luxury of the cruise. The service was excellent especially the young lady who took after me in my room when I was sick for a few days. The food actually was not up to my measure I guess because I really don't like complicated foods and very often I would order something that did not meet my expectations All in all I would cruise with Crystal again. It is nice to be taken care of and envjoy and such luxury The two is provided by the crews were excellent and certainly meant by expectations, they were well organized and well thought out . My only criticism and it is a serious one is that when I had my hair washed and blown out I was offered a little special conditioner and a teeny tiny tube. I was told that they wash and blow out what's going to cost me $43. When they showed me the bill they had added an extra $76 for this exceedingly tiny little tube of something. I should have complained but it was the last day of the cruise and I didn't have the opportunity. However I I will send a letter to the cruise company because I thought this was an out rages rip off Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose this cruise on Crystal Symphony because it would take us from San Diego to Auckland in time to visit family in New Zealand for the holidays. The first leg was a film and theater theme and took us to Papeete. This segment was at ... Read More
We chose this cruise on Crystal Symphony because it would take us from San Diego to Auckland in time to visit family in New Zealand for the holidays. The first leg was a film and theater theme and took us to Papeete. This segment was at capacity. The second leg was food and wine and was only half full. On the first leg, the dining room was always full and a bit noisy but the service did not lag. There are enough public spaces that, even at capacity the ship does not feel crowded. For the Christmas season, the ship was very nicely decorated with Santa’s, trees, elves and nutcrackers in abundance. We took most of our dinners in the main dining room and found the food in quality and choice to be excellent, as was the service. We also dined once on each segment in Silk Road and Prego. These meals were superb as was the service. We had several lunches at the Trident Grill. A toasted ham and cheese sandwich for one lunch was less than satisfactory. It gave the impression of being production line product that was pulled out, unwrapped and toasted. Other than that, the Grill food was satisfactory.. Breakfasts in the Lido Grill were fine with a large selection from the buffet and we discovered the person who had access to the berries (in a drawer behind the serving line). The Grand Buffet lunch in each segment was a great showing of the prowess of the chef and culinary staff. There was one issue we experienced with wine. When we boarded and went to our first lunch, my wife asked for a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (her favorite) and the wine steward said there was none on board and had not been on board for three years. She settled for a French SB. However, the second night at dinner we learned that there was an Ara Marlborough SB carried for the dining room and had been for sometime. We could not understand why the first wine steward was ill-informed. When we called room service to have a bottle sent to our stateroom, we were informed that Ara was only available in the DR and could not be sent via room service. We found this strange for an all inclusive cruise line, especially as the Ara was not a premium wine. Service at all levels was excellent - dining room staff, bar staff, and stateroom attendant. Before dinner, we found a glass of wine in the Avenue Saloon to be quite nice and this venue was never crowded. Palm court was also a great venue and we were impressed by the Mozart Tea served there. The on-board entertainment was excellent. Dr Sobey’s lectures on the ocean and Dr Sowell on the history and culture of the various islands we were to visit were very informative and enjoyable. The iMovie course by Kerry Merrick and Dina Sterr was fantastic and I now use the skills I learned to capture pleasant memories of this cruise. My wife also learned knitting from the on-board knitting instructors. The Magic Castle at Sea shows (one per each segment) were amazing especially because the venue was the intimate Avenue Saloon and even being so close to the action did not permit us to crack the slight of hand. Cooking demonstrations were not so successful as there is not a convenient venue for these and the Galaxy Lounge stage elevated the chef above the audience. The port guides for each stop were very useful with maps and information. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose Chrystal Symphony because of recommendations by friends who had been in Crystal cruises before. Negative experience with disembarkation: we were assigned to Orange 1, and left the ship at 7am. When we arrived at the Venice ... Read More
We chose Chrystal Symphony because of recommendations by friends who had been in Crystal cruises before. Negative experience with disembarkation: we were assigned to Orange 1, and left the ship at 7am. When we arrived at the Venice airport, we had to wait for about 15-20 min for our luggage to arrive. We were told there were misunderstandings regarding the transportation of our luggage (which were collected at 10pm on the previous evening). This should not have happened. The stateroom is well equipped. However, the bathroom washbasins are way too small. Perhaps installing one bigger washbasin instead of two will be better. This suggestion is for your newer ships. We're quite happy with the experiences going ashore: when we leave the ship and when we return to the ship. The staff have been quite courteous and helpful. We're also quite happy with the entertainment: particularly the comedian Jon Courtenay. It will be useful to have a Chinese specialty restaurant. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our fourth cruise within three years having previously sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, and Princess. We are a couple in our mid-thirties. We chose this cruise because it fitted in with times we could both take holiday, ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise within three years having previously sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, and Princess. We are a couple in our mid-thirties. We chose this cruise because it fitted in with times we could both take holiday, left from a UK port, and was going to places we hadn't been before (in France) - a final important check\consideration was that Crystal was reasonably well rated well by recent passengers. The ship was in superb condition, arguably better than younger ships; everything was polished, clean, and in 'close to new' condition. A fairly small ship by today's standard we found it to our advantageous as it cut down unnecessary time walking between different venues. A similar size to Ryndham (Holland America) however a key difference we observed was that it never felt crowded on Symphony, in fact it was the least crowded ship we've sailed on yet. There are potentially two reasons for this; either it was undersubscribed (possibly because people concerned about terrorism), or the age of the passengers meant they slept a lot or otherwise entertained themselves - possibly a bit of both. We stayed in cabin 7087, which is the E1 category with a limited view, for which I've written a separate review in the cabin section (and hopefully it will let me upload a photo so you can judge the level of obstruction for yourself). Dining; breakfast was very good and we always ate it in the Lido cafe (I think you could also go to main dining room). I like healthy breakfasts and wasn't disappointed as there were a lot of tasty options including birchers, smoothies, yoghurts, fruit, as well as the usual eggs, sausages, beans, bacon (for less health conscious people). I was very happy with the variety of juice on offer, and had fresh carrot juice almost every day - while other cruise lines have also offered variety of juice, other than fresh orange, it's always been from the carton, so this was a step up for me. Lunch was also very good with a reasonable variety of food, and different things served each day so we didn't get fed up with the same thing, and again we opted to eat lunch in the Lido cafe. Dinner was reasonable to excellent - the three courses in the main dining room were to a good standard, we also ate in both of the specialty restaurants (at no extra charge) and found them both (Japanese & Italian) excellent even though I don't eat sushi (luckily there were other options at the Japanese restaurant). The Italian restaurant Prego was my favourite though, and it's the first time I've ever been served soup within a bowl made of bread (maybe I've led to sheltered a life!). Besides these dining options there are also other smaller venues where you can grab a sandwich, burger, or cakes depending on your fancy - these places were never crowded. As Crystal is all inclusive, all drinks are free unless you order something really special (I'm not sure what as I ordered anything I liked and was never charged). There are a number of bars you can get drinks from (also available when dining or lounging by pool) and staff are very available to take your order and will even walk to a different bar for you if the one your at doesn't make that kind of drink. As well as my juices I had a number of cocktails, mocktails, beers, wines, and penacolada's (apology for the spelling?!), and I saw a lot of other passengers enjoying copious amounts of what looked like champagne. Entertainment was low key, the main show entertainers were really good performers though they are only on for 45 minutes a night and generally do a bit of singing and dancing which while excellent, I would have liked to see a proper full musical play (even a mini one) instead of just excerpts of musical plays. That said though, it was good enough to go back to each night as they did mix\change it up so it didn't get repetitive. There was also a magician on board however you needed to book to see him which we didn't so I can't whinge about that as my own fault. The rest of the entertainment consisted of people playing piano, some big band playing, some jazz, and a bit of pop music from different era's - nice and pleasant to listen to while having a drink but all fairly laid back. Activities consisted of some lectures (mostly UK monarchy and WWII), knitting / needlework classes, how to use your ipad, and some other things I can't recall. All said and done, there wasn't much going on and to be honest given the age demographic I don't think there was a lot of demand for much to be going on. For myself this was a bit disappointing but I can't complain too much as I knew the activities would likely be tailored towards the older generation. For information, about 95% of guests are probably in bed by 10 pm - the upside is you'll always find a seat and ready waiters in any bar around the ship!! In fact I think a lot of the staff seemed underused so it really was very quick service in all respects no matter what the time of day. Our ports of call were; Tilbury (we live in London so no point discussing this), Honfleur, St Peter's Port, St Malo, and Bordeaux. Honfleur was quaint and lovely, St Malo was amazing and I wish we could have stayed overnight (as well as going around the city we also went swimming in the sea). St Peter's Port was a bit boring but perhaps that's because I'm British and it wasn't so novel to me as I may be to an American. We got the plane back to UK from Bordeaux so can't comment on it - though I have stayed there a week once in a chateau which was refreshing. The age demographic is slightly older than other cruises we've been on, I'd say 97% of passengers were over 60, I'd guess the average may be around 70. That said they certainly weren't geriatric and there were almost no zimerframes in sight, they were mostly pleasant to talk to - even the ones voting for Donald Trump. Although we are in our 30's we were looking for a laid back \ lazy holiday as our last one was a tour of Iceland in a rented motorhome followed by a week in New York, so we were not objectionable to the pace of life on board as we felt like being less active than our previous holiday. The library was well stocked with DVDs including some very recent releases. There was also a cinema on board though we didn't take the opportunity to use it. Worth a mention is that this is the first cruise where they didn't try and sell us art, jewellery, or pointless crap they we don't want and don't need, in fact the shops were barely open at all - quite refreshing! All in all, a good cruise, and recommended to those who want a laid back holiday and be able to order whatever food and drink they like without thinking about the cost or tipping. I would go again if in a similar mood and I liked the ports of call. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The food was amazing each dish was a beautiful creation. The staff was kind accommodating and always ready to say yes. The entertainment was mundane except for the piano bars which were great. Perfect cruise foe eating and ... Read More
The food was amazing each dish was a beautiful creation. The staff was kind accommodating and always ready to say yes. The entertainment was mundane except for the piano bars which were great. Perfect cruise foe eating and drinking. If you have trouble walking beware. They do not accommodate , at least they didn't for me. I ended up missing activities because I couldn't get from my room to the event. I had asked for a handicapped room, not available, then asked for a room close to the elevator, it didn't happen. Confirm which cabin you're getting and where it is located., even thou I paid for a balcony no effort was made to make it easier. If you go just walk slowly and eat a lot I was disappointed that no food or entertainment was related to the part of the world we were in. but the food was so wonderful that it wasn't a big deal. 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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