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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
During the last few years we have cruised on Viking, Oceania and now Crystal and having compared these cruises I can readily say that Crystal is by far the best. All of the ships are very similar in size and number of passengers, about ... Read More
During the last few years we have cruised on Viking, Oceania and now Crystal and having compared these cruises I can readily say that Crystal is by far the best. All of the ships are very similar in size and number of passengers, about 850. The difference is the amenities, service and food service. Crystal had excellent entertainment and lecturers who spoke about the what we would see and do on the trip and excursions. All of the excursions were excellent and on all excursions a crew member from the ship also went. All of the meals and food service was excellent and you can order just about anything even if it is not on the menus. The difference between Crystal and the other cruise lines is like comparing a Toyota Camry to a BMW. Both will get you to your destination but the BMW will get you there in a much more luxurious manner. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Going from Vancouver to Anchorage, we travelled on the Crystal Symphony departing June 30, 2019. We also took a post-cruise tour of Denali National Park. This review describes the ship, the journey, the excursions etc. Please know: ... Read More
Going from Vancouver to Anchorage, we travelled on the Crystal Symphony departing June 30, 2019. We also took a post-cruise tour of Denali National Park. This review describes the ship, the journey, the excursions etc. Please know: I will not barter a good review for a better room, for a lower price on anything, or for a refund intended to compensate me for poor quality products or services. I WILL disclose when a refund is made or a good price is given. My reviews are as honest as I can make them. Please know that I am extremely particular and notice small details others do not, so my review is both more thorough and more negative than most people's. This was a thoroughly delightful voyage. Our stateroom was a Penthouse Suite, code PS, with butler service. The room was quite large. It included a king bed, an ample sitting area with sofa, chair and cocktail table, small bar and double-hung walk-in closet with a built-in chest of drawers. The refrigerator was stocked with drinks. There was an ample supply of bottled water. The decor was contemporary, in teals, taupe and ivory, very tasteful. The bright and attractive white tile bath has double sinks, a toilet, bidet, stall shower and jacuzzi tub with European shower. There is plenty of drawer and shelf space in the bathroom. QUIBBLES here though: The bathroom lighting is inadequate for either shaving or applying makeup. There is only one outlet. It is only for a shaver. There is a wall-mounted hair dryer, but it is weak. We used the well-lit desk for shaving, hair styling and putting on makeup. There are several outlets at the desk for charging. No outlets at bedside. If you use your phone in bed before falling asleep, you must get up and cross the room to plug it in to charge if you want it to be charged when you wake up. Our butler, Greg was very helpful in answering our questions. He made sure we had a tempting fresh fruit plate, candy and hors d'oeuvres daily. He noticed we ate more tangerines than other fruit and, without our requesting it, started giving us extra tangerines each day. We had all the champagne and wine we could have wished for. Greg accommodated our allergy and dietary needs easily. He is personable without being obsequious. The ship has many lively public spaces and numerous restaurants described in their own literature. We enjoyed the Japanese and Italian restaurants the most. All of the restaurants and food options were excellent, and for the most part, even better than the descriptions of them in Crystal's literature. The reception area on Deck 5 midship is a dramatic and inviting two story atrium. The ceiling is stained glass and there is a long curved single staircase. The area includes a bar and buffet always stocked with ample snacks and sweets. A violinist played every day in the reception area. It was a great place to sit, have a bite or a drink and relax. QUIBBLE The bronzed statue of dancers in the reception area is extremely kitschy, at odds with the tasteful decor elsewhere throughout the ship. The Palm Court is a cool quiet room where tea is served daily while live music is played. This is a peaceful place to sit and watch the mountains rush by the large picture windows. Don't miss the Mozart tea which is much more elaborate with a stunning buffet. On the pool deck, we liked sitting on a deck chair to watch the ship float past the endless parade of wonders that is Alaska. There were cozy wool plaid blankets provided. Entertainment: The quality of singers, dancers and comedians was far better than that on the other cruise lines we've used. Elio Pace is a fantastic singer and all-around showman. Jimmy Travis is a great comedian and singer. We went to see him 4 times (!!) which is very unlike us. The house band and light man were excellent. The Crystal song-and-dance troupe performed a medley of songs and dances from Broadway musicals which was top-notch. Much better than the entertainment on other cruise lines we have used. CRUISE PORTS, EXCURSIONS VIEWS: Each port was interesting, and the excursions were fun, educational, and conducted with efficiency and professionalism. Not all the excursions we took were labelled Crystal Excursions, though many were. In Ketchikan we took the Wilderness Cruise with Rainforest Adventure. We boated to a small undeveloped island or peninsula and took an easy hike partly up a hill and steps. The forest consisted of evergreen trees and smelled lovely. It was beautiful and quiet. We saw a large (5 or more inch) banana slug and a leopard slug. Our guide was informative and very cordial. We enjoyed being in the Alaskan woods. Ketchikan is a charming little town with a picturesque rushing creek and waterfall. It is the best place to buy a totem pole. They had the broadest selection, and the totem poles were not priced any higher than in other towns. I believe most totem poles sold throughout Alaska are made in Ketchikan. In Hoonah I ziplined on the world's longest zipline. I glided smoothly over a gorgeous forest with a view of the water and t(iny cruise ship far ahead below me. 90 seconds of BLISS. (I am not usually adventurous ,nor am I in good shape. I am a bit overweight and typically sedentary.) We also went to a woodsy part of Chichagoff Island, where we saw a bear, red-headed woodpecker and bald eagle near a pretty river. In Juneau we took the Mendenhall Glaciet and Whale-watching tour. We saw whales breaching. We also saw their flukes and spouts. It was wonderful. Then we were driven to the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier. It was gradually melting into a pretty lake. There was a tall waterfall there as well. The walk through the woods to the waterfall was very uplifting. Sitka was also a great place to watch whales. We took a small boat excursion called the Sitka Marine Adventure. Our pilot was Sonny. He was extremely competent. We saw a sea otter as well as whales. Sitka is THE place to buy Russian products. I bought three stunning sets of nesting dolls, in Russian, "matroyshkas." If you are a collector, you will be in heaven here. Besides the very high-quality collectible nesting dolls, there are plenty of less-expensive sets to buy as souvenirs. Nowhere else stocked the quality and quantity of nesting dolls we saw here. We saw one 50-doll set priced at over $1000. The stores carried loads of other Russian products as well. Haines: The town is tiny and of little interest. What made this port worthwhile was our excursion by jet boat to a remote area, the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve where we saw eagles as well as a mother and baby moose. The scenery was, again, breathtakingly beautiful, mountains swathed in a thousand shades of green plunge into the flowing waters. Small islands of trees and brush drift by. Our guide stopped the boat for us to relish the rare quality of the silence as we sat surrounded by the green mountains, still water and azure skies. Cruise Tracy and Endicott Arms Glacier Viewing. Skagway. We helicoptered to a glacier and landed there. The ride took us through a breathtaking fjord. Flying in the helicopter and viewing Alaska's mountains and waters from above was well worth the time and money we invested. The glacier was fascinating with it's blue ice, rushing rivulets and crevasses--all surrounded by soaring mountains. Hubbard Glacier was viewed from the ship. It was magnificent. We saw it calve and heard it thunder as it moved. We were only about a quarter mile from the glacier. Post Cruise program which includes Denali, Girdwood and Talkeetna: The Excursion personnel on board the Crystal Symphony couldn't answer questions about the logistics of the post-cruise tour. Furthermore, they were unable to provide information about excursions during the post-cruise tour. We finally received a very general written summary ONE DAY BEFORE departure. When the post-cruise tour did begin, however, we were impressed with the high quality of the guide, driver and bus. Our guide was eponymously named Crystal! Our driver was Steve. The bus had an immaculately clean restroom. No sink, just hand sanitizer. The drive took us through breathtaking mountains and past idyllically exquisite lakes. Alyeska Hotel: There is often a 15 minute wait to get a table for breakfast! Allow time. The hotel has a beautiful dinner restaurant, Seven Glaciers. It is on top of a mountain. The Aleyska Resort Aerial Tramway takes you up from the hotel. Denali Park. This bus tour was excellent. Almost no private vehicles are allowed in the park, so a bus tour is the way to go. The scenery was as stunning and varied as one would expect. Wilderness Express Dome Rail Car. Denali to Talkeetna. Great experience, A trip back in time, riding the rails past mountains and lakes, over creeks. The transparent dome of the upper level car provided great viewing. We also had a delicious meal in the elegant dining car. There were even live flowers in a vase on each table. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This is are 9th cruise with Crystal and remained an excellent experience. Food entertainment were excellent as always. Being recognized by the crew is always a nice touch. We cruise from July 2nd to 14th and did the post cruise Alaska ... Read More
This is are 9th cruise with Crystal and remained an excellent experience. Food entertainment were excellent as always. Being recognized by the crew is always a nice touch. We cruise from July 2nd to 14th and did the post cruise Alaska adventure. The ship was only 2/3 occupied which meant even more attention. I believe leaving the ship in Seward which requires a 3 hour bus ride to Anchorage discourages some travelers. It is ideal to do the Alaska adventure post cruise. Although it is expensive I believe you “do get which she pay for” and if it is affordable is definitely the way to go.. Again a wonderful experience and I believe Crystal remains the best of the best. I do believe the best value is to obtain a cabin on the 8th deck avoiding those cabinets that have an obstructed view. The vintage room is an added expense but offers a special menu and some excellent wine choices. The Swan court remains a wonderful escape to have a beverage between the shows. The entertainment is certainly cleared for a mature audience but clearly separates Crystal from its competitors Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I am a Diamond member of RCCL, have recently tried a few newer Carnival ships, have sailed on one Silver Sea, have tried a few NCL and Costa, and have been on a small line whose name I don't even remember...and by far, this was the ... Read More
I am a Diamond member of RCCL, have recently tried a few newer Carnival ships, have sailed on one Silver Sea, have tried a few NCL and Costa, and have been on a small line whose name I don't even remember...and by far, this was the most amazing cruise I have ever experienced! The ship is beautiful! The service is beyond compare! The food was delicious! Most importantly, the people were incredibly friendly. This last one surprised me a bit, and I can't say for sure if it was specifically this sailing or typical for Crystal...but I do get the impression it is the latter (and I plan to find out for sure by sailing Crystal more often and as soon as possible!). Some of the things that impressed me the most (in no particular order): • No Smoking! Absolutely no smoking on board (with the exception of a contained cigar room and one small obscure area outside). • Cleanest casino I have ever seen (without smoke and no ashtrays). • Speaking of the Casino, best craps game I enjoyed in a very long time (with no crazy bonus bets slowing down the action). • Amazing drinks! There was an extensive martini menu and about 16 different gin & tonic combinations that you just can't experience anywhere else (and of course, being all-inclusive it is so much fun to try new drinks). The drink of the day on Canada Day was a maple martini, with a maple leaf stenciled on top in cinnamon. • Enrichment activities were so interesting and fun. I enjoyed historical lectures about the area we were cruising (Alaska) by Dr. Jay Wolfe. I learned how to improve my iPhone photography. I especially loved the watercolor painting class offered on each sea day (with a guest exhibition at the end of the cruise). • Waiters circulating with different hors d'oeuvres each evening, as most everyone gathered and mingled in one of two amazing cocktail lounges, both with very nice music (piano player, violinist, and/or vocal duo). • One complementary reservation at each of two specialty restaurants made dining such a diverse wonderful experience (while the main dining room was delightful as well). The "anytime dining" in the main dining room actually worked well for us. I usually prefer sitting with others rather than just my husband and I...but because we interacted with other guests all day, it was nice to just sit by the window in a table for two for dinner. • Entertainment! The production shows were amazing. The lounge musicians were delightful. And the Piano Player in the Avenue Saloon was the highlight of the evening each night for my husband. • No lines or crowds! At any time. Ever. Not at embarkation. Not at debarkation. Not at any lounge or activity. Not at the breakfast buffet. I can summarize the experience by saying that I felt like I was on a yacht being pampered, but with the friendliest down-to-earth fellow passengers; and that there were lots of interesting things to do, but at a much more relaxed pace than the frantic pace I feel on other lines. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my first Crystal Cruise and my second ocean cruise. I was charmed and amazed by the lovely ship (Crystal Symphony) and especially the service. I couldn't sit down anywhere without someone popping up within the minute asking ... Read More
This was my first Crystal Cruise and my second ocean cruise. I was charmed and amazed by the lovely ship (Crystal Symphony) and especially the service. I couldn't sit down anywhere without someone popping up within the minute asking if they could bring me something. The pool deck (Deck 11) was blissfully uncrowded with comfortable seating and plenty of throws to wrap up in on a cold day (and this was a cold, windy cruise to the Pacific Northwest). Nice place to read a book and look out over the water. The service at the Marketplace buffet on the Lido deck was swift and attentive. My husband has a hard time walking, and a waiter or waitress was always on hand to carry his plates to our table. I liked that during lunch, you could carry your food anywhere on that deck (the grill, the Silk restaurant when it wasn't serving, basically any table you saw) and eat there. No one chased us back into the Marketplace eating area but waited on us where we were. Food was good, and the desserts tempted me a long way off my diet. Another thing I loved about dining on this ship--you can have anything you want, you have only to ask. One day at lunch in the Waterside dining room, I craved a sandwich, but didn't want the one on the menu. The waiter was happy to recommend another not listed and brought it to me quickly (and it was good). The public spaces on the ship are bright, airy, and relaxing. I found myself heading for the Bistro (coffee bar) on Deck 6 every afternoon for a pot of tea a scone or cold cuts (or both), to read a bit and relax. I attended one tea in the Palm Court (the Mozart tea), which had a full buffet of pastries and cakes. It was crowded that day, as it is the most popular tea of the voyage. The Library: Not many people review the library I imagine, but it is a book lover's dream. Shelves upon shelves of books of all subjects and fiction genres, plus niches to listen to audio books or just to read. They have a "swap" shelf where you can leave whatever book you brought with you and grab another. Just don't forget to return your library book, because the fines are high (understandably so--hardback books are expensive). Fitness Center: The fitness center, while small, has treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bicycles, and a rowing machine. Plus four or five weight machines that were multifaceted (worked more than one muscle group). I was pleased to see so many free weights from light to heavy, plus kettle weights, medicine balls, and exercise balls. I could replicate my usual workouts exactly. I took a few of the free classes with the fitness director who was very good at keeping the exercises easy for beginners but explained how to make them more advanced for those who were longtime exercisers. She was patient, friendly, and encouraging. The center offered personal training (for a fee), though I was too busy to sign up. Spa: Easily fit me in for appointments. I had my hair cut and got a massage. The massage was last minute on the last day, and they slid me in without a problem. Excellent massage--one of the best I've had. (Note, the spa is an extra fee, and they automatically add 18% gratuity.) Cabin: While small, it was comfortable and nice. The bathroom, while again small, had new fixtures, plenty of hot water, and best of all, lots of large towels. Anytime we needed something extra or when our TV remote stopped working, someone was there within 10 minutes to help us out. Voyage overall: I had been to some of the ports of call before (Seattle, San Francisco), but we found plenty to do. I did not take any of the excursions, because we booked this cruise at the last minute, and any that looked interesting to us were already sold out. I didn't mind, because I prefer to sightsee on my own anyway. Easy to call an Uber or taxi and head to whatever we wanted to do. Recommendations: San Francisco: Legion of Honor Museum, a branch of the SF Art museum. Beautiful place with amazing collection. It lies on the western edge of the city in Lincoln Park near Land's End. Worth the trip. Seattle: MoPop museum. Especially for music lovers and sci fi lovers! Right next to the Space Needle and the Chihuly Glass garden. Astoria: Columbia River Maritime Museum. Small but intense, full of information. I did not do the river walk or the trolley along the river walk, but I would do that on my next visit. Victoria: Tea at the Empress, of course. If you like dollhouses or miniatures, Miniature World museum right around the corner from the Empress. A fascinating collection of miniatures and dioramas. Well done. Butchart Gardens: While crowded that day, a beautiful not-to-miss botanical garden. Roses were in full bloom. A taxi is a must for that. (The free shuttle from the Symphony took us right to the Empress hotel). Overall, I loved this brief vacation on a very relaxing and surprisingly uncrowded ship. The lecturers were great too, as was the new show the Crystal singers and dancers debuted. I like the smaller ship experience--lack of noise, little stress, no lines (I rarely, rarely stood in a line on this ship). I felt like I was truly on a *ship*, not a condo block with a shopping mall that happened to be floating. I highly recommend the Crystal Symphony. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We're a couple of a certain age. Second Crystal cruise, dozens of other cruises over the decades. Our cruise Beijing to Hong Kong in 2015 was my favorite cruise ever. Cabin: Outside ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We're a couple of a certain age. Second Crystal cruise, dozens of other cruises over the decades. Our cruise Beijing to Hong Kong in 2015 was my favorite cruise ever. Cabin: Outside window on deck 7. Balconies were all booked when we signed up. No upsell offer unlike last time. Cabin was clean and well taken care of. Ship must have sailed full, but nothing was crowded. The weather didn't lend to sun worshiping, except the last day, in Vancouver, the heated pool was open and in use. Food: Service was good and no lines for the MDR longer than five minutes (at 6pm). We found a waiter we liked, South African young gent, and asked for his table each night. We ate at Umi once, and had rez for Prego on "formal" night, (blue blazer and gray pants, tie.) but cancelled when we learned MDR had lobster. Brought on board live, said two reliable bartenders. (All drinks free, of course) We liked MDR a lot. As usual we had hot breakfast in the room daily. On time and accurate. This was the only occasion on which we tip "extra." Entertainment: We liked the historical lectures (San Fran earthquake, Lewis and Clark) and skipped a lecture rumored to be somewhat political. I cruise to reduce my blood pressure, thanks. We especially enjoyed the Broadway themed show. Shore Exc: Just did two. Seemed reasonable in price. In Vancouver we took a cab to a museum. Would we go again? Absolutely. Find a good price and it's a value. There's a mid-level cruise line sailing to Iceland next year I have my eye on. Crystal has this itinerary for 2021, but at my age I don't buy green bananas. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Tokyo to San Francisco, 23 days of being pampered, educated, and involved. This was our first Crystal cruise, and hopefully it will not be our last. This “Movie and Theater” themed cruise offered speakers, documentaries and ... Read More
Tokyo to San Francisco, 23 days of being pampered, educated, and involved. This was our first Crystal cruise, and hopefully it will not be our last. This “Movie and Theater” themed cruise offered speakers, documentaries and entertainers. Our days at sea were filled with lecturers and performances. Tours from the ship in various ports were a little bit pricey, but enjoyable. The ship is small enough to be able to meet people more than once. Dining room staff was friendly. Special meal orders were served graciously. Symphony is an older ship, but is very well maintained. A few more electrical outlets would have been helpful, as would have been more prompt repairs to malfunctioning washers and dryers. Over all, cruising on Crystal Symphony was a wonderful experience! Special kudos to Saleh, our waiter who anticipated our every need. Remi, the head waiter, was a miracle worker who brought my the next day’s menu so that my requested salt free meals could be prepared for me. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Wanted to revisit Japan, enjoy TransAtlantic sea days, heard wonderful comments re: Crystal. This cruise was spectacular in both food, lectures and personal service. Have been on 50 cruises over the years and found the Symphony to be one ... Read More
Wanted to revisit Japan, enjoy TransAtlantic sea days, heard wonderful comments re: Crystal. This cruise was spectacular in both food, lectures and personal service. Have been on 50 cruises over the years and found the Symphony to be one of the very best! Personal service from the luggage delivery to the transfers to and from the airports were truely first class. The employees knew who we were by the second day and their courtesies were most appreciated! Food was excellent everywhere we ate on the ship! Speciality dining was excellent and available most of the time! Lectures were outstanding, this trip highlighted “Hollywood” personalities and the history of musical and dramatic performances. Former astronaut, military general, nature photographer, song writers and well known performers! Ship is spotless and refreshed daily. Always a crew member around to answer question, give directions and offer a hand to complete any task! Ships excursions were excellent and timely! Cabins are nice, clean, comfortable and very quiet! Would suggest taking a small stool to help older or mobility challenged guests to get in and out of the tub-shower! Embarkation and Disembarkation were a snap, many crew members to help with baggage and porters were easily available! First cruise on Crystal and hopefully more in the future Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have now taken 4 voyages on Crystal Symphony, and 11 total on Crystal (including one river cruise) and on this cruise had the best combination of sea days and (to me) new interesting ports to visit. I felt the service was better than ... Read More
I have now taken 4 voyages on Crystal Symphony, and 11 total on Crystal (including one river cruise) and on this cruise had the best combination of sea days and (to me) new interesting ports to visit. I felt the service was better than ever. The staff were happy and did seem more relaxed and content, which helps me feel more relaxed during my vacation. Ambassador hosts were charming and good for company at shared tables even getting me on the dance floor a couple of times. The headwaiter was fabulous and also the wines were fantastic. I did several spa services which were quality and worth the cost. Trivia was again a highlight on sea days and all in all the cruise was filled with movies, lectures, shore tours, and great food, company and beverages. I guess we also hit the jackpot as we did have calm enough seas to get onto Easter Island for the day tours, which is a novel experience. I indulged in some great modern dishes in the dining room and was very well taken care of regarding my dietary restrictions. Also it was great to see that bartenders no longer automatically add straws in every drink. Now I can stop saying "no straw please" with my orders. Oh also I got to play table tennis doubles one afternoon! Kept in shape taking the stairs onboard, walking the promenade deck and snorkelling in Moorea! I highly recommend this itinerary, it was a real getaway and super for getting away from the winter. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I chose this cruise as a surprise Christmas present for my wife. We had been away from cruising for a couple years, and I remembered our Antarctic cruise with Crystal - just how great it was. Never been to Brazil, and now to see the ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a surprise Christmas present for my wife. We had been away from cruising for a couple years, and I remembered our Antarctic cruise with Crystal - just how great it was. Never been to Brazil, and now to see the refurbished Symphony - this was almost a "no brainer." I'm still a fan of traditional dining (not "any time"), and Crystal did that very well in the past. I'm afraid that is a thing of the past, unfortunately. I miss the friendships developed over the dining table, but replaced that with friendships made on Cruise Critic's Roll Call. Ports are nothing to get too excited about. Snorkeling at Buzios was wonderful (although the sea is a bit rough getting to the snorkeling site). Had a great time horseback riding in the Argentine pampas. Days at sea are always wonderful on Crystal - so busy with educational lectures, shows, dancing, spa appointments, and (of course) eating - the ports are not necessarily all that important. The staff is top-notch, and everyone seems to be enjoying himself while serving the guests. Can't wait to go on another Crustal Cruise. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for the trip destination and the Crystal reputation. We have been on other Crystal trips and this is the first time we did 3 back to back trips, total 45 days! Embarkation was a piece of cake. Bags we shipped were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the trip destination and the Crystal reputation. We have been on other Crystal trips and this is the first time we did 3 back to back trips, total 45 days! Embarkation was a piece of cake. Bags we shipped were in our room when we arrived and the bags we brought arrived shortly thereafter. We are hoping the same for disembarkation. The Captains Larsen and Willheim are the best, with rough seas when we had them. They are cautious on all conditions. The rest of the crew are equally praised in every area of the ship. The wait staff are amazing from the Maitr’d down to waiters. It is amazing how they remember names and faces. They anticipate your every need. We are fortunate to have a Penthouse on deck 10. The butler and housekeeping staff all work well together. Because the seas are rough today, our housekeeper wanted to go out and do windows on the veranda. We told her to take that off her list today due to sea conditions. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Overall one of our best cruises, the real rating is 4.5 stars due to a bout of food poisoning and the filthy condition of our stateroom on arrival and the lack of response from the Hotel Director. The service of the staff outshine their ... Read More
Overall one of our best cruises, the real rating is 4.5 stars due to a bout of food poisoning and the filthy condition of our stateroom on arrival and the lack of response from the Hotel Director. The service of the staff outshine their managerial staff. I think if it had been a short cruise it would have been our first and last time on Crystal but with 19 nights the good times well and truly outshone these early mishaps. Anyway onto the review: My wife and I are an Australian couple in our 40's who are early retirees and now wander the globe with no home base. We have progressively added more cruises to our itinerary over the last couple of years. We booked this cruise to celebrate my wifes birthday and to help us relocate to our next destination - South America. After booking this cruise early we booked several other cruises and this became the final leg of a 6 cruise 91 days at sea odyssey! I am pleased to report we ended on a high (despite 2 major hiccups - more to follow). This was our first Crystal cruise and we also tried Seabourn and Viking for the first time in the months preceding. We spent several days in NOLA beforehand (2nd visit), loved the WW2 museum. Embarkation: 2 parts to this experience. Firstly, we boarded at a makeshift terminal but this was no issue and the process was very good as we were met by an abundance of on ground staff and quickly ushered onto the ship where processing was very quick. A glass of champagne and into the dining room for the first off many excellent dining experiences. We then self toured the ship and this is when our first major problem occurred. We passed our room and thought we might drop our hand luggage off (still 60 minutes until rooms were ready), we noticed our luggage was in the room so asked a passing stewardess if this meant the room was ready reiterating that we did not want to rush them and were happy to wait, she replied it was. We entered the room and immediately noticed bits of rubbish on the floors in both the bathroom and room so we left assuming the cleaning had not been completed. We returned at the designated time and found it in the same condition, our stewardess arrived and we pointed this out and she assured us it had been vacuumed but would do it again. She left and as we started unpacking we noticed the air conditioner was not working, we also noticed rubbish in several drawers and in the cupboard, that the hair dryer had not been packed away, we also began to notice that we could not breathe properly and I started having an asthma attack within 30 minutes. We called her back and she noticed the broken a/c, we also noticed there was dust on every surface. She attempted to clean up but after the drill we noticed the hallway was also dusty and difficult to breathe in (we noticed that repair work was constant in the ceilings on this level and the one above for the entire cruise but never received an explanation). We immediately went to Concierge who were apologetic and offered to move us rooms. We waited until 7.30pm for the room to be ready (I didn't mind as requested a deep clean). We were told it was an upgrade, seemed exactly the same to me. The concierge was apologetic but I requested an explanation as to how a cabin could be inspected and be made available but none was forthcoming, I also requested to speak to the Hotel Director but was instead sent a letter and chocolates, this is nice but a telephone call or meeting should have occurred. An email to guest relations was also unanswered. Luckily my asthma attack only lasted 2 days and didn't destroy our cruise experience. Ship: noticeably older than our recent experiences on Seabourn and Viking but nevertheless a lovely ship. Very impressed by the amount of space (enhanced by the fact the ship was only half full). Enjoyed all the available spaces on the aft decks, walking availability via the promenade and the upper deck, loved paddle tennis and table tennis. Crows nest bar was gorgeous, enjoyed the Cove, loved the dedicated movie cinema, great library with a wonderful dedicated librarian. The theatre was an intimate venue with no line of sight problems as encountered on her competitors. We are not pool people on cruise ships although we did like the design of the pool deck with couches, loungers, tables etc providing a good variety of lounging choice. One glaring problem is the showers are a long way from the pool and hence no one used them, we noticed many people come straight from jogging and gym workouts and jump straight into pool and jacuzzi in sweaty gym wear, also heard multiple guests complaining of stomach upsets while in the jacuzzi - so did not even contemplate using pool or spa which was a shame on such a hot cruise. Overall we love the size and design of this ship. Cabin: We booked an oceanview guarantee and were assigned an E1, which I have discovered is a one category upgrade after the above incident we were moved to a C1 (apparently a 2 level upgrade). There was no difference in the cabins themselves and in fact the location of the upgrade was at the very rear of the ship as opposed to the other which was mid, I later found out our first cabin had a slightly obstructed view (we never noticed). The cabins are probably Crystal's weak point, they are not bad but in comparison to Seabourn and even Viking they are small and basic. The bed was very comfortable, the TV system excellent (except no access to daily menus), the small sofa and desk were typical of major lines. Storage was sufficient but well short of Seabourn and Regent. The airconditioning was very basic and a little inconsistent. The cabin overlooked the promenade. The bathroom was small (very narrow) but the double sinks were nice. The shower doubles as a bath with a curtain, water temperature and pressure were excellent. We noticed the toilet often needed multiple flushes, probably just the age of the ship. Our room attendant was excellent! Dining: Phenomenal. The restaurant managers were great and our experiences were always excellent. This was the best food we have had at sea. The dining room for dinner was superb with great service, interesting menus, tasty food with great presentation. Unlike on the other lines we were treated very favourably, we found preference was often given to more mature passengers on those lines but the staff on Crystal gave us the 5 star treatment. We loved the fact service was always professional but the staff could still be personal and funny. Umi Uma was first class Japanese, simply surperb. Prego was very good but it did depend on what you ordered, too many dishes were "deconstructed". We also loved the variety and casualness provided by the 2 other major restaurants, Churrascaria and Silk. There was plenty of variety and choices for lunch with the main restaurant (the best choice but not as good as at night), the grill (we tended to use more for snacks), the buffet (good without being great), Silk (only ate once). A special mention for the room service, this became our go to option for breakfast, we never had to pre-order, we simply called and it was always there in less than 30 minutes (often much faster), it was always correct and it was always hot, easily the best we have encountered. We had a special breakfast for my wifes birthday in the mdr and it was incredible, really got her special day off to a grand start. Unfortunately, we had one major miss when I suffered food poisoning after my second dinner at Silk (on night 4), 24 hours holed up in my bathroom, followed by another 2 days to fully recover. At this point I thought I was cursed and that Crystal was trying to kill me. The maitre D was very professional on follow up and the F&B manager did chat to me (after I enquired why officers do not follow up on major issues) and assured me they had reviewed it. The coffee bar was a nice place (not a patch on Seabourn Square in feel but much better offerings food and drink wise) and was a nice casual place to grab a snack or late night dessert. The bars were excellent and I think the bar tenders made some of the best cocktails we have tasted. The ship had an extensive G&T menu and Manhattan Menu, I did my best to try each one. Wines were good and we never encountered any resistance if we wanted something different. Table service was good. There was regular canapes and late night snacks being offered. Entertainment/Activities: Another highlight. We tend to find the small luxury lines struggle with entertainment but that cannot be levelled at Crystal. The cruise finished with a special Carnerval group in Rio that was exactly the same as you would witness at the Samba clubs. We had a huge variety of guest acts including: motown group, comedian, comedian ventriloquist, classical pianist, violinst, modern pianist, Broadway siblings (phenomenal); trumpeter and singer, modern vocalist/piano - truly something for everyone. Add in several production shows which were good without being great with the exception of the Imagine/illuminate show which was exceptional. Neil Lockwood did Elton impersonation and own show. Add to this the phenomenal nightly exploits of Mark Farris in the piano bar, you also add latin dance performers, encore presentations, singer from Brazil, guitarist, there was nightly live music for the ballroom dancers, nightly classic piano and violin and a young duet couple - phew! How did we see so much of it? Enrichment involved several lecturers, covering a wide array of subjects from economics, history of places we visited, ocean sailings,geopolitical and military talks etc. Most were excellent however my wife did feel that the lecturers were all mature American white males and there could have been more diversity as we noticed on Viking. Further to this there was art classes, knitting classes, trivia, bridge, ipad and photography courses, golf sessions, wine tasting etc etc etc. My only nit pick would be we like some of those silly activities and games (baggo, putting etc) we noticed on Seabourn and Regent. Also a minor complaint was that Crystal hands out discount coupons as prizes, this is no prize simply an incentive to spend which was even more crass in that they were next to impossible to use due to multiple caveats (we refused to accept them), the CD was clearly embarrassed when the subject was mentioned. Speaking of the CD, we had Russ who has apparently moved from a long standing position at Azamara (apparently well loved by guests there). At first we found him mostly absent but as the cruise progressed had many interactions with him and found him to be one of the most personable CD's we have come across and seemed to know a large amount of passengers by name. He also produced 2 daily shows on the TV which were a lot of fun. If all that was not enough to keep you entertained there was 2 daily fitness classes, paddle tennis, table tennis, daily movies in the cinema (amazing popcorn), the extensive library with books and games and daily puzzles. White night was a great event and it might have been good to have another party event or 2. Oh, I have forgotten the great magic castle show and also dancing lessons! Service: Exceptional, best we have encountered at sea. Great blend of professionalism and joviality. The staff seemed content relative to other cruise lines. Service was very consistent which I hypothesise is due to the many long standing senior staff as they were very visible and active. The officers had mostly changed over at the start of the cruise and this seemingly had no negative impact. Fellow passengers: mostly American and mature which was not surprising given it was a long cruise originating from the US. The cruise was clearly not a popular sailing and was broken into smaller segment at a later stage this did see more passengers from Brazil joining at later stages. The atmosphere early in the cruise felt quiet and uptight but loosened considerably over the course of the sailing. We found the crowd to be more fun and sociable than Viking but not quite as diverse as Seabourn and Regent. We will continue to cruise on a variety of lines including the main stream brands but will always remain on alert for good deals on Crystal and will probably become our favoured brand for luxury experiences. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We picked this cruise because we’d never taken an ‘all-inclusive’ type cruise and this one was a short 7N from New Orleans which is close to us. I’d seen the various pricing sheets showing how close in cost a cruise on a Line such ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we’d never taken an ‘all-inclusive’ type cruise and this one was a short 7N from New Orleans which is close to us. I’d seen the various pricing sheets showing how close in cost a cruise on a Line such as Crystal was to a ‘standard’ Line such as Celebrity, which we’ve cruised 20+ times and wanted to see if they were true - it’s true! At least for the shorter 7N cruises. We loved this ship and the entire Crystal experience. I will be giving my opinion about this cruise by comparing it to our Celebrity experiences. I won’t cover the ports - it was a Western Caribbean and been to all of them. Spent most of the time on the ship. So here goes. Embarkation: With barely 800 passengers, it’s not nearly as crowded as our previous cruises. The larger ships handled the 2000+ well, but this was better than nice: as we walked into the terminal, they asked us if we were suites or standard SR, and gave us a number. When called (waited about 10min), we walked onboard and checked in there. Given our keycard, gave them our paperwork and charge card and that was that. 5min max. Handed a drink as we walked further in and off to a lunch in the main dining room, not a buffet. And was introduced to ‘Crystal’ Dining - wow. Will talk on that shortly. Ship: very elegant but low key. Lower ceilings than other larger ships which gave all the common areas a more intimate feel. Many bar and seating areas. The Avenue Bar is like a pub with wood paneling and lovely pub bar. Pianos and live music in most of the bars. The ship has a nice and inviting game/card room. We played lots of bridge and had classes. Was never crowded in any of the common areas. the Palm Court on the top deck forward was unbelievable. Elegant-great bar-seating for groups and couples. Windows with all around views. The place to be at sea. Ship has a true Promenade Deck. Wood and fully wraparound. Great walking and jogging or standing and just viewing the sea. Loved it. Shopping: All was very high end, so for us, not needed. Beautifully laid out, but only a small section for ‘oops, I forgot something’ type items. Didn’t use any of the stores, but nicely laid out. Standard Lines such as Celebrity have more day-to-day items and clothing and lots of sales and ‘buy 2 and get 3’ type sales. Crystal didn’t have any big sales pitches and everyone going through piles of clothes and stuff. Dining: Here is the major plus. the Marketplace ‘buffet’ is only called that because of it’s layout but it was outstanding in choice and quality. I love the Celebrity buffets but this blew me away. The main dining in the Waterside was fantastic. No set time and no reservations. You walk up, ask for a table for 2 or 4 or whatever and you are seated. Great quality and options. I love lamb and it was so tender, I almost didn’t need a knife. Great fish and steaks. All high quality. the entrees and appetizers were relatively small so I could try multiple dishes. The Grill was well beyond a hamburger/hotdog grill. It had many salads and sandwiches, including a Ruben I’d die for. Each bar had snacks and the Bistro was a great place for pastries and light snacks and coffees and expresso-styles. Loved all of it. Specialty Restaurants: You get a least 2 dinings at these restaurants. Each we tried was unique. We loved Prego - Italian and outstanding steaks and fish. Umi Uma was Japanese and our favorite. Great choices. Silk was Chinese. It was nice, but I thought the Marketplace choices were better. Entertainment: I was mainly concerned that a small ship would have mediocre main entertainment. I was wrong. It was excellent. Not as fine as the larger Lines, but the theater is smaller and you are very close to the singers and dancers. Fun. Excellent quality. They had a magician from the Magic Castle in LA that killed it with up-close slight of hand. But one of the weak areas was activities during in port times. It was almost nonexistent. Not a big issues since we can entertain ourselves, but if you are not going to spend all day ashore, it’s very quiet. Nice, but quiet. Service. A+. Excellent ratio and well trained personnel. They were always working to meet your needs and wishes. Never went ‘dry’ with servers coming up to check. Not obtrusive, but always available. Room steward was a charmer. Very attentive and went the extra mile. We had a very bad night and day returning to New Orleans with 50+kt winds and huge waves. She came in to check us and would have got us meds if needed. The entire staff was fantastic. My experience was Celebrity also had great service, but Crystal just had more staff per passengers so more overall attention. Drinks: I wasn’t sure if the all-inclusive drinks would be that handy (I enjoy a few drinks but don’t get the packages on other ships), but it was just great. It was so nice having a glass of wine and a server walking up and asking if I needed a refill. Good quality cocktails. Smoking: I’m a non-smoker and was concerned because the Crystal website shows more than a bit of smoking areas. But it was fine. the outside smoking areas were mainly on the very stern of a few decks and didn’t interfere with me and gave the smokers a nice place. One inside smoking bar for cigars was available. Again, I was concerned because on a Princess ship, whenever you walked even semi-close to the bar, there was smoke all over the place. But this had a double-door set up and it wasn’t an issue for me. Ports: Not going to discuss ports. Standard ones on a Western Caribbean and only did one tour and wandered a few ports on own. One issue: it appeared Crystal had lower priority for the docking and anchoring locations compared to all the other Lines. In all cases, the docking and anchoring locations were further from the main port facilities. One port we anchored and the other three ships docked. Disembarkation: Returned to New Orleans about 5 hrs late: big winds and waves (10 on the Beaufort scale! With 50+it’s winds). Stayed in SR all day and night. Docked at an alternative pier in NO and they had shuttles to the main terminal. All-Inclusive: I’m not going through what the actual costs were, I just say, I paid for one photo (yup, did the come aboard shot) and one tour. That was it. This was truly all-inclusive: Quality drinks, wine, soft drinks; two specialty dining venues; Gratuities; Laundry room with iron; Specialty coffees and snacks; Room service; unlimited Wi-Fi on multiple units. What cost: tours; Laundry/dry cleaning; ‘upscale liquor’, but what I drink wasn’t. Yes, I know nothing is ‘free’ and paid for in the overall costs. But I ran the numbers comparing this cruise to a standard large cruise line costs by adding the additional charges for gratuities, drink packages, unlimited WiFi, 2 specialty dining. The difference would be about $450 for two people. But since I’m Elite Plus on Celebrity, and I wouldn’t get the drink package and pay a smaller amount for unlimited Wi-Fi, the different approach $950. Was it worth it? You Bet! Don’t know if this is similar for longer and more ‘exotic’ cruises. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is our third cruise on Crystal and Symphony. Our first was 22 years ago from Istanbul. Our second was February 2017 Singapore to Hong Kong. Both were amazing. We chose an easier quick trip out of New Orleans with our daughter and ... Read More
This is our third cruise on Crystal and Symphony. Our first was 22 years ago from Istanbul. Our second was February 2017 Singapore to Hong Kong. Both were amazing. We chose an easier quick trip out of New Orleans with our daughter and her spouse. We both had suites, we decided on the new Seabreeze suites which were just redone in 2017. They were very nice woth a large shower with excellent water pressure... Anyway the ship was superb, from the staff, the AMAZING speciality restaurants and the fabulous entertainment. I even had time for the casino. Keep in mind everything is inclusive, all liquior, wine, WiFi, grautuities. This time there were children on the ship and the staff seem to handle well. We are in 9051 and as I said it was very nice. We have taken over 45 ocean cruises and three River Cruises and Crystal and Silverseas remains at the top of our list. You cannot go wrong with this cruise line. Good luck and keep cruising. We loved it! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our first luxury cruise and our travel agent highly recommended this line. We have sailed many times and the most recent had been with NCL Haven. While we loved the Haven, we hated the crowds, overwhelming smoke and mediocre food ... Read More
This was our first luxury cruise and our travel agent highly recommended this line. We have sailed many times and the most recent had been with NCL Haven. While we loved the Haven, we hated the crowds, overwhelming smoke and mediocre food and service on the rest of the ship. We couldn’t wait to disembark. That was when our agent recommended we move up to Crystal. We will never go back. From the first minute, we noticed the huge difference from other cruise lines. We were greeted by name immediately and by evey crew member. Honestly, before we sailed, we were greeted by our names by every crew member each time. I don’t know how the do it. By the first day at sea, everyone knew our preferences. From Clarry at the pool to Jonathan at the Marketplace and Viktor at the Bistro. I could ask Clarry to leave a message for my husband and he would keep an eye out for him and relay the message. Anyone who has ever lost their husband on a cruise ship knows how impressive and helpful this is! We enjoy good food and entertainment and Crystal impressed us more than we thought possible on both. The entertainment was spectacular thanks to the regular ensemble, great costumes and programs. On top of that, it was a Jazz themed cruise with the most amazing visiting artists. Perry Smith jazz guitar was exceptional and Crystal should continue the relationship with this amazing artist!! Another huge shout out to Carl Wishnewski, best piano man since Billy Joel. Umi Uma, by Chef Nobu is not to be missed. The miso cod is “last meal” worthy and the mushroom soup is sublime. We ate there twice and could easily have gone again. Don’t be worried if you don’t like sushi. There is plenty of variety for anyone. I love sushi but my husband doesn’t. His Kobe steak was one of the best he has ever had. The main dining room was always available, we never waited. The food was excellent with a few exceptions. Shout out to Roger and our fav, Viktor as waiters!! The pool was where we noticed the amazing crew that took care of is with outstanding service. Clarry, Kiko, Rikkii and Ronnie are fabulous! From cold drinks to cold towels and little treats throughout the day. Most surprising, from other cruises, deck chairs around the pool and elsewhere always available! I never had to fight for a deck chair at anytime of the day, even on sea days!! Crystal passengers on our sailing were around 40 -80. Some younger some older. There was one baby that everyone on the ship saw once. He was our great white whale in baby form. Everyone talked about the one sighting. The passengers were a nice mix of US and internationals. Out of 860 passengers, we encountered 2, only 2, somewhat grouchy people. Everyone was just so friendly and enjoyable. Again, a first in our cruising experience. The most important part of our cruise was our cabin and attendants. It’s literally your home for 2 weeks. While I am convinced there is not a bad cabin on this ship, we always want a balcony and this time we wanted to try the suite. We selected the Seabreeze Penthouse with veranda and we are so glad we did. Our butler, Ay, the best on the ship! I’m serious. When we immediately booked another cruise, a first for us, we requested Ay. We never used our butler on the NCL Haven. He was never around. But Ay was omnipresent in the most unobtrusive way. He helped us switch reservations around as we met new friends and served a full dinner from the main menu to my husband on the first night as I had a raging migraine. He didn’t want my husband to miss out just because he was taking care of me. And for me, he brought the best consume I have ever had and a huge bucket of ice for my ice bag. Mayori and Alexandra were our attendants who cleaned our rooms throughout the day with the loveliest smiles and service. Our final shout out to Sergio the head concierge who was willing and able to do anything to make our first Crystal experience even better. And the Captain who was generous enough to invite us and a small group to his private quarters for cocktails. It was a unexpected surprise. Thank you. We are Crystalized! We aren’t going back to the other lines. I am counting the days until our next sailing in December and trying to figure out how to squeeze another in between. Choose Crystal. You will love it! You will never want to leave. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Over the past 20 years Crystal has been our favorite cruise line and we still feel the same today. The updates are lovely. We really enjoyed the open seating and the addition of Silk which was wonderful. The Brazilian restaurant was not ... Read More
Over the past 20 years Crystal has been our favorite cruise line and we still feel the same today. The updates are lovely. We really enjoyed the open seating and the addition of Silk which was wonderful. The Brazilian restaurant was not our favorite but was good. Umi Uma and Prego are just as good as always. The service in all departments is exceptional and we rate just as highly as we always have. We did notice some younger entertainment onboard which was very much appreciated. Carl Wishneuski in the Avenue Saloon is an awesome pianist and entertainer. We enjoyed some great evenings in his company. Neil Lockwood (ex. E.L.O.) was fabulous and had everyone on their feet - his was the best show of the cruise IMHO. He also did a good Elton John Tribute but his own show was better. We always feel so relaxed and looked after onboard Crystal and can’t wait to return. We have no desire to try other cruise lines as we have in the past. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was listed as a jazz cruise and was fulfilled,at least for us, more than expected. My husband loves jazz. The group that was put together by J. Tate are not known to the general public, but among the music world top notch. They are ... Read More
This was listed as a jazz cruise and was fulfilled,at least for us, more than expected. My husband loves jazz. The group that was put together by J. Tate are not known to the general public, but among the music world top notch. They are the backbone of most major groups today. Jazz was just part of the entertainment as you still had shows every night and music in the Crystal Cove Lounge. Palm Court, Starlight and Avenue Saloon. Lectures are always outstanding on Crystal and Jamey Tate did several very interesting lectures on music over the course of the cruise. The cuisine and service are as good as ever, some of the personnel that were on our first cruise 24 years ago are still serving on the ship which says a lot of a company. You now have two more choices for dinning. Silk for lunch and dinner, reservations not required and Churrascaria a Brazilian Steakhouse, dinner only, no reservations required. Enjoyed them both and we could dine any hour without a problem. I will admit a little prejudice when it comes to Symphony. We have sailed on other lines, but always come back and wonder why we ever left to try something different. We signed up for the transfer between ship and airport. Were taken to a hotel in New Orleans, left the luggage locked on the bus told we would have lunch, could walk around and than driven to the airport. It was a wonderful value without any hassle. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Booked this cruise to see the fall leaves...weather was crappy...Not Crystal's fault. The ship and crew were great. The food and service were excellent. Smaller ship and passenger list meant not as much waiting for shore ... Read More
Booked this cruise to see the fall leaves...weather was crappy...Not Crystal's fault. The ship and crew were great. The food and service were excellent. Smaller ship and passenger list meant not as much waiting for shore excursions..etc. The entertainment was very nice since it was a smaller ship. We enjoyed the bistro and the hamburgers. They were the best. The speciality restarunts are a plus with no extra charge. The shore excursion were arragned well. There was always a Crystal person on the tours. Service was always spot on. Every time you sat down, there was someone available to get you a drink. When the ship docs, the attrium becomes very cold..this was an October cruise and have the ship open all day made the attrium very uncomfortable. The embarkation and disembarktation process was very smooth. When we disembarked, it seemed as if we were the only ones on the ship. Imigration was smootn. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our second cruise on Crystal, the first being a Lisbon to Lisbon adventure in the Azores, Canary Islands and Morocco in 2018. We chose it partly because of that experience, but also for the itinerary, hoping to hit the fall color ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Crystal, the first being a Lisbon to Lisbon adventure in the Azores, Canary Islands and Morocco in 2018. We chose it partly because of that experience, but also for the itinerary, hoping to hit the fall color along the Saint Laurence. We did. It was jaw dropping and absolutely at it's height. This also was a 'jazz days, cabaret nights,' cruise and the music was beyond good. It was over the top wonderful in every venue, all day and into the night. Musicians were all over the ship, approachable, friendly and happy to talk about their work. So much fun. On the cruise last year, one of the high points was the team we had in the main dining room and most of them were on the ship this time as well -- like seeing old friends. Crystal has changed from a fixed seating model to anytime dining, a mistake, in my opinion, but we were able to be with our awesome team anyway. The ship has been refitted in the public areas to good effect. It's beautiful everywhere, in spite of the fact that the frightening gold statues are still there. What were they thinking? Everything in such beautiful taste and then these two jarring monstrosities. Go figure. Service on Crystal is perfect in every way -- attentive and engaging staff who seem happy to be where they are. Food is good to great in all venues and the variety in the main dining room is excellent. The included wines and spirits were fine with no need to upgrade. Cocktails are beautifully made and served. The ports were enjoyable, mostly small cities full of friendly Canadians. We did not do excursions generally, preferring to explore on our own, which, in these places was easy to do. At embarkation there was a bit of a snag as no one seemed to know what cabin we were in. It got sorted out, but seemed surprising on a luxury cruise line that people were having to make calls to figure out where to put these two passengers. Aside from that trivial matter, it was a great experience and we'll be back, particularly if this 'jazz days and cabaret nights' thing is an institution. Hope it is. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I are in our mid sixties and have traveled extensively and cruised on many different ships and cruise lines. We have recently cruised several times with Oceania which has a similar level of service and food. We found our ... Read More
My wife and I are in our mid sixties and have traveled extensively and cruised on many different ships and cruise lines. We have recently cruised several times with Oceania which has a similar level of service and food. We found our deluxe veranda cabin smaller than most ships we have been on. However it is well laid out and to our surprise we found enough storage for our belongings. The WiFi was good almost through out the ship and there was Crystal tech support available. The entertainment was excellent with lots of live music. I enjoy cigars and appreciated the cigar lounge. The Crystal experience overall was absolutely wonderful from beginning to end. Kudos to management as they have got it just right. We were blown away by the staff and service. On this ship there is no such thing as no. Every member of the crew was amazing and eager to please. The food is fantastic and the ship is spotless, elegant and immaculate. The atmosphere is one of relaxation and understated sophistication. We also appreciated the fact that public announcements were kept to a minimum We can't wait to do another Crystal cruise. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After reading some of the negative reviews on the Symphony we were wondering what to expect on our return onboard after 18 months and after the refurbishment. I would like to say we were not disappointed as everything and everyone ... Read More
After reading some of the negative reviews on the Symphony we were wondering what to expect on our return onboard after 18 months and after the refurbishment. I would like to say we were not disappointed as everything and everyone onboard were of an excellent standard. The check in was seamless and took us 30 mins from arrival at the terminal to receiving our glass of champagne after completion of all the formalities. The ship itself is looking refreshed,modern and very stylish from the refurbishment but not too glitzy like a lot of the newer ships. The food and service in all the restaurants (and we tried them all ) was outstanding with a feeling of being spoilt by the very professional and attentive waiting staff. The bars were well attended and the bar staff got to know your drink preferences fairly quickly and also were very quick to note your arrival and make sure you had a drink in front of you with very little wait. The drinks were a generous pour and well presented and mixed well. The shows were ok being pretty standard cruise ship productions and the singers were fairly mediocre but we are probably jaded as we cruise 4or 5 times a year. The in room movie selection was very good and the large flat screens at the foot of the bed are a fantastic improvement. Our only gripe with Crystal cruises in this day and age is the amount of smoking areas dedicated to them especially around the pool as a handful of smokers had the whole side of the deck making the non smoking side very crowded as all it took was a couple of smokers to taint the air for all those around them and a number of people were complaining about that also smoking on the promenade when I was excercising. We will definitely cruise with Crystal again even though there has been a few cost cutting measures since our last cruise it is still a luxury experience that a lot of the premium lines have lost. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My first cruise 7 years ago was on Marco Polo a small cruise ship in the Cruise and Maritme fleet. With nothing to compare it to but other holidays in European resorts I thought it compared very favourably. Since then I have cruised ... Read More
My first cruise 7 years ago was on Marco Polo a small cruise ship in the Cruise and Maritme fleet. With nothing to compare it to but other holidays in European resorts I thought it compared very favourably. Since then I have cruised with P&O three times , NCL , and Royal Caribbean, and again with Cruise and Maritime. However the cruise I am on at the moment with Crystal on the liner Symphony beats them all hands down . The reason I have titled my review as ‘Don’t cruise on this ship’, is because it has well and truly spoiled me , and I don’t think I would be able to cruise on another liner without feeling that that they had fallen short compared to Crystal. Unfortunately I might be a while saving up for my next Crystal cruise as it works out at about double the price of the ones I have named above, but goodness is it worth it! From the moment I boarded I was treated like a treasured guest. I think the main reason is that the ship never appeared crowded , the staff had time to be attentive to the guests. In order to make my point a little more clearly I will try to give examples. On previous cruise liners - long queues for the bar during the day on the all inclusive deals,wine waiters in the restaurant only coming to the table once during the meal as they all appeared rushed off their feet. Crystal- no queues anywhere, waiter service round the pool, public areas and in the dining rooms ,constantly replenishing glasses, stopping to chat with guests. On previous cruise liners - sea days when the weather is good , don’t bother trying to get a sun bed or seat of any kind after 10 am as they are either reserved with book, towels or bodies! On sea days when the weather is bad , everywhere noisy and crowded with public areas looking like my mum’s nursing home , or Butlins , depending on which cruise line you are on. Crystal - nowhere is crowded , on the sunniest days barely half the sun beds are occupied with anything, and inside is the same , no loud piped music , no queues for anything. I don’t mean it to sound like a graveyard , it is just quiet and understated and not intrusive. On previous cruises- tips , and drinks are extra. Even on the all inclusive cruises speciality coffee and certain drinks , ice cream ,plus the mini bar in the room and certain room service menus are all extra . Crystal - All included , no staff being extra nice at the end of the holiday in the hope you will leave them an extra tip , on Crystal the staff are attentive , happy and welcoming the whole time.All speciality coffees included, with waiters on hand in public areas to dispense drinks of all sorts, and don’t get me started on the ice cream , with about 20 different flavours ( no cheap imitations) they were brilliant , and of course all included. On previous cruises- Being tendered into port whilst other ships have the cruise terminal position, queuing up for an hour before breakfast to get tender tickets so that we can get off the boat at a reasonable time . Paying extra for shuttle buses out of the port , and again having to queue up for ages in order to get a ticket that insures we get a shuttle at a reasonable time. Crystal - certainly on this cruise whenever there was a dock/cruise terminal , we got it. On the couple of occasions we were tendered in , there were no queues , no waiting , and shuttles when needed were waiting with plenty of room , and ran frequently. Food- on previous cruises tables for two have been few and far between especially on P&O. The food has been OK , but things like steak have often been tough and sometimes inedible. Self service has been good , but often the food would only be warm. On one liner our dinner companions (no table for two available) had paid a substantial amount for the drinks package and eventually having managed to get the attention of the wine waiter they were poured a glass of wine each , they didn’t see the wine waiter for the rest of the meal. On Crystal the food has been excellent , no expense spared and steaks have been so tender and cooked to perfection , as has all their food. We did try the speciality restaurants which were very good , but the main restaurant was so good that we didn’t feel the need to try anything else , also your wine glass is replenished before it ever becomes empty. The cabin we had on Crystal was a comparable size to that of other liners , but the fittings were superior . Our cabin attendant was efficient and friendly and tailored our cabin cleaning/turn down service around our movements which wasn’t the case on some of the other cruises we have been on. Of course it is very much horses for courses and if you like loud music, sing alongs , karaoke , bingo and announcements from your cruise director throughout the day , or water shoots and bumper cars , then this cruise line might be a bit quiet for you. The larger proportion of passengers are American , the rest are English , Asian and European. I think there is quite a bit to do on board with lectures , a cinema , and Dvd’s That are played through your TV . We only had 3 sea days so we were able to find plenty of quiet spots to sit and read ,so to be fair we didn’t really try out their activities, although we did play table tennis - this had its own part of the deck with a large heavy net covering the area where you played , thus preventing the ball escaping under sun loungers etc. Afternoon tea served in one of the lounges was a sight to behold and was of the same standard as the Ritz or Fortnum and Mason! We didn’t tend to watch the entertainment in the evening , as we are not really into shows , but we did catch one of the comedians one evening (John Joseph) who was hilarious. I feel that throughout the whole cruise nothing was too much trouble , the passenger and their comfort was the important aspect, not how much money could be generated from them. I think it is well worth the extra money and have started saving my pennies already! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Wanted to do the northeast. Sixth cruise with Crystal. Last was New Years in Australia 2017. Food as always was excellent. Several crew members remembered us by name. Always a nice touch. Entertainment has always been a strong point with ... Read More
Wanted to do the northeast. Sixth cruise with Crystal. Last was New Years in Australia 2017. Food as always was excellent. Several crew members remembered us by name. Always a nice touch. Entertainment has always been a strong point with Crystal and remains so. Had heard with ownership change there might be a decrease in service and or food. I found no evidence of this. We prefer the 8th deck with an unobstructed view since we rarely used the veranda in the past and would rather use the savings for the reserve wine list. We often drink half a bottle one night and finish it the next night. The sommelier is glad to store it for you Makeover of the dining room is pleasing. Still prefer Prego and Umi Uma to newer Silk and Brazilian steak venue. Just our taste since all are quite good. The cabin is relatively small but ample. New TVs are an upgrade. WiFi was good. Be sure and get the Crystal app on your iPhone. Shore excursions were as expected and advertised. Graveyard in Halifax was Titanic victims was moving. The museum not so much. The Breakers in Newport was a great reflection of a bygone period. So,pleased to say that Crystal still the best. Booked a future cruise while on board. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose Crystal Cruises because of the Panama Canal itinerary (so we can tick it off the bucket list) and the Luxury Cruise Experience. Crystal was recommended to us by a friend (who is a travel agent) we met on a non-luxury cruise in ... Read More
We chose Crystal Cruises because of the Panama Canal itinerary (so we can tick it off the bucket list) and the Luxury Cruise Experience. Crystal was recommended to us by a friend (who is a travel agent) we met on a non-luxury cruise in 2012 and she said Crystal is one of the best. So we checked off a few ticks on the bucket list. The ship Symphony was beautiful. The accommodations were very well layed out with a lot of storage. No need to use the suitcases for extra storage as we had empty drawers and the clothes in the wardrobe were spaced out not squashed up. Of everything there was only one this that irritated me that I have never come across on other ships we have cruise is the cigar room. Horrible horrible horrible. To get to The Avenue, Umi Uma restaurant and Prego restaurant you had to walk past it and the door was always open, therefore the smoke flooded into the hallway. The door should always be shut and there should be sufficient ventilation in the smoking room so if the door is left open the smoke doesn't affect other passengers. That is my only issue and I am hoping that when we are on Serenity in 2021 Crystal will have rectified this problem by having either an automatic door or a gas closing door. The rest of Crystal Symphony was fantastic. For a ship smaller than we are used to (3000-3500) this ship has a lot of quiet places to sit and relax. There are never any crowds, no children running rampant and what children were on the ship were extremely well behaved. We dined at every location and the food was divine. My favourites were Waterside (the main dining room), Prego, Silk, Palm Court for amazing afternoon tea and views. However, I still enjoyed the food and atmosphere at Umi Uma, Churriscaria, Trident Grill and the Marketplace only for an early breakfast. The staff go above and beyond and are always very polite and friendly. They always have smiles on their faces and no request is too hard. They take the time to get to know their customers. The shows were good not spectacular like on the bigger ships which is understandable since on the bigger ships the ceiling over the stage is 3 decks high making it very open and airy and great for doing acrobatic shows. The dance moves seem to be similar in every show so I put that down to the Choreographer. The special guests were fabulous especially loved John Joseph who had us in stitches. We didn't like some of the ports and thought there could have been better places to stop but we made the most of those. Some we could have had more time in. Overall we loved the cruise. We don't normally like a lot of sea days but on Crystal Symphony we really loved the sea days. We enjoyed the shore excursions that we booked. Crystal's luxury has ruined for us cruising anything less than luxury. We enjoyed it so much we have booked another Crystal cruise in 2021 South Pacific Wanderlust Los Angeles/San Pedro, US to Brisbane, AU on Serenity. So looking forward to 20 days on Serenity. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This cruise was chosen for a family trip by my parents who are big fans of Crystal. They had a larger stateroom with a butler and we had more basic accommodations. It actually worked out well because their room became the default hang out ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for a family trip by my parents who are big fans of Crystal. They had a larger stateroom with a butler and we had more basic accommodations. It actually worked out well because their room became the default hang out space for afternoon canapés and card games. It was a budget friendly way to give everyone a private space to see each other. Our cabin and veranda were well sized and the ships menu was spectacular. There were always good food options available and the crew/staff were excellent. I would highly recommend this cruise line for those who enjoy an upscale experience. Be sure to bring your crystal casual wardrobe because you’ll stick out if you’re too casual! The dining room is a classy experience where the food was above and beyond what I expected. The quality and complexity of each dish was fantastic and there were always multiple things on the menu that looked and proved to be delicious. Portions are small, but that goes with the delicate nature of fine dining. There were three other restaurants available on the ship as well: Prego, Silk and Churrascaria. Our family favorite was Churrascaria which is a Brazilian bbq type place. The lamb there was excellent and we came back twice! Do avoid the signature Brazilian cocktail... too sweet. The excursions were fine and organized. There weren’t many adrenaline filled things to do, but that also goes along with the Crystal age range and interest levels. The ports had options which were more exciting and with planning the excursions for your group can figure out a fun plan. The pool experience was also pleasant because there was a great deal of space. We never felt like we were fighting for a good place to sit by the pool and drink service was good. The all inclusive drink package which comes with Crystal was really pleasing to the entire family. Scotch and bourbon for the guys (Johnny Walker Black and Knob Creek, Crispin Cider and Coke for the ladies). New drinks were always offered as well in case we wanted to try something new which was fun. I would highly recommend this as a high end cruise trip to any group. Read Less
Crystal Symphony Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 4.5 4.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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