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Sail Date: November 2014
Since sailing on the Crystal Symphony I want to sail only with the Crystal Family! I reckon that is why many people have 300 to 500 sailings with her! First of all, the staff. They are so friendly and helpful. Not a sour face in sight. ... Read More
Since sailing on the Crystal Symphony I want to sail only with the Crystal Family! I reckon that is why many people have 300 to 500 sailings with her! First of all, the staff. They are so friendly and helpful. Not a sour face in sight. Your drink of choice is remembered by them and automatically placed in front of you. The nice thing is that everything is included . Tips, drinks etc. The shows ! In 25 nights of sailing on 2 shows were repeated. Wow! In all three Bars there was live music every night. My favourite Thomas, in The Cove! The music at the sail always at the pool was a great idea! Then the talks! What Informative speakers. The dance hosts were available 3x a day! Our days were Jam packed! The cabins were very neat and tidy. The bathrooms adequate. My gripe: get rid of that tub chair and put s stool in it's place! Please! We stayed mid ships on deck 7. Close to everything. Visits to the spa is a must even if you just want to go for a steam or sauna. The shops were a delight as new stock and clothes were continuously introduced. The table for 8'for solo travelers was a great idea. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
Due to cruise New York to Los Angeles via Panama Canal last November. Chose Crystal because they said there was open dining option. Tried to book dining times 3 weeks in advance online to find there was no option left but 6-15 or 8-30, ... Read More
Due to cruise New York to Los Angeles via Panama Canal last November. Chose Crystal because they said there was open dining option. Tried to book dining times 3 weeks in advance online to find there was no option left but 6-15 or 8-30, all other slots had gone. This isn't a real dining option for people who want to dine at 7-30. Cruise due to leave New York 2 November, we were due to fly 30 October. Hurricane approaching, due to hit New York Monday 29 October. We and our travel agent tried to contact Crystal all that weekend to discuss alternative embarkation and only got a recorded message that their offices were closed until Monday opening 9 a.m. California time - after the time we would have had to leave London. No flights into new York that week. No communication from Crystal at all, no email, no message to our agents, we were desperate with worry. Emails were unanswered, no reassurance given. This made us sick with worry and uncertainty and forced us to cancel. Very expensive cruise - how could Crystal close their offices in this emergency time over the weekend prior to the Hurricane and just ignore their customers?We would never ever consider Crystal again. they might have won World's Favorite Cruise line, but that can only have been when things didn't go wrong. Their statement that open dining is an option should be qualified by "if you go online and book early enough". Crystal are quick enough to send emails to customers promoting salon treatments etc. Why didn't they send a reassuring email saying that embarkation would be from an alternative port to be notified and not to worry. I gather that the cruise did take off from Charleston several days late - if we had known this, we wouldn't have been so worried. Terribly disappointed with the service from Crystal Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Crystal really tried to make the best of a multitude of problems. The computers didn't talk with each other in Montreal; thus the engines wouldn't start. Crystal worked on this and brought parts and a computer expert in from ... Read More
Crystal really tried to make the best of a multitude of problems. The computers didn't talk with each other in Montreal; thus the engines wouldn't start. Crystal worked on this and brought parts and a computer expert in from Germany. We did miss Quebec and the Sagenay River because of that. We were given either $150 cash or a $300 credit on a tour taken before 12/15/14 --- plus $15 cash, our share of not docking in Quebec. Later we received an additional $10 as our share of not docking in Newport. Yes they could have been a bit more generous. Halifax and Bar Harbor were wonderful Then on to Boston and an introduction to Hurricane Sandy. the first day in Boston was rainy but were still able to make a good visit to this city. The next day the ship offered shuttles to an enclosed up-scale mall. Unfortunately, Sandy came in with gusto and the mall, of course, closed. We were at a safe dock with the bow thrusters going and a big tug holding us to the dock. We felt very safe. Some people did get off -- maybe they were going back to Canada. I'm fairly sure they were not going to NY. The ship did not let us know that there was a possibility of never getting the ship to NY. If they had, I think some of our new acquaintances from Canada would have departed. After we left Boston it was announced that the next stop was Charleston and we could talk with some of the ship's staff on deck 5. I have to admit that one of the ladies assigned to talk with passengers was totally unimpressed with this task. Unfortunately her regular job was customer service. We did find the lady who books future cruises to be very understanding although there wasn't much she could do. We did get a free call to our travel agent. We did, for the remainder of the trip, get free internet. This was very appreciated, very fast and very accessible. This was a hurricane --- Crystal didn't cause it --- they tried to help people. I saw the staff of the computer room assist an untold number of folks who were not computer savvy. We did enjoy the Cruise Critic cocktail party -- thanks. This was our 6th trip on Crystal. Was it the best?? Probably not... But the service was marvelous, the food excellent and it left us with lots of stories to tell. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Crystal Symphony -- Baltic Dreams, June 16 to June 27, 2012 Hamburg, Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Stockholm Better than we anticipated! We'd never sailed on the Crystal Symphony, prior to this trip. ... Read More
Crystal Symphony -- Baltic Dreams, June 16 to June 27, 2012 Hamburg, Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Stockholm Better than we anticipated! We'd never sailed on the Crystal Symphony, prior to this trip. We'd been on the Radisson / Regent "Seven Seas" prior to this cruise and were anxious to see how they stack up against one another, although it has been several years since those sailings. We learned several weeks before our departure that the Symphony would be in dry-dock for renovations immediately preceding our cruise date of June 16, In a way, that added a bit of intrigue to the trip in not knowing just what was going to be updated. Personally, when we booked passage nearly 6 months earlier I'll confess that there were a lot of questions about the cost of a cruise on a ship that was 17 years old and how would it stack up to the hype, even if it's launching godmother was Angela Lansbury! But not to worry; if there were any signs that this ship was showing its age, they were invisible to us. It was as sparkling and pristine as any luxury cruise ship we'd been on, and thankfully, with none of "bling" and garishness that passes for decor on the mega-ships of the NCL, Royal Caribbean and the like. I'll have to leave it to others who've sailed on the Symphony prior the June 16 re-launch to make the comparisons and whether the current iteration is better than the previous. We thought it was as nice as you'd care to have it. Our group of 6 were able to get cabin assignments in close proximity to each other, on the Promenade Deck about midship. My wife and I were in cabin #7071 and right near the elevator lobby and the exit door to the deck. This was really perfect for us as my wife has some difficulty in walking, this put us just a deck or two above the Crystal Dining Room and the Lobby Bar. Our cabins were not involved in the recent renovation but were in great shape and showed no wear. As mentioned by "Steph27" in an earlier reviews, it was very comfortable and seemed to have an amazing amount of drawers and shelving for storage and a very ample closet. The bed was very comfortable, there were as many pillows as you could want and, of course, the right height from the floor to get the suitcases out of the way. We were late booking so we weren't able to select a cabin with a veranda, so we ended up with an "E" category described as having a "large picture window with a view that is limited or extremely limited". I can't speak for the other "E" category cabins, except for those of our group; none of us had a problem with the view at all. As for having a veranda, I'm afraid it may have been a bit too cool and/or windy to fully enjoy that amenity. One other point about being on the Promenade Deck and a concern about people "promenading" in front of the cabin window. Yes, the outside deck was a bit below the cabin window, but during the day it was impossible to see in from the outside due to the silver mirror-like tinting on the windows. While at night, with the drapes closed, there wasn't a problem. Our cabin proved to be very inviting and comfortable. If there is a criticism it would be with the on-line requirements for information after paying for the ticket. There was too much repetitive information required and the inability to answer questions about both my wife and I at the same time gave me a lot of frustration. Hopefully, that will be corrected in the future. Also, there were too many problems with trying to make dinner reservations for a party of eight (later changed to a party of six). We also couldn't find much out about the menus, relating to dietary and health restrictions. That being said, we needn't have worried. Contrary to what some have written, we NEVER had difficulty getting a table for our group and likewise never had difficulty either changing our assigned dinner times, coming later than anticipated nor staying as long as we chose. Our seating time in the Crystal Dining room was "around" 6:45 and often were leaving dinner at 8:30 or closer to 9:00. The service in the Dining Room was impeccable and the food was extraordinary. Not that it mattered to us, but by the second day our wait staff had our names down pat. Nothing, and mean nothing was too much to ask. Prego was wonderful and Silk Road was a good experience. (Asian food isn't high on my list of preferred cuisines, so I'll leave it to others with more cosmopolitan palates to pass judgment on the Silk Road.) As a matter of fact, right after having dinner at Prego we booked another reservation for later in the week (not difficult), but cancelled when we all were satisfied with our experience in the Crystal Dining Room. Our most recent cruise, prior to the Symphony, was on the NCL Pearl, where dining in the main dining room was akin to being downgraded from 1st class to economy on a plane. If you chose not to frequent the 4 or 5 "up charge" restaurants, then back to the galley! On that ship, two huge main dining rooms, each serving exactly the same menus and of questionable quality. Dining in the Crystal Dining Room was a pleasure! As for breakfast in the Lido Cafe absolutely no complaints. Generally, my wife and I would be there around 815 or a bit earlier if we had a tour start by 9 am. It was extremely rare that we couldn't we find a table and we never had to search one out on our own, always being assisted in that task by one of the waiters, who also knew our names, I might add. Breakfast was also available in the main dining room, as well. Normally breakfast buffets, nor any other buffets, are not on our radar. But to call the Lido Cafe a "buffet" is way off the mark! First off, there are no trays and consequently no long line of rails to push your tray along. The Lido is arranged with many "islands" of selected foods, such as the chef-attended omellette and waffle section, there's cold cereal, with fruits, another area for meat & cheeses, another section for Asian Kimchee and soups, etc. As you choose your selection, no tray? No problem! As out of nowhere a server appears to carry your plate back to the table, if you choose. Actually, quite nice. Late risers probably were a bit out of luck and would have to settle for breakfast in the mid-ship Trident Bar and Grill, where the selections were somewhat limited but certainly not frugal. I might respond to some of the other writer's comments about the wine selections. As everything is life, wine is a relative thing! And again, those who consistently cruise on the "all inclusives" might be able to jump in and make some comparisons of the wine lists of the various ships. We on the other hand were more than happy with the selections, whether red, white or champagne. We were happy not because we were forced to drink inferior wines; not at all! Several times we disliked a selection at dinner, only to have the Sommelier rush out to select something else. It was the effort that counted as much as the wine. In the Crystal Cove Bar on Deck #5 were our crowd generally would meet and have a few cocktails before dinner. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio was always available. Where I'm from a bottle of that goes for about $18.00 a bottle. I know you can spend more, but we all thought that was a pretty nice, "pedestrian" type of wine. Besides, the ladies also like the "Sake Berry" martinis they made in the Cove Bar. The itinerary of Symphony's Baltic Dreams was the reason we chose this particular cruise. A couple of people in our group had been to one or another of the cities, but you know how that is when it's work -- you never get to see anything. For my wife and I it was all new and fun to visit. The weather was mostly cooperative, but we got rained out of Tallinn and had a bit of rain in Stockholm. St. Petersburg was amazingly interesting and the lunches we had were exceptional, possibly helped by my Eastern European roots. As for tours, we chose to plan and book our St. Petersburg tours before we ever left home. While expensive, it included group visas, lunches, all transportation and admission fees. We were able to select where we wished to go and what we wanted to see. We even got the V.I.P. treatment by always being "1st in line and shown to special entrances where we would always be assured of being shown to head of the line. We took our private tours on Friday and Sunday, and on Saturday were part of a free courtesy tour sponsored by American Express. That was a fun way to meet other cruisers at a pre-tour mixer and during the tour itself. In most of the other cities we availed ourselves of the "Hop-on-Hop-off" bus system, which was always combined with a canal boat tour. Much less expensive and with a little research before hand, you could quite easily do your own thing, stopping at interesting sites along the way and then wait for the next bus to continue on, taking as much or as little time as the schedule allowed. There are probably a few "nits" that I could pick, but they all fade into insignificance when compared to the total experience. We are extremely glad that we took this cruise with Crystal and will be looking for the next time we can again say "All Aboard" with one of their ships. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
My friend Linda came to sail with me on a trip to Alaska on the Crystal Symphony. This was her first time on Crystal and my second. The cruise was just fantastic The food was really a cut above all other cruise lines. The entertainment was ... Read More
My friend Linda came to sail with me on a trip to Alaska on the Crystal Symphony. This was her first time on Crystal and my second. The cruise was just fantastic The food was really a cut above all other cruise lines. The entertainment was fabulous. Our cruise had "emerging artists" sailing and entering us. They were extremely talented and we all enjoyed the shows. The lectures were interesting and entertaining. Beginning Bridge classes were given and I liked them. The gym was just wonderful and I worked out most days. Excellent, attentive staff. The spa was very good, and I had two massages. I think the prices are over the top, however. All in all it was a great trip. Linda and I especially enjoyed meeting & hanging out with Bradely & Stuart, who were passengers from the U.K. The Ron Owens group was a lot of fun and Joanne from Fugazi Travel took good care of us... Read Less
I joined the ship in Sydney for last 20 days. Air travel involved 3 planes to Sydney, usual scenario, long lines at security, searches and of course no meals on the 2 planes from FL to LA. Hotel room in Sydney was good, hotel food rather ... Read More
I joined the ship in Sydney for last 20 days. Air travel involved 3 planes to Sydney, usual scenario, long lines at security, searches and of course no meals on the 2 planes from FL to LA. Hotel room in Sydney was good, hotel food rather poor and very expensive. Boarding was as per usual, lines and confusion. Once on the ship, a crewmember took my carry-on to escort me to my cabin. He got the deck correct but then did not know if he had to go right, left, forward or aft once he got there. I found out that he had joined Symphony only a couple of hours prior to my arrival and had never been on a Crystal ship before! Luckily I knew the ship better than he did. Once in the cabin I found my luggage waiting for me which was excellent. When I read the ship activities sheet I realized things were going to be very different on this cruise. There were 100 Full World cruisers on board and just over 200 segment cruisers. Dining was not two sittings or assigned table, but "open seating, doors open from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m." This was a bad error. With Crystal still using personal gratuity plan, the staff would be financially short at end of trip. The kitchen proved to be in chaos, since it meant that some passengers were requiring desert whilst others were just starting their appetizers. This resulted in incorrect food or badly cooked food being served up. Examples: When I cut my breakfast pancake it oozed a gooey mess of uncooked batter over my plate. An order of "link sausages and broiled tomatoes," came up as one thin sausage and one half tomato. I asked the waiter to return it to the kitchen for a bigger portion. He returned very upset, still only one sausage but they had added an extra half a tomato. I was told the kitchen "had no more sausages, that it would take half an hour to get further supplies from the storeroom and to cook them". I made do. I ordered "Fresh raspberries with ice cream" and received "Blueberries and whipped cream," and an order of "fried Oysters" came up as "Oysters Rockefeller", a side order of "Fried Onion Rings" came up as "two spoonfuls of chopped braised onions "as is usually found on a hamburger. On the French night I ordered the soufflE at 7:50 p.m. and was then informed that "the soufflE will not be served so early, you will have to wait until 8.30 p.m. for it." As I was going to the film at 8.15, I settled for vanilla ice cream. Never have I experienced such poor service from Crystal. There were other equally upsetting events. It became very obvious that the Full World cruisers regarded the ship as their own private domain, and I regret to say Crystal actually encouraged this attitude. The President of Crystal came on board for last 5 days. He held a public forum. A demand was made by a group of full world cruisers that "in future Crystal will not sell segments of this cruise, or if they do they will charge the segments buyers much higher rates than those of us buying the whole cruise, this will limit the numbers." I was horrified at this blatant and arrogant demand. I expected the President to point out that Crystal could not sail with just 100 passengers, and that segment buyers had paid their fares and had as many rights as any other passengers. He did not do so, he agreed with the demand! As a matter of interest a check of the rates will show that if there were full world cruise passengers and segment passengers from my town, the full world passengers would have received greater service and luxury than segment passengers. Full world cost for cabin E was $399 pp pd. For this they received Limo service from their home to airport, limo service from destination airport to ship, and same service on their return. They would receive "free First class" air travel. Hotel at port with Welcome dinner and party pre cruise, all gratuities paid, $1000 shipboard credit. Special parties, dinners and shore events. Just to mention a few of the "goodies." For last segment, the cost was $389 pp pd, but passenger had to make own way to gateway airport, (an extra $180 return fare by car for myself) pay own air costs ($895 economy to $4600 for business class Fl to Sydney). Bus to hotel, room was provided but no food, my dinner cost me $45. Bus to ship next day, gratuities were paid. $150 shipboard credit. From this it is clear that the full world cruise passenger a got great deal for the extra $10 pp pd to Crystal. Due to the events which happened on this cruise and in view of the attitude of the Full world contingent, together with the remarks made by the President of Crystal concerning future charges to segment passengers, I have to state that I would not recommend anyone to take this cruise unless they were going as full world passengers. rafex1@earthlink.net August 2003 Read Less
While I realize there is not a large market for world cruises, I would like to offer suggestions and comments based on our recently completed voyage on the Symphony between 1/12 and 4/27. In regards to the ship itself, all of the ... Read More
While I realize there is not a large market for world cruises, I would like to offer suggestions and comments based on our recently completed voyage on the Symphony between 1/12 and 4/27. In regards to the ship itself, all of the category A-E cabins are the same size and configuration, excluding the verandahs in cat. A-B. These all feature twin/queen size beds, 2-person sofa, desk and chair, TV with tape player, minibar, safe, adequate storage even for a world cruise, and a bath with tub/shower and twin sinks. The cat. E cabins are on the 7th and 8th decks and have obstructed view of varying degrees, with those on the 8th having in general a greater degree of obstruction, i.e. lifeboats. We were in 7088 and had about 20 % blockage by the bottom of the lifeboat, which was no problem. Our only objection was that this lifeboat was always used for tender operations, which usually meant a fair amount of noise around 06:30. Fortunately there were only a few ports that needed tenders. The 4 aft lifeboats are larger than the others and therefore always are used. The cabins between 7064-7085 are probably the best. One nice thing about the promenade deck is that it is lower than the floor level of the cabins, so that people are not on eye-level with the windows. Cat. D cabins are all on the 5th deck, which is the same level as the dining room and the usual gangplank level, so they are handy for those with walking difficulties, although there were several wheelchairs on other levels as well. Cat. C is the unobstructed cabins on deck 7. Cat. A & B are identical with B's on deck 8 and A's on deck 9. Those more forward and aft have wider verandahs. We visited people in Penthouse cabins and they are luxurious with lots of room, free mini-bar and a butler, but very expensive. The food was quite good, with 4 main entrees each night in the main dining room, plus 2 other plain fish, chicken or steak choices, plus a vegetarian dish, a pasta and an entrEe-type salad. In addition the headwaiters would perform tableside dishes and special orders, such as rack of lamb or kosher chicken, as well as desserts. There were 2 additional restaurants, Prego (Italian) and the Jade Garden (Asian). Both were excellent, especially the mushroom soup in Prego. It was suggested that a $6 tip/ person should be given. We usually had breakfast and lunch in the Lido, since it was generally faster than the dining room. However I did notice they had fresh-squeezed orange juice in the dining room, but not in the Lido. There were numerous buffets, usually on the Lido deck outside, as well as the Trident Grill, where you could get sandwiches and pizza, and a separate ice-cream bar. There was also the Bistro on the 6th deck, where you could get a late breakfast, light lunch or afternoon snack. Afternoon tea was served in the Palm Court. We started out with the late seating, but at 8:30 it was just too late, so we eventually switched to a table for 4 at the 6:15 seating, but since the ship was not full, we could come as late as 7:00 and still be out in plenty of time. Occasionally they would have a casual dinner at the Trident Grill with open seating, but the menu was limited and never changed, so we only did that 3 times. The entertainment was outstanding as a rule, with names such as Jim Nabors, Debbie Reynolds, Regis Philbin, Tommy Tune, etc, The ship's productions were good, but were repeated every segment, so one could go elsewhere. The movies were not first runs, but we did see Cider House Rules, Gladiator and Fantasia 2000 as well as others. There is a very extensive video library as well as the regular library. There were 3 fulltime pianists, 2 groups and an outstanding six-piece orchestra, so that dancing was always an option. During the day there were enrichment lectures, with such speakers as Buzz Aldrin, Irvine R. Levine, Peter Arnett and others, so that there were usually 2 and sometimes three lectures a day, plus 2 dance lesson, 3 bridge lectures, bridge games, art classes, bingo, so on and on. On the physical side, there were two heated pools, two Jacuzzis, a large gym with 7-9 treadmills, six bicycles, 6 Cybex machines and lots of free weights. The promenade deck was a quarter mile, and on 12 there were a paddle tennis court, a putting green and two golf nets plus a golf pro, offering group and individual lessons. We had 36 ports of call: three were changed, 2 because of civil unrest (Zanzibar and Ivory Coast) and one because the captain felt the harbor could not be entered safely and the tender operation would be too far out. Substitutes were obtained for all three. In addition we had an extra day in Capetown because a supply ship was slowed by an Atlantic storm. In spite of all this we managed to stay on schedule with minor juggling of the ports. The highlights we felt were Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar and the Taj Mahal, although we also enjoyed the safaris in Kenya and South Africa. We frequently either rented a car or hired a taxi with another couple to go sightseeing, although we also did many of the ship's excursions. One of the main points I would like to make is that is a better deal to go on the entire cruise rather than the segments. The total fare for the entire trip was only $1,010 more for the world cruise than the total for each segment, but for that we each got $1,000 shipboard credits, prepaid gratuities (worth more than a $1,000}, limos from home to airport, airport to hotel, hotel to ship, ship to airport and airport to home, a night's stay at the Beverly Hills Hotels with meals and a dinner-dance the night before sailing, and first-class or business class airfare, depending on your cabin grade, plus there were at least 4 special dinners aboard, invitations to the Captain's cabin, and special tours around the ship. The Captain was super and his wife, Terry, was the World Cruise Hostess and did a marvelous job. It was an eye-opener to see how many people had been on previous world cruises, with several that had been on all 5 of the prior one's with Crystal, as well as many who have been with Royal Viking and Seabourn in prior years. Most of the ship's officers and sailors were Norwegian with one Japanese, the waiters and stewardesses were European, the hotel director, maitre'd and chef all being Austrian, and the busboys and cleaning people Philippine. As mentioned above the laundrymen were Chinese. The crew was very pleasant, and were very gracious in their interactions with the guests and each other. Crystal goes to great lengths to keep them happy. All in all it was a memorable experience. Mp17706@aol.comMay, 2001 Read Less
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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