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This was my second Crystal cruise and my first on the older Symphony, though it had just emerged out of dry dock. The cruise caught my attention primarily because of the wealth of sea days -- it was a 15 day transpacific cruise with only one port stop (a 24 hour stop in Honolulu). I love sea days for the relaxation, calmness, and freedom to do as much or as little as I want. I was traveling solo, and Crystal treats solo passengers very well with very low single supplements and excellent on board service. As I had experienced before with Crystal, the embarkation went off without a hitch. Although there was a slight (5-10 minute) line on the port to get on the ship, once on the ship there were almost no lines and I had a crew member accompany me through the process until my ship card was issued. She was friendly but not obtrusive, making polite conversation about San Diego and New Zealand (where I would be disembarking). Several people boarding seemed to know some of the crew members they were chatting with from previous cruises. I had some lunch and did a good deal of people watching until the designated time when my bags would be in my room, and they were there when promised. I took some time to explore the ship, and was up on the top deck for sail away. The time on board was just as I had expected - terrific. There were 4 different lecturers on board - two I did not enjoy, but I very much enjoyed lectures from the other two. In fact, they were so popular that I enjoyed them relaxing in my room rather than in the lounge because it was so overly filled. I had wonderful table mates at my 8-top, and several of us got along so well that we socialized elsewhere on the ship (playing trivia, etc). At times when some of the people there were dining elsewhere, a couple of dance hosts or lecturers joined our table instead. The food ranged from good to excellent in the Main Dining Room, though there were not enough vegetables and too many courses for my preference. In the specialty restaurants, the food ranged from very good to absolutely fabulous; some of it ranked among the best restaurant food I have ever had, anywhere. I prefer Japanese to Italian food, so I preferred Silk Road to Prego, but I enjoyed them both. I had the pleasure of enjoying a specially-requested dessert that was requested in advance by a table mate - the first time I'd seen that happen - and It was excellent (a Salzburger nockerl). I also saw how nicely they dealt with the dietary restrictions of one of my table mates, who was Kosher. Every night the head waiter brought her the next night's menu to see if she found anything that fit her requirements and desires - if not, she would make a request and they would thaw that frozen meat from the freezer for her. One night it was lamb chops, one night it was duck (she got the whole roast duck, and she offered the remainder that she didn't eat as an extra to the rest of the table), another night it was a steak. I was impressed with their service and flexibility. The music in the various lounges was good, and they had a couple of last-minute Dixieland Jazz concerts (from some members of the showroom orchestra) that were truly amazing. I only danced a little, as the rocking of the ship many nights made me concerned about my balance (and my trick knee), but the 4 dance hosts did an excellent job of making sure all the unaccompanied women wanting to dance each got her turn(s). I danced with 2 of them, and each were pleasant and helpful, and didn't seem bothered by my amateur dancing skills. Crystal has a very calm and low-key atmosphere, which is so appreciated. There are no announcements aside from the once daily captain's update and safety announcements (muster drill). There are no sales pitches or advertisements for anything, though there are places to go should you want to buy photos/clothes/jewelery, etc. Even the on-board photographer was rather unobtrusive. There were enough lounges and seats on the lido deck when I was looking for them, and no shortage of available outdoor seating on the aft decks for additional places to relax in quiet. The service, which Crystal is probably best known for, was very, very good - in fact, better than it had been on my last Crystal cruise. The MDR staff I encountered were universally good, and our head waiter was downright excellent, being chatty when we talked to her and unobtrusive when we clearly were involved in something else (other food or conversation). Waitstaff on the Lido deck quickly learned my name, and my drink and breakfast preferences. All the staff were friendly and actually seemed happy to be there and answer questions or help out -- not like the somewhat forced smiles and obsequious service I've felt on other cruises. My cabin attendant made sure I had ice every day, and the in-cabin fridge stocked the way I wanted it (with Diet Coke and sparkling water). She also took care of storing my bag that didn't fit under the bed, and even retrieved it for me when I realized I'd left something in it when I unpacked. Disembarkation in Auckland went perfectly, and because I wasn't using any cruise-sponsored connections I was able to disembark at my leisure within a 2 hour time frame.

Terrific transpacific cruise with lots of sea days

Crystal Symphony Cruise Review by calliopecruiser

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
This was my second Crystal cruise and my first on the older Symphony, though it had just emerged out of dry dock. The cruise caught my attention primarily because of the wealth of sea days -- it was a 15 day transpacific cruise with only one port stop (a 24 hour stop in Honolulu). I love sea days for the relaxation, calmness, and freedom to do as much or as little as I want. I was traveling solo, and Crystal treats solo passengers very well with very low single supplements and excellent on board service.
As I had experienced before with Crystal, the embarkation went off without a hitch. Although there was a slight (5-10 minute) line on the port to get on the ship, once on the ship there were almost no lines and I had a crew member accompany me through the process until my ship card was issued. She was friendly but not obtrusive, making polite conversation about San Diego and New Zealand (where I would be disembarking). Several people boarding seemed to know some of the crew members they were chatting with from previous cruises. I had some lunch and did a good deal of people watching until the designated time when my bags would be in my room, and they were there when promised. I took some time to explore the ship, and was up on the top deck for sail away.
The time on board was just as I had expected - terrific. There were 4 different lecturers on board - two I did not enjoy, but I very much enjoyed lectures from the other two. In fact, they were so popular that I enjoyed them relaxing in my room rather than in the lounge because it was so overly filled. I had wonderful table mates at my 8-top, and several of us got along so well that we socialized elsewhere on the ship (playing trivia, etc). At times when some of the people there were dining elsewhere, a couple of dance hosts or lecturers joined our table instead.
The food ranged from good to excellent in the Main Dining Room, though there were not enough vegetables and too many courses for my preference. In the specialty restaurants, the food ranged from very good to absolutely fabulous; some of it ranked among the best restaurant food I have ever had, anywhere. I prefer Japanese to Italian food, so I preferred Silk Road to Prego, but I enjoyed them both. I had the pleasure of enjoying a specially-requested dessert that was requested in advance by a table mate - the first time I'd seen that happen - and It was excellent (a Salzburger nockerl). I also saw how nicely they dealt with the dietary restrictions of one of my table mates, who was Kosher. Every night the head waiter brought her the next night's menu to see if she found anything that fit her requirements and desires - if not, she would make a request and they would thaw that frozen meat from the freezer for her. One night it was lamb chops, one night it was duck (she got the whole roast duck, and she offered the remainder that she didn't eat as an extra to the rest of the table), another night it was a steak. I was impressed with their service and flexibility.
The music in the various lounges was good, and they had a couple of last-minute Dixieland Jazz concerts (from some members of the showroom orchestra) that were truly amazing. I only danced a little, as the rocking of the ship many nights made me concerned about my balance (and my trick knee), but the 4 dance hosts did an excellent job of making sure all the unaccompanied women wanting to dance each got her turn(s). I danced with 2 of them, and each were pleasant and helpful, and didn't seem bothered by my amateur dancing skills.
Crystal has a very calm and low-key atmosphere, which is so appreciated. There are no announcements aside from the once daily captain's update and safety announcements (muster drill). There are no sales pitches or advertisements for anything, though there are places to go should you want to buy photos/clothes/jewelery, etc. Even the on-board photographer was rather unobtrusive. There were enough lounges and seats on the lido deck when I was looking for them, and no shortage of available outdoor seating on the aft decks for additional places to relax in quiet.
The service, which Crystal is probably best known for, was very, very good - in fact, better than it had been on my last Crystal cruise. The MDR staff I encountered were universally good, and our head waiter was downright excellent, being chatty when we talked to her and unobtrusive when we clearly were involved in something else (other food or conversation). Waitstaff on the Lido deck quickly learned my name, and my drink and breakfast preferences. All the staff were friendly and actually seemed happy to be there and answer questions or help out -- not like the somewhat forced smiles and obsequious service I've felt on other cruises. My cabin attendant made sure I had ice every day, and the in-cabin fridge stocked the way I wanted it (with Diet Coke and sparkling water). She also took care of storing my bag that didn't fit under the bed, and even retrieved it for me when I realized I'd left something in it when I unpacked.
Disembarkation in Auckland went perfectly, and because I wasn't using any cruise-sponsored connections I was able to disembark at my leisure within a 2 hour time frame.
calliopecruiser’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8110
Though it is advertised as "partially obstructed", I would call it "minimally obstructed" because the visible lifeboat took up less than half the window space and there was still lots of room for light to enter. Not too aft to be a problem with respect to motion, but close enough that it was a brief walk to the aft deck.
  Crystal Symphony Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Honolulu
    I rented a car from an outlet about a 15 minute walk away from the cruise dock, and spent the day driving around the island, up to the North Shore and back again via a different route. What a great way to see Oahu and get a real feeling for the island! Beautiful, both inland and at the shore, and I discovered several beautiful, out of the way beaches, and smaller communities. I spent minimal time in Honolulu itself, mostly just a quick trip to the Ala Moana mall to pick up a few supplies at the pharmacy and some money from an ATM.
    View All 646 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
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