Crystal Symphony Cruise Review by daveahl
- Sail Date: January 2015
- Destination: Asia
The cruise started in Bali and you could embark anytime on Jan 17 or 18. Crystal met passengers flying in on Jan 17 but refused to do so for people like us who arrived on Jan 18. Moreover, they didn’t tell us this in advance, so we were stuck at the airport trying to find the Crystal shuttle before we finally took a taxi to the port.
Once on the ship things were fine, although we were surprised to find the 246-sq ft stateroom about 10% smaller than those on the Crystal Serenity (269 sq ft) and 22% smaller than the corresponding level room on Regent (301 sq ft). We were also surprised that the “free” Internet service for Crystal Society members (those who have cruised on Crystal before) was for just one hour a day (not unlimited like Regent). Moreover, the connection was quite slow so uploading photos used up your hour in short order.
Dining was excellent after we negotiated to be moved from a tiny table way in the back at the door to the galley to a table in the middle of the room. Although window tables were often empty, they were never offered to us. We had the early seating (be in place by 6:15), which was okay except on the days we didn’t get back from a shore excursion until late afternoon. On those days, we would have liked to go to “casual dining” at the Lido, but that was only open on 3 nights of the 12-day cruise. One wonders why?
Smokers like me weren’t happy with the Connoisseur Club, a small room which was the only place to smoke on the ship. There were two types of smokers aboard: ones in Group 1 who wanted to read a book while having a quite smoke. Too bad for them as the room was dark, there were no reading lights, and there was Group 2. People in that group wanted to watch loud TV, talk even louder, and basically have a party. I resorted to bringing ear plugs and a flashlight in the late afternoon, but evenings were just impossible.
A number of shore excursions were cancelled because not enough people signed up. Seems to me they could have arranged for a 6- or 8-passenger van rather than the usual 40-passenger bus and run the excursion like that.
Perhaps because we were in a hot climate, the lowest we could get the cabin temperature was about 73 degrees F, which was okay during the day, but too hot at night. We traded the duvet on the bed for a blanket, but even that was often too hot. So a good night’s sleep wasn’t one of the high points of the cruise.
Oh, yes, there was one toddler on board whose parents, after the second day finally got the message that a kid whining in the dining room wasn't enjoyed by most of the adults and we (thankfully!) didn't see too much of them at meals. What on earth were they thinking bringing a one-year-old on a cruise like this?
Don’t get me wrong: Crystal is a great cruise line. The new emphasis of the dining staff to be friendly and really get to know you is extraordinary. Our cabin attendant was superb. The food in all the restaurants (except the outdoor grill) was outstanding. The bartenders mixed excellent drinks. The wine and champagne choices were first-rate. The shore excursions were very good (except for Malacca where we had a mediocre guide). The people at the concierge desk went out of their way to be helpful. All the staff were smiling and friendly. A few flaws, but we’ll be back.
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