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30 cruises with Regent/Seabourn/Silversea/Oceania etc and the second trip with Crystal. Clearly Crystal has many fans, who appear not to have travelled with many other lines. Boarding was chaotic, 900 people board at the same time and stand in line in the cold as each passenger is checked in on board. Safety drill took place at 8.15 pm. As you sit at the bar, a sign is placed in your face that service is suspended. Everybody goes outside, many are drunk and making a joke of the whole process. You then all rush back in and undergo the chaotic dinner service in the dining room. Dining by reservation is a disaster. You are seated in an undesirable seat between meal services as the waiters noisily clear the first sitting and set up the second sitting. We were given seconds to order; "I hope you are ready to order", with no eye contact and desperate to move on. Wine service is "Red or white?", no description of the wine and it is poured VERY quickly before they run off. Food quality is VERY poor compared to ANY other cruise line I have travelled with and in particular with all inclusive premium cruise lines. Menus are very unimaginative; ingredients are cheap, frozen and prepared in advance. Everything is VERY salty, especially the soups that are often slopped around the bowl and plates as they are rushed to your table. Dessert is often Ice Cream or Ice Cream, a clear sign of penny pinching. There were numerous outbreaks of gastric illnesses. The dining room is very busy, very noisy and in no way refined or anywhere near fine dining. There is no alternative dining in the evening in the Lido area as with all other premium lines such as Seabourn/Regent etc. Prague and the Nobu themed restaurants are 'ok' but then they should be, considering the hype and the background to the chefs who risk their name to the venture. Lunch is a procession of travel agents being dined by Crystal. They can be heard clearly explaining how Crystal provide 'incentives' to recommend them to clients and one was thanking Crystal for his latest iPhone update. Cabins are the smallest on ANY ship and the bathrooms have two PLASTIC bowls that you can just about put your hands in.You have to carefully manoeuvre around the room just to be able to get around the bed, the cabins really are very small. There is no atmosphere on board, it is really very flat. Officers are rarely seen except at the 'Welcome Aboard" party towards the END of the voyage where the officers won't touch you in case they spread viruses. Staff in general are flat, there is often no eye contact and nobody called me by name which I have never experienced on any premium cruise line. The stateroom attendant couldn't even manage 'hello' or 'good morning'. Shows are 'ok' but again nothing special considering the claims of Crystal to be the best. Dancers are too busy eating in the main restaurant at dining times we were told were not available. I could write a lot more but I think it's safe to say my money will be staying with the other premium lines and I can only suggest those Crystal fans that have never tried another cruise line to venture out into the big competitive world and try some better food and service in cabins twice the size and sometimes lower priced than the very 'pricey' Crystal.

A Very Disappointing Trip

Crystal Symphony Cruise Review by paul.howe

18 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2015
  • Destination: Alaska
30 cruises with Regent/Seabourn/Silversea/Oceania etc and the second trip with Crystal. Clearly Crystal has many fans, who appear not to have travelled with many other lines.

Boarding was chaotic, 900 people board at the same time and stand in line in the cold as each passenger is checked in on board. Safety drill took place at 8.15 pm. As you sit at the bar, a sign is placed in your face that service is suspended. Everybody goes outside, many are drunk and making a joke of the whole process. You then all rush back in and undergo the chaotic dinner service in the dining room. Dining by reservation is a disaster. You are seated in an undesirable seat between meal services as the waiters noisily clear the first sitting and set up the second sitting. We were given seconds to order; "I hope you are ready to order", with no eye contact and desperate to move on. Wine service is "Red or white?", no description of the wine and it is poured VERY quickly before they run off. Food quality is VERY poor compared to ANY other cruise line I have travelled with and in particular with all inclusive premium cruise lines.

Menus are very unimaginative; ingredients are cheap, frozen and prepared in advance. Everything is VERY salty, especially the soups that are often slopped around the bowl and plates as they are rushed to your table. Dessert is often Ice Cream or Ice Cream, a clear sign of penny pinching. There were numerous outbreaks of gastric illnesses. The dining room is very busy, very noisy and in no way refined or anywhere near fine dining. There is no alternative dining in the evening in the Lido area as with all other premium lines such as Seabourn/Regent etc. Prague and the Nobu themed restaurants are 'ok' but then they should be, considering the hype and the background to the chefs who risk their name to the venture. Lunch is a procession of travel agents being dined by Crystal. They can be heard clearly explaining how Crystal provide 'incentives' to recommend them to clients and one was thanking Crystal for his latest iPhone update.

Cabins are the smallest on ANY ship and the bathrooms have two PLASTIC bowls that you can just about put your hands in.You have to carefully manoeuvre around the room just to be able to get around the bed, the cabins really are very small. There is no atmosphere on board, it is really very flat. Officers are rarely seen except at the 'Welcome Aboard" party towards the END of the voyage where the officers won't touch you in case they spread viruses. Staff in general are flat, there is often no eye contact and nobody called me by name which I have never experienced on any premium cruise line. The stateroom attendant couldn't even manage 'hello' or 'good morning'. Shows are 'ok' but again nothing special considering the claims of Crystal to be the best. Dancers are too busy eating in the main restaurant at dining times we were told were not available.

I could write a lot more but I think it's safe to say my money will be staying with the other premium lines and I can only suggest those Crystal fans that have never tried another cruise line to venture out into the big competitive world and try some better food and service in cabins twice the size and sometimes lower priced than the very 'pricey' Crystal.
paul.howe’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9001
The smallest cabins you will ever find on any cruise line, never mind an all inclusive 'luxury' cruise line that Crystal claims to be.
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