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16 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
14 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This is my 4th Crystal cruise, my 3rd on the Symphony, and it was wonderful in so many ways. I love the Symphony, because it is luxurious but casual (I feel like I can take my shoes off and put my feet up on the couch to read), and ... Read More
This is my 4th Crystal cruise, my 3rd on the Symphony, and it was wonderful in so many ways. I love the Symphony, because it is luxurious but casual (I feel like I can take my shoes off and put my feet up on the couch to read), and carries a nice amount of passengers (about 750-ish) - not too few that I see the same people everywhere, but not too many that I feel crowded or anonymous. I was traveling solo on this cruise, but knew a few people on board from previous cruises and met several more mutual friends while on board. As I said in the title, there's been a little slippage in the food and service on the ship since its drydock, but in other ways there's been a lot of improvements since the drydock. There are 2 additional dinner restaurants on board, both of which outshine the main dining room ("Waterside") in service and food quality. Both of the new restaurants do not count towards your allotted number of included visits to specialty restaurants -- those (Umi Uma and Prego) still remain the premiere dinner spots on the ship, in my opinion. Crystal put a limit on the number of included visits to those spots several years ago (generally 2 per week) in an effort to keep people from monopolizing them, but now that there are more dining options, I wonder if they will continue to do so (extra visits beyond your allotted amount are $30 each, which is still an incredible bargain for that quality and ambience). Of the new restaurants, I particularly recommend Churrascarria, which is Lido deck aft, in the same location where the breakfast and lunch buffets are......you get views of the sunset, and excellent food. Salads, veggies, and side dishes are available as a buffet, and 6 varieties of grilled meat are brought to your table on skewers (chicken, shrimp, pork, lamb, beef). Be sure and stay for some grilled pineapple for dessert. My friends on board very much enjoyed the evening shows, but I never attended (I don't, on any cruise), but I did enjoy the musicians who played in the lounges throughout the ship. Afternoon tea is served every afternoon (even port days), and it was a good time and place for our friends to meet up to chat before dinner. Going through the Panama Canal was interesting, but I don't feel the need to do it again. As this was an August cruise, in general the ports were all hot and humid, and I stayed on board for most of them. A warning should you take a Crystal cruise that stops in Bimini: The tender to port is at least 30 minutes, so you should take that into consideration before deciding if you want to go ashore. I did not, as there wasn't much on shore I was interested in seeing, especially if it meant an hour (round trip) in a crowded tender. Service is known to be wonderful on Crystal, but this trip I found it to be lacking in several places. Some was still wonderful (restaurants other than Waterside, cabin attendant, library and computer room), but some had slipped from terrific to merely good (Lido deck) or from terrific to pretty bad (Waterside). I submitted my concerns to Crystal in their post-voyage survey, so I hope these are just growing pains that will be worked out now that there have been some significant changes since the dry dock. 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
When I saw that this Hawaiian cruise (on my favorite ship, no less!) was to depart from and return to San Francisco (my home), I was delighted. The cruise turned out to be my favorite one ever. I travel solo, as I like to have my own ... Read More
When I saw that this Hawaiian cruise (on my favorite ship, no less!) was to depart from and return to San Francisco (my home), I was delighted. The cruise turned out to be my favorite one ever. I travel solo, as I like to have my own cabin, and I always make new friends onboard. Crystal is the best cruise line for solo travelers, charging FAR less than the 200% most of the others charge. I think my cabin was priced at 130%. Anyway, the cabin was perfectly situated midship, with a window with a partially obscured view, which meant that just the edge of a lifeboat was within my view, not bad at all. The cabin was very comfortable and spacious. There is a sitting area by the window, with a little sofa. The bed was extremely comfortable. The bathroom has double sinks, and a tub/shower combination with a handheld shower head. Bath products include shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion (and, naturally, bar soap). There are lots of extras, like a little sewing kit, shower cap, Q-tips, cotton balls, shoe shiner, shoehorn, even an umbrella. When my cabin stewardess entered that first day, we realized that she had serviced a Babis for me on a prior trip. Very nice. She did a fabulous job, everything was completely clean and tidy, and she refilled my ice bucket twice/day. Back to embarkation—-a friend dropped me off at the pier, and I joined the seated fellow passengers to wait about 15 minutes. We were called by group number. Very painless. Onboard, a line of uniformed officers and crew greeted me and welcomed me to the ship. Very nice touch! I was given my cabin key card and then headed to the dining room for lunch. The food not only looked good, but tasted great. I have found that not to be the case on, say, Princess. The menus were varied and creative, and my waitstaff team was perfect. On my birthday, they decorated the table and presented a cake. I elected to be seated at the solo dining table for 8, which was a great choice. I met lots of very nice fellow solo travelers. Obviously, there were lots of Sea Days, which I really enjoy. Typically, I had room service breakfast in my cabin, a standing order that I didn’t need to order again and again; it was just brought to me each morning at 7:30. I would then take a bridge lesson, go to an excellent lecture, participate in the Trivia Contest, have lunch in the dining room, go to another lecture, read, attend an Art Class, then return to my cabin to dress for dinner. After dinner, there were shows featuring the amazing Crystal Dancers and others. Disembarkation was completely painless, no waiting whatsoever. All in all, I had the time of my life! I love Crystal, especially for the warm and wonderful service and erudite and interesting fellow passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Review Of Voyage 1219 - August 13 Alaska Sailing Overall Summary ============== We had a wonderful time on this voyage. This cruise exceeded our expectations. Embarkation ========== We arrived early ... Read More
Review Of Voyage 1219 - August 13 Alaska Sailing Overall Summary ============== We had a wonderful time on this voyage. This cruise exceeded our expectations. Embarkation ========== We arrived early and terminal security allowed us to sit inside the waiting area of the Pier 35 passenger cruise ship terminal. This was our third embarkation since the roll out of the Priority Check-in & Planning Center(PCPC) and the check-in process was better and faster than ever. In a matter of a minute or two, we were given our shipboard cards with our picture and we were headed to the gangway to board the ship. We stopped so the photographers could take our embarkation photo. Once on board the ship, we enjoyed a nice lunch in the Crystal Dining Room. We did have our traditional Cobb Salad and enjoyed a complimentary flute of Champagne so that we could toast the start of the cruise. After lunch, we took care of a few items including signing up for the Internet, and when we stopped by our room it was ready for our occupancy. Our luggage arrived shortly after that. We were all unpacked and settled before the lifeboat drill and the sail away from San Francisco. Service ====== I have the benefit of also having sailed on some other luxury cruise lines including a 200-passenger ship. While there are certainly differences in the physical nature of a ship carrying 200 versus 900 passenger's, Crystal has perfected the ability to provide a level of service as good if not better than even the very small cruise ships that we have sailed on. We do not travel on the Symphony anywhere's near the number of times we travel on the Serenity a matter of a day or two we were greeted by our names throughout the ship and our preferences known in many venues around the ship. Overall, service was outstanding throughout the ship and this is one of several core strengths of Crystal Cruises. What always impresses us is not just the high level of service provided by each member of the Crystal staff individually, but how they work together as one unit/team to deliver an outstanding level of service to each guest. On top of the wonderful service found around the ship, we were very pleased with our stewardess, stewardess in training, our butler, who we have had previously, and by the Crystal Dining Room staff including our waiter, senior waiter, sommelier, and by Headwaiter and the Crystal Dining Room Maitre. The Ship ======= This is our second voyage on the Symphony since its major dry dock from the fall of 2009. The ship is as beautiful as ever and some of our favorite areas include the Lido Cafe and Lido Deck with the beautiful couches, the ambiance of Silk Road and Prego, the color scheme throughout the ship and our room. The ship is very well maintained and the public rooms are very spacious. While the ship was sold out, and we estimate that there were around 50 or so children on board, it never felt crowded and there are many quiet areas on board the ship. Enrichment ========= This was a food and wine themed cruise, which we really enjoyed and we were very impressed with the number of lecturers on board this voyage and the range of topics they covered. There are well over fifty activities offered on each sea day during the morning and afternoon hours. For example, on the sea day while we cruised the Inside Passage there were three lectures plus a cooking demonstration by the guest chef, and an afternoon program by the mixologist along with an array of other activities. Entertainment ============ There was a nice choice of entertainment on the cruise. On some nights in addition to the production shows there was also additional entertainment such as on the night where the Production Show Route 66 was not only performed twice, but later that evening a Cabaret Show was performed featuring the comedy and music of Jimmy Travis. There was more entertainment on this voyage than I expected, particularly as it related to entertainers brought onto the ship for this voyage. Cuisine ====== We found the cuisine to be even better than ever and that says a lot since we always enjoy the cuisine on board Crystal Cruises. We did not have a meal that we regretted or would have changed. The quality of the food and its overall presentation was very consistent and in our opinion six star. While in Prego and in Silk Road the kitchen is turning out meals for a much smaller number of guests, the reality is that the Crystal Dining Room is turning out meals for around 400 or more guests in each seating. Yet, when each item comes out it has the taste and the presentation of a kitchen that is turning out meals for far fewer guests. Often we order fresh seafood and we did this for the majority of our evening meals in the Crystal Dining Room. We very much enjoyed the fresh fish from Alaska. We also found the salads and the fresh fruit to be very tasty and choices were plentiful throughout the cruise. Accommodations ============== We stayed on the Penthouse Deck and occupied the same room as we did last November. The layout of the room is just perfect for us. Shore Excursions ============== There was a very nice choice of shore excursions to consider. Since we have been to these ports of call from anywhere from three to four times previously, we only chose shore excursions for two of the ports of call. We really enjoyed the volunteer shore excursion. We thank Crystal for making one of these available per voyage. Itinerary ======= The itinerary was perfect. We enjoy sailing out of San Francisco and appreciate that the cruise began and ended there and we enjoyed the six ports of call and cruising Glacier Bay a great deal. This voyage had a nice mix of sea days and days in port. In spite of rainy weather, we felt the sunshine throughout the ship. Disembarkation. ============= The disembarkation was as smooth as the embarkation. We waited in our room until around 8:15 AM as our disembarkation group was scheduled for 8:45 AM and we disembarked right around that time. There were plenty of personnel at the pier and we easily found our luggage. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
After sailing out of San Francisco during a glorious afternoon, we did not see the sun again until we were in Vancouver 9 days later. We still had a great cruise, and the grayness added an other-worldliness to some of the greatest scenery ... Read More
After sailing out of San Francisco during a glorious afternoon, we did not see the sun again until we were in Vancouver 9 days later. We still had a great cruise, and the grayness added an other-worldliness to some of the greatest scenery in the United States. Embarkation: We live in the SF Bay area so we required just a 30 minute trip to the ship. With the exception of a minor computer glitch, it was very smooth. The Crystal pre-cruise check in system is great. They had all our information, so all that was needed was a picture, and then onto the ship. Stateroom: There were three of us, so we had two E category cabins. While not the largest space on earth, they were well laid out and comfortable. Our Stewardess was fantastic, and we never spent much time in the room anyway. Public Areas: Even with a full ship, there was plenty of room to get lost on the ship. The new Trident Grill area is great, especially when the weather was no cooperating with us. The furniture was comfortable, and it became a great spot to hang out, admire the scenery, have a cocktail and just enjoy Alaska. We did not get much use out of the pool, gray and gloomy weather is not condusive to swimming. Activities/Entertainment: I never lacked for anything to do. The speakers were all first rate. Nick Haley was chilling as he spoke about radical Islam. The production shows were great. I give kudos to Crystal for their Emerging Artists Program. We had 4 young jazz musicians giving concerts around the ship and they were great. There was great variety at night, from production shows, to jazz to classical music to a magician. Fitness Program: Small, but well equipped gym. At times there was a short wait for the aerobic equipment. My wife enjoyed the classes. Children's Activities: My son, now a teenager, has always enjoyed the Junior Activities Program. The teen program was no exception. Their activities started at 2 PM and ran through midnight. They did everything from making Sushi to dodgeball tournaments to dances. He was always in motion. Dining: Some good news, and one disappointment. The Crystal Main Dining Room is a good as ever, even though we did have one disappointing dish, and there was no foie gras! And you can get half portions of almost everything, something that allowed us to taste more dishes. Prego and Silk Road was fantastic. Sushi was ok, but then we were on ship and just enjoyed it. The Miso Marinated Black Cod was outstanding. Vintage Room was great, with great wines and fantastic food. The renovated Lido Cafe was gorgeous, and that presented the biggest disappointment of the trip, the Deck Buffets. With the redesign of the Trident, these buffets are now held in the Lido, and the loose their wow factor, and they become just another lunch, but with different food. I loved the old buffets and will miss these. Shore Excursions: We went on two. Their first, An Alaskan Chef's Table in Ketchikan was a great exploration of local Alaskan seafood. Some of their dishes did not work, but it was enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone. In Sitka we did Bike and Hike. The weather was dreadful, raining in buckets. However, this tour was ready for us with serious rain suits. We suited up, and off we went. It was a great adventure. We biked several miles to a trail head, and then hiked up into the wilderness. Again, I recommend it to everyone. Disembarkation: Getting off the ship was as easy as getting on. Very smooth. Summary: Crystal had their hands full on this trip. With the exception of Vancouver and the morning in Victoria, it rained the whole voyage. Crystal's service is impeccable and friendly. It is unbelievable when one of the Lido Deck Stewards comes up to me on the first day and says "Welcome back Mr. Slavin." That is stunning. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2011
The cruise was great. Pros: Everything I had read about the food was right on. It is outstanding and you get anything you want by just asking. As our head waiter said "We can give you anything except world peace". ... Read More
The cruise was great. Pros: Everything I had read about the food was right on. It is outstanding and you get anything you want by just asking. As our head waiter said "We can give you anything except world peace". I asked for Salmon Wellington and the next night an entire fish filet was wrapped in pastry and served to our entire table. Luckily I was traveling with five others that could help with the meal. Entertainment was also very good along with the many activities available through out the day. The crew was very friendly and attentive to your needs. Cons: The smoking in the casino was unbearable at times. It is the main reason that I stayed away. Some of our group did weather the smoke but they too were disappointed that people were allowed to smoke or that the ship didn't do something to mediate the problem. We did not get to see Hubbard glacier because of bad weather and ice. Too bad as it was one thing that I would love to have seen. The transportation we got when we disembarked was less than first class. They took us to a hotel and dropped us off to wait for our flight. We then had to board a common bus that stopped at other hotels to pick up passengers. The bus then proceeded to the airport stopping at all airlines and picked up more passengers and dropped off some. It was a goat rodeo as the bus got very confusing. This is not the type of transportation I have received on other upscale cruise lines. Room was a bit small. Overall: I would again sail with Crystal. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2011
We took our extended family on this Alaskan cruise to celebrate a 70th b-day...ages 5-89yrs...we had a blast....our last Crystal experience was 2003. Our family was blown-away with the excellent service, & the gourmet dining ... Read More
We took our extended family on this Alaskan cruise to celebrate a 70th b-day...ages 5-89yrs...we had a blast....our last Crystal experience was 2003. Our family was blown-away with the excellent service, & the gourmet dining experience, we ate in the MDR, Silk Road & our favorite Prego..wow loved the re-model..very elegant feeling...service every where on the ship was excellent...only thing we heard was "my pleasure"...and with a smile. We loved the hor'dourves in the bars before dinner, each night they were different...The attention to detail was evident with our cabin Steward as well...a light went out around the mirror..we didn't even have to request...it was done...soap was running low but didn't have to ask it was done...the ship was spotless...our cabin was smaller than we remembered or we are larger then we were in 2003! lots of drawer and closet space and shelves in the bathroom...amenities in the bathroom were larger then one usually gets, so more than enough for a 12 days cruise...the cabin was also very quiet, only downside was the one electrical outlet...will need to bring a dual plug next time....the reading light I loved but birthday boy kept hitting his head...This cruise had 90 kids on board...and many extended families..we met wonderful people...our granddaughter had a special place go to and just loved the activities including an evening program from 8-10pm...well thought out Crystal...Our past experience with Crystal was with an older group of well traveled passengers...but this cruise had a great cross section of ages...and everyone was very friendly....Great and interesting speakers on board..entertainment was top notch...the emerging artist program wow....I know we heard the next Ella Fitzgerald...Our adult children opted for an Alaskan cruise...as this was my 3rd Alaska cruise..The first one 30 years ago!!!!!We enjoyed the ports...Victoria we opted to go kayaking with Oceanandriver.com..we came touching distance of a pup harbor seal...cool...Vancouver is a great walking city...check out Granville Island and Stanley Park...the sail way from Vancover was beautiful as the Champagne flowed! Juneau we did the float trip...starting at the Mendenhall Glacier with loads of ice in the water....fun trip for the family...my daughter did the dog sledding in Skagway, had a ball...we opted for the train up and kayaking...it was way to cold to do the later but we really enjoyed the train ride an the scenery...Sitka we went to see the otters, which were cool and the bear sanctuary....we enjoyed that very much....other family members did the Raptor center and the little town and got very close to bald eagles, which are all over the place...just have to look for that puff of white...in Ketchikan we went on the canoe and nature walk...it was ok..no wild life to spot however...2 sons did the zip line and are still talking about it! Awesome!We had a great time with our family and had excellent service from beginning to end! Well done...we will be back... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
I am somewhat 'Crystallised' at 47 years of age, and this was my 5th trip, in as many years. I brought my partner along for the first time to show what all the fuss was about. Crystal get a lot right, the food is fantastic ... Read More
I am somewhat 'Crystallised' at 47 years of age, and this was my 5th trip, in as many years. I brought my partner along for the first time to show what all the fuss was about. Crystal get a lot right, the food is fantastic and flexible, the anticipation by staff of a very high standard and the general standard of the Symphony is high, though I do feel it is getting a wee bit long in the tooth for such a premier brand. My personal view is that the Serenity is much better and maybe that is why our ship was half full, and the last time I was on Symphony it was half full, never have I experienced this on Serenity. I think crystal customers know what they are doing and they know which of the two ships has the edge. Anyway we wanted Alaska and this was the ship that was there and it is still a mighty fine ship. For the first time ever I regularly found the men's rooms had 'gentleman's spillage' on the floor, I was very surprised by this and it was often. Maybe the cleaning schedule has been reduced or maybe we were just unlucky. The cruise director was disappointing, my former Crystal directors have become so friendly this one Scott, was totally competent, but competent was it, no sparkle, no outstanding interpersonal skills. I felt he hid in the corner from the passengers. Gosh I sound like I am moaning, but its so easy to state the good stuff, the stuff we all know about Crystal that sometimes when you notice things are not quite up to scratch you want to express it. The bistro was grand and the grand teas were even grander! Prego and Nobu remain outstanding. Being a half empty ship, I felt we were penalised. Our second seating only had around 100 people and the dining room was dead, they only used one side. But worse was that they decided to move the after dinner show to before dinner, as they said more people came. This was not for the early diners they had their own show, i don't believe more people came, it was empty.... and it ruined our evening as after dinner its great to get a drink and watch a show. Being forced to be in the theatre for 7pm or miss the show cuts short your afternoon and makes your post dinner evening quite drab and empty. Yes the brilliant pianist in the Avenue Saloon is still there but that's not a grand show, which Crystal does so well. I just wonder if they moved it for an easy life. Also not a sign of the strolling musicians to serenade you at dinner,, where have they gone? maybe as we were half empty they were cut back.... whatever the reason I and others noticed their absence. The stops were Alaska and great, it was a wonderful trip,,, but I did feel crystal was not quite as sparkling as usual. Oh well, Ill still go back,, but probably make sure I take the serenity. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
This was our first Crystal cruise and it will not be our last, we loved everything about it. My husband and I were traveling with my parents. At first we were a bit concerned we would not fit in and be out of place (we are in our late ... Read More
This was our first Crystal cruise and it will not be our last, we loved everything about it. My husband and I were traveling with my parents. At first we were a bit concerned we would not fit in and be out of place (we are in our late 30's) we feared everyone would be snotty and rude, that was not the case! Everyone we met from other guests to the crew could not have been nicer.Embarkation was easy, we flew into SFO (San Francisco) and there was a Crystal Representative waiting for us right by baggage claim, she followed us with a cart and helped with our luggage. We waited maybe about 45 minutes until other guests had arrived and then were shuttled off to the dock. Boarding took literally 15 minutes from when we got off the bus to when we were in our room.The room was just fine for both of us, promenade deck with a picture window. Room was adequately supplied with fruit, sodas, water, nut mixes, great toiletries and a very pretty orchid. We met our stewardess Christy who showed us everything about the room and was super nice and great throughout the cruise, she even decorated our door and made a towel animal on my Birthday.Food was fantastic my husband was able to try food he had never eaten before and has become a lover of escargot. Our senior waiter and waiter (Renjith and Janice) were excellent. We had requested copies of all the menus on our last day and they brought them for the whole table. We did not see other people with the menus so if you want copies then just ask. The only specialty restaurant we tried was Silk Road and it was good, we didn't try Prego but apparently that is excellent. Breakfast and Lunch we usually ate on the Lido Deck and Norman was great, always knew what drinks we wanted and brought them to us promptly. We also enjoyed going down to the Crystal Cove for before dinner drinks and that bar staff was great as well ( Teo, Bradley and Crystal). We also enjoyed talking to Pandium in the lounge next to the Avenue Saloon.Excursions: We did excursions in Sitka and Skagway (kayaking and horseback riding) both excursions were very good and informative, Crystal really goes out of the way to make sure they choose really premiere excursions.Entertainment: All the shows we saw were excellent except my husband was not very fond of the ventriloquist, even our tablemates said he was usually better ( I thought he was OK). DJ Mark was great my husband participated in Karaoke twice and had fun.Margie the Librarian was so nice, if you participate in the quizzes on sea days she will give you prizes at the end of the cruise. She also has pretty good movie recommendations.Spa and Fitness Center: Fitness Center was good, I never had to wait or any machines. I had a hot stone massage and a facial and both were very relaxing.We felt very spoiled on this cruise and definitely have many fond memories to look back on. I'm not sure if we can ever go on another cruise line after experiencing Crystal. I hope we can take another cruise with them in 2012 (New England and Canada). One other note: This cruise was only half full, I'm not sure if it was because the time of the year or what but it was quite enjoyable to feel like we had the cruise ship to ourselves. 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 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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