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25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have now taken 4 voyages on Crystal Symphony, and 11 total on Crystal (including one river cruise) and on this cruise had the best combination of sea days and (to me) new interesting ports to visit. I felt the service was better than ... Read More
I have now taken 4 voyages on Crystal Symphony, and 11 total on Crystal (including one river cruise) and on this cruise had the best combination of sea days and (to me) new interesting ports to visit. I felt the service was better than ever. The staff were happy and did seem more relaxed and content, which helps me feel more relaxed during my vacation. Ambassador hosts were charming and good for company at shared tables even getting me on the dance floor a couple of times. The headwaiter was fabulous and also the wines were fantastic. I did several spa services which were quality and worth the cost. Trivia was again a highlight on sea days and all in all the cruise was filled with movies, lectures, shore tours, and great food, company and beverages. I guess we also hit the jackpot as we did have calm enough seas to get onto Easter Island for the day tours, which is a novel experience. I indulged in some great modern dishes in the dining room and was very well taken care of regarding my dietary restrictions. Also it was great to see that bartenders no longer automatically add straws in every drink. Now I can stop saying "no straw please" with my orders. Oh also I got to play table tennis doubles one afternoon! Kept in shape taking the stairs onboard, walking the promenade deck and snorkelling in Moorea! I highly recommend this itinerary, it was a real getaway and super for getting away from the winter. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We have been sailing Crystal since 2001, on the Harmony, Symphony, and Serenity. Usually we do back-to-back cruises (our last was 35 days from Valparaiso to Auckland on the Symphony in a PH cabin). It will be our last on any Crystal ... Read More
We have been sailing Crystal since 2001, on the Harmony, Symphony, and Serenity. Usually we do back-to-back cruises (our last was 35 days from Valparaiso to Auckland on the Symphony in a PH cabin). It will be our last on any Crystal ship. Now that Crystal has chopped up its cruises into mini 5-day segments, and "relaxed" its dress code, it has become a down-scale cruise line. We have always avoided those 7-day cruise lines because we didn't want the 7-day cruise clientele. Now, that is who pretty much populates Crystal. There was frequent loud, vulgar cursing around and in the pool by clients who have obviously had too much to drink even at 11:00 AM. Baseball hats, flip-flops, athletic shoes, and t-shirts are common in the main dining room. Just read the reviews here on CruiseCritic from Crystal clients lauding the fact they will not even bring a sport coat onto their next Crystal cruise. There was a man in the cabin below us who smoked cigarettes on his balcony, despite it being explicitly prohibited by Crystal. We couldn't use our balcony or open our outside door without having to inhale his second-hand smoke. We complained to the Concierge multiple times, but Crystal was impotent in having him stop. So, WE (not him) had to change our room. Terrible. On the good side, Crystal does have great service. The staff is outstanding. With the elimination of set dining times, the food appears to have gotten even better. We have cancelled all future cruises we had already booked with Crystal. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I choose Crystal over the years for the magnificent service and standards. I know the company for the last 10 years, I have sailed onboard Serenity and Symphony few times. I feel the crew members are lacking motivation and training, ... Read More
I choose Crystal over the years for the magnificent service and standards. I know the company for the last 10 years, I have sailed onboard Serenity and Symphony few times. I feel the crew members are lacking motivation and training, their can do spirit from the past is gone, food is fantastic but isn't enough for a premium line, I'm frankly disappointed with the onboard experience and lack of identity crystal have these days.. The upside is that itineraries are very good, casino is very good also but overall I did not leave the ship satisfied this time. I contacted corporate to make some comments and I'm still waiting for a reply (not good). At this time I don't think I will go again, it is time to try the competitors, I have cruised with seabourn once and I think I will try again when the time is right, if not silversea could be a good option. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We are experienced cruisers, a mature couple, with a preference for Crystal. Two years ago, we sailed from Valparaiso to Bali on the Symphony, and we found the journey marvelous. This time we took a shorter cruise from Valparaiso to ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers, a mature couple, with a preference for Crystal. Two years ago, we sailed from Valparaiso to Bali on the Symphony, and we found the journey marvelous. This time we took a shorter cruise from Valparaiso to Miami, some twenty days. The experience was as grand and as elegant as before. The Crystal Symphony remains an excellent ship: the food, the bars, the service, the accommodations, the public areas (especially its palm court), all are first class. The stateroom and the bathroom were a marvel of grace and efficiency, if in a compact space. My wife has mobility problems – using a wheelchair, however, was comparatively easy throughout the ship. And the staff were always helpful. One note: the Symphony has an excellent and unobtrusive group of photographers, a minor plus on a cruise ship since once upon a time this breed were real pests. Another virtue: 60 minutes of internet per person per day free. Mostly we ate in the main dining room where you were always assured of something delicious – I was especially impressed with the quality of the beef and the seafood. I was not so taken by the so-called “Modern Cuisine,” a separate section of the menu of often weird dishes, mixing exotic ingredients, which look better than they taste. Sometimes it seemed the chef was playing a joke on us – vegetarian jambalaya for instance, eggplant everywhere, bland tasting scallops. But the main menu always had excellent classics for traditional diners, including a good Caesar salad and a marvelous array of cheeses. The complimentary wine list boasted a pleasing and diverse selection, including some excellent Chilean reds. The Prego, one of the specialty restaurants, remained superb – try the lamb or the seafood pasta, both stellar. The Silk Road, the other specialty restaurant, has slipped a bit I fear, or perhaps it was just off that night – less zest, less taste than before. Two complimentary visits each were included but we decided not to visit the Silk Road again, favoring instead the dining room. There was one spectacular Gala lunch, a buffet outside the main dining room, full of savory dishes, beef, seafood, chicken, cheeses, salads and fruits, breads, desserts, and just a general abundance. The grill and the Lido were more busy, so we didn't use these much, but both provided excellent food. We did frequent the small Bistro, however: good coffee and tea, all kinds of treats – smoked salmon, ham and cheeses, many kinds of sweets, fresh fruit as well. If you enjoy food in all its splendid variety, Crystal Symphony is the place to relish that variety. The itinerary included ports and places we have visited before. There were pricey excursions to Machu Picchu (my wife had gone there) and the Galapagos (that we'd cruised years ago). Still the three ports in Peru were all interesting, and especially Salaverry, since that allowed excursions to some fascinating pre-Inca sites, notably El Brujo. The excursion organized by the Symphony to that site and to the city of Trujillo was well worth the cost – a real pleasure. The other highlights were visits to Serena and especially Arica in Chile – the latter also full of pre-Inca artifacts, including some famed mummies – and later Cartagena in Columbia, a colorful and diverse city, also full of museums. The passage through the canal, complete with a good commentary, was as always interesting. We skipped the visit to Ocho Rios, preferring peace and life on the Symphony, but enjoyed the sights and attractions of the always interesting Key West – in particular an old-fashioned but well-maintained and intriguing aquarium. The Symphony maintains the practice of offering a complimentary shuttle, where the local authorities allow, which makes it possible for people to get to the center of town easily and conveniently. My only complaint was with the lectures and the entertainment. There are plenty of lectures. The only ones I found worthwhile were a series on the Panama canal. Otherwise the Crystal Symphony seems wedded to offering speakers on politics and international affairs (why? – cruising is supposed to be an escape, isn't it?) and Dr. Jay Wolff, an accomplished speaker on matters historical but I tired of his pet theories two years ago and didn't bother going to his performances this time round. (To be fair clearly many passengers relished his talks.) Personally I would have hoped for some expert in archeology who could have explored the extraordinary variety of civilizations, notably the Moche, which once flourished in the apparently harsh environs of Peru. Or some historian able to discuss broadly the Spanish empire and postcolonial societies of South America. Or a treatment of South American art and literature (not the Broadway musicals which were on offer). The invited comedians and singers did not impress, with the singular exception of the dancers, including the Crystal ensemble, who were very good, full of energy and verve, better than two years before. But if you really like evening entertainment, go to Princess – the food and service may be problematic there but the shows are superb. Crystal cannot match these. Still you can always find compensations, relaxation, movies, bar life, Casino, dancing, if you need alternatives. In all travelling on the Crystal Symphony is a most enjoyable experience, one of life's finer pleasures. Here at least the marketing speak does have some substance. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
This was our first cruise with Crystal. We have cruised more than 30 times before with several cruise lines including Azamara, Oceania, Silversea and Celebrity. Our experience on board the Crystal Symphony was Ok but not really from an ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Crystal. We have cruised more than 30 times before with several cruise lines including Azamara, Oceania, Silversea and Celebrity. Our experience on board the Crystal Symphony was Ok but not really from an exceptional quality, as many loyals to Crystal emphasize. First impression Our first impression was very good. Embarcation was smooth and cabins were ready. Our cabin was an outside cabin, rather small in size but with a good bathroom Our first meals were also very nice and we kind of had the feeling that this was indeed a very fine ship. The included wines were OK. As a matter of fact during the first days of our cruise, we were ready to book a world voyage of more than a 100 days for 2016. However this very positive impression did not lasted for the remaining of our cruise. Subsequent impressions A) Ship is very old and it is not well maintained in all areas. It shows rust in several places including our cabin. Since we were staying for 24 days, it disturbed us to see the rust in our window and we requested to be fixed it. In order to allow for that we were moved for one night in an "emergency room". Other areas of the room needed also maintenance, for example the carpet or the wardrobe, which was permanent clapping. We did not request for maintenance in those areas because, we did not want to move again to another room nor to have workers in the room. We were on vacation and it did not appeal to us to have workers around. There was also a sewerage smell in some areas on the ship, for example in the vecinity of the jogging track. Our opinion is that the Symphony was probably a lovely ship 20 years ago, but it needs to be replaced by a more modern ship. A newer ship would contribute a lot to improve the overall impression even in terms of seccurity (better, newer life boats). It will also allow for larger TV sets, since at the moment, those on the ship are quite small. It was great to have the possibility to watch DVDs on the TVs though. B) Too many repetitions and lack of options. Food was repetitive in all restaurants and there were no alternatives to the main restaurant after 18.00. There were the, not anymore free, specialty restaurants (they are free only once per cruise) but even they, had a fixed menue and did not change. Entertainment was also repetitive. Only the local shows were different. Repetitive food and entertainment gave us second toughts on how would it be to spend more than a 100 days in such a ship. We decided to postpone the booking of such a cruise with Crystal until we have made another experience with the company. C) There were lectures offered. We think that there is plenty of room for improvement in these area. For example the subjects of the lecturers made us wondering, to which target group are the lectures really directed. For example, a previous senior army person talking about how to improve leadership skills for an audience (most of them retired seniors including us) which is very unlikely to make use of the "acquired knowledge". In addition, visualization of the lectures could be improved because the pictures shown, many times were more private photos from lecturers but did not really contribute to follow the lectures. Since Crystal cruises does not only have native english speaking guests but also Japanese, French, Germans, Spanish speakers, or many of the guests are hard of hearing, it appears important to ask lecturers to visualize their contributions in such a way that those are selbs explanatory. No doubt the lecturers could talk. A lot, fast and long, but how about having a good visualization to accompany their speeches?. D) Most of the crew members were friendly and attentive. Specially the younger waiters were always smiling and were very helpful. There were however a few members, which did not look very happy with themselves and appeared rather tired and manchmal gave us the impression of acting in terms of "I am longer here than the guest and after doing this job such a long time, I know better". Well.... We found the several assistant Maitre D', sommeliers, our waiter and assistant waiter, guest relations personnel and pool attendants particularly friendly and attentive. E) The library and the internet facilities were very good. We have specially enjoyed the library and the advise of the friendly librarian. It was excellent to have reference books for the ports of call in the library. F) For those passengers booking a cabin on the main lobby level, be aware that in case of rough seas, your window will be covered for protection and you will end up in a dark room. G) Disembarkation in Auckland was absolutely smooth. In summary we had a nice cruise. We have enjoyed specially the wonderful itinerary. Cruising with the Crystal Symphony was not the "wow" experience we had imagine somehow influenced by the reviews in cruisecritic, but it was fine. We would probably sail again with Crystal, probably with the Serenity in order to be able to have a better opinion of the services offered. It would be great if the company acquires newer ships.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2011
This was our 1 cruise on a Crystal ship and we had heard only good things about Crystal Cruises, but there were also some negative items we did not appreciate at all. First to the good things: nice ship, good size (below 1'000 ... Read More
This was our 1 cruise on a Crystal ship and we had heard only good things about Crystal Cruises, but there were also some negative items we did not appreciate at all. First to the good things: nice ship, good size (below 1'000 PAX), never crowded, excellent food in all restaurants, excellent service and staff. Perfectly organised boarding in Valparaiso and de-boarding in Buenos Aires. Well organised excursions (but VERY expensive but that's the same on other cruise lines). Some of the excursions did not fulfill the expectations, but most of them did. Negative things: Small cabin (everything we needed was there, but we would have appreciated a bit more space in the room as well on the veranda), considering the price paid. Lido Restaurant openings: We would expect that this (morning self service restaurant) would also be open EVERY evening for a light (self-service or service) dinner (why not a steak restaurant) or a place for a 'sightseeing dinner' (nice large windows, ideal for a dinner in places such as the inside passages on the Chilean side, the Magellan Passage, the Beagle Street or the Cape Horn as well as during the evenings in Antarctica or between Puerto Madryn and B. Aires with sunset around 10 pm or regions with warm climate (but unfortunately the Lido was only open on 3 evenings); The other item which disturbed us a lot, was the frequent closure (or closed bar service) at the PALM COURT (the nicest place on board above the bridge with large windows to the front and the sides and a splendid view). We instantly fell in love with this place, but many times when we wanted to go for a drink before dinner (were on late seating), we were refused entry because of some Bridge club happenings or just because the Bar was not attended). Even at times when the Bar should have been open (as per the daily Reflection), the Bar was unattended). I reported this fact, got an excuse from the Hotel manager, but nothing changed. This is, for a deluxe cruise line as Crystal pretends to be, totally unacceptable, since the remaining 3 Bars (one next to the lobby and two very dark and noisy ones, were not at all our taste). What we did is get a bottle of wine and install ourselves on the terrace of the closed Lido Cafe or on our veranda (weather permitting). We were also quite unhappy, with the opening hours of the various food places (everything closed at 6pm !! except the for the dining room and the 2 restaurants). There was no place open to get some finger food after 6 pm, something we have not seen on any other cruise line. Final remark: Crystal Cruises are expensive, provide excellent food and service, have well trained staff. As 1st time cruisers we felt sometimes a bit neglected compared to the C.C. society members. We would have expected to be personally informed about the future Crystal cruise society benefits (there was plenty of time on a 19 day cruise for an information session on a sea day with all 1st timers). So yes we liked some of it, but it was not enough to convince us to book again. 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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