Just off Crystal Symphony Melbourne to Brisbane and whilst the ship is nice I believe that it falls well short of Seabourne and is on a par with Oceania.
Boarding was well organised as one would expect.Once on board we has afternoon tea and then went to our cabin at 3pm
Fire drill was at 8pm. Not a good time when many had dinner reservation for 7.30 to 8pm. Still wouldn't have been too bad except for the dining room deferring our meal time from 8pm to 9pm despiter the fact that we notified them as soon as we learned of the drill time
Cabin This cabin was the smallest cabin we have ever encountered . It was smaller even than Celebrity and Royal Carribean
A big raspberry to Crystal. Docked at Adelaide about 20km from the city and Crystal didn't even provide a shuttle to the city. As the train line was under repairs and buses were being used to transfer people for the last half of the journey taxi was the best option but the cost was $50 each way.The failure to supply shuttles went down like a lead balloon with most non excursion passengers.
We have travelled on Seabourn, Ocenia, azamara, Celebrity & Royal Carribean and have had many trip in very rough seas, certainly rougher than we experienced on Crystal. The problem we found with the Symphony was that there was a constant vibration transferred through the ship . This vibration in rougher waters rattled the sliding wardrobe and was felt throughout the night . My wife who has never been seasick in her life felt very uneasy in all sectors until we cruised from Sydney to Brisbane.
Quality of dining staff.
Let me say that the bulk of the staff throughout the dining venues were very good to excellent. The absolute letdown though was the main Maitre D station in the main dining room. The service here was very impersonal with the Maitre D still not knowing our name or cabin number after 12 days. Once past this station then section Manager Martin was totally different , he recognised you and knew your name after a couple of days. On all past cruises except for Royal Carribean every Maitre 'd had a professional and pleasant air and certainly ever one knew who you were after a day or so. This was not the case with Main dining room front counter staff on Crystal
The food was very good and both specialty restaurants offered a wonderful fare.
The amenities throughout the ship were very good and there was generally no feeling of crowding. The ships policy to allow visitors on board on the first day in port meant that at time the ship had a bit of a crowded feel during this time. I can't complain thought as I took advantage of this offer myself.
One thing that Crystal should address is the smoking areas on the pool deck area. I accept that smokers should have an area in which they can smoke and all lines provide such. Crystal have gone overboard providing about 50% of the pool deck area as smoking area. Lets have some sense and allocate an area in keeping with the percentages of smokers which is way under 50%. A maximum 20% should be provided in a corner area so that non smokers don't have to put up with the smell.
One other thin , THAT HORRIBLE CARRY BAG. For heavens sake crystal spend the few dollars more and go back to the old one.
The shows were entertaining and the Crystal performers were better than I expected.
I found the shore excursion quite expensive, however, being an Aussie who has visited all the ports on numerous occasions just made my own arrangements or rented a car.
I realise that we all have our own preferences and that all Crystal lovers will be up in arms, however, just let me point out a few of the little niceties you get on say on Seabourn and several of the other better lines that Crystal just don't match
Baggage tags. Crystal use cardboard tags, Seabourn have leather permanent tags
Cabins. This was the smallest cabin we have ever experienced. The settee was just big enough for 2 people to sit on. Seabour cabin was at least 20% larger with full size bath, separate shower with glass door and a very large lounge area
Turn down service. Not that I eat chocolate but every other line we have been on provided a chocolate as part of their turn down service . Not Crystal
Tote bags. What a disgrace for a tote back which looks more like a Woolworths shopping carry bag. Get real Crystal and at least go back to your old model which was passable for a 3-4 star line