I have had 4 cruise lines so far, all smaller luxury cruises; Regent, Silver Sea, Seabourne and this time, Crystal. I msut tell yu Crystal was the most disappointing of them all. We took Crustal as we were encourageed by the high ratigns the creuise line has been advertising. It was a luxury cruise but the classes, excursions, shows did not meet our expectations but the most disapointing was the fact that we had to line up for getting into sushi bar almost every night for the whole 5 nights but we were tuned away because the demand outnumbered supply every night. It was nice to have Silkroad (Nobu) and Prego premium restauarnts that need to be reserved in advnace but everyone wanted ot dine there instead of the standard restaurants and thus it wsa very difficult to dine where you wanted. So waht happned was a lot of people lined up to get into the restuarant every night and got turend away. Having paid top dolloars and could not dine where you want to dine was not my idea of a luxury cruise line. I do not mind paying for extra $$$ to dine at a premium restaurants but the system at Crystal was totally subjective and it was up to the maitre'd to put some one into the premium restaurant or not.
I was told by someone who has taken 14 times of Crystal cruise that he can book anytime any premium restuarant he wants to as that was his priviledge. On eotehr thign taht bothered me the most was the fact that Crystal si owned by the Japanese and the premium restaurant especially Silkroad (Nobu) was discriminatory agaisnt non Japanese passengers. I saw the same Japnese goupr dine there almost every dinnner while the other passengers were givne only one dinner opportunity.
If Crystal really wants to be teh top lucury cruise line they need to either increase seatings substantially on teh premium dining options so that the demand and supply kind of balance or charge extra for the premium dinning options so that peopel who want to dine at a premium restarnants can go anytime they want to go by paying extra money.
Coming from NYC and having traveled extensively all around the world with many of the Michellen 3 star restuarants around the world, Cruystal's policy of treatign tehir passnegers like street vendros by letting them line up for the restaurants and wait in line for hours was more than absurd.
We cruised in 3 couples who traveled extensively together and all of us vowed not to return to Crystal because of this.
I also want to rate the excursion Crytal put together, whcih was one of the lowest among the cruise lines we have taken so far. They have charged for every excursion unlike other luxury creuise lines that include their excursions. In addition teh tour gudie we had in St. Petersburg was one of the worst we ever had; all she said was watch your step and cross with caution. The next day we ended up hiring a privat etour guide (not arranged by Crystal) and we had so much fun and infomration about the tour we had taken.