Effortless embarkation & debarkation
We were able to walk right up to check-in with no line and immediately proceeded to board the ship. The debarkation was equally stress free and we left the ship at our leisure.
Phenomenal food and top level service.
The service on the lido deck is more attentive than anywhere on the ship. The staff quickly learns your name and if you are dining at the Lido Cafe they meet you to take your plate and find a table of your liking then secure the beverages of your choice. They will remember what you have drunk previously and ask if that is what you want.
The Crystal Dining Room staff is excellent. The table we were given the 1st night was right next to a service area which resulted in a lot of noise and traffic going by it. My wife has a severe hearing loss so it made conversation difficult. Following our meal we spoke to the Maitred to explain the situation and request a quieter location which he readily accommodated. Each evening he recognized us, greeted us warmly and seated us at tables in quieter areas of the dining room.
Condition & cleanliness of ship and furnishings is excellent.
High quality live entertainment
Alcohol includes top above average brands ie; Belvidere, McCollum's, Cevasia VS, Remy VS
Crystal Cove lounge
Allows smoking and designates the most desirable tables by the windows as smoking. Because of the small size of the lounge the smell from even one smoker is offensive.
Once we sat at a table in the smoking section and moved the ash trays to another table only for a waiter to bring them back saying his boss would be unhappy with him if he saw them placed on another table.
The bartenders and waiters at this bar exhibited a bit of an arrogant attitude frequently slow to take orders and prioritizing the cleaning of a vacated table as more important than serving remaining guests.
This difference was glaring when compared to the attitude of the bartenders and waiters in the Avenue Bar.
Our stateroom was perfectly maintained throughout the cruise
On our 1st Crystal cruise the stateroom attendant came to our cabin with 1-hour of our arrival to welcome us, introduce herself, determine what beverages we would prefer in the refrigerator and any other needs we might have. This was a very nice touch that never occurred on this cruise. I saw the attendant on 1 or 2 occasions but do not know her name nor had any real interaction with her.
As I recall on the prior cruise there was a nightly turn-down where chocolates were left which our grandchildren loved. A very small touch but one that was missed. Also on the last day our cabin attendant mad a special point of stopping by our cabin to thank us for cruising Crystal and this did not occur on this trip.
Crystal Dining Room Sommeliers
We dealt with four sommeliers during our cruise and with one exception, we found them to be a bit arrogant and inattentive.
The 1st evening after the featured wines were presented I asked to see the wine list and the sommelier tried to dissuade me by asking what kind of wine was I interested in where I repeated I preferred to see the list. He then stated that some of the wines may not be available but I still requested the list.
Although the other evenings the dining room was not full the sommeliers never seemed to be around to refill our wine glasses until I mention it to the assistant waiter and from that point on the sommelier checked our table frequently.
After reading great reviews on TripAdviser we signed up for a 3-day deluxe private tour in St. Petersburg for our party of four. Everything was exactly as described and truly exceeded our expectations. Our guide. Olga shared her knowledge of the city in a bright and cheerful way. She got us into all the palaces, museums and attractions in front of the lines. She picked up on our interests or lack-of and readily adjusted her tour accordingly. The itinerary perfectly met our needs and we left St. Petersburg feeling confident that we saw and learned what we had hoped.
Driving around St. Petersburg is a huge challenge & beyond what I would try to do on my own. Our driver, Valerie was able to zig & zag our comfortable Mercedes mini-van with all the traffic minimizing our travel time while always dropping us as close as possible to the entrances and then picking us up nearest the exits. A real take charge driver.
All of our lunches were included and once again exceeded our expectations. If you are going to St. Petersburg SPB tours is the best way to go.