This was our second cruise and our second one with Crystal. While I was blown away by the unexpected pleasures on my first cruise, on this one we knew what to expect.
Embarkation: Very smooth. We went right to the terminal, checked our baggage and went right on board. Once there our luggage showed up almost immediately. there was a small housekeeping problem in the room that was immediately fixed by our stewardess.
Public rooms. These are large and spacious. The recently redone Starlight Lounge was a big hit. It was airy and used for all sorts of functions, from the guest speakers to receptions. The Palm Court is beautiful, but under used as it is an observation deck, and with the early sunsets, and port heavy itinerary, there was not much time to use it.
Cabins: These were a bit tight, but well designed. Large closed and ample bath. Much better than the Harmony
Fitness facilities: These were first class. The best touch was the free bottle water that was handed out as you were working out.
Dining: The true highlight of the experience. While not cutting edge, the food was in the tradition of a European grand hotel. The service was impeccable. If you go, get a reservation at the Vintage Room for a truly memorable food and wine dinner. Prego, for Italian Food, and Jade Garden for Asian Fusion food, were as good if not better than anything available on land.
Entertainment. This was hit or miss. I did not care for the shows. However, the special acts, the Mexican Folk ensemble and the Adage team were truly special. The enrichment lectures were pretty good. The New Year's Eve party was special. Rocking out at midnight was memorable.
I only went on 1 shore excursion, and that was in Cabo, and it was an ATV adventure and it was a lot of fun.
The children's program is unique. The facilities are adequate, but were Crystal really excels is in the quality of the Jr. Activities Directors. They are first rate and my son loved the cruise. They do talent shows, arts and crafts, Karaoke, and all sorts of other things. They had dance lessons with the ballroom dance team, singing lessons from the Acapello quartet, and all sorts of other activities that kept the kids engaged throughout the voyage.
Service as exceptional. It seemed as if every member of the Lido deck team knew us buy name. Really incredible.
Overall, this is an expensive cruise, but well worth every penny. If I am going to cruise, it will only be on Crystal or another similar line.