This was our fifth Crystal cruise, all have been on the Symphony. Our first, in 2010, was the best. Since then, the quality of Crystal's offerings have declined slightly, but noticeably, with each succeeding cruise.
There seems generally to be less attention to detail. For example, there were stains on our stateroom carpet, there was a broken table in the stern lounge area that was never repaired, there never (not once) were both red and white wine glasses for each place setting at our dinner table in the main dining room, and there were windows that needed washing, especially in Palm Court. This was especially irritating on Feb. 8, 2014 as we viewed New Zealand's majestic fjords through dirty windows. Why were they not washed in Dunedin (the previous port). Finally, the wines offered in the all inclusive service were generally rather mediocre and so was the coffee in the restaurants. These offerings need to be upgraded.
Crystal seems no longer to be competitive with Seabourne and, perhaps, not with Regent either. People at our dinner table compared Crystal unfavorably with Oceania and we believe that the Symphony could even be in danger of becoming an all inclusive version of Holland America or Celebrity.
We suspect much of this has to do with a cost driven attempt to increase staff productivity. Many of the public contact personnel seem to be seriously overworked. Perhaps the new CEO will make the restoration of Crystal's image of very high quality and attention to detail one of her priorities.
Here are some of the things Crystal continues to do well:
Louis Armstrong at sail away is a lovely tradition. The spa is excellent and the health club is also first rate. Our cabin attendants have always been excellent and the butler on our 2012 cruise (Greg) was absolutely outstanding. The talent of the on-board performers is remarkable. Where do they get these people?
We understand free internet access is being added to the all inclusive package this fall. Bravo!