As others have also written reviews, I will try to cover some different areas. This was our 2nd Crystal cruise (20 overall). We booked an oceanview gty and our cabin was just steps away from the pursers deck. I was concerned about noise and foot traffic due to the location but it turned out perfect. It was wonderful to open our cabin door in the evening and hear the pianist playing in the bistro bar with rarely anyone walking down the hall. We booked for the Jazz and we were quite pleased by the music options. They had 3 events of 2hrs each daily. In addition, there were vintage jazz videos on tv with jazz legends. We even bought some of the musicians CD'S and booked this Jazz cruise again for next yr on the west coast. We loved the music so much we saw little of the standard onboard entertainment.
Areas where Crystal amazes...excellent service and staff that give warm smiles making you feel that you are a valued passenger...being led to the dining room for lunch upon embarkation and being given champagne to let you know this is a luxury experience...sailaways with complementary drinks...captain's parties with real appetizers and not something on dried toast...a real ice cream bar with 20+ flavors (no charge all day)where you can get milk shakes and virgin pina coladas...best DVD selection on any ship to rival your favorite blockbuster store.
Cabins on Crystal look more like hotel rooms than other cruiselines. All rooms have flat screen tvs and the baths have 2 sinks. Also a more extensive anytime room service menu than the mass market cruiselines. Love not having to pay for sodas or bottled waters especially when you go out on excursions. Not only did they make sure we had 2-3 bottles each they also made sure we had bug spray (did rainforest & jungle tours)and had 2-3 Crystal staff with us on the tour...Also had a CC party for our group which Crystal supplied us with complimentary appetizers and our choice of cocktails...We also took the complimentary Spanish lessons and Juan our teacher was a blast - so enthusiastic and helpful making us really want to learn the language. The same can be said for our music teacher for the Yamaha keyboards. Both simplified the learning process and made it fun.
Something else that really pleased us...Crystal is not ashamed to celebrate Christmas & Hannakuh. Lovely decorations throughout the ship and not just at the lobby which we found was the case on Celebrity last year. Regards the luncheon buffets on deck, they are more of what you would find at a 4 star hotel rather than the normal hometown buffet qualify of other cruiselines. We especially liked the Mexican one. We usually avoid that outside of the southwest but Crystal nailed it.
The specialty restaurants should not be missed! So many great choices you would want to do them 2x each on longer cruises. Main dining room was wonderful as well. We had a table for 8 but only 7 guests so we were joined my the ship's doctor a couple of evenings (which meant complimentary wine with dinner). Had some of the best lamb entrees anywhere and loved the escargot & oysters rockefeller. They also had caviar as an appetizer one evening which I am learning to enjoy. I love the afternoon teas that are truly elegant and served by staff in period dress. The nibblings are served on fine china. They have the best teas also - not Lipton or Bigelow. The tea is served in cloth bags and include great herbal teas as well as a wonderful roasted Japanese tea that is my favorite and can usually only be found in specialty stores.
In short if you want something a step up from the mass market, you won't be disappointed with Crystal. It is not that they do one or two things a lot better. It's that they do a lot of things a little better that makes your experience stellar. Their motto is " it would be our pleasure" and it truly will be memorable. You'll wonder why you haven't been on this little known cruiseline before and you will be sure to cruise there again.