This was my third cruise on Crystal, my second on the Symphony. Needless to say with two ships in LA, getting on the ship was not as quick as I was used to. With the Harmony in SF, we just cruised up to the pier and within 5 minutes we were on the ship. Ditto on our holiday cruise in 2006. This time we had to wait 30 minutes until our number was called. Once on board we were plied with Champagne. The problem was that the dining room was only open until 1:30 and most people missed it. The lines at the Trident grill were extremely long. Crystal might want to rethink food on boardings when everyone has to be there by 3PM. Then again, food was not a problem after this.
Rooms. We were on the promenade deck in a three berth room. It was nice as always, well stocked and in good shape.
Food. Not as good as the last time I sailed, but still extraordinary. This may seem strange, but I think on the shorter cruise with everything jammed together, the kitchen does not get a chance to hit it's stride. Therefore there were many of the standards in the main dining room and none of the more off beat preparations. Now let's get to the restaurants. Silk Road was a great experience. I have never eaten Nobu's food before, but within the culinary world he is a god. His marinated black cod is one of the best fish dishes that I've eaten in ages. It was the culinary highlight of the trip. Prego was excellent as usual. The two deck buffets, Nuevo Latino and Asian Grill were great. Lido was it usually well stocked and friendly lunch and breakfast location.
Entertainment: Mark Hassen, the ventriloquist was phenomenal. Jimmy Travis was entertaining. I did not go to the production shows as I've seen them before.
Public spaces. Only on a Crystal ship can you be on a full ship and still find lots of spaces to loose yourself.
Ports: Cabo was Cabo. Mazatlan was fun, great beaches. PV was our favorite stop. We really missed La Paz and Zihua, our two favorite Mexican cities.
Children's Activities: I only saw my son in port and for dinner. Otherwise the JADs kept him occupied and out of site. This is amazing as there were over 100 kids on this cruise.
Enrichment program: First rate. One speaker was a retired member of the British House of Commons and another was Governor Pete Wilson's former economic adviser. Their talks were thoroughly thought provoking.
Disembarkation: Very smooth. We were off the ship in no time flat and into the longest traffic jam in the universe. LA to SF at 25 MPH. It took forever.
Last Thoughts: This will probably be our last Crystal cruise for a while as my son will be twelve and can no longer travel as third passenger in our cabin. My wife and I are in the demographic that Crystal really needs to serve to expand its clientele. More family oriented cabins are a must. We cannot afford to pay for a full cabin for our son.