The Mediterranean cruise on Crystal was a mixed experience. The positives were many including the speciality restaurant Silk, the excellent fitness centre and instructors, the wonderful breakfasts and the willingness of the kitchen to meet different requests, the good humour of many of the staff, the quality of the cabin and the ease of embarkation.
On the other hand, there were some unexpected downsides which surprised me. The following are the downsides I experienced. I did not like the ship decor- it seemed a little tired and too 'glitzy' -in the style of Las Vegas rather than a Banyon Tree Resort. The beds were not great. In fact, my husband had to have a board put under his bed because the mattress sagged so much that it gave him a bad back. While this was facilitated by the staff, there was no acknowledgement or apology for this. Unlike other ships, the library never seemed to be open at the times I wanted it to be and this was an annoyance at times.
Another small discontent was that the lunches often seemed rushed. The main restaurant and the buffet were open only from 12.00 until 1.30pm and this seemed too short a time when we wanted to go for a morning excursion and come back for lunch. I had also expected that there would be some opportunity to have a low calorie lunch and dinner options, but other than the lovely Japanese food which was available at the speciality restaurant, Silk, there was less available than I had hoped. Admittedly, there were some low carb versions of desserts but they seemed to be mainly made of cream and were high calorie. Another gripe was that the speakers were a bit disappointing.
There was one excellent speaker who gave some good talks about the Crusades and other history relevant topics but two of the speakers were quite disappointing. Normally i love the lectures on board but one speaker actually justified rendition (torture) when talking on a terrorism related topic. I prefer lectures which are relevant to the places we are visiting. There was no daily briefing about the ports we were about to visit.
Despite the gratuities policy, the service was no better than on other five and six star lines I have cruised with which had gratuities included.
Despite the many positives about the ship, I will probably be reluctant to travel with Crystal in the future as I have enjoyed some 5 star lines (eg Celebrity Xpedition) and 6 star lines more.