Crystal Symphony Cruise Review by swiss60: Partly happy 1st time Crystal Cruisers
Overall Member Rating
Partly happy 1st time Crystal Cruisers
Destination: South America
Embarkation: Santiago (Valparaiso)
This was our 1 cruise on a Crystal ship and we had heard only good things about Crystal Cruises, but there were also some negative items we did not appreciate at all.
First to the good things: nice ship, good size (below 1'000 PAX), never crowded, excellent food in all restaurants, excellent service and staff. Perfectly organised boarding in Valparaiso and de-boarding in Buenos Aires. Well organised excursions (but VERY expensive but that's the same on other cruise lines). Some of the excursions did not fulfill the expectations, but most of them did.
Small cabin (everything we needed was there, but we would have appreciated a bit more space in the room as well on the veranda), considering the price paid.
Lido Restaurant openings: We would expect that this (morning self service restaurant) would also be open EVERY evening for a light (self-service or service) dinner (why not a steak restaurant) or a place for a 'sightseeing dinner' More (nice large windows, ideal for a dinner in places such as the inside passages on the Chilean side, the Magellan Passage, the Beagle Street or the Cape Horn as well as during the evenings in Antarctica or between Puerto Madryn and B. Aires with sunset around 10 pm or regions with warm climate (but unfortunately the Lido was only open on 3 evenings);
The other item which disturbed us a lot, was the frequent closure (or closed bar service) at the PALM COURT (the nicest place on board above the bridge with large windows to the front and the sides and a splendid view). We instantly fell in love with this place, but many times when we wanted to go for a drink before dinner (were on late seating), we were refused entry because of some Bridge club happenings or just because the Bar was not attended). Even at times when the Bar should have been open (as per the daily Reflection), the Bar was unattended). I reported this fact, got an excuse from the Hotel manager, but nothing changed. This is, for a deluxe cruise line as Crystal pretends to be, totally unacceptable, since the remaining 3 Bars (one next to the lobby and two very dark and noisy ones, were not at all our taste).
What we did is get a bottle of wine and install ourselves on the terrace of the closed Lido Cafe or on our veranda (weather permitting).
We were also quite unhappy, with the opening hours of the various food places (everything closed at 6pm !! except the for the dining room and the 2 restaurants). There was no place open to get some finger food after 6 pm, something we have not seen on any other cruise line.
Final remark: Crystal Cruises are expensive, provide excellent food and service, have well trained staff.
As 1st time cruisers we felt sometimes a bit neglected compared to the C.C. society members. We would have expected to be personally informed about the future Crystal cruise society benefits (there was plenty of time on a 19 day cruise for an information session on a sea day with all 1st timers).
So yes we liked some of it, but it was not enough to convince us to book again. Less
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Cabin review: A9042
We were very happy with the cabin. There was plenty of closet and drawer space (considering that next to the 19 day on board we had added another 3 weeks traveling south America thus we had plenty of sloths to be stowed away. Also the bathroom was of very adequate space (plenty of space). Flat bathtub with handles for rough sea. The one this we were a bit disappointed was the relatively small size of the cabin. For price we paid we had expected a larger cabin (as we were used fro other cruises).
Port and Shore Excursions
General remark: We are good and experienced walkers and we do (contrary to a large part of US origin cruise passengers) not use the shuttle bus.
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Crystal Symphony is 1st class