I am somewhat 'Crystallised' at 47 years of age, and this was my 5th trip, in as many years. I brought my partner along for the first time to show what all the fuss was about.
Crystal get a lot right, the food is fantastic and flexible, the anticipation by staff of a very high standard and the general standard of the Symphony is high, though I do feel it is getting a wee bit long in the tooth for such a premier brand. My personal view is that the Serenity is much better and maybe that is why our ship was half full, and the last time I was on Symphony it was half full, never have I experienced this on Serenity. I think crystal customers know what they are doing and they know which of the two ships has the edge. Anyway we wanted Alaska and this was the ship that was there and it is still a mighty fine ship.
For the first time ever I regularly found the men's rooms had 'gentleman's spillage' on the floor, I was very surprised by this and it was often. Maybe the cleaning schedule has been reduced or maybe we were just unlucky.
The cruise director was disappointing, my former Crystal directors have become so friendly this one Scott, was totally competent, but competent was it, no sparkle, no outstanding interpersonal skills. I felt he hid in the corner from the passengers.
Gosh I sound like I am moaning, but its so easy to state the good stuff, the stuff we all know about Crystal that sometimes when you notice things are not quite up to scratch you want to express it. The bistro was grand and the grand teas were even grander! Prego and Nobu remain outstanding.
Being a half empty ship, I felt we were penalised. Our second seating only had around 100 people and the dining room was dead, they only used one side. But worse was that they decided to move the after dinner show to before dinner, as they said more people came. This was not for the early diners they had their own show, i don't believe more people came, it was empty.... and it ruined our evening as after dinner its great to get a drink and watch a show. Being forced to be in the theatre for 7pm or miss the show cuts short your afternoon and makes your post dinner evening quite drab and empty. Yes the brilliant pianist in the Avenue Saloon is still there but that's not a grand show, which Crystal does so well. I just wonder if they moved it for an easy life.
Also not a sign of the strolling musicians to serenade you at dinner,, where have they gone? maybe as we were half empty they were cut back.... whatever the reason I and others noticed their absence.
The stops were Alaska and great, it was a wonderful trip,,, but I did feel crystal was not quite as sparkling as usual.
Oh well, Ill still go back,, but probably make sure I take the serenity.