My wife and I just returned from our first cruise on the Crystal Symphony. We departed from NYC to Newport, RI, Boston, Halifax, St. John, Quebec and Montreal. Embarkation was a breeze....10 minutes from exiting the taxi to boarding the ship. The Symphony is a beautiful medium sized ship for less than 1000 passengers. Our balcony cabin deck 9 was midship...very small but beautifully appointed. Great linens, comfortable queen bed with one electric outlet. The bathroom was tiny yet stylish. The "stewardess" for our cabin (Crystal''s word) was phenomenal. The room was kept immaculate. She was in the room when we were not at least twice a day. We dined in the main dining room early seating. After a tip was paid, we were assigned a perfect table in a great location. Our waiter Adem was the best experienced in 12 cruises. The food in the dining room was extraordinarily good almost every meal. An overcooked steak one night was corrected, and a broken grill on the last night of the cruise made for painfully slow service. Beyond that, the service was spectacular. The food in the Lido was very good, but at sea days lunch was packed with no seating. This was especially problematic because Crystal only chooses to keep the Lido open for lunch from noon until 130. After that, it's burgers, wraps, pizza and salads on deck....until 6pm (all very good) Breakfast at the Lido was excellent. Beyond runny eggs on one day, breakfast in the dining room was very good. Coffee drinks at the Bistro were top notch. Food at Prego was a ten out of ten. Wonderful. Unless you like room service, make sure you are not hungry for a snack from after dinner until 11pm. From 11pm until midnight, they passed small hors d'oeuvres in a couple places on ship. Not having a snack at 9 or so at night was a big (and only) disappointment regarding food. Water and soda were free throughout the cruise.
The staff was phenomenal with a couple exceptions (rude photographer and assistant concierge were each quite full of themselves....arrogant beyond belief). The Internet is overpriced and too slow like on most ships.
We found the violinist to be excellent and lectures at sea to be wonderful. We did not enjoy the otter entertainment options.
Disembarkation was simple and easy. Off ship and through customs in 5 minutes.
The ultimate question is Crystal worth twice the cost of Holland, Princess, Celebrity or Royal? Is the extraordinary service and exceptional food worth twice the cruise fare? We think not. Crystal is not Regent....smaller cabins and more limited food offerings. Some people love to pay to be pampered and for you Crystal is perfect. Candidly, 85 percent of the service is available on Celebrity and Holland for half the price..or close.
Beyond a couple of items mentioned above, there is not much negative to say about Crystal. The staff works its collective butt off. I just don't think the final package was worth the cost. Many others will disagree, based on their own priorities.