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38 Crystal Caribbean Cruise Reviews

Like some people, I read negative reviews before I read positive ones. Given, that I have already made a selection, I want to see what I failed to notice when I first made my choice. I read the previous negative reviews of the Symphony, ... Read More
Like some people, I read negative reviews before I read positive ones. Given, that I have already made a selection, I want to see what I failed to notice when I first made my choice. I read the previous negative reviews of the Symphony, and they were rubbish. This was the best cruise I have ever sailed. The ship was impeccable and up to date. The wifi service was flawless. The staterooms were roomy and well-appointed. The public rooms were beautifully adorned. The staff was cheerful and attentive. One-fellow passenger quipped, I have never seen such a happy crew. The shows were perfect, and the food was divine. My only complaint was that I wish they had a later dining option. The dining rooms all close at 9 pm, and this bumps against the shows, which are typically at 7:30 and 9:15 pm. Also, the absence of towel origami was a big positive. The ship and the passengers reek of class, and that made for a very pleasant experience! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Overall one of our best cruises, the real rating is 4.5 stars due to a bout of food poisoning and the filthy condition of our stateroom on arrival and the lack of response from the Hotel Director. The service of the staff outshine their ... Read More
Overall one of our best cruises, the real rating is 4.5 stars due to a bout of food poisoning and the filthy condition of our stateroom on arrival and the lack of response from the Hotel Director. The service of the staff outshine their managerial staff. I think if it had been a short cruise it would have been our first and last time on Crystal but with 19 nights the good times well and truly outshone these early mishaps. Anyway onto the review: My wife and I are an Australian couple in our 40's who are early retirees and now wander the globe with no home base. We have progressively added more cruises to our itinerary over the last couple of years. We booked this cruise to celebrate my wifes birthday and to help us relocate to our next destination - South America. After booking this cruise early we booked several other cruises and this became the final leg of a 6 cruise 91 days at sea odyssey! I am pleased to report we ended on a high (despite 2 major hiccups - more to follow). This was our first Crystal cruise and we also tried Seabourn and Viking for the first time in the months preceding. We spent several days in NOLA beforehand (2nd visit), loved the WW2 museum. Embarkation: 2 parts to this experience. Firstly, we boarded at a makeshift terminal but this was no issue and the process was very good as we were met by an abundance of on ground staff and quickly ushered onto the ship where processing was very quick. A glass of champagne and into the dining room for the first off many excellent dining experiences. We then self toured the ship and this is when our first major problem occurred. We passed our room and thought we might drop our hand luggage off (still 60 minutes until rooms were ready), we noticed our luggage was in the room so asked a passing stewardess if this meant the room was ready reiterating that we did not want to rush them and were happy to wait, she replied it was. We entered the room and immediately noticed bits of rubbish on the floors in both the bathroom and room so we left assuming the cleaning had not been completed. We returned at the designated time and found it in the same condition, our stewardess arrived and we pointed this out and she assured us it had been vacuumed but would do it again. She left and as we started unpacking we noticed the air conditioner was not working, we also noticed rubbish in several drawers and in the cupboard, that the hair dryer had not been packed away, we also began to notice that we could not breathe properly and I started having an asthma attack within 30 minutes. We called her back and she noticed the broken a/c, we also noticed there was dust on every surface. She attempted to clean up but after the drill we noticed the hallway was also dusty and difficult to breathe in (we noticed that repair work was constant in the ceilings on this level and the one above for the entire cruise but never received an explanation). We immediately went to Concierge who were apologetic and offered to move us rooms. We waited until 7.30pm for the room to be ready (I didn't mind as requested a deep clean). We were told it was an upgrade, seemed exactly the same to me. The concierge was apologetic but I requested an explanation as to how a cabin could be inspected and be made available but none was forthcoming, I also requested to speak to the Hotel Director but was instead sent a letter and chocolates, this is nice but a telephone call or meeting should have occurred. An email to guest relations was also unanswered. Luckily my asthma attack only lasted 2 days and didn't destroy our cruise experience. Ship: noticeably older than our recent experiences on Seabourn and Viking but nevertheless a lovely ship. Very impressed by the amount of space (enhanced by the fact the ship was only half full). Enjoyed all the available spaces on the aft decks, walking availability via the promenade and the upper deck, loved paddle tennis and table tennis. Crows nest bar was gorgeous, enjoyed the Cove, loved the dedicated movie cinema, great library with a wonderful dedicated librarian. The theatre was an intimate venue with no line of sight problems as encountered on her competitors. We are not pool people on cruise ships although we did like the design of the pool deck with couches, loungers, tables etc providing a good variety of lounging choice. One glaring problem is the showers are a long way from the pool and hence no one used them, we noticed many people come straight from jogging and gym workouts and jump straight into pool and jacuzzi in sweaty gym wear, also heard multiple guests complaining of stomach upsets while in the jacuzzi - so did not even contemplate using pool or spa which was a shame on such a hot cruise. Overall we love the size and design of this ship. Cabin: We booked an oceanview guarantee and were assigned an E1, which I have discovered is a one category upgrade after the above incident we were moved to a C1 (apparently a 2 level upgrade). There was no difference in the cabins themselves and in fact the location of the upgrade was at the very rear of the ship as opposed to the other which was mid, I later found out our first cabin had a slightly obstructed view (we never noticed). The cabins are probably Crystal's weak point, they are not bad but in comparison to Seabourn and even Viking they are small and basic. The bed was very comfortable, the TV system excellent (except no access to daily menus), the small sofa and desk were typical of major lines. Storage was sufficient but well short of Seabourn and Regent. The airconditioning was very basic and a little inconsistent. The cabin overlooked the promenade. The bathroom was small (very narrow) but the double sinks were nice. The shower doubles as a bath with a curtain, water temperature and pressure were excellent. We noticed the toilet often needed multiple flushes, probably just the age of the ship. Our room attendant was excellent! Dining: Phenomenal. The restaurant managers were great and our experiences were always excellent. This was the best food we have had at sea. The dining room for dinner was superb with great service, interesting menus, tasty food with great presentation. Unlike on the other lines we were treated very favourably, we found preference was often given to more mature passengers on those lines but the staff on Crystal gave us the 5 star treatment. We loved the fact service was always professional but the staff could still be personal and funny. Umi Uma was first class Japanese, simply surperb. Prego was very good but it did depend on what you ordered, too many dishes were "deconstructed". We also loved the variety and casualness provided by the 2 other major restaurants, Churrascaria and Silk. There was plenty of variety and choices for lunch with the main restaurant (the best choice but not as good as at night), the grill (we tended to use more for snacks), the buffet (good without being great), Silk (only ate once). A special mention for the room service, this became our go to option for breakfast, we never had to pre-order, we simply called and it was always there in less than 30 minutes (often much faster), it was always correct and it was always hot, easily the best we have encountered. We had a special breakfast for my wifes birthday in the mdr and it was incredible, really got her special day off to a grand start. Unfortunately, we had one major miss when I suffered food poisoning after my second dinner at Silk (on night 4), 24 hours holed up in my bathroom, followed by another 2 days to fully recover. At this point I thought I was cursed and that Crystal was trying to kill me. The maitre D was very professional on follow up and the F&B manager did chat to me (after I enquired why officers do not follow up on major issues) and assured me they had reviewed it. The coffee bar was a nice place (not a patch on Seabourn Square in feel but much better offerings food and drink wise) and was a nice casual place to grab a snack or late night dessert. The bars were excellent and I think the bar tenders made some of the best cocktails we have tasted. The ship had an extensive G&T menu and Manhattan Menu, I did my best to try each one. Wines were good and we never encountered any resistance if we wanted something different. Table service was good. There was regular canapes and late night snacks being offered. Entertainment/Activities: Another highlight. We tend to find the small luxury lines struggle with entertainment but that cannot be levelled at Crystal. The cruise finished with a special Carnerval group in Rio that was exactly the same as you would witness at the Samba clubs. We had a huge variety of guest acts including: motown group, comedian, comedian ventriloquist, classical pianist, violinst, modern pianist, Broadway siblings (phenomenal); trumpeter and singer, modern vocalist/piano - truly something for everyone. Add in several production shows which were good without being great with the exception of the Imagine/illuminate show which was exceptional. Neil Lockwood did Elton impersonation and own show. Add to this the phenomenal nightly exploits of Mark Farris in the piano bar, you also add latin dance performers, encore presentations, singer from Brazil, guitarist, there was nightly live music for the ballroom dancers, nightly classic piano and violin and a young duet couple - phew! How did we see so much of it? Enrichment involved several lecturers, covering a wide array of subjects from economics, history of places we visited, ocean sailings,geopolitical and military talks etc. Most were excellent however my wife did feel that the lecturers were all mature American white males and there could have been more diversity as we noticed on Viking. Further to this there was art classes, knitting classes, trivia, bridge, ipad and photography courses, golf sessions, wine tasting etc etc etc. My only nit pick would be we like some of those silly activities and games (baggo, putting etc) we noticed on Seabourn and Regent. Also a minor complaint was that Crystal hands out discount coupons as prizes, this is no prize simply an incentive to spend which was even more crass in that they were next to impossible to use due to multiple caveats (we refused to accept them), the CD was clearly embarrassed when the subject was mentioned. Speaking of the CD, we had Russ who has apparently moved from a long standing position at Azamara (apparently well loved by guests there). At first we found him mostly absent but as the cruise progressed had many interactions with him and found him to be one of the most personable CD's we have come across and seemed to know a large amount of passengers by name. He also produced 2 daily shows on the TV which were a lot of fun. If all that was not enough to keep you entertained there was 2 daily fitness classes, paddle tennis, table tennis, daily movies in the cinema (amazing popcorn), the extensive library with books and games and daily puzzles. White night was a great event and it might have been good to have another party event or 2. Oh, I have forgotten the great magic castle show and also dancing lessons! Service: Exceptional, best we have encountered at sea. Great blend of professionalism and joviality. The staff seemed content relative to other cruise lines. Service was very consistent which I hypothesise is due to the many long standing senior staff as they were very visible and active. The officers had mostly changed over at the start of the cruise and this seemingly had no negative impact. Fellow passengers: mostly American and mature which was not surprising given it was a long cruise originating from the US. The cruise was clearly not a popular sailing and was broken into smaller segment at a later stage this did see more passengers from Brazil joining at later stages. The atmosphere early in the cruise felt quiet and uptight but loosened considerably over the course of the sailing. We found the crowd to be more fun and sociable than Viking but not quite as diverse as Seabourn and Regent. We will continue to cruise on a variety of lines including the main stream brands but will always remain on alert for good deals on Crystal and will probably become our favoured brand for luxury experiences. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise for the trip destination and the Crystal reputation. We have been on other Crystal trips and this is the first time we did 3 back to back trips, total 45 days! Embarkation was a piece of cake. Bags we shipped were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the trip destination and the Crystal reputation. We have been on other Crystal trips and this is the first time we did 3 back to back trips, total 45 days! Embarkation was a piece of cake. Bags we shipped were in our room when we arrived and the bags we brought arrived shortly thereafter. We are hoping the same for disembarkation. The Captains Larsen and Willheim are the best, with rough seas when we had them. They are cautious on all conditions. The rest of the crew are equally praised in every area of the ship. The wait staff are amazing from the Maitr’d down to waiters. It is amazing how they remember names and faces. They anticipate your every need. We are fortunate to have a Penthouse on deck 10. The butler and housekeeping staff all work well together. Because the seas are rough today, our housekeeper wanted to go out and do windows on the veranda. We told her to take that off her list today due to sea conditions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise based on homeport, itinerary and time of year. To add some context it was our 4th cruise this year, princess - 19 days, Holland America- 15 days and Celebrity - 12 days. Given the per diem rate and our previous ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on homeport, itinerary and time of year. To add some context it was our 4th cruise this year, princess - 19 days, Holland America- 15 days and Celebrity - 12 days. Given the per diem rate and our previous experiences on Crystal we had high expectations some of which were met and some not. Crystal exceeded our expectations in the areas of enrichment, learning and specialty restaurants. Plenty to do and see. The food and service at the sushi bar,Umi Uma, Prego was first rate as was the food. Charrascuria is a novelty, service was very good but some of the meat was tough. Silk and trident grill were great for lunch. The soloists in crystal cove and avenue saloon were very professional and enjoyable. The production shows and guest entertainers were same as any other line - we’d seen a lot of them elsewhere. Service in crystal cove, silk bar and avenue saloon was exceptional. Good job! There is self serve laundry and free wifi. All inclusive and the pours were almost too generous. Disappointments were more than we expected for a 5 or is it 6 star line. The market place buffet (only open to 1:30 daily) was just plain minimalistic, minimal choice, poorly prepared and self serve (ick) regurgitated leftovers. Better choices on all three other ships. The Waterside dining room was just awful. In the centre of the room with a low ceiling there was lest than 6 inches between tables whether it be 2 or 4. No engagement with the waitstaff, no one ever came and asked if your food was good. If you wanted a different wine other than what the sommelier had in his had it was a big ask. No flowers on the tables, no decorations at all even though it was a Christmas and New Years cruise. A little sprig of holly would have perked it up. The only cheese available for omelets were cheddar or Swiss and the only berry jam was strawberry. They used to have the best cherry jam ever. The food was inconsistent- poultry was tough and stringy, lots of veal dishes, interesting sides - not cohesive at all. Expected more elegance and finis. Suspect they are still trying to sort out open sitting but in the mean time it’s worst dining experience in a very long time. The bistro was basically ritz or water crackers and aforementioned cheese and desserts including a chocolate waterfall (self serve with lots of kids on board). There was no lido (buffet) after 1:30 pm , no dinner or afternoon snacks. Smoking was permitted in the pool area port side, on aft of decks 7,8,9,10 and in the connoisseur club on deck 6. Maybe time to rethink - couldn’t get to avenue saloon without cutting through the smoke. Depending on the wind the pool area was stinky. It could just be rethought to accommodate both the smokers and nons. In the casino, obviously a different ownership, you need3d to sign up for a card, long line, then they gave a questionnaire wanting additional personal info - trashed that. The casino was well run but drinks were scarce. Deck chair hogs - need I say more - and shade was at a premium. Our previous experiences with crystal always lead us to say it was the ultimate experience - after this trip we don’t think we will return. The value for money just wasn’t there. Not even an uptick in the quality of champagne on New Years . Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This is our third cruise on Crystal and Symphony. Our first was 22 years ago from Istanbul. Our second was February 2017 Singapore to Hong Kong. Both were amazing. We chose an easier quick trip out of New Orleans with our daughter and ... Read More
This is our third cruise on Crystal and Symphony. Our first was 22 years ago from Istanbul. Our second was February 2017 Singapore to Hong Kong. Both were amazing. We chose an easier quick trip out of New Orleans with our daughter and her spouse. We both had suites, we decided on the new Seabreeze suites which were just redone in 2017. They were very nice woth a large shower with excellent water pressure... Anyway the ship was superb, from the staff, the AMAZING speciality restaurants and the fabulous entertainment. I even had time for the casino. Keep in mind everything is inclusive, all liquior, wine, WiFi, grautuities. This time there were children on the ship and the staff seem to handle well. We are in 9051 and as I said it was very nice. We have taken over 45 ocean cruises and three River Cruises and Crystal and Silverseas remains at the top of our list. You cannot go wrong with this cruise line. Good luck and keep cruising. We loved it! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We picked this cruise because we’d never taken an ‘all-inclusive’ type cruise and this one was a short 7N from New Orleans which is close to us. I’d seen the various pricing sheets showing how close in cost a cruise on a Line such ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we’d never taken an ‘all-inclusive’ type cruise and this one was a short 7N from New Orleans which is close to us. I’d seen the various pricing sheets showing how close in cost a cruise on a Line such as Crystal was to a ‘standard’ Line such as Celebrity, which we’ve cruised 20+ times and wanted to see if they were true - it’s true! At least for the shorter 7N cruises. We loved this ship and the entire Crystal experience. I will be giving my opinion about this cruise by comparing it to our Celebrity experiences. I won’t cover the ports - it was a Western Caribbean and been to all of them. Spent most of the time on the ship. So here goes. Embarkation: With barely 800 passengers, it’s not nearly as crowded as our previous cruises. The larger ships handled the 2000+ well, but this was better than nice: as we walked into the terminal, they asked us if we were suites or standard SR, and gave us a number. When called (waited about 10min), we walked onboard and checked in there. Given our keycard, gave them our paperwork and charge card and that was that. 5min max. Handed a drink as we walked further in and off to a lunch in the main dining room, not a buffet. And was introduced to ‘Crystal’ Dining - wow. Will talk on that shortly. Ship: very elegant but low key. Lower ceilings than other larger ships which gave all the common areas a more intimate feel. Many bar and seating areas. The Avenue Bar is like a pub with wood paneling and lovely pub bar. Pianos and live music in most of the bars. The ship has a nice and inviting game/card room. We played lots of bridge and had classes. Was never crowded in any of the common areas. the Palm Court on the top deck forward was unbelievable. Elegant-great bar-seating for groups and couples. Windows with all around views. The place to be at sea. Ship has a true Promenade Deck. Wood and fully wraparound. Great walking and jogging or standing and just viewing the sea. Loved it. Shopping: All was very high end, so for us, not needed. Beautifully laid out, but only a small section for ‘oops, I forgot something’ type items. Didn’t use any of the stores, but nicely laid out. Standard Lines such as Celebrity have more day-to-day items and clothing and lots of sales and ‘buy 2 and get 3’ type sales. Crystal didn’t have any big sales pitches and everyone going through piles of clothes and stuff. Dining: Here is the major plus. the Marketplace ‘buffet’ is only called that because of it’s layout but it was outstanding in choice and quality. I love the Celebrity buffets but this blew me away. The main dining in the Waterside was fantastic. No set time and no reservations. You walk up, ask for a table for 2 or 4 or whatever and you are seated. Great quality and options. I love lamb and it was so tender, I almost didn’t need a knife. Great fish and steaks. All high quality. the entrees and appetizers were relatively small so I could try multiple dishes. The Grill was well beyond a hamburger/hotdog grill. It had many salads and sandwiches, including a Ruben I’d die for. Each bar had snacks and the Bistro was a great place for pastries and light snacks and coffees and expresso-styles. Loved all of it. Specialty Restaurants: You get a least 2 dinings at these restaurants. Each we tried was unique. We loved Prego - Italian and outstanding steaks and fish. Umi Uma was Japanese and our favorite. Great choices. Silk was Chinese. It was nice, but I thought the Marketplace choices were better. Entertainment: I was mainly concerned that a small ship would have mediocre main entertainment. I was wrong. It was excellent. Not as fine as the larger Lines, but the theater is smaller and you are very close to the singers and dancers. Fun. Excellent quality. They had a magician from the Magic Castle in LA that killed it with up-close slight of hand. But one of the weak areas was activities during in port times. It was almost nonexistent. Not a big issues since we can entertain ourselves, but if you are not going to spend all day ashore, it’s very quiet. Nice, but quiet. Service. A+. Excellent ratio and well trained personnel. They were always working to meet your needs and wishes. Never went ‘dry’ with servers coming up to check. Not obtrusive, but always available. Room steward was a charmer. Very attentive and went the extra mile. We had a very bad night and day returning to New Orleans with 50+kt winds and huge waves. She came in to check us and would have got us meds if needed. The entire staff was fantastic. My experience was Celebrity also had great service, but Crystal just had more staff per passengers so more overall attention. Drinks: I wasn’t sure if the all-inclusive drinks would be that handy (I enjoy a few drinks but don’t get the packages on other ships), but it was just great. It was so nice having a glass of wine and a server walking up and asking if I needed a refill. Good quality cocktails. Smoking: I’m a non-smoker and was concerned because the Crystal website shows more than a bit of smoking areas. But it was fine. the outside smoking areas were mainly on the very stern of a few decks and didn’t interfere with me and gave the smokers a nice place. One inside smoking bar for cigars was available. Again, I was concerned because on a Princess ship, whenever you walked even semi-close to the bar, there was smoke all over the place. But this had a double-door set up and it wasn’t an issue for me. Ports: Not going to discuss ports. Standard ones on a Western Caribbean and only did one tour and wandered a few ports on own. One issue: it appeared Crystal had lower priority for the docking and anchoring locations compared to all the other Lines. In all cases, the docking and anchoring locations were further from the main port facilities. One port we anchored and the other three ships docked. Disembarkation: Returned to New Orleans about 5 hrs late: big winds and waves (10 on the Beaufort scale! With 50+it’s winds). Stayed in SR all day and night. Docked at an alternative pier in NO and they had shuttles to the main terminal. All-Inclusive: I’m not going through what the actual costs were, I just say, I paid for one photo (yup, did the come aboard shot) and one tour. That was it. This was truly all-inclusive: Quality drinks, wine, soft drinks; two specialty dining venues; Gratuities; Laundry room with iron; Specialty coffees and snacks; Room service; unlimited Wi-Fi on multiple units. What cost: tours; Laundry/dry cleaning; ‘upscale liquor’, but what I drink wasn’t. Yes, I know nothing is ‘free’ and paid for in the overall costs. But I ran the numbers comparing this cruise to a standard large cruise line costs by adding the additional charges for gratuities, drink packages, unlimited WiFi, 2 specialty dining. The difference would be about $450 for two people. But since I’m Elite Plus on Celebrity, and I wouldn’t get the drink package and pay a smaller amount for unlimited Wi-Fi, the different approach $950. Was it worth it? You Bet! Don’t know if this is similar for longer and more ‘exotic’ cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Over the past 20 years Crystal has been our favorite cruise line and we still feel the same today. The updates are lovely. We really enjoyed the open seating and the addition of Silk which was wonderful. The Brazilian restaurant was not ... Read More
Over the past 20 years Crystal has been our favorite cruise line and we still feel the same today. The updates are lovely. We really enjoyed the open seating and the addition of Silk which was wonderful. The Brazilian restaurant was not our favorite but was good. Umi Uma and Prego are just as good as always. The service in all departments is exceptional and we rate just as highly as we always have. We did notice some younger entertainment onboard which was very much appreciated. Carl Wishneuski in the Avenue Saloon is an awesome pianist and entertainer. We enjoyed some great evenings in his company. Neil Lockwood (ex. E.L.O.) was fabulous and had everyone on their feet - his was the best show of the cruise IMHO. He also did a good Elton John Tribute but his own show was better. We always feel so relaxed and looked after onboard Crystal and can’t wait to return. We have no desire to try other cruise lines as we have in the past. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was listed as a jazz cruise and was fulfilled,at least for us, more than expected. My husband loves jazz. The group that was put together by J. Tate are not known to the general public, but among the music world top notch. They are ... Read More
This was listed as a jazz cruise and was fulfilled,at least for us, more than expected. My husband loves jazz. The group that was put together by J. Tate are not known to the general public, but among the music world top notch. They are the backbone of most major groups today. Jazz was just part of the entertainment as you still had shows every night and music in the Crystal Cove Lounge. Palm Court, Starlight and Avenue Saloon. Lectures are always outstanding on Crystal and Jamey Tate did several very interesting lectures on music over the course of the cruise. The cuisine and service are as good as ever, some of the personnel that were on our first cruise 24 years ago are still serving on the ship which says a lot of a company. You now have two more choices for dinning. Silk for lunch and dinner, reservations not required and Churrascaria a Brazilian Steakhouse, dinner only, no reservations required. Enjoyed them both and we could dine any hour without a problem. I will admit a little prejudice when it comes to Symphony. We have sailed on other lines, but always come back and wonder why we ever left to try something different. We signed up for the transfer between ship and airport. Were taken to a hotel in New Orleans, left the luggage locked on the bus told we would have lunch, could walk around and than driven to the airport. It was a wonderful value without any hassle. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our first luxury cruise and our travel agent highly recommended this line. We have sailed many times and the most recent had been with NCL Haven. While we loved the Haven, we hated the crowds, overwhelming smoke and mediocre food ... Read More
This was our first luxury cruise and our travel agent highly recommended this line. We have sailed many times and the most recent had been with NCL Haven. While we loved the Haven, we hated the crowds, overwhelming smoke and mediocre food and service on the rest of the ship. We couldn’t wait to disembark. That was when our agent recommended we move up to Crystal. We will never go back. From the first minute, we noticed the huge difference from other cruise lines. We were greeted by name immediately and by evey crew member. Honestly, before we sailed, we were greeted by our names by every crew member each time. I don’t know how the do it. By the first day at sea, everyone knew our preferences. From Clarry at the pool to Jonathan at the Marketplace and Viktor at the Bistro. I could ask Clarry to leave a message for my husband and he would keep an eye out for him and relay the message. Anyone who has ever lost their husband on a cruise ship knows how impressive and helpful this is! We enjoy good food and entertainment and Crystal impressed us more than we thought possible on both. The entertainment was spectacular thanks to the regular ensemble, great costumes and programs. On top of that, it was a Jazz themed cruise with the most amazing visiting artists. Perry Smith jazz guitar was exceptional and Crystal should continue the relationship with this amazing artist!! Another huge shout out to Carl Wishnewski, best piano man since Billy Joel. Umi Uma, by Chef Nobu is not to be missed. The miso cod is “last meal” worthy and the mushroom soup is sublime. We ate there twice and could easily have gone again. Don’t be worried if you don’t like sushi. There is plenty of variety for anyone. I love sushi but my husband doesn’t. His Kobe steak was one of the best he has ever had. The main dining room was always available, we never waited. The food was excellent with a few exceptions. Shout out to Roger and our fav, Viktor as waiters!! The pool was where we noticed the amazing crew that took care of is with outstanding service. Clarry, Kiko, Rikkii and Ronnie are fabulous! From cold drinks to cold towels and little treats throughout the day. Most surprising, from other cruises, deck chairs around the pool and elsewhere always available! I never had to fight for a deck chair at anytime of the day, even on sea days!! Crystal passengers on our sailing were around 40 -80. Some younger some older. There was one baby that everyone on the ship saw once. He was our great white whale in baby form. Everyone talked about the one sighting. The passengers were a nice mix of US and internationals. Out of 860 passengers, we encountered 2, only 2, somewhat grouchy people. Everyone was just so friendly and enjoyable. Again, a first in our cruising experience. The most important part of our cruise was our cabin and attendants. It’s literally your home for 2 weeks. While I am convinced there is not a bad cabin on this ship, we always want a balcony and this time we wanted to try the suite. We selected the Seabreeze Penthouse with veranda and we are so glad we did. Our butler, Ay, the best on the ship! I’m serious. When we immediately booked another cruise, a first for us, we requested Ay. We never used our butler on the NCL Haven. He was never around. But Ay was omnipresent in the most unobtrusive way. He helped us switch reservations around as we met new friends and served a full dinner from the main menu to my husband on the first night as I had a raging migraine. He didn’t want my husband to miss out just because he was taking care of me. And for me, he brought the best consume I have ever had and a huge bucket of ice for my ice bag. Mayori and Alexandra were our attendants who cleaned our rooms throughout the day with the loveliest smiles and service. Our final shout out to Sergio the head concierge who was willing and able to do anything to make our first Crystal experience even better. And the Captain who was generous enough to invite us and a small group to his private quarters for cocktails. It was a unexpected surprise. Thank you. We are Crystalized! We aren’t going back to the other lines. I am counting the days until our next sailing in December and trying to figure out how to squeeze another in between. Choose Crystal. You will love it! You will never want to leave. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We were intrigued with a smaller yacht, and familiar with Crystal’s reputation. Immediately upon arriving at the port we knew we would have excellent service. We were immediately greeted, luggage taken, checked in our passports then ... Read More
We were intrigued with a smaller yacht, and familiar with Crystal’s reputation. Immediately upon arriving at the port we knew we would have excellent service. We were immediately greeted, luggage taken, checked in our passports then escorted aboard the yacht. Upon boarding greeted, given champagne and taken right to our suite. In the suite the checkin process was completed. Butler (Nathaniel) was right there to familiarize us with the suite and service. Then Gee and Bel our suite stewardesses arrived to explain what they do for us. As they said, primarily pamper! Everyone was attentive, friendly, and helpful! And I mean everyone, didn’t matter if server, reception, engineering, steward. Food was good but limited in the selections especially at dinner. Probably because of size of yacht, only 62 guests. Destination staff communication was off. What they told us vs daily activity sheet. Never made it to port at the designated (daily sheet) time. We decided to dive 2 days on our own and in Saba couldn’t get off in time to meet the dive operator. Variety of issues, weather, tender vs zodiacs... Our suite was very comfortable. Loved the double sinks in the bathroom and shower was a good size. It was nice that in a couple ports we could SUP, or jet ski (weather permitting). Marina staff was super! We will think twice before going to the Caribbean in November. Lots of wind and rain. All in all a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This new vessel for Crystal was completely refitted in 2015 and christened in December 2015 after it’s previous life as a private yacht for the Chairman of the parent company of Crystal. This is a big departure from the two older Ocean ... Read More
This new vessel for Crystal was completely refitted in 2015 and christened in December 2015 after it’s previous life as a private yacht for the Chairman of the parent company of Crystal. This is a big departure from the two older Ocean ships the Serenity and the Symphony that I have sailed five times and loved. This beautiful yacht has 31 cabins (including one Owners Suite which is 515 square feet). Most of the suites (S1,2 and 3) are 280 SF which is huge for a yacht (and larger than the non-suite cabins on the Crystal ocean ships and much larger then the 195 SF cabins on the competitor Sea Dream Yacht Club. They are all ocean view (this is a yacht after all). The cabins are decorated in muted greys and taupe with a relaxed feel. They all have King beds with great bedding and all the modern touches travelers today demand with plenty of outlets, USB ports and a great iPad by the bed to set alarms, wake up calls, see the daily schedule and more! There is so much storage we couldn’t fill it all and we are not light packers. There is a full length closet with the famous 2 sets of Crystal robes (the heavy terry I don’t like and the lovely kimono style). There is a another closet with short hanging and more drawers. The bathroom is amazing with a huge shower, tons of storage, double sinks, large mirror and a TV embedded in the mirror. There are large size luxury Italian Etro amenities. A stocked mini-bar is included and there is a Nespresso machine. Because we arrived on Easter Sunday, we had a table full of beautiful Easter chocolates and our darling (two) stewards greeted us with bunny ears! There are also great features like the lighting system with a switch for floor lighting for night bathroom visits and a choice of lighting from bright to relaxing! The owners suite also has a Japanese toilet with heated seat and more and a beautiful bathtub. The yacht holds only 62 passengers (or up to 65 max if there are 3 third berth passengers. On our sailing we had only 43 (with one very well behaved 12 year old girl). Our crew was 89 and pampering and extra special service is an understatement. I’ve sailed many luxury lines and stayed in luxury properties but the service level on the Crystal Esprit was exceptional. Part of that was the staff to guest ratio and part was the hand picked crew who seemed to truly love being part of the Esprit experience and went above and beyond. There are multiple dining spots onboard from the Yacht Club restaurant with award winning chef Adam Jenskins to 24 hour room service which we never tried. (actually that is not true as the night they were having caviar in the Cove before dinner we knew we wouldn’t make it in time, and expressed our “dismay” to our butler in the all – he brought us our own caviar set up and popped our champagne for us). The Patio Café for lunch and breakfast is lovely (and delicious) and the Grill on deck 5 for outdoor dining is great with a small but fun selection from Kobe burgers to Frito Misto that we had several times. The Pantry on Deck 2 is a great self-service bistro with light snacks, bakery goods and little jars that change daily with fun salads, hummus and more (plus an easy 24 hour specialty coffee machine). This is truly an all-inclusive experience with all gourmet meals, beverages (a great wine list included), butler service and choice of several excursions in each port from easy to strenuous. Also included are the water sports like kayaks, paddle boards, jet skis and the fun speed boat. We weren’t sure what the demographics might be on this yacht as it is a departure from the Crystal ocean ships and more luxury than the competitor SeaDream Yacht Club. We really had a great group of guests ranging from the late 30s to the 70s and all well-traveled, interesting and friendly. We sailed in the West Indies round trip Marigot. St. Martin was very badly hit by the 2017 hurricane so the port and the island has really suffered. But all of our port stops were great (Moskito Island, Saba, St. Barts, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis. There are several choices of complimentary excursions in most port from relaxing to strenuous hikes. My husband wasn’t able to do any of the strenuous ones but I heard great things about them. The first port is an beach BBQ on Moskito island (one of Richard Branson’s private islands) and a great way to start the cruise. Was it as fun as my time on SeaDream Yacht Club with a girlfriend? Maybe not. Was it more luxurious ….for sure! Were there lots of special touches that made it so special. YES! As me about them. Would I do it again or recommend to clients – absolutely! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I just returned from Crystal Cruises' 7-day Esprit Yacht experience in the British Virgin Islands- and cannot stop raving about it! It was a beautiful, relaxed, elegant, sporty, top-notch and unique vacation that I'd recommend to ... Read More
I just returned from Crystal Cruises' 7-day Esprit Yacht experience in the British Virgin Islands- and cannot stop raving about it! It was a beautiful, relaxed, elegant, sporty, top-notch and unique vacation that I'd recommend to just about anyone! From the 5-star restaurant food (OMG!!) to the gorgeous island destinations (Ahh!) to the top-notch administrative organizing and hospitality, I want to give each dept. their propers! But let me start with the BEAUTY. The Esprit is a gorgeous ship, and with a maximum of 62 guests allowed, it was big enough to host fab amenities and yet never felt crowded or lacking. The white, turquoise and crystal aesthetic gave the Esprit a 60s modern look that felt nautical, fresh and hip-retro, simultaneously! Next, HOSPITALITY: I'm kind of a neat-freak in public places and this ship was spotless! I never noticed dirt, dust or things that made me blanche. The hospitality team and butler on each floor were so attentive, tidy and helpful (not to mention funny and friendly!), that the rooms and halls looked immacualte, always. Next, FOOD: Someone said our chef was Michelen-rated. I would not be surprised if that was true. The food alone is worth the cost of this trip! Each dinner was varied, nutritious, sculptural, and totally delicious!!! It was fine dining at its finest- three times a day! Not to mention, a grill on the deck and round-the-clock room service. All this great grub + bottomless drinks embedded in the trip cost, with no-tipping policy ever was a HUGE bonus. DRINKS: Dinner always included two new bottles of wine paired with what was on the menu that day. I don't drink, so I didn't indulge in the endless bottles of champagne, wine, cocktails and beers that were available around the clock, but my friends sure did!! What a treat! Ok, ADMIN: The reception dept. and evening notes at our door made each day a complete stress-free travel situation. We always knew where we were going, what land and boat opportunities we'd have and what we needed to do for each event. Getting bags on and off the boat, checking on different post-trip travel arrangements.. I was very impressed with the Admin/Reception Dept and how gracefully and efficiently they took care of things. Always with a smile, too! Next: ISLANDS! Dropping anchor daily a new island was incredible! I loved stopping at unspoiled Saba, swinging in a hammock on Mosquito Island, and taking a speedboat ride from the locals-feel of Antigua. Swimming/sun-bathing off the St. Kitt's Four Season's beach was exquisite. In St. Bart's only briefly, I was duly wowed by the line-up up gorgeous yachts in its harbor. Virgin Gordo and Nevis also were a feast for the eyes. ACTIVITIES: Swimming off the stern of the boat at sunset was something I'll never forget; we were able to do that twice! I totally recommend this! The jet skis and motorboat are a must for thrill-seekers, and for a totally unusual experience, schedule a ride in the Esprit's *submarine!* Two of my friends did it and it sounded amazing. Snorkeling, kayaks and stand-up paddling must be on your list, too! The waters are warm and the views are sublime. There are hikes and tours and excursions on many of the island destinations. The pool is tiny on the Esprit, but great for cooling off on a hot afternoon. Cosy and big lounge chairs and outdoor deck furniture beg you to nestle in and read a book, have a cocktail or swap stories with friends. Or, just stare dreamily off to the azure horizon or a lush nearby island- pure heaven! There is a small workout room with a great treadmill, an elliptical and a recumbent bicycle. Free weights, yoga mats, towels and waters are in there, too. In the evenings, having drinks on the boat in the "Cove" while a spritely singer and pianist entertains is an option; going to a bar on shore is bound to stir up much spicier adventures. Nice to have options, depending on your age/mood/lifestyle! :) Oh, before I forget! Back to the food, because, well, it was everything! One of our friends eats a purely plant-based diet, and only informed the chef of this once he got on the yacht. On the fly and with the artistry of Rodin, the chef designed and printed up a unique-for-this-guest many-course meal at dinner- every day! Each dish was vegan, delicious, artful and very social media-post-worthy! I was very impressed with the chef conjuring up a purely plant-based menu that matched the already outstanding taste and presentation of his daily menu- all on the fly! From the chocolate-dipped fruits they placed in our room each night with the turn-down service to the fun, energized, top notch service of the marina dept., wait staff, boat crew... it was just awesome, from start to finish. CAVEAT: There are some people for whom this trip and boat would not be a fit. First of all, there is no elevator. So the guests on this boat need to be ambulatory, and ok with going up and down carpeted stairs indoors, and ascending and descending the metal, winding stairs connecting the outdoor decks. Also, to get into the rubber zodiac boats that ferry us to and from shore, you must be able to climb down a few rungs of a wooden ladder/stepcase. The marina crew helps with this, but given that the process involves stepping down backwards and using your arms to pull yourself up, going to shore means having pretty good means of moving around on your own. Also, if you are into very loud partying and need to be entertained non-stop, this may not be the trip for you. Things get quiet at 10 pm and most of the guests are healthy, spry, interested in the world and friendly with those around them. It's a trip like no other! May your trip be as delightful and memorable as the one my friends and I had. Thank you, Crystal Cruises!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
DH and I had returned to the NorthEast cold weather in January after spending two weeks in Caribbean on Crystal's Serenity. Our 15th anniversary was coming up in February as was Valentine's Day so we wondered whether we could ... Read More
DH and I had returned to the NorthEast cold weather in January after spending two weeks in Caribbean on Crystal's Serenity. Our 15th anniversary was coming up in February as was Valentine's Day so we wondered whether we could travel back to one of the islands we had stopped at during our holiday cruise for a one-week trip. After a long and exhaustive search, nothing quite fit with availability so late. (It was mid-January) DH suggested a cruise in Caribbean and since we've been on the larger Crystal Ships, we booked the Esprit which departs every Sunday from Sint Marteen. We flew down on Saturday and found a hotel on beach to stay one night before and after the cruise. Below is a summary of our experience on Crystal Esprit. Embarkation was a breeze as we were the only ones at check-in. (There was one other couple already boarded but we didn't see them until later in the day.) Our cabin was ready for us when we arrived. Every cabin has a Butler assigned as well as housekeeper. The cabin has enough storage for hanging clothes but I always bring an "over-the-door" shoe holder as there isn't enough space on closet floor. The cabin is equipped with a Bluetooth-enabled Samsung Soundbar which came in handy to play my music. The only drawback for us on this cruise is the cabins have no veranda just picture windows. The ship caters to a maximum 62 passengers and we had 45 onboard for our itinerary. Although not a new ship, the Crystal Esprit has been refurbished in 2015 I believe a job well-done. We used the gym daily and although small, was functional with excellent equipment. There's a dry sauna onboard but it is accessible from pool deck and we never tried it out. There is a piano player onboard to entertain in The Cove pre and post dinner times who sometimes takes on role of DJ for "disco" nights at the Sunset Bar. (There were two disco nights on our itinerary which I believe the passengers requested). Of course, there is a pool deck with comfortable lounge furniture to relax on in shade or sun and a small sea water pool to sit and cool oneself off. The shore excursions included at least one complimentary at each port as well as excursions at additional fee. In addition, at some of the ports we could use the onboard kayaks, paddleboards, snorkel equipment, jet skis and the submersible bubble. The dress code is more casual than the larger Crystal ships yet still stylish. This ship has no elevator so everyone onboard must be able to climb stairs easily. Also, it should be noted for those susceptible to motion sickness, that as this is a small ship, we can feel ship's movement as it traveled from port to port (mostly at night). The following were the real standouts in our experience....SERVICE and DINING At every turn, there was someone ready to assist us with everything! It was wonderful. The care and attention to every detail. Birthdays and anniversarys are highlighted at Reception area via a rolling video. The fact that I take my tequila with extra fresh lime juice didn't have to be repeated. Chef Adam Jenkins was in charge of our food experience which surpassed our every expectation. I followed a "whole plant food" diet onboard which was executed every night with perfection as I would expect in a Michelin-Star restaurant. In the mornings, a fresh greens/fruit smoothie was prepared for me. The regular menu which DH enjoyed immensely was exceptional again. We said we'd go back just for the food and so we have booked the Esprit for later in the year when it returns to Sint Maarten with only two ports of call repeated from our February cruise. Can hardly wait! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We love small ships. We thought this would be the best yet. In reality, for us it was a serious disappointment. The service was pretty good. The food was incredible on the first night, and never got back to that level. There is ... Read More
We love small ships. We thought this would be the best yet. In reality, for us it was a serious disappointment. The service was pretty good. The food was incredible on the first night, and never got back to that level. There is only one dinner restaurant option, which gets boring. The music is weak, and at the top side bar it's non stop techno? The itinerary was horrendous. The cruise line seems more committed to pushing customers into Hurricane Ravaged Islands to help the local economies than a great experience for their guests. Cystal should have dramatically changed the itinerary to parts of the Caribbean which were not damaged. On the last 3 cruises on this itinerary they had 8/18/36 passengers out of a full load of 60. We should have cancelled. The very shallow draft (10') means you will rock most of the time. Even in the Caribbean, we rocked aggressively half the nights. We cruise a lot, and we're probably one and done with this line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
If you are looking to be pampered, the Crystal yacht Esprit should fill the bill. With 62 passengers and 85 crew, never went wanting or never stood in any lines. Because of the perception of damage from Hurricane Irma, we only had 32 ... Read More
If you are looking to be pampered, the Crystal yacht Esprit should fill the bill. With 62 passengers and 85 crew, never went wanting or never stood in any lines. Because of the perception of damage from Hurricane Irma, we only had 32 passengers which made it even nicer. Only island that we observed any damage was St Marten but with big cruise ships visiting, this is not why we chose this cruise anyway. We landed in St Marten where the airport was severely impacted but did not deter the efficiency of clearing immigration. Crystal reps were there to assist you to the head of the line, gather the bags, and promptly move to the nice van to go to Marigot Bay and the ship. Embarkation was quick with no waiting whatsoever and first class service and escort to your cabin. The ship was immaculate and though not brand new, nothing was missing. Crew constantly cleans and keeps the vessel in tip top shape. Food was amazing with gourmet servings and amazing presentations. Despite this, you never left hungry and waiters were more than happy to substitute, add, make appetizer size portions, just about anything. I found the Dover Sole the best I had ever had anywhere and my request for a repeat on another night was eagerly complied with. Though we were not assigned a table and could eat anytime between 7 and 9PM in the evening, we always sought out Patricia from Portugal who was incredibly cheery, helpful, and made excellent recommendations each night. Breakfasts were in the cafe and one could order just about anything with omelets, fruits, bacon, sausage, pastries, and everything always available. Lunches were in the same place but we often ate outside at the grill where they offered calamari, cheeseburgers, regular and sweet potato fries, and tasty salmon sandwiches. Each evening before dinner, Kate whipped up the best cocktails and everyone knows your name and drink preference and the waiters and waitresses were wonderful Unfortunately I can't remember the name of one exceptional bar waiter but he looked just like Rory McElroy so thats what I called him. :-) He always made sure I had whatever I wished whether on the outside deck or in the bar. Louisa and Karen ran the excursions and most were wonderful. One feature that I found exceptional was the fact that one of them accompanied the tour making sure it went as advertised and handling any glitches that might arise. With the exception of St Marten, we did not see any big cruise ships which made it WONDERFUL. We enjoyed Zip lining on St Kitts which, due to the harness, was easy to use and required almost no physical strength or braking skills. The botanical tour and estate tour in Nevis was interesting and enjoyable. Snorkeling at Pinney's beach was only so-so but using a special section of the Four Season's Resort beach including 2 free drinks was nice. The Lagoon and Mangrove mini boat trip was just okay. I think this was a first for Crystal and I suppose they might make changes. A long boat ride on a small outboard powered boat (drive it yourself) to the mangrove forest was less than amazing and the snorkeling also very disappointing. On the way to the boats, our guide was very nice but her French accent was very difficult to understand. One of the best excursions was the visit to Montserrat and the volcano and the former capital city of Plymouth which was buried and destroyed by the 1997 lava flow. We were able to go into the exclusion zone and walk among the ruins. Falmouth Harbor in Antigua was very enjoyable with a short hike to Nelson's Dockyard and the fort which guarded it. Saw some beautiful yachts and toured it again aboard the Crystal 32 foot $300,000 speedboat. New Years Eve and Day were spent in Gustavia, St Barts. If you like seeing the super yachts of the rich and famous, this port is for you. The Russian oligarch owned Eclipse was in port and you too could have one for a reported $1.5 billion. Went to Shell Beach and enjoyed some snorkeling though the coral was sparse and not too much sea life either. We were warned to watch for Tiger Sharks but saw nothing. If you like expensive shops and a wild time, try this port, especially over New Years Eve. The ship went above and beyond with a lovely buffet, champagne, and a DJ for dancing while enjoying the harbor fireworks. It was fun at midnight when the yachts in port seemed to have a contest as to who had the loudest fog horn. Last stop was among the best where the ship visited Moskito Island, owned by Richard Branson. We had a private beach, spectacular barbecue, open bar, beautiful beaches and water sports, and a super relaxing time. Final stop was back to Marigot Bay for debarkation and because our plane was a 5:30 PM departure, they offered an ATV ride through the city where we were able to see first hand the damage to this beautiful city by Irma. They are making progress in returning to normal but they have a long way to go. We had hoped to hit beaches and mountain paths on the ATV but ended up caravanning through traffic which became a bit tedious and not really relaxing with all of the traffic. Bags were handled so we did not have to worry about them and delivered to the airport. Departure was less than optimum because the terminal is still closed so temporary tents, lavatories, check in counters, and food facilities are severely limited. Not a cruise for children though there was a delightful family from Mexico aboard with teenagers and they certainly seemed like they had a fun time too. Not recommended for anyone that has mobility issues. No elevators on this ship and all excursions leave the ship by Zodiac and embarking and disembarking can be challenging. Make sure you let the young men driving them assist you which is almost always necessary. This is also not the smoothest vessel because of its size. Most of the travel is done at night when the swaying of the ship rocks you to sleep. Only one passenger that I observed got a little seasick but that was just for one day. Entertainment is pretty much a piano player who is quite good but this is not one of those cruises with grandiose shows. In summary, if you want to go on a cruise where they make you feel like it is your private yacht, then this is the one for you. Loved it and will return again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The service in the MDR was very slow - often waiting 25 minutes even to get a drink. Some waiters do not know it is impolite to interrupt a guest when talking. One waiter told me I could not change the "almond potato" because it ... Read More
The service in the MDR was very slow - often waiting 25 minutes even to get a drink. Some waiters do not know it is impolite to interrupt a guest when talking. One waiter told me I could not change the "almond potato" because it was with the dish - eventually I persuaded him, but it still arrived wrong. Personally I'd like a choice of eating in the Lido in an evening. There was much less entertainment than in the past - what happened to variety of activities, and the Liars Club? Most passengers did not get off the ship for the day in Charleston, due to freezing temperatures - still nothing to do on the ship (not to mention the terrible custom check) - only a 20 minute show in the evening - how many hours does it take us to pack our bags? Most of the entertainment was good, but the volume could certainly be 20% lower (in Switzerland, they try to avoid ear damage by giving all free ear plugs!) - am not a fan of The Tourist, and quite a few didn't want to see it a 2nd time. Very attentive up on the pool deck, but I agree.. music was rather loud to relax. Check in and out was great as usual. Crystal also excellent in assisting with the change of flight arrangements. The front desk service is excellent, but I don't understand why a ship credit cannot be forwarded to a future cruise? My cabin girl was good, and the ship generally kept very clean and nice. Children were well behaved. Hope Perry Grant will return to Serenity. Will sail with them again, albeit not what it used to be! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I chose this cruise as a surprise for my wife as it encompassed our actual anniversary. Unfortunately, our travel agent messed it up within 48 hours by emailing my wife the receipt. We had sailed three previous times with Crystal. ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a surprise for my wife as it encompassed our actual anniversary. Unfortunately, our travel agent messed it up within 48 hours by emailing my wife the receipt. We had sailed three previous times with Crystal. This cruise was a 6 day "Getaway" voyage that is really one half of the normal cruise itinerary. We were worried about boarding in the midst of the cruise but those fears were quickly alleviated. Boarding was smooth and we quickly fell into the ship's routine. We were quickly recognized by staff who knew us from previous cruises (Tipping helps!). Service is always 10 out of 10 on Crystal and this cruise did not disappoint. Bar help and dining staff is excellent. We sometimes shy away from buffets or "the feeding trough" as we call it, but Crystal's staff makes the experience pleasant as the staff finds seats, carries food and is quick to refill drinks or clear plates. Our actual anniversary was in Prego where the evening was nothing short of perfect. Prego prepares the best dish I have had on a ship, the Beef Carpachio. We had a Penthouse, the smaller of the 2 but we actually prefer it to the Penthouse Suite with Veranda. The butler was excellent as was the cabin stewardess. The price on this short cruise was acceptable. However, we are finding that Crystal is taking major price increases. We inquired about the 2019 85 day World cruise in the smaller Penthouse. The price quoted was breathtaking and if anything will drive us away from Crystal it will be the pricing. Our opinion is that the Air cruises failed, Crystal is rebuilding both big ships in order to add larger Penthouses and that we are being asked to pay for it. Yes, we could step down to the standard cabins, but Crystal's standard rooms are too small. The closets are not walk in and are stuffed beside the bed, causing closet access and use issues which in turn turn into "marital discord". Our only other beef with Crystal is the lack of an outside bar. Trying and find a ship of any size in the cruise industry where you can't sit at the bar and enjoy a drink and fresh air. Crystal's staff will bring you a drink but it comes from inside. Overall, Crystal provides the best experience in cruising for us. We just hope that they will come to their senses on pricing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We have been repeat Crystal passengers. This last Carribean 14 days sailing was not up to par to past Crystal standards. let me share pros and cons: PROS: Our Butler , Costas was the best part of this sailing. An outstanding ... Read More
We have been repeat Crystal passengers. This last Carribean 14 days sailing was not up to par to past Crystal standards. let me share pros and cons: PROS: Our Butler , Costas was the best part of this sailing. An outstanding employee and a delight to see every day. Similarly, the stewardesses who cleaned our suite were most diligent and keeping our rooms in immaculate condition each day and night! Kudos to those spectacular staff members! Reception and Concierge desks were efficient and most welcoming! Production shows as well as individual artists were most entertaining and enjoyable . Similarly, most of the guest speakers were most informative and had good presentations, CONS: The service in the Crystal Dining Room was consistently slow, no matter what time we made our reservations and regardless where we sat. Some of the wait persons were quite lovely and attentive, while other appeared to be 'burned out' and ready to end their contracts and go home. The quality of the food in Dining room far less satisfactory than the alternative restaurants. Both the food and service was far better in alternative dining venues! Photographers not as well trained as they were in past. Phone operators usually most slow to respond Music played at pool whether it be recorded or live, far too loud. At times, not enough poolside attendants, requiring a long time to request a drink order. Towels left on lounges by guests who have clearly left the pool area, tend to be left there and not collected and new lounge covers replaced! Has Crystal cut back on staff? ALL excursions that we took were most poor.. One just showed flamingos, more flamingos and cacti FOR OVER TWO HOURS~! For us, the service in Crystal Dining Room was the most negative experience on this sailing as were the excursions. We are sadly questioning if we shall return to Crystal in view of the above. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Love Crystal but see traditional items going by the wayside, eg: no more guest list. Very thankful for the complimentary laundromats onboard. B1 cabin is just the right size for the two of us. Plenty of closet space (I bring our own ... Read More
Love Crystal but see traditional items going by the wayside, eg: no more guest list. Very thankful for the complimentary laundromats onboard. B1 cabin is just the right size for the two of us. Plenty of closet space (I bring our own wire hangers to get more space here) and have never lacked for drawer space. MDR staff is outstanding. Varied shore excursions with endurance level, in depth or not so much, Front desk is not as sharp as they used to be. We asked when the Cruise Critic gathering was to be and front desk person looked 3 places and said there was not one on our cruise. Got back to the cabin and there was an invitation to the Cruise Critic gathering which we very much enjoyed. Very much enjoy Tastes, Prego, and Silk Road as alternatives to the MDR. Crew keeps us coming back to Crystal. They are great. I hope Home Office get the new system up and PURRING soon. It has been a struggle for anyone trying to use the PCPC. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Crystal offers us an experience that we have come to expect: dedicated service, better food than most cruise lines, an ambiance of only slightly faded gentility--the last being rectified by planned major drydock changes in the near future. ... Read More
Crystal offers us an experience that we have come to expect: dedicated service, better food than most cruise lines, an ambiance of only slightly faded gentility--the last being rectified by planned major drydock changes in the near future. Service is the signal distinction, as exemplified by the bar tenders, who are remarkable both for their skills and their welcoming personalities. Try and order a Hemingway daiquiri elsewhere and you get either puzzlement or a dreadful concoction. The bar tenders on Serenity know what they are about, and are quick to remember your favorite libation. The crew smiles, some will recall your name, and in general there is a sense of dedicated courtesy--an effort to please. Luxury has many definitions, but Crystal's seems to satisfy us most of all. Is it perfect? Of course not. The shore excursions share the same high mark us and lack of inspiration common to other cruise lines. Boarding can hit a snag--presumably because of computer failure--and thus take longer than it should. And the food is often under seasoned--West Indian curry might have come from Gerber. A soup can be too salty to consume.But every cruise line kitchen has the occasional fluff (or worse) and Crystal, though not exempt, seems to have fewer than most. (Though under seasoning of food which should be well spiced does frustrate me.) One question is whether Crystal can find and train replacement crew for the future who share the line's dedication to service. You--and I--will be the judge of that, Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
If you enjoy First Class Service and Going to the Club to be pampered, this is the cruise for you. We are younger and had our 16 yr old daughter with us, so we did not fit the normal clientele, but that was just fine. ... Read More
If you enjoy First Class Service and Going to the Club to be pampered, this is the cruise for you. We are younger and had our 16 yr old daughter with us, so we did not fit the normal clientele, but that was just fine. Embarkation/Disembarkation where so smooth, we got on and off according to posted schedule with no delays. We stayed in room 9018 which is a smaller room, but the beds where comfortable, including the pull-out couch. First Class room amenities and if you need anything additional, just ask and it was provided. Stocked fridge was nice, Shower was great, balcony was large enough for the 3 of us. Specialty dining was Five Star, we did all 3 Specialty venues (Silk Rose, Prego and Tastes) and went back to the Sushi bar for an additional night. (I recommend getting there before they open because Sushi bar is first come first serve) Our experience in the main dining room for 3 nights was just OK, the food was Excellent, but the service was lacking, we are not wine drinkers, so they showed little interest in even taking a drink order, one night, we got our appetizer before getting a drink...seemed like they catered to the larger "Clubby" tables and did not think much about the little family. The excursions went as planned, but nothing first class about these island excursions, but the price was great and we got what we expected. We spent most of our time on the pool deck at a shaded table playing games or shaded couch/chair relaxing. Pool deck Staff is the best, always eager to satisfy your drink and comfort needs. Tastes, Trident Grill, Ice Cream Stand and the Buffet are all just steps away from the pool for easy dining throughout the morning and daytime. We went to the shows every night, Billy Joel and the Ventriloquist were our favorites. Don't expect Broadway or Disney quality, but they were fun. Casino was nice, and i was surprised to see the $5 Craps, Blackjack, Roulette and other table games. (I was expecting $25 minimums) The Lobby Bar is elegant and has a great drink menu, afternoon and evening. Even thou the crowd was older, it was so easy to just sit down anywhere and meet someone, everyone was so nice. *****Five Stars***** Pool Deck Staff Cabin Stewardess (Linda) Specialty Dining Venues Ice Cream Man Pizza Man Serenity Staff for great Communications throughout the Cruise Had internet and phone service most of 24 hours a day Clean Ship with Great Venues I know they say tips are included, but they go above and beyond.....PLEASE DON'T BE CHEAP and TIP ACCORDINGLY. (They have a "Crew Fund" you can tip to, just go to guest services) Thanks to our Crystal Travel Agent Marian for some on-board credits and great service. My wife and I will cruise Crystal in the future when our daughter is gone to college. Thanks again Crystal Serenity Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our fifth cruise with Crystal and it was wonderful. At first we were a bit wary because Thanksgiving week means families and although there were many aboard, we never encountered an unruly or bratty child the whole time. The only ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Crystal and it was wonderful. At first we were a bit wary because Thanksgiving week means families and although there were many aboard, we never encountered an unruly or bratty child the whole time. The only way to explain the Serenity is impeccable service, delicious food, clean ship and wonderful entertainment. The Serenity is the whole deal & once you sail her, you'll keep coming back. Two waitstaff remembered our names from 3 years ago when we had last sailed. That shocked me!!! Our cabin steward was Tatjana and she was okay. I'm pretty sure she was fairly new because she forgot to replenish and some other minor things but when I reminded her, it was there right away. She covered herself by saying, "If there's anything you need, just ask." I requested goose down pillows that were so soft, when my head hit them, my face disappeared!!! The linens were very soft & luxurious as well. The entertainment was very good: one night with James Fox's homage to Billy Joel, a wonderful Broadway singer named Rachel York, the Serenity dancers and of course, Gary, the social director and ventriloquist/comedian who was hysterically funny yet clean. The gym had plenty of machines and they offered spin classes, abs and all kinds of different options to work off those delicious desserts. You could also get individual training sessions. I found the people in the SPA to be very pushy. They were always trying to close a sale. I asked someone for a price on body wash, and she wanted my room number. I said, "Why do you need my room number just to give me a price? Just tell me the price." I'd say when dealing with them, proceed with caution and make sure you know exactly what you're being charged up front. Don't give them any information unless you're buying. The SWANK app for movies did not work on cellphone or I-pads while we were on board. I went to the computer room & they said it was a problem with the vendor. If you wanted to watch a movie, you had to have a laptop. The Serenity library was fully supplied with bestsellers and very recent books. Awesome! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We'd been to most of the places this itinerary went, before and several were not even worth getting off the ship, so the ship was the main reason to go on this cruise. We just wanted to relax. Crystal Serenity did not disappoint! We ... Read More
We'd been to most of the places this itinerary went, before and several were not even worth getting off the ship, so the ship was the main reason to go on this cruise. We just wanted to relax. Crystal Serenity did not disappoint! We arrived in Barbados and jumped in a cab for the 20 minute ride to the pier. The Pier in Barbados is a crowded area and after a few moments we figured out where to go. Luggage was collected from us to be delivered to our cabin and we were shuttled to the actual ship. Upon arrival onboard, we checked in ( took like 5 mins--so fast) and were told ( even though it was only 1PM) that the cabins were available. So we went to our suite. WOW, is all I can say. What a way to spend 10 days. The Deluxe Penthouse was awash with light from not only the sliding door to the oversized balcony, but the window in the bedroom area as well. Huge Tub and a separate shower was a nice feature. Walk in closet and the entire thing was immaculately maintained by Themyo, our stewardess, who was AMAZING! Our Butler, Richard, always seemed rushed. At one point I asked how many suites he managed and he said 14 in total. Compared to our cruise on Silversea where the butler did all kinds of things for us without being asked ( noticed we needed shoes shined- Made a bookmark as I was using a boarding pass as a bookmark). We really didn't ask much of him other than one night we had a few friends we'd met aboard over and he brought some extra snacks and some Champagne. Most of our interactions were signing for things Wine/Strawberries sent to us. . We never had a meal in the suite nor sent out any laundry. We were pretty low maintenance. However, he was always in a hurry so I guess others were more demanding of his services. I'd suggest Crystal consider a few more butlers per deck, if this indeed is the norm. We ate all of the breakfast and Lunch meals at the beautifully renovated Lido dining area. It was spectacular. We found the food to be hot, fresh and just fabulous. Breakfast was overwhelming, all the choices. Lunch too! The Bugers in the Trident Grill were amazing and despite the complimentary Ben and Jerry's I only gained a pound on the cruise. Dinner in the main dining room was ok, not great but ok. We found the best meal on the ship to be Prego, their Italian restaurant followed closely by Silk Road. The service in all venues including the main dining room was spectacular but we just found the food in the MDR to be a bit off. Tough steaks ( Improve the quality of beef) and somewhat bland flavors led to a few disappointments. However, we never left hungry, that's for sure! Portion sizes were perfect. We also tried Tastes and that was pretty good too. I'd give that a 7 out of 10. Shows were pretty good and quite varied but found the production shows to be a bit hokey. While very talented folks were in them, I think they could have better material to work with as the voices and dancing were just amazing. Seemed geared to a really old crowd. Speaking of which, I found that this was not nearly as old as I thought it would be. Since this was the last 10 days of the world cruise we thought it would be full of 85 plus year olds, but on the contrary I'd say the average age was 50 something with a smattering of young couples who looked to be on a honeymoon. Everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves and meeting new friends daily. I'll not go into the ports suffice to say the ship was the reason we came and probably is the reason we will come back to Crystal. It was just lovely! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our 12th Crystal cruise, and we found this cruise to be superb in so many ways. 10 days is a long cruise for us and we found enjoyment in each day. The ship, its décor, the size of the suites, have been discussed so no ... Read More
This was our 12th Crystal cruise, and we found this cruise to be superb in so many ways. 10 days is a long cruise for us and we found enjoyment in each day. The ship, its décor, the size of the suites, have been discussed so no need to reiterate. Yes the cabins are small by today's standards; they are well maintained with much storage. Our stewardess Hong was a super star and you needed a magnifying glass to find dust. Internet was just ok; I find it as slow as dial up. Cuisine: Outstanding . There were many choices and while I was not enamored with every meal( beef is just not as good as in past) I think Crystal does a superb job in their main dining room and specialty restaurants, Prego being our favorite. In fact if we are ever imprisoned and need a last meal it will be the Carpaccio served in Prego. The Lido was well maintained and always offered multiple choices for breakfast and lunch. The Ice cream bar, Trident Grill, Tastes and the Bistro were open to offer light snacks to full meals. Our only concern is the amount of food that is wasted, and especially in light of some of the ports that are inhabited by lesser fortunate. We realize Crystal does everything to eliminate waste; sadly it is part of the experience. I commend Crystal for reducing portion size; you can always request 2nds, 3rds, et al. Entertainment was varied. The shows by the special performer were outstanding and to think Crystal brought on 13 extra musicians. There were an abundance of lectures, classes, you name it. We used 2 new services, Luggage Free, which brought our large case to the ship in record time. We also used EMO Taxi to pick us up at the Barbados airport and give us a tour of the Island. Crystal has the reputation of being a ship with older aged passengers. This cruise certainly lowered the age range with a great deal of younger families, and singles. We met many new Crystal cruisers who were over the top with the cruise. Disembarkation in Miami was a breeze and we were able to fly home on an earlier departure. Thank you Captain Giske and your staff. Kudos to the Lido guys and many new faces such as Benz who went out of their way to make the 10 day cruise enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We went on our second Crystal Cruise after taking a trip on Crystal Symphony a year ago. Our experience a year ago was so wonderful that we booked for the next year right away. What happened Crystal? The food was mediocre, though the ... Read More
We went on our second Crystal Cruise after taking a trip on Crystal Symphony a year ago. Our experience a year ago was so wonderful that we booked for the next year right away. What happened Crystal? The food was mediocre, though the service was good. The staff it seems were equivalent to any other cruise line where with our last experience the staff were extraordinary. The food was the biggest let down. Breakfast & lunch remained the same but the dinners were awful. Everything served to us was luke warm and of poor quality. Menu choices were very limited which seemed to be similar every night. The daily "Reflections" scheduled advertised a film to be shown, when arriving at the theater, there was no movie and no notice that it wasn't being shown. We needed to go to the concierge desk to ask and got a blank stare saying, it must not be showing. For the price that line charges, it was ridiculous. That was our last cruise on Crystal. Frankly, I think we are done with cruises in general. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
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