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12 Crystal Copenhagen Cruise Reviews

We chose the Serenity having travelled on the Espirit and the Harmony and because we wanted to do a Baltic Sea Cruise. We have suite 11060 which is fine and it an added benefit to order dinner from any of the dining establishments. The ... Read More
We chose the Serenity having travelled on the Espirit and the Harmony and because we wanted to do a Baltic Sea Cruise. We have suite 11060 which is fine and it an added benefit to order dinner from any of the dining establishments. The check in was seamless. Our butler and cabin attendants, Jose and Lydia, were the best!!!! You could not find anything lacking in their lovely demeanor and commitment to our well being. The first two days we were in Copenhagen. The weather was less than attractive, rainy and overcast, but the city's personality shown through. The Danes are a wonderful people, very conscious of the environment, very hygge, the perfect city to start the cruise. The second port in Germany was kind of a bust. The town was ‘eh’. It is a nice little seaside town in Northern Germany. We took a long walk into town along a boardwalk filled with German tourists. English was rather sketchy. I recommend getting off the main tourist area and walking into town. They have a lovely church square and a sweet little park that the local use. Day 4 was the day at Sea and Formal Night. The cruise seemed very casual. Less than half the men was saw adhered to Crystal Casual or the Semi Formal attire. We had dinner in the dining room which is where our problems started. My husband was the first to succumb to the norovirus the morning of day 5. I will not subject you to the details, but suffice it to say it was extremely unpleasant. The medical team admonished him for not washing his hands enough, and he was quarantined leaving me to go to a lower floor overnight. His poor health lasted two days missing Helsinki and one day in St. Petersburg. I succumbed the 2nd day in St. Petersburg missing St. Petersburg and Tallin. I did not expect to find the Norovirus in such a high end cruise. I don’t have an official count but the ship has seemed very quiet and the medical center was very busy both days we visited. An airborne food disease is not the ‘fault’ of guests. It is the responsibility of the ship to provide a clean and disenfected environment. The first evening aboard the ship I witness tissue on the ground on the 11 floor, trash left in a stairwell to the work out room and napkins in the elevator. Really! On a Crystal ship! We have sailed on 17 different cruise ships since 1991 and this is the first time we have encountered the Norovirus. As far as other aspects of Crystal, I have yet to find a barista on board at least at the Marketplace that can make a decent cappuccino. How can you call yourself a luxury cruise line when the coffee station cannot make cappuccinos and don’t use the proper size cup to get the ingredients correct. I don’t drink alcohol but I do love my mocha and cappuccinos. Sorry to say, I have not had a decent one since we left the d’Angleterre hotel in Copenhagen. Excursion desk. My question is this, how can I purchase my ticket to the Russian ballet 5 months in advance and be seated with the crew, when someone who bought their ticket for the excursion a couple of hours before the show had tickets in the second row. Also, did I mention we purchased penthouse suite? That just did not make sense to me☹️. Also, you need better excursions. The company that took us to Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg also took us to a place to purchase souvenirs. On another day a private guide we arranged to use to a souvenir shop and the items were 40-50% less. Beware! I thought the service staff was great. Crystal society rep was less than lack luster, I approached while my husband was in the room, he was getting up to join his friend at the Cruise Sale desk. I stopped him to tell him what was going on, he did not ask me sit just let me talk to him in an open lobby, and immediately joined his friend when I was finished talking. I don’t like to say never, but after having travelled on the Espirit, I will not ever take another voyage on Crystal Serenity. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We thought we booked the same line we took on another cruise, but it turned out to be the Crystal Serenity, which was even better. The staff were happy, which we like because it means the company treats them well, then they treated us ... Read More
We thought we booked the same line we took on another cruise, but it turned out to be the Crystal Serenity, which was even better. The staff were happy, which we like because it means the company treats them well, then they treated us very well. We liked the way every time we sat down, whether it was in the central lounge on Deck 5 or the Forward lounge on Deck 12, there was someone approaching us to ask if there was anything they could get for us. It was called an "amenity" cruise, and it was indeed. We were treated extremely well from the time we arrived at the ship, throughout the cruise, and when we left to go home. The food was fabulous, the prosecco, chamboard cocktails and wine flowed freely, and there were light activity shore excursions that I could enjoy. Crystal is definitely now my favorite cruise line, and I hope we can take another cruise with this line soon. Having talked with others who have taken other cruise lines to the same locations, I find that the fact that Crystal allows you to take as many or as few shore excursions, but only pay for the ones you take, is an advantage. As my ability to walk decreases, I would take fewer shore excursions, but would enjoy every bit of the cruise as much or more than I did this time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The Crystal Symphony Baltic Sea cruise on 2017 was fantastic. We loved every aspect and element. We were invited to go with the Hillsdale College group which booked about a third of the ship and that overlay of programs and people was ... Read More
The Crystal Symphony Baltic Sea cruise on 2017 was fantastic. We loved every aspect and element. We were invited to go with the Hillsdale College group which booked about a third of the ship and that overlay of programs and people was really wonderful. We knew the Symphony was going in for major remodeling a few weeks after our cruise, but the ship was still in great shape, and the staff and service were incredible. Our only complaint was the limited wifi, but this will be rectified in the rejuvenation of the ship which will greatly boost the wifi and turn the ship into a 24/7 free wifi inclusion. We would highly recommend Crystal and this ship. The ports on the Baltic were fabulous and we loved every Crystal excursion. Cannot adequately rave about this trip. it was our first cruise and we feel like we started at the top. Tip, we dined lavishly at every opportunity, but took the stairs everywhere and walked a lot on the shore excursions, and used the workout room, and we both actually lost weight on a cruise. Oh, which reminds me, my wife and son has some food allergies and needed gluten-free meals and almond milk and such, and Crystal was very accommodating and provided the tastiest meals and treats imaginable. And their sugar-free desserts were out of this world as well. Incredible! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My husband and I were traveling as a couple to celebrate our 20th anniversary. I booked with Crystal cruises because in my travel magazines, it has been rated a top cruise line. We were expecting a luxurious staterooms and a ship that ... Read More
My husband and I were traveling as a couple to celebrate our 20th anniversary. I booked with Crystal cruises because in my travel magazines, it has been rated a top cruise line. We were expecting a luxurious staterooms and a ship that looked like it had undergone a major restoration, like I had read. We expected the ship to be modernized and opulant. I can't relate how disappointed we are that we picked this cruise line. My husband and I are in our mid 40's. We have cruised Disney, Royal Caribbean's newest ships, and a couple celebrity cruises. Crystal Symphony was the biggest let down ever... Our itinerary was from Copenhagen to Stockholm. We spent a couple of days in Copenhagen, at the beautiful Hotel D'Angleterre --- great review from me on trip advisor. Copenhagen is a wonderful city. We had expectations that going from a 5 star hotel in Copenhagen to a modernized and restored Crystal ship would be an effortless transition. Unfortunately, not. The common areas of the ship were nice, but I was expecting so much more from Crystal cruises. The embarkation was very smooth, and it was probably the most organized and expedited embarkation ever! The ship's common areas didn't wow me at all. The common areas were nice, but still looked worn to me. I like the size of the ship, it felt cozy, and you weren't bumping into people. We booked a deluxe room with verandah. The room was a bit smaller than on other ship's we had been on in that category, but I was told to expect that. The room size did not bother me. The bathroom was a good size with double sinks, and tub/shower. Crystal should be ashamed of themselves for charging $12,000 for two people, for a dated and awfully decorated stateroom. The wood and cabinetry are original from 20 years ago. The hardware is worn. The bathroom decor was awful. They couldn't get our beds to fit together properly. After the third attempt, we decided to stop asking. The mattresses were ok, and you get a nice pillow menu. Crystal made out like bandits, taking our $12K. We paid for a dated and awful looking stateroom, with the exception of a leather couch and a fancy mirror. Still angry and stammering obscenities under my breath on that one! The dining experience was very nice. We had the dining by reservation. They had to switch us around a couple of times, so our waiters were switched up. We had a bit better service with our original wait staff, but still a good experience. The buffet in the morning is very good, but after about the 7th day, it all looked the same. The food was very good. We ate everywhere on the ship. It is a bit more elevated than a Disney or Royal Caribbean. Dining, buffet, grill... All excellent service and we couldn't be happier. Wait staff was very accommodating! Unfortunately, the service fell short with our stateroom attendant. We found her to be very lazy: our drinking glasses were not changed out daily, the linens were stained, bathroom cabinets were not wiped down from the previous occupant, nor were they during our stay. By about the 6th day, we had to make a list for our attendant to tend to. I went to the spa almost every day. The facilities are very nice, and a good spa menu. I tried acupuncture for the first time. Dr. Kara is excellent -- I bought a package of 5. (The spa usually carries Elemis products, and they have added another generic brand that I didn't like, and returned. Stick with the Elemis.) When we booked this cruise, I was aware of the itinerary, and did check out some of the places on line. They are really reaching with a couple of the ports: Karlskrona, Klaipeda, and Mariehamn. These places were not interesting at all, and had nothing to offer cruisers. We felt it was a wasted day for us, and were very disappointed that the ship docked in these places. St. Petersburg --- we were in port for 3 days. My agent at the time told me that a visa was not necessary. Well, it is. Get one. It gives you more freedom to get off the ship and explore on your own, or explore with a Crystal excursion. Our St. Petersburg tour was excellent! The guide was excellent and very knowledgable. The lunch was extremely disappointing: The excursion included lunch. Apparently it was catered out by another company. A dining hall was rented out and lunch was served in the area. This was not a restaurant and you could not order off a menu. Instead, you were served powdered potatoes, and some sort of mystery meat in a gravy sauce. It was like dog food, and I never touched my plate. I asked for another option, and was given rice with some vegetables that I was allergic to. We did make guest relations aware of this experience, but were met with a smiling face and an empty apology. Stockholm was an overnight. That was one of our best days. It was nice to be able to move on and off the ship freely. Stockholm is an interesting city and easy to get around. We couldn't wait to get off the ship at this point. We are used to staying at 5-star properties, and our bar is high. We had a trip booked with Crystal for 2017, that we booked before we left for this cruise, which we are cancelling. My husband and I are young, active and independent. We have realized it is best that we explore larger European cities on our own, and do not do well being contained on a ship with a regimented itinerary. Cruising is subjective. A lot of people swear by Crystal cruise line and love it. We unfortunately had a negative experience, and it didn't work for us. We feel like the price for traveling on a ship with dated stateroom cabins needs to be urgently reevaluated. Definitely a poor value for what you are getting, even though there were some positive highlights to the cruise line. Cheers... Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Our first trip with Crystal cruises and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Yes cabins are not the largest compared with other similar ships but are reasonably spacious with plenty of wardrobe space (and hangers), pleasant bathroom and ... Read More
Our first trip with Crystal cruises and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Yes cabins are not the largest compared with other similar ships but are reasonably spacious with plenty of wardrobe space (and hangers), pleasant bathroom and nice balcony. The service, amenities, food and ambience were first class. Also you do get a large ship feel even with 800+ passengers, compared to Silverseas and Regent. Reason for 4 stars - well in this data/information age wifi should be complimentary (or at least a certain amounts of minutes per day) and the house wine although plentiful was limited in choice and quality. Highlights, apart from the food was the entertainment, which was excellent, with a great variety of shows. How to improve - better house wines and more choice, free (if limited timed wifi) and will be better once the new toiletries' are in place. Would we sail with Crystal again - definitely yes. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was my first Crystal Cruise and it was wonderful. This is going to be a lengthy review but I had such a hard time finding out any info on specifics for the Baltic Cruise that I want to give future cruises the info that I wished I had ... Read More
This was my first Crystal Cruise and it was wonderful. This is going to be a lengthy review but I had such a hard time finding out any info on specifics for the Baltic Cruise that I want to give future cruises the info that I wished I had beforehand. I had done quite a bit of research before selecting which line to use for the Baltic Cruise and I am very happy that I picked Crystal. We really liked the fact that the ship overnighted in Copenhagen at the beginning and Stockholm at the end of the cruise. This saved us from hotel stays at the beginning and end of the cruise. We were also very pleased that we had 3 full days in St. Petersburg. Many of the other lines only spend 2 days in St. Petersburg. I am very glad that we had the time to experience everything that we did. This cruise was titled “White Nights” due to the extensive amount of daylight we had. When I review the ports, I’ll mention sunrise and sunset times. Embarkation: Very smooth. Our flight landed in Copenhagen around 7:00 am the morning of embarkation. We had paid for Crystal transfers on both ends, just for convenience sake. We were met in the arrivals hall by multiple Crystal Reps. They stayed with us while we waited for our luggage. We were able to send whatever luggage we wanted to the cruise ship. We kept a small day bag with us and were taken by bus to a local hotel (Scandic Hotel Copenhagen). A conference room was available for us. There was tea, coffee, and water along with some danishes. There were a few Crystal reps here who had maps of the areas and suggestions for what to do until we would be bused to the ship at 11:45. There was free wifi available at the hotel. We walked around some lakes right in front of the hotel and just rested. We had had a long flight and did not sleep at all. The ride to the dock was quick and we were on the ship with bording cards within 15 minutes. Very smooth and painless. We were told that cabins would be ready at 3:00 pm. We went to the MDR for lunch. After lunch, we dropped our day bags into our Cabin and put stuff into the safe, then went up to the Lido deck with our books and read and rested for a bit. We went to the cabin at 3:00 pm and were a bit disappointed to discover that it had not been completely cleaned – the mini fridge still had ½ consumed drinks from the last cruise, there was only 1 robe, and other minor things. Our cabin stewardess Marisa quickly appeared and apologized for the state of the room. It seems our originally assigned stewardess quit with no notice that morning and Marisa had been pulled very late from another floor to take over. She told us the cabin would be to Crystal’s standards when she made up the room in the evening, and it was. The only other hitch was that our two checked bags were in the cabin by 4 pm, but our two pieces of hand luggage were not there. I went to reception and notified them. Within 20 minutes our luggage was located and delivered. We then had 3 follow up phone calls from different departments confirming that it had been delivered. Food – very happy with food in all locations. We did dining by reservation, with a 7 pm table for 2 on most nights. We ate at both Prego and Silk Road as well. Service was wonderful in all locations. We were lucky in that we had the same waiter for all the nights in the MDR when it wasn’t open seating. Peter and his assistant Marilen were very attentive. We tried food from both the new / fusion menu and the traditional menu. We only had breakfast in the MDR once and instead ate up on the Lido deck every morning. Service was excellent most mornings. I know that some have complained about coffee on the Symphony but my mother thought it was excellent. It is strong, which she likes so that is why some may not like it. Lunch most days was in either the Trident grill or the Lido. One day was an Asian buffet in the Lido, with lots of sushi. At dinner, our wine glasses were never empty unless we were done. The servers in the Cove and Avenue Saloon quickly learned our favorite drinks and were very prompt with service. Entertainment – Mark Farris in the Avenue Saloon was the absolute highlight of the cruise. I am amazed at his talent and the way he interacts with the crowd. He recognized people that he had sailed with before, one couple from 3 years ago. He is a master entertainer and Crystal is very lucky to have him. Tom Daniels played the piano in the Crystal Cove most evenings. He was a delight to listen to. As mentioned above, we did dining by reservation at 7 pm, so the pre-dinner music timing did not mesh with when we were in the Cove for drinks, but we enjoyed people watching just the same. Vivian Clement Trio – we went to listen to them one night and were very disappointed. Both of us felt that Vivian really couldn’t sing. She was off key on every song she attempted. Production Shows: “A Taste of Things to Come” the first night was a nice introduction to what we would see on the cruise. “Curtain Call” – very high energy and entertaining. Imagine – I was disappointed but my mother enjoyed it. I felt that the entertainers picked music that they wanted to perform and did not consider their audience. I also felt they tried to tell a story, which did not translate well. There were some more abstract parts and I felt these were better. Philip Wojciechowski – concert pianist – My mother went and enjoyed it. We were docked in St. Petersburg and she was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more Russian composers played. No Tchaikovsky. Diva – Karen Grainger – great show. Karen is very talented and it was a very fun evening. To be honest – this was a very port intensive cruise and some nights we were just too tired to see the show. We also did dining by reservation at 7 pm so the timing of the shows often did not work with our dinner timing, which we were fine with. Public Rooms – The Symphony may be 20 years old, but you would never tell. We found all the rooms to be very spacious and welcoming. We enjoyed the Palm Court for reading and relaxing, as well as for the Mozart Tea. The Trident Grill area was a delightful space to have lunch. On some days the roof was completely closed and others it was partially open. Weather was not conducive for it to be fully open. I was surprised to see that smoking was allowed on the aft decks and up on the Lido. I thought with the changes to Crystal’s smoking policies that smoking was only allowed in the Connoisseur’s room. It didn’t really bother us too much, but we did have to change sides a few times due to smokers. We were mainly seated in the elevated section of the MDR, and had no issues here either. Enrichment Activities – again, this was a very port intensive cruise, with only 1 sea day, so we did not have much opportunity to take advantage. Dan Raviv from CBS was a lecturer and while we were not able to catch any of his live talks, we were able to watch the replays on the TV. Commander Jeff Roberts, from the British Navy, gave a wonderful talk on St. Petersburg. Nicholas Roberts also gave a very nice presentation on what types of souvenirs to purchase in SPB, and some suggestions on how to tell if they are authentic or fakes. It was very informative. Internet – I wanted to keep up with work e-mails so I purchased 2 hours of internet time for $50. The staff in the Computer room were able to quickly configure my smart phone, so I could check e-mails via the ship wifi. I had taken my Nook Tablet but they were not able to get it configured. This worked out. I was able to check my e-mail almost every day from my cabin. There were only 2 times that I tried to get on line and it wasn’t working. There was plenty of signage that there was no guarantee as to internet reliability while in the Baltics. Other than the expense, I was satisfied with the internet. I think Crystal charges way too much to use the internet and am very happy that on any future cruising I do with Crystal I will have 60 min free a day now that I am a Crystal Society member. Debarkation – very smooth process. We had a 10:00 am flight and had to meet in the lounge at 7:15 am. Our bags had to be out in the hallway by midnight the night before. We were given color coded / numbered tags that corresponded to our departure group. When we arrived at the airport, we stayed on the buses until they had the luggage unloaded. It took about 10 minutes. We had checked in the night before and already had our boarding passes so just had to go to the bag drop area. This only took about 20 min. Security was very simple as well and we were quickly at our gate. Overall Impression – I was very impressed with Crystal. I thought the overall experience and service was excellent. We thought Crystal was a very good value for the money. I am afraid that Crystal has spoiled me and it will be very difficult to go back to a mass market line for cruising. We really enjoyed the smaller size of the ship. We never felt that we were sailing on a full ship and no place was ever crowded. If I had one area of disappointment, it was interactions with any officers. Granted, we were not able to attend any of the Captain’s receptions because they did not line up with our dining time. We also missed the Cruise Critic meet and mingle because it was held when we were at dinner. We never met any officers and even when we did see them walking on the ship, we were barely acknowledged by them. We would get a brief hello, but that was it. From everything I have read on Cruise Critic, I was under the impression that they mingled much more with the passengers and went out of their way to make you feel welcome. This did not happen to us, but we were first time cruises. Obviously we just don’t rate. The rest of the crew / staff were amazing and very welcoming.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Just back from our fourth cruise on Crystal (three on the Symphony, one on the old Harmony). This time it was to the Baltics. Quick review: WEAR AND TEAR: Concerns about wear-and-tear are beyond overblown. Sure, the railings could use a ... Read More
Just back from our fourth cruise on Crystal (three on the Symphony, one on the old Harmony). This time it was to the Baltics. Quick review: WEAR AND TEAR: Concerns about wear-and-tear are beyond overblown. Sure, the railings could use a fresh coat of lacquer but that’s an issue with EVERY ship. (Ah, the salt air!) And, frankly, we were in the stateroom and on the veranda so infrequently that it didn’t matter. And even if we were it wouldn’t matter. The Symphony is just a great ship. Maintenance is ongoing. We’re early risers and you have to see what goes on overnight to fully appreciate the maintenance. CREW: Key to us is the quality and engagement of the crew, whether it’s Ricki, Derek or Lester on the Lido deck, always looking to help us start our day off with a “good morning” by name, or Prego head waiter Piotr, who in his day job co-running the Lido does a remarkably impressive job keeping the staff motivated in the mornings with respect, encouragement and a pat on the back. (I’m a sucker for well-run businesses and any services-oriented company looking for insight into how things should be run should pay Piotr a visit. He really just works there, but takes pride in what he does.) FOOD: The food in the main dining room, of course, was excellent and our head water, Vlada, went out of his way to make sure that my low-sodium diet could be adhered to. (Ask for the roasted vegetable soup: It’s not on the menu, it’s really good and it has no salt.) Prego was exceptional, of course, as was the Silk Road. TOURS: Crystal’s secret weapon is its exclusive-access excursions. We experienced this in Beijing, on a prior cruise, where Crystal does what most cruise lines and private tours can’t or don’t: It gets you into the Great Hall of the People for a private dinner and show. We thought THAT was one of those great once-in-a-lifetimers until we did the Moscow excursion by train from St. Petersburg. This isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every cent and definitely worth stealing a day from St. Petersburg. Here’s why: They get you into the Grand Kremlin Palace. No other cruise does this, and the only other way to do it is with a private tour -- and then access can be iffy, expensive and very limited. This is one of those “words can’t express” experiences. There are palaces, and then there are PALACES. This is the later, and in a league of its own. This tour, with an extraordinary senior-level guide, involves hours of walking and is topped with a really good meal in one of Moscow’s great restaurants. The four-hour train ride each way results in a long day that starts at 5:30 and gets you back to the ship at about midnight. (Nice touch by Crystal to have two plates of sandwiches waiting for us in our room with a “Welcome back from Moscow” note.) Unlike St. Petersburg, which was overwhelmed with crowds that even our private “early access” tours couldn’t help avoid, our Moscow group was 53 people; normally it’s about twice that amount. Our tours of the palace were split into two groups. We were the ONLY groups in the palace at the time. Why does Crystal get this access? They have to pay up front for the tour AND renting private coaches on the train. This means taking the risk that fewer guests than expected will book, which means they could wind up eating the cost of any unsold seats on the train. Could you see any cruise lines owned by quarterly-earnings conscious public companies doing that? I don’t think so! STATEROOMS: Sure, they’re small but they’re so well designed. We actually think we cram in more with ease in Crystal’s staterooms than we did on a cruise several years ago on the Regent Voyager, which has considerably larger standard rooms that include a walk-in closet. The extra floor space on Regent was nice, but we would take a smaller room on Crystal over a larger room on Regent. My one quibble with Crystal is mattress quality: Too hard for my taste; less so for my wife; but we have them wrapped with extra quilts and/or egg crates to blunt the blow. (Hat-tip to Keith for recommending bringing a power strip. This is the first time we did and it made sense. There is only one outlet in the room. Remember, these ships were designed pre-the days we all carried multiple devices.) INTERNET SERVICE: No surprise to anybody, it was horrible though Crystal warned in big bold letters upon sign on and in the computer lounge it would be throughout the Baltic. All in all, another great Crystal experience. Originally, we had booked too late to get a veranda room on this cruise, so opted for a somewhat similar itinerary on the Seabourn Quest. When a veranda room opened on Crystal we cancelled Seabourn, without hesitation, for the Symphony for four reasons: After veering once to Regent, we didn’t want to take another chance on another line (it is, after all, expensive); we wanted a sea day (Seabourn didn’t offer one in its Baltic itinerary); Crystal went to Berlin (well worth the day, especially the drive back in a German bus, with an American flag in the front window and the USA vs. Germany soccer match playing on the bus radio in German -- surreal!); and Crystal’s inclusion of the Grand Kremlin Palace -- something Seabourn did not offer. Expectations exceeded on all fronts.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Effortless embarkation & debarkation We were able to walk right up to check-in with no line and immediately proceeded to board the ship. The debarkation was equally stress free and we left the ship at our leisure. Phenomenal food and ... Read More
Effortless embarkation & debarkation We were able to walk right up to check-in with no line and immediately proceeded to board the ship. The debarkation was equally stress free and we left the ship at our leisure. Phenomenal food and top level service. The service on the lido deck is more attentive than anywhere on the ship. The staff quickly learns your name and if you are dining at the Lido Cafe they meet you to take your plate and find a table of your liking then secure the beverages of your choice. They will remember what you have drunk previously and ask if that is what you want. The Crystal Dining Room staff is excellent. The table we were given the 1st night was right next to a service area which resulted in a lot of noise and traffic going by it. My wife has a severe hearing loss so it made conversation difficult. Following our meal we spoke to the Maitred to explain the situation and request a quieter location which he readily accommodated. Each evening he recognized us, greeted us warmly and seated us at tables in quieter areas of the dining room. Condition & cleanliness of ship and furnishings is excellent. High quality live entertainment Alcohol includes top above average brands ie; Belvidere, McCollum's, Cevasia VS, Remy VS Less-than-acceptable experiences Crystal Cove lounge Allows smoking and designates the most desirable tables by the windows as smoking. Because of the small size of the lounge the smell from even one smoker is offensive. Once we sat at a table in the smoking section and moved the ash trays to another table only for a waiter to bring them back saying his boss would be unhappy with him if he saw them placed on another table. The bartenders and waiters at this bar exhibited a bit of an arrogant attitude frequently slow to take orders and prioritizing the cleaning of a vacated table as more important than serving remaining guests. This difference was glaring when compared to the attitude of the bartenders and waiters in the Avenue Bar.  Housekeeping/stateroom attendant Our stateroom was perfectly maintained throughout the cruise On our 1st Crystal cruise the stateroom attendant came to our cabin with 1-hour of our arrival to welcome us, introduce herself, determine what beverages we would prefer in the refrigerator and any other needs we might have. This was a very nice touch that never occurred on this cruise. I saw the attendant on 1 or 2 occasions but do not know her name nor had any real interaction with her. As I recall on the prior cruise there was a nightly turn-down where chocolates were left which our grandchildren loved. A very small touch but one that was missed. Also on the last day our cabin attendant mad a special point of stopping by our cabin to thank us for cruising Crystal and this did not occur on this trip. Crystal Dining Room Sommeliers We dealt with four sommeliers during our cruise and with one exception, we found them to be a bit arrogant and inattentive. The 1st evening after the featured wines were presented I asked to see the wine list and the sommelier tried to dissuade me by asking what kind of wine was I interested in where I repeated I preferred to see the list. He then stated that some of the wines may not be available but I still requested the list. Although the other evenings the dining room was not full the sommeliers never seemed to be around to refill our wine glasses until I mention it to the assistant waiter and from that point on the sommelier checked our table frequently.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I am 42, and DH is 47. We have been on one Regent Navigator cruise, one Silversea Silver Spirit cruise, and one Paul Gauguin cruise. I still consider us cruise newbies. We have specific needs as we are "quirky" at the best of ... Read More
I am 42, and DH is 47. We have been on one Regent Navigator cruise, one Silversea Silver Spirit cruise, and one Paul Gauguin cruise. I still consider us cruise newbies. We have specific needs as we are "quirky" at the best of times, and we have been looking for a cruise line that meets both our specific travelling eccentricities. Crystal seems to be able to meet this! This is my first review for cruise critic as feel compelled to share joy at discovering this wonderful cruise line. I get very seasick. I get bus sick. I get train sick. I get plane sick. Gravol and ginger pills are my friend. DH does not understand this AT ALL. Crystal Serenity provides a bigger ship experience, and I found that I did not need to wear my anti-nausea wristbands. The motion from the ship was negligible. This was helped by good weather and smooth seas. In comparison, I could not tolerate the buzzing that was a normal occurence even on smooth seas that I experienced on Regent Navigator. We booked a Penthouse Suite due to information from cruise critic that usual verandah rooms are smaller than Regent or Silversea rooms. We had 11029 mid ship near elevators. Despite proximity to the elevators the room was very quiet. The room was beautiful and spacious, and the decor was like a boutique hotel in Las Vegas (we usually stay at the Skylofts in LV). The balcony was so nice that we both spent lots of time outside here, and this was not cramped at all. DH wished there was a recliner, but the two chairs with one ottoman and a table was fine. I liked that the sleeping area was demarcated from the rest of the room. The two single beds pushed together works well for us, and we both had no trouble sleeping. DH had lots of choice from the pillow menu, although they did not seem to have buckwheat pillows. Firm worked just as well. Wi-fi two hours free with this room was a very nice touch. Skype does not work, but we were able to facetime no problem. Since the room is close to midship elevators we were able to get wi-fi reception in the room if we stood by the door. We did not use the free phone call time. Another reason that we booked the penthouse suite is the room service ability to choose from the specialty restaurants. I LOVE that there is Nobu restaurant on board. When travelling, I need to have soup, and was able to have Asian soup every day. Rock shrimp, mushroom soup "tea" and kelp salad was an added benefit! Sushi took too long for room service, so I stopped ordering this (sushi bar ws very popular). DH ordered room service from a mix of main dining, Nobu and Prego, and there was never too much problem with this erratic ordering style. Our butler was amazing- oh I'll start a new paragraph about Ural. Ural our butler. He was the most professional butler that we have ever had!! He was pleasant, efficient, and even jokey which put us very much at ease. We probably drove him crazy, but he was always smiling. Iced tea in a pitcher... no problem! A big tea pot... no problem! Room service dining from three places... no problem! Special order curry as room service.. yes, tomorrow for dinner! A question about the next port..... he knows the answer! Some things we asked about were not doable, but there was an explanation that satisfied us and we were not disappointed about this. We ate at the main dining room rarely, but each time the service and food was pretty good. We are not wine drinkers. However, we enjoy tea (eg high end high mountain oolong and Mariage Frere teas) and we found that although bagged tea is fine for everyday, high tea should be loose tea, not the same bagged tea. This was the only real glaring "not five star" thing we noticed about Crystal. Even silversea had high end loose tea with timers and everything, for their tea time. We eventually chose to not even bother with their teatime. However, I really love the self service element at the Neptune bar area for just helping yourself to iced tea and juice etc. This saves time and makes me instantaneously happy. The bar guys were helpful and friendly too, but I can help myself just as well. Breakfast at the Lido was crazy busy. This was also one area that they can improve on. I suppose it may be due to port intensive itinerary with everyone leaving for morning excursions all at once, but the omelet line was just too long (too many people, too much time). There seemed to be much confusion about breakfast, and it felt crowded and "grabby". An unpleasant morning experience. The coffee was not very good! The Bistro was not open early enough for breakfast for morning excursions. Excursions- these were some of the best I have ever attended. As this was the first time we have been in this region, we wanted to do an excursion at every port, and chose a Crystal excursion for every port. Our Copenhagen acquarium visit was cancelled, but this actually enabled us ot see Copenhagen itself, walking around everywhere, so we were not too disappointed. The complimentary shuttles were very convenient even if we did not use them all the time, as they provided an option for us if we decided to venture out later on our own. We took the 3 hour Sachenhausen and Berlin tour and were not disappointed. Our tour guide was informative and objective. He provided interesting facts mingled also with personal anecdotes. President Obama was in Berlin at the time of our visit, and many sites were closed, but our tour guide was able to walk us to many of the sites, parking the bus further away. A great experience, and makes us want to visit Berlin again. The 3 hour bus ride was not a problem for me as the autobahn was very straight. St Petersburg- a problem with initial immigration! Crystal let us know what to fill out on the immigration forms, but the immigration officials seem to take affront at the lack of filling out the info so everyone had to enter their birthdates etc on the forms once there at the front of the line. A long long delay. The next day, the Reflections noted that you should have your forms ready but we didn't need them for day 2! This was very confusing and I think Crystal could have done a better job with the information dissemination. Otherwise, despite disclaimers about limited bathroom options and possible poor english speaking guides, these were not issues at all with the tours. Tour guides had understandable english and were very informative about.....everything! Bathroom breaks were provided at set intervals. However, these are long long days!! Worse than work! Worse than a bootcamp conference! Catherine palace and peterhof palace started at 715am and you get back the the ship at around 5pm. However, this was worth it. Tour group dynamics apply (It's difficult to keep together and to keep up! ). The people on the ship were generally older than us, but we found many interesting and friendly folks. Granted there were a few people that tried to push in front of the line at Russian immigration (really? here?) but people are people.......Overall the passengers were friendly and quiet. The ship was noted to be full, but we never felt like we could not do what we had chosen to do due to crowding (except for breakfast at the Lido). A note on the Laundry rooms. Five washer/dryer combos! This means no fighting or awkward situations. Laundry baskets and magazines were provided. This was so thoughtful it made me want to cry with joy. Disembark/embark - no problems. We did not have to tender at all with these ports, although we docked at a yucky industrial area in Stockholm. All transfers were without a hitch. We had private car pickup at Copenhagen, and there were no issues. Smooth and seamless. Overall, we had a great time on this cruise. If DH continues to want to cruise, I will now press to have it to be this on cruise line.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
On this Baltic cruise Crystal continued to live up to its high quality reputation but the jury is still out on whether going all inclusive has caused a decrease in the level of service. We could not decide. The staff was still very ... Read More
On this Baltic cruise Crystal continued to live up to its high quality reputation but the jury is still out on whether going all inclusive has caused a decrease in the level of service. We could not decide. The staff was still very friendly but they did not make any attempt to learn our names or drink preferences as they did on a previous cruise. However, this was an unusual cruise with only one sea day and the rest of the time it was a new port every day so there was not the same opportunity for the crew to learn about the passengers. One aspect of the all inclusive policy that we liked is that room service provided two bottles of alcohol of our choice for use in the cabin. But what if you are a non-drinker? No refund is given in that case which does not seem fair. We also wondered what would happen to the remaining liquor when we left. On disembarkation day we overheard a debate between room stewards on the type of booze they liked best as they cleaned the vacated cabins. It was clear to us that at least some of the left over liquor would be consumed by the crew. Perhaps this was some compensation for the extra tips they did not get under the all inclusive policy. Everything else went very smoothly except the Dining by Reservation (DBR) system. As we noted in another review of the Symphony, Crystal maitre d staff apparently do not like the DBR system and generally try to dump all the DBR people into the last sitting making sure DBR does not work the way it should. Princess manages their equivalent option much better. We took several Crystal shore excursions which were generally good. We enjoyed a visit to Unique Lapland in Helsinki which recreated winter in a huge refrigerated building; the dog sledding was really fun. The Vasa museum in Stockholm was also excellent. The St. Petersburg tours were also good but the crowds were huge making it hard to get around the main sights. The Russian immigration routine and the fact you needed a visa if you were not on an organized tour were also problems. There were seven cruise ships in town when we were at St. Petersburg and that meant that the Hermitage and Peterhof were both packed. There is no getting away from the fact that a cruise ship will land a thousand or more tourists a day in a given city all of them wanting to see the same places at the same time. The more cruise ships in a particular port the worse the overcrowding. This is a fundamental problem that is going to get worse as cruising gets more popular. Another strange thing that we observed on the excursions was that tipping the guides was much less common than it was before. On past cruises pretty much everyone tipped the tour guides but on this cruise we started to notice, and others confirmed, that many did not tip at all. Is this a consequence of the all inclusive policy? Maybe we should not have been tipping? We did not like the step backwards that Crystal has taken to hold their emergency muster in an auditorium rather than at the actual life boats you would be expected to go to, as they did on past cruises. With increasing safety concerns for cruise ships and given the mass panic youd expect in an auditorium in case of a fire or ship listing to one side, this a dumb move. Having the passengers on deck at their stations also lets them see that they are not being abandoned by the ships officer which unfortunately has happened in previous accidents. Except for this and DBR we were generally pleased with our experience on Crystal.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Our second family trip on Crystal, and no disappoinmtments. everything was as expected. Food and service shine! We love Crystal as does the family. The children's programs are excellent, with the exception that baby sitting after kids ... Read More
Our second family trip on Crystal, and no disappoinmtments. everything was as expected. Food and service shine! We love Crystal as does the family. The children's programs are excellent, with the exception that baby sitting after kids club only goes until 10: 00 pm. Our adult children did not want to miss a night in the Saloon bar with Mark Farris...he is a jewel....Crystal don't ever let him leave! The big draw back with Crystal is the small size of the cat A & B cabins, can be a deal breaker for future cruises as the other luxury companies have all suites even the least expensive cabin is much larger than cabins on Crystal.... They even had an early dinner for those of us that were attending an evening performance in St. Petersburg! Plus a very late night buffet when we returned.....well done! We would like to see 14 day itineraries however...11 days is much to busy for us!!!! We used private guides for Berlin for an all day tour that was excellent....and in St Petersburg TJ Travel...for 3 days plus they scored tickets to Swan lake in the Tsar's box!!!! Nellie was more than excellent.....she & the driver were wonderful to us....were were 7 adults 1 6 yr old.... Fond memories of our Baltic cruise on Crystal! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We have just returned from our 15th Crystal cruise- this time to Norway. We started in Copenhagen and sailed all the way to the Arctic circle and then ended in Dover. To appreciate this itinerary, you must love Nature and days at sea. The ... Read More
We have just returned from our 15th Crystal cruise- this time to Norway. We started in Copenhagen and sailed all the way to the Arctic circle and then ended in Dover. To appreciate this itinerary, you must love Nature and days at sea. The magnificence of the fjords really defies description. I hope our pictures will capture some of the beauty of that area. Since it was often light 24 hours a day (no sunrise or sunset) we could enjoy the sights at all hours. One night at about 10 p.m. the captain took an unscheduled "detour" into an incredibly beautiful fjord and sailed there for about 2 hours. The ship's photographers went out in a little rubber dinghy and took wonderful pictures. We don't usually buy the pictures, but we definitely had to have one from this experience even though we were hanging over the railing of our balcony and taking pictures of our own. As always, Crystal was as close to perfect as a cruise line can get. I have read reviews saying that the food on Crystal could be better and I don't understand how it could be improved. The food in the main dining room is superb, the alternative restaurants, Prego and Silk Road are exceptional and even the other dining venues- The Grill, Tastes, the Lido- are wonderful. We had many days at sea, but they were so filled with activities that the only difficult part was choosing what to do. We always get a category B cabin which has a balcony. It is identical to the category A or AA. The only difference is that Category B is on deck 8, while A is deck 9 and AA is deck 10. The difference in price to go a deck higher is definitely not worth it. Although we have seen the production shows numerous times, we went to all of them because they are so well done. We also enjoyed all the other entertainers who were on board for this cruise only. It is surprising that so few people actually go the shows. They were often almost embarrassingly empty! We are very disappointed in the new "All-Inclusive" policy that will go into effect next March. Not one person we spoke to was happy that we will lose the As You Like It credit and in exchange get liquor and wine included throughout the ship 24/7. When I spoke to the Crystal Society Hostess, Jane, about this, she acknowledged that many people were expressing the same concerns that we have; but said that the other upscale lines are all including wine and liquor and that Crystal is trying to remain competitive. She also said that some guests, particularly non-Americans did not understand the As You Wish credit! Seriously, what is there to understand? The minute you board the ship you have $1000 per person credit to spend AS YOU WISH. You can spend it all on liquor or in the spa or the shops or on shore excursions. I would suggest offering wine with dinner along with some form of on-board credit or if Crystal really intends to be "All- Inclusive" they should include internet (which is very expensive) and shore excursions. Really, if you need that Bloody Mary first thing in the morning, you should be in rehab, not on a luxury ship!! I haven't even mentioned the service yet. There simply is no more attentive, sincere service anywhere. The staff knows what you want before you even know it yourself. After ordering the same omelet twice in the Lido for breakfast, the omelet maker starting making it for me every day as soon as he saw me walk in- no need to ask! In the dining room, my husband.s decaf latte was always served to him with dessert. Just 2 examples of similar service throughout the ship. This really was a perfect vacation. We will keep going on Crystal, but I hope they will reconsider and tweak this All-Inclusive policy very soon. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
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