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Cruise Ratings
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We departed from Dubrovnik on September 23, 2018 setting sail for Venice. Our intended flight schedule was intended to take us from San Antonio, Texas to Dallas to an overnight in Madrid and then on to Dubrovnik on the day of sailing. All ... Read More
We departed from Dubrovnik on September 23, 2018 setting sail for Venice. Our intended flight schedule was intended to take us from San Antonio, Texas to Dallas to an overnight in Madrid and then on to Dubrovnik on the day of sailing. All of our luggage took different routes including stops in London, Vienna, Zurich, Frankfurt, Zagreb and finally to Zadar, Croatia. We were exhausted from trying to reunite with our luggage upon boarding the Esprit. The staff on board insisted on turning the task at hand over to them and to their network of Port Agents. They worked tirelessly to find our luggage and finally on Wednesday evening, after leaving Dubrovnik on Sunday, we were reunited with our luggage. We wore the same clothes for five days with the staff refreshing our clothes every day. The vessel was full and all of our fellow passengers recognized us by our apparent non-changing wardrobe. On the next evening we were in proper attire and were noticed and recognized with abundant cheers from our fellow guests. The Crystal Esprit is a mere 82 meters in length. One must remember that at one time it was an individual's personal yacht. Before it entered the Crystal fleet it was totally gutted and converted to a luxury yacht for about sixty-one discerning guests. I need not say how absolutely wonderful the cruise was and how we were treated by the staff. From Johann the Hotel Director, Grace and Jaypee at the Reception Desk, Lauren, Joel and Milly who served us at the bars and in the dining venues and Gee and Kath who kept our suite in perfect order, everything was over the top. We went on a couple of shore excursions which were excellent. On some ports we chose to walk around on our own where we did a bit of shopping and had a "local" lunch. The shopping was fun and interesting but we spent three days in the wonderful city of Venice which is a shopping mecca at the end of the cruise. Although we have several favorite restaurants in Venice, the dining aboard the Esprit outshined a couple of them. The dining experience ranks with some of the finist restaurants around the world. The presentation was unmatched. Adam, the Executive Chef, was incredibly creative. One day, he went ashore to round up some black and white truffles. We had homemade pasta with truffles as well as truffle omelettes for breakfast. Of course, we were lucky that it was truffle season in Europe. All included wines were great but we supplemented them with optional Caymus Cabernet. Cocktails were all hand crafted with premium liquors. The evening entertainment was lovely with relaxing music offered by Craig at the piano and, at times, with the Captain on his guitar. Water activities included jet-ski rides and two-person excursions on Crystal's own submarine on board (extra charge for that experience) The water was a bit too cold for me. We are well-traveled and my wife and I agree that the Crystal Esprit ranks at the top of our travel experiences. We are sailing on the Crystal Serenity out of LA in December and then it's back with our Esprit family in February in the Caribbean. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We have thoroughly enjoyed other luxury cruises(Seabourn) but were interested in this yachting experience and it was beyond all expectations. Essentially, it is a mobile luxury hotel affording you the opportunity to visit fabulous ... Read More
We have thoroughly enjoyed other luxury cruises(Seabourn) but were interested in this yachting experience and it was beyond all expectations. Essentially, it is a mobile luxury hotel affording you the opportunity to visit fabulous locations hassle free. With the size of the ship and the limited number of passengers, you have the opportunity to function entirely independently. Group excursions were small and actually fostered great camaraderie. Excellent and engaging local guides Embarkation/disembarkation: seamless, both initially and at each port, like walking out of a hotel room Ship: lovely, understated decor, with all areas easily accessible Cabin: though smaller than some of our previous trips, it never felt small with well designed storage, also the bath was very large with a generous glass enclosed shower and two sinks and again lots of storage. Other reviews have been critical of the ac, but we experienced no problems Dining: exceptionally good at all meals. Dinner was really a dining experience, like a fine restaurant,certainly not a move the crowd mentality. Additionally the accessibility of the yacht in general, allowed us to explore dining options in ports and easily return prior to departure. Entertainment: Oliver was great in the piano bar, but honestly, not much partying after dinner with this crowd that had been active all day and was admittedly older. We might have enjoyed some group activities or enrichment lectures in the afternoons. Service: impeccable and very personal We would LOVE to take this trip again and would really like to go on the Esprit to a destination where we could take greater advantage of the paddle boards, kayaks, jet skis, etc Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
It was a great experience however it is not recommended for anyone that has mobility issues. No elevators on this ship and all excursions leave the ship by Zodiac, therefore, embarking and disembarking can be challenging. For us, ... Read More
It was a great experience however it is not recommended for anyone that has mobility issues. No elevators on this ship and all excursions leave the ship by Zodiac, therefore, embarking and disembarking can be challenging. For us, embarkation in Venice was quick and simple. We embarked from the San Basilio port, easily reached by public water taxi from our hotel in Santa Croce. Our check-in was relaxed. There were no crowds at all, and we could embark anytime during the afternoon. Dinners were top notch. Open seating, great service, nice selection of wonderful dishes - just like eating in a five star restaurant every night. However, I felt the quality of the dishes did waver a little compared to the first night. There was a large selection of foods given such a small number of guests, and the food quality and service was fantastic. In addition to the buffet, there is actually a breakfast menu where you can order Japanese breakfasts or poached eggs (e.g., eggs benedict). Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Just back from the Venice to Dubrovnik Crystal Esprit cruise. The Esprit has a great itinerary if you want to visit the smaller, less crowded islands off the Croatian coast. Crystal does a great job with their complimentary excursions. The ... Read More
Just back from the Venice to Dubrovnik Crystal Esprit cruise. The Esprit has a great itinerary if you want to visit the smaller, less crowded islands off the Croatian coast. Crystal does a great job with their complimentary excursions. The groups are small, typically no more than 6-10 people, and included both a Crystal escort and a local guide. Take this cruise for the itinerary and not for the typical luxury cruise ship amenities. The Esprit is a small, nicely appointed ship whose primary function is travel between ports of call. On board amenities are limited by the small size of the ship. There are only 6-chaise lounges covered by shade for example. Having said that, dinners are the equal of any ship, of any size. It was like dining in a Michelin star restaurant every night. Breakfast and lunch were adequate but not exceptional with a small selection of food and some service issues. Overall service was very good and the staff were friendly and professional. Be very careful of cabin selection on this ship. Cabins 222 and 217 are located near equipment that cycles on when the ship is moving. That equipment is very, very loud. If I knew about the noise in advance I would not have gone on the cruise. I compare it to buying a theatre seat with an impaired view. It is one thing to knowingly buy (at a discount typically) a problem seat. It something entirely different to discover the issue as you are being seated! Because of this I will avoid Crystal in the future. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We did search many cruise lines and I was about to book on a different cruise line when I came across "the cruise critic". Thank goodness we did. My wife and I were taking this special trip of 14 days to celebrate our 50th ... Read More
We did search many cruise lines and I was about to book on a different cruise line when I came across "the cruise critic". Thank goodness we did. My wife and I were taking this special trip of 14 days to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We flew into Dubrovnik 3 days before starting our cruise with Crystal. Dubrovnik was great and I am glad that we allowed extra time to see this city. Now it is time to meet up with Crystal. The overall experience was as good as it gets! We took a taxi to the terminal where you embark on Crystal and Crystal staff was there to meet us at the taxi. They went into action and the next thing we knew is we were entering the ship where again more staff welcomed us with champagne and a wonderful welcome. That was the start of the Crystal adventure!! The staff was perfect, food was the best, and accommodations were outstanding. The shore excursions were all great. We had a shore excursion every day. All included so we did not have to deal with add-ons etc. No tipping etc., all was taken care of. All was as near to perfect as one could hope for. We will cruise small ships from now on and it will be with Crystal. We could not have had a better celebration. Thank you Crystal staff!! Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I noticed an advert for the Crystal Esprit in a publication from our Travel Agent and it fitted in perfectly with other travel plans. The yacht has been fully refurbished and it's all SOTA in every way. The cabins are beautiful and ... Read More
I noticed an advert for the Crystal Esprit in a publication from our Travel Agent and it fitted in perfectly with other travel plans. The yacht has been fully refurbished and it's all SOTA in every way. The cabins are beautiful and every luxury is catered for. The beds and pillows are divine and the bathrooms are large and well-equipped. Great shower! There is an Michelin-star chef on board - Rainer Buss - who oversaw every plate that left the kitchen. The presentation, variety, flavours, and portions were perfect. The wines were good and the table service was efficient and friendly. Every crew member was pleasant and cheerful - always a smile and a greeting. The Patio cafe for a light location for breakfast and lunch. The Yacht Club dining room was low lit and pleasant place to dine. The Cove Bar was a comfortable place to read during the day and have a drink in the evening. Our chef brought around delicious canapés each evening - perfect. We were treated to champagne and caviar on the penultimate evening of the cruise. Deck 5 - Sun deck was well equipped and there was plenty of seating for evening drinks as well as lounging during the day. The bar was always ready to serve everything from coffee to cocktails and you could even have an early snack up there. The ports visited were all interesting and without exception the guides on the tours were knowledgeable and entertaining. Our one complaint was the air conditioning on board - in the cabin particularly - it was cold and there was no temperature control. We asked for the fan to be turned down to make it bearable. We escaped to the Cove Bar where it was warm if we wanted to read as it was too cold anywhere in the cabin but in bed under the doona. The Patio cafe had an automatic door and this had a life of its own on chilly mornings - opening and closing and freezing those having breakfast. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We just returned from a 7 night cruise in the Adriatic on the Esprit embarking in Dubrovnik and ending in Venice. We loved the boat and the itinerary. Here are the details: Ship: The ship has 5 decks -- marina on 1; entry to the ship ... Read More
We just returned from a 7 night cruise in the Adriatic on the Esprit embarking in Dubrovnik and ending in Venice. We loved the boat and the itinerary. Here are the details: Ship: The ship has 5 decks -- marina on 1; entry to the ship and cabins on 2; cabins on 3; lounge/bar and two restaurants on 4; lounge/bar, restaurant and pool on outdoor deck 5. The public spaces are very well designed to accommodate everyone on-board with room to spare. We never felt crowded and were always able to sit where we wanted. Public spaces provided the ability to mingle with the crowd -- which was typically part of the routine during before-dinner and after dinner cocktails -- or find a secluded nook. The main dining room can even fit all passengers at one time for dinner. The decor is plush and elegant, and the seating inviting -- velvet padded couches and chairs on 4, and large wicker chairs and loungers on 5. Colors are a nice mix of neutrals and blues -- very relaxing and soothing. Dining room tables can be configured to seat couples, foursomes or larger groups. There are no elevators, but only 13 indoor shallow and wide stairs between each of the decks 2 and 3, and 3 and 4. Up to deck 5 requires an outside passage up a winding stair. Stairs didn't seem to cause any problems (even for those in their 80s). But the ports visited require a lot more climbing than the ship, so those with mobility issues should think twice about this cruise. For most of the cruise, the boat remained in protected waters (between islands and mainland) and we never felt movement other than the slightest rocking one night during a storm. Service: With a passenger to staff ratio of about 80 to 60, the service was fantastic. I never waited for a drink refill, to order food, or to get a question answered. The staff was over the top nice and accommodating (even getting a ride for guests to an evening event when none was scheduled). Dining: The highlight of the evening was always cocktail hour outside or inside (with a specialty drink each night) followed by dinner in the main dining room with specialty wine selections available and multiple options for each of the 4 courses (or more or fewer if you wanted) and dessert. Portions were such that you could actually eat 4 courses + dessert, although most people seemed to eat 3 + dessert. The chefs get high marks for plating, creativity and just plain tastiness. Breakfast was cold buffet with a few hot options; lunch was cold buffet/salads on deck 4 and a great grill (burgers, pizza, etc) on deck 5. We loved lunch on breezy deck 5 -- a few times we scurried back from a tour just in time for 2pm lunch and then some free time before dinner. Entertainment and activities: If there is a weak spot on this boat/itinerary, this is it. There was one singer each night for the after dinner entertainment, and while she played lots of favorites and on some nights did a heroic job of getting people up to dance and sing along, the variety was simply lacking. An improvement would be to have some alternatives provided -- for those on the 2 week itinerary, I think the same entertainment for 14 nights is a bit much. While the water sport activities should have been a highlight, since the boat is stocked with water toys, they were very limited. Only one port allowed jet skis and we were on a tour that day. Most of the Adriatic ports we visited didn't allow any water sports (even paddleboarding). People: On our cruise there were mostly couples and groups of four (families or friends). There were also two groups of six. All adults. This is not a boat for children -- the food, entertainment and tours are not child friendly. Ages ranged from 20s to 80s, with most people probably 40s to 60s. Majority of passengers were from the US, but there were also people from Europe, Mexico, Canada and Brazil. People were friendly and fun loving -- most participated in the sing alongs with the piano player at night -- but were there mostly for the boat and their own group, so it was a nice mix of mingling with others but having plenty of time to spend with your chosen companions. Ports: In each port there were 2 free tours (one adventure type like rafting and one more about seeing the sights), and there were other longer tours that had additional costs. At least 1/2 our boat took the free tours each day which typically lasted from 9-2. Tours were split into smaller groups of 10-12 people per guide. The longer costlier tours had only 4-8 people on them. We docked in each location except for Piran (where we were on anchor) which allowed us to go in an out everywhere except Venice which is somewhat difficult to access from the boat. Dubrovnik: I would recommend staying 2 nights before getting on the cruise -- lots to do there and beautiful -- walk the walls! Kotor: get up early and watch the boat sail into this incredible bay surrounded by cliffs; we took the complementary tour which hit the highlights and got us back for 2pm lunch. Split: complementary tour which was great -- had no idea Split would be so special with medieval buildings and Roman walls and foundation. Really stunning city. Zadar: We took a long tour to Plitvice Park. Gorgeous park with clear green water and waterfalls everywhere and lots of climing to see them all. Haven't seen scenery like this before. But only go if weather is promising (rainy would be bad). Opatija: Took the tour to the Hill Towns of Istria. This was really a highlight -- saw 3 little towns in a Tuscan-like setting. Drank wine and ate truffle pasta. Wandered through narrow streets with few tourists. Great tour. Piran: We took the longer tour to Lake Bled. Absolutely beautiful scenery in one direction (unfortunate tourist town on one edge of the lake) but a 2 hour drive to get there, so a hard call on whether to recommend this one. Piran itself is a cute port and the only tender port on the itinerary. If you want a free day and the weather is nice, take this day as your free day. Jet skis are available, and you can spend some time in the water and then go into Piran and wander a bit. Venice: complementary tour went on walk through Venice and Doge's Palace (did not actually go into St Mark's Basilica although that's how tour was billed). Nice tour, but skip if you've been to Venice before. All in all, lovely boat, wonderful staff, great ports, fine dining, luxury accommodations, and (at least on our trip) truly warm and friendly passengers. Read Less
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