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7 Crystal Esprit Romantic Cruise Reviews

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
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
Sail Date May 2017
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
Sail Date October 2016
We just came back from our cruise on the Crystal Esprit and enjoyed it very much. It’s a very new and interesting concept and they are still working out exactly what it is, I think. We thought it was terrific and would like to do it ... Read More
We just came back from our cruise on the Crystal Esprit and enjoyed it very much. It’s a very new and interesting concept and they are still working out exactly what it is, I think. We thought it was terrific and would like to do it again, but we’re also curious how it is going to evolve. Every person on board said they’d do it again but at the same time, everyone had certain “tweaks” they would like to see. I think it’s an interesting territory they are trying to inhabit, in between a “cruise” and the experience of being on a private yacht. Now it’s more the former but I think they will go more in the yacht direction over time. There are max 62 guests on board and we found it to be a more international crowd than usual for Crystal – roughly equal numbers of Americans and Australians, followed by Brits, with Canadians, Mexicans, Spanish and Italian guests also represented. Everyone spoke excellent English. Mostly couples, of ages varying from about 40 to about 80, though all with good mobility (no elevators on this ship). Some interesting groups, for example there were two young girls (10 and 13 respectively) each traveling with their grandparents (not traveling together, though I think they were happy to meet each other on board!); also 2 large multigenerational family groups (adults) celebrating special occasions. The itinerary was TERRIFIC – from the time we left Venice until we pulled into Dubrovnik we didn’t see another cruise ship, and it was great to be going into these tiny harbours and charming towns with all the sailboats. The weather was perfect, the sea was warm, and Croatia is just gorgeous. They have all kinds of watersport facilities on board that were underutilized because the Croatian government is still being very sticky about giving them permits to run the jet skis, submarine, etc. It’s clear this is something they’re working on, it the experience will be better when that is an option every day rather than just once or twice during the sailing. I understand that this part of the experience was much more dominant and "amazing" in the Seychelles, where they are much less restricted. All the shore excursions are “free” (ie included) and they were excellent, but again they were kind of conventional ships tours and that is also something they are working on. Most of them were full day tours with lunch included and most of the guests on board said they would prefer half-day tours that would allow them to relax on the ship, explore on their own or enjoy the watersports for the rest of the day. I suspect that will definitely be a tweak they will make in time. We went zip lining and white water rafting (all included). All the guides were excellent, the experiences were well-chosen and fabulous, and there was attention to our comfort (for example, the most popular excursion saw 30 of the 62 guests all going to Krka national park. Crystal COULD have put us all on one bus, but instead they sent us in 3 comfy mini-buses, each with our own guide. Classy call). Food was 100% up to Crystal standards and thus FABULOUS. The executive chef on board touches every plate. He runs a very tidy kitchen too! All the drinks are included, and we were impressed by the quality and selection of the “free” wines on the list too. All the stressors of cruising like embarkation, disembarkation and “rules” are basically gone. You walk on, they give you some champagne, someone shows you your room. At the end, they arrange “free” transport to the airport or your onward hotel and you leave at your convenience. None of this “red group in the show lounge by 7:15 to await embarkation instructions”. We didn’t even need to pack until the morning we left. "Entertainment" consisted of one piano player/singer; he seemed good but really no one much was looking to be entertained until we had bad weather on the last day. Most guests enjoyed gathering on deck for a drink and great conversation with other travelers. There were no real "enrichment" activities, and although I didn't really miss it, I do think having local lecturers come on board to tell us more about the history of Croatia would have been a bonus. There was also a great watersports team who as mentioned was underutilized; getting those watersports permits sorted out is clearly a priority for the captain. All in all, we enjoyed this very much (even more than our Crystal "big ship" experiences, and that is saying a LOT). I am very excited to see where else they may take this ship. The downside for me right now is that it seems to be going back to Croatia again next summer (good for you if you haven't done this fantastic itinerary yet; not so great for me as we are not big on repeating ports we've already visited). Hopefully they will seek out other smaller yachting areas to explore in the future. Oh - and contrary to a prior Seychelles review - we had virtually NO motion on board. Twice the captain warned us it might be a bit rocky; the first time it was very mild and the second we felt nothing. So, at least in these relatively sheltered waters, the Esprit is very stable and comfortable (even in a big thunderstorm which we did experience!). Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Crystal Esprit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 5.0 4.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.2
Family 2.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.9
Service 5.0 5.0
Value For Money 5.0 4.4

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