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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was out third Crystal cruise and probably our last for a while . While the service and food were top notch , the average age of our fellow cruisers had to be well in the 80's . I'm not young by any stretch , 59 . But ... Read More
This was out third Crystal cruise and probably our last for a while . While the service and food were top notch , the average age of our fellow cruisers had to be well in the 80's . I'm not young by any stretch , 59 . But anywhere we went walkers , canes , rascals, wheelchairs . I'm sorry but I want to be with someone closer to my demographic. Perhaps Crystal can have themed cruises catering to younger people , eg: classic rocker or jazz performers. Maybe a yoga theme . They are going to need to attract younger people , because soon their client base wont be able to travel or just wont be here any longer . Sorry if this seems cruel and I realize and hope that one day I will be this old man that everyone complains about . Its hard to give up all the great things crystal has to offer , but until I get older I just may have to . Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This was the third cruise for me and the Missus on Crystal. We were on the Harmony (still our favorite) and the Serenity. First time on the Symphony. The Symphony is on the far side of 15 years now. Here and there, you can see the wear ... Read More
This was the third cruise for me and the Missus on Crystal. We were on the Harmony (still our favorite) and the Serenity. First time on the Symphony. The Symphony is on the far side of 15 years now. Here and there, you can see the wear and tear on the ship after years of steady cruising. But it's still one of the best of the small liners - and we like 'em small. An older ship develops certain idiosyncrasies that come with age. The level of service that comes with this particular cruise line made up for that, mostly. Check-in was unusual, at least for me. I've been so used to checking in at the pier, and the Symphony's was held in the Starlight Room. The lines were less than orderly but check-in was quick. Los Angeles was gray and dreary, with rain in the remote forecast. We grinned and beared it as we stood under one of the fan blowers that blew cold air on us on the Promenade Deck during boat drills. Getting underway from San Pedro, the PA malfunctioned and we never did hear the scratchy recording of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" that is usually mandatory upon every Crystal sailaway. Minor points. The cabin was small, but the AC / heater worked perfectly. The resin basins in the lavatory looked odd, but took up very little space and mostly kept the water in the basin. Ambient noise was a problem in our cabin. When our neighbors weren't running the television loudly in the morning, we heard the Symphony's orchestra running rehearsals in the Galaxy Lounge that was almost directly below us. We needn't have shown up *at* the evening shows; we could *hear* them perfectly fine from where we were sleeping... Another issue: vibration. Okay, so it is nice to have a bed with "magic fingers" - due to vibration that was transferred either from the hull or the engine room. But too much magic fingers can be too much of a good thing. It could be difficult to sleep at times between L.A. and Puerto Vallarta, and back north to L.A. on the way home. One thing that was not a problem was the food. Whether you were in the dining room or the specialty restaurants or the Lido, the quality was quite good. We had a very lively table at late seating. Our Waiter and Senior Waiter were top-notch. This was a Wine & Food specialty cruise, as evidenced by the appearance of Hawaiian celebrity chef Sam Choy. One of the evening meals in the dining room contained examples of his work. I like the food in his restaurants in Honolulu; in a dining room venue where the meals are served en masse, the flavor of the dishes lost a little something. Our favorite meal: Late Riser's breakfast in the Trident Grill. The service by the wait staff was very personal, considering that they are not eligible for gratuities unless you specified it prior to the end of the cruise. While the menu was shorter, there wasn't as much noise or frenzy as there was in the Lido next door. We tried both of the specialty restaurants. Prego was warm and inviting. The food was excellent and I would recommend a repeat visit. Silk Road's food was really good but the service was rather perfunctory and cold. Perhaps an off night for the staff? One surprising evening dining venue: on one evening, the Lido was opened for casual dining. The menu featured bits and pieces of the evening's Dining Room selections and the food was great. The service, for a non-fee, non-gratuity restaurant, was again outstanding. My only food gripe is the lack of a casual dining alternative at night, other than room service or the occasional opening of the Lido for casual dining. Practically all the other food options, other than the Dining Room and specialty restaurants, close at 6:00 p.m. We finally escaped the cloudy skies on the second day at sea. Nice to walk around the ship in warm-weather clothes. Crystal likes to name its cruises with flowery terms. Ours was "Sun-Kissed Shores." We received plenty of sun in Puerto Vallarta, along with more of the warmth we craved. Having been there many times, our shore adventure was across the street to the upscale portside shopping mall - and then next door to Wal-Mart... While in port, we were joined by a Carnival ship and the Disney Wonder. I marveled at the progress of marine architecture in comparing the Carnival vessel, which dated back to the early 90s or so and looks her age, and the Wonder which is cruise ship state-of-the-art. Topolobampo: This was to have been the jumping-off point for the Copper Canyon tour. Because Crystal couldn't fill an entire special train for the tour, it was cancelled prior to the cruise. This was explained to me in not-so-apologetic terms by the Shore Excursions staff - probably the only members of the staff I had any real complaints about. We did take the shuttle into Los Mochis and walk around the city's palm-filled public gardens. It's a big park, shady and quiet, in the heart of a fast-growing town. At the pier, the locals set up a stage with dancers and a band, and a small collection of shops. But hardly any of the passengers stopped for any period of time to watch the show. I really felt sorry for the people who had set this up. Topolobampo doesn't get many calls from cruise ships. A less-upscale cruise line would have yielded more-curious passengers. Loreto: My favorite Sea of Cortez town. It is an easy walk from the tender pier to the heart of the city and the old mission. The tourist shops were fun, but the Missus and me enjoyed strolling around the parts of town that the locals frequent. I'd love to spend a week just hanging around this city, because it isn't yet as commercial as the other Mexican Riviera ports. The weather in the Sea of Cortez, by this time, was less favorable than what we received in Puerto Vallarta - mostly partly cloudy, and it remained that way until we headed back into the grayness of the return cruise to L.A. Miscellaneous: There was certainly no lack of activities while at sea. The cruise lecture series featured, among other speakers, former U.S. diplomat "Tex" Harris, who talked about America's relationship, past and present and future, with Mexico, and Lou Zamperini, the former Olympian-turned-POW who is the subject of the best-selling book "Unbroken". I occupied myself with an excellent series of golf clinics, conducted by former LPGA pro Shannon Kneisler. The Missus and I attended a Cruise Critic Mix & Meet aboard the Symphony, certainly one of the nicest M&M gatherings we have attended. Kudos to the organizer (Haikou) for putting this together. Lots of great food and drink, and visits by the Captain and officers. We were disappointed in the Palm Court. On the Serenity and the old Harmony, it was a special space amidships. On the Symphony, it is located where the lounge above the bridge is located on most ships. It looked cluttered, and somewhat claustrophobic. Disembarkation: we woke up to cold, hazy weather in San Pedro. There was a Princess ship in the main terminal, and the Queen Victoria in the second terminal. We were relegated to the "shed" that masquerades as a cruise terminal at the end of the pier. While Crystal has a "no announcements" policy at disembarkation, that did not guarantee an orderly departure from the ship. The lines were fairly long - lots of yellow-tag passengers headed to their cars parked at the terminal - and rather disorganized. But that didn't take away from what turned out to be an excellent cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Starting with the best.... The dining experience was incredible, Silk Road was so good, we made another reservation immediate after dinner. The sushi, black cod, dessert were all memorable. The dinning room food was near equal in quality ... Read More
Starting with the best.... The dining experience was incredible, Silk Road was so good, we made another reservation immediate after dinner. The sushi, black cod, dessert were all memorable. The dinning room food was near equal in quality to the specialty rest. Great mix of cruisers but more on the older group ( we are 52), met some very nice people. Many repeat cruisers on the ship, one person told us they have cruised with crystal for over 20 years and have seen some of the crystal staff aged over the years. The ship is clean, service is great. My husband celebrated his birthday on board, he was provided a "special birthday breakfast" ( it was over the top) along with an invitation to the Captain's quarters for champagne. Speaking of champagne, as soon as you board, you are presented with champagne. Within 2 hours on board, we had a great lunch , tipsy, and very relaxed. The not as good.., activities were limited, I read 4 books during the cruise, the lecturers almost put me to sleep. The casino was empty most of the time except for a few of us. The cabin is the smallest of all ships we have been on. We sailed in late November and shop inventory was extremely low. I wish there was a better selection of merchandise especially when it came time spending the on board credits. Despite the " not as good" we would definitely sail with Crystal again , they made us feel special and welcome. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
This was my third cruise on Crystal, my second on the Symphony. Needless to say with two ships in LA, getting on the ship was not as quick as I was used to. With the Harmony in SF, we just cruised up to the pier and within 5 minutes we ... Read More
This was my third cruise on Crystal, my second on the Symphony. Needless to say with two ships in LA, getting on the ship was not as quick as I was used to. With the Harmony in SF, we just cruised up to the pier and within 5 minutes we were on the ship. Ditto on our holiday cruise in 2006. This time we had to wait 30 minutes until our number was called. Once on board we were plied with Champagne. The problem was that the dining room was only open until 1:30 and most people missed it. The lines at the Trident grill were extremely long. Crystal might want to rethink food on boardings when everyone has to be there by 3PM. Then again, food was not a problem after this. Rooms. We were on the promenade deck in a three berth room. It was nice as always, well stocked and in good shape. Food. Not as good as the last time I sailed, but still extraordinary. This may seem strange, but I think on the shorter cruise with everything jammed together, the kitchen does not get a chance to hit it's stride. Therefore there were many of the standards in the main dining room and none of the more off beat preparations. Now let's get to the restaurants. Silk Road was a great experience. I have never eaten Nobu's food before, but within the culinary world he is a god. His marinated black cod is one of the best fish dishes that I've eaten in ages. It was the culinary highlight of the trip. Prego was excellent as usual. The two deck buffets, Nuevo Latino and Asian Grill were great. Lido was it usually well stocked and friendly lunch and breakfast location. Entertainment: Mark Hassen, the ventriloquist was phenomenal. Jimmy Travis was entertaining. I did not go to the production shows as I've seen them before. Public spaces. Only on a Crystal ship can you be on a full ship and still find lots of spaces to loose yourself. Ports: Cabo was Cabo. Mazatlan was fun, great beaches. PV was our favorite stop. We really missed La Paz and Zihua, our two favorite Mexican cities. Children's Activities: I only saw my son in port and for dinner. Otherwise the JADs kept him occupied and out of site. This is amazing as there were over 100 kids on this cruise. Enrichment program: First rate. One speaker was a retired member of the British House of Commons and another was Governor Pete Wilson's former economic adviser. Their talks were thoroughly thought provoking. Disembarkation: Very smooth. We were off the ship in no time flat and into the longest traffic jam in the universe. LA to SF at 25 MPH. It took forever. Last Thoughts: This will probably be our last Crystal cruise for a while as my son will be twelve and can no longer travel as third passenger in our cabin. My wife and I are in the demographic that Crystal really needs to serve to expand its clientele. More family oriented cabins are a must. We cannot afford to pay for a full cabin for our son. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
Let me open with a brief comment on why we took this trip. We completed a Regent cruise in April '08 with considerably less than positive results: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=41174 After ... Read More
Let me open with a brief comment on why we took this trip. We completed a Regent cruise in April '08 with considerably less than positive results: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=41174 After addressing this with Regent Corporate and receiving what we believed was a concerted effort to deny the existence of our issues, we began to believe it may really be our perception of what cruising should be. On a lark we went back to a Crystal Cruise to see if we were so hardened on this cruse thing our expectations were totally out of line. We discovered they were not. Crystal is truly luxury, and Regent might as well be a very expensive Princess Cruise. As an example, on the very first day of our Crystal cruise, my i-pod/ MP3 player froze and would not operate. Believing it to be a battery issue I went to the front desk to ask if they had a charger. The desk person, Anna Marie pulled one out, player still didn't work. She then went to her own cabin to use hers, it still didn't work, she called the ship's IT to help, it still didn't work. She then went on the Internet for a resolution, and fixed it. A small thing, but a huge indication of the efforts of the crew to make things right. We were home again at Crystal. Crew: Typical Crystal attention to the customer with greetings in the passageway by officers all the way to hull painters. You are treated as a guest, not a number. I believe this is what may set Crystal apart from all other lines. The sense is we are a welcome addition, not an intrusion like we felt on Regent. What a delight. Food: All in all, very good. Only one marginal night, and all of our dishes were not up to par, must have been the chef's night off. The rest was terrific and I can't figure out how all the fish dishes always came out perfectly, wow. Service was superb, all special orders handled quickly and were delicious. Silk Road (Specialty Nobu restaurant) is great. Service, while good, is not up to par with the main dining room, but food was over the top delicious. Mornings on the Lido deck was consistently good and the deck grill put our some wonderful burgers and steak sandwiches. As always, the crew did anything they could to please. You asked, they provided. Room: Think we did like Regent's better, a bit more room and the bath more conventional. We believed Crystal made a mistake with the new glass vessel bath sinks, intrusive and difficult to keep clean. Turn the water on full, and you'll only do that once as it blew over the edges. All else nice. Two robes, one light cotton and one plush for each room guest was grand. Room service was typically Crystal extraordinary. Entertainment: Mixed feelings about this one. Previous Crystal cruises the entertainers were spot on and well rehearsed. Not this time. "The Envelop Please" was very poor with one of the front line entertainers unable to get his lines straight the entire performance. Not sure what happened here, so we just passed to the rest of the shows and entertained ourselves, so can't comment if this was poor through all the shows. Ports: Cabo OK, Mazablan, probably wouldn't get off the ship to see it again, Puerto Viarta, very nice. Clean, old Mexico. The City has obviously put a great deal of effort in to make things right. That stop was worth the trip. All in all, a wonderfully positive experience back on Crystal. It's by far our favorite line . . . this is what cruising is all about. No more experiments, we're back. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This was our second cruise and our second one with Crystal. While I was blown away by the unexpected pleasures on my first cruise, on this one we knew what to expect. Embarkation: Very smooth. We went right to the terminal, checked our ... Read More
This was our second cruise and our second one with Crystal. While I was blown away by the unexpected pleasures on my first cruise, on this one we knew what to expect. Embarkation: Very smooth. We went right to the terminal, checked our baggage and went right on board. Once there our luggage showed up almost immediately. there was a small housekeeping problem in the room that was immediately fixed by our stewardess. Public rooms. These are large and spacious. The recently redone Starlight Lounge was a big hit. It was airy and used for all sorts of functions, from the guest speakers to receptions. The Palm Court is beautiful, but under used as it is an observation deck, and with the early sunsets, and port heavy itinerary, there was not much time to use it. Cabins: These were a bit tight, but well designed. Large closed and ample bath. Much better than the Harmony Fitness facilities: These were first class. The best touch was the free bottle water that was handed out as you were working out. Dining: The true highlight of the experience. While not cutting edge, the food was in the tradition of a European grand hotel. The service was impeccable. If you go, get a reservation at the Vintage Room for a truly memorable food and wine dinner. Prego, for Italian Food, and Jade Garden for Asian Fusion food, were as good if not better than anything available on land. Entertainment. This was hit or miss. I did not care for the shows. However, the special acts, the Mexican Folk ensemble and the Adage team were truly special. The enrichment lectures were pretty good. The New Year's Eve party was special. Rocking out at midnight was memorable. I only went on 1 shore excursion, and that was in Cabo, and it was an ATV adventure and it was a lot of fun. The children's program is unique. The facilities are adequate, but were Crystal really excels is in the quality of the Jr. Activities Directors. They are first rate and my son loved the cruise. They do talent shows, arts and crafts, Karaoke, and all sorts of other things. They had dance lessons with the ballroom dance team, singing lessons from the Acapello quartet, and all sorts of other activities that kept the kids engaged throughout the voyage. Service as exceptional. It seemed as if every member of the Lido deck team knew us buy name. Really incredible. Overall, this is an expensive cruise, but well worth every penny. If I am going to cruise, it will only be on Crystal or another similar line. Read Less
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