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6 Crystal New Orleans Cruise Reviews

Overall one of our best cruises, the real rating is 4.5 stars due to a bout of food poisoning and the filthy condition of our stateroom on arrival and the lack of response from the Hotel Director. The service of the staff outshine their ... Read More
Overall one of our best cruises, the real rating is 4.5 stars due to a bout of food poisoning and the filthy condition of our stateroom on arrival and the lack of response from the Hotel Director. The service of the staff outshine their managerial staff. I think if it had been a short cruise it would have been our first and last time on Crystal but with 19 nights the good times well and truly outshone these early mishaps. Anyway onto the review: My wife and I are an Australian couple in our 40's who are early retirees and now wander the globe with no home base. We have progressively added more cruises to our itinerary over the last couple of years. We booked this cruise to celebrate my wifes birthday and to help us relocate to our next destination - South America. After booking this cruise early we booked several other cruises and this became the final leg of a 6 cruise 91 days at sea odyssey! I am pleased to report we ended on a high (despite 2 major hiccups - more to follow). This was our first Crystal cruise and we also tried Seabourn and Viking for the first time in the months preceding. We spent several days in NOLA beforehand (2nd visit), loved the WW2 museum. Embarkation: 2 parts to this experience. Firstly, we boarded at a makeshift terminal but this was no issue and the process was very good as we were met by an abundance of on ground staff and quickly ushered onto the ship where processing was very quick. A glass of champagne and into the dining room for the first off many excellent dining experiences. We then self toured the ship and this is when our first major problem occurred. We passed our room and thought we might drop our hand luggage off (still 60 minutes until rooms were ready), we noticed our luggage was in the room so asked a passing stewardess if this meant the room was ready reiterating that we did not want to rush them and were happy to wait, she replied it was. We entered the room and immediately noticed bits of rubbish on the floors in both the bathroom and room so we left assuming the cleaning had not been completed. We returned at the designated time and found it in the same condition, our stewardess arrived and we pointed this out and she assured us it had been vacuumed but would do it again. She left and as we started unpacking we noticed the air conditioner was not working, we also noticed rubbish in several drawers and in the cupboard, that the hair dryer had not been packed away, we also began to notice that we could not breathe properly and I started having an asthma attack within 30 minutes. We called her back and she noticed the broken a/c, we also noticed there was dust on every surface. She attempted to clean up but after the drill we noticed the hallway was also dusty and difficult to breathe in (we noticed that repair work was constant in the ceilings on this level and the one above for the entire cruise but never received an explanation). We immediately went to Concierge who were apologetic and offered to move us rooms. We waited until 7.30pm for the room to be ready (I didn't mind as requested a deep clean). We were told it was an upgrade, seemed exactly the same to me. The concierge was apologetic but I requested an explanation as to how a cabin could be inspected and be made available but none was forthcoming, I also requested to speak to the Hotel Director but was instead sent a letter and chocolates, this is nice but a telephone call or meeting should have occurred. An email to guest relations was also unanswered. Luckily my asthma attack only lasted 2 days and didn't destroy our cruise experience. Ship: noticeably older than our recent experiences on Seabourn and Viking but nevertheless a lovely ship. Very impressed by the amount of space (enhanced by the fact the ship was only half full). Enjoyed all the available spaces on the aft decks, walking availability via the promenade and the upper deck, loved paddle tennis and table tennis. Crows nest bar was gorgeous, enjoyed the Cove, loved the dedicated movie cinema, great library with a wonderful dedicated librarian. The theatre was an intimate venue with no line of sight problems as encountered on her competitors. We are not pool people on cruise ships although we did like the design of the pool deck with couches, loungers, tables etc providing a good variety of lounging choice. One glaring problem is the showers are a long way from the pool and hence no one used them, we noticed many people come straight from jogging and gym workouts and jump straight into pool and jacuzzi in sweaty gym wear, also heard multiple guests complaining of stomach upsets while in the jacuzzi - so did not even contemplate using pool or spa which was a shame on such a hot cruise. Overall we love the size and design of this ship. Cabin: We booked an oceanview guarantee and were assigned an E1, which I have discovered is a one category upgrade after the above incident we were moved to a C1 (apparently a 2 level upgrade). There was no difference in the cabins themselves and in fact the location of the upgrade was at the very rear of the ship as opposed to the other which was mid, I later found out our first cabin had a slightly obstructed view (we never noticed). The cabins are probably Crystal's weak point, they are not bad but in comparison to Seabourn and even Viking they are small and basic. The bed was very comfortable, the TV system excellent (except no access to daily menus), the small sofa and desk were typical of major lines. Storage was sufficient but well short of Seabourn and Regent. The airconditioning was very basic and a little inconsistent. The cabin overlooked the promenade. The bathroom was small (very narrow) but the double sinks were nice. The shower doubles as a bath with a curtain, water temperature and pressure were excellent. We noticed the toilet often needed multiple flushes, probably just the age of the ship. Our room attendant was excellent! Dining: Phenomenal. The restaurant managers were great and our experiences were always excellent. This was the best food we have had at sea. The dining room for dinner was superb with great service, interesting menus, tasty food with great presentation. Unlike on the other lines we were treated very favourably, we found preference was often given to more mature passengers on those lines but the staff on Crystal gave us the 5 star treatment. We loved the fact service was always professional but the staff could still be personal and funny. Umi Uma was first class Japanese, simply surperb. Prego was very good but it did depend on what you ordered, too many dishes were "deconstructed". We also loved the variety and casualness provided by the 2 other major restaurants, Churrascaria and Silk. There was plenty of variety and choices for lunch with the main restaurant (the best choice but not as good as at night), the grill (we tended to use more for snacks), the buffet (good without being great), Silk (only ate once). A special mention for the room service, this became our go to option for breakfast, we never had to pre-order, we simply called and it was always there in less than 30 minutes (often much faster), it was always correct and it was always hot, easily the best we have encountered. We had a special breakfast for my wifes birthday in the mdr and it was incredible, really got her special day off to a grand start. Unfortunately, we had one major miss when I suffered food poisoning after my second dinner at Silk (on night 4), 24 hours holed up in my bathroom, followed by another 2 days to fully recover. At this point I thought I was cursed and that Crystal was trying to kill me. The maitre D was very professional on follow up and the F&B manager did chat to me (after I enquired why officers do not follow up on major issues) and assured me they had reviewed it. The coffee bar was a nice place (not a patch on Seabourn Square in feel but much better offerings food and drink wise) and was a nice casual place to grab a snack or late night dessert. The bars were excellent and I think the bar tenders made some of the best cocktails we have tasted. The ship had an extensive G&T menu and Manhattan Menu, I did my best to try each one. Wines were good and we never encountered any resistance if we wanted something different. Table service was good. There was regular canapes and late night snacks being offered. Entertainment/Activities: Another highlight. We tend to find the small luxury lines struggle with entertainment but that cannot be levelled at Crystal. The cruise finished with a special Carnerval group in Rio that was exactly the same as you would witness at the Samba clubs. We had a huge variety of guest acts including: motown group, comedian, comedian ventriloquist, classical pianist, violinst, modern pianist, Broadway siblings (phenomenal); trumpeter and singer, modern vocalist/piano - truly something for everyone. Add in several production shows which were good without being great with the exception of the Imagine/illuminate show which was exceptional. Neil Lockwood did Elton impersonation and own show. Add to this the phenomenal nightly exploits of Mark Farris in the piano bar, you also add latin dance performers, encore presentations, singer from Brazil, guitarist, there was nightly live music for the ballroom dancers, nightly classic piano and violin and a young duet couple - phew! How did we see so much of it? Enrichment involved several lecturers, covering a wide array of subjects from economics, history of places we visited, ocean sailings,geopolitical and military talks etc. Most were excellent however my wife did feel that the lecturers were all mature American white males and there could have been more diversity as we noticed on Viking. Further to this there was art classes, knitting classes, trivia, bridge, ipad and photography courses, golf sessions, wine tasting etc etc etc. My only nit pick would be we like some of those silly activities and games (baggo, putting etc) we noticed on Seabourn and Regent. Also a minor complaint was that Crystal hands out discount coupons as prizes, this is no prize simply an incentive to spend which was even more crass in that they were next to impossible to use due to multiple caveats (we refused to accept them), the CD was clearly embarrassed when the subject was mentioned. Speaking of the CD, we had Russ who has apparently moved from a long standing position at Azamara (apparently well loved by guests there). At first we found him mostly absent but as the cruise progressed had many interactions with him and found him to be one of the most personable CD's we have come across and seemed to know a large amount of passengers by name. He also produced 2 daily shows on the TV which were a lot of fun. If all that was not enough to keep you entertained there was 2 daily fitness classes, paddle tennis, table tennis, daily movies in the cinema (amazing popcorn), the extensive library with books and games and daily puzzles. White night was a great event and it might have been good to have another party event or 2. Oh, I have forgotten the great magic castle show and also dancing lessons! Service: Exceptional, best we have encountered at sea. Great blend of professionalism and joviality. The staff seemed content relative to other cruise lines. Service was very consistent which I hypothesise is due to the many long standing senior staff as they were very visible and active. The officers had mostly changed over at the start of the cruise and this seemingly had no negative impact. Fellow passengers: mostly American and mature which was not surprising given it was a long cruise originating from the US. The cruise was clearly not a popular sailing and was broken into smaller segment at a later stage this did see more passengers from Brazil joining at later stages. The atmosphere early in the cruise felt quiet and uptight but loosened considerably over the course of the sailing. We found the crowd to be more fun and sociable than Viking but not quite as diverse as Seabourn and Regent. We will continue to cruise on a variety of lines including the main stream brands but will always remain on alert for good deals on Crystal and will probably become our favoured brand for luxury experiences. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise for the trip destination and the Crystal reputation. We have been on other Crystal trips and this is the first time we did 3 back to back trips, total 45 days! Embarkation was a piece of cake. Bags we shipped were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the trip destination and the Crystal reputation. We have been on other Crystal trips and this is the first time we did 3 back to back trips, total 45 days! Embarkation was a piece of cake. Bags we shipped were in our room when we arrived and the bags we brought arrived shortly thereafter. We are hoping the same for disembarkation. The Captains Larsen and Willheim are the best, with rough seas when we had them. They are cautious on all conditions. The rest of the crew are equally praised in every area of the ship. The wait staff are amazing from the Maitr’d down to waiters. It is amazing how they remember names and faces. They anticipate your every need. We are fortunate to have a Penthouse on deck 10. The butler and housekeeping staff all work well together. Because the seas are rough today, our housekeeper wanted to go out and do windows on the veranda. We told her to take that off her list today due to sea conditions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This is our third cruise on Crystal and Symphony. Our first was 22 years ago from Istanbul. Our second was February 2017 Singapore to Hong Kong. Both were amazing. We chose an easier quick trip out of New Orleans with our daughter and ... Read More
This is our third cruise on Crystal and Symphony. Our first was 22 years ago from Istanbul. Our second was February 2017 Singapore to Hong Kong. Both were amazing. We chose an easier quick trip out of New Orleans with our daughter and her spouse. We both had suites, we decided on the new Seabreeze suites which were just redone in 2017. They were very nice woth a large shower with excellent water pressure... Anyway the ship was superb, from the staff, the AMAZING speciality restaurants and the fabulous entertainment. I even had time for the casino. Keep in mind everything is inclusive, all liquior, wine, WiFi, grautuities. This time there were children on the ship and the staff seem to handle well. We are in 9051 and as I said it was very nice. We have taken over 45 ocean cruises and three River Cruises and Crystal and Silverseas remains at the top of our list. You cannot go wrong with this cruise line. Good luck and keep cruising. We loved it! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We picked this cruise because we’d never taken an ‘all-inclusive’ type cruise and this one was a short 7N from New Orleans which is close to us. I’d seen the various pricing sheets showing how close in cost a cruise on a Line such ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we’d never taken an ‘all-inclusive’ type cruise and this one was a short 7N from New Orleans which is close to us. I’d seen the various pricing sheets showing how close in cost a cruise on a Line such as Crystal was to a ‘standard’ Line such as Celebrity, which we’ve cruised 20+ times and wanted to see if they were true - it’s true! At least for the shorter 7N cruises. We loved this ship and the entire Crystal experience. I will be giving my opinion about this cruise by comparing it to our Celebrity experiences. I won’t cover the ports - it was a Western Caribbean and been to all of them. Spent most of the time on the ship. So here goes. Embarkation: With barely 800 passengers, it’s not nearly as crowded as our previous cruises. The larger ships handled the 2000+ well, but this was better than nice: as we walked into the terminal, they asked us if we were suites or standard SR, and gave us a number. When called (waited about 10min), we walked onboard and checked in there. Given our keycard, gave them our paperwork and charge card and that was that. 5min max. Handed a drink as we walked further in and off to a lunch in the main dining room, not a buffet. And was introduced to ‘Crystal’ Dining - wow. Will talk on that shortly. Ship: very elegant but low key. Lower ceilings than other larger ships which gave all the common areas a more intimate feel. Many bar and seating areas. The Avenue Bar is like a pub with wood paneling and lovely pub bar. Pianos and live music in most of the bars. The ship has a nice and inviting game/card room. We played lots of bridge and had classes. Was never crowded in any of the common areas. the Palm Court on the top deck forward was unbelievable. Elegant-great bar-seating for groups and couples. Windows with all around views. The place to be at sea. Ship has a true Promenade Deck. Wood and fully wraparound. Great walking and jogging or standing and just viewing the sea. Loved it. Shopping: All was very high end, so for us, not needed. Beautifully laid out, but only a small section for ‘oops, I forgot something’ type items. Didn’t use any of the stores, but nicely laid out. Standard Lines such as Celebrity have more day-to-day items and clothing and lots of sales and ‘buy 2 and get 3’ type sales. Crystal didn’t have any big sales pitches and everyone going through piles of clothes and stuff. Dining: Here is the major plus. the Marketplace ‘buffet’ is only called that because of it’s layout but it was outstanding in choice and quality. I love the Celebrity buffets but this blew me away. The main dining in the Waterside was fantastic. No set time and no reservations. You walk up, ask for a table for 2 or 4 or whatever and you are seated. Great quality and options. I love lamb and it was so tender, I almost didn’t need a knife. Great fish and steaks. All high quality. the entrees and appetizers were relatively small so I could try multiple dishes. The Grill was well beyond a hamburger/hotdog grill. It had many salads and sandwiches, including a Ruben I’d die for. Each bar had snacks and the Bistro was a great place for pastries and light snacks and coffees and expresso-styles. Loved all of it. Specialty Restaurants: You get a least 2 dinings at these restaurants. Each we tried was unique. We loved Prego - Italian and outstanding steaks and fish. Umi Uma was Japanese and our favorite. Great choices. Silk was Chinese. It was nice, but I thought the Marketplace choices were better. Entertainment: I was mainly concerned that a small ship would have mediocre main entertainment. I was wrong. It was excellent. Not as fine as the larger Lines, but the theater is smaller and you are very close to the singers and dancers. Fun. Excellent quality. They had a magician from the Magic Castle in LA that killed it with up-close slight of hand. But one of the weak areas was activities during in port times. It was almost nonexistent. Not a big issues since we can entertain ourselves, but if you are not going to spend all day ashore, it’s very quiet. Nice, but quiet. Service. A+. Excellent ratio and well trained personnel. They were always working to meet your needs and wishes. Never went ‘dry’ with servers coming up to check. Not obtrusive, but always available. Room steward was a charmer. Very attentive and went the extra mile. We had a very bad night and day returning to New Orleans with 50+kt winds and huge waves. She came in to check us and would have got us meds if needed. The entire staff was fantastic. My experience was Celebrity also had great service, but Crystal just had more staff per passengers so more overall attention. Drinks: I wasn’t sure if the all-inclusive drinks would be that handy (I enjoy a few drinks but don’t get the packages on other ships), but it was just great. It was so nice having a glass of wine and a server walking up and asking if I needed a refill. Good quality cocktails. Smoking: I’m a non-smoker and was concerned because the Crystal website shows more than a bit of smoking areas. But it was fine. the outside smoking areas were mainly on the very stern of a few decks and didn’t interfere with me and gave the smokers a nice place. One inside smoking bar for cigars was available. Again, I was concerned because on a Princess ship, whenever you walked even semi-close to the bar, there was smoke all over the place. But this had a double-door set up and it wasn’t an issue for me. Ports: Not going to discuss ports. Standard ones on a Western Caribbean and only did one tour and wandered a few ports on own. One issue: it appeared Crystal had lower priority for the docking and anchoring locations compared to all the other Lines. In all cases, the docking and anchoring locations were further from the main port facilities. One port we anchored and the other three ships docked. Disembarkation: Returned to New Orleans about 5 hrs late: big winds and waves (10 on the Beaufort scale! With 50+it’s winds). Stayed in SR all day and night. Docked at an alternative pier in NO and they had shuttles to the main terminal. All-Inclusive: I’m not going through what the actual costs were, I just say, I paid for one photo (yup, did the come aboard shot) and one tour. That was it. This was truly all-inclusive: Quality drinks, wine, soft drinks; two specialty dining venues; Gratuities; Laundry room with iron; Specialty coffees and snacks; Room service; unlimited Wi-Fi on multiple units. What cost: tours; Laundry/dry cleaning; ‘upscale liquor’, but what I drink wasn’t. Yes, I know nothing is ‘free’ and paid for in the overall costs. But I ran the numbers comparing this cruise to a standard large cruise line costs by adding the additional charges for gratuities, drink packages, unlimited WiFi, 2 specialty dining. The difference would be about $450 for two people. But since I’m Elite Plus on Celebrity, and I wouldn’t get the drink package and pay a smaller amount for unlimited Wi-Fi, the different approach $950. Was it worth it? You Bet! Don’t know if this is similar for longer and more ‘exotic’ cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Had been on Serenity before, so our expectations were high and fully met. Staff everywhere were attentive and helpful. The bar tenders can actually make a cocktail--not just pour wine or make a mojito from a mix. (Seabourn, please note.) ... Read More
Had been on Serenity before, so our expectations were high and fully met. Staff everywhere were attentive and helpful. The bar tenders can actually make a cocktail--not just pour wine or make a mojito from a mix. (Seabourn, please note.) This may seem like a small matter, but clearly not as social time spent at the various bars reflected many more requests for a specific cocktail than for , example, scotch on the rocks. Beyond their capabilities, the three mixologists at the Crystal Cove bar--Riccardo, Maria and Johnathon--from 3 different countries--were charming and personable. Our cabin on Deck 10 was a Pure, meaning standard size bit with various features to make the space as allergen free as possible. (Again, we had a similar cabin on a previous cruise.) The chef happened to be Austria, and one night I asked Mario, the venerable controller of all things that occur in the main dining room, whether it might be possible to request saurbraten on a subsequent evening. A bit later i was informed by one of the head waiters that the dish would be available in 3 days as (with an unnecessary apology) the dish requires 3 days of marinating. And when it did arrive, ift did so with all the appropriate trimmings. Looking for things to carp about--and reallt does have to search--I would note that itb was impossible to get hot pancakes or french toast in the Lido. They were there, but the buffet process pretty much guarantees that hot food will never be hot when you get there. One clear exception was the custom egg station, manned by a smiling egg artists who flipped eggs with uncanny grace. Carp, carp. Well, the sweet potato fries in the Trident buffet were not very good, and the chili on offer was so mild as to disdain its description. And one last whine. One night the dinner menu offered curry, which I eagerly chose. The condiments offered were many, but the main attraction had no heat, no spice. Yes, I understand that many older folk have sensitive tummies, but curry must be offered at something approaching full strength--perhaps with a warning about its spiciness. Crystal is a very expensive and cossetting experience. I only wish I could afford it more often. A last comment: should your cruise include Grand Turk, I enthusiastically recommend the tour which takes you to Gibbs Cay, and a special gathering with stingrays. These noble creatures are not penned, they appear from the ocean while you stand in knee high water. seemingly as curious about you as you might be about them. It doesn't hurt that Gibbs boasts a tiny but perfect white sand beach, the ocean is a magical turquoise, and the December sun bright and warm. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Lots of puzzle pieces to put this voyage in motion! The adventure all began because my brother-in-law wanted to embark from New Orleans, add that to the fact my husband and I wanted to sail over our anniversary (December 17) and on ... Read More
Lots of puzzle pieces to put this voyage in motion! The adventure all began because my brother-in-law wanted to embark from New Orleans, add that to the fact my husband and I wanted to sail over our anniversary (December 17) and on Crystal! Not to mention friends who wanted to join in on the fun, could not sail over Christmas. What was the likelihood?!?! A year and a half later, all I can say our time together on and off the Crystal Serenity during those two weeks was the best of best times! From one who is totally into Christmas and has sailed on various cruise lines enjoying many holiday cruises, this ship was decked out in absolutely the most gorgeous decor that I had ever seen while on the seas. We were even able to have our butler set up an artificial Christmas Tree in our suite. Trimmed by the staff, it was beautifully decorated, lights and all! Throughout the various ports, my husband and I would purchase a hand made Christmas ornament relective of the islands we explored. Talk about being spoiled...the food, the entertainment, the daytime enrichment classes, ... everything excelled. We loved reviewing our French from a Berlitz instructor who gave both morning and afternoon classes. The practice was fun and we were able to speak French on two Caribbean islands. Learning how to create I Movies was also a plus as both my husband and I have continued making short videos. Having taught school for thirty years, all instructors deserved an A+. That is what Crystal is all about. The finest in everything. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
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