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48 Crystal Romantic Cruise Reviews

Greetings! I am a former luxury cruise TA and had sailed on Serenity 3 times in a PH, about 12-14 years ago. This is the my first time back as a 'civilian' and first time on Crystal for my husband. Our last 4 cruises have been ... Read More
Greetings! I am a former luxury cruise TA and had sailed on Serenity 3 times in a PH, about 12-14 years ago. This is the my first time back as a 'civilian' and first time on Crystal for my husband. Our last 4 cruises have been NCL, NCL, Cunard, Cunard. Much has changed with Crystal since my last voyages and I had been warned that it 'isn't what you remember' but my expectations were exceeded in almost every way, We had a standard Oceanview on deck 7. Sure we missed a balcony but otherwise the cabin was great. The most outstanding & memorable aspect was the dining. Every single day, no matter where we ate, every meal was great. I don't know how many times one of us would taste something & say "mmm..wow, that's so good" And we're foodies...not easily pleased. I am a pescatarian but I never felt there weren't enough non-meat options for me. All the fish & seafood dishes were wonderful, fresh and creative. My husband did have beef a few time and this in the only time he felt a bit let down. Having had very dismal desserts, pastries etc on our previous cruises, the outstanding desserts on the Serenity were a welcome relief. Kudo's to the Exec Pastry Chef! We dined at every venue for dinner & in order of most liked to least, we would rate them: Prego, Waterside, Umi Uma, Silk, Churrasqueira. We would gladly do all again but pass on the last...not quite up the standards of the others. Prego is wonderful, best menu, best service, a real highlight. The other 'bests' for us were the production shows - top notch singers & dancers, very professional & entertaining. And the guest/space ratio. My husband was so impressed with how much public space vs guests there is on the Serenity. We were never crowded, virtually no lines, always a lovely, calm atmosphere. My 3 top observations: - relaxed dress codes were noticeable since my last Crystal voyages, but I was pleasantly surprised that about 80% of the guests still dress up for dinner...women in cocktail dresses, men in casual office or suits/sport jackets. We dressed up every night but 1 (after a very long day in Florence/Pisa) I love this aspect of cruising and so did most of my fellow pax from the look of things - the service was great, especially the bar & wine stewards... far more attentive than any cruise we've done where alcohol is a revenue maker. At dinner I had to start saying 'no, thanks' with my hand over my wine glass! Too much of a good thing and all that! - I did find that the friendliness of the crew overall may have been a wee bit less than I remember but it was still excellent and I wish I had written down some names to include in the survey sent by Crystal. Definitely some outstanding service by some individuals. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our third Crystal cruise did not disappoint. We went from Iceland to the fjord of Norway to Copenhagen, and I would highly recommend this route as it was spectacular in every way, and the Crystal Serenity was simply the best. Impeccable ... Read More
Our third Crystal cruise did not disappoint. We went from Iceland to the fjord of Norway to Copenhagen, and I would highly recommend this route as it was spectacular in every way, and the Crystal Serenity was simply the best. Impeccable service, cuisine, facilities, entertainment- there cannot be a better cruise line than this. I am a customer service expert, so I have high standards and Crystal surpassed every expectation. Every single item of cuisine at every single meal or snack was exceptional. They even had a wonderful variety of sugar-free and gluten-free treats which were most welcome for those of us with dietary restrictions. The staff handled all that with ease and a smile. Every single staff member from the gangplank to the crew to the waiters to the stewardesses were delightful and the best you will ever experience. Really marvelous service. The entertainment was way beyond what I was expecting, and there were informative lectures and movies, and so much more. They even had the astronaut who rescued the Hubble Space Telescope giving talks. Very impressive. They imported a number of special guests performers, and the in-house artists were all world class too. The excursions, while expensive, and extra, were ll top notch and absolutely beautiful. The fjords are astonishing and spectacular. The ship has been nicely refurbished and is spacious, bursting with every possible amenity, planet of space. There is so much to do, or not do, that every taste will be satisfied. The spa and fitness center were excellent and spacious. The cabin was ample and the double sink in its bathroom was a nice touch. the bathroom was sizable, and I could even stand up n the show and in 99% of the ship even though I am 6'-8"/203cm tall. We loved having a verandah and could have sat out there all day and never left and been very happy (thanks to the free and wonderful room service). Of course, there was some internet spottiness above the Arctic Circle and in the fjords, but it's still miraculous to even have internet on the high seas. It turned out to be a minor inconvenience, but was better than our last Crystal cruise on the Symphony, but that was before their remodel and internet upgrade. I would HIGHLY recommend Crystal Cruises for any route, and I would very much recommend Iceland and the Norwegian Fjords as destination- really exceptional and awesomely beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was my first Crystal Cruise and my second ocean cruise. I was charmed and amazed by the lovely ship (Crystal Symphony) and especially the service. I couldn't sit down anywhere without someone popping up within the minute asking ... Read More
This was my first Crystal Cruise and my second ocean cruise. I was charmed and amazed by the lovely ship (Crystal Symphony) and especially the service. I couldn't sit down anywhere without someone popping up within the minute asking if they could bring me something. The pool deck (Deck 11) was blissfully uncrowded with comfortable seating and plenty of throws to wrap up in on a cold day (and this was a cold, windy cruise to the Pacific Northwest). Nice place to read a book and look out over the water. The service at the Marketplace buffet on the Lido deck was swift and attentive. My husband has a hard time walking, and a waiter or waitress was always on hand to carry his plates to our table. I liked that during lunch, you could carry your food anywhere on that deck (the grill, the Silk restaurant when it wasn't serving, basically any table you saw) and eat there. No one chased us back into the Marketplace eating area but waited on us where we were. Food was good, and the desserts tempted me a long way off my diet. Another thing I loved about dining on this ship--you can have anything you want, you have only to ask. One day at lunch in the Waterside dining room, I craved a sandwich, but didn't want the one on the menu. The waiter was happy to recommend another not listed and brought it to me quickly (and it was good). The public spaces on the ship are bright, airy, and relaxing. I found myself heading for the Bistro (coffee bar) on Deck 6 every afternoon for a pot of tea a scone or cold cuts (or both), to read a bit and relax. I attended one tea in the Palm Court (the Mozart tea), which had a full buffet of pastries and cakes. It was crowded that day, as it is the most popular tea of the voyage. The Library: Not many people review the library I imagine, but it is a book lover's dream. Shelves upon shelves of books of all subjects and fiction genres, plus niches to listen to audio books or just to read. They have a "swap" shelf where you can leave whatever book you brought with you and grab another. Just don't forget to return your library book, because the fines are high (understandably so--hardback books are expensive). Fitness Center: The fitness center, while small, has treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bicycles, and a rowing machine. Plus four or five weight machines that were multifaceted (worked more than one muscle group). I was pleased to see so many free weights from light to heavy, plus kettle weights, medicine balls, and exercise balls. I could replicate my usual workouts exactly. I took a few of the free classes with the fitness director who was very good at keeping the exercises easy for beginners but explained how to make them more advanced for those who were longtime exercisers. She was patient, friendly, and encouraging. The center offered personal training (for a fee), though I was too busy to sign up. Spa: Easily fit me in for appointments. I had my hair cut and got a massage. The massage was last minute on the last day, and they slid me in without a problem. Excellent massage--one of the best I've had. (Note, the spa is an extra fee, and they automatically add 18% gratuity.) Cabin: While small, it was comfortable and nice. The bathroom, while again small, had new fixtures, plenty of hot water, and best of all, lots of large towels. Anytime we needed something extra or when our TV remote stopped working, someone was there within 10 minutes to help us out. Voyage overall: I had been to some of the ports of call before (Seattle, San Francisco), but we found plenty to do. I did not take any of the excursions, because we booked this cruise at the last minute, and any that looked interesting to us were already sold out. I didn't mind, because I prefer to sightsee on my own anyway. Easy to call an Uber or taxi and head to whatever we wanted to do. Recommendations: San Francisco: Legion of Honor Museum, a branch of the SF Art museum. Beautiful place with amazing collection. It lies on the western edge of the city in Lincoln Park near Land's End. Worth the trip. Seattle: MoPop museum. Especially for music lovers and sci fi lovers! Right next to the Space Needle and the Chihuly Glass garden. Astoria: Columbia River Maritime Museum. Small but intense, full of information. I did not do the river walk or the trolley along the river walk, but I would do that on my next visit. Victoria: Tea at the Empress, of course. If you like dollhouses or miniatures, Miniature World museum right around the corner from the Empress. A fascinating collection of miniatures and dioramas. Well done. Butchart Gardens: While crowded that day, a beautiful not-to-miss botanical garden. Roses were in full bloom. A taxi is a must for that. (The free shuttle from the Symphony took us right to the Empress hotel). Overall, I loved this brief vacation on a very relaxing and surprisingly uncrowded ship. The lecturers were great too, as was the new show the Crystal singers and dancers debuted. I like the smaller ship experience--lack of noise, little stress, no lines (I rarely, rarely stood in a line on this ship). I felt like I was truly on a *ship*, not a condo block with a shopping mall that happened to be floating. I highly recommend the Crystal Symphony. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We were celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary and wanted a special experience so that is why we chose Crystal. We were not at all disappointed . The food was amazing the best we have ever had on a cruise ship . We also loved ... Read More
We were celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary and wanted a special experience so that is why we chose Crystal. We were not at all disappointed . The food was amazing the best we have ever had on a cruise ship . We also loved the buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch so much choice the best we have ever experienced at sea. Loved that it was all inclusive and gratuities included. We enjoyed sitting in the Atrium in the evening before our meal to enjoy a pre dinner drink and the canapés they brought round. Staff were really attentive and they all seemed so genuine , nothing was too much trouble . Evening entertainment was a tad disappointing but you cannot expect London/Westend products on a cruise ship of this size. We arranged our own excursions through a cruising excursions company as the trips on Crystal were so expensive ! We would defiantly recommend Crystal for service and food . Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been on the Crystal for a few years and as it was a round trip return from and to Los Angeles it seemed to be very convenient. For years we have been trying to convince our friends to try the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been on the Crystal for a few years and as it was a round trip return from and to Los Angeles it seemed to be very convenient. For years we have been trying to convince our friends to try the Crystal and were finally able to get them to come with us only to find it was not as good as it used to be. The lunch buffet was so bad that we just gave up after a couple of days. We tried the dining room which turned out to be even worse The specialty restaurants were fabulous. The food, staff and atmosphere were exemplary. The ship did not appear to be as clean as it used to be. Our suite which had been refurbished seemed smaller due to the new configuration but the shower was incredibly worth the extra money.The toiletries were horrible, with artificial scent which I am highly allergic to. Entertainment was excellent. However, the casino rules were disgusting and no wonder it was always empty. Lastly - to have 6 ports on a 7 day cruise on the West Coast was a total loss. Aside from San Francisco and Cabo San Lucas (which was not on the itinerary) are the only 2 safe and exciting places to stop at. Most passengers complained they did not enjoy the quiet ocean experience when the ship is at sea. Crystal needs to recognize that plus the savings on Port Charges could benefit the pricing for passengers. 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
This was our first luxury cruise and our travel agent highly recommended this line. We have sailed many times and the most recent had been with NCL Haven. While we loved the Haven, we hated the crowds, overwhelming smoke and mediocre food ... Read More
This was our first luxury cruise and our travel agent highly recommended this line. We have sailed many times and the most recent had been with NCL Haven. While we loved the Haven, we hated the crowds, overwhelming smoke and mediocre food and service on the rest of the ship. We couldn’t wait to disembark. That was when our agent recommended we move up to Crystal. We will never go back. From the first minute, we noticed the huge difference from other cruise lines. We were greeted by name immediately and by evey crew member. Honestly, before we sailed, we were greeted by our names by every crew member each time. I don’t know how the do it. By the first day at sea, everyone knew our preferences. From Clarry at the pool to Jonathan at the Marketplace and Viktor at the Bistro. I could ask Clarry to leave a message for my husband and he would keep an eye out for him and relay the message. Anyone who has ever lost their husband on a cruise ship knows how impressive and helpful this is! We enjoy good food and entertainment and Crystal impressed us more than we thought possible on both. The entertainment was spectacular thanks to the regular ensemble, great costumes and programs. On top of that, it was a Jazz themed cruise with the most amazing visiting artists. Perry Smith jazz guitar was exceptional and Crystal should continue the relationship with this amazing artist!! Another huge shout out to Carl Wishnewski, best piano man since Billy Joel. Umi Uma, by Chef Nobu is not to be missed. The miso cod is “last meal” worthy and the mushroom soup is sublime. We ate there twice and could easily have gone again. Don’t be worried if you don’t like sushi. There is plenty of variety for anyone. I love sushi but my husband doesn’t. His Kobe steak was one of the best he has ever had. The main dining room was always available, we never waited. The food was excellent with a few exceptions. Shout out to Roger and our fav, Viktor as waiters!! The pool was where we noticed the amazing crew that took care of is with outstanding service. Clarry, Kiko, Rikkii and Ronnie are fabulous! From cold drinks to cold towels and little treats throughout the day. Most surprising, from other cruises, deck chairs around the pool and elsewhere always available! I never had to fight for a deck chair at anytime of the day, even on sea days!! Crystal passengers on our sailing were around 40 -80. Some younger some older. There was one baby that everyone on the ship saw once. He was our great white whale in baby form. Everyone talked about the one sighting. The passengers were a nice mix of US and internationals. Out of 860 passengers, we encountered 2, only 2, somewhat grouchy people. Everyone was just so friendly and enjoyable. Again, a first in our cruising experience. The most important part of our cruise was our cabin and attendants. It’s literally your home for 2 weeks. While I am convinced there is not a bad cabin on this ship, we always want a balcony and this time we wanted to try the suite. We selected the Seabreeze Penthouse with veranda and we are so glad we did. Our butler, Ay, the best on the ship! I’m serious. When we immediately booked another cruise, a first for us, we requested Ay. We never used our butler on the NCL Haven. He was never around. But Ay was omnipresent in the most unobtrusive way. He helped us switch reservations around as we met new friends and served a full dinner from the main menu to my husband on the first night as I had a raging migraine. He didn’t want my husband to miss out just because he was taking care of me. And for me, he brought the best consume I have ever had and a huge bucket of ice for my ice bag. Mayori and Alexandra were our attendants who cleaned our rooms throughout the day with the loveliest smiles and service. Our final shout out to Sergio the head concierge who was willing and able to do anything to make our first Crystal experience even better. And the Captain who was generous enough to invite us and a small group to his private quarters for cocktails. It was a unexpected surprise. Thank you. We are Crystalized! We aren’t going back to the other lines. I am counting the days until our next sailing in December and trying to figure out how to squeeze another in between. Choose Crystal. You will love it! You will never want to leave. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My first cruise 7 years ago was on Marco Polo a small cruise ship in the Cruise and Maritme fleet. With nothing to compare it to but other holidays in European resorts I thought it compared very favourably. Since then I have cruised ... Read More
My first cruise 7 years ago was on Marco Polo a small cruise ship in the Cruise and Maritme fleet. With nothing to compare it to but other holidays in European resorts I thought it compared very favourably. Since then I have cruised with P&O three times , NCL , and Royal Caribbean, and again with Cruise and Maritime. However the cruise I am on at the moment with Crystal on the liner Symphony beats them all hands down . The reason I have titled my review as ‘Don’t cruise on this ship’, is because it has well and truly spoiled me , and I don’t think I would be able to cruise on another liner without feeling that that they had fallen short compared to Crystal. Unfortunately I might be a while saving up for my next Crystal cruise as it works out at about double the price of the ones I have named above, but goodness is it worth it! From the moment I boarded I was treated like a treasured guest. I think the main reason is that the ship never appeared crowded , the staff had time to be attentive to the guests. In order to make my point a little more clearly I will try to give examples. On previous cruise liners - long queues for the bar during the day on the all inclusive deals,wine waiters in the restaurant only coming to the table once during the meal as they all appeared rushed off their feet. Crystal- no queues anywhere, waiter service round the pool, public areas and in the dining rooms ,constantly replenishing glasses, stopping to chat with guests. On previous cruise liners - sea days when the weather is good , don’t bother trying to get a sun bed or seat of any kind after 10 am as they are either reserved with book, towels or bodies! On sea days when the weather is bad , everywhere noisy and crowded with public areas looking like my mum’s nursing home , or Butlins , depending on which cruise line you are on. Crystal - nowhere is crowded , on the sunniest days barely half the sun beds are occupied with anything, and inside is the same , no loud piped music , no queues for anything. I don’t mean it to sound like a graveyard , it is just quiet and understated and not intrusive. On previous cruises- tips , and drinks are extra. Even on the all inclusive cruises speciality coffee and certain drinks , ice cream ,plus the mini bar in the room and certain room service menus are all extra . Crystal - All included , no staff being extra nice at the end of the holiday in the hope you will leave them an extra tip , on Crystal the staff are attentive , happy and welcoming the whole time.All speciality coffees included, with waiters on hand in public areas to dispense drinks of all sorts, and don’t get me started on the ice cream , with about 20 different flavours ( no cheap imitations) they were brilliant , and of course all included. On previous cruises- Being tendered into port whilst other ships have the cruise terminal position, queuing up for an hour before breakfast to get tender tickets so that we can get off the boat at a reasonable time . Paying extra for shuttle buses out of the port , and again having to queue up for ages in order to get a ticket that insures we get a shuttle at a reasonable time. Crystal - certainly on this cruise whenever there was a dock/cruise terminal , we got it. On the couple of occasions we were tendered in , there were no queues , no waiting , and shuttles when needed were waiting with plenty of room , and ran frequently. Food- on previous cruises tables for two have been few and far between especially on P&O. The food has been OK , but things like steak have often been tough and sometimes inedible. Self service has been good , but often the food would only be warm. On one liner our dinner companions (no table for two available) had paid a substantial amount for the drinks package and eventually having managed to get the attention of the wine waiter they were poured a glass of wine each , they didn’t see the wine waiter for the rest of the meal. On Crystal the food has been excellent , no expense spared and steaks have been so tender and cooked to perfection , as has all their food. We did try the speciality restaurants which were very good , but the main restaurant was so good that we didn’t feel the need to try anything else , also your wine glass is replenished before it ever becomes empty. The cabin we had on Crystal was a comparable size to that of other liners , but the fittings were superior . Our cabin attendant was efficient and friendly and tailored our cabin cleaning/turn down service around our movements which wasn’t the case on some of the other cruises we have been on. Of course it is very much horses for courses and if you like loud music, sing alongs , karaoke , bingo and announcements from your cruise director throughout the day , or water shoots and bumper cars , then this cruise line might be a bit quiet for you. The larger proportion of passengers are American , the rest are English , Asian and European. I think there is quite a bit to do on board with lectures , a cinema , and Dvd’s That are played through your TV . We only had 3 sea days so we were able to find plenty of quiet spots to sit and read ,so to be fair we didn’t really try out their activities, although we did play table tennis - this had its own part of the deck with a large heavy net covering the area where you played , thus preventing the ball escaping under sun loungers etc. Afternoon tea served in one of the lounges was a sight to behold and was of the same standard as the Ritz or Fortnum and Mason! We didn’t tend to watch the entertainment in the evening , as we are not really into shows , but we did catch one of the comedians one evening (John Joseph) who was hilarious. I feel that throughout the whole cruise nothing was too much trouble , the passenger and their comfort was the important aspect, not how much money could be generated from them. I think it is well worth the extra money and have started saving my pennies already! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We have been Celebrity loyalists (with one Oceania cruise as well), but a Crystal cruise was on my bucket list, so when Crystal offered a sale and the itinerary was appealing, I jumped on it. My husband was skeptical—how could it be ... Read More
We have been Celebrity loyalists (with one Oceania cruise as well), but a Crystal cruise was on my bucket list, so when Crystal offered a sale and the itinerary was appealing, I jumped on it. My husband was skeptical—how could it be worth more than twice what we usually pay for a cruise? Now we know. This was everything I hoped it would be. We always build in an extra day in our flight plans, and it was a good thing we did; our flight from Newark was about ten hours late getting into Marseille. We missed the day of exploring marseille, but didn’t miss the ship. Embarkation at the pier was slower than I expected (we waited maybe 20 minutes to board) but check-in on the ship was quick and easy. After a nice lunch on the aft deck, we went to our cabin a little past 2:00 and were surprised to find our luggage already delivered and on the bed ready for unpacking. Just the first of many instances of superior service. The two areas in which Crystal excels, inour opinion, are service and food. Service was impeccable: our sommelier was the best we’ve ever encountered; our wait team in the dining room was first class; our room steward was great; and every staff person was friendly and helpful. We ordered room service a few times, and were impressed by how timely and gracious the service was. (Love the fact that the coffee table is raised to dining table height and set elegantly even for breakfast.). The food on Serenity was the best we’ve experienced on any ship. The main dining room offerings were varied and consistently excellent; we enjoyed breakfast and lunch dishes at the Lido cafe; but our favorite place for lunch was the grill. Best cheeseburgers ever, according to my husband, and I appreciate the fact that they have a variety of burgers, including salmon and a really tasty veggie burger. We tried both specialty restaurants, which were good but not as good as the main dining room, in our opinion. Oceania may claim to be the foodie line, but we rate Crystal highest in that category. One of the main reasons we like to cruise is that it gives us a chance to dance every night. Serenity has the largest dance floor and nicest dance venue in the Palm Court of any ship we’ve been on. The dance quartet is great; they play exactly the music dancers want to hear. The dance instructors did a wonderful job with dance lessons on sea days. Because we were always in Palm Court, we didn’t experience any of the shows, so can’t comment on those. We did enjoy trivia on sea days and wished they had it more often, and we enjoyed the world affairs speaker. The ambiance of the ship is one of quiet elegance and casual refinement. Fellow passengers are well-traveled, though many we talked to were, like us, on their first Crystal cruise. Guests are better dressed than on the other ships we’ve sailed (a welcome change from the increasingly casual, even sloppy “fashion” that seems ubiquitous these days). We saw no sign that the ship needs to be refurbished, though it is scheduled to be this year. With the exception of Barcelona, the ports on the itinerary were new to us, and we enjoyed all of them. We would have liked longer stops in Gibraltar and Guernsey, which were only half days. We didn’t take any ship excursions, preferring to explore on our own. In all, this was a bucket list cruise worthy of the designation. I only wish we were able to sail on Crystal every year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We took a cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity for our Honeymoon. It couldn't have been better. We've been dreaming of the day we could return. Then we did, for our ten year anniversary. What a let down. Our luggage was ... Read More
We took a cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity for our Honeymoon. It couldn't have been better. We've been dreaming of the day we could return. Then we did, for our ten year anniversary. What a let down. Our luggage was 'lost' in Heathrow. We didn't get it back for 8 days (out of a 12 day cruise). I understand the lost luggage wasn't Crystal's fault, but if I'm paying $1,000/day, I expect some level of service. We got the concierge to make a few pathetic attempts at phone calls. Other than that, it was on us. We spent 8 days standing at the concierge desk making phone calls from their 'landline'. We sent emails all day long. When we went ashore for the day, all we had time to do was shop for whatever clothes we would need for that night and next day. Crystal did nothing to help. Crystal did nothing to accommodate us. How about a shipboard credit to help buy clothes and toiletries? How about a massage? How about assisting with out laundry (we spent 2 hours every night in the laundry room)? How about trying to find our luggage???? In the end, they sent me a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Gee, thanks. The ship was nice, and mostly well maintained. It is definitely due for refurb. The food was lousy, cheap, bland, mushy and tasteless. Maybe they are still used to catering to the elderly. My wife and I took to ordering two of each course, as we knew at least one would be inedible. The room service menu was a joke. Couldn't order breakfast other than once. Limited menu that was accessible only if you are not leaving for an excursion. Hello, room service, I'd like an omlette. Sorry, it's too late, but you can have scrambled eggs. Seriously? Don't they know an omelette is scrambled eggs with some stuff inside? Again, I'm paying $1,000/day to be there. Felt more like I was staying at a Holiday Inn. The waitstaff were rude. Why am I on board this 'luxury' ship, and the watier is a jerk? But it wasn't one bad seed, it was most of them. We actually had good service and food for dinner at Tastes. Their 'Nobu' restaurant.... not even close. It was fine, but I've had comparable sushi at the grocery store. There was one good thing was the booze. Thank god it was free, and there was plenty of it. Otherwise, I may have thrown someone overboard! All in all, Crystal is not what it used to be, especially for the price. Look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Have been on several Crystal cruises before, always on the Symphony. First time on the Serenity, first time in each of these ports (Rome, Florence/Pisa, Nice, Barcelona, Ibiza, Monte Carlo). I can't say enough about the service ... Read More
Have been on several Crystal cruises before, always on the Symphony. First time on the Serenity, first time in each of these ports (Rome, Florence/Pisa, Nice, Barcelona, Ibiza, Monte Carlo). I can't say enough about the service on Crystal: not overly fussy, but always attentive, and very personal. The crew seems to love their work, and enjoy working with each other, which makes a pleasant experience all around. There is always so much to do on board: art lessons, bridge classes, enrichment talks, movies, golf lessons. The food in every restaurant is superb. Cabins are comfortable -- we've been on Regent cruises a few times, and their cabins are spectacular. Crystal's cabins are still very nice, though! A wide variety of Crystal-backed excursions, each with in-depth and accurate descriptions. We did some excursions, and also did some exploring on our own. Every port was lovely, and we enjoyed every single adventure. Crystal's customer service and attention to detail is superb. Here's a perfect example: we were tendered in Monte Carlo, requiring the use of the life boats to shuttle folks in and out of the port. In the early afternoon, the wind and rough waters caused a temporary halt to the shuttles, for about 2 hours -- for safety reasons. When we finally got on board the ship, the Captain and about 10 crew men were there to assist, and we were immediately told that Crystal was putting a $50 per person credit into our onboard account, as an apology for missing lunch on board the ship. Everyone who was delayed received the same credit -- without even asking for it! That type of customer care is amazing -- and it builds loyalty. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
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
South Pacific Cruise on the Crystal Symphony March 3-April 6, 2018 This is a review of two segments of the Crystal Symphony World Cruise, from Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete, Tahiti and Papeete to Valparaiso, Chile. Ports of call ... Read More
South Pacific Cruise on the Crystal Symphony March 3-April 6, 2018 This is a review of two segments of the Crystal Symphony World Cruise, from Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete, Tahiti and Papeete to Valparaiso, Chile. Ports of call included two stops in Fiji, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, Easter Island and Robinson Crusoe Island. Overall Crystal lived up to its reputation among the best of the upper tier of cruise lines. It is essentially all inclusive other than shore excursions, and naturally the price reflects that. Other than some minor areas for improvement, I have little reason not to rate the experience highly. As with any cruise the experience starts long before boarding as you register online and if so desired, reserve excursions and make speciality dining reservations. Unfortunately Crystal was in the middle of transitioning from their legacy web site to a new site and they made the classic rookie mistake of going live with the new site before it was fully checked out and functional. This certainly detracted from the initial impression of Crystal as this was our first cruise with them. Through several attempts over a period of weeks and exchanges of phone calls and emails with Crystal eventually everything was set. Interestingly, Crystal is one of the remaining lines that still sends paper brochures and boarding documents. For a line that prides itself on being “Green” sending duplicates of everything to a couple sharing a cabin is quite wasteful. My one other minor complaint is that none of the theme nights were mentioned in the advance information and thus we had not packed for these. These minor annoyances were all forgotten once embarkation began. Crystal has a unique process where the health forms, clearing security, registering your card and getting your cabin key are split between the terminal and onboard in stages. This spreads out the activity and minimizes congestion. It proved to be efficient and fast (helped by a passenger load less than 700) and we were quickly in our cabin, which was ready as soon as we boarded. Our luggage also arrived promptly. We had a verandah cabin on deck 9. We found it roomy enough and were impressed with the closet space, more hangars than we have seen on almost any of our previous cruises and ample drawer and shelf space so that our clothes and accessories for 35 days onboard could all be stored with room to spare. The refrigerator was larger than the standard minibar size one usually found on ships and the safe was large enough to fit two iPads and the rest of our valuables. The Symphony had only recently emerged from drydock and the cabins now feature large flat screen TVs. Regrettably our cabin still had only one 110v and one 220v outlet, a serious shortcoming in today’s wired world. The bathroom was adequate and the only minor issue was that the lighting could have been a bit better. As always my pet peeve is the light switch is on the outside, making for the usual acrobatics at night to try and turn on the light and quickly close the door without waking your partner. The balcony was large enough for the two of us to enjoy it comfortably with a nice table in between. With so many sea days on this cruise we took full advantage of the balcony. Returning to the TV, the interactive system was superb for accessing information on entertainment, dining, etc. I particularly loved the fact that any enrichment lectures you miss are available on demand or can be viewed live in your stateroom if you don’t make it to the venue. The number of TV stations is dependent on satellite coverage and so varied greatly during our voyage. Internet access is totally free and for most of the trip was surprisingly fast. Once we got into the more remote parts of the South Pacific it did slow down considerably as satellite coverage there is spotty. The pool on the Symphony is large enough to swim short laps. Obviously not Olympic size, but reasonable for a ship of this size. The one downside is that it apparently uses ocean water because it was very salty to the point that I stopped using it as my eyes were getting irritated. There is an oversized hot tub that was very relaxing after a long day of touring and I frequently had it to myself. There are three main shops onboard. All were focused on higher end merchandise (clothing, jewelry, watches) with only a token amount of souvenir cruise wear like polo shirts and tees. There was a small section of sundries. Dining is probably the most subjective and personal topic to comment on. The Symphony has switched to an all open dining format for the main dining room, called Waterside. We never had to wait for a table whether we wanted to dine alone or with a group. We found the food quite good and there were always at least 6 choices of entrees, often more. There are also several speciality restaurants including Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Brazilian steakhouse. Passengers get at least two complimentary meals in the Italian and Japanese restaurants per segment and unlimited dining in the others by reservation. In addition up until 6 pm the Trident grill serves sandwiches and other light food and the Bistro has some snacks and deserts throughout the day and evening. One nice feature is you can order off the Waterside menu for room service during their regular dining hours, plus a more limited room service 24/7. With all these options you should never go without! Our one “complaint” is that we are used to having access at night to a buffet for casual dinner if we did not feel like a sit down meal and this option is no longer available on Symphony. Without question Symphony’s entertainment offerings are world class. The resident singers and dancers are multi talented and professional and their production shows were as good as any we have experienced. The guest performers included opera singers, a famous pianist, an array of well known vocalists and more. There was no decrease in quality in the lounges either, with a magnificent violinist, pianist, a Quartet in one lounge and a dance duo in another. If none of these were to your liking, the ship also has a dedicated movie theater showing first run films. During our cruise we could see the Shape of Water, Darkest Hour, Three Billboards and many more feature films. The enrichment lectures were generally first rate. The mix included marine biologists, military generals, a CNN reporter, a cultural anthropologist, and a Hollywood talent agent/former performer. If you wanted to skip all that and curl up with a good book, the Library had an extensive and varied collection. We generally opt for doing independent shore excursions wherever possible in lieu of the ship’s offering. Due to the extremely limited infrastructure on many of the islands we visited this was not always possible, so we ended up with a mix of independent and ship’s tours. For the most part the ship’s tours did the islands justice with a good mix of culture, nature and history. One tour was a bit subpar but I feel it was more due to the limitations of what the island had to offer than the tour operator. In Tahiti we took a ship’s tour one day and a private tour the second day and I can honestly say the ship’s tour was better than the private one we arranged. As far as our port stops the one area for improvement is the research done by the shore excursion staff. For the main islands the information was adequate and with the Internet there was lots we could study on our own ahead of time. However for some of the smaller islands, particularly two atolls, there were no excursions available either through the ship or privately due to their small population and size. The information on what to do in port from the shore excursion desk was meager to nonexistent. Thankfully the local population had set up information tables at the tender pier to provide the information on nearby beaches and points of interest. It would seem that the shore excursion folks could have contacted the island tourist information center or local government for advanced information. The island of Rangiroa stands out as an opportunity missed. The beach on the Pacific side was quite rocky and had a notable undertow so it was not suitable for anything but wading. The lagoon side had clear waters and looked inviting but the only beach within walking distance was at the island’s one resort. Crystal could have explored making arrangements for day use of their beach for a fee, as many other cruise lines do. Beyond the all inclusive nature of the cruise, the real standout was service. Even if the ship was full the passenger to crew ratio is less than 2:1. On the second leg of our cruise because of the lower passenger count there were actually more crew than passengers! Every single crew member we encountered from the Captain to dining service to housekeeping was happy to go out of their way to help and provide an above and beyond experience. Disembarkation in Chile was quick and as easy as possible given the logistics of the port. The cruise terminal is away from the place where the ship docks so one has to board a shuttle to get to the terminal where one clears customs and security and retrieves one’s luggage. This went smoothly with one glitch. When the people from Pitcairn Island came onboard one of their sales items was pure honey. Because of the island’s remote locations the honey is certified as disease free and we were assured by both the folks from Pitcairn Island and the Symphony folks who oversaw the operation that we would have no trouble getting the honey home if we showed the certificate of purity. Not so. The Chilean Customs folks amassed a large collection of jars of honey. All in all it was a cruise to remember and I would not hesitate to recommend Crystal to anyone. 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
Entertainment,food,accomadation,service fantastic.Could not have better.Cruise at night disembark during the day,great citys visited.One bad experience in the Falklands,on the way to Goose Green our driver stopped the bus,to clean the ... Read More
Entertainment,food,accomadation,service fantastic.Could not have better.Cruise at night disembark during the day,great citys visited.One bad experience in the Falklands,on the way to Goose Green our driver stopped the bus,to clean the windows and never came back,he had a heart attack and died,we were stranded in the middle of the island without communications.The shore excursions were great.Thank goodness not thousands of people not a disgusting floating hotel.The entertainment was fantastic and world class.The talks on the cruise were fantasticThe best cruise we have ever had,and we have cruised on the majority of the large cruise liners,Australia,Carribean,Meditteranian,Mauritious,The far east. The Crystal Serenity was by far the best of all cruises we have been,and certainly recommend the Crystal cruise lines.The Casino was well organised and very professional The prices for the photos were expensive,and we received full DVDs on our whole cruise,which always bring back happy memories and the interesting people we met from all over the world Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Our preference is for ships of a decent size able to offer a variety of venues whilst maintaining a high level of service. We dislike smaller ships, ships within a ship, ships with specific areas reserved for specific cabin types or ... Read More
Our preference is for ships of a decent size able to offer a variety of venues whilst maintaining a high level of service. We dislike smaller ships, ships within a ship, ships with specific areas reserved for specific cabin types or titanium plus members etc, continually signing for goods and services, mandatory tipping, crowded spaces etc. We like what we have found on crystal and are beginning to think we’ve found our Goldilocks cruise line. This was our third crystal cruise (2nd on Symphony) and her first sailing after dry dock. We’ve attempted to summarise our highlights and closed by listing our favourite 5 and least favourite 5, I confess we were scraping the barrel to come up with 5 things we liked less!! An email arrived the evening before sailing to inform us that there would be a 24 hour delay leaving port, but that no ports of call would be missed and we were each to receive $150 on board credit for any inconvenience. We felt this was very fair and crystal also laid on a half day complimentary excursion for the additional day in Lisbon although we chose to do our own thing (a highly recommended visit to Sintra.) We are always late boarding so embarkation is a breeze, we then stop by the cabin and head up to the trident grill for a snack and glass of champagne. Because of the delayed departure the emergency drill was postponed to the following day which was nice as we felt more able to relax and have a look round the refreshed areas of the ship. We knew about the dry dock and expected a few glitches; we heard (from a lady in the lift ;-) that some of the deck 9 cabins were not ready and that a number of guests had been accommodated on land for the first night. We subsequently heard that those guests were well taken care of for the inconvenience. Our cabin on deck 8 was as expected although it had not been properly cleaned (several items in drawers and bits of debris on the floor) our room attendant was lovely and we felt bad for bringing these things to her attention, it appeared that someone else had made up some of her rooms. During our conversations we got the impression that the room maids have more work than before (she wasn’t complaining - we were probing) She did however provide us with excellent service throughout the cruise and the shaky start was soon forgotten. The only change in the regular cabin is the new TV and desk chair which now fits under the desk more readily than the previous chair. I had hoped to be able to order room service and check billing / menus etc. through the interactive TV but that functionality was not available on our cruise; hopefully this will change in future. We did on occasion hear the TV in the neighbouring room and whilst not an issue for us it could be if larks and owls end up as neighbours. Internet was spotty, I didn’t have too much trouble but was aware that others did and there was a mention in reflections regarding internet connectivity one day. Again I’m sure these things are all tied up in the refit and will be ironed out. In over 40 cruises across a variety of cruise lines we felt that the entertainment in terms of variety and quality was the best we have ever experienced on a cruise ship and we’re really glad we made the effort to get to most of the shows. The only thing to take the edge from this was the lack of drink service before the shows, particularly as there is no convenient bar serving the theatre. The quality and consistency of food was excellent throughout the ship, bearing in mind that the staff in the main dining room did not only have to adapt to open seating but also a new ordering system on small hand held devices. One evening, two of everything we had ordered was delivered which caused some amusement. There was a short line for dinner on the first black tie night but the wait was not significant. The team was under some pressure though they coped admirably. This was the only occasion when it was noticeable that tables are quite close, on other nights we rarely had a neighbour when seated where the tables are closely grouped together. We were also asked if we would like to join an open table, we chose not to so can’t say how this worked. Wine is now generally served by your waiter although sommeliers are on hand and delivered other drinks (ordered via the servers hand held device) The trident grill functions like clockwork, we’re always impressed by the way the main man keeps those lines short and the rest of his team in check. Sadly there were no fries or onion rings for the first few days which was good for my waistline but piled pressure on the staff as every second guest questioned “when will you have fries” something which they very obviously didn’t have the answer to. The Churrascaria was a delight with the additional opportunity to eat outdoors, it’s nice to have an informal option for those evenings when you just want something simple washed down with a nice cold beer. You have a little card labelled yes please one side and no thanks on the other for when you want the meat to continue coming or to stop. It’s not the easiest thing for the meat waiter to see and perhaps a coloured light or flag would make their life easier. Silk was another absolute pleasure and has its own evening ambience to differentiate itself. We felt the food to be authentic and thoroughly enjoyable. I have a shellfish intolerance and am a little nervous in restaurants where a fair amount of shrimp is used. The staff were wonderfully accommodating and we ended up eating there several times. Umi Uma and Prego are pretty much unchanged in appearance and food offer. What we liked best 1. The phenomenal staff, many of whom are new to crystal though you would never know it. I hate to pick out favourites when they are all so good but on this trip Sophia (waterside and bistro) and Fabio (waterside) we felt were truly brilliant. 2. The transformation of deck 11, the way in which new venues have been laid out gives each a separate and clear identity and a really nice fresh feel. 3. Entertainment was truly fantastic each and every evening and we also loved the greater use of starlight for shows than we had experienced previously 4. Food throughout the ship was outstanding 5. Our fellow passengers – we have never failed to meet wonderful passengers on Crystal and this journey was exactly the same. What we liked least 1. Lack of drink service pre-show in the theatre (especially as the nearest bar is some walk away) 2. Avenue saloon vibe was not the same this trip; we just didn’t warm to the pianist (nothing wrong with him) guess we have been spoiled previously. The plus side to this being a far less woolly head the following day. 3. Movie selection in the theatre was odd, I think we had wonder woman one day followed by Spiderman the next plus a few other oddities in the mix (again just my opinion) 4. Birthday breakfast was a bit of a damp squib, this was the first time we had been to breakfast in the restaurant and we didn’t find it decadent or particularly special, just a bit strange. 5. Although I’ve said the food was top notch throughout we still comment on the use of reformed frozen onion rings with the beautiful steak at dinner. It should be obvious from the list of things we liked least that we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise, in fact we both agreed this was our best cruise ever with the exception of our very first on P&O Canberra in 1992. (I think your first cruise will always be special) We’re struggling to find a crystal cruise to fit our travel plans for next year even though everyone on our sailing received a letter offering ($1000 per room - $500 pp On board credit) for a booking in 2018/19. The only answer is for us to change our travel plans!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our 3rd Crystal cruise and whilst all have been excellent, this was probably the best. We booked fairly late due to life getting in the way of a previously booked cruise in July so did not have the best choice of cabin, and ended ... Read More
This was our 3rd Crystal cruise and whilst all have been excellent, this was probably the best. We booked fairly late due to life getting in the way of a previously booked cruise in July so did not have the best choice of cabin, and ended up right at the front of the ship. It was absolutely fine most of the time, but we did have one rather rocky night in the Bay of Biscay! Embarkation was remarkable. We were very lucky to be within driving distance of Dover, where our cruise started. From leaving the car, we were in the Crystal Dining Room within 15 minutes – having stopped off to check out our room on the way! We have stayed in this room category on Symphony previously (PS), so it was just as expected and very comfortable. As I have said in previous reviews, I do think a little updating is required and hopefully this will happen in the upcoming dry dock. In particular, the TVs are very small and somewhat dated and some of the furnishings are looking a little tired. However, it is a well-planned and thought out space with plenty of storage, and a good-sized and equipped bathroom. The bed was very comfortable with quality linens and pillows. We forgot to bring a phone charger, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that there was an integral charger in the clock. We sampled many of the facilities on the ship – the gym, spa, cinema (rather weird choices of films sometimes!), Vintage Room, lectures, casino, shops etc. We also enjoyed several specialty restaurant reservations. Service throughout the cruise was outstanding. Where we did have an issue, it was resolved quickly, efficiently and with good grace. The crew, across the board, were unfailingly friendly and helpful – I know they are trained to be so and ‘have’ to be, but it makes for a great ambience nevertheless. We found the food to be excellent, as previously. We did eat several times in the specialties and never tired of either. The CDR was also good, but I felt service was a little below par at times and that they were over-stretched with so many people to take care of especially on the BTO evenings. This resulted in either long waits before ordering and between courses, or conversely one plate being whipped away and the next course being served almost simultaneously. We found the included wines to be very drinkable and of course there was always the option to purchase wines when we felt like splurging. I wish they had a better included champagne though! We are reluctant to buy a bottle of champagne because we would never get anywhere near finishing it, but I cannot drink the included stuff. We had signed up for the Ultimate Vintage Room, but perhaps there wasn’t enough interest because it was not offered. Instead we did the regular Vintage Room dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Great food, wine and company.. a really good evening. We thought all the ports were well worth visiting, but perhaps didn’t make the best choices with a couple of our excursions which were a bit long/boring/expensive. We didn’t get to all the shows but enjoyed those that we saw, with the exception of the new light show which wasn’t to our taste, but I’m sure many would disagree. We also found the lectures interesting, informative and entertaining. All in all, we had a wonderful time and look forward to our next Crystal cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this itinerary so we could see the Hubbard Glacier and not all ships go there. Also, we took a Princess cruise in 2005 and after that experience I couldn't have cared less if we ever cruised again. Then comes our 20th wedding ... Read More
We chose this itinerary so we could see the Hubbard Glacier and not all ships go there. Also, we took a Princess cruise in 2005 and after that experience I couldn't have cared less if we ever cruised again. Then comes our 20th wedding anniversary and I started the research. Crystal seemed to meet all of our criteria - outstanding dining, great wines, less passengers, and their staterooms. We booked a Penthouse with Verandah and it was worth every penny! Our cabin was HUGE, walk in closet, large bathroom with full size tub, good sized shower, double sinks. I loved the dressing area and make up mirror. The Nespresso coffee machine was a great feature and we used it every day. Our butler Neil was beyond delightful. The service provided on the entire ship (except for the Prego restaurant we visited one night- meh) was nothing but top notch. The hidden gem on this ship is the Tastes restaurant on the Lido desk. Dinner there was fantastic, as was Silk Road. I was never disappointed with the MDR. Their food was outstanding. Service exceptional. I read reviews about the ship needing some care and, yes, there are some things that show a little wear but it wasn't anything horrific as indicated in many reviews. I will say that it's an older crowd and the entertainment is geared towards them as well. The music in the Crystal Cover Bar got a little old but I realize they are appealing to a very affluent and well-traveled clientelle. We didn't care about the entertainment to be quite frank. We enjoyed being together, being on our balcony, dining well and just relaxing. NEVER EVER take an Alaska cruise without visiting the Hubbard Glacier. It's UNREAL! I would do this all over again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
First time Crystal Cruisers, spoiled for life. Very rarely do we see this kind of superior service. I can't even count them on one hand. The entire sailing was marked by pleasant surprises. We booked a year in advance, and I had ... Read More
First time Crystal Cruisers, spoiled for life. Very rarely do we see this kind of superior service. I can't even count them on one hand. The entire sailing was marked by pleasant surprises. We booked a year in advance, and I had forgotten that I had mentioned my birthday, and our anniversary. We were surprised 2 nights after dinner with a celebratory cake for our occasions, and well wishes from the staff. And lovely cards in the cabin, and our names on the daily occasions announcements on the TV. The bouquet of flowers that my husband sent to the cabin for my birthday, was exquisite! It's like the crew and staff are trained to never say no. We started to be careful to say, "Don't go to too much trouble, we were just wondering...." If we didn't start our inquiries this way, our wishes were carried out before we knew what had happened. The food was magnificent everywhere we went, and perfectly portioned. We always felt full, but when we got home, we had only gained a couple of pounds each. We were surprised at our traditional dining, as we were seated at the Assistant Chief Engineer's table. Thanks Samir for the company. What a treat to have an expert at our table to answer all of our cruising questions on the inner workings of our ship! We also enjoyed an invitation to the Captain's quarters for a cocktail. We are sushi lovers, and have never had a sushi experience on any cruise ship as fantastic as Silk Road. Again, if you don't see something you'd normally order at a sushi restaurant, on the menu, be sure to ask. Richie took excellent care of us at Silk Road! We very much enjoyed Tastes, and so much appreciate the Head Waiter fitting us in, after a late return from a shore excursion! At this sitting a huge eagle flew right past us, marvelous! We saw both of the comedians, and loved their shows! We enjoyed the rebroadcasts of the enrichment lectures in our cabin. We even enjoyed the brain teasers available in the library. The Bistro was always a great meeting spot to pick up a cappuccino or wine, and a little snack or fruit. Crystal Shore excursions- Skagway- Glacier Point Wilderness Safari-Loved this excursion! Not too aggressive, but a full day. The guides at the camp were delightful, knowledgeable, and charming. Davidson Glacier was spectacular! And when the boats were a little late picking us up at the camp, the guides went with us to pick wild strawberries. Victoria BC- Butchart Gardens and English Tea- we happened to be there on a very sunny day, and stepping into the gardens was like stepping into a movie. Just stunning everywhere we went. I used 2 of the pictures we took, for screen savers on my phone. So beautiful they don't even look real. They look like a graphic designer's summer dream. Be cautioned, the English Tea is amazing, and the tasty treats are plentiful and very filling. Go hungry, and expect to be full for a long time. Glacier Bay National Park- Once in a lifetime, perfect weather, dazzling! Just poetry. And be advised, soup and sandwiches are served in the Palm Court during the sailing through the park. This is also where the naturalist is stationed. There are neat little decks on the exterior of the Palm Court, where you can take breathtaking photos. I almost found this area too late, glad I caught it in time. In Prince Rupert and Sitka, we had no excursions. We wandered through town. Sitka was neat because there's a little hatchery on the main promenade, and salmon were lined up to spawn. These two ports, we lunched outside on the Lido deck looking over the pretty little towns below. And let me take a moment to let you know how amazing the meals on the Lido can be. We found on all of our visits, something that we wouldn't find on any of our other cruise line experiences, like perfectly cooked filet, or huge boiled prawns. This is not your ordinary buffet! Our cabin was perfect, balcony 8022. Loved the double vanity. The appointments were chic and inviting, from the marble top nightstands, to the plush bedding. Mariya kept us fully stocked with ice and plush towels. Really enjoyed the aft balcony on our deck, especially through Glacier Bay National Park. And the complimentary laundry was so very convenient. Lastly, I can't say how fantastic the all inclusive experience is! We've sailed some other cruise lines with drink packages, that we thought were adequate. But all inclusive is magnificent! It's obvious that when the servers don't have to deal with bookkeeping, that their attention is solely focused on taking care of cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My 4th cruise but first on Crystal Cruise. It will be very hard to cruise on any other line. Pros: Exceptional service. Our PURE room was kept in amazing shape as the attendant must have gone in multiple times throughout the day. So ... Read More
My 4th cruise but first on Crystal Cruise. It will be very hard to cruise on any other line. Pros: Exceptional service. Our PURE room was kept in amazing shape as the attendant must have gone in multiple times throughout the day. So pleasant and welcoming she was. Food is plentiful and clearly labeled. Ask for anything and they seem to have it and will bring it to you without question. Selection, taste and freshness of the food is better than Princess, Carnival and Royal Caribbean in my opinion. No up selling unless it is a very high end booze. I know you pay a premium for a Crystal Cruise but it seems worth it not to be nickle and dimed aboard when you are trying to relax. This includes the gratuities throughout the ship. Smaller ships (1000 people approx) You get to know so many people and very little if no wait times for anything. Entertainment is wonderful. I stopped going to most of the shows on the other lines as it was the same so-so talent teams but on Crystal the regular talent was amazing as was the headliners that they brought in at various stops. Cons:Very hard to find something to complain about but if I had to it would be that the service in the main dining room was very inconsistent depending on the crowd size. The first night was only half full so they set the bar high and it went up and down from there. Food in the dining room is wonderful as it is in the specialty restaurants with the Japanese restaurant being the best of the best Only went to one High tea as the "Mozart Tea" really interested me. While the food and tea were great the only thing that was special was the period costumes the staff wore. The pianist and violinist,played everything from New York New York to Fiddler on the Roof however no Mozart. Will be doing another Crystal cruise as soon as I can.. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Friends raved about Crystal and we loved the itinerary from Reykjavik to England. This cruise had no sea days and was packed with interesting ports. It was a perfect way to celebrate a 30 year wedding anniversary. We arrived late ... Read More
Friends raved about Crystal and we loved the itinerary from Reykjavik to England. This cruise had no sea days and was packed with interesting ports. It was a perfect way to celebrate a 30 year wedding anniversary. We arrived late afternoon to meet Symphony in Reykjavik harbor. Our exploration of Iceland in a rental car convinced us that driving requires more time than expected, so we opted to miss the first evening's dinner and drove off to the Fontana spa for a wonderful adventure. Every other evening was spent on the ship and we loved it. Food and entertainment exceeded our very high expectations each night. Symphony is a wonderful ship. It is well arranged and spacious enough that a full load of passengers won't ever feel very crowded. Service is great and the ship is kept "crystal" clean. We were impressed with how well the ship performed in very rough seas. A quick comment about the food is in order. The dining room and two specialty restaurants are wold class. They rival the best restaurants in major cities. The food options elsewhere on the ship were somewhat mixed. There were many choices at the Lido buffet, but the offerings were too often lukewarm or cold. We also had a couple of mediocre breakfasts in the dining room. A second cup of coffee was sometimes easy but sometimes difficult. By contracts, the Bistro Cafe was always terrific. There were usually wonderful espresso drinks, service, and snack selections at that location. Also, Symphony will be greatly improved by tech and decor updates this October. I would definitely cruise on her again after the next dry dock refurbishment. Read Less
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
Sail Date May 2017
We'd been to most of the places this itinerary went, before and several were not even worth getting off the ship, so the ship was the main reason to go on this cruise. We just wanted to relax. Crystal Serenity did not disappoint! We ... Read More
We'd been to most of the places this itinerary went, before and several were not even worth getting off the ship, so the ship was the main reason to go on this cruise. We just wanted to relax. Crystal Serenity did not disappoint! We arrived in Barbados and jumped in a cab for the 20 minute ride to the pier. The Pier in Barbados is a crowded area and after a few moments we figured out where to go. Luggage was collected from us to be delivered to our cabin and we were shuttled to the actual ship. Upon arrival onboard, we checked in ( took like 5 mins--so fast) and were told ( even though it was only 1PM) that the cabins were available. So we went to our suite. WOW, is all I can say. What a way to spend 10 days. The Deluxe Penthouse was awash with light from not only the sliding door to the oversized balcony, but the window in the bedroom area as well. Huge Tub and a separate shower was a nice feature. Walk in closet and the entire thing was immaculately maintained by Themyo, our stewardess, who was AMAZING! Our Butler, Richard, always seemed rushed. At one point I asked how many suites he managed and he said 14 in total. Compared to our cruise on Silversea where the butler did all kinds of things for us without being asked ( noticed we needed shoes shined- Made a bookmark as I was using a boarding pass as a bookmark). We really didn't ask much of him other than one night we had a few friends we'd met aboard over and he brought some extra snacks and some Champagne. Most of our interactions were signing for things Wine/Strawberries sent to us. . We never had a meal in the suite nor sent out any laundry. We were pretty low maintenance. However, he was always in a hurry so I guess others were more demanding of his services. I'd suggest Crystal consider a few more butlers per deck, if this indeed is the norm. We ate all of the breakfast and Lunch meals at the beautifully renovated Lido dining area. It was spectacular. We found the food to be hot, fresh and just fabulous. Breakfast was overwhelming, all the choices. Lunch too! The Bugers in the Trident Grill were amazing and despite the complimentary Ben and Jerry's I only gained a pound on the cruise. Dinner in the main dining room was ok, not great but ok. We found the best meal on the ship to be Prego, their Italian restaurant followed closely by Silk Road. The service in all venues including the main dining room was spectacular but we just found the food in the MDR to be a bit off. Tough steaks ( Improve the quality of beef) and somewhat bland flavors led to a few disappointments. However, we never left hungry, that's for sure! Portion sizes were perfect. We also tried Tastes and that was pretty good too. I'd give that a 7 out of 10. Shows were pretty good and quite varied but found the production shows to be a bit hokey. While very talented folks were in them, I think they could have better material to work with as the voices and dancing were just amazing. Seemed geared to a really old crowd. Speaking of which, I found that this was not nearly as old as I thought it would be. Since this was the last 10 days of the world cruise we thought it would be full of 85 plus year olds, but on the contrary I'd say the average age was 50 something with a smattering of young couples who looked to be on a honeymoon. Everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves and meeting new friends daily. I'll not go into the ports suffice to say the ship was the reason we came and probably is the reason we will come back to Crystal. It was just lovely! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
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