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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose this cruise on Crystal Symphony because it would take us from San Diego to Auckland in time to visit family in New Zealand for the holidays. The first leg was a film and theater theme and took us to Papeete. This segment was at ... Read More
We chose this cruise on Crystal Symphony because it would take us from San Diego to Auckland in time to visit family in New Zealand for the holidays. The first leg was a film and theater theme and took us to Papeete. This segment was at capacity. The second leg was food and wine and was only half full. On the first leg, the dining room was always full and a bit noisy but the service did not lag. There are enough public spaces that, even at capacity the ship does not feel crowded. For the Christmas season, the ship was very nicely decorated with Santa’s, trees, elves and nutcrackers in abundance. We took most of our dinners in the main dining room and found the food in quality and choice to be excellent, as was the service. We also dined once on each segment in Silk Road and Prego. These meals were superb as was the service. We had several lunches at the Trident Grill. A toasted ham and cheese sandwich for one lunch was less than satisfactory. It gave the impression of being production line product that was pulled out, unwrapped and toasted. Other than that, the Grill food was satisfactory.. Breakfasts in the Lido Grill were fine with a large selection from the buffet and we discovered the person who had access to the berries (in a drawer behind the serving line). The Grand Buffet lunch in each segment was a great showing of the prowess of the chef and culinary staff. There was one issue we experienced with wine. When we boarded and went to our first lunch, my wife asked for a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (her favorite) and the wine steward said there was none on board and had not been on board for three years. She settled for a French SB. However, the second night at dinner we learned that there was an Ara Marlborough SB carried for the dining room and had been for sometime. We could not understand why the first wine steward was ill-informed. When we called room service to have a bottle sent to our stateroom, we were informed that Ara was only available in the DR and could not be sent via room service. We found this strange for an all inclusive cruise line, especially as the Ara was not a premium wine. Service at all levels was excellent - dining room staff, bar staff, and stateroom attendant. Before dinner, we found a glass of wine in the Avenue Saloon to be quite nice and this venue was never crowded. Palm court was also a great venue and we were impressed by the Mozart Tea served there. The on-board entertainment was excellent. Dr Sobey’s lectures on the ocean and Dr Sowell on the history and culture of the various islands we were to visit were very informative and enjoyable. The iMovie course by Kerry Merrick and Dina Sterr was fantastic and I now use the skills I learned to capture pleasant memories of this cruise. My wife also learned knitting from the on-board knitting instructors. The Magic Castle at Sea shows (one per each segment) were amazing especially because the venue was the intimate Avenue Saloon and even being so close to the action did not permit us to crack the slight of hand. Cooking demonstrations were not so successful as there is not a convenient venue for these and the Galaxy Lounge stage elevated the chef above the audience. The port guides for each stop were very useful with maps and information. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We boarded the Crystal Symphony in San Diego. It was largely uneventful staff had us wait while the gang plank got reattached to the ship. We were not told how it got separated from the ship. It stayed overnight and since we were in our ... Read More
We boarded the Crystal Symphony in San Diego. It was largely uneventful staff had us wait while the gang plank got reattached to the ship. We were not told how it got separated from the ship. It stayed overnight and since we were in our home town we took full advantage of it. The meals were all very good. The entertainment was sub par for my taste. The crowd was at least 15 years my senior so I can understand the slower pace. It just took a few days to adjust. We enjoyed our table 86 of mates and they each added to our vacation. Crystal's all inclusive really is top shelf and has spoiled me in regards to future cruises. We didn't book a future cruise on board because our next cruise will be a family one with the Grands. Crystal would be too expensive for that outing. In the meantime we have this memory to last for awhile. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
We have travelled Crystal before and decided with the fixed seating that it wasn't for us. After seeing the advertising for Dining By Reservation we thought we would try again. Unfortunately the dining experience was not enjoyable as ... Read More
We have travelled Crystal before and decided with the fixed seating that it wasn't for us. After seeing the advertising for Dining By Reservation we thought we would try again. Unfortunately the dining experience was not enjoyable as dining at 7 or 730 you are in a dining room emptying out around you with clatter of tables being set and moved and waiting staff rushing around in a frenzy preparing for the late seating. The food was excellent but the enjoyment was spoiled by the feeling of being in the way and also at times the service was slow as the waiters had to clear and reset their own table settings. We cannot understand why the By Reservation Diners are not put in a corner of the dining room together not dispersed around the restaurant like fish out of water. The afternoon tea was ok but if you arrived after the initial set up of tables and the waiting staff had to reset a table for you then you were given paper napkins and no cutlery and one time even given a paper towel folded which was more 2 star than 6. Our overall experience was good with lots of friendly efficient staff,excellent food in dining room ,Bistro and lunch buffet but overall tainted by the dining experience. Unless the Dining By Reservation is improved immensely the competition of Seabourn ,Silverseas and Oceania will be getting our future reservations . The cabin attendant was efficient but never introduced herself throughout the whole voyage or enquired if all was ok. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
This was my second Crystal cruise and my first on the older Symphony, though it had just emerged out of dry dock. The cruise caught my attention primarily because of the wealth of sea days -- it was a 15 day transpacific cruise with only ... Read More
This was my second Crystal cruise and my first on the older Symphony, though it had just emerged out of dry dock. The cruise caught my attention primarily because of the wealth of sea days -- it was a 15 day transpacific cruise with only one port stop (a 24 hour stop in Honolulu). I love sea days for the relaxation, calmness, and freedom to do as much or as little as I want. I was traveling solo, and Crystal treats solo passengers very well with very low single supplements and excellent on board service. As I had experienced before with Crystal, the embarkation went off without a hitch. Although there was a slight (5-10 minute) line on the port to get on the ship, once on the ship there were almost no lines and I had a crew member accompany me through the process until my ship card was issued. She was friendly but not obtrusive, making polite conversation about San Diego and New Zealand (where I would be disembarking). Several people boarding seemed to know some of the crew members they were chatting with from previous cruises. I had some lunch and did a good deal of people watching until the designated time when my bags would be in my room, and they were there when promised. I took some time to explore the ship, and was up on the top deck for sail away. The time on board was just as I had expected - terrific. There were 4 different lecturers on board - two I did not enjoy, but I very much enjoyed lectures from the other two. In fact, they were so popular that I enjoyed them relaxing in my room rather than in the lounge because it was so overly filled. I had wonderful table mates at my 8-top, and several of us got along so well that we socialized elsewhere on the ship (playing trivia, etc). At times when some of the people there were dining elsewhere, a couple of dance hosts or lecturers joined our table instead. The food ranged from good to excellent in the Main Dining Room, though there were not enough vegetables and too many courses for my preference. In the specialty restaurants, the food ranged from very good to absolutely fabulous; some of it ranked among the best restaurant food I have ever had, anywhere. I prefer Japanese to Italian food, so I preferred Silk Road to Prego, but I enjoyed them both. I had the pleasure of enjoying a specially-requested dessert that was requested in advance by a table mate - the first time I'd seen that happen - and It was excellent (a Salzburger nockerl). I also saw how nicely they dealt with the dietary restrictions of one of my table mates, who was Kosher. Every night the head waiter brought her the next night's menu to see if she found anything that fit her requirements and desires - if not, she would make a request and they would thaw that frozen meat from the freezer for her. One night it was lamb chops, one night it was duck (she got the whole roast duck, and she offered the remainder that she didn't eat as an extra to the rest of the table), another night it was a steak. I was impressed with their service and flexibility. The music in the various lounges was good, and they had a couple of last-minute Dixieland Jazz concerts (from some members of the showroom orchestra) that were truly amazing. I only danced a little, as the rocking of the ship many nights made me concerned about my balance (and my trick knee), but the 4 dance hosts did an excellent job of making sure all the unaccompanied women wanting to dance each got her turn(s). I danced with 2 of them, and each were pleasant and helpful, and didn't seem bothered by my amateur dancing skills. Crystal has a very calm and low-key atmosphere, which is so appreciated. There are no announcements aside from the once daily captain's update and safety announcements (muster drill). There are no sales pitches or advertisements for anything, though there are places to go should you want to buy photos/clothes/jewelery, etc. Even the on-board photographer was rather unobtrusive. There were enough lounges and seats on the lido deck when I was looking for them, and no shortage of available outdoor seating on the aft decks for additional places to relax in quiet. The service, which Crystal is probably best known for, was very, very good - in fact, better than it had been on my last Crystal cruise. The MDR staff I encountered were universally good, and our head waiter was downright excellent, being chatty when we talked to her and unobtrusive when we clearly were involved in something else (other food or conversation). Waitstaff on the Lido deck quickly learned my name, and my drink and breakfast preferences. All the staff were friendly and actually seemed happy to be there and answer questions or help out -- not like the somewhat forced smiles and obsequious service I've felt on other cruises. My cabin attendant made sure I had ice every day, and the in-cabin fridge stocked the way I wanted it (with Diet Coke and sparkling water). She also took care of storing my bag that didn't fit under the bed, and even retrieved it for me when I realized I'd left something in it when I unpacked. Disembarkation in Auckland went perfectly, and because I wasn't using any cruise-sponsored connections I was able to disembark at my leisure within a 2 hour time frame. Read Less
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