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23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Given that crystal push the " voted worlds best cruise line" tag. We fell for it and were expecting a fantastic time. The highlight of which was billed as NYE in Rio de Janiero for the fireworks. All advertising showed ... Read More
Given that crystal push the " voted worlds best cruise line" tag. We fell for it and were expecting a fantastic time. The highlight of which was billed as NYE in Rio de Janiero for the fireworks. All advertising showed fireworks above the ship. In reality there were 12 ships anchored in Rios bay that night and Crystal was at the very back in the centre. All the other ships were closer to the barges that let off the fireworks. I thought this had something to do with the fact the ship left the previous port 5 hours late. So instead of arriving in Rio at 5.p.m we arrived at 9 p.m. I had a chance to ask the captain about our position a a meet and greet. He assured me that their position was given 3 weeks ago. Which actually makes it worse to know that. Either crystal isn't bringing or paying enough to ge the best positions for its guests. We were at least 2 kilometres away. It was a most underwhelming NYE in a place far away which I probably will never return to. Unforgivable crystal really poor. FOOD: crazy cutting corners and ridiculous that they CLOSE the main buffet an start pulling dishes at 1.20 p.m ! Yes. Several times we were on ships tours that were late getting back or not due back till two p.m. We were sent away for the main dining room and the buffet had closed. So bus loads of passengers had to line up at their terrible grease joint selling hamburgers and fries in the hot atrium with the glass roof and no aircon to get some food. This is just totally unacceptable. I met many people upset with this. Firstly I don't eat crappy hot dogs ever. I don't buy them and I don't feed them to my family. So why should that be MY ONLY CHOICE When I have paid a premium price for what should be top quality food and service? Crystal really should reimburse us some money for this. SERVICE: was good to excellent at most venues. CABINS: tiny, worn out old furniture and decor. Really to of spent 25 days looking at the cheap 1980 s print opposite my bed was a joke. It was the sort of art work one would find in a 3 star chain motel. The cabins are SO small and balconys as well I'd actually say they are claustrophobic, we were never so happy to disembark a ship as were were this one. TOURS: one one tour I cut my foot with broken glass on the boat that crystal used. Apparently Doc the captain said that the crew had been drinking rum and had broken some bottles but they handnt cleaned it up properly. It could of been bad and ruined my whole trip had I needed stitches or had I gotten an infection I may of not been able to of walked ect luckily it was minor. But crystal didn't handle it very well. I had to poach them and I had to ask for the refund. Which I got. A second tour was worse for another passenger. This poor woman actually had her hand BROKEN. She had gone down the ladder at the side of this vessel and the ladder has caused her and and fingers against the side of the boat. This was a very serious medical emergency and it was Not handled by crystal in the way it should of been handled. This woman was left there with an ice pack on her hand and bandages for the reset of the tour. Why our vessel didn't immediately turn around and return us all the the Symphony is crazy. Myself and another passenger asked and were told that a speedboat with medical personal was on its way. They never arrived, I asked one of the non crystal staff why she was not picked up. I was told there was no boa available to get her. If that was the case then our vessel should of cancelled the " blue lagoon snorkelling tour " and just talked her back pronto. It was a most distressing event. You are on your own no protocols seem to be in place for when things go wrong. I do feel crystal should of sent a letter to each person on that tour explaining their course of action or lack of. SHOWS: poor to very bad except when they brought in dancers from Uruguay and Argentina to do tango, which was great. The Xmas show was me of the worst love productions I have ever seen in my life. I actually left as a cultural protest as did another woman we were laughing in the lift at how immature and silly it was. They had a really dull band that were off key and repetitive . They had a fabulous orchestra that they really didn't use to full advantage, as another cost cutting measure. Once each cruise they got the band to go the the main lobby bar and they played jazz, it was so great finally some life. Everyone for excited and was singing. It lasted 45 minutes only then back to nothing. Crystal needs more live music like this The had Marica at the avenue she was good but they need MORE live music There should of been live music for two hours at the main bar every night for two hours while people have pre dinner drinks. I don't count that dull as anything piano player. CAFE: didn't open until 9 a.m so if you wanted a quick bite before an early tour without the crowds forget it. This is another totally idiotic cost cutting unacceptable crystal method. That has made us say never again once is enough. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS PREGO, only went once as it was very average. All the sauces were SO salty everyone we spoke to that ate there agreed. We could not taste the food. Just the salt. They are not offering or using top quality Parmesan cheese. Cost cutting again. We spent 6 weeks in Italy last year, I know good Italian cheese. NOBU: absolutely superb! Loved it. We went 6 times. I'd say. Each time could of been a $250 meal if we were at the actual Nobu and had to pay. This restaurant made the trip. Could not fault it. Consistently brilliant each time. BUFFET: this was terrible for vegetarians of those that are not big meat eaters. They never had a single interesting salad. Not once in 25 days. Is this because Americans are simple eaters? Please a bowl of lettuce, a bowl of shredded carrot, a bowl of cucumbers ect you get my drift. The food was old fashioned and daggy. Not nuts not interesting grain salads and worst of all only ever one type of fish at lunch All meat meat meat. Horrible it was so repetitive the pool area is dead it needs a bar and there were only every two people walking. Around. I had to lift my own chair and arrange my own towels ect. Hard to get a drink and just NO atmosphere. Summary Crystal is a rip off. I really expected more for the money we spent. A huge disappointment. I don't think they care they lost us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This ship was built in the early '90s and set sail in the mid '90s. Although the ship is older than other luxuryn options, the ship does not show her age. I was looking for signs of wear and really could not find any. The ... Read More
This ship was built in the early '90s and set sail in the mid '90s. Although the ship is older than other luxuryn options, the ship does not show her age. I was looking for signs of wear and really could not find any. The reason is that she is meticuluosly cared for on an ongoing basis. If you get up early enough or stay up late enough, you can see how hard the staff works to address any wear in the ship, and before the guests would notice a problem. The crew and staff of the Crystal Symphony are the ship's greatest asset. They are more than just responsive when a passenger asks for something -- they anticipate the needs of the passengers and do so in a friendly way. Many go out of their way to learn the names of the passengers and then assume responsiblity for that traveler from then on. The food is the best of the best - intersting and tasty selections each day, and beuatifully presented. No expense spared. The Nobu specialty restaurant is in a class of its own. We went twice and I am not even a huge shushi fan! The basic category room is small but workable (246 SF with balcony). The added space of a penthouse would have been appreciated, but perhaps not worth the added cost. Let's face it: if small rooms are problematic then maybe cruising is not for you in the first place. Regardless, there is plenty of space devoted to the common areas so other than in the stateroom no one should feel claustrophobic. The target market for this cruise line is decidably the older crowd -- age 70+. At times there were enough seniors piloting their motorized scooters to warrant a traffic cop or perhaps valet parking. Make no mistake that the age of the crowd sets a tone, and that is one that is placid. If you are looking for high energy activities on board, you will be disappointed. Needle point classes and nodding off by the pool are more the order of the day. The entertainment was just plain bad. There was a featured flutist who played with the ship band one night and a low quality Elton John impersonator (although his back up singers were quite good) who played another night. Sereiously, when I think of cool entertainment, the flute just does not come to mind. There is also the ship's band who played by the pool/sunning area for about an hour daily. This was Muzak elevator music with an Asian influence. The rendition of a KC & the Sunshine Band song is still in my head, and that is not a good thing. That music certainly did not risk waking any napping seniors. There were also a couple of speakers who gave canned presentations on dull subjects, but like the other entertainment options were worth missing. The ship did stream some football games via satelite, but it seems they could have done more of this. Ditto better and more frequent movie selections. Not a huge issue, but shopping aboard the Symphony is odd. This is a Neiman Marcus level cruising experience with last year's Macy's basement shopping. Shopping can be a real money maker and the Symphony is missing a real opportunity here. Read Less
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