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Sail Date: December 2012
Overall 9/10 The entire ship is clinically clean. Service is attentive pleasant and sharp. Facilities are first class. A happy and rewarding experience we would recommend highly to anyone. Cabins are tiny, and need getting used to. ... Read More
Overall 9/10 The entire ship is clinically clean. Service is attentive pleasant and sharp. Facilities are first class. A happy and rewarding experience we would recommend highly to anyone. Cabins are tiny, and need getting used to. Its not however 6* plus as Crystal and other probably paid reports state. Commonly high end market regular cruisers quote Seabourns product to set the standard for comparison. Seabourn's small ships are superior in food quality, choice, service and presentation. Also cabins are larger. Food in dining rooms is excellent, adequately varied and very good quality. Nobu is excellent in both food quality & presentation, although late dining is a rushed experience always reminiscent of an early closing restaurant in a major city, where waiters want to rush off home. An ill placed experience on a cruise ship. Prego Italian is sadly well below the general standard of the ship. The menu, presentation and taste can be found in most average mid market city restaurants, and certainly could be bettered by thousands of them. The decor is massively superior to the food offering. Menu is boring, poorly constructed. Ingredient quality is low. Specifically :- steak is tough and tasteless, Pasta is passable. Gnocchi a pitiable excuse. The Rissotto is the worst Ive ever tasted, made from the wrong type of rice, undercooked and tasteless. The Osso Buco was veal lacking in both taste and flavor. Tagliatale was good, as was the simple but notably farmed sea bass. 8 diners ate there twice and sent most food back uneaten. The management don't care, for other pax informed us its unchanged for at least a year. The service however is fantastic. Room service is appallingly slow, being badly managed for Crystal uniquely don't have dedicated staff, instead they use the already occupied room stewards who have to drop their prime cleaning task to obtain it from the galley and serve. Ridiculously unworkable. Entertainment is good, pianists, quartet all except the main show which is severely lacking in polish resembling a high school effort. The waiters although very efficient, rather obviously seem to operate on the previous tip culture, so much so that everyone around were discussing how much to pay them towards the end of the cruise, which sadly created a tense finale. The burning question is " Would we choose Crystal again?" The answer is "Most certainly yes and we look forward to cruising with them again soon". Theres so much excellent food and entertainment, lectures, and assorted lessons available all over the ship, its simply a matter of ignoring the Prego & main show embarrassments. Read Less
39 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
After reading so many positive CC reviews on the Crystal experience my wife and I decided to book a world cruise segment Shanghai to Japan nearly a year in advance.Expectations were running extremely high and remained so until a month ... Read More
After reading so many positive CC reviews on the Crystal experience my wife and I decided to book a world cruise segment Shanghai to Japan nearly a year in advance.Expectations were running extremely high and remained so until a month before sailing until we were told that due to Chinese regulations a day had be shaved off of our stay in Shanghai.I contacted Crystal asking if they would pay for my independently arranged flights to be changed at there expense they agreed then revoked on there agreement, hence we now lost a day in this fantastic city, our first time visit, once on board the CEO asks for initial feedback, I fed this back seen by the Hotel Director who advised it was being looked into, it was offered to have the flight changes refunded, as the flights had not been changed suggested equivalent cruise credits and was told 23rd April 2016 this would not happen, in summary offer/refused, offer/refused, not what I expected from a premium luxury cruise brand. Not onto the cruise experience, Embarkation was a breeze well handled and luggage in cabin prior to us arriving. Cabin was tiny really tiny for a luxury ship difficult to access wardrobes as they were extremely close to one side of a bed, toiletries were extremely basic for a luxury cruise brand, it was keep clean apart from one evening we returned to the cabin with a service tray ( not ours ) stating "" DO NOT TOUCH "" on it , called housekeeping and they could/would not give reasons as to why! Ship was beautiful kept really clean ( must have been as a result of the recent low CDC score ) and the public areas were generally good although showing signs of wear especially in the spa where there were stools with holes in etc. Now onto the food, this was not really up to standard maybe we was just unlucky but in 14 days only had one reasonable meal at the beginning of the voyage .The tastes were bland, unseasoned and often was delivered luke warm, we were told that on world cruises they have to not season food as the average age of clients is much higher and they prefer bland basic food, as compensation I was offered chilli flakes and Tabasco sauce, nice touch.The Buffet and deck grill were probably the best food offerings on our cruise, we also tried Prego, Silk Road and Tastes as alternative dinning all just average. The best aspect of the cruise were the staff, most appeared happy in there work and engaged with you and served well, some commented on cut backs since new ownership as when I asked for a Peronni or Moretti Italian beer was told used to offer but has been deleted due to it being a couple of cents more per bottle. Excursions , not very well organised and extremely expensive, for example over $400 USD per person for a 3 hour one stop visit to a tea ceremony, bonsai museum .There seemed to be poor organisation in clearing immigration in ports visited sometimes waiting in line for over an hour.The overland 3 day tour to Bejing was excellent and well organised this was included in the cruise fare. Whilst on the cruise Edie the CEO gave a lecture of the very ambitious expansion plans that she is heading up with the new owners, exciting as they are I couldn't help feeling that Crystal may be heading down the Renasance route. On speaking with many loyal Crystal Cruise clients they were really up set as to how the standards are falling so very quickly, they remain loyal as to the offers they get on future cruises make it difficult to divorce Crystal, the main issue was the cost cutting along with the sub standard food offered, they all blamed the new parent company. Would I book another Crystal Cruise ? No not unless there would be a guarantee of much better food , shore excursion and land base divisions keeping to there word. I have taken over 55 cruises probably 10 on premium lines and I am really sorry to say my Crystal experience did not come any where remotely close to meeting expectations, I feel duty bound to post ( in my opinion ) my experiences as I would not wish other potential first time Crystal cruise clients to experience what I did.This review is not intended to offend but is actual findings as reported on the post cruise questionnaire and directly to Crystal. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
About boarding with very high expectations we were greeted by a truly beautiful ship. Lovely design, sophisticated and well-appointed without being overwhelming. The Palm Court is a particularly pleasant space for lounging and watching the ... Read More
About boarding with very high expectations we were greeted by a truly beautiful ship. Lovely design, sophisticated and well-appointed without being overwhelming. The Palm Court is a particularly pleasant space for lounging and watching the scenery. Cabin comfortable and functional. Beyond that the cruise did not in any way live up to expectations. The food in particular was not to our expectations. The embarkation day lunch is often tricky, but when the only thing that appealed was the polenta lasagna was the only appealing thing we were worried. With a cornucopia of hot sandwiches and burgers on the lunch menu for those tastes went in that direction there was little else for the rest of us who wanted something a little more interesting. The dinners likewise suffered from a lack of imagination and average quality cuts and types of meat and poultry. The section of wine was adequate but again not sensational nor were the wines rotated particularly well. We had an excellent somellier, Lubomir, and our servers Jarryd and Nena were lovely, which made up for the disappointing dining experience. Despite the advertising, no one was interested offering us anything above and beyond what was on the menu. The entertainment was poor and the shows dated and predictable - we did not sit through a single show. The lecturers likewise were disappointing and did not know their material adequately. What I found most noticeable was that the crew were not particularly friendly - no one seemed to enjoy their job nor did they seemed at all responsive to their passengers. The pursers desk staff always made you feel like you were disturbing them, the bar staff pleasant but disinterested, the officers invisible. I know that it is difficult to not compare one line to another, but for us Crystal, despite the cost being comparable in no way matched Silversea.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose the Serenity having travelled on the Espirit and the Harmony and because we wanted to do a Baltic Sea Cruise. We have suite 11060 which is fine and it an added benefit to order dinner from any of the dining establishments. The ... Read More
We chose the Serenity having travelled on the Espirit and the Harmony and because we wanted to do a Baltic Sea Cruise. We have suite 11060 which is fine and it an added benefit to order dinner from any of the dining establishments. The check in was seamless. Our butler and cabin attendants, Jose and Lydia, were the best!!!! You could not find anything lacking in their lovely demeanor and commitment to our well being. The first two days we were in Copenhagen. The weather was less than attractive, rainy and overcast, but the city's personality shown through. The Danes are a wonderful people, very conscious of the environment, very hygge, the perfect city to start the cruise. The second port in Germany was kind of a bust. The town was ‘eh’. It is a nice little seaside town in Northern Germany. We took a long walk into town along a boardwalk filled with German tourists. English was rather sketchy. I recommend getting off the main tourist area and walking into town. They have a lovely church square and a sweet little park that the local use. Day 4 was the day at Sea and Formal Night. The cruise seemed very casual. Less than half the men was saw adhered to Crystal Casual or the Semi Formal attire. We had dinner in the dining room which is where our problems started. My husband was the first to succumb to the norovirus the morning of day 5. I will not subject you to the details, but suffice it to say it was extremely unpleasant. The medical team admonished him for not washing his hands enough, and he was quarantined leaving me to go to a lower floor overnight. His poor health lasted two days missing Helsinki and one day in St. Petersburg. I succumbed the 2nd day in St. Petersburg missing St. Petersburg and Tallin. I did not expect to find the Norovirus in such a high end cruise. I don’t have an official count but the ship has seemed very quiet and the medical center was very busy both days we visited. An airborne food disease is not the ‘fault’ of guests. It is the responsibility of the ship to provide a clean and disenfected environment. The first evening aboard the ship I witness tissue on the ground on the 11 floor, trash left in a stairwell to the work out room and napkins in the elevator. Really! On a Crystal ship! We have sailed on 17 different cruise ships since 1991 and this is the first time we have encountered the Norovirus. As far as other aspects of Crystal, I have yet to find a barista on board at least at the Marketplace that can make a decent cappuccino. How can you call yourself a luxury cruise line when the coffee station cannot make cappuccinos and don’t use the proper size cup to get the ingredients correct. I don’t drink alcohol but I do love my mocha and cappuccinos. Sorry to say, I have not had a decent one since we left the d’Angleterre hotel in Copenhagen. Excursion desk. My question is this, how can I purchase my ticket to the Russian ballet 5 months in advance and be seated with the crew, when someone who bought their ticket for the excursion a couple of hours before the show had tickets in the second row. Also, did I mention we purchased penthouse suite? That just did not make sense to me☹️. Also, you need better excursions. The company that took us to Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg also took us to a place to purchase souvenirs. On another day a private guide we arranged to use to a souvenir shop and the items were 40-50% less. Beware! I thought the service staff was great. Crystal society rep was less than lack luster, I approached while my husband was in the room, he was getting up to join his friend at the Cruise Sale desk. I stopped him to tell him what was going on, he did not ask me sit just let me talk to him in an open lobby, and immediately joined his friend when I was finished talking. I don’t like to say never, but after having travelled on the Espirit, I will not ever take another voyage on Crystal Serenity. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Having sailed on Crystal before, I was looking forward to this Coastal cruise. While I was hesitant because the weather in January is iffy, I decided to book it anyway. This was the first mistake as out of 12 cruises I've sailed on, ... Read More
Having sailed on Crystal before, I was looking forward to this Coastal cruise. While I was hesitant because the weather in January is iffy, I decided to book it anyway. This was the first mistake as out of 12 cruises I've sailed on, the weather was the worst on this voyage. Crystal was not at fault for the lousy weather. Luckily, the service and food on board were excellent as were all the personnel on board. Everyone had a "can do" attitude and could seem to do enough to please. So why the poor review? My wife and I caught the NOROVIRUS! Although I had it worse than my wife. How could two healthy individuals board a SHIP and become violently ill just 3 days in. We specifically chose Crystal due to its service that we have experienced firsthand (what I thought was 5 star all the way) and for the smaller passenger count (only 900 passengers). After feeling better on the last 2 days, I spoke to at least 20 different people who were sick or knew of others who got sick on this 7 day voyage. Couple this with a full Medical waiting room and nurses buzzing about patients who were in quarantine and it was not hard to see that we were on our way to an epidemic onboard. A quick search on the internet and we got to the CDC website (I had plenty of time in my stateroom as I was quarantined for 1 day and chose to stay in for feeling too ill to move about the day prior). We typed in norovirus on cruise ships and there was the history. I was shocked at how many cruises were listed in increasing numbers since 2000. I was also shocked to see that Crystal Cruises joined the ranks a few years ago. Sadly, most cruise lines are on this list, BUT THERE ARE A FEW THAT ARE NOT. It should be noted that so far, this cruise did not make the CDC list as a certain percentage must report being ill before the cruise line has to report it to the CDC. Nevertheless, at least 25 - 30 people (maybe more) had it and that was just who I was able to confirm! When we shared our dismay of this cruise with Crystal (most likely due to lax standards this ship had on cleaning surfaces, public restrooms, not to mention elevators and buffets), Crystal only offered us a $1000 voucher for a future cruise we would have to take in the next year. I don't know that I will ever sail again let alone in the next year! We asked them to not give us an expiration date on this voucher and they declined. We can see how seriously they are taking this growing problem. We did appreciate the fine dining and service but this event left such a sour taste in our mouth (literally) that unless there is a preventative medicine for norovirus, I doubt I will ever step foot on a cruise again, on any cruise line. It is hard to comment on the entertainment and activities or many of the ports as I only went to one show and one event the entire cruise. I didn't leave the ship in Ensenada, San Diego or Catalina. (Not by choice). Beyond my sickness issues, The Crystal Serenity was a disappointment, as was the recent renovation of the ship. The ship has no special rooms on board, they all look and feel the same. Low ceilings and no sense of grandeur. The renovation was like putting lipstick on a pig. They need to retire these vessels and design something entirely new and special. As for me going on a 13th cruise, I will wait until there is preventative medicine for getting any sort of stomach virus on board a cruise ship. Until then, land based vacations. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Before we sailed, we were full of expectation to sail with the Best Ship of the Year. However, we were so disappointed about everything we experienced right from the cruise terminal. When we arrived, no porters to carry out luggage and ... Read More
Before we sailed, we were full of expectation to sail with the Best Ship of the Year. However, we were so disappointed about everything we experienced right from the cruise terminal. When we arrived, no porters to carry out luggage and we asked, the staff said we had to carry our big luggage all the way to the ship for check in. We were astonished but no one at the terminal was able to help. After checked in ( inside the ship already ), we asked about our luggage since the room was not ready until 3pm, the staff did not know how to react and simply asked to check with the Reception. We were upset and she finally got up and asked someone ( the Officer I think ) and she came to us and said our luggage would be taken care of. This was a bad start. Then, we headed to the main dining room for lunch and the food was very ordinary, I asked for an orange juice and the juice was not fresh and I was surprised and asked the waiter for a fresh one and said all juices were from the machine. Later I asked another waitress whom said all juices are fresh and brought me a fresh one. How could this happen ? In 7 days sail, we found the services were mediocre and food on the whole ( except a couple of meals ) was just above average, even their flagship restaurant Nobu restaurant. There were however, a couple of meals which were good, like lobster night ! I also think they are under staff, I was standing in a queue for 20 minutes for a burger while my friend was sitting at the table for 25 minutes before being served ( after waiving to the waiters a couple of time for getting their attention ), there were so many people and so few staff at the deck. However, in Tastes, another restaurant, the service was much better though. Most of transportation ( shuttle bus and tender service to/from ports ) were not well managed and sometimes were left alone with the driver to show us the way to the town ! Entertainment not too good also. Last one good thing to add was the disembarkation which was very smooth, it took us 10 minutes to reach to the outside taxi stand ! In summary, we would not choose Crystal again, simply for worth the money ! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
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
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
The reason for our choice was that we had previously cruised on Symphony and had a very enjoyable time. This time there were several cutbacks that were very obvious such as no longer any fruit in the cabin, bare minimum of drinks there ... Read More
The reason for our choice was that we had previously cruised on Symphony and had a very enjoyable time. This time there were several cutbacks that were very obvious such as no longer any fruit in the cabin, bare minimum of drinks there too and food quality mediocre. Entertainment problems with changes due to missed transport and under the wheather entertainers added to the general level of dissapointment. The provision of a look-ahead planner for activities which we found very useful on previous voyages was not provided. On the plus side serving and cabin staff were very attentive and extremely hard working and pleasant. The lectures were excellent and the three speakers we had on our segment were the highlight of our cruise. The finale to our overall disappointment however was an accounting problem that the ship customer relations staff were not immediately familiar with. On previous trips our contract with our agent had always included air to ship transfer and this was the reason why we have always had the travel arrangements included with the booking. After some protracted discussion with the ships customer service however we were finally advised that this facility had been been changed and that air to ship transfer was no longer provided within the booking. Had we known this we would have arranged more convenient travel arrangements ourselves. This alteration had obviously to us been made without our agent's knowledge as the ship's office only advised us at the last minute of the ongoing dispute. We therefore had no say in the matter and the money was deducted without further discussion. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We had previously sailed on Crystal Serenity on the Baltic cruise and had an amazing experience. We chose to sail with Crystal Serenity for the Alaskan cruise expecting a repeat of this. However, we probably will NOT sail with Crystal ... Read More
We had previously sailed on Crystal Serenity on the Baltic cruise and had an amazing experience. We chose to sail with Crystal Serenity for the Alaskan cruise expecting a repeat of this. However, we probably will NOT sail with Crystal again: 1. the food was lacking in quality - soups were always salty. So were most of the other dishes in Prego/Silk/Crystal Dining Room not only on one occasion but repeated occasions 2. the waiters seem overworked and stretched and not friendly 3. the buffet spread in the Lido deck for breakfast and lunch was limited and seemed repeated 4. internet was very unreliable and the staff that manned the help desk in the computer area was hostile and impatient and rude 5. food at Silk Road was appalling. The sashimi was not fresh. The quality was lacking. Service was not good. We had booked another night (was willing to pay for a repeat experience) but cancelled the booking after the awful dining experience 6. Crystal cruises are pricey. We paid a lot for a 6 stars' experience but this cruise seemed more like 3 or 4 stars. Perhaps we should try another cruise ship the next round. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
First time Crystal cruisers selected this cruise for a 'taste' of the line......embarkation was nearly like waiting for your broken bus in a bus station. We missed our 7pm dinner reservation for anniversary celebration and had no ... Read More
First time Crystal cruisers selected this cruise for a 'taste' of the line......embarkation was nearly like waiting for your broken bus in a bus station. We missed our 7pm dinner reservation for anniversary celebration and had no assistance on dining that evening. We were upgraded to a penthouse a few days before and while the cabin had some great storage and bathroom features, the glass table in front of the sofa and foot of the bed was a late night accident waiting to happen. Our butler, Didi was delightful. Our bed had a great divide in the center and remained so. Imprinted stationery was offered and ordered and delivered with our last name was misspelled....Somehow, Crystal simply couldn't correct the course and we were bitterly disappointed in the cuisine, drinks, service and entertainment offered. Even the 'muster' lacked organization.Our evening in Silk Road was so awful that our dinner party of 6 just finally gave up trying to get service and palatable food. Couldn't figure out the problem as resturant was half full? Surprise! There was about 20 children on board. A younger group of cruisers than expected as the short duration and we heard Crystal is trying for a different market. The pool deck remained closed until the last 2days of the cruise. Not one staff member called us by name or even acknowledged us in passing! We used our credit for the embarkation debacle for disembarkation (or debarking, the term Crystal uses). That seriously was the very best part of our cruise! First class,super smooth, wonderful food, drinks, care and very helpful agents in San Francisco getting us to the airport. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We selected this cruise to try out both the ship and Crystal. If this is representative of what to expect, my advice is to look elsewhere for an exceptional cruise experience. There were some positives and a lot of negatives. Here we ... Read More
We selected this cruise to try out both the ship and Crystal. If this is representative of what to expect, my advice is to look elsewhere for an exceptional cruise experience. There were some positives and a lot of negatives. Here we go: Embarkation: A nightmare from the start. It was delayed until 6:00 pm due to port congestion and the fact that the ship was coming out of a short drydock. Hospitality facilities were to be set up to accommodate passengers prior to boarding, but Crystal said these were only for passengers that were taking their airport transfers. Our TA was told point blank that independent passengers (we arrived the night before as is our custom) could drop bags and were on our own until boarding. Nice to know that we were not really considered passengers until we set foot on-board ship. When we arrived close to noon to drop our bags, we were informed of the hospitality arrangements across the street at the Fairmont. The Crystal rep said boarding might start as early as 4:00-4:30, so plan to come back by then. We were happy about the arrangements and possible speed up of boarding, but it would have been nice to know of the changes to the stated status of independent passengers. We got to the hotel and it seemed that there was a very large contingent of Crystal ground personnel. They had food, drinks, complimentary 3.5 hour city tours arranged, and were placing you in groups to walk over to the ship to board. Then it was hurry up and wait. We saw the Crystal personnel talking quietly among themselves, but almost no information was passed along to the passengers. Finally a Crystal spokesperson showed up (about 4:30 to 5:00) and said they expected boarding to commence about 6:00. They were still waiting for the ship occupying our pier to exit. The Serenity was anchored out in the harbor. Once the groups were called, then it was a parade across the street into Canada Place, through security and on-board to register. If you knew this was going to be a mess, why not set up registration at the Fairmont. We did that very thing some years ago for a Princess cruise and it made things smooth as silk. Little did we know that the miscommunication and confusion to start the cruise would dog it for the duration. By the way, the initial keycards did not work and it took two trips to the front desk to get a set that did function. Not a good start. Cabin: Very nice and well designed. Plenty of storage, a very well laid-out bathroom, and nice balcony. The bed was a little soft for our taste, but that is a nitpick. Dining: MDR - pretty good, but hit and miss. Portions of one T-bone steak was as tough as leather. Prime meat - absolutely not. Filets the last night were excellent. Fish was good to very good. Breads and many desserts seemed to lack much flavor. No matter the venue baking throughout the ship was only so-so. Silk Road and Prego were consistently excellent in food quality and prep. The Lido buffet was good to very good, but the hours were a real pain in the neck. For lunch, the MDR and Lido were open only 1.5 hours (12:00 noon - 1:30 pm). In Astoria, they changed this to 11:30 am - 1:00 pm. If you had a tour or got off the ship, it was almost certain you would miss a real lunch. The alternatives were not an acceptable substitute. At the Trident Grill, the cook lied to my girlfriend's face about having chicken breast for a chicken sandwich, he said he only had ground meat and then proceeded to start cooking chicken breast for a guest almost directly behind her. Had I been there when it happened, there would have been an ugly scene. NOT ACCEPTABLE on any cruise line, and certainly not one who prides itself on being at the top of the industry. Service: Very hit and miss. With one exception, the service in the MDR (and other non-buffet venues) was aloof to almost rude. This attitude was echoed by at least one front of house manager. Totally unacceptable. Service in Silk Road and Prego was 180 degrees opposite. It was relaxed, friendly helpful, professional, and efficient. How is this possible on the same ship? Training and attitude from management have to be the answer. Otherwise, Crystal is hiring the wrong people. Maybe both. Bars: Again, a mixed bag. An excellent drink followed by one (the same drink) that is unrecognizable and undrinkable. Something as simple as a Lina Colada should be a no-brainer, but that is what we found. Service: Housekeeping service was efficient and excellent. Service (other than in the dining venues described above) was never exceptional and often seemed almost perfunctory. Not what we would have expected. Entertainment: The one production show we saw (Across the Pond) was amateurish. The Galaxy Lounge is small and OK, but there are some obstructed sight lines. Dancing is restricted by the small stage, but that might have been a blessing. Production shows are not really suited for this size ship and I think people are really tired of them. The magician from the Magic Castle was fantastic. Staged for very small groups of 20-30 people, it these were up-close sleight-of-hand illusions that amazed the audience. Crystal still managed to mess this performance up by being unable to get the spotlight working. The magician was left to perform in reduced light that lessened the impact of his performance somewhat. Just another example of Crystal lowering their marks at every opportunity. Customer service: There was no acknowledgement of the problems with the embarkation and delivery of a sub-par experience until there were only 2 days left in the cruise. After we sailed from Seattle, we got a notice that they were giving us a $100.00 pp shipboard credit. What were we expected to do with it now with only a stop in Astoria' OR and a sea day left? This should have been offered the day after embarkation, but I think they waited to see how bad the passenger reaction was. Too little to late. A simple gesture (a small box of candy or a bottle of wine or ??) waiting in the cabin (when we finally boarded) with a note apologizing for the rocky start and a commitment to make this the cruise we had ever taken would have gone a long way to starting things off as well as possible. Be pro-active, not reactive. The Captain's reception was not even held until half-way through the cruise. They made special mention that the officers would not shake hands to prevent the possible spread of disease. I am sure there are measures that could have been taken, but the tone was just wrong so we returned this lukewarm gesture by skipping the reception (a first for us). There was almost no presence of officers to be seen during the cruise (also a first). The only officer I saw was the Hotel Manager. Another gaff. Lots more I could add, but I think you have enough of my opinions to know I will never take another Crystal cruise. Disembarkation: Excellent. On-time and efficient. We were definitely ready to get off the Serenity. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Hi everyone: First let me say that I have no "axe to grind" with Crystal. I have cruised with them once previously, and did not have a negative experience, as I did this time. Secondly, when I let our Crystal cruise consultant ... Read More
Hi everyone: First let me say that I have no "axe to grind" with Crystal. I have cruised with them once previously, and did not have a negative experience, as I did this time. Secondly, when I let our Crystal cruise consultant know how disappointed we were about a number of items, she had the staff on the ship meet with me immediately. INTERNET Look, it may sound silly to complain about slow internet on a cruise, but hear me out, please. Yes, unless the weather is absolutely atrocious, you have no business streaming videos while on a luxury cruise on the other side of the world. But, it's not unreasonable to check emails--especially in this day and age. On the Serenity, it often would take minutes--yes minutes--for an email to open, or a simple web page (like CNN) to load. This is in contrast to Royal Caribbean: their internet is as fast as what I have at my home: you can stream videos on it no problem. This issue has to be addressed. FOOD Definitely acceptable, but very disappointing for the price you are paying. I am comparing the food on Crystal to that on Oceania and Seabourn. On this cruise it was a distant third. STAFF Very friendly and attentive. While they couldn't do anything about the slow internet and my disappointment in the lack of dessert variety, they were very attentive in listening to my complaints. ROOM Very nice. No issues. MISC. Maybe it was my fault for not realizing, or maybe it was not advertised--I don't remember--but the ten day cruise I was on was a portion of a "round the world," 90 day cruise. This meant a much older crowd than I would have preferred. These passengers were quite cliquish: if you weren't on the 90 day cruise, you weren't anybody. This isn't Crystal's fault, but I felt they should have advertised the longer cruise. Very poor television selection. Adequate DVD rentals available for your room, however. Entertainment: I prefer magic and comedians, both of which were absent, but other guests no doubt enjoyed the musicals and shows. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My first Crystal Cruise last May was a disaster. 1. We had 8 people at our table and the servers were definitely overworked. The food preparation was great, buy the meal was most often cold. We had one breakfast in the main dining ... Read More
My first Crystal Cruise last May was a disaster. 1. We had 8 people at our table and the servers were definitely overworked. The food preparation was great, buy the meal was most often cold. We had one breakfast in the main dining room and it was room temperature. We went to the buffet after that. 2. Our mattress was horrible. There were two twin mattresses pushed together and both had a big depression in the middle. It was like having a bunting board between us. We complained and they put a foam topper on the beds. This didn't help at all. After a couple of days, I saw them loading new mattresses on the ship. I asked to have ours replaced, but were told that they were for the penthouses. 3. The wifi at $55/two hours was absolutely worthless. I couldn't send anything with an attachment or a photo or even a normal email. Downloading one email could take ten or fifteen minutes. They shouldn't charge for a worthless product. 4. I filled out the questionnaire after the cruise, but never heard a word from Crystal. Tauck would contact you immediately to correct any problems. 5. For the price that we paid, I would expect everything to be first class. We would be hard pressed to ever sail on Crystal again. I know that Crystal has their loyal customers, but they didn't shine for us. Oceania was definitely a better cruise experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
I found the atmosphere on the Serenity to be intolerable by the end of the first few days. I will not go into much detail here but suffice it to say I was ignored by others when I as a solo traveler sat down and waited to play. As soon as ... Read More
I found the atmosphere on the Serenity to be intolerable by the end of the first few days. I will not go into much detail here but suffice it to say I was ignored by others when I as a solo traveler sat down and waited to play. As soon as a couple came along, the couple who had been playing addressed them and aid they would take them on. I was never acknowledged, greeted , etc nor did they consider rotating so we could all at least hit balls until someone from the fitness center came to run the morning session. Most of the time there was no one running the paddle tennis program, and that permitted more assertive guests to play as long as they wanted to and in at least one instance kept me from playing when I wanted to as there was no one for solo players to play with at times. I was harassed by someone at the Magic show, a mother in a wheelchair and her daughter, who took it upon themselves to be the seating police and said "She should move" not addressing me directly, when a couple entered the room and were making their way around the stool type seats in the second ro. The couple did not ask me to move and the women in question were not sailing with them. I would have gladly moved had the couple asked me to but this woman was way out of line to tell me to move. I was there first. Ultimately I left the show before it started. The Avenue Saloon piano player did not interact with guests and that surprised me-negatively as I am used to Mark Farris and the fun people have when he is on board. My room stewardess brought me mushy brown spotted bananas even after I told her what I wanted and had told her those were too ripe. It took a message to the home office to get the bananas to magically appear. (I had been told they were usually like that (?) and she didn't think there were any more since they had gotten them in Miami) One of the Ambassador hosts (his first time on Crystal) constantly held hands with an older guest and spent an inordinate amount of time outside the dance floor with her inappropriate behavior according to my gf on my trivia team. That wasn't so much of an issue to me personally, but his demeanor was not professional. he was so phony that it was laughable. The shore excursions were okay but we did have an incident in Lisbon which resulted in the 5 members of our Jeep receiving a full refund of the cost of the Jeep Safari. I did not like having to go through the Casino to get to the Bistro, shops or to head downstairs to the Crystal Cove. Many guests dressed like they were off to a State dinner on Crystal casual nights (what was left to wear on the formal nights, I wondered?) and more than occasionally people looked at me (and I am sure others) up and down like they were the dress code police,giving disapproving looks as if I was wearing rags! I have made my grievances known to the head office but there is nothing they can do about fellow passengers for the most part. Some of you will say I am making this up but believe me I compared notes to others on board and they experienced similar issues. I have nothing to gain by posting this and frankly am likely to be setting myself up for ridicule but I experienced all that I have written here and it was enough, frequently enough, such that you could not pay me to step foot on the Serenity again!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Embarkation was a horror. The ship was not docked where they told us- it was not at any terminal. We took about 15 or 20 minutes to locate the ship. There was no parking lot nearby. We had to drop off our luggage & park at a distant ... Read More
Embarkation was a horror. The ship was not docked where they told us- it was not at any terminal. We took about 15 or 20 minutes to locate the ship. There was no parking lot nearby. We had to drop off our luggage & park at a distant garage -hard to find. Then , there was no shuttle ( we were told there was ) so we had to take a taxi to the ship!! When we disembarked, the ship was, once again, not where they said we were docking. Another taxi ride to our car. Unacceptable service from Crystal. Our suite was nice, but you cold hear chairs scraping overhead. After 48 hours on the ship, we both developed coughs & sore throats. You could hear coughing all over the ship. Went to the ships doctor after 2 more days - big mistake. He put us on antibiotics after saying we had viral infections. WRONG. Made us much sicker, & antibiotics are NOT for viruses. We missed meals, shows, & 3 ports , due to feeling too sick to do anything. The food, when we were able to eat, was just okay , certainly not luxury cuisine. The few shows we saw were very good, as was the housekeeping staff. Crystal is quite pricey, & definitely not worth the money. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 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: December 2018
First time on Crystal and not impressed. Lots of little things disappointed us and we did not feel it was worth the money or lived up to the hype. Food was average and we have had lots of better meals in our hometown restaurants. ... Read More
First time on Crystal and not impressed. Lots of little things disappointed us and we did not feel it was worth the money or lived up to the hype. Food was average and we have had lots of better meals in our hometown restaurants. Excursions were overpriced and terrible! Staff was nice but struggled serving a full ship. We often had to flag down our wine steward for refills. Long time Crystal cruisers commented that things have gone down hill with the new ownership. They needed a dedicated children’s section in the main dining room so other diners were not impacted by children crying, whining, etc. Lots of little things disappointed us given we are long time cruisers. They ran out of food items like tea bags to make decent ice tea. Hallway carpets are worn out and need repalcing. They say the cabins have 110 and 200 outlets but there was only one 110 outlet and it was by the vanity. If you wanted to plug in something by the bed nightstands you need to bring plug adapters. Save your money and go on other high-end cruise lines. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My wife and I chose this cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We had been to both Spain and Portugal previously and had a great time. The ports of call of the Iberian Sojourn were exactly what we were looking for. We spent ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We had been to both Spain and Portugal previously and had a great time. The ports of call of the Iberian Sojourn were exactly what we were looking for. We spent 3 nights in Barcelona before we left and had a blast. The embarkation was smooth and the staff was excellent throughout. Our room with a veranda was larger than our hotel room in Barcelona. The first morning in Valencia they would not let "independents" off the ship until those who had made Crystal excursion reservations were allowed to leave. So we could have walked to our tour but because they would not let us leave so we had to race for a cab with other "independents." That was the only morning where leaving the ship was a problem. What needs to be added is that the Crystal excursions were priced way over the top-2 to 3 times as much as privately booked tours. I guess if you can afford it and you value seeming security then you might pay for the Crystal excursions but I did not see any extras booking that way since they were the same tours. For the most part people who write reviews have something very negative to say. I want to laud the staff and crew for wonderful service at every level. That being said, it is still hard to justify the amount of money that was spent for the cruise. All of our table mates raved about the food throughout every meal-perhaps leading to impossible expectations. At the main Crystal dining room the food was very good for cruise food, but it wasn't nearly as fresh or flavorful as the food we ate in each port city. At the end of the day, it was cruise ship food. The exception would be the Silk Road restaurant. We had a wonderful meal there but the Prego restaurant was only so-so. The breakfast buffet was good and the sit down cafe Tastes had excellent breakfasts also. For a ship this size the entertainment was good. There were many activities for people that did not want to leave the ship at each port but the are definitely geared to an older clientele. This is not a cruise for young couples or children. The cruisers were mostly affluent, white Americans who liked the America-centric aspect of an international cruise. Why you would travel 7000 miles to have the same experiences that you get in the USA is baffling to me. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
First, since Crystal Serenity goes to dry dock next month (October 2018), some of the comments may not be applicable. My wife and I took a Crystal river cruise last year (Danube) and were so impressed with the level of service and the ... Read More
First, since Crystal Serenity goes to dry dock next month (October 2018), some of the comments may not be applicable. My wife and I took a Crystal river cruise last year (Danube) and were so impressed with the level of service and the shore excursions that we booked the Italian/Greece cruise on Serenity. While we enjoyed the cruise, the level of service did not even compare to that of the river cruise. In talking to long-time Crystal cruisers (some over 10 trips), they say the quality has gone down since Crystal was sold and the bean counters took over. That is our opinion also—with just a few differences, we saw little to distinguish Crystal above other cruise lines. Pre-trip support was not that great. It was like pulling teeth to get transfer information (bot pre and post cruise). The only option I got was IF I booked their hotel, with pricing about 2 to 3 times what you can get online. I was given no transfer options post-cruise, yet found out once onboard they do offer transportation from the port (Civitacecchia) to the airport, but we had already arranged our own since we were not informed of that option beforehand. It does not show up in the list of excursions at the beginning or end of the cruise. This is completely different than the river cruise where you could easily select transportation before and after the cruise. While the Serenity might be an older ship, we found everything in good condition. The carpeting is very worn, particularly in the rooms, but it was not a problem. Everything else was in great shape which shows the continual maintenance. We had no issues at all anywhere on the ship where things were broken or didn’t work properly. Being older, some of the modern features found on other ships (interactive menu on the tv, real time billing information, electronic key fobs, et al) are obviously absent. But again, it did not detract from the cruise in any manner. The cruise was excellent. Upon boarding we found that one of the ports was changed (Zakynthos, Greece changed to Katakolon). Perhaps because it was an older ship, the tv information was never updated with this change, showing the original port and information and never the new port, even while docked. The shore excursion options were much more limited. Many of the ports selected required tendering, including this change. Crystal tends to fill the tenders to the maximum before they depart, so it gets stuffy and crowded. Return wasn’t as much of a problem as it becomes more staggered. Crystal ocean cruises do not offer any free excursions, as does the river cruise. Excursions are expensive, often 2-3 times what you can get online (TripAdvisor) or arrange on your own when in port. Like all ship excursions, they are convenient. We took some of the ship excursions, but arranged a couple on our own. Doing it on your own can result in a much smaller group (4-6 people), plus you can do several things vice the ship’s offering on usually just one major event (because of so many people). Food was excellent. If you want to dine at the specialty restaurants, you really need to book them before the cruise. We booked one before and tried to book one when we boarded, but they were full for the entire cruise. The buffet dining is open for breakfast and lunch, but not dinner. So if an excursion brings you back after your assigned dining period, you don’t have a lot of options (room service works). We had a very enjoyable time in the main dining room, and had great table companions. Service was excellent. The one major disappointment in dining is that Crystal has moved to a more common menu (among all the ships) and thus you will get no cuisine from the areas you are visiting. At several ports, there were some great specialty foods that they were known for (pastries, main dishes, appetizers, or even wine and beer). None of these were ever available on board the ship. Because the ship excursions are so time-condensed, you don’t even have time to sample them on the excursion. So you miss out on great local food. For the long-time Crystal cruisers, they said that Crystal used to offer local specialties but no longer do that, and instead board the entire cruise food at the embarkation point (controlled by headquarters in Los Angeles). So I guess every ship gets the exact same menu option on any given day. I think this is the biggest disappointment in the cruise as we would have liked to have tried more regional foods. We ended up canceling some shore excursions just so we could go into the city and try new foods (like a true Italian pizza margherita). Forget the weather forecast the ship provides. At one port they ship said it would be 69F and rainy. In actuality it was 86F and clear and sunny. The ship’s forecasts were never close. Use your own app to get the real weather. Internet is free, but it is extremely slow (think slower than dial up). There will be times when you can’t even check email because it is so slow. Finally, the entertainment was good, but focuses primarily on the ship’s dance team and singers. I think they only brought in outside entertainment twice. Other cruises we’ve been on they’ve brought in comedians, magicians, aerial acrobats, and many other different forms of entertainment. While the ship’s dance crew is good, it would have been nice to have something else to see. This may be why the lounge was rarely full, so it is easy to find a seat. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable. We were just disappointed somewhat in Crystal as we expected more based upon our river cruise experience. I guess they are two completely different cruises as the river cruise offered pre and post cruise transportation, free excursions, local foods, and more. For a ship of 1200, that may not have been practical from a bean counter perspective. The point is that the Crystal ocean cruise seems to be the same as any other major cruise line (Holland, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, MSC). Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The service in the MDR was very slow - often waiting 25 minutes even to get a drink. Some waiters do not know it is impolite to interrupt a guest when talking. One waiter told me I could not change the "almond potato" because it ... Read More
The service in the MDR was very slow - often waiting 25 minutes even to get a drink. Some waiters do not know it is impolite to interrupt a guest when talking. One waiter told me I could not change the "almond potato" because it was with the dish - eventually I persuaded him, but it still arrived wrong. Personally I'd like a choice of eating in the Lido in an evening. There was much less entertainment than in the past - what happened to variety of activities, and the Liars Club? Most passengers did not get off the ship for the day in Charleston, due to freezing temperatures - still nothing to do on the ship (not to mention the terrible custom check) - only a 20 minute show in the evening - how many hours does it take us to pack our bags? Most of the entertainment was good, but the volume could certainly be 20% lower (in Switzerland, they try to avoid ear damage by giving all free ear plugs!) - am not a fan of The Tourist, and quite a few didn't want to see it a 2nd time. Very attentive up on the pool deck, but I agree.. music was rather loud to relax. Check in and out was great as usual. Crystal also excellent in assisting with the change of flight arrangements. The front desk service is excellent, but I don't understand why a ship credit cannot be forwarded to a future cruise? My cabin girl was good, and the ship generally kept very clean and nice. Children were well behaved. Hope Perry Grant will return to Serenity. Will sail with them again, albeit not what it used to be! Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We have been repeat Crystal passengers. This last Carribean 14 days sailing was not up to par to past Crystal standards. let me share pros and cons: PROS: Our Butler , Costas was the best part of this sailing. An outstanding ... Read More
We have been repeat Crystal passengers. This last Carribean 14 days sailing was not up to par to past Crystal standards. let me share pros and cons: PROS: Our Butler , Costas was the best part of this sailing. An outstanding employee and a delight to see every day. Similarly, the stewardesses who cleaned our suite were most diligent and keeping our rooms in immaculate condition each day and night! Kudos to those spectacular staff members! Reception and Concierge desks were efficient and most welcoming! Production shows as well as individual artists were most entertaining and enjoyable . Similarly, most of the guest speakers were most informative and had good presentations, CONS: The service in the Crystal Dining Room was consistently slow, no matter what time we made our reservations and regardless where we sat. Some of the wait persons were quite lovely and attentive, while other appeared to be 'burned out' and ready to end their contracts and go home. The quality of the food in Dining room far less satisfactory than the alternative restaurants. Both the food and service was far better in alternative dining venues! Photographers not as well trained as they were in past. Phone operators usually most slow to respond Music played at pool whether it be recorded or live, far too loud. At times, not enough poolside attendants, requiring a long time to request a drink order. Towels left on lounges by guests who have clearly left the pool area, tend to be left there and not collected and new lounge covers replaced! Has Crystal cut back on staff? ALL excursions that we took were most poor.. One just showed flamingos, more flamingos and cacti FOR OVER TWO HOURS~! For us, the service in Crystal Dining Room was the most negative experience on this sailing as were the excursions. We are sadly questioning if we shall return to Crystal in view of the above. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
We wanted to relax and enjoy the services on the ship.We wanted to do some wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley and were fortunate to hook up with another couple through a Cruise Critic posting and to arrange a private wine tour with ... Read More
We wanted to relax and enjoy the services on the ship.We wanted to do some wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley and were fortunate to hook up with another couple through a Cruise Critic posting and to arrange a private wine tour with Savoir Faire. As to the food we found the food in the main dinning room to be fine but not outstanding. The service was good but our tow female servers were inexperienced . The female wine steward was very attentive and kept our glasses full. However, we were never shown or asked if we wanted to see a wine list. We found the the first two courses in Prego to be excellent and the main courses to be poor. The service was average on the first night but excellent on the second when we ate with a couple who had cruised several times before on Crystal. The service in the Lido buffet was excellent and the food for breakfast was above average. The dinner at Tastes was unusual and good and the service was very good. Our room was small but adequate space for clothing for a short cruise and our attendant was excellent. Overall we found the service to be outstanding but everything else just average. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We went on our second Crystal Cruise after taking a trip on Crystal Symphony a year ago. Our experience a year ago was so wonderful that we booked for the next year right away. What happened Crystal? The food was mediocre, though the ... Read More
We went on our second Crystal Cruise after taking a trip on Crystal Symphony a year ago. Our experience a year ago was so wonderful that we booked for the next year right away. What happened Crystal? The food was mediocre, though the service was good. The staff it seems were equivalent to any other cruise line where with our last experience the staff were extraordinary. The food was the biggest let down. Breakfast & lunch remained the same but the dinners were awful. Everything served to us was luke warm and of poor quality. Menu choices were very limited which seemed to be similar every night. The daily "Reflections" scheduled advertised a film to be shown, when arriving at the theater, there was no movie and no notice that it wasn't being shown. We needed to go to the concierge desk to ask and got a blank stare saying, it must not be showing. For the price that line charges, it was ridiculous. That was our last cruise on Crystal. Frankly, I think we are done with cruises in general. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Yes this is cruise critic and yes I am a harsh critic. This was a first Crystal Cruise and we hoped to make it a habit. We are regulars on Oceania and Silversea and did not find Crystal any better -- in fact in some cases below the ... Read More
Yes this is cruise critic and yes I am a harsh critic. This was a first Crystal Cruise and we hoped to make it a habit. We are regulars on Oceania and Silversea and did not find Crystal any better -- in fact in some cases below the standards of O and Silversea. The cruise was a rather simple one – pretty much a western Caribbean with stops in Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize and Key West. I will not spend much time talking about the ports. Both my DW and me had bronchitis as it seemed to being going around the ship so our off ship activity was limited. Embarkation: First impressions were not good. We departed from Terminal B (same as Norwegian uses). The line was long. The hold time was unacceptable. This is at 1:30pm. Took almost 45 minutes from the entrance to the Terminal until we had our room card. The ship was built in 2005 and recently refurbished. It did look new – sharp style and not a blemish anywhere. Very well maintained. The Room: Were Crystal really fails is their staterooms in Veranda class. Since most guests travel this way – I will do the comparison here. Size is 246 sq feet which includes the veranda. What makes this feel smaller is the fact that the bathroom is large, including a tub and a double sink. This makes the room extra small. Closet space was good. TV was actually good with more choices including the NFL Playoffs and the NCCA Finals. Bed for me was comfortable. One BIG negative was the stateroom service. Just plain bad. We returned to the cabin generally around 8pm and room was still unmade. Unacceptable -- room attendant was told we generally come back quickly from dinner. The food: The best part of Crystal is its food. Some very unique menus are offered, plus also a classic menu. The classic menu also has a steak entrée nightly (whether Filet, Rib Eye or Sirloin strip). I suppose you can ask for any of the three, nightly -- just ask as they were very accommodating to our table mates, who did a special order on some nights. MDR has main and late seating – you can also op for dining by reservation. Service was prompt and well executed but generally was at least a 90 minute seating. Specialties – Prego is an Italian restaurant and food quality was excellent -- Osso Buco was good. Silk Road had a fusion Japanese menu plus excellent Sushi/Sashimi. In fact the Sashimi was so good ,I could make a meal out that alone – but I had the pepper Lobster which was excellent. Specialties are included. But additional bookings are $30 pp – done in order to make sure everyone has a chance to book a least once. They do not have an evening buffet like many ships. Their light meal is by reservation but we saw many on the last night come without a reservation. Place is called Tastes – but they should rename it Tasteless. The style is a Tapas menu where you can order many small items, Maybe the chef had a bad night – but the fish, chicken and lamb we had were all dry and overdone. The Ahi Tuna was done properly – raw. Trident Grill – is similar to Waves and serves the same fare. Exception is no lobster. Burgers were better than O, but the Fries on O are much better. They also have a ice cream bar next to the Grill. Bistro – a coffee bar. Good coffee plus food (fruits, cookies, cakes, cold cuts) throughout the day (late breakfast through late lunch. The Drink: Beer, house wines, and drinks (top shelf) are included. House wines were OK nothing special, no worse/better than O or Silversea. Drinks were strong and smooth – no water in these and they were large. No mini Martini’s like on Oceania. Service: Outstanding. Even the officers are always visible and friendly Enrichment: Love the term and their lectures were really good. Bob Ray was one which gave talks on Motown and also the Beach Boys with little heard recording takes and items that belong on trivia. Some negatives: The new Crystal web site is bad. Difficult to navigate and to book restaurant and shore excursions. So bad is it the after trip survey crashed. Shipboard Wi-Fi was slow and not free. They give you 60 minutes free. Inclusive certainly does not apply to the wifi with Crystal. As noted above -- the embarkation was really disorganized. Crystal does all of the work on board the ship so there were multiple queues at security, in the port hall where they checked the passenger heath and passport exam, then in the holding pen (Norwegian style), at the gangway, and then on the ship at the registration tables. So was I Crystalized?? Maybe, with the right itinerary yes. But they really need to up their game with some new builds with bigger staterooms which have become common with new builds from Seaborne, Silversea, Oceania and Regent. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We boarded the ship in NYC which was great as we live here. Embarkation was very easy, its on the ship. We were meet at the gangway and escorted to the desk, on the way a steward took our carry-on and delivered it to our stateroom. There ... Read More
We boarded the ship in NYC which was great as we live here. Embarkation was very easy, its on the ship. We were meet at the gangway and escorted to the desk, on the way a steward took our carry-on and delivered it to our stateroom. There was champagne and lunch in the MDR. I was surprised the lido was not open. The ship is 1000 passengers, about the right size for us. It is in excellent shape and very clean all around. Its about 25 years old so the design is dated, that said it is easy to get around and find places. You can see how it has been changed over the years as the decor seems rather hap hazard. The lido has just been done, looks modern and new. This should be carried throughout the ship. I missed the interactive TV in the room however the internet was OK although you just get 1 hour a day, the rest you must pay for. As a all inclusive luxury line I would expect it to be included. The public spaces were very spacious however the ship was just 2/3 full. If full some would be crowded. Cabin was a OV on deck seven, number 7068. Excellent location, quiet with little ship movement. Cabin is very small for a luxury line, that said it was in excellent shape, very clean at all times. Steward was eager to do all that was asked. If you go aboard expecting same cabin as a mass market line you will not be let down. Food was very good. There are plenty of choices and its apparent Crystal uses excellent ingredients and cooks to order. I liked most things, sent a few back. They are eager to please and do all they can to give you a nice meal. Dinning is the deal breaker for me on Crystal. I think the main dinning room has about as much ambience as the local dinner. Its small, noisy and restrictive. There is just first, second and reservation dinning. We had first sitting, it was full so we were stuck in a poor table for 2 for two weeks. Service was very rushed. The specialty restaurants were very nice, easy to make reservations for although I find paying for extra tackier in the luxury market. The service and ambiance they have should be what you experience throughout the ship. The lido, tastes and grill were excellent. A real downside for me is the lido is closed for dinner. If you miss your sitting its room service or nothing. The rooms are really to small to eat in. The Bistro was a nice place to stop for coffee however I found their snacks odd. Entertainment and activities are nice and plentiful. Like anything I found some great and skipped some. I liked the idea there are two shows most nights, easy to get a seat. There is so much going on day and night it would be hard to be board. Service is great all around the ship. Again it was just 2/3 full. This was a Caribbean trip so the ports were beach and shopping. We missed one and they gave 250$ FCC to each person. I felt that was very generous Overall this was a nice trip, I would judge it average, or a 3, comparing it to other luxury lines. I found my fellow guests to be extremely nice, I did not hear complaints, see fights for seats or get run over by a scooter however the pool chair hog's were out in full force. I would go again however Crystal is not my go to cruise line. Read Less
Crystal Serenity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 5.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 4.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.2
Service 4.5 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 5.0 4.1

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