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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The cruise was recommended by some of our friends who had taken it in the past. We have sailed with Crystal 3 times before, but this time was truly a disappointment. The Symphony is old, tired and worn. The air conditioning could not ... Read More
The cruise was recommended by some of our friends who had taken it in the past. We have sailed with Crystal 3 times before, but this time was truly a disappointment. The Symphony is old, tired and worn. The air conditioning could not keep up with the tremendous heat outside and consequently the common areas were warm, the dining room was warm and my cabin had an electric fan to try and cool the air. It was very uncomfortable. Everyone was complaining, not just a few guests. The enrichment classes that Crystal is known for were almost non existent. The exercise room is far from capable of serving a boat that size in a health conscious world. The lack of updated outlets and electronic capability is a problem and requires you to have extension cords running through the room (plus the electric fan supplied by Crystal) and this must be against all fire codes especially on a boat. The Piano Bar entertainment was boring. The night entertainment was fair and there was actually nothing to do after dinner for folks who did not want to go to bed at 10 pm. On Deck 8 the laundry room is too small and was so hot that besides the washers overflowing because they did not work properly, it took many trips there to be able to wash your clothes. This was the first time I stayed on Deck 8 ( I was usually stay on Deck 9) so I am not sure if this is always a problem for those guests. Besides the outstanding service and very good food, there was nothing about the cruise itself that would bring us back to Crystal to sail again, unless they make some real changes to the ship. We went with two other couples and this was their first Crystal trip and they would also not travel with Crystal again. What a shame. I think the Crystal base and its fabulous reputation is about to change maybe as a result of the new owners. 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
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
I have cruised Crystal for the last few years and had many friend joining me every year from all over the world , this was our meeting place once or twice a year I have a very stressful job going on vacation to relax is a must for me ... Read More
I have cruised Crystal for the last few years and had many friend joining me every year from all over the world , this was our meeting place once or twice a year I have a very stressful job going on vacation to relax is a must for me for the last 2 year I can see the deterration of the quality of service , food , entertainment and over all maintenance of the 2 ships( the worst front desk customer service ever ) the cruise line deleted many expensive meals lowered number of staff , bad house keeping , Some guest found dirty laundry in their cabin when they checked in ... really 6 starts cruise ship. Really .... The Staff is miserable ,over worked and under paid , they also noticed the change from a luxury cruise line to average since the sale of this cruise line 2 years ago. I get a call early morning from the Captain looking for a missing male guest asking me if I know the where about of this guy I found out that he called all the female guest that day asking the same questions this is not how I wish to wake up on my vacation .... the guy was drunk and did not return to his cabin I tried to reach out to cruise line headquarters in Los angles as will as Eddie ( CEO)via emails and phone calls "All I got was sorry, we try to do our best , we are 6 stars cruise line" ....really I would save my money and find a better cruise line , I will never cruise with this cruise line as are many others to cruise with where I would have a great time in a clean environment ,great food ,pleasant atmosphere and stress free bon voyage Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
This was my sixth Crystal cruise and my fifth on Crystal Symphony. It really is a beautiful ship and the money they have spent on her over the last few years really shows. Palm Court is the most beautiful room on the ship but all the ... Read More
This was my sixth Crystal cruise and my fifth on Crystal Symphony. It really is a beautiful ship and the money they have spent on her over the last few years really shows. Palm Court is the most beautiful room on the ship but all the public areas are large, elegant and impeccably maintained. There are so many spaces, large and small, on the ship that you will always find the perfect spot for what you are in the mood for. If anything I think the service just keeps getting better, the staff get to know you on the first day and I am well remembered by those who worked on previous cruises. I like never having to queue for anything, all the small details are sorted out. I do find the reception staff quite frosty and not very helpful however. I usually book a room with a balcony but on Crystal you pay a big premium for the privilege. On this cruise I took a room on Deck 5 with just a picture window and no balcony and didn't really miss it. Every stateroom other than on the penthouse floor is absolutely identical in terms of size and appointments so think twice about paying the extra. The rooms are relatively small compared to many other luxury ships today but I don't find that an issue, depends how much time you like to spend in your room I guess. Sea days on Crystal are full of activities and there is plenty to choose from, their nightly entertainment is first rate and, even though I have seen most of the shows before, I still go along each night as the standard is so high. Having a catholic priest on board and being able to go to mass daily is also a big plus for me. The food in the specialty restaurants is fantastic, in the main dining room it isn't quite as good, the ship wasn't full by any means on this cruise but the main dining still seemed like being in a railway station, with harried staff rushing past all the time. It pays to know that you can select beverages and food items not on the menu - it's just a matter of asking but Crystal certainly doesn't let on that there are alternatives. The standard sauvignon blanc they had most nights was terrible but all I had to do was ask and they happily supplied something else. One night our table had a fabulous dessert which one of the table had ordered for us the night before and I heard of another table who ordered rack of lamb for their whole table even though it wasn't on the menu - you need to do this the prior day of course. I have been spoiled by Crystal and have no interest in evenly trying any other cruse line, I am already booked for my next cruise with them. Some may say I'm missing out on trying other experiences but I'm happy with what Crystal provide so why risk getting a lesser experience on another line? Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
We were first time Crystal Cruisers and had always heard how wonderful they were. Well, in some ways that was true, in others, it was not. First, what we loved: outstanding staff, smooth boarding and leaving, the best evening ... Read More
We were first time Crystal Cruisers and had always heard how wonderful they were. Well, in some ways that was true, in others, it was not. First, what we loved: outstanding staff, smooth boarding and leaving, the best evening entertainment we have ever experienced on a cruise, good food, excellent "included" wine, like the always open Bistro, large comfortable rooms and bath, better than average casino rules, superb Apple instructor, top notch lecturers (but not enough of them). However, we experienced some areas where we thought they could improve: lack of information about where we were, poor use (not many talks) by the excellent "experts" onboard, only one buffet lunch of Asian foods, absolutely no information on shopping beforehand and little to no time for any shopping in tours booked through them, lack of information about when things would be open which we would expect when you have a guide. We were not informed until one evening after being back onboard that the town we most came to see would be closed for a holiday the next day--too late to go more that day. We were informed when we boarded one bus that the main point of one tour was closed because it was Friday--their regular closing day. Little bridge (2 lessons and 3 games in 12 days). Pool not filled until the pm on the first sea day. Would we go on another Crystal Cruise? Absolutely. But if both had the same route, we would choose Oceania over Crystal. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
I was not impressed with the ship. I have been on only three cruises prior to this one and these have been Caribbean cruises. The ship was old and tired. The food was close to being horrible (the entrees were always some type of exotic ... Read More
I was not impressed with the ship. I have been on only three cruises prior to this one and these have been Caribbean cruises. The ship was old and tired. The food was close to being horrible (the entrees were always some type of exotic dish that were unpalatable to a meat and potatoes diner). The wine on the all inclusive list was some of the worst I have ever tried. The one bright spot was the ship's sea food specialty restaurant. It was excellent. The other bright spot was the ship's crew, entertainers and educators. The stage productions were first class. The computer courses were very educational and I found just about everyone who worked on the ship to be genuinely friendly and always willing to provide assistance. The ports of call were very interesting with the exception of Jakarta. And thankfully we did not have to go to Belawan. Instead we got extra time in Phuket which is a true gem. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise (how can one not enjoy a cruise). This cruise is not for young people unless they are only interested in the ports. I'm no spring chicken but I felt like a youngster among my fellow passengers. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
My wife and I, both very senior citizens, have completed over 20 cruises with Crystal and we continue to rate the line as the best we have encountered (Seabourn, Regent, Silver Seas and Cunard). While some of these luxury lines have larger ... Read More
My wife and I, both very senior citizens, have completed over 20 cruises with Crystal and we continue to rate the line as the best we have encountered (Seabourn, Regent, Silver Seas and Cunard). While some of these luxury lines have larger cabins and much larger baths, they do not measure up in the overall cruise experience for us. We particularly prefer the fixed sittings for meals rather than the open sittings on the other luxury lines. With an assigned table at a fixed time, we have the advantage of not having to wait until a table is free nor do we have to share the dining experience with others. We recognized that many who cruise like to meet others at meal time, but we do not. Furthermore, as we have the same wait persons at every evening meal they are very aware of our particular likes and dislikes and make sure that such things as salt sticks are on the table and that berries with heavy cream (my favorite desert) appear every night. The review written by two gentlemen who were ship-mates and trivia partners with us reflects their experience but not ours. We are ballroom dancers and believe that only Cunard and Crystal, provide truly rewarding opportunities for us to enjoy this past-time. The availability if four gentlemen host for single ladies is a bonus. We would agree that daytime activities while in port are very limited and need improvement and that the on-board shops are very poor. On the other hand, we have no problem with ordering our drinks before evening shows start so that waiters do not disturb others enjoying the very good entertainment provided. As a summary, in our opinion, Crystal is by far the best luxury line for those who want a traditional luxury cruise experience but it is not for all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Crystal is not for everyone but the best for those who are seeking the ultimate in the grand tradition of the mighty transatlantic ships of yesterday. The staterooms in the lower price range are smaller than Regent, Silver Sea and Seaboun ... Read More
Crystal is not for everyone but the best for those who are seeking the ultimate in the grand tradition of the mighty transatlantic ships of yesterday. The staterooms in the lower price range are smaller than Regent, Silver Sea and Seaboun but they are more than adequate for those who use them mainly for sleeping. ;. On the other hand, the common rooms,and dining rooms are gracious and very large. The swimming pool is huge and great for lap swimmers. When it to comes to ballroom dancing, only Cunard is in the same league. The two large areas used for dancing to their 6 piece dance band can easily hold those passengers who are devotees. Entertainment and lectures are excellent as is the choice of films in the cinema or on flat-screen TV's in the cabin. Service - no line our experience can measure up to Crystal. It seems that the attentive staff can anticipate your needs before you yourself were aware of them. Little things like remembering that you like salt sticks rather than buns with your meals make the difference between adequate service and great service. There are two area that I believe need attention; the lack of activities when in port and the on-board shops which are very expensive and poorly stocked. . . Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We were first time cruiser on Crystal having sailed many times on Seabourn, Silverseas and Cunard. In our view Crystal is no way competitive. Embarkation was rather slow. Food quality was average, very often food was not served hot. ... Read More
We were first time cruiser on Crystal having sailed many times on Seabourn, Silverseas and Cunard. In our view Crystal is no way competitive. Embarkation was rather slow. Food quality was average, very often food was not served hot. Service in the main restaurant was sometimes poor. Dining by reservation program is not recommended. You eat during cleanup and setup for second dinner time. We think a ship in that category should not have two seating services. The lido cafe was often crowded and sometimes the food at the buffet ran out and was not replaced and we also missed that no dinners were served outside. Shows are good and well presented. Cabin stewardess was excellent and friendly every day. Standard suites are extremely small in comparison to the other cruise lines we have been. There are no walk-in closets nor does the bathrooms have an independent shower or a full bathtub. Everything looked a little worn out, especially the carpets. Front desk and cruise consultant were unfriendly. Debarkation was very quick and we were in the car to our Singapore hotel within minutes. Overall we would definitely not cruise again with Crystal. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
We were first time cruisers on Crystal Symphony, having cruised many times on its principal competitors - Seabourn, Silverseas, Regent and the Queens Grill categories of Cunard. In our view, in a number of respects, Crystal compares ... Read More
We were first time cruisers on Crystal Symphony, having cruised many times on its principal competitors - Seabourn, Silverseas, Regent and the Queens Grill categories of Cunard. In our view, in a number of respects, Crystal compares unfavorably to all of these. Food quality in the main restaurant and Lido Café was average at best and occasionally fair to poor (particularly seafood and fish, which on several occasions were served nearing the end of their shelf-life). In both venues hot food was often served (or in the case of the Lido Café made available on the buffet stands) at room temperature. Service in both venues was rarely better than average. Courses in the main restaurant were often served too quickly. Often times, one course followed the removal of the previous course within less than a minute. When on two occasions we asked that something that tasted bad be swapped for another choice - things as simple as replacing a wilted salad with a soup - we were told we could do it, but only if the replacement was served with the main course, as the main course "was ready". Table settings were often oddly incomplete - missing wine glasses, cutlery, etc. The dining by reservation program does not work. If you select a middle range dinner time - for instance 745pm or 800pm, you eat during the clean-up of the first seating and set-up of the second - it's very unpleasant to eat amid the transitional chaos of the removal of dirty dishes, cutlery and table linens throughout the entire restaurant and the rushed delivery from the kitchen area of their replacements for the next seating. You get the very real sense that you are there at the wrong time - that while yes, they offer dining by reservation, the restaurant remains geared up only for what is essentially a two seating service. Also, nearly 50% of the nighttime entertainment/shows were scheduled on a one time presentation basis only, always at 745pm (designed to begin at the completion of the first seating and to end just before the start of the second seating). If you selected a middle range time when dining by reservation (which you are required to do before sailing and in advance of show scheduling), you missed the nightly entertainment. Had we known this before we sailed, we would have chosen different times. The Lido Café was overcrowded for lunch - with opening hours too compressed and a very short time period to serve the rush of guests arriving at the conclusion of morning shore excursions. On a number of occasions featured food items ran out and were not replaced. Closing times were fairly strictly enforced, with food removed shortly thereafter. Rarely, if ever, were we offered assistance with maneuvering our plates through the crowded eating area to our table. When simple requests for things as mundane as mustard were made, we were told that they would have to order it from the main dining room and that "it would take a long time". There is an oddly ungenerous quality to the "all-inclusive" program on Crystal. Small things (presumably to save money or create additional revenue) build to create the sense of pettiness. Delivery of the daily news summaries have been eliminated from the rooms - guests are invited to read them in the library - under the guise of protecting the environment - but in the same paragraph of the first day's daily itinerary guests are invited to subscribe to a $6.50 a day to a newspaper delivery service. Drink service in the show lounge is limited - you must arrive and order your drink before the show begins or you are not served (this with the explanation that they didn't want disturb the show - with signs posted at the entry to the venue). Plan on arriving early if you want to be served a drink. The specialty restaurants are $30 per person after the initial visit to each. While advertised as a way to ensure that all guests have the opportunity to eat at both venues, the fee was enforced even during the latter stages of the cruise when each of the two restaurants had many empty tables. That said, Prego and Silk Road were both excellent. We ultimately chose to pay the add-on fees to eat at each of these restaurants more than once, mostly to limit our exposure to the main restaurant. There were only two nights when the Lido Café was open for dinner (with Crystal's daily program emphasizing that both seating and selections were limited). The Trident Grill closes at 6pm. There was never outdoor evening dining there, which would have been nice given the warm weather venues. We tried that Vintage Room one night. The wines, while better than those served in the main restaurant, weren't worth the steep $420 fee for two charged for the Vintage Room dinner. Shipboard activities during port call days (which on our cruise were 10 of the 13 days) were virtually non-existent (much more so than on Crystal's competitors). The much touted Crystal enrichment program was surprisingly limited. The port/current affairs lectures were good, but not unique to Crystal. This was a wine and food specialty cruise - there were two food demos (one scheduled when many passengers were on land excursions in Cambodia). It was truly a demo, no participation and no tastings. A mixologist was on board and we found his lectures excellent and fun. There were several wine tasting presentations (decent, but serving to some extent as a promo for ordering the wines available for purchase on board). A very ordinary galley tour was touted by the cruise director as being a part of the wine and food program. We were in a penthouse suite with verandah, but had an opportunity to look at the basic "suites". They were quite small in comparison to those offered on Seabourn. The penthouse verandah suite was a decent size (but at a very high price). Fixtures and furnishings in the room were ok, but looking a little tired and worn. Be mindful of Crystal's policy regarding shipment of private luggage on departure, which we only learned about onboard and too late to effectively make alternative arrangements. We had booked and paid for a disembarkation luggage shipment (with a well-known and reputable luggage shipping company that we had done business with many times on the competitor lines). In this case, we had a very tight connecting flight necessitating the baggage shipment. We learned only several days before disembarkation that Crystal would not allow any company other than it's "exclusive" shipping service - Luggage Concierge - to retrieve bags left onboard with the front desk or at port with its local agent for same day pick-up. No manner of attempts to get the front desk or onboard concierge (or the home office of Crystal) to accommodate us were successful. Crystal's policy was that we would have to do a luggage handoff ourselves (which was not possible with a 7am departure time) if we wanted to use a competitor shipping service. We were offered a free phone call to our shipping company to make alternative arrangement (which in our case meant to call to cancel the luggage shipment). If you plan to ship your bags home, pay the extra fee charged by Luggage Concierge, unless you are there to hand your bags over yourself to another shipping company. Cabin steward and butler service were excellent. Front desk and concierge service was institutional and cold. Embarkation greetings were perfunctory and unfriendly. The daily program had an odd tendency to repeat silly disclaimers of liability for a whole host of things, everything ranging from failing to complete port entry forms correctly to being untruthful when completing customs forms when returning to one's home country. Reading the daily itinerary should be a source of excitement for the guests - not the delivery mechanism for legalistic disclaimers already addressed in the booking contract. When returning to the ship each day, disengaged card swipers and security screeners rarely said hello or smiled. We had one sail away function on deck a number of days after embarkation. It consisted of the band playing a set of songs. Nothing else. Perhaps the ship is too large to offer the personalized level of service and warmth offered by its price point competitors. Whatever the explanation, there is substantial room for improvement.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
We are well seasoned cruisers and have sailed on several different cruise lines. We were introduced to Crystal the year after they began service. We have been on Crystal 19 times, on all three ships (although the Harmony does not sail ... Read More
We are well seasoned cruisers and have sailed on several different cruise lines. We were introduced to Crystal the year after they began service. We have been on Crystal 19 times, on all three ships (although the Harmony does not sail for the general populous anymore). The ships are beautiful, the wait staff incredible and the entertainment top notch. The food is not my favorite because I am not a foodie, and I like rather plain stuff. My husband, on the other hand, loves it. One person mentioned that the food was not very good. That is not the norm. Also, they were usually make anything you want at any time. There are a few things they ask you to order the day before. To those who have only been on once, try again. They are wonderful to return cruisers. They also have the most loyal staff you can ever imagine. The "bus boy" on our first cruise had worked his way up to Matre'D on our last. They have to treat their employees well to inspire that kind of loyalty. This means the staff treats the guests really well. Do not be scared of the age range. One person commented the average age was 70+. I cannot imagine. We travel with any one of a dozen couples and have for years, and none of us are close to 70 (ok, maybe 1 or 2 are) and we never have trouble finding people in our age group, or even younger. Oh, and we work for our money, not the other way around, as do most of our cruise buddies. It is true that the average net worth of Crystal Cruisers is higher, but to me that is a benefit. I am too old to appreciate the 20 somethings on Carnival.... Read Less
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