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18 Crystal South America Cruise Reviews

Dining in main dining room was average. However, the dining in the specialty restaurants was very good. Liked the choice of 5 dining options. High cost for tours. Best decision is to organize a private tour on Cruise Critic and use Tours ... Read More
Dining in main dining room was average. However, the dining in the specialty restaurants was very good. Liked the choice of 5 dining options. High cost for tours. Best decision is to organize a private tour on Cruise Critic and use Tours by Locals. Overall service was very good. The butler was excellent and the cabin service was very good. Prices in the shops was way out of line. No general sundry shop to purchase small items. Did not like the idea that they would not let you on the ship until noon. Other cruise lines will allow you to board early and wait in a common area until cabins are ready. Disembarkation was not satisfactory. Since we had a late flight we purchased a transfer package that included wait time in a hotel. The hotel day room supplied a minimum of snaks and drinks along with broken chairs. Probably not Crystals fault. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I chose this cruise as a surprise Christmas present for my wife. We had been away from cruising for a couple years, and I remembered our Antarctic cruise with Crystal - just how great it was. Never been to Brazil, and now to see the ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a surprise Christmas present for my wife. We had been away from cruising for a couple years, and I remembered our Antarctic cruise with Crystal - just how great it was. Never been to Brazil, and now to see the refurbished Symphony - this was almost a "no brainer." I'm still a fan of traditional dining (not "any time"), and Crystal did that very well in the past. I'm afraid that is a thing of the past, unfortunately. I miss the friendships developed over the dining table, but replaced that with friendships made on Cruise Critic's Roll Call. Ports are nothing to get too excited about. Snorkeling at Buzios was wonderful (although the sea is a bit rough getting to the snorkeling site). Had a great time horseback riding in the Argentine pampas. Days at sea are always wonderful on Crystal - so busy with educational lectures, shows, dancing, spa appointments, and (of course) eating - the ports are not necessarily all that important. The staff is top-notch, and everyone seems to be enjoying himself while serving the guests. Can't wait to go on another Crustal Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our eighth cruise on Crystal and overall we really enjoyed this cruise and the Symphony. Their crew are just wonderful and the food was great, including the new venues added. Giving it an average for these reason: 1. Was ... Read More
This was our eighth cruise on Crystal and overall we really enjoyed this cruise and the Symphony. Their crew are just wonderful and the food was great, including the new venues added. Giving it an average for these reason: 1. Was treated rudely by the Crystal Society hostess when I inquired how many cruises we have accumulated (it is based on length of each cruise). 2. Our ship had less than 600 passengers and we were never offered an upgrade, even after sailing eight times with them. 3. Included wines are still not presented correctly. The one included white and red is listed on the dinner menu but the server does not inform you that there are 10 other white and red included wines to choose from the BACK of the wine list - too much work to offer alternatives I guess! 4. White wines are not chilled enough at the lounges and bars. 5. Verandah cabin had deferred maintenance, only had hot water, maintenance had to repair our shower after two attempts. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I choose Crystal over the years for the magnificent service and standards. I know the company for the last 10 years, I have sailed onboard Serenity and Symphony few times. I feel the crew members are lacking motivation and training, ... Read More
I choose Crystal over the years for the magnificent service and standards. I know the company for the last 10 years, I have sailed onboard Serenity and Symphony few times. I feel the crew members are lacking motivation and training, their can do spirit from the past is gone, food is fantastic but isn't enough for a premium line, I'm frankly disappointed with the onboard experience and lack of identity crystal have these days.. The upside is that itineraries are very good, casino is very good also but overall I did not leave the ship satisfied this time. I contacted corporate to make some comments and I'm still waiting for a reply (not good). At this time I don't think I will go again, it is time to try the competitors, I have cruised with seabourn once and I think I will try again when the time is right, if not silversea could be a good option. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
6 stars is good for me. We already booked another cruise and after trying almost all cruise companies we feel that Serenity is the ship for us. The ship was in beautiful shape and yet it is going for a major makeover in November 2018 we ... Read More
6 stars is good for me. We already booked another cruise and after trying almost all cruise companies we feel that Serenity is the ship for us. The ship was in beautiful shape and yet it is going for a major makeover in November 2018 we hear. Again the cabin was comfortable with two sinks and shower and bath. Very luxurious furniture and decorations. The room attendant was fabulous and we left her extra tips although this is an all inclusive cruise. There were approximately 900 passengers and lots (600)of crew members to look after the guests The dining experience was absolutely perfect and commended 6 stars. The lectures were of prime quality and up to two or three a day The movies were well chosen according the area where we were at the time of the movie. The waiters and bar tenders were so attentive to and new our preferences after a day or two.. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Entertainment,food,accomadation,service fantastic.Could not have better.Cruise at night disembark during the day,great citys visited.One bad experience in the Falklands,on the way to Goose Green our driver stopped the bus,to clean the ... Read More
Entertainment,food,accomadation,service fantastic.Could not have better.Cruise at night disembark during the day,great citys visited.One bad experience in the Falklands,on the way to Goose Green our driver stopped the bus,to clean the windows and never came back,he had a heart attack and died,we were stranded in the middle of the island without communications.The shore excursions were great.Thank goodness not thousands of people not a disgusting floating hotel.The entertainment was fantastic and world class.The talks on the cruise were fantasticThe best cruise we have ever had,and we have cruised on the majority of the large cruise liners,Australia,Carribean,Meditteranian,Mauritious,The far east. The Crystal Serenity was by far the best of all cruises we have been,and certainly recommend the Crystal cruise lines.The Casino was well organised and very professional The prices for the photos were expensive,and we received full DVDs on our whole cruise,which always bring back happy memories and the interesting people we met from all over the world Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
First time Crystal Cruise...”Amazon Escape” Oct. 27 - Nov. 20, 2017 (24 Days) The Embarkation Process was disorganized & confusing...it took nearly 3 hours...Wasn’t a good start...apparently, the Crystal Cruises Headquarters ... Read More
First time Crystal Cruise...”Amazon Escape” Oct. 27 - Nov. 20, 2017 (24 Days) The Embarkation Process was disorganized & confusing...it took nearly 3 hours...Wasn’t a good start...apparently, the Crystal Cruises Headquarters decided to drastically reduce prices to fill the ship...this cruise required a Brazilian Visa and a Yellow Fever Inoculation...Which meant, several hundreds of guests, unable to meet the aforementioned requirements slowed the process for those who booked and paid a much higher price to have to wait...this could have been handled more efficiently and professionally... Once onboard, our Penthouse w/ verandah (PS Cat.) was very well appointed...we had fabulous room attendants (Anna-Marie and Raylene)...superior service was provided all around the entire ship... The Entertainment was just as billed...”Broadway” quality...so many talented individuals! From Irina, Richard, Boytan & Charlie James to the flown in Entertainment of Billie Joel Musician James Fox...the female vocalist, Helen, (supposedly operatic trained...???destroyed Julie Andrews’ “Sound of Music” lyrics...the Crystal Dance & Music Troupe were Awesome!! Shore Excursions were a “hit or miss”...could have done without the “Boca de Valeria” port of call...?? Indigenous People with satellites and pandering chained animals from the rainforest for money...poor taste for such a high-end ship... Found this cruise to have a high minimum age; 70’s...one English fellow described the cruise as “The recently resurrected...” Thought some of the Excursions were a little dangerous; as many were having trouble walking. Most guests were cheerful & friendly; some need to take classes in Courteousness...very rude to others and crew members. The ship is still outdated in some areas...however, the Amazing, enthusiastic crew made upfor any of the other failings... Leo, Igor, Charlton & Dining Room Team are all a Class Act! The food! The Cuisine was Incredible...I did not have one bad meal the entire river adventure... Edwin in the Tastes & Trident Grill area always, always had a beautiful smile and extremely polite! Erica & Okan (hope I am not butchering his name) & Kaustius Awesome Service! Truly, for just over 3 weeks, we found the Captain’s Mid-day History lessons very enlightening; as well as all the Keynote Speakers; Jean-Michel Cousteau, Dr. Jay Wulff, and others extremely knowledgeable in their respective fields of interest... Our stateroom was on the Penthouse House Deck 11...walk in closet finished in gorgeous walnut stain...the modern decor refreshing color palette of creams, grays & plum... Our State Room Butler Engin was superlative! So elegant and professional... We really enjoyed Tilmar (Head Sommelier) in the Vintage Room...very passionate & a delight Needs some tweaking in the Emarkation & Disembarkation for a more organized and smooth transition...this is after all a leader in the luxury industry... So, over all; we enjoyed our river adventure so much, I am booking the upcoming “World Cruise 2018” from LA to Rome... Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We decided on this itinerary since no other cruise line seems to be doing it. Flew into Manaus Brazil on AA #1265 non stop from Miami. Leaving the airport our cab was stopped at a military checkpoint, papers please. We stayed at the ... Read More
We decided on this itinerary since no other cruise line seems to be doing it. Flew into Manaus Brazil on AA #1265 non stop from Miami. Leaving the airport our cab was stopped at a military checkpoint, papers please. We stayed at the Wyndham Garden Hotel overlooking the Amazon. Beautiful location and hotel was OK for the one night. Took a cab to the port the next day and boarded the ship around noon. No line at registration and were in our cabin in about 10 minutes. We had booked a Manaus city tour through Crystal prior to the cruise and it was done very well. Tour included the city zoo, opera house and a native museum. There were a number of tours to choose from but this gave us a good overview of the city. Our first stop was Boca da Valeria, a small native village along the Amazon. More kids than adults here. The kids all had their exotic pets that they were holding and wanted you to take pictures in exchange of dollars. Next stop was the River city of Santarem. Went on a ship's tour that featured piranha fishing and a trip through amazon tributaries. Well worth it, great native guide. After leaving the Amazon we came to the Sanctuary Islands. There were 3 islands in close proximity of each other the most famous being Devil's Island. This was where a French Penal colony once stood and the movie Papillion was based on. The islands buildings still stand but most are in ruin. I found this to be a fascinating place to visit. Next stop Granada where we did a tour of a spice factory, rum distillery, and beach time at the Radisson Hotel which was very nice. The ship docked in Bridgetown Barbados where we disembarked for our flight home. Having sailed with Crystal before we knew what to expect with regard to dining and service. Everything was excellent although we prefer the Serenity over the Symphony only because she is a little bigger. The onboard lectures and guest speakers we great. A word of caution, if you plan on doing this itinerary you will need to get a Visa from Brazil. Even though Crystal recommended a passport service it was expensive. Also yellow fever vaccination is required and hard to find a local health facility who would provide it and again quite costly. Taking Malaria pills was also highly recommended and we did manage to get this medication. Even though these issues were problematic it was well worth the effort once we were in the Amazon and on our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our second Crystal Cruise and was part of the World Cruise. Once again Crystal did not disappoint! We boarded in Valapariso, Chile, Traveled the Fijords of Chile , spent 2 days crossing Drake passage arriving for 2 days cruising ... Read More
This was our second Crystal Cruise and was part of the World Cruise. Once again Crystal did not disappoint! We boarded in Valapariso, Chile, Traveled the Fijords of Chile , spent 2 days crossing Drake passage arriving for 2 days cruising Antarctica ....what a once in a life time experience and Crystal did it right, bringing on board 16 scientists from the USA Palmer station on Antarctica to give us a briefing on what these scientists do while stationed there. They also had enrichment speakers who spoke to the great explorers who went to the South Pole ,he was a real story teller supported by history. The Captain took the ship into the areas of Georges Island which was not scheduled due to the great weather we enjoyed. The service on the ship was excellent as usual staff is like family after 23 days at sea. ,they truly are the best. Food was fantastic, we couldn't think of anything we wanted that we weren't already served or offered. The chefs had two major lunch gala's ,they filled the atrium....all great food ,almost too much! The entertainment was also very good, even though one Billy Joel show we had seen on our last trip two years ago. It was mixed from singers, dancers, comedians, ventriloquists, opera, etc. A Madri Gras and Valentines day celebration were held with Roses to the lady at dinner. The enrichment programs were great two to three per day and included Former Ambasodors, Michael Hayden former director of CIA,NSA, etc ..as well as destinations speakers. The trip was worth the money and would recommend Crystal to anyone. In fact we are already planning our next Crystal trip. S.Mullen Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We are experienced cruisers, a mature couple, with a preference for Crystal. Two years ago, we sailed from Valparaiso to Bali on the Symphony, and we found the journey marvelous. This time we took a shorter cruise from Valparaiso to ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers, a mature couple, with a preference for Crystal. Two years ago, we sailed from Valparaiso to Bali on the Symphony, and we found the journey marvelous. This time we took a shorter cruise from Valparaiso to Miami, some twenty days. The experience was as grand and as elegant as before. The Crystal Symphony remains an excellent ship: the food, the bars, the service, the accommodations, the public areas (especially its palm court), all are first class. The stateroom and the bathroom were a marvel of grace and efficiency, if in a compact space. My wife has mobility problems – using a wheelchair, however, was comparatively easy throughout the ship. And the staff were always helpful. One note: the Symphony has an excellent and unobtrusive group of photographers, a minor plus on a cruise ship since once upon a time this breed were real pests. Another virtue: 60 minutes of internet per person per day free. Mostly we ate in the main dining room where you were always assured of something delicious – I was especially impressed with the quality of the beef and the seafood. I was not so taken by the so-called “Modern Cuisine,” a separate section of the menu of often weird dishes, mixing exotic ingredients, which look better than they taste. Sometimes it seemed the chef was playing a joke on us – vegetarian jambalaya for instance, eggplant everywhere, bland tasting scallops. But the main menu always had excellent classics for traditional diners, including a good Caesar salad and a marvelous array of cheeses. The complimentary wine list boasted a pleasing and diverse selection, including some excellent Chilean reds. The Prego, one of the specialty restaurants, remained superb – try the lamb or the seafood pasta, both stellar. The Silk Road, the other specialty restaurant, has slipped a bit I fear, or perhaps it was just off that night – less zest, less taste than before. Two complimentary visits each were included but we decided not to visit the Silk Road again, favoring instead the dining room. There was one spectacular Gala lunch, a buffet outside the main dining room, full of savory dishes, beef, seafood, chicken, cheeses, salads and fruits, breads, desserts, and just a general abundance. The grill and the Lido were more busy, so we didn't use these much, but both provided excellent food. We did frequent the small Bistro, however: good coffee and tea, all kinds of treats – smoked salmon, ham and cheeses, many kinds of sweets, fresh fruit as well. If you enjoy food in all its splendid variety, Crystal Symphony is the place to relish that variety. The itinerary included ports and places we have visited before. There were pricey excursions to Machu Picchu (my wife had gone there) and the Galapagos (that we'd cruised years ago). Still the three ports in Peru were all interesting, and especially Salaverry, since that allowed excursions to some fascinating pre-Inca sites, notably El Brujo. The excursion organized by the Symphony to that site and to the city of Trujillo was well worth the cost – a real pleasure. The other highlights were visits to Serena and especially Arica in Chile – the latter also full of pre-Inca artifacts, including some famed mummies – and later Cartagena in Columbia, a colorful and diverse city, also full of museums. The passage through the canal, complete with a good commentary, was as always interesting. We skipped the visit to Ocho Rios, preferring peace and life on the Symphony, but enjoyed the sights and attractions of the always interesting Key West – in particular an old-fashioned but well-maintained and intriguing aquarium. The Symphony maintains the practice of offering a complimentary shuttle, where the local authorities allow, which makes it possible for people to get to the center of town easily and conveniently. My only complaint was with the lectures and the entertainment. There are plenty of lectures. The only ones I found worthwhile were a series on the Panama canal. Otherwise the Crystal Symphony seems wedded to offering speakers on politics and international affairs (why? – cruising is supposed to be an escape, isn't it?) and Dr. Jay Wolff, an accomplished speaker on matters historical but I tired of his pet theories two years ago and didn't bother going to his performances this time round. (To be fair clearly many passengers relished his talks.) Personally I would have hoped for some expert in archeology who could have explored the extraordinary variety of civilizations, notably the Moche, which once flourished in the apparently harsh environs of Peru. Or some historian able to discuss broadly the Spanish empire and postcolonial societies of South America. Or a treatment of South American art and literature (not the Broadway musicals which were on offer). The invited comedians and singers did not impress, with the singular exception of the dancers, including the Crystal ensemble, who were very good, full of energy and verve, better than two years before. But if you really like evening entertainment, go to Princess – the food and service may be problematic there but the shows are superb. Crystal cannot match these. Still you can always find compensations, relaxation, movies, bar life, Casino, dancing, if you need alternatives. In all travelling on the Crystal Symphony is a most enjoyable experience, one of life's finer pleasures. Here at least the marketing speak does have some substance. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We had not sailed with Crystal since the Fall of 2013, and were a little leery about the sale of Crystal to a Chinese company. Since our first cruise on the Symphony in 2004, we loved both the Symphony and the Serenity - for service, ... Read More
We had not sailed with Crystal since the Fall of 2013, and were a little leery about the sale of Crystal to a Chinese company. Since our first cruise on the Symphony in 2004, we loved both the Symphony and the Serenity - for service, food, and for the way we were always made to feel taken care of and "special". We tried two other lines, Oceania and Silverseas, because we wanted to be CERTAIN Crystal was "our" cruise line. Well, thankfully, we had worried about the ownership change needlessly. Within 24 hours of embarking on our 18-day Buenos-Aires-Valparaiso cruise (with Antarctica as the highlight), both my husband and I and the couple we travel with all agreed - Crystal is absolutely the BEST, and we have no desire to travel with any other company. In no way did Oceania or Silverseas meet the very high standard set by Crystal - especially regarding the food and service, and wonderful concern they have for their passengers' every need and for their safety and well being. The first night, we were delighted to return to the concept of assigned seating and a set dinner hour FOR THOSE WHO CHOSE - in the main dining room. (For those who find this all too formal, open seating is available in another part of the dining room). We were all smiles as the marvelous maitre d' Mario and the usual cadre of elegantly-clad waitstaff greeted and then escorted us to our window table for two - our dining "home" for 18 days. The room, as always, was festive and elegant, with tables set with the usual gleaming silver and crystal, and beautiful porcelain dinnerware. We were thrilled when we were introduced to the lovely men who would be our senior and assistant waiters for the entire trip, Juan and Ferenc. What's wrong with having waitstaff who understand your culinary preferences and eccentricities, who are knowledgeable about the fare of the day, and are there to make sure every meal, every course, is prepared and served to your liking? The food itself was marvelous, from the first meal to the last. And because we also prefer being served for breakfast and lunch instead of eating buffet-style, we returned for almost every meal every day. Head waiter Vlada did his customary great job with special requests - including classic Caesar salad prepared tableside (when was the last time YOU experienced that treat!?!), Kosher chicken, cherries Jubilee, Schnitzel Holstein, etc. etc. NEVER AGAIN Oceania, where we were told "there are no tables for two or you will have to wait a while for one or sit at a larger table with others" - OR Silverseas, where we were never sure which part of the room we would be in or who our waitstaff would be. Everywhere we went, the "Crystal culture" of service above and beyond was the norm. Our cabin stewardess was a lovely young Chinese woman, Yunger, who seemed to anticipate our every need and kept our stateroom immaculately. Because there were quite a few days of rocky seas, we chose to have cocktails in the Crystal Cove (midship) almost every evening. The atmosphere in that venue illustrated why the Crystal ships are designed to make passengers feel as if they are at a party every night - the people watching there is fabulous, the wine and cocktails constantly flowing, and on many evenings - live music is provided by either the Crystal Cove pianist or by members of the terrific Galaxy Orchestra. The Bistro provided snacks and tidbits of the highest order when we sought that "little something" midday, and we actually enjoyed breakfast up top in the Lido on mornings when we had very early excursions. We loved going to the Trident Grill for lunch on days that were warm and sunny. In all venues, the food was excellent and fresh, and the staff was top rate, led by marvelous Philippine crew members, many of whom have been there for ten or more years. Of course, Nobu satisfied out desire for superb Japanese/fusion cuisine (Wow! the sushi!!!), and we enjoyed Prego, too, though I felt the atmosphere on Serenity's Prego is cozier and more inviting. The ship, though not "young", is maintained perfectly and is as clean as a whistle. Crew members are constantly polishing and cleaning on every deck and in every rest room. We do not partake of the enrichment activities or the entertainment - but SPECIAL KUDOS to the musicians on board. They are all so special. Every night, I turned to my husband and said, "How rare is it - and what a treat! - to hear REAL LIVE music like this!". In general, shore excursions were excellent. But I say this with a caveat - standards in most South American ports and towns are not like those to which are accustomed, even in Europe. Roads were often substandard and dusty, and rest room facilities were sketchy. But another Crystal PLUS - We do love having an "escort" from the ship in addition to the tour guide, on EVERY excursion. This is something you do NOT find on either Oceania or Silverseas. This additional person ensures that the tour guide is not distracted by the need to count heads or chase down a stray passenger. We were on deck 8, Horizon, and yes, the staterooms are small. However, they are extremely well designed so that everything you bring on board has its special place. We especially like the layout of the bathroom, with double vessel sinks, and a tub/shower that we find very comfortable, with plenty of room. Security on Crystal is stellar and reaassuring. On both Oceania and Silverseas, there were one or two gentlemen checking cards as we deboarded or boarded. And one or two men helping us on or off the tenders. Not so with Crystal. Three or four security personnel, and three or four crew helping with the tenders is the standard. Embarkation in Buenos was atypically poor for Crystal. REALLY atypical. Generally we are onboard and settled for lunch in the bat of an eye - 10 minutes tops. But there were several bottlenecks this go-round, and it took us almost an hour. I understand from the front office that 450 passengers showed up unexpectedly at noon, when usually, there is a slow trickle of about 50-100 guests per hour. Bottom line: We will probably never sail with another cruise line, and are already looking forward to back-to-back New England-Canada cruises on Serenity in September. We also have deposits on two river cruises - in 2018! One from Paris to Normandy, and the other, round-trip Vienna over the holidays. Can't wait to discover this brand new world of Crystal! I bet the other river cruise lines are quaking in their boots! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Given that crystal push the " voted worlds best cruise line" tag. We fell for it and were expecting a fantastic time. The highlight of which was billed as NYE in Rio de Janiero for the fireworks. All advertising showed ... Read More
Given that crystal push the " voted worlds best cruise line" tag. We fell for it and were expecting a fantastic time. The highlight of which was billed as NYE in Rio de Janiero for the fireworks. All advertising showed fireworks above the ship. In reality there were 12 ships anchored in Rios bay that night and Crystal was at the very back in the centre. All the other ships were closer to the barges that let off the fireworks. I thought this had something to do with the fact the ship left the previous port 5 hours late. So instead of arriving in Rio at 5.p.m we arrived at 9 p.m. I had a chance to ask the captain about our position a a meet and greet. He assured me that their position was given 3 weeks ago. Which actually makes it worse to know that. Either crystal isn't bringing or paying enough to ge the best positions for its guests. We were at least 2 kilometres away. It was a most underwhelming NYE in a place far away which I probably will never return to. Unforgivable crystal really poor. FOOD: crazy cutting corners and ridiculous that they CLOSE the main buffet an start pulling dishes at 1.20 p.m ! Yes. Several times we were on ships tours that were late getting back or not due back till two p.m. We were sent away for the main dining room and the buffet had closed. So bus loads of passengers had to line up at their terrible grease joint selling hamburgers and fries in the hot atrium with the glass roof and no aircon to get some food. This is just totally unacceptable. I met many people upset with this. Firstly I don't eat crappy hot dogs ever. I don't buy them and I don't feed them to my family. So why should that be MY ONLY CHOICE When I have paid a premium price for what should be top quality food and service? Crystal really should reimburse us some money for this. SERVICE: was good to excellent at most venues. CABINS: tiny, worn out old furniture and decor. Really to of spent 25 days looking at the cheap 1980 s print opposite my bed was a joke. It was the sort of art work one would find in a 3 star chain motel. The cabins are SO small and balconys as well I'd actually say they are claustrophobic, we were never so happy to disembark a ship as were were this one. TOURS: one one tour I cut my foot with broken glass on the boat that crystal used. Apparently Doc the captain said that the crew had been drinking rum and had broken some bottles but they handnt cleaned it up properly. It could of been bad and ruined my whole trip had I needed stitches or had I gotten an infection I may of not been able to of walked ect luckily it was minor. But crystal didn't handle it very well. I had to poach them and I had to ask for the refund. Which I got. A second tour was worse for another passenger. This poor woman actually had her hand BROKEN. She had gone down the ladder at the side of this vessel and the ladder has caused her and and fingers against the side of the boat. This was a very serious medical emergency and it was Not handled by crystal in the way it should of been handled. This woman was left there with an ice pack on her hand and bandages for the reset of the tour. Why our vessel didn't immediately turn around and return us all the the Symphony is crazy. Myself and another passenger asked and were told that a speedboat with medical personal was on its way. They never arrived, I asked one of the non crystal staff why she was not picked up. I was told there was no boa available to get her. If that was the case then our vessel should of cancelled the " blue lagoon snorkelling tour " and just talked her back pronto. It was a most distressing event. You are on your own no protocols seem to be in place for when things go wrong. I do feel crystal should of sent a letter to each person on that tour explaining their course of action or lack of. SHOWS: poor to very bad except when they brought in dancers from Uruguay and Argentina to do tango, which was great. The Xmas show was me of the worst love productions I have ever seen in my life. I actually left as a cultural protest as did another woman we were laughing in the lift at how immature and silly it was. They had a really dull band that were off key and repetitive . They had a fabulous orchestra that they really didn't use to full advantage, as another cost cutting measure. Once each cruise they got the band to go the the main lobby bar and they played jazz, it was so great finally some life. Everyone for excited and was singing. It lasted 45 minutes only then back to nothing. Crystal needs more live music like this The had Marica at the avenue she was good but they need MORE live music There should of been live music for two hours at the main bar every night for two hours while people have pre dinner drinks. I don't count that dull as anything piano player. CAFE: didn't open until 9 a.m so if you wanted a quick bite before an early tour without the crowds forget it. This is another totally idiotic cost cutting unacceptable crystal method. That has made us say never again once is enough. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS PREGO, only went once as it was very average. All the sauces were SO salty everyone we spoke to that ate there agreed. We could not taste the food. Just the salt. They are not offering or using top quality Parmesan cheese. Cost cutting again. We spent 6 weeks in Italy last year, I know good Italian cheese. NOBU: absolutely superb! Loved it. We went 6 times. I'd say. Each time could of been a $250 meal if we were at the actual Nobu and had to pay. This restaurant made the trip. Could not fault it. Consistently brilliant each time. BUFFET: this was terrible for vegetarians of those that are not big meat eaters. They never had a single interesting salad. Not once in 25 days. Is this because Americans are simple eaters? Please a bowl of lettuce, a bowl of shredded carrot, a bowl of cucumbers ect you get my drift. The food was old fashioned and daggy. Not nuts not interesting grain salads and worst of all only ever one type of fish at lunch All meat meat meat. Horrible it was so repetitive the pool area is dead it needs a bar and there were only every two people walking. Around. I had to lift my own chair and arrange my own towels ect. Hard to get a drink and just NO atmosphere. Summary Crystal is a rip off. I really expected more for the money we spent. A huge disappointment. I don't think they care they lost us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
The trip started with the big DFW snowstorm. Had to sleep in Admirals club in MIA after many hours of delay DFW, more delay MIA. Luggage went to NY, and I arrived in Rio day late, no bags. Met a friend right away, also with lost luggage ... Read More
The trip started with the big DFW snowstorm. Had to sleep in Admirals club in MIA after many hours of delay DFW, more delay MIA. Luggage went to NY, and I arrived in Rio day late, no bags. Met a friend right away, also with lost luggage and managed to tour RIO for several hours before boarding Symphony. Crew was great locating all the lost bags and gave great service regarding laundry and follow up. Christmas decorations were wonderful and the cabin very nice. I travel Solo, so a room alone price was reasonable. Have been on 12 cruises on various lines and Crystal is the best overall value for the quality. The excursions could use some price lowering or upping the trips, but still a great cruise line. I had a window only cabin, and was pleased. Stateroom attendant was fabulous. Meals great, piano bar fun. Shows actually good and we got the postage stamp disco going nightly. Met friends easily and sat with other Solo travelers at late seating. Perfect !! I am booked on a back to back AKL-SYD-BALI in Nov 14.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our primary thought about this cruise was that we were very lucky to visit the Antarctic for a few days when the weather was ideal. We had clear and sunny skies with little wind and were fully able to view the spectacular scenery and wild ... Read More
Our primary thought about this cruise was that we were very lucky to visit the Antarctic for a few days when the weather was ideal. We had clear and sunny skies with little wind and were fully able to view the spectacular scenery and wild life around us. An outstanding event was the visit of about ten scientists and support staff from the US Palmer research station that came on board for presentations and to answer our questions. Crystal even had an ice pilot aboard, a former US Coast Guard icebreaker captain, so we wouldn’t have the same problem as the Russian ship stuck in the ice while we were there. It was a wonderful experience and for us the main reason we went on the cruise. Everything else was in some sense secondary. We had very long flights Toronto-Buenos Aries and Santiago-Toronto which we found tough going. We made it both ways in spite of ice storms and low temperatures at home. The so-called reciprocity documentation required by Argentina and the somewhat lesser bureaucratic processes of Chile were somewhat of a pain. Therefore, travel to and from the cruise ship was our biggest trial but we had good experiences getting on and off the ship. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas and the holiday events were very good. This was the first time on Crystal that we saw more than a few children aboard but this was no problem since they were well entertained by the programs for them. The service was very good and many of staff did learn our names. Dining was up to Crystal’s usual standard. Generally we enjoyed the food although there were occasional lapses. For example, there was a dish that claimed to be “coq au vin” which was just roasted chicken covered with a dubious sauce and worst of all in one case frozen peas and mechanically diced carrots that looked like they were bought at Wal-Mart. This time we took care to make all our dining room reservations on line before the cruise. This worked out with no trouble and we would strongly recommend doing this since we were told the Crystal dining room can only handle about 70 “dining by reservation” couples per cruise. Don’t believe your travel agents if they tell you that you can straighten it out when you board the ship – you can’t. Two very good young male vocalists (Will Martin and Jonathan Ansell), an excellent guitar player (Byron Johnston), and a vocal impressionist (Karen Grainger) were the highlights of the entertainment for us. A comic ventriloquist, a mid reader, and a multi-instrument guy were just so-so and we found the production shows tired and boring. The Magic Castle magician put on a short but a very good show. The lecturers were also very good. We particularly enjoyed David Drewry (deep knowledge of Antarctic science), Ed Larson (a great storyteller) and Roberto d’Alimonte (a political expert - needs a better sense of humor) but Dan Raviv’s presentations on media events although smooth were mostly without meaningful content. We visited some ports in Argentina and Chile which were OK but not great. However, we did find the Falkland Islands rather interesting. We were told there were 3,000 people, 500,000 sheep and 96,000 land mines in an area similar in size to Connecticut. However, we observed in various places in Argentina how passionate they feel about having the Falklands (they call them Los Malvinas) except that the people of the islands overwhelmingly want to stay British. This situation is unlikely to be resolved in the near future. The Beagle Channel, Straits of Magellan and Cape Horn also made for interesting cruising. All in all we were very satisfied with this cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We had high expectations for our first Crystal Cruise. Boarding was a breeze, our room was fine. Staff on board quickly got to know our names and our favorite drinks. The trouble started when we would return to our room and smell heavy ... Read More
We had high expectations for our first Crystal Cruise. Boarding was a breeze, our room was fine. Staff on board quickly got to know our names and our favorite drinks. The trouble started when we would return to our room and smell heavy cigarette smoke. My husband and I spent the night coughing. This occurred for 3 days and then we asked our room stewardess about it. She said she would check with her supervisor. She returned to tell us that the people in the room next door were smoking. The smoke was being carried through the ventilator into our room. After this we complained to the front desk. The next day we were told that we could move our room. They had a room with a partially blocked view and one at the very back of the ship that we could have. We had paid a premium for our room and did not want to move to an inferior room. No compensation was offered and we refused. Subsequently we noticed that the smoker in the room beside us was a crew member which made us wonder why they did not move them instead. So we suffered the entire cruise inhaling second hand smoke and coughing through every night. The ports we visited were also not very good. In the first port Barbados, we signed up for a snorkel and swim with turtles on one of the excursions. We were taken to a reef that was clearly dead and brown and had few fish, then the crew threw out some bread crumbs to attract a couple of turtles near us. The excursion was not good. Our next port was Devils Island, which was the place of an old prison. Not much was left of it and it was hardly worth getting tendered to shore for. One of the ports was Belem, which was at the mouth of the Amazon. We arrived and the ship reportedly had no where for the tenders to tie up. Eventually they tied up to a public ferry boat that we had to climb up to and walk through the crowd of locals to reach the shore. The excursion was a boat trip on the Amazon river. It consisted of a walk through the jungle and return to a badly looking tour boat. Since the tide must have gone down when we came back, we were forced to walk a narrow plank and I had to sit on my behind and edge myself onto the boat. No water or refreshments were offered and we sat on plastic garden chairs. Hardly the luxury, the Crystal name evokes. The other ports in Brazil were Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador and not really worth seeing unless you liked dirty streets and craft markets. On board life was ok with plenty to do. They had a wonderful lecture series on the Middle East given by Mark Ginsberg. Also a retired judge gave some interesting lectures. Not much action around the pool during the day, just allot of relaxing going on. I did some knitting and needlepoint. I tried to learn Bridge but the instructor was not too keen on instructing novice players although she did put aside an hour a day to teach us the basics. The food was fabulous. Wait staff and Matre D were wonderful and would prepare us special desserts or dishes if we asked. Entertainment on board was ok with some very good acts and some that were a little boring to me. I guess the average age was 65-70 so most the entertainment and music catered to that age group. No one in the casino, not much action in the evening after the entertainment was over.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
The quality of the food, the service, the entertainment and overall ambience was much superior to that we have experienced on other cruise lines. The first day we heard two discussions among different groups about whether Seabourn or ... Read More
The quality of the food, the service, the entertainment and overall ambience was much superior to that we have experienced on other cruise lines. The first day we heard two discussions among different groups about whether Seabourn or Crystal was the best cruise line with no agreed conclusion except that it had to be one of the two. I'll just list in no particular order some of things we liked: - Spotless cabins and public areas - The cabin was small but had ample storage - The service staff made an effort to learn the names of passengers and greet them by name. - Every effort was made to accommodate the wishes of passengers and to create a family type atmosphere - There were a high percentage of repeat customers loyal to Crystal indicating consistent quality - some had taken over 50 cruises on Crystal. - We could bring on a bottle of liquor each for use in our cabins - Bingo was cancelled for lack of interest! - There were no sales of kitschy "art" - The computer setup was great with free lessons and help readily on hand for problems - There were few announcements on the PA -- absolutely none of the type "trivia begins at 1:30" - Excellent lecturers like Tex Harris on world affairs and Sylvia Rimm on family issues enhanced the already very good enrichment program. The cruise left from Miami, went to Barbados and then to Devil's Island where we couldn't land because of the surf. The ship then sailed along the coast of Brazil. A stop at Salvador was cancelled because of a police strike and then on to Maceio. A stop at Bouzios, a pleasant beach resort, was substituted for Salvador. Finally we ended up at Rio during Carnival -- a fabulous time. The failure to land at Devil's Island although beyond the control of Crystal was handled very well. The Cruise Director quickly reconfigured the day's program to a sea day and had it printed and distributed to passengers within a couple of hours. Free drinks were offered in all the bars during the two hours before dinner. A nice recovery which contrasted with our April 2011 cruise on the old Royal Princess which missed a stop at Easter Island and made no effort at "make-up". The attitude toward passengers is much more positive on Crystal than on Princess. The only sour note on the cruise was our stop at Maceio. It's a dump and the passengers couldn't understand why the ship stopped there. Shabby and rundown buildings with flaking walls covered in graffiti were all there was to see. The guides on the Crystal tour buses with one exception were poor English speakers and didn't understand the concept of bathroom breaks. We ended up spending an hour in a lace market street with not very good products. We'd strongly recommend that Crystal not call there again. The old adage "you get what you pay for" is certainly true here -- it costs more to cruise on Crystal but it's a higher quality experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was our 1 cruise on a Crystal ship and we had heard only good things about Crystal Cruises, but there were also some negative items we did not appreciate at all. First to the good things: nice ship, good size (below 1'000 ... Read More
This was our 1 cruise on a Crystal ship and we had heard only good things about Crystal Cruises, but there were also some negative items we did not appreciate at all. First to the good things: nice ship, good size (below 1'000 PAX), never crowded, excellent food in all restaurants, excellent service and staff. Perfectly organised boarding in Valparaiso and de-boarding in Buenos Aires. Well organised excursions (but VERY expensive but that's the same on other cruise lines). Some of the excursions did not fulfill the expectations, but most of them did. Negative things: Small cabin (everything we needed was there, but we would have appreciated a bit more space in the room as well on the veranda), considering the price paid. Lido Restaurant openings: We would expect that this (morning self service restaurant) would also be open EVERY evening for a light (self-service or service) dinner (why not a steak restaurant) or a place for a 'sightseeing dinner' (nice large windows, ideal for a dinner in places such as the inside passages on the Chilean side, the Magellan Passage, the Beagle Street or the Cape Horn as well as during the evenings in Antarctica or between Puerto Madryn and B. Aires with sunset around 10 pm or regions with warm climate (but unfortunately the Lido was only open on 3 evenings); The other item which disturbed us a lot, was the frequent closure (or closed bar service) at the PALM COURT (the nicest place on board above the bridge with large windows to the front and the sides and a splendid view). We instantly fell in love with this place, but many times when we wanted to go for a drink before dinner (were on late seating), we were refused entry because of some Bridge club happenings or just because the Bar was not attended). Even at times when the Bar should have been open (as per the daily Reflection), the Bar was unattended). I reported this fact, got an excuse from the Hotel manager, but nothing changed. This is, for a deluxe cruise line as Crystal pretends to be, totally unacceptable, since the remaining 3 Bars (one next to the lobby and two very dark and noisy ones, were not at all our taste). What we did is get a bottle of wine and install ourselves on the terrace of the closed Lido Cafe or on our veranda (weather permitting). We were also quite unhappy, with the opening hours of the various food places (everything closed at 6pm !! except the for the dining room and the 2 restaurants). There was no place open to get some finger food after 6 pm, something we have not seen on any other cruise line. Final remark: Crystal Cruises are expensive, provide excellent food and service, have well trained staff. As 1st time cruisers we felt sometimes a bit neglected compared to the C.C. society members. We would have expected to be personally informed about the future Crystal cruise society benefits (there was plenty of time on a 19 day cruise for an information session on a sea day with all 1st timers). So yes we liked some of it, but it was not enough to convince us to book again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Crystal Symphony Buenos Aires  Miami April 13  April 29, 2006 and Iguassu Iguassu The trip to Iguassu was not part of the cruise - but it was part of our trip of which the cruise was the center piece. I booked flights with TAM and ... Read More
Crystal Symphony Buenos Aires  Miami April 13  April 29, 2006 and Iguassu Iguassu The trip to Iguassu was not part of the cruise - but it was part of our trip of which the cruise was the center piece. I booked flights with TAM and a hotel-tour arrangement with Iguassu Falls Tours (www.iguassufallstour.com). TAM mailed me e-tickets. Iguassu Falls Tours emailed me that our guide would be Edson. They also emailed me pictures of Edson and of the car that should take us on our tour. Our flight from Buenos Aires left one hour earlier than indicated on our tickets. We had to change planes in Curitiba. The plane from Curitiba left one hour late. In Foz do Iguassu Edson was waiting. The car, a Renault MEgane Scenic, was big and comfortable. We were brought to our hotel, the Tropical das Cataratas. There we changed quickly and walked the Brazilian side of the falls. While we were changing Edson brought the car to the end of the trail. By the time we were ready Edson was already waiting for us. During our walk Edson kept informing us about everything we wanted to know and I kept recording on video tape. We just had enough time to walk the trail and look around at its end before it got dark. At the hotel we were lucky to get a table. The food was good but we had had better and we were going to have better on the cruise ship. The next morning Edson was waiting for us when we were ready. First he took us to the Itaipu dam and then to the Argentinean side of the water falls. Having visited the falls twice before I was really impressed by the sights we got from the top of the falls (devils throat). That walk way had not existed when I visited before. I was also happy to see two caimans each about one meter long. We walked almost all afternoon on the different paths and Edson pointed to this fall, that bird, named the butterflies that landed and stayed on us. Toward the evening we went to the three lands marks and then back to the hotel. Again it was dark by the time we got there. And we had willingly skipped the boat ride underneath the water falls (since we did not want to get soaked) as well as the alternatives Edson had offered us. The next morning we were scheduled to fly at 6.50 a.m. Again Edson was at the hotel by the time we were ready. He brought us to the airport in time. Unfortunately there was fog so all planes had to wait for two hours before they could leave. This time we had to stop in Sao Paolo. The ground staff of TAM was very helpful so we got a connection to Buenos Aires without even having the time to sit down. At Buenos Aires international airport the taxi that was supposed to drive us to the hotel had left during our delay but the man who manages taxis to different hotels had the hotel taxi pick us up in about half an hour. Summary of the trip to Iguassu: It was worthwhile. We crammed too much into too little time. On the first afternoon we got really wet (from the falls and from sweat) on the second day we were fine (watch out about the season). Buenos Aires and Cruise Our hotel was about one mile from the cruise ship pier. So the taxi to the pier cost less than $10.--. Since we had two rooms, one that we were happy with and one that we were not as happy with  not that we were really unhappy - I will not give more information about the hotel. According to Crystal we were supposed to board at 3 p.m. and the ship was supposed to leave at 5 p.m. So we took a taxi to the port at about 12.30 p.m. Embarkation took only seconds  well about 7200 of them. We were neither the first no the last in line. I wonder what time Symphony would have left if everyone had come to the pier at 3 p.m. People in wheelchairs and with obvious problems to stand were escorted to the front of the line. On the ship we were escorted to our cabin. Then we went for lunch where we were offered a glass of sparkling wine. Choice and preparation of food was very good throughout the cruise (I do not use the word excellent for qualifications). We went to the two specialty restaurants but beside the advantage that we could chose the time we wanted to start our dinner I see no big pros or cons to go to the specialty restaurants. I did not find Crystal to be any dressier than other cruise ships I had been on some five years ago. The pool was just like on any other cruise ship I remember. There rarely were many people in it at the same time. What I disliked was that there was little space by the pool where I could lay in the shade for a few ours. Either the sun would shine on the head or on the feet after rather short moments or if laying close to the doors by the forward elevators the air-conditioning would make me feel uncomfortable. The level of the seat rows in the theater differs little. That enables you to conduct a profound study about the shape of the head of person sitting between you and the stage. Unfortunately if you like to watch the shows you can miss good parts of them. Rooms  I do not know about suites  seemed rather small to me. They are not smaller than the ones I had on other cruises but since the closets are on one side of the bed it just meant that we had to squeeze by each other. I found it supportable but not really comfortable. What we did appreciate were the free washing machines. Unfortunately we were not the only ones so we had to look for the right moments to use them. Stating that I cannot make a statement about the entertainment shows that there was a lot and many events took place at the same time. So we had to decide what we wanted to attend. Shore excursions: buses seemed to be among the best in each town and I have nothing to complain about the guides. Shore tours were expensive. We were in Montevideo on Good Friday. Our tour took us to Etchegarays house where we could see a collection of fine furniture, watch a tango dance, listen to the musicians and sip a drink. The house did though seem rather crowded with one bus. Shops were mostly closed except for one big shopping center. There was a free shuttle to that center. To my disliking they did not run according to the times they told us but only when the next shuttle had arrived. Therefore we lost a lot of time waiting for the bus to leave. As a result we missed the walk I had intended to take. In Rio de Janeiro we took the $ 107.-- tour to the Corcovado, a Churrascaria lunch and the Sugar Loaf. Unfortunately it was cloudy when we reached the top of the Corcovado. The statue could barely be seen trough the mist and the city could not be seen at all. Then it started to rain  well pour is more precise. So we went for lunch. The food was very good. After lunch we had to wait for the bus outside the restaurant. That was no problem since there were only a few drops. After boarding the bus we left for the Sugar Loaf. While we were driving a long the Copa Cabana Beach the weather turned to storm. As a result the cable car to the Sugar Loaf would not run. The alternative program was to visit the cathedral where only few people left the bus. I consider that we got little value for $ 107.-- per person. In Salvador it started to rain shortly after we got on the bus. And the rain continued with brief interruptions throughout our tour. First we went to the Upper City from where we could view the port. Then we walked to the cathedral, to the Franciscan church and through a small part of the historic center. After that we took the bus to the Carlos Costa Pinto Museum. The churches were certainly worth seeing but the city tour over all was a lot shorter than the two city tours I had taken on earlier stays in Salvador de Bahia. So I was rather disappointed about that part of this tour. However I was very impressed by the Museum that had opened exclusively for our cruise. I would have liked to spend more time there. It was too bad too that we were not allowed to take pictures or video recordings. After that we drove back to the ship. Some fellow cruisers left the bus at the Mercado Modello. In the afternoon the sun was out so we walked to the Mercado Modello ourselves. When we were in Fortaleza, Brazil enjoyed a holiday. Good for them  bad for us. There were few people so traffic was very fluid but we did not see what the city would be like on a normal day. The highlights of our tour were certainly the Teatro JosE de Alencar and the handicraft market in a former prison where the majority but not all of the shops were open. In Bridgetown we visited the Graeme Hall Swamp and a museum in a former fortress. I was happy to see both attractions. Arrival in Miami was comparable to the other ports. I did not see the usual long lines for immigration  but I did not miss them. I was not happy with the schedule to leave the ship. The good things were first that we could wait in our room and second that we got off as scheduled. Fares for taxi transfers to the airport Miami were at a flat rate of $ 24 plus & I do not remember having any reason to complain about a cruise director on a previous cruise. And this time was largely comparable: the information we got was okay including when he pointed out the Southern Cross. Rather special to me was the debarkation talk where I remember hearing that Crystal does not accept a very good but wants and excellent. Now this subject was not treated that briefly. The message I remember is that the passenger should comply with the expectations of the company. I would have preferred the company tell the employees how to do the job  and make sure that the resources to do it are sufficient  rather than tell the passengers or even the employees how they want the passengers to qualify the service they received - on the last full day of the cruise. Deciding what is excellent, very good and what is good seems quite difficult to me. Lousy service can only be qualified as poor. I would consider it fair that it also be split in lets say: throw the person into the pool, throw the person into the ocean or feed him or her to the sharks. For that part of the debarkation talk our cruise director would have been well advised to wear a bathing suit. Summary of the cruise: We were happy with the food. The room was good but not outstanding. There was a big choice of entertainment. The pool was good. The deck at the big pool offered too little shade. Due to the small number of port days and due to the weather we got too little out of the long trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
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