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2 Crystal South Pacific Cruise Reviews

This cruise was our Honeymoon, the itinerary was fantastic, the duration just right and my wife used to work on the Crystal Symphony 20 years ago so perfect to see it from the other side, expectations were high. We spent the night in ... Read More
This cruise was our Honeymoon, the itinerary was fantastic, the duration just right and my wife used to work on the Crystal Symphony 20 years ago so perfect to see it from the other side, expectations were high. We spent the night in Sydney before departure and travelled to White Bay Cruise Terminal to board the Symphony, whilst not Crystals issue, this is the worst place to get to for a cruise, there is no public transport, however we had researched this so $30 Taxi just part of the holiday experience. Sydney should really look at this port as there were 3 big ships in on the 9th Feb. Embarkation fantastic, had our bags whisked away as soon as we got out of the Taxi and quickly onto the ship via security for pictures and card etc., Had 3 hours to wait until room ready but no great shakes lots to explore. Straight to the Trident for a Burger, fries and bubbles fantastic. Then off to the cabin to unpack. We had a verandah all in all cabin tidy, cozy, but worn. Side note, the shower is amazing fantastic pressure. The ship is well maintained for its age and spotless however is showing its age, worn carpets, holes in the sheers on cabin window. Dining: Main dining room was fantastic, had a table of 6 and met some fantastic people. The food was excellent with choices, quality wine and drinks offered too. Had dinner here most nights, lunch once and breakfast once, couldn't fault it. Lido Buffet, often had breakfast and lunch here, the staff here were very different, was like walking into a mafia run establishment quite threatening, had table cleared whilst going for dessert, this despite drinks still being on table. Was refused porridge as "this side is closed" even though it was sitting staring at me just without a spoon to serve it. Food quality exceptional unless you want a poached egg as "you only get them in the main dining room" was interesting to see the slide in jams etc., for the first couple of days small jars of jam, marmalade and honey, by the end of the trip just jam in jars, the Honey was only available from a pot on the counter, not what you expect from 6 star+ Trident Bar and Grill: Provided the best service, the grill was great, the staff attentive, professional and friendly, the Ice Cream and frozen yoghurts were to die for. Speciality dining: Prego good Italian Fare, our booking had been deleted, but they managed to find us a table. Silk Road the Japanese Restaurant was exceptional, highly recommend the "Nobu Box". Entertainment and Activities: Never short of something to do, they supplied speakers giving lectures, we took dance lessons, the trivia at 12:05 was entertaining, the pool was quiet and usable to help stave off the extra kilos. Deck 7 provided a wrap around deck for walking. Everywhere you walk after 5pm you will be greeted with music, pianos, violins, flutes, and bands, all good quality artists. Evening shows were varied and scheduled to fit around dinner. Ports and Excursions: We signed up for a few activities on this cruise, snorkelling Great Barrier Reef, Climbing Volcano, Mud Baths and Hot Springs all good, not especially value for money not just our point of view as the guests we spoke to all said the same. Service: Unfortunately this is where it starts to go down hill. Most of the service staff are professional, friendly and attentive (see notes above re Lido and Trident), however when it come to front office,concierges, and shore excursions staff (who we believed should be brand ambassadors) we had a different experience. Firstly security gave our camera to a guest whilst returning to the ship (my passage through security was delayed as I was wearing belt!). Without going into full details we were left bewildered (we knew who had the camera) and stressed for an hour whilst they "investigated" it. During this time NO communication OR follow up, was offered, then "stories" came into play and complete lack of respect and responsibility towards us. We did eventually get it back, however the process and management of the whole situation was completely unacceptable.! Secondly we had a change of itinerary around New Caledonia, this came with a new list of excursions which we found out about whilst talking to table friends, Crystal had neglected to deliver the options to our corridor, by the time we found out they were all booked out. We complained and they added a snorkelling one for the afternoon, this was cancelled at time of departure due to weather! (Nothing to due with the morning one being late back and chances of getting back in time for departure were very slim). Conclusion: This cruise was fantastic, the itinerary delivered everything it promised (apart from as mentioned), the food was fantastic, the entertainment and activities were great. The ship is old, the cabin is old and tatty in places, the service from waiting and serving staff predominantly good front office less than acceptable. We did suggest it would have been a good idea for Crystal to supply or have available snorkelling equipment (as it is bulky and difficult to transport in luggage) as on the North West Passage they supplied binoculars and Parkas, we were told that was a "special" cruise. We thought this one was? To call this 6 star+ is stretching the imagination mainly due to quality of accomodation and little things like having to ask for honey, berries "One Request" The lack of responsibility and falsehoods when things go wrong. Suggest it is a good 4 star, with a 6star plus price tag (who regulates these ratings?). I know I can get as good as this for less money, will be looking for future cruise to see if I can get better for the same. Came away not feeling influenced by the Crystal attitude, which they have in the past prided themselves on. Would we go again? Not at the price we paid! If it was more realistic with a suitable itinerary then we would consider it but would not be our first choice. Did not book on board for future cruise as we did on Cunard! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have cruised oceans and seas with Radisson, Regent and Oceania, the Med with Star Flyer, the Baltic with Renaisance, the Danube with Amadeus and Rhine with Viking. Those are our credentials for some comparisons below. The Crystal cruise ... Read More
We have cruised oceans and seas with Radisson, Regent and Oceania, the Med with Star Flyer, the Baltic with Renaisance, the Danube with Amadeus and Rhine with Viking. Those are our credentials for some comparisons below. The Crystal cruise we took went from Valparaiso to Sydney. It was considered three cruises: Valpariso to Tahiti, Tahiti to Auckland, Auckland to Sydney. I am writing from Sydney. In general I found that those passengers who had not experienced very many other lines thought Crystal was just great. Also, Crystal, as with most other lines, makes might efforts to sign you up for more cruises and, this may be unique, encourages you to link up with what is essentially a "handler." That person assists you in getting used to the Crystal Way. I did not get used to it. Dining One of the pleasures of cruising is the chance to meet new and interesting people often followed by an extended conversation over dinner…at an hour that you mutually choose. Not on Crystal. You are assigned the table, the time and the companions you will sit with. Whatever flexibility is offered is done as if your request to sit with people of your choosing is somehow "unusual." The food itself is very good and the waitstaff hardworking, smiling and delightful. Managers can be officious. Speakers It is good to feed both mind and body on a cruise. On the Serenity there was a full speaking program that had a lot of fluff (how to lose that tummy, the glories of chocolate) but the more serious speakers were an ex-general and a former Likud party advisor, both of whom conveyed a Fox News view of the world. Also speaking was a remarkably accomplished storyteller who, when pressed, advocated a vigorous continuation of the American Empire, but was otherwise well practiced and entertaining. On a cruise from Anchorage to Hong Kong on Regent a few years ago, they did it this way. A general lecture was followed by a continued discussion of the issues raised in a smaller venue. This lead to real discussions and exchanges of ideas instead of the Fox News view presented with “news conference” type questions, that is, wth no follow up and no exchange. The Crystal way is neither intellectually engaging nor satisfying. But, during the 38 days we were aboard, for pure intellectual depth, Dr. Bulent Atalay’s lectures on Leonardo were extraordinary and his manner that of a cultured Levantine gentleman. I also enjoyed some of the less intellectual stuff such as two sessions on Steve Irwin. Internet It was expensive and slow. Not only that, but the concessionaires are deceptive. First, we were told that it was not possible for my wife and I to share a plan. Not true. We just could not use it at the same time. Second, as a result of the initial misinformation we bought two maximum time plans. That covered most, but not all, of the three segments. We asked to extend the fifty hours we had purchased at the same rate…but no. They wanted to DOUBLE our rate for another five hours. DOUBLE! And, if you would like a little salt with your wound, they have an advertisement for their services that takes over your computer screen, no matter what you are doing, every five minutes that your computer is on, requiring you to manually delete it. And here’s some acid to add to your salted wound. In the advertisement is a line to click that allows you to email the new President of Crystal with any concerns…but it didn’t work. I took it to the computer center and was told that it was “still under improvement.” The Library Four comfortable chairs and doors that are not closed “for safety reasons.” Four chairs for a thousand passengers!? Are there other weather protected chairs? Yes, but none of them in a quiet Library environment. There were lots of movies to borrow for in-room watching on dated TVs and a barely adequate collection of books. The Gym Oh please…very little floor space to stretch, Brand X machines, and for those who like to ride the stationary bike…welcome to the wall. No ocean views for riders. As I said, it was our first and last Crystal experience.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
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