1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Crystal Cruises
  4. Crystal Cruises Cruise Reviews

5 Crystal Southern Caribbean Cruise Reviews

When you can pay $10,000 for an 11-day cruise as we did vs. $4000 for a lower level brand, the difference is luxury and exceeding expectations. On the positive The spa services were exceptional I had the best haircut of my life which ... Read More
When you can pay $10,000 for an 11-day cruise as we did vs. $4000 for a lower level brand, the difference is luxury and exceeding expectations. On the positive The spa services were exceptional I had the best haircut of my life which cost $40 and two great 90 minute massages which cost $300. So when you were spending extra money, service was impeccable. On our arrival the driver was brusk, not a good first impression. After we were allowed to get off the bus the porters did not give us instructions we did not know where to walk, very confusing. I found room service to be especially poor. Many mistakes on our food orders including delivering the same order twice. The days of being able to make "special requests" is over! Though the staff is not fully aware of this fact. This was especially frustrating since 1/2 of the staff told us we could make a special request for dinner or for room service. The cabins are very small even with a balcony. Most guests have traveled previously with Crystal. Crystal relies on these passengers repeat business. But this posses a problem for cruisers like us that are new to Crystal. The staff is very vague with directions or when answering a specific question. I see most of these negatives as a reflection of a poor management. You know there are "issues" when the president has a memo in the newsletter asking passengers to contact him with issues rather than give a negatve rating. I requested to speak to the maître d' about some of my concerns but Leo is too busy. I then requested to speak to the food and beverage manager but i was I told he was busy and I had to wait till the next day to make an appointment to see him. I just grew weary of "let me talk to my manager about your request" which was another way of saying no. I don't mean to be over critical since there are many pluses with Crystal but you should expect many pluses. Reviewing A luxury cruise line relative. A rating of three would be paying that expectations for the price. I will not be traveling again with Crystal, I'll find another cruise line who will exceed my expectations for $10,000 Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Although still very good, this cruise disappointed us from the perspective of service that is Crystal's trademark. The new all-inclusive program has resulted in a profound lack of enthusiasm among the staff. Now that everyone receives ... Read More
Although still very good, this cruise disappointed us from the perspective of service that is Crystal's trademark. The new all-inclusive program has resulted in a profound lack of enthusiasm among the staff. Now that everyone receives the same gratuity regardless of service rendered, the extra attention and care that spoiled passengers in the past has fallen away. For example, our cabin stewardess was adequate but there was no automatic replenishment of bath supplies when they got low. We had to ask for more shampoo, soap and for the mini fridge to be refilled. Also, no more Aveda products except for the body lotion :( The girls were very polite and reserved, but nothing one would not encounter on another ship. DINING: The food is still fabulous. Everything on board was delicious! I sent only one thing back and it was not their fault. Mario the Maitre d' helped us after the first night when we requested to have our table moved. Our waitress was slow yet thorough,but again,nothing exceptional. Every night I requested a glass of ice for my wine. On past Crystal cruises, I only had to ask once and after that, it was brought to me automatically. Thanks to Christian,the sommelier,who on the final two nights,remembered and brought it to me. To us, the all inclusive alcohol is not attractive since we don't drink that much, however, many found it so. Also, I noticed a lot of wasted drinks around as people might try something for the first time, not like it and put it down. In my humble opinion, mixing alcohol and a passenger roster that's mostly senior is risky.ENTERTAINMENT:The Crystal singers and dancers were good,and the costumes were beautiful. The Galaxy Theater is small enough to be intimate. They did the usual salutes to Hollywood & Broadway. The very best was THE ROCKET MAN show with Jonathan Kane. He was unbelievably good and received a standing ovation. The Casino kept busy after the show and the roulette wheel was good to me!LOL A TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT:I'm going to keep this short,but an unforeseen fiasco arose when we innocently tried to exchange a CRYSTAL SERENITY shirt purchased on last year's transatlantic cruise.Rather than give it away,I recommended that we bring it back because Crystal is SO service oriented. I was positive they would gladly accomodate us. BIG MISTAKE!!!Enter the senior retail manager who places her rulebook before customer satisfaction. SHE: "NO EXCHANGE! Shirt was purchased over a years ago(by 5 days). NO EXCHANGE! Shirt is covered with food. NO EXCHANGE!You definately wore this more than once in spite of what you tell me.NO COMPROMISES!I do not have that decisionmaking ability." We saw a pattern, so we backed off. In spite of her best efforts,she did not spoil our good time, I was totally caught off guard though because I firmly believed that Crystal prided itself in customer satisfaction at any price. Had I known that we would meet with such resistance, I would not have even bothered packing the stupid shirt :( MAMA LEE:Crystal Serenity's best asset and overall goodwill ambassador. She's a wonderful little lady and semi-celebrity on the ship. Everyone who meets her, loves her. I did, too. Crystal had better treat her right because if Mama's not happy, NOBODY's happy. Also, Crystal's Japanese customer rep, Urara, is absolutely adorable and very, very helpful. I HATE to criticize Crystal because past cruises have made up some of the best memories in my life. I still have a soft spot in my heart for them but I cannot in good conscious, recommend them unconditionally like I once did. Other cruiselines are chasing Crystal by training their staffs better and they are catching up. In many instances, we received the same level of service on other ships that we did this time on Crystal. Unfortunately, the price is no longer a direct reflection of the value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Let me preface my post by saying we had a WONDERFUL time on this cruise! Great friends, new friends, excellent food, service, and entertainment! I am still going through Crystal withdrawals 5 days later. Embarkation: The ship was ... Read More
Let me preface my post by saying we had a WONDERFUL time on this cruise! Great friends, new friends, excellent food, service, and entertainment! I am still going through Crystal withdrawals 5 days later. Embarkation: The ship was full, but the only time we felt that was on embarkation day. We boarded at about 1:30. There was about a 10 minute wait in the terminal until our number was called, and then we waited on line outside the casino for about 15 minutes until we were rapidly checked in by a casino employee (that knew us from Symphony). Since we missed lunch in the MDR, we went up to Lido Deck, grabbed a table and called our friends already on board. DH volunteered to get us some lunch from the Trident, and waited on line over 30 minutes to be served. There was a very long line, and only so many Trident employees. Our friends joined me at the table and waited until DH arrived with our lunch. Our cabin was ready before 3 pm, and we went down to unpack. Our cabin: We used our 10th cruise upgrade that we had banked for several years and paid for a C and were upgraded to an A, 9080. It was a great midship location. The cabin is a bit larger than those on Symphony, with larger drawers for storage. Great new reading light! Everything else appeared to be about the same, and the layout was essentially the same. The veranda may be slightly larger than on Symphony. Our stewardess, Sonia, was pleasant and extremely efficient. She did an excellent job! Our only complaint about the cabin, and our only major complaint about the ship, is the bed. It is like sleeping on a bag of cement, and we like a firm mattress. I know that Crystal replaces the mattresses frequently, but it may be time to switch mattress manufacturers. Please, someone from Crystal should sail Oceania and try their wonderful beds. Even Holland America has more comfortable beds than the ones on Crystal. IMO, the beds are the only thing that is not 6 star on Crystal! Service: We received excellent service in every venue! Because this was our first time on Serenity, there was not the immediate familiarity with crew we knew from Symphony, but within two days, they knew our names and we felt at home. Special mention goes to Liezl, the Librarian and Urara, the wonderful Activity Hostess, who are the quintessential representatives for Crystal! Our waitstaff Zoltan and Ana were great, as was our sommelier, Jiri and our Headwaiter, Peter. Thank you to Ziggy and Albert in Silk Road who took wonderful care of us and Antonio and Mario in Prego. Benjamin from Lido is a star, and thanks to Darko and Walson from Tastes. There was no decrease in service from the switch to All Inclusive, it was as superb as it always is on a Crystal ship! Food: Better than ever!! We tried every dining venue except room service and felt the food and service was exemplary in each. I am still longing for the yellowtail tartare in Silk Road! I think it is my favorite dish on the ship. I think the variety and amount of food in the Bistro was more than I have seen before. It is such a popular meeting place, thank you Crystal! We were at the Ship Doctor's table in the MDR and had a very congenial tablemates. There were a red and a white wine offered nightly with dinner, but additional options were also available on request. We were satisfied with the spirits available in the lounges, at no time did we feel we were getting "second best," in terms of our personal requests. Entertainment: Rave reviews for the shows Rocketman and Across the Pond! It is difficult to believe that the performers on Broadway could be anymore talented than the singers and dancers on Crystal. The costumes deserve special mention! Our lecturers: Dr. Anthony Aveni, who was the destination lecturer, was very entertaining, as was Joan Salge Blake, who spoke on nutrition with humor and energy. Prof. Louis Rene Beres was our other lecturer, who spoke on the Middle East and threat of nuclear war, was obviously very bright and well-informed, but his topics were so grim, perhaps too grim for a vacation. Thomas Daniels, the Cove Pianist and Marcie Castro, the Avenue Saloon Pianists were both terrific! Unfortunately, the smoking in The Cove made it difficult to sit and enjoy Thomas for very long. Thank you, Crystal, for making the Avenue smoke-free! It made such a difference! Marcie had a full house every night and really got everyone rocking! Special mention to Rick Spath, the Cruise Director, who is so upbeat, friendly, personable and accessible! It was such fun to visit with our dear friend from Symphony, Scott Mitchell, who is the Asst. Cruise Director on Serenity. We had a great Trivia team and came in 2nd twice and won the last game after 3 tie breaker questions. Ports: Swimming with the dolphins in Tortola was amazing! Although we have done it before in Cabo, it is still such an incredible feeling to be up close and personal with those bright creatures. We had a great assortment of islands on this cruise and beautiful weather! About Serenity: All of our cruises on Crystal have been on Harmony (I still miss her) and Symphony. So this was our first time on Serenity except for visiting friends last year for the day in Miami. It is like Symphony, except different! By that I mean, in addition to being larger, many things look similar, but are in different spots on the ship, so I would find myself leaving Bistro and expecting to cross the Deck 6 to the library, only to remember that it is on 7, etc. It is larger over-all, and each ship has some specific stars among its public rooms. The ship is sparkling clean and well maintained. The norovirus which had been present on the previous cruise was contained and almost non-existent on our cruise due to the vigilance of Crystal staff and crew. We also noticed an outside contractor sanitation crew on board, too. Crystal did an outstanding job insuring the presence of the virus did not linger on the ship. Again, the only sign of a full ship was on embarkation day on the Lido deck. Even on sea days, plenty of seating was available around the pool. Disembarkation was smooth, we simply walked off the ship at our assigned time and found our luggage and a porter. We had a great time, ate too much, stayed up too late with friends, laughed and talked and got to know so many new people and enjoyed the special old friends on board and new friends. It was wonderful! Thank you, Crystal, from the staff in Los Angeles to the crew, staff and officers on board, we always leave wanting to stay longer. You make our vacations so memorable and enjoyable! We can't wait to come home again! p.s. We appreciate the ship's carpenter who did a super job replacing the handle on one suitcase that came off during delivery. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We have sailed out of the NYC and Bayonne, NJ area before. However sailing out on the river on the Crystal Symphony at night with all the NY skyscrapers twinkling their lights made it magical. We were at dinner and mentioned this to the ... Read More
We have sailed out of the NYC and Bayonne, NJ area before. However sailing out on the river on the Crystal Symphony at night with all the NY skyscrapers twinkling their lights made it magical. We were at dinner and mentioned this to the couple sitting next to us and how right we were. We live just over an hour from the port so we decided on using a car service to get us to NY. Embarkation was quick and easy and we had friends and family come join us for lunch on sail away day. We took them on a tour of the ship, lunched and laughed at the luggage we had. We usually travel in a room with a little more square footage, but we were able to stash all our luggage out of sight and felt very comfortable in the stateroom. The elevator was just a few steps from our stateroom door and we were never bothered by any noise. What amazed us was the attention to detail that could be seen all over the ship, by the second day we knew we wanted to sail with this company again. We met many first time Crystal Cruisers who voiced the same opinion. We had main seating for dinner and we like to eat around this time at home. The food was consistently good along with exceptional service from both our senior and assistant waiters. We enjoyed all the special buffets including the Gala. We met many friendly people. Somehow we always meet great people when we sail and have made life-long friends. We/I enjoyed water color painting classes, money folding, several lectures, computer classes,and trivia our team won once. I did take a peek at the final digital film making class where passengers had taken videos and produced an excellent video under the video instructor. There was always something to do. We are retired so we can not hang out late at night so we missed some of those activities that went on late in the evening such as dancing and listening to music. I took in a movie and just about every stage show all being superb. The morning television show with the cruise director is one of the best I have seen on the ships we have sailed. His show was full of information, not just chatter to fill up the time. He profiled guest speakers, entertainers, chefs and more. The CD always gave port information and what to expect the next day. You never had to guess what you needed to do. We took several ship excursions. The first was in Bermuda and the next in Aruba. We are not beach people so we try to go out and see what life is like were we visit. Grand Cayman was a new port for us we usually do not use other than ship tours but we choose to use another company and enjoyed our tour. I had read about the excellent service that Crystal Cruises presents on Cruise Critic and I was not disappointed. It was exceptional from the time we walked into the terminal,then stepped on the ship till our welcome back home as we were welcomed back by Crystal uniformed smiling faces. This return to MI was the quickest and easiest disembarkation ever. Our stewardess,the Lido Deck Crew, dining staff all were the best. There is so much more that I could say about this sailing but I would be typing until the next cruise. We are retired and enjoy sailing. Will we sail other lines again yes. Will we sail Crystal again, most certainly. My suggestion is to try Crystal Cruises. I feel that everyone deserves to share this wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was my fourth and best cruise, ever! My wife was experiencing cruising for the first time. She was told regularly by folks we met on board that this trip would spoil her for all other cruises. My, how right they were! Crystal ... Read More
This was my fourth and best cruise, ever! My wife was experiencing cruising for the first time. She was told regularly by folks we met on board that this trip would spoil her for all other cruises. My, how right they were! Crystal advertises itself as a luxury cruise line. If you have any doubt, check the fares compared to the other lines on which I've sailed, Carnival, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean. Each of those lines provides a "nice experience," but none of those prepares you for the luxury of Crystal. We arrived at the Port of Miami for early boarding, a privilege you may request when booking your trip, and one well worth pursuing. We were greeted at the curb by cruiseline ambassadors and baggage handlers. From that moment on, we were treated like royalty, as the baggage handlers kindly and eagerly assisted with our luggage and the ambassador checked our tickets and escorted us to the entry. At the top of the escalator another ambassador directed us to a small waiting area where we watched as our fellow travellers were escorted to pleasant, happy folk who processed us, gave us or ship board ID's and invited us to board the ship they so clearly love. As soon as we stepped on board we were greeted by members of the staff. It was too early to go to our cabin. Instead, we were given a tour of the public areas of the ship and then escorted to the dining room for our lunch. An elegant shipboard meal served by the dining room staff who made us feel welcome. The food alone justified our early boarding. We then strolled the decks and made our reservations at the spa and for the alternative dining venues. Around 2pm we were invited to go to our cabin where our luggage awaited. Our cabin. This "simple, lowly" Class A cabin with sliding glass window/wall and balcony. A beautiful wood paneled built in desk with mirror, tv and both direct and indirect lighting. A full scale closet with additional drawers, a safe, and our personal Crystal Cruise terry cloth robes and slippers, night stands on either side of the king sized bed, a bed so comfortable I would like to have taken it home. the bath with a full sized tub/shower, full sized toilet and a double sink made from granite. Sufficient cabinet space so that when fully unpacked, there was room left over! Our clothes and gear stowed we began to tour the ship in more detail, lounged on the deck as we awaited the mandatory life boat drill and then relaxing on our balcony before dinner. A trip to the Whiskey Saloon for a pre-dinner cocktail. Soft drinks, coffee, coffee drinks and bottled water are free throughout the ship. Alcoholic drinks are reasonably priced. Tips are automatically added to bar bills. No cash exchanged hands, everything is charged to your room account. Our first two days were at sea. On the first day my wife and I each had a spa appointment. The spa is worth visiting just to get a sense of the services and to see all the beautiful people (male and female) who work there. Peggy had a facial and I had my teeth whitened. Several days later she had an algea skin treatment/massage. (She wants to immediately go back on board just for this treatment!) We enjoyed the breezes of the ocean as we travelled rapidly south (22 knots/hour on six engines) and began to meet some of our fellow travellers. A crowd of older folks, mostly, some with 25 or 30 cruises under their belt and then folks like us, new to cruising or only a few cruises in our experience. Most of the older folks seemed to be lively and pleasant. As in all crowds, there is the occasional grump. Each day began with a trip to the Lido deck for morning coffee and then breakfast. Each day we were greeted by 3 or 4 deck hands who quickly learned our names and our preferences. My coffee was poured and I was led to my favorite table in just the time it took to say "Good Morning, Ross" or Benjamin or Nat or Raymond. Friendly, pleasant and anxious to serve. No mandatory tipping here, but I gladly tipped each of these men who made each morning so wonderful as did the other servers such as Patricia and Maja. Breakfast was consistent at the Lido: fruits, rolls, pastries, donuts, bagels, hot and cold cereals, eggs to order, pancakes, waffles, fresh squeezed juices, coffee, espresso and just about anything you could think of. Should you choose breakfast in the dining room, there are perfectly poached eggs, three variations of eggs benedict, pancakes, waffles and more and more. You could lunch at the Lido most days, each day with a different theme, then there were the grills for later lunches and alternatives including specialty sandwiches, hot dogs and big juicy hamburgers and chicken burgers and the best gazpacho you will ever taste! Once again, the deck service was impeccable. Of course there was the ice cream bar open all afternoon, room service always available and finally dinner. C'est dommage, only three choices for dinner (not counting room service in your stateroom). the main dining room with two seatings or the two specialty restaurants Prego, an Italian restaurant and Silk Road, a Japanese restaurant cum sushi bar. Prego: FABULOUS! excellent food and service. Silk Road also fabulous, but we had a better time in Prego. The food in the main dining room was good. I expected great. It just never got to great. Prego achieved great! I love sushi but the sushi bar only has nine seats and it is on a first come/first served basis. I preferred a reserved seat in the dining rooms. No late night buffet on this ship...frankly who needs one? with an older group, the ship slowed down quickly after the second show in the Galaxy Lounge let out. In fact, few older folks made it through the second show. The quality of the entertainment was mixed. Some really good production shows an some very pedestrian production shows. some very good solo performers and a couple of "stars" who should have been left on shore somewhere. The piano bars (Whiskey Saloon and Crystal Lounge) were really nice. The dance band in the Palm Court was darned good. The fit and finish of the ship is incredible. Clean. Beautiful. Elegant. Tasteful. The Palm Court with, of course, palm trees, bamboochairs and wicker tables. Lovely paintings on walls in the corridors. Sculpture at the landings of each stairway. Paneled wood. Polished and elegant. Brass, chrome, glass all sparkling. Public Restrooms you would think were never used. Always quiet. Always clean. No odors. No stains. No sense of wear. Anywhere. Disembarking at the ports was easy. Groups gathered in the Galaxy to be sent off on shore excursions. If you were not on a shore excursion you simply passed through security and were on your merry way. We did shore excursions at three of the five stops: Aruba, Bonaire and Barbados. In the morning we "shopped" in Aruba. That was about as exciting as watching corn grow. After lunch we boarded a launch which took us to the submarine. we got to descend 150 feet below sea level. We saw coral. We saw 3 fish. Whoppee (what a rip)(snore). Bonaire was the BEST! We kayaked in the Mangrove forest. This was an incredible experience that we loved! Elly, the Owner/Guide of this unique excursion loves here mangrove forest, a nationally protected site. She explained the eco-system, pointed our fish, birds,jelly fish. She guided use through the tunnels of mangrove root and helped us to understand and appreciate this fragile resource. Hooray for Elly! this trip was fabulous (and she isn't bad to look at either!) We were told by others that the snorkeling was great! On Granada we shared a private taxi tour with another couple. I guess we got lucky. Our drive, Edmond, loves his Island and was very kind to show us not only the usual tourist places but also stopping at non-tourist locations. He was really nice and really informative. It was well worth the US$25 per person for this tour and it seemed like a much better value than those sold by the ship. On Barbados we did take a ship-sold excursion which included a drive across the island with a lot of information from our tour guide, a trip through a beautiful private garden and a stop at an Atlantic Ocean side hotel for a drink (included) followed by a ride to the fusilier road where we saw the remaining guard outpost and the famous lion carved by (?). When we docked at Antigua we were joined by three other cruise ships. We decided to do our gift shopping here and found an interesting area specifically aimed at the tourist dollar. We were able to work some deals and got some nice stuff. As to Antigua...well, we really didn't see it. Many folks told us about the great beaches. Formal nights on board the ship are lovely. While tuxes are not mandatory, many men wore tuxes and the ladies wore beautiful gowns. Of course, there was the ubiquitous ship's photographer at each event an the art auction and the bingo games but unlike all of the other lines I've sailed, I never felt like someone was always trying to get me to spend money, buy things or squeeze a tip out of me. I NEVER felt that on this ship. We tipped our stewardess because she gave us WONDERFUL service, was pleasant and caring. We others because they made us feel special. Tipping is expected, but you can deal with it as part of your ship board account. We tipped some people directly and others through the ship board account. Oh, yes, the casino. It is there. It is relatively small. Peggy played black jack and slots. I played slots...and won, everyday! (Hard to imagine a shipboard casino that actually pays jackpots on is slot machines!) Would we cruise Crystal again? IN A HEARTBEAT! Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click