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10 Crystal Symphony Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Canada & New England

Booked this cruise to see the fall leaves...weather was crappy...Not Crystal's fault. The ship and crew were great. The food and service were excellent. Smaller ship and passenger list meant not as much waiting for shore ... Read More
Booked this cruise to see the fall leaves...weather was crappy...Not Crystal's fault. The ship and crew were great. The food and service were excellent. Smaller ship and passenger list meant not as much waiting for shore excursions..etc. The entertainment was very nice since it was a smaller ship. We enjoyed the bistro and the hamburgers. They were the best. The speciality restarunts are a plus with no extra charge. The shore excursion were arragned well. There was always a Crystal person on the tours. Service was always spot on. Every time you sat down, there was someone available to get you a drink. When the ship docs, the attrium becomes very cold..this was an October cruise and have the ship open all day made the attrium very uncomfortable. The embarkation and disembarktation process was very smooth. When we disembarked, it seemed as if we were the only ones on the ship. Imigration was smootn. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
After reading some of the negative reviews on the Symphony we were wondering what to expect on our return onboard after 18 months and after the refurbishment. I would like to say we were not disappointed as everything and everyone ... Read More
After reading some of the negative reviews on the Symphony we were wondering what to expect on our return onboard after 18 months and after the refurbishment. I would like to say we were not disappointed as everything and everyone onboard were of an excellent standard. The check in was seamless and took us 30 mins from arrival at the terminal to receiving our glass of champagne after completion of all the formalities. The ship itself is looking refreshed,modern and very stylish from the refurbishment but not too glitzy like a lot of the newer ships. The food and service in all the restaurants (and we tried them all ) was outstanding with a feeling of being spoilt by the very professional and attentive waiting staff. The bars were well attended and the bar staff got to know your drink preferences fairly quickly and also were very quick to note your arrival and make sure you had a drink in front of you with very little wait. The drinks were a generous pour and well presented and mixed well. The shows were ok being pretty standard cruise ship productions and the singers were fairly mediocre but we are probably jaded as we cruise 4or 5 times a year. The in room movie selection was very good and the large flat screens at the foot of the bed are a fantastic improvement. Our only gripe with Crystal cruises in this day and age is the amount of smoking areas dedicated to them especially around the pool as a handful of smokers had the whole side of the deck making the non smoking side very crowded as all it took was a couple of smokers to taint the air for all those around them and a number of people were complaining about that also smoking on the promenade when I was excercising. We will definitely cruise with Crystal again even though there has been a few cost cutting measures since our last cruise it is still a luxury experience that a lot of the premium lines have lost. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My first cruise 7 years ago was on Marco Polo a small cruise ship in the Cruise and Maritme fleet. With nothing to compare it to but other holidays in European resorts I thought it compared very favourably. Since then I have cruised ... Read More
My first cruise 7 years ago was on Marco Polo a small cruise ship in the Cruise and Maritme fleet. With nothing to compare it to but other holidays in European resorts I thought it compared very favourably. Since then I have cruised with P&O three times , NCL , and Royal Caribbean, and again with Cruise and Maritime. However the cruise I am on at the moment with Crystal on the liner Symphony beats them all hands down . The reason I have titled my review as ‘Don’t cruise on this ship’, is because it has well and truly spoiled me , and I don’t think I would be able to cruise on another liner without feeling that that they had fallen short compared to Crystal. Unfortunately I might be a while saving up for my next Crystal cruise as it works out at about double the price of the ones I have named above, but goodness is it worth it! From the moment I boarded I was treated like a treasured guest. I think the main reason is that the ship never appeared crowded , the staff had time to be attentive to the guests. In order to make my point a little more clearly I will try to give examples. On previous cruise liners - long queues for the bar during the day on the all inclusive deals,wine waiters in the restaurant only coming to the table once during the meal as they all appeared rushed off their feet. Crystal- no queues anywhere, waiter service round the pool, public areas and in the dining rooms ,constantly replenishing glasses, stopping to chat with guests. On previous cruise liners - sea days when the weather is good , don’t bother trying to get a sun bed or seat of any kind after 10 am as they are either reserved with book, towels or bodies! On sea days when the weather is bad , everywhere noisy and crowded with public areas looking like my mum’s nursing home , or Butlins , depending on which cruise line you are on. Crystal - nowhere is crowded , on the sunniest days barely half the sun beds are occupied with anything, and inside is the same , no loud piped music , no queues for anything. I don’t mean it to sound like a graveyard , it is just quiet and understated and not intrusive. On previous cruises- tips , and drinks are extra. Even on the all inclusive cruises speciality coffee and certain drinks , ice cream ,plus the mini bar in the room and certain room service menus are all extra . Crystal - All included , no staff being extra nice at the end of the holiday in the hope you will leave them an extra tip , on Crystal the staff are attentive , happy and welcoming the whole time.All speciality coffees included, with waiters on hand in public areas to dispense drinks of all sorts, and don’t get me started on the ice cream , with about 20 different flavours ( no cheap imitations) they were brilliant , and of course all included. On previous cruises- Being tendered into port whilst other ships have the cruise terminal position, queuing up for an hour before breakfast to get tender tickets so that we can get off the boat at a reasonable time . Paying extra for shuttle buses out of the port , and again having to queue up for ages in order to get a ticket that insures we get a shuttle at a reasonable time. Crystal - certainly on this cruise whenever there was a dock/cruise terminal , we got it. On the couple of occasions we were tendered in , there were no queues , no waiting , and shuttles when needed were waiting with plenty of room , and ran frequently. Food- on previous cruises tables for two have been few and far between especially on P&O. The food has been OK , but things like steak have often been tough and sometimes inedible. Self service has been good , but often the food would only be warm. On one liner our dinner companions (no table for two available) had paid a substantial amount for the drinks package and eventually having managed to get the attention of the wine waiter they were poured a glass of wine each , they didn’t see the wine waiter for the rest of the meal. On Crystal the food has been excellent , no expense spared and steaks have been so tender and cooked to perfection , as has all their food. We did try the speciality restaurants which were very good , but the main restaurant was so good that we didn’t feel the need to try anything else , also your wine glass is replenished before it ever becomes empty. The cabin we had on Crystal was a comparable size to that of other liners , but the fittings were superior . Our cabin attendant was efficient and friendly and tailored our cabin cleaning/turn down service around our movements which wasn’t the case on some of the other cruises we have been on. Of course it is very much horses for courses and if you like loud music, sing alongs , karaoke , bingo and announcements from your cruise director throughout the day , or water shoots and bumper cars , then this cruise line might be a bit quiet for you. The larger proportion of passengers are American , the rest are English , Asian and European. I think there is quite a bit to do on board with lectures , a cinema , and Dvd’s That are played through your TV . We only had 3 sea days so we were able to find plenty of quiet spots to sit and read ,so to be fair we didn’t really try out their activities, although we did play table tennis - this had its own part of the deck with a large heavy net covering the area where you played , thus preventing the ball escaping under sun loungers etc. Afternoon tea served in one of the lounges was a sight to behold and was of the same standard as the Ritz or Fortnum and Mason! We didn’t tend to watch the entertainment in the evening , as we are not really into shows , but we did catch one of the comedians one evening (John Joseph) who was hilarious. I feel that throughout the whole cruise nothing was too much trouble , the passenger and their comfort was the important aspect, not how much money could be generated from them. I think it is well worth the extra money and have started saving my pennies already! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Wanted to do the northeast. Sixth cruise with Crystal. Last was New Years in Australia 2017. Food as always was excellent. Several crew members remembered us by name. Always a nice touch. Entertainment has always been a strong point with ... Read More
Wanted to do the northeast. Sixth cruise with Crystal. Last was New Years in Australia 2017. Food as always was excellent. Several crew members remembered us by name. Always a nice touch. Entertainment has always been a strong point with Crystal and remains so. Had heard with ownership change there might be a decrease in service and or food. I found no evidence of this. We prefer the 8th deck with an unobstructed view since we rarely used the veranda in the past and would rather use the savings for the reserve wine list. We often drink half a bottle one night and finish it the next night. The sommelier is glad to store it for you Makeover of the dining room is pleasing. Still prefer Prego and Umi Uma to newer Silk and Brazilian steak venue. Just our taste since all are quite good. The cabin is relatively small but ample. New TVs are an upgrade. WiFi was good. Be sure and get the Crystal app on your iPhone. Shore excursions were as expected and advertised. Graveyard in Halifax was Titanic victims was moving. The museum not so much. The Breakers in Newport was a great reflection of a bygone period. So,pleased to say that Crystal still the best. Booked a future cruise while on board. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My wife and I are in our mid sixties and have traveled extensively and cruised on many different ships and cruise lines. We have recently cruised several times with Oceania which has a similar level of service and food. We found our ... Read More
My wife and I are in our mid sixties and have traveled extensively and cruised on many different ships and cruise lines. We have recently cruised several times with Oceania which has a similar level of service and food. We found our deluxe veranda cabin smaller than most ships we have been on. However it is well laid out and to our surprise we found enough storage for our belongings. The WiFi was good almost through out the ship and there was Crystal tech support available. The entertainment was excellent with lots of live music. I enjoy cigars and appreciated the cigar lounge. The Crystal experience overall was absolutely wonderful from beginning to end. Kudos to management as they have got it just right. We were blown away by the staff and service. On this ship there is no such thing as no. Every member of the crew was amazing and eager to please. The food is fantastic and the ship is spotless, elegant and immaculate. The atmosphere is one of relaxation and understated sophistication. We also appreciated the fact that public announcements were kept to a minimum We can't wait to do another Crystal cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Why this Cruise? We greatly enjoyed our two prior cruises on Crystal Serenity. My wife was fascinated by the prospect of visiting the three Gulf of St. Lawrence stops, especially St. Pierre and Miquelon which is actually part of France. I ... Read More
Why this Cruise? We greatly enjoyed our two prior cruises on Crystal Serenity. My wife was fascinated by the prospect of visiting the three Gulf of St. Lawrence stops, especially St. Pierre and Miquelon which is actually part of France. I had enjoyed a solo trip to Montreal a year earlier, and thought the cruise presented a good opportunity to combine a short visit with this short cruise. Embarkation We had spent four nights in Montreal at a hotel very near the port, so it was a five minute cab trip. It would take 30-45 minutes from the airport depending on traffic, and cost $40.00 Canadian. We arrived at noon and were led into a portside waiting room which then held about 100 other early arrivals. Within about 10 minutes we started the embarkation process. The Canadian Security phase was a little slow with only two screening stations, but not bad. We actually checked in on board and Crystal had provided so many check in stations that there was no waiting there. As usual we were told that the cabins would not be ready until 3:00 P. M. We went to the library first, and it was manned, so we could check out some books. Food was being served in the main dining room, so we had a light lunch, and went to our cabin shortly after 2:00 to find it full prepared and with our luggage delivered. There we met Krystina, our stewardess, who was most pleasant. She has been with Crystal 10 years and has a four year old daughter at home in Hungary, who she gets to visit about every six months. All in all, it was a fast and easy embarkation, with Crystal, as usual, getting things right. Our Stateroom We had a standard verandah stateroom, somewhat aft, on Deck 8. They are not large, about 200 square feet, but pretty well laid out and attractive. The walls are textured white and the wood blond. There is a full length mirror, a small sofa and coffee table, and a desk with arm chair. The balcony was pretty large, with two armchairs and a table on a teak deck with a solid balcony railing. The lighting is very good, with two small "snake” lights protruding from the wall at each side of the bed, with a directed halogen light system for in-bed reading. The temperature control system seemed to work well. The only minor problem is that the closet is very close to the bed, necessitating some negotiation as to who is going to get to use the closet to obtain that day’s clothing. The bathroom was efficiently designed with two sinks, actually nice sink vessels; plenty of storage space, a tub/shower (although it was not really a full sized tub) and marble/porcelain walls, sinks and flooring. Crystal supplies three pillows per bed, of differing material, and this seemed to work out pretty well. As usual on board ship, there was ample drawer space for clothing. The Ship Layout It is not a huge ship approximately 51,000 gross tonnage, but since it carries fewer than 1000 passengers the space ratio is about 52  very spacious indeed, since most cruise lines have ratios from 29 to 35. As usual, the activities are forward and the food aft. Deck 4 has a few small window cabins as well as tender access. Deck 5 has the "lobby” with the concierge and shore excursion desks, the Crystal Cove, a small seating area with a piano, and access to the main dining room. Deck 6 has the main show lounge forward, the casino, which can be avoided entirely, the Luxe Lounge, a very small room off the casino and boutique, a limited boutique shopping area, The Bistro, the library, the Starlight club, which is a pretty large show/lounge area, the computer center, the small Avenue Saloon, the Bridge (game) Lounge and the two specialty restaurants, Prego and the Silk Road. Decks 7, 8, 9 and 10 are staterooms with a self- service complimentary laundry on each deck. Deck 11 has the Palm Court Lounge and forward observation area, the pool, a covered area with table and chairs and a snack bar and ice cream station, and the Lido Buffet aft. A small aft Deck 12 area has the golf nets, tennis and basketball areas outside. A walkway leads forward to the spa and exercise area forward. The decoration scheme is low key muted tones, with stainless steel and cream predominating. There is little public art, none in the corridors or elevator lobbies or stair wells. There are three elevator banks, and usually they were accessed easily, without delay. Everything was meticulously maintained. There were small open deck areas aft of each of the four passenger decks with lounge chairs. It was a little chilly, but these quiet spots got some use. The library was well stocked for a ship this size. Deck seven, beneath the lifeboats, has a teak deck which goes completely around the ship in the old style, and makes for nice walking. Crystal does not strive for razz-a-ma-tazz, but quiet elegance, and achieves that nicely. It is a very comfortable, easily navigated and uncrowded vessel. The Itinerary After the usual muster drill at 5:00 we set sail for Sept Îles down the river. We sailed past Quebec at night, and the next day was a "sea” day on the St. Lawrence river. On the way we deviated from a straight route, and went up the Saguenay River for a short view of this attractive area with its famous statue of Our Lady (Notre Dame) set high up on a hill overlooking the water. Sept-Îles This is an intriguing place. The name  Seven Islands  comes from the seven small islands at the mouth of a bay. The bay is on what really is the St. Lawrence estuary, almost 70 miles across from the Gaspe Peninsula. The main town is on the north side of the bay, a small city of about 25,000 inhabitants. It serves as a port for iron ore shipments from a huge mine about 350 miles north in the interior of Eastern Quebec. Across the bay is an aluminum plant. We took a ship’s complimentary bus to the local Walmart, and visited a few stores. We then found a path through the woods along the north side of the city overlooking the water. It was a sunny and reasonably warm day, and a delightful walk. We ended up at a small Indian museum where, for a very reasonable entry fee, we were treated to a most interesting talk about the trading history of the area, with demonstrations of the types of items traded between the original French settlers and the local tribes. We then took the bus back to the ship. The northern section of the town is what Canadians call a "reserve” and we call a reservation. It was controlled by Inuit tribe members, with their own small local government, including a police force! We felt that we had done a lot better than we would have on a ship’s tour. There was another Indian museum, but it was not open to the public that day because of a public hearing on some issue which were important to the tribe. Magdalen Islands These are three islands connected by causeways. They are about 285 miles southeast of Sept Îles, and look from the air like a fish hook, running northeast to southwest, about 40 miles from the top to the base of the hook. They are in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, about 65 miles northwest of Cape Breton Island and 100 miles west of Newfoundland. We took a ship’s tour, and our guide, Robert was excellent. He noted that the "season” was over on the islands. Apparently they are a very popular summer vacation spot, particularly if one wants to eat great "Maine” lobsters. The population increases from 12,000 in the winter to 36,000 in the summer. Our trip took us to the shore where we walked along a lovely beach with red sandstone small cliffs. The island have low lying hills, very few trees, and the homes are small, brightly colored and very pretty. We then went to a glass factory to observe a glass blower make a delightful art piece. Apparently this was one of several class blowing sites. After this we visited a herring smokehouse followed by a visit to a cheese makers shop. All these sites were open only because of the ship’s visit, and they were no doubt pleased to make some sales to our fellow passengers. (Well, glass and cheese sales; - no smoked herring.) Robert was also part owner of a restaurant, and one or two couples went there to eat after we returned to the ship. Again, the weather was sunny and fairly warm, and we greatly enjoyed this stop. St. Pierre & Miquelon These island are part of France, and are a French Overseas Territory, with representatives in the French Parliament. The cars have the same license plates, complete with the European Union circle of stars on a blue field, that you would see on the streets of Paris. We understand that the French spoken here is much closer to the language spoken in France than French-Canadian French. The stores and café’s are typically French. Actually, only St. Pierre is visited much. It has about 6000 inhabitants, but Miquelon far less than a thousand. Our visit was highlighted by a zodiac tour into the surrounding waters. It was windy, but not really cold. We had good views of seals on small nearby islands, and an excellent view of a bald eagle on his own small island, as well as sightings of cormorants. Our guide was a young lady who handled the Zodiac with consummate ease, and spoke fairly good English. Quebec After another sea day, we visited Quebec. We had been there before and decided to do our own tour. The way off the ship involves a bit of a hike, and you are led to a port building. A guide there told us about a place to get a good view of the city. We first walked up, through the Vieux Port (Old Port) area to the plaza near the Chateau Frontenac. From there we went to a government building behind the very ornate, late 19th century Parliament. The government building has a viewing floor about 42 stories up. There you can walk around the whole floor and get a spectacular view of all sides of the city. There are many signs and interactive screens near the windows, and a set of 6 "egg” chairs with surround sound providing "talks” by representatives of inhabitants of the city area from the original natives to a 20th century poet. The weather was beautiful, and the colors of the trees changing to their fall glory made this a wonderful experience. We returned to the Old City and wandered through the shops, leaving me with enough time to enjoy some ice cream. Edith found a Jade Museum which had a wonderful and extraordinarily complete collection of jade. It is down the stairs next to the Geomania Gem store in Place Royale on Rue Notre Dame, directly opposite the church. Again, we had a delightful day on our own. Debarkation The next day we were back in Montreal. Crystal provided an excellent bus transportation ride to the airport, including load and unloading our suitcases. Shipboard Dining Everyone wants to know about shipboard food. We believe that Crystal provides the overall best dining experience of any cruise line, although Oceania’s new ships, Marina and Riviera with their four no-charge specialty restaurants, are mighty close. We ate twice the Silk Road, also without additional charge; and enjoyed both occasions very much. The first was booked online prior to departure, and was on the first night. The second was a few days later, and although we were on a wait list at first, we were called during the day, and given an excellent time. Breakfast as usual, was excellent, with many choices. The pancake, waffle, French toast set up had warm plates, soft butter and real maple syrup. Now that is how it should be! The lunches in the buffet were also marked with a wide selection. We even had fresh oysters one day. Dinners were also fine, although Edith thought that some of the vegetarian portions were small, and left her still hungry. The appetizers, soups and desserts were all excellent. The dining set-up was a little confusing at first. We did not want to choose a set, early or late dinner time, since we understood that this meant we would be at the same table with the same people. So we would go to the dining room when it opened, or shortly thereafter, and request a table with other people from the maître d’. He would consult his list, wave a waiter over, and instruct him what table to take us to. It turned out that we often ate with the same people because that table was not regularly filled. In any event, it worked out pretty well. Of special mention is the Bistro Café on Deck 6. It has a small buffet set-up, with the food items changed frequently during the day. Coffee, latte, cappuccino etc. is available all the time. It is open from 9:00 A.M. until 11:00 P.M. There is no charge for anything, and it became one of our favorite places. Activities Edith attended some art classes, and enjoyed them. I participated in many, but not all, of the golf lessons. These were taught by a golf pro, with hands on evaluations. The classes were attended by around 20 people, and were very instructive. At the end, we were taped making swings, and then our tapes were evaluated in a final viewing session. Since this was all without charge, we were very pleased. We were less pleased with the Enrichment series, which did not live up to similar series on prior Crystal cruises. We think it was due to the fact that the lecturers were a tad past their sell by date, to put it kindly, and less than informative or enlightening. There were many other activities in which we did not participate, or which conflicted with things we wanted to do, but this is typical of any cruise. You simply cannot do all the things offered. Edith wanted to attend one event at one of the jewelry boutiques, but nobody showed up, leaving several prospective viewers annoyed. Since the stores are not staffed by Crystal personnel, we can’t blame the ship for this lapse. Entertainment This was a cruise that featured presentations sponsored by a group called "Jazzdagen”. This group presented various jazz programs at different times of day, in different locations, with a varying group of performers. They were not part of the formal Crystal entertainment program, but when I managed to get to see and hear some of the performances, they were pretty good. The production group, with two lead vocalists and eight dancers was excellent. Crystal always seems to get very good performers for their production companies, and they far outshone the usual group of singers and dancers on other cruise line. This group did present a different special show called Imagine, using a technology called "iLumine”. In this the dancers wore lights on their arm and legs and essentially danced in the dark, so one only saw the lights, and not their bodies. A short sequence of this might well have been enjoyable, but it went on far too long and was unduly repetitious. An entertainer described as a "raconteur”  Marthy Henne, did two other shows, and was very enjoyable, both as to his talk portion, and the selection of songs he played and sang. There also was a magician, and I am a sucker for magicians, so I enkoyed it greatly. Finally, there was a vocalist, Karen Grainger, whose forte was imitating famous singers. She was pretty good, but a little loud. This was perhaps the first cruise we have taken which did not have a classical trio or quartet; and we missed that. I believe this was due to the fact that the jazz groups were playing at many different times and different venues. There was one occasion when I went to the Avenue Saloon to hear one of the jazz singers, but the other patrons in the saloon kept up such loud conversations that there was no way we could enjoy the music. The Crew As always, the crew was great. The waiters were uniformly good, especially an assistant headwaiter, Willy Capule, who was everywhere, taking care of everyone with a cheerful smile all the time. The front desk was cheerful and helpful; not always true of some ships we have sailed on. Overall Experience We have always enjoyed Crystal Cruises. Their attention to detail, quality of service, entertainment food and general helpfulness are the gold standard of large ship cruising. This was an all-inclusive cruise, with all food and drinks included; as well as gratuities. The only things we paid for separately were laundry (especially after four days in Montreal to start), internet usage, and two excursions. The pre-paid shipboard credits from our travel agency reduced our final bill to less than $100.00. We enjoy the fact that the only P.A. announcements are a mid-day report from the Captain. As noted, embarkation and debarkation are as painless as possible. The very high space ratio is much appreciated, as are the many venues around the ship. Crystal is a super-professional company, with as close to an ideal operation as one can get, given a certain omnipresent level of human fallibility. We were extremely fortunate with the weather, which was sunny and almost warm every day. I wore my Aran Island wool sweater only once. We were told that the same cruise the in 2012 was marked by clouds and fog for the entire trip. We were very lucky, and enjoyed one of our finest cruises ever.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Embarkation was very well organized. Pleasant easy experience. Cabin was clean and well laid out, although on the small side. Our assigned stewardess Gabriella was tremendous. Room was immaculate, and she always had a pleasant smile ... Read More
Embarkation was very well organized. Pleasant easy experience. Cabin was clean and well laid out, although on the small side. Our assigned stewardess Gabriella was tremendous. Room was immaculate, and she always had a pleasant smile and kind word. Helpful with any questions / requests. Food was excellent throughout the cruise. Would like to especially recognize Ilija in the Crystal dining room. Pleasant, engaging, funny. Would also like to recognize Vlade in the Crystal dining room who went out of his way to make sure we were taken care of. Joseph always remembered our names and took great care of us during lunches at the Trident Grill. The ship is well organized, the days well planned out. We thought the evening entertainment quality was excellent. We would look forward to traveling with Crystal again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
My partner, her mom, and three of her mom's friends sailed from Boston to Montreal. This was our second cruise on the Symphony and their first. SHIP: The ship was in fantastic shape. Even as we were sailing, the carpet was being ... Read More
My partner, her mom, and three of her mom's friends sailed from Boston to Montreal. This was our second cruise on the Symphony and their first. SHIP: The ship was in fantastic shape. Even as we were sailing, the carpet was being replaced as they continue to update the ship. We found our rooms to be comfortable and updated, and the public areas were beautiful. The only crowding was at the lunch buffet, were we had difficulty finding a seat...especially for 6. But I believe this was due to the cold weather, as passengers could not comfortably sit in the Trident area and were all forced into the Lido. FOOD: We found that the quality of food was again fantastic! As proven by the 5, yes 5 pounds that I gained! One thing I love to do on the Symphony is try new things, such as the Asian breakfast. I know that the quality of the food will be good so I'm not afraid of what I might get! We have been reading that service may be lacking since going all-inclusive and I can say that we found it to be the exact opposite! In particular, folks have been saying that the wine/cocktail service in dinner is slow, and I can tell you that for us it was not. And not only were drinks served fast, but our waiters remembered our drink preferences and had them almost immediately after we sat for dinner. Both speciality restaurants were fantastic, though I have a preference for Silk Road. CREW: The service from top to bottom was fantastic. Several of the crew remembered my partner and I from 2 years ago...we had to help them with our names, but they definitely remembered us! Our travel companions had never cruised with Crystal and they now say that they will not ever cruise with another line...and these people are well traveled! ENTERTAINMENT: We typically do not go to the shows, but did this time, as our travel companions wanted to go. I have to say the they were really good. The orchestra needs a little work, but the shows were good. We also loved Colin Salter in the Avenue Saloon and the pianist in The Cove. Really talented people. EMBARK/DISEMBARK: Perfectly done. Quickly onto the ship and quietly off. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Service and food-wise, this was well up to the standards we have come to expect on Silversea/ Seabourn / Windstar, although I still prefer the smaller ships and all-inclusive cruising. Having said that, we had so much shipboard credit ... Read More
Service and food-wise, this was well up to the standards we have come to expect on Silversea/ Seabourn / Windstar, although I still prefer the smaller ships and all-inclusive cruising. Having said that, we had so much shipboard credit (which could be used for excursions as well as for drinks etc) that I didn't feel so conscious of having to pay for everything on board. Soft drinks and water were free, unlike Cunard - in fact everything was so much better than our recent Cunard cruise I find it hard to fault. As another review has said, the cabin stewardess was superb, and we didn't experience any poor service. We normally like to sit on a shared table. On some of the smaller ships it is free seating so you can move round and meet lots of lovely people. I was rather dreading the Crystal dining arrangement as it is fixed seating (they say they have invented a pre-booked free seating which means it isn't really free seating at all, and you only get your own company) but it actually worked fine. We did get nice table companions, and on a day when everyone other than us happened to have booked one of the other restaurants, the maitre d' put us on another shared table to we met some other folk too. As a non-meat eater I found my choices limited some days, but overall found the food to be of a high standard.Two of the 'other' restaurants could be booked and were free - plus of course the Lido. But as the other reviewer has mentioned, closing the Lido at 1.30pm is rather earlyu if you've been off the ship in the morning - especially if like me you don't eat meat and therefore have no interest in the only alternative which is burger type food. We were among a very small number of non-Americans on board (in fact on the first night they told us there were something like 12 Brits, 200 Americans, and 250 Californians! Entertainment was pretty good - we don't go for Las Vegas type shows, but apart from an American comedian whom we couldn't understand, most of the rest of the acts were good and one or two were excellent. We don't normally bother with excursions on cruises (generally poor value for money) but with our shipboard credit and the fact they were a bit more reasonably priced than is often the case,we did take a few on this Crystal cruise and they were well organised and interesting. All in all, I might consider Crystal again if we got a really good price offer, but even the on-board "two for one" offers on future cruises struck us as very expensive. (Unlike the other reviewer of this cruise, we wouldn't consider Celebrity etc, as even a ship like as big as Symphony with about 800 pax was really too big for me.) Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I may be unfairly comparing this, my first cruise with Crystal with my recent (and first and only) Alaska cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator. I traveled alone on Crystal Symphony, as my spouse was in Africa on safari, whereas we ... Read More
I may be unfairly comparing this, my first cruise with Crystal with my recent (and first and only) Alaska cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator. I traveled alone on Crystal Symphony, as my spouse was in Africa on safari, whereas we were together on the Regent Alaska cruise. The port calls to smaller towns in Alaska had a very different feel from those to major cities on the Crystal cruise, and that added to the enjoyment of the Alaska cruise. I had made several business visits to most of the cities on the Crystal cruise (and was raised in Boston), so the port calls held only passing interest for me. Basically, I was looking for a pleasant and relaxing interlude on board, and I got it. My spouse and I had heretofore opted for ships in the 100-150 passenger range, and I think that would still be my preference for future cruises. So, I am looking forward to trying the "Yachts of Seabourn" in the future. Somehow, the smaller ships, even with their lesser offerings of entertainment, give me more of a sense of being at sea, a closeness with the ocean. But, comparing features, the staterooms on the Navigator were comparable in decor, but offered walk-in closets and bathrooms almost as big as at home, with both a full bathtub and shower. By contrast, there was only a sliding door wall closet and a cramped bathroom with 3/4 tub shower on the Symphony. The bed on the Navigator was way too soft for me, and did not support my aching back, whereas the bed on the Symphony was pleasantly firm and supportive; Advantage, Symphony! The stateroom on the Crystal Symphony felt somewhat more cramped than on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator, and my sense was that if I had been traveling accompanied, one of us would have had to sit on the couch or on the bed to allow the other to move around. I did not get that feeling traveling with my spouse on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator; Advantage, Navigator. I would rate the food as A-minus on the Navigator, especially the breads and the soups, and only a B-minus on the Symphony. The breads tasted almost commercially baked, nothing really to look forward to, and the soups were marred by the chef's unsuccessful attempts to depart from the basics and jazz them up (example: chopped up sun dried tomatoes in a creamed chicken soup, or wine or Champagne in split pea soup, or a clam chowder that was anything but the New England clam chowder that it was supposed to be). And, the entrees were nothing to write home about, either. Seasoned Crystal travelers remarked that the meats seemed to have degraded in quality from what they had been accustomed to on past cruises. So, advantage Regent Seven Seas. The entertainment on the Symphony was first rate. I did not go to the entertainment on the Navigator, so I cannot compare them. The Symphony is a larger ship with more specialized spaces, such as the Palm Court, so that is a plus for the Symphony. The entire crew on both ships were friendly and cordial and made me feel wanted and pampered. I appreciated the all-inclusive (alcohol, gratuities) policy on the Regent line much more than on the Crystal line, even with the total of $700 on-board credit that I got on the Symphony. Because, though I am not a big drinker, by any stretch of the imagination, every time I was offered a drink on the Symphony, a cash register went off in my head "Ka-Ching!" and more often than not, I passed it up. By contrast, the house wine selection on the Navigator was included, so I often had a glass of wine with dinner and one night even ordered a cocktail before dinner. My travel agent pre-paid the major gratuities for my Crystal cruise, so the comparison was a wash for me, and I wound up giving additional gratuities on both ships, both augmenting the tips to the room stewards and giving tips to selected wait people who were not covered by the basic gratuity arrangements. But, had the basics not been covered by my travel agent, I would have been uneasy having to do the calculations about each tip. In a word: advantage Regent Seven Seas. I did not like the idea of having to dress formally on two nights of the Crystal cruise, or of not being able to beat the formal dress requirement by eating in one of the specialty restaurants (because, they, too, required formal dress). The only way to beat that requirement was to order room service, but that was not a good alternative for me. I realize that this was a big plus for many of the guests, as was the opportunity for unaccompanied women to dance with special host "ambassadors," but neither of these held any attraction for me, and the dress code was a nuisance that I just had to put up with. BUT NOW FOR THE BIG DISCRIMINATOR: the single supplement was 25% on the Crystal line and a whopping 100% on the Regent Seven Seas line. So, everything else being equal, if I were to travel alone again, I would choose the Crystal line over Regent Seven Seas hands down, even though I found several features of the Regent Seven Seas line more more to my liking. OOPS: Port 5 rating... OK, this was really St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, not St. John's Newfoundland. I took the bus tour (SJB-I) to St. Martins. a little fishing village. The weather was chilly and rainy, putting a damper [UGH, PUN!] on the trip, but the female guide was superb in keeping our interest. She was a resident of St. Martins with grown kids, and she related family activities like going out in the woods during moose ruts and calling male moose with a moose call made from a shoe lace threaded through a hole in the bottom of a tin can (knotted inside to keep it from slipping out), then wetted and stroked to produce the call of a female moose. We all got to try the moose call and to sample the local "delicacy" of seaweed jerky (I already forgot the local name for it). And we saw the before and after reversal of the river flow from the in-rushing tide of the Bay of Fundy. We had a great fish chowder lunch (better chowder than any soup served on the Crystal Symphony!), and I was able to order absolutely first-rate fried clams (with the "bellies") made from freshly caught local clams, a real treat for someone who was raised in New England. So, despite the rain, this was a really good tour. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Crystal Symphony Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 4.5 4.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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