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6 Crystal Symphony Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to South America

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 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
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
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
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 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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