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4 Crystal Symphony Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Baltic Sea

This was our 3rd Crystal cruise and whilst all have been excellent, this was probably the best. We booked fairly late due to life getting in the way of a previously booked cruise in July so did not have the best choice of cabin, and ended ... Read More
This was our 3rd Crystal cruise and whilst all have been excellent, this was probably the best. We booked fairly late due to life getting in the way of a previously booked cruise in July so did not have the best choice of cabin, and ended up right at the front of the ship. It was absolutely fine most of the time, but we did have one rather rocky night in the Bay of Biscay! Embarkation was remarkable. We were very lucky to be within driving distance of Dover, where our cruise started. From leaving the car, we were in the Crystal Dining Room within 15 minutes – having stopped off to check out our room on the way! We have stayed in this room category on Symphony previously (PS), so it was just as expected and very comfortable. As I have said in previous reviews, I do think a little updating is required and hopefully this will happen in the upcoming dry dock. In particular, the TVs are very small and somewhat dated and some of the furnishings are looking a little tired. However, it is a well-planned and thought out space with plenty of storage, and a good-sized and equipped bathroom. The bed was very comfortable with quality linens and pillows. We forgot to bring a phone charger, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that there was an integral charger in the clock. We sampled many of the facilities on the ship – the gym, spa, cinema (rather weird choices of films sometimes!), Vintage Room, lectures, casino, shops etc. We also enjoyed several specialty restaurant reservations. Service throughout the cruise was outstanding. Where we did have an issue, it was resolved quickly, efficiently and with good grace. The crew, across the board, were unfailingly friendly and helpful – I know they are trained to be so and ‘have’ to be, but it makes for a great ambience nevertheless. We found the food to be excellent, as previously. We did eat several times in the specialties and never tired of either. The CDR was also good, but I felt service was a little below par at times and that they were over-stretched with so many people to take care of especially on the BTO evenings. This resulted in either long waits before ordering and between courses, or conversely one plate being whipped away and the next course being served almost simultaneously. We found the included wines to be very drinkable and of course there was always the option to purchase wines when we felt like splurging. I wish they had a better included champagne though! We are reluctant to buy a bottle of champagne because we would never get anywhere near finishing it, but I cannot drink the included stuff. We had signed up for the Ultimate Vintage Room, but perhaps there wasn’t enough interest because it was not offered. Instead we did the regular Vintage Room dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Great food, wine and company.. a really good evening. We thought all the ports were well worth visiting, but perhaps didn’t make the best choices with a couple of our excursions which were a bit long/boring/expensive. We didn’t get to all the shows but enjoyed those that we saw, with the exception of the new light show which wasn’t to our taste, but I’m sure many would disagree. We also found the lectures interesting, informative and entertaining. All in all, we had a wonderful time and look forward to our next Crystal cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Friends raved about Crystal and we loved the itinerary from Reykjavik to England. This cruise had no sea days and was packed with interesting ports. It was a perfect way to celebrate a 30 year wedding anniversary. We arrived late ... Read More
Friends raved about Crystal and we loved the itinerary from Reykjavik to England. This cruise had no sea days and was packed with interesting ports. It was a perfect way to celebrate a 30 year wedding anniversary. We arrived late afternoon to meet Symphony in Reykjavik harbor. Our exploration of Iceland in a rental car convinced us that driving requires more time than expected, so we opted to miss the first evening's dinner and drove off to the Fontana spa for a wonderful adventure. Every other evening was spent on the ship and we loved it. Food and entertainment exceeded our very high expectations each night. Symphony is a wonderful ship. It is well arranged and spacious enough that a full load of passengers won't ever feel very crowded. Service is great and the ship is kept "crystal" clean. We were impressed with how well the ship performed in very rough seas. A quick comment about the food is in order. The dining room and two specialty restaurants are wold class. They rival the best restaurants in major cities. The food options elsewhere on the ship were somewhat mixed. There were many choices at the Lido buffet, but the offerings were too often lukewarm or cold. We also had a couple of mediocre breakfasts in the dining room. A second cup of coffee was sometimes easy but sometimes difficult. By contracts, the Bistro Cafe was always terrific. There were usually wonderful espresso drinks, service, and snack selections at that location. Also, Symphony will be greatly improved by tech and decor updates this October. I would definitely cruise on her again after the next dry dock refurbishment. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My husband and I were traveling as a couple to celebrate our 20th anniversary. I booked with Crystal cruises because in my travel magazines, it has been rated a top cruise line. We were expecting a luxurious staterooms and a ship that ... Read More
My husband and I were traveling as a couple to celebrate our 20th anniversary. I booked with Crystal cruises because in my travel magazines, it has been rated a top cruise line. We were expecting a luxurious staterooms and a ship that looked like it had undergone a major restoration, like I had read. We expected the ship to be modernized and opulant. I can't relate how disappointed we are that we picked this cruise line. My husband and I are in our mid 40's. We have cruised Disney, Royal Caribbean's newest ships, and a couple celebrity cruises. Crystal Symphony was the biggest let down ever... Our itinerary was from Copenhagen to Stockholm. We spent a couple of days in Copenhagen, at the beautiful Hotel D'Angleterre --- great review from me on trip advisor. Copenhagen is a wonderful city. We had expectations that going from a 5 star hotel in Copenhagen to a modernized and restored Crystal ship would be an effortless transition. Unfortunately, not. The common areas of the ship were nice, but I was expecting so much more from Crystal cruises. The embarkation was very smooth, and it was probably the most organized and expedited embarkation ever! The ship's common areas didn't wow me at all. The common areas were nice, but still looked worn to me. I like the size of the ship, it felt cozy, and you weren't bumping into people. We booked a deluxe room with verandah. The room was a bit smaller than on other ship's we had been on in that category, but I was told to expect that. The room size did not bother me. The bathroom was a good size with double sinks, and tub/shower. Crystal should be ashamed of themselves for charging $12,000 for two people, for a dated and awfully decorated stateroom. The wood and cabinetry are original from 20 years ago. The hardware is worn. The bathroom decor was awful. They couldn't get our beds to fit together properly. After the third attempt, we decided to stop asking. The mattresses were ok, and you get a nice pillow menu. Crystal made out like bandits, taking our $12K. We paid for a dated and awful looking stateroom, with the exception of a leather couch and a fancy mirror. Still angry and stammering obscenities under my breath on that one! The dining experience was very nice. We had the dining by reservation. They had to switch us around a couple of times, so our waiters were switched up. We had a bit better service with our original wait staff, but still a good experience. The buffet in the morning is very good, but after about the 7th day, it all looked the same. The food was very good. We ate everywhere on the ship. It is a bit more elevated than a Disney or Royal Caribbean. Dining, buffet, grill... All excellent service and we couldn't be happier. Wait staff was very accommodating! Unfortunately, the service fell short with our stateroom attendant. We found her to be very lazy: our drinking glasses were not changed out daily, the linens were stained, bathroom cabinets were not wiped down from the previous occupant, nor were they during our stay. By about the 6th day, we had to make a list for our attendant to tend to. I went to the spa almost every day. The facilities are very nice, and a good spa menu. I tried acupuncture for the first time. Dr. Kara is excellent -- I bought a package of 5. (The spa usually carries Elemis products, and they have added another generic brand that I didn't like, and returned. Stick with the Elemis.) When we booked this cruise, I was aware of the itinerary, and did check out some of the places on line. They are really reaching with a couple of the ports: Karlskrona, Klaipeda, and Mariehamn. These places were not interesting at all, and had nothing to offer cruisers. We felt it was a wasted day for us, and were very disappointed that the ship docked in these places. St. Petersburg --- we were in port for 3 days. My agent at the time told me that a visa was not necessary. Well, it is. Get one. It gives you more freedom to get off the ship and explore on your own, or explore with a Crystal excursion. Our St. Petersburg tour was excellent! The guide was excellent and very knowledgable. The lunch was extremely disappointing: The excursion included lunch. Apparently it was catered out by another company. A dining hall was rented out and lunch was served in the area. This was not a restaurant and you could not order off a menu. Instead, you were served powdered potatoes, and some sort of mystery meat in a gravy sauce. It was like dog food, and I never touched my plate. I asked for another option, and was given rice with some vegetables that I was allergic to. We did make guest relations aware of this experience, but were met with a smiling face and an empty apology. Stockholm was an overnight. That was one of our best days. It was nice to be able to move on and off the ship freely. Stockholm is an interesting city and easy to get around. We couldn't wait to get off the ship at this point. We are used to staying at 5-star properties, and our bar is high. We had a trip booked with Crystal for 2017, that we booked before we left for this cruise, which we are cancelling. My husband and I are young, active and independent. We have realized it is best that we explore larger European cities on our own, and do not do well being contained on a ship with a regimented itinerary. Cruising is subjective. A lot of people swear by Crystal cruise line and love it. We unfortunately had a negative experience, and it didn't work for us. We feel like the price for traveling on a ship with dated stateroom cabins needs to be urgently reevaluated. Definitely a poor value for what you are getting, even though there were some positive highlights to the cruise line. Cheers... Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I read the negative reviews before we left the usa and started to get nervous. Having done the full cruise now -- they are ridiculous. This was an incredible experience from top to bottom. We are a young couple (34 and 30) and this was our ... Read More
I read the negative reviews before we left the usa and started to get nervous. Having done the full cruise now -- they are ridiculous. This was an incredible experience from top to bottom. We are a young couple (34 and 30) and this was our first cruise. I mostly want to address the negative stuff that has been written or that I noticed. First of all, the rooms are fairly small - it's a boat folks. Whatever you have you have to float on the ocean and sail. Our room was def cozy but 2 people lived there and felt luxurious from day 1 on. The shower blasts high pressure water, there are his and her sinks. Oh and btw you can order whatever you want whenever you want. We would get a wake up call at 7:30a and then at 7:40a there would be the steward with out piping hot coffee and english muffins. The rooms is just not going to be the same size as a suite at the Holiday Inn in Mobile, AL. Anyone who complains about the food on this ship needs their head examined, it is all-you-can-eat fine dining, full stop. I was incredibly skpetical of the all you can eat concept; I've been to plenty of crappy all inclusives in my day. This is 1 Michelin star quality every night and that's just the dining room. The service is incredible from top to bottom, my wife couldn't carry a plate to her table at lunch without having 3 guys swoop in and take it from her. The clientelle is older but so what? If your goal is to party hard don't got on a cruise. Go to Mykonos, Ibiza, etc. We had tons of fun meeting new people. Guess what folks? Senior citizens are more interesting than 18 year olds. If you're like me and you were worried that you had overpayed for this stop worrying and get ready for the trip of a lifetyime. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
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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