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2 Crystal Symphony Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Canada & New England

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
I cannot believe that this cruise line claims "6-star-service." While the food was very good and the service throughout the ship (except for the housekeeping in the cabin) was better than average, I certainly would never again ... Read More
I cannot believe that this cruise line claims "6-star-service." While the food was very good and the service throughout the ship (except for the housekeeping in the cabin) was better than average, I certainly would never again pay what they charge for the experience. The staff in the Trident Grill was excellent. They remembered our names and always made sure to find us a nice table. While we only ate in the main dining room one night, the service there was fine. We very much enjoyed the food and service in Prego and Nobu. Paolo did a great job of trying to get us a table each night in those restaurants. The staff in the casino was great. We took one of the classes they offered and really appreciated their tips. The pianist in the lounge was wonderful as was the pianist they brought in for a special performance. Most of the staff was polite and accommodating. When you sat down in a lounge, usually they quickly came over to serve you. However, the one day when we did decide to try the afternoon tea, the servers seemed uninterested in serving you. We watched one woman get up numerous times to find someone to serve her. We also saw one of the servers told angrily by a superior to start waiting on the guests. There was chaos during embarkation in Montreal regarding where to park. Everyone had a different answer. We wondered if the car was going to be there when we got back. The housekeeping experience we had was quite unbelievable. To not allow it to ruin our entire trip, we made jokes about it. The morning after our first night on the ship, I dropped my book onto the floor beside the bed. I bent down to get it and noticed a dried substance on the bed skirt. It appeared to be vomit. I found the stewardess and explained what I had found. She did not appear to understand me. I asked if she could please replace the bed skirt. I had been under the impression that a 6-star-line would launder ALL linens between guests. We also found what was obviously vomit or another organic material smudged on the door to the bathroom. The first night we were on board, we found slips that allow you to order room service for breakfast so long as you place them on your door by a certain time. My husband loves doing that, so we placed our order and hung the slip on our door. Our stewardess delivered it the next morning, but you could tell she was not happy about it. A day later, we tried to order breakfast to the room again, only to find that the stewardess had removed the slips from our room! We also found out that slips for ordering wine and drinks to your room were supposed to be in the room, but none were in our room. Our tub was never cleaned. I placed dirty towels in the tub (as instructed), only to find them there after the room had been cleaned. Our tub was dirty and when we attempted to clean it ourselves, the dirt came right up, meaning it was not stained; it was dirty. Our room was dusty. My husband put some clothes on the shelves in the closet, only to have them come out with dust on them. The slats on the outside of the closet were so dusty and dirty that I didn't like touching the closet doors. Our fruit was never replaced, so we had rotting fruit in a basket on the desk in our room. On the morning we pulled into Quebec City, it was raining. We noticed everyone had large, umbrellas with the Crystal logo on them. Nice touch! We asked where we could get one and they said that they should have been placed in your stateroom. Not in ours. Our room was not vacuumed. My husband lost a contact our first night on the ship, and we found it on the floor as we were packing to leave. We are very envious of the little contact. He's going to get to see the world! We're sure no vacuum will come into the room to scoop him up. My husband says he only wishes he would've had time to teach the little guy to write so he could send us stories of his travels. We were jealous of the guests who received the daily activity sheets in the morning outside their room. We rarely got ours before late afternoon. I'm certain we got a few odd looks from people wondering why we were lingering in the hallways outside of their rooms trying to peer at the list of activities on their sheets. Our water bottles in the room weren't replaced. We assumed they were trying to tell us to just fill them with bathroom tap water. The beds were comfortable but the pillows WAY too soft for our taste. We heard from others with better housekeeping service that their stewardesses had made sure they were happy with their pillows and that there was a whole selection of pillows available. Our toiletries were never replaced. I warned my husband to use the soap sparingly, since there wasn't much left of it during the last few days... In closing, the ship was beautiful; the ride was comfortable and the food and (most) service was very good. But, a dirty room and unacceptable housekeeping don't cut it when they charge what they do. I would not cruise with them again. If I do, I will pack my vacuum. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
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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