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2 Crystal Symphony Cruise Reviews for Senior 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
Embarcation/Transfer: We arrived into JFK at 17:30 on embarcation day. Used Crystal's transfer service, which is offered at the reasonable fare of $60.00 per person. We were to only passengers transferred on that flight ...so ... Read More
Embarcation/Transfer: We arrived into JFK at 17:30 on embarcation day. Used Crystal's transfer service, which is offered at the reasonable fare of $60.00 per person. We were to only passengers transferred on that flight ...so we had a stretch limo to ourselves from the airport to the ship. Nice way to begin the trip. In retrospect we should have planning to arrive into NYC the day before so we could have had a few extra hours on the ship. Embarcation was no more than a few short minutes as we'd pre-registered on-line. We were processed and escorted to our stateroom. Accomodations: We had sailed on Serenity in 2006, and we were not disappointed in Symphony's verandah stateroom. We were about mid -ship .. port side. Out TA had originally booked a B catagory verandah stateroom on deck 8, but on the starboard side. We requested a port side room and Crystal assigned us a portside stateroom on deck nine at no extra charge. The room is certainly adequate space-wise...beautiful creamy leather two-seat sofa and comfortable upholstered chair at vanity. Bathroom was lovely with the dual bowl sinks, marble, shower/bath fixtures, storage, etc. Bath products supplied are very nice. Our Stewardess was outstanding....room kept spotlessly clean...room service was delectable and served beautifully....my partner is a breakfast-on-the-verandah affecianado...and wasn't disappointed. A plus was being near the self-service (and free) laundry room. Also helpful were the two 'block-plug' outlets we took along as there is only one outlet at the vsnity and one outlet in the bathroom.....not enoufht to accomodate our phone, IPad, and camera charging stations. A Note On charges: The 1000.00 cabiin credit sufficed as. our 'all inclusive' feature ... covered our wine and cocktails and spa treatments and tours.....a real plus.....along with the Crystal Society savings we were pleased with the fare. It's worth it for the service and treatment offered. We even did the portrait photo...great photographer at a reasonable charge (50.00). On Board Guests If you pre-arrange with Crystal you are more than welcome to invite friends on board ... which we did in both New York and Boston. Note that there is no charge to feed your guests to a lovely meal at the Trident Grille at no charge...you only pay the bar bill ... (MDR and Lido Buffet also available at $23.50 per guest.) Dining Incomparable, Six-Star service and cuisine. Can't be improved upon. Senior waiter, waiter, and Maitre d' .... all anxious to make your dining experience memorable. If there is some item you particularly enjoyed on the menu they will make sure that is available to you even if not on the menu. (I enjoyed Caviar every night!) Prego and Silk Road are equally impressive, and all you pay is $7.00 per person for gratuity...a deal! Special Touches Captain's Party and Crystal Society cocktails and dancing in the Starlight Club, and hosted cocktails by Cruise Critic (join the website to be included in their 'meet and mingle' event. Don't miss daily Tea .... especially the costumed Mozart Tea. All held in the lovely Palm Court with String Quartet playing. Best activity is seeing all the lovely ladies dressed up in their formals. Excursions We did the Peggy's Cove tour in Halifax. Very well organized. All the port tours offered were varied and interesting.... Entertainment / Programs The Production Shows were very well done ... enthusiastic, young, and beautiful casts! this is not your 'Cirque de Soliel' extravaganzas --- just well-done variety song and dance production numbers....even some vocal over dubbing and such, but very entertaining and well-programmed for the Crystal passenger. Overall Impression and brief thoughts there was only one child on board ... a charming daughter of a European couple ... the MDR staff treated her like a little Princess!! Crystal has delightful venues onboard for children, but I'd guess Disney might be more of a choice if you had active kids along. General passenger profile was straight, senior, married couples...each and every passenger we struck up conversations and friendships with were charming. I will add that as an older gay male couple we were made to feel extremely welcome...we openly danced together and socialized ...thank you Crystal for being so embracing. Disembarcation Smooth and well organized. We were on our bus ( transfer from ship to airport in Montreal) with luggage in about fifteen minutes. In Summary We feel that the professional attitude, welcoming and personalized service, cuisine, and ship amenities and accomodations make Crystal our favored choice in cruise lines. We have surely been CRYSTALIZED!! Read Less
Sail Date September 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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