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38 Crystal Vancouver Cruise Reviews

Seven days, Vancouver to Seward, AK, August 2019.This was our third cruise on Crystal (Harmony was first and Serenity was second). Compared to our one cruise on Holland America Prinsendam (no longer in service) and another on the Viking ... Read More
Seven days, Vancouver to Seward, AK, August 2019.This was our third cruise on Crystal (Harmony was first and Serenity was second). Compared to our one cruise on Holland America Prinsendam (no longer in service) and another on the Viking Sea last winter: Crystal is tops -- far ahead of Viking and clearly ahead of Holland America, too. Our fellow travelers included people of all ages (though obviously the average age would be higher than the general population) There were apparently a number of family groups travelling together, including children. All of the children we encountered were exceptionally well behaved (as were all of the adults, with only a couple minor exceptions). By the way, my wife and I are "seniors" in our so-called Golden Years (ha!). Service was excellent. Needs anticipated and met. In the past, service on Crystal service has been a little pretentious on occasion. Not this time. Pleasant, low key, but on top of the game. We had butler for our Seabreeze Penthouse cabin, who seemed very nice but we never really took advantage of what she might have done for us. We're just not butler-kind-of-people. The computer room staff was an excellent help in getting our devices hooked up with the ship's WiFi. We tried all of the dining venues (excepting the private party Vintage Room) and enjoyed them all. We had a number of lunches in the Marketplace (formerly Lido Cafe), but found breakfast there chaotic the first morning and after that we had breakfast in the main dining room (Waterside), or via room service. We tried Silk, Churrascaria,Umi Uma, and Prego each one time. All met our high expectations, as did Waterside. The only slight issue was that in Churrascaria the servers were slow with the meat offerings, and Waterside was real slow on breakfast one morning -- not sure why. The only poor meal I had was a steak one evening in Waterside, but I fault myself for that because I broke my own rule, which is: "Never order steak on a cruise ship." Overall dining was excellent -- no one's perfect. Our cabin was a Seabreeze Penthouse with Veranda (SH), No. 9035. No complaints, but did take us a while to get the hang of the lighting system, and our butler had to show us how to open the reading lights over our bed. Excellent lighting in all spaces, including the bathroom. The size of the room was good and it was well laid out. All in, the best cruise ship cabin we've ever had. We went to all the shows and entertainment. The variety was good. The house band and song and dance team did a variety of shows (only one of which was a little campy). Beyond that, there were a couple of good comedians, and some other featured performers. Same with the "enrichment" lectures -- Jay Wolff (a regular on Crystal) is a good story teller, and journalist Ken Walsh was very interesting and informative on presidential matters. I've forgotten his name, but the evening entertainer in the Avenue Saloon was great. The Avenue Saloon is a favorite place for us. The only downside is that you have to walk past the smelly cigar smoking room to get to it. For a reason or reasons beyond comprehension, they keep the door to the cigar room wide open into the hall. We only went on two shore excursions sponsored by the ship, one was to a bear viewing boardwalk outside Ketchikan, where we were lucky to hit the jackpot and could watch black bears feasting (or attempting to) on salmon (Humpies, a/k/a Pinks) coming up the creek to span. That's only going to happen for a short period of time each year. This tour also included a visit to a raptor rehabilitation center, an old saw mill and, naturally, a gift shop. The latter three things weren't of any value, but watching the bears was great. We have black bears roaming around one of our homes in the lower 48, but had never seen them in the salmon catching environment. In Skagway we rode on the Yukon & White Pass RR, which I'd recommend to anyone. Our weather wasn't great, but in southeast Alaska you take your chances on that. In Juneau we went off on our own to have lunch at the Red Dog Saloon, a tourist must do, and then to visit the Alaska Museum, also quite worthwhile. The only downside of Juneau is that to go from the ship into the town you have to pass a large number of typical cruise port shops along the street selling jewelry, watches, etc., etc., with very unpleasant and aggressive staff people standing at the doors trying to drag you in. The time at Hubbard Glacier was good, too, though calving activity was much weaker than we'd seen at other tidewater glaciers (including likely Hubbard) on a cruise 23 years ago. Again, this is something that's random -- you take your chances. Now, the really big disappointment. The first day was supposed to be "Cruising the Inside Passage." That did not happen. We were in Pacific the entire day. I asked Capt. Thomas Larsen about this omission at the "Captain's Reception" later and he simply said, "We did take last night." Not satisfactory. My guess, and it can only be that, is that Larsen avoided the Inside Passage route because it would have been too difficult for him to navigate. Oh, well. Finally, flying out to Vancouver from the east coast USA we missed our connection in Denver (weather related delay). However, United Airlines re-booked us on Air Canada to Vancouver from Denver, and I called Crystal to update them on our new arrival time for the transfer. Crystal's representatives met us at the Vancouver airport and had a car ready to take the two of us to the ship, which we made with 15 minutes to spare. We had some anxious moments, but thanks to United and Crystal we made the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose the Crystal Symphony on the basis of our own research, the recommendation of experienced travelers and our experience with the Crystal agent with whom we booked our voyage. The ship itself was modern and immaculate. While the ... Read More
We chose the Crystal Symphony on the basis of our own research, the recommendation of experienced travelers and our experience with the Crystal agent with whom we booked our voyage. The ship itself was modern and immaculate. While the staff clearly worked hard around the clock to keep the ship in extraordinarily beautiful condition, you were never aware of all the effort being expended on your behalf. The eating experiences were innumerable and comparable to the best restaurants we have ever eaten in. The service was superb. If it wasn't on the menu, the kitchen was pleased to prepare that for you as well. One cannot say enough about the graciousness of the staff. They worked elegantly and tirelessly to satisfy your every need and want. The excursions were well planned and the staff support made them thoroughly enjoyable. The ship's other guests were a pleasure to be with...mature and refined. I would travel again on the Crystal Syphony at the drop of a hat. In fact, I am planning our next Crystal Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Going from Vancouver to Anchorage, we travelled on the Crystal Symphony departing June 30, 2019. We also took a post-cruise tour of Denali National Park. This review describes the ship, the journey, the excursions etc. Please know: ... Read More
Going from Vancouver to Anchorage, we travelled on the Crystal Symphony departing June 30, 2019. We also took a post-cruise tour of Denali National Park. This review describes the ship, the journey, the excursions etc. Please know: I will not barter a good review for a better room, for a lower price on anything, or for a refund intended to compensate me for poor quality products or services. I WILL disclose when a refund is made or a good price is given. My reviews are as honest as I can make them. Please know that I am extremely particular and notice small details others do not, so my review is both more thorough and more negative than most people's. This was a thoroughly delightful voyage. Our stateroom was a Penthouse Suite, code PS, with butler service. The room was quite large. It included a king bed, an ample sitting area with sofa, chair and cocktail table, small bar and double-hung walk-in closet with a built-in chest of drawers. The refrigerator was stocked with drinks. There was an ample supply of bottled water. The decor was contemporary, in teals, taupe and ivory, very tasteful. The bright and attractive white tile bath has double sinks, a toilet, bidet, stall shower and jacuzzi tub with European shower. There is plenty of drawer and shelf space in the bathroom. QUIBBLES here though: The bathroom lighting is inadequate for either shaving or applying makeup. There is only one outlet. It is only for a shaver. There is a wall-mounted hair dryer, but it is weak. We used the well-lit desk for shaving, hair styling and putting on makeup. There are several outlets at the desk for charging. No outlets at bedside. If you use your phone in bed before falling asleep, you must get up and cross the room to plug it in to charge if you want it to be charged when you wake up. Our butler, Greg was very helpful in answering our questions. He made sure we had a tempting fresh fruit plate, candy and hors d'oeuvres daily. He noticed we ate more tangerines than other fruit and, without our requesting it, started giving us extra tangerines each day. We had all the champagne and wine we could have wished for. Greg accommodated our allergy and dietary needs easily. He is personable without being obsequious. The ship has many lively public spaces and numerous restaurants described in their own literature. We enjoyed the Japanese and Italian restaurants the most. All of the restaurants and food options were excellent, and for the most part, even better than the descriptions of them in Crystal's literature. The reception area on Deck 5 midship is a dramatic and inviting two story atrium. The ceiling is stained glass and there is a long curved single staircase. The area includes a bar and buffet always stocked with ample snacks and sweets. A violinist played every day in the reception area. It was a great place to sit, have a bite or a drink and relax. QUIBBLE The bronzed statue of dancers in the reception area is extremely kitschy, at odds with the tasteful decor elsewhere throughout the ship. The Palm Court is a cool quiet room where tea is served daily while live music is played. This is a peaceful place to sit and watch the mountains rush by the large picture windows. Don't miss the Mozart tea which is much more elaborate with a stunning buffet. On the pool deck, we liked sitting on a deck chair to watch the ship float past the endless parade of wonders that is Alaska. There were cozy wool plaid blankets provided. Entertainment: The quality of singers, dancers and comedians was far better than that on the other cruise lines we've used. Elio Pace is a fantastic singer and all-around showman. Jimmy Travis is a great comedian and singer. We went to see him 4 times (!!) which is very unlike us. The house band and light man were excellent. The Crystal song-and-dance troupe performed a medley of songs and dances from Broadway musicals which was top-notch. Much better than the entertainment on other cruise lines we have used. CRUISE PORTS, EXCURSIONS VIEWS: Each port was interesting, and the excursions were fun, educational, and conducted with efficiency and professionalism. Not all the excursions we took were labelled Crystal Excursions, though many were. In Ketchikan we took the Wilderness Cruise with Rainforest Adventure. We boated to a small undeveloped island or peninsula and took an easy hike partly up a hill and steps. The forest consisted of evergreen trees and smelled lovely. It was beautiful and quiet. We saw a large (5 or more inch) banana slug and a leopard slug. Our guide was informative and very cordial. We enjoyed being in the Alaskan woods. Ketchikan is a charming little town with a picturesque rushing creek and waterfall. It is the best place to buy a totem pole. They had the broadest selection, and the totem poles were not priced any higher than in other towns. I believe most totem poles sold throughout Alaska are made in Ketchikan. In Hoonah I ziplined on the world's longest zipline. I glided smoothly over a gorgeous forest with a view of the water and t(iny cruise ship far ahead below me. 90 seconds of BLISS. (I am not usually adventurous ,nor am I in good shape. I am a bit overweight and typically sedentary.) We also went to a woodsy part of Chichagoff Island, where we saw a bear, red-headed woodpecker and bald eagle near a pretty river. In Juneau we took the Mendenhall Glaciet and Whale-watching tour. We saw whales breaching. We also saw their flukes and spouts. It was wonderful. Then we were driven to the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier. It was gradually melting into a pretty lake. There was a tall waterfall there as well. The walk through the woods to the waterfall was very uplifting. Sitka was also a great place to watch whales. We took a small boat excursion called the Sitka Marine Adventure. Our pilot was Sonny. He was extremely competent. We saw a sea otter as well as whales. Sitka is THE place to buy Russian products. I bought three stunning sets of nesting dolls, in Russian, "matroyshkas." If you are a collector, you will be in heaven here. Besides the very high-quality collectible nesting dolls, there are plenty of less-expensive sets to buy as souvenirs. Nowhere else stocked the quality and quantity of nesting dolls we saw here. We saw one 50-doll set priced at over $1000. The stores carried loads of other Russian products as well. Haines: The town is tiny and of little interest. What made this port worthwhile was our excursion by jet boat to a remote area, the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve where we saw eagles as well as a mother and baby moose. The scenery was, again, breathtakingly beautiful, mountains swathed in a thousand shades of green plunge into the flowing waters. Small islands of trees and brush drift by. Our guide stopped the boat for us to relish the rare quality of the silence as we sat surrounded by the green mountains, still water and azure skies. Cruise Tracy and Endicott Arms Glacier Viewing. Skagway. We helicoptered to a glacier and landed there. The ride took us through a breathtaking fjord. Flying in the helicopter and viewing Alaska's mountains and waters from above was well worth the time and money we invested. The glacier was fascinating with it's blue ice, rushing rivulets and crevasses--all surrounded by soaring mountains. Hubbard Glacier was viewed from the ship. It was magnificent. We saw it calve and heard it thunder as it moved. We were only about a quarter mile from the glacier. Post Cruise program which includes Denali, Girdwood and Talkeetna: The Excursion personnel on board the Crystal Symphony couldn't answer questions about the logistics of the post-cruise tour. Furthermore, they were unable to provide information about excursions during the post-cruise tour. We finally received a very general written summary ONE DAY BEFORE departure. When the post-cruise tour did begin, however, we were impressed with the high quality of the guide, driver and bus. Our guide was eponymously named Crystal! Our driver was Steve. The bus had an immaculately clean restroom. No sink, just hand sanitizer. The drive took us through breathtaking mountains and past idyllically exquisite lakes. Alyeska Hotel: There is often a 15 minute wait to get a table for breakfast! Allow time. The hotel has a beautiful dinner restaurant, Seven Glaciers. It is on top of a mountain. The Aleyska Resort Aerial Tramway takes you up from the hotel. Denali Park. This bus tour was excellent. Almost no private vehicles are allowed in the park, so a bus tour is the way to go. The scenery was as stunning and varied as one would expect. Wilderness Express Dome Rail Car. Denali to Talkeetna. Great experience, A trip back in time, riding the rails past mountains and lakes, over creeks. The transparent dome of the upper level car provided great viewing. We also had a delicious meal in the elegant dining car. There were even live flowers in a vase on each table. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This is are 9th cruise with Crystal and remained an excellent experience. Food entertainment were excellent as always. Being recognized by the crew is always a nice touch. We cruise from July 2nd to 14th and did the post cruise Alaska ... Read More
This is are 9th cruise with Crystal and remained an excellent experience. Food entertainment were excellent as always. Being recognized by the crew is always a nice touch. We cruise from July 2nd to 14th and did the post cruise Alaska adventure. The ship was only 2/3 occupied which meant even more attention. I believe leaving the ship in Seward which requires a 3 hour bus ride to Anchorage discourages some travelers. It is ideal to do the Alaska adventure post cruise. Although it is expensive I believe you “do get which she pay for” and if it is affordable is definitely the way to go.. Again a wonderful experience and I believe Crystal remains the best of the best. I do believe the best value is to obtain a cabin on the 8th deck avoiding those cabinets that have an obstructed view. The vintage room is an added expense but offers a special menu and some excellent wine choices. The Swan court remains a wonderful escape to have a beverage between the shows. The entertainment is certainly cleared for a mature audience but clearly separates Crystal from its competitors Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
During the last few years we have cruised on Viking, Oceania and now Crystal and having compared these cruises I can readily say that Crystal is by far the best. All of the ships are very similar in size and number of passengers, about ... Read More
During the last few years we have cruised on Viking, Oceania and now Crystal and having compared these cruises I can readily say that Crystal is by far the best. All of the ships are very similar in size and number of passengers, about 850. The difference is the amenities, service and food service. Crystal had excellent entertainment and lecturers who spoke about the what we would see and do on the trip and excursions. All of the excursions were excellent and on all excursions a crew member from the ship also went. All of the meals and food service was excellent and you can order just about anything even if it is not on the menus. The difference between Crystal and the other cruise lines is like comparing a Toyota Camry to a BMW. Both will get you to your destination but the BMW will get you there in a much more luxurious manner. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I am a Diamond member of RCCL, have recently tried a few newer Carnival ships, have sailed on one Silver Sea, have tried a few NCL and Costa, and have been on a small line whose name I don't even remember...and by far, this was the ... Read More
I am a Diamond member of RCCL, have recently tried a few newer Carnival ships, have sailed on one Silver Sea, have tried a few NCL and Costa, and have been on a small line whose name I don't even remember...and by far, this was the most amazing cruise I have ever experienced! The ship is beautiful! The service is beyond compare! The food was delicious! Most importantly, the people were incredibly friendly. This last one surprised me a bit, and I can't say for sure if it was specifically this sailing or typical for Crystal...but I do get the impression it is the latter (and I plan to find out for sure by sailing Crystal more often and as soon as possible!). Some of the things that impressed me the most (in no particular order): • No Smoking! Absolutely no smoking on board (with the exception of a contained cigar room and one small obscure area outside). • Cleanest casino I have ever seen (without smoke and no ashtrays). • Speaking of the Casino, best craps game I enjoyed in a very long time (with no crazy bonus bets slowing down the action). • Amazing drinks! There was an extensive martini menu and about 16 different gin & tonic combinations that you just can't experience anywhere else (and of course, being all-inclusive it is so much fun to try new drinks). The drink of the day on Canada Day was a maple martini, with a maple leaf stenciled on top in cinnamon. • Enrichment activities were so interesting and fun. I enjoyed historical lectures about the area we were cruising (Alaska) by Dr. Jay Wolfe. I learned how to improve my iPhone photography. I especially loved the watercolor painting class offered on each sea day (with a guest exhibition at the end of the cruise). • Waiters circulating with different hors d'oeuvres each evening, as most everyone gathered and mingled in one of two amazing cocktail lounges, both with very nice music (piano player, violinist, and/or vocal duo). • One complementary reservation at each of two specialty restaurants made dining such a diverse wonderful experience (while the main dining room was delightful as well). The "anytime dining" in the main dining room actually worked well for us. I usually prefer sitting with others rather than just my husband and I...but because we interacted with other guests all day, it was nice to just sit by the window in a table for two for dinner. • Entertainment! The production shows were amazing. The lounge musicians were delightful. And the Piano Player in the Avenue Saloon was the highlight of the evening each night for my husband. • No lines or crowds! At any time. Ever. Not at embarkation. Not at debarkation. Not at any lounge or activity. Not at the breakfast buffet. I can summarize the experience by saying that I felt like I was on a yacht being pampered, but with the friendliest down-to-earth fellow passengers; and that there were lots of interesting things to do, but at a much more relaxed pace than the frantic pace I feel on other lines. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We wanted to take a more relaxing trip this summer and friends highly recommended Crystal. This was our first trip although we have been on other similar ships on Regent and Silversea. The staff onboard was delightful - everyone went out ... Read More
We wanted to take a more relaxing trip this summer and friends highly recommended Crystal. This was our first trip although we have been on other similar ships on Regent and Silversea. The staff onboard was delightful - everyone went out of his way to accomodate. The public areas of ship were great. Food was good - breakfasts in particular the buffet were excellent. Dinner at the specialty restaurants was quite good. We loved all ports except Astoria which was a total waste of time. Our only complaint was the size of our cabin. We had chosen a midship veranda cabin and just found it way too small. In particular the bathroom (although it had two sinks) was exceptionally tiny. I know cruise ships never have large rooms but found this to be the smallest cruise cabin I have ever experienced. If we go on Crystal again we will have to consider when of the suites. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was my first cruise with Crystal and after 33 cruises this was the best of the best. The ship was so tastefully done. The crew was the best I have ever experienced and went out of their way to provide the best service ever. I am in ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Crystal and after 33 cruises this was the best of the best. The ship was so tastefully done. The crew was the best I have ever experienced and went out of their way to provide the best service ever. I am in the people business myself and Crystal knows how to treat their guests. The food was second to none and it didn't matter if you ate in the main dining room or a specialty restaurant. The rooms had everything you could want and if you needed anything it was provided. Crystal has gained a new member for life. Thank you for a great memory for my son and I on my 60th birthday cruise. The shore excursions were well planned and had great guides. I loved the enrichment lectures which proved great topics for our times as well as well educated lecturers. Room service was a real treat and once you called your items were delivered in under ten minutes. I can't wait to sail again on another Crystal cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I have cruised with Crystal before and have always had a wonderful time. I chose this itinerary as I have not cruised from Vancouver before. I arrived the day before embarkation, in time to have dinner at a wonderful restaurant/vinoteca ... Read More
I have cruised with Crystal before and have always had a wonderful time. I chose this itinerary as I have not cruised from Vancouver before. I arrived the day before embarkation, in time to have dinner at a wonderful restaurant/vinoteca called Lupo. The cruise terminal in Vancouver is huge, and once I found the Crystal representatives, embarkation was smooth and very quick. Once on board the fun began. The staff, as has been my experience in my previous cruises, was always so attentive, with more than one staff member making gestures that showed they remembered me from previous cruises. The ship, after its retrofit last year, is even more beautiful. The addition of Silk as a dining venue made finding a table anywhere on the ship a sure thing. As I get motion sickness I chose a stateroom on deck 8, towards the middle of the vessel. I really liked the new flat screen TV's installed in each stateroom, and the features available on it - movies, ship info, and news channels. Very nice. This is my fourth cruise on Crystal, the third on Crystal Symphony, and the ship does not look its age by a long shot. It is meticulously maintained, spotless and comfortable, from the lounges on the pool deck to the seats in the Hollywood Theater. The new Silk lounge is so comfortable, and I love the display on the wall. I dined at Waterside all nights except for two, one when I attended a Vintage Room dinner and the other when I dined at Umi Uma. The food at Waterside was utterly delicious and beautifully presented, only surpassed by the charm and attentiveness of the staff that attended me. I dined at one particular table each evening, because the staff was so wonderful and entertaining. I almost did not want to dine at the specialty restaurants and I did skip dinner at Prego just to dine at Waterside. The Vintage Room dinner was beautiful, the staff attentive and the food and wine were delicious. The sommelier was very pleasant and debonair. The company at the Vintage Room dinner was lovely and very interesting. Dinner at Umi Uma was delicious, from the shrimp tempura to the lobster stir-fry main dish. It never disappoints. As I do not like sushi I did not order any, and so I cannot comment on that. The entertainment on board was varied and enjoyable. I enjoyed the closing show, Illuminate, which has been revamped since my last trip on Crystal Symphony. It was wonderful. I attended one other show, which was compilation of different dances and singing. The dance troupe performed a rendition of the Magdalenha, by Sergio Mendez, as well as Irish step dancing. Their rendition of the Magdalenha was disappointing. Though the singing was technically good, the dancing was just OK. To dance the Magdalenha well you must feel it, and the troupe did not. It appeared that they were going through the technical motions, but the moves did not look authentic or even fun. Their Irish step dancing, however, was wonderful. There was a dance performance by two couples in professional Latin ballroom dancing which I did not attend, though not because of any doubt as to their skill. It was that Latin ballroom dancing is not actual Latin dancing but another country’s idea of that Latin dancing is. I also, for the first time, watched a movie in the Hollywood theater – Annihilation. It was fun and the popcorn provided added to it. I also attended Mozart Tea, which was wonderful. On this itinerary I took three excursions – whale watching in Victoria, a visit to the Chihuly Garden and Glass studio in Seattle, and the volunteer excursion in Astoria. The whale watching excursion was fun, and we were able to see a group of transient Orcas. We then traveled to see Humpback whales and were able to see a tail. Then we rushed off for the afternoon tea part of the excursion. I would have preferred to have spent the whole of the excursion watching the whales instead of cutting it way too short. The tea at the hotel was not enjoyable – we had to wait to be seated and then my teapot was tepid at the start, cold half-way through, and it tasted like water. The excursion to see the Chihuly studio was fabulous. The studio was incredible – the docent guiding us through the exhibit was very well trained and knowledgeable. Chihuly is extraordinary. The only issue with this excursion was that our bus, before we even made it to the first stop on the tour, was in an accident. However, this was entirely the fault of the other vehicle, not our bus driver’s. No one was hurt and we were able to stay on schedule. My excursion to the food bank in Astoria was a very rewarding experience. We were able to participate in the giving of food to customers at a local food bank. The facilities were immaculately clean and organized, and the staff who we assisted was splendid. As I have been to San Francisco many times before I did not participate in any excursions. Instead, I was able to have a friend come on board the Symphony to visit. We had a lovely lunch at Waterside, and even though we sat at a table different than the one I visited for dinner, we were well take care of. I was able to say goodbye to the staff who had made my trip such a wonderful experience. Disembarkation was smooth and straightforward. I have only a couple of complaints about this trip. The first was that during the movie in the Hollywood Theater the door that leads to the casino was left open and so you could hear the noise from the casino. This was a bit distracting but I still had fun. The second was that though I had requested a group transfer through the guest check-in feature months the cruise, I was given tags for those with independent travel arrangements. I had to go to the front desk to get the correct tags, which was a slight hassle. Other than this, my trip was, as has been the case with every cruise I have taken with Crystal, a wonderful experience. I have two bookings on file and cannot wait to be back on board. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our 6th Crystal cruise and 3rd on Symphony. Everything that we enjoyed previously about Crystal (food, service, enrichment, entertainment etc) was just as good as before, but this time we had the added bonus of the dry dock ... Read More
This was our 6th Crystal cruise and 3rd on Symphony. Everything that we enjoyed previously about Crystal (food, service, enrichment, entertainment etc) was just as good as before, but this time we had the added bonus of the dry dock enhancements. The ship was in excellent shape, especially considering the age, and the recent dry dock has enhanced most of those areas which were perhaps looking a little tired. I think that Crystal has done a tremendous job in this respect. In particular I loved what they have done with Waterside (formerly the Crystal Dining Room). Now, it looks much more inviting and the introduction of open seating seems to work really well. I also loved what they have done with the area where Silk, the new Chinese restaurant is situated. We found the food across all the dining venues to be excellent. Over the 14 days, we had only one meal which we felt was sub-par which I think is pretty good. Waterside (main dining room) – we ate here 3 times and found the open dining to work exceptionally well. The menus are varied and interesting and we thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the ambience. We felt the service was better than previously, probably because the dining room was never full to capacity due to the open seating. Umi Uma (Japanese) – we love Umi Uma and ate here several times. The yellowtail, tuna and wagyu sashimi are just out of this world.  Prego (Italian) – we have always enjoyed Prego, but I think it was even better this time. Couldn’t fault a thing in 3 visits. Silk (Chinese) and Churrascia (Brazilian steak house) – we loved having these 2 additional dining venues and enjoyed both. The added variety of restaurants was a major advantage for us. It was great to have the full 14-day cruise, not least because it gave the opportunity for some good weather. Another advantage of this cruise was that it started and finished in Vancouver which was easy to get to from the UK. It also gave the opportunity to spend time in Vancouver at each end of the cruise. We enjoyed most of the ports. Some were fascinating, others not so much, but the excursions offered by Crystal made something of even the less-interesting ports. Stand-outs for us were Vancouver, Victoria, cruising the Hubbard Glacier (words can't express the perfect day we had there), and cruising Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier. We stayed in an original PS and half-way through the cruise switched to a Seabreeze PS. This had not been arranged ahead of time, and once it had been ascertained that a Seabreeze PS was available for the second part of the cruise, Crystal went above and beyond to make it very easy for us to make the switch. We liked both suites for different reasons. The original PS has a more open layout and seems to be more spacious, although it is not. The bathroom has a bath and a shower. The new PS is fresh and new and has a more closed layout, with a partial dividing wall between the bedroom and the living room. This allows for a large TV to be positioned centrally on each side of the wall for optimum viewing from both the bedroom and the living room. The bathroom has no bath tub, but does have a large and very good shower. It also has a combination washer/dryer. In both cases, the bed, linens and pillows are wonderful. We have always enjoyed the entertainment and enrichment on Crystal ships and this time was no exception. I think they do really well to come up with quality acts for such a relatively small ship. All in all, this was a great cruise and we continue to be impressed with Crystal. We think enhancements made in dry dock have very much improved the overall look and feel of Symphony. I have mentioned service already, but feel that the crew deserve a second mention. We enjoyed exemplary service throughout and some genuine kindness when I was unwell for a day. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We have cruised Crystal on 4 other occasions and enjoyed each one immensely. This was no exception. We had our daughter and her husband with us this time, and it was fun to see the experience through their eyes. Our departure from ... Read More
We have cruised Crystal on 4 other occasions and enjoyed each one immensely. This was no exception. We had our daughter and her husband with us this time, and it was fun to see the experience through their eyes. Our departure from Vancouver was very smooth and we were in our rooms by 2pm. We chose to sit at a table for 4 every night and just enjoy each other's company. The main dining room was our favorite place, although we did go to Umi Uma, which was good and Prego, which was very good. Service was impeccable throughout the cruise but we especially enjoyed our waiters in the Waterside (main dining room). They were cheerful, funny and extremely competent. Our head waiter, Andres, went out of his way to provide a special dessert request one night. Although I did not use the spa services, my daughter had a pedicure and she raved about the lovely woman that did her nails. There were a few more children on this cruise than usual, around 12 or so, but they were well behaved and rarely heard. Note to cruisers that are considering Crystal: if you have never experienced an all inclusive cruise, you should not think twice. It is worth every penny. This ship is never crowded, almost no lines or long waits for anything. Internet is great in most locations. Staff and crew are superb. Food is outstanding. Wines served with dinner are very good and top shelf liquor is included in your fare. Embarkation and debarkation are smooth. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this itinerary so we could see the Hubbard Glacier and not all ships go there. Also, we took a Princess cruise in 2005 and after that experience I couldn't have cared less if we ever cruised again. Then comes our 20th wedding ... Read More
We chose this itinerary so we could see the Hubbard Glacier and not all ships go there. Also, we took a Princess cruise in 2005 and after that experience I couldn't have cared less if we ever cruised again. Then comes our 20th wedding anniversary and I started the research. Crystal seemed to meet all of our criteria - outstanding dining, great wines, less passengers, and their staterooms. We booked a Penthouse with Verandah and it was worth every penny! Our cabin was HUGE, walk in closet, large bathroom with full size tub, good sized shower, double sinks. I loved the dressing area and make up mirror. The Nespresso coffee machine was a great feature and we used it every day. Our butler Neil was beyond delightful. The service provided on the entire ship (except for the Prego restaurant we visited one night- meh) was nothing but top notch. The hidden gem on this ship is the Tastes restaurant on the Lido desk. Dinner there was fantastic, as was Silk Road. I was never disappointed with the MDR. Their food was outstanding. Service exceptional. I read reviews about the ship needing some care and, yes, there are some things that show a little wear but it wasn't anything horrific as indicated in many reviews. I will say that it's an older crowd and the entertainment is geared towards them as well. The music in the Crystal Cover Bar got a little old but I realize they are appealing to a very affluent and well-traveled clientelle. We didn't care about the entertainment to be quite frank. We enjoyed being together, being on our balcony, dining well and just relaxing. NEVER EVER take an Alaska cruise without visiting the Hubbard Glacier. It's UNREAL! I would do this all over again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was my first cruise in decades, and the first ever for my husband. He was particularly worried about the "people" factor. Suffice it to say, we are converted and cannot wait for our next crystal experience! ... Read More
This was my first cruise in decades, and the first ever for my husband. He was particularly worried about the "people" factor. Suffice it to say, we are converted and cannot wait for our next crystal experience! Accommodations Our room was very nice and roomy enough. We had a balcony which I think is a must. We were traveling with my parents who had the cabin next to use and we were able to open the door between our balconies which allowed us some common space without giving up our privacy. We loved this. I was especially impressed with the bathroom - a double sink and roomy shower. The closet was a good size, room under the beds for luggage, and a stocked refrigerator. Dining We were extremely impressed with the food options and felt that every dinner in the dining room was like a fine dining experience. The dishes were elegant, delicious and well presented. The wine options were really nice as well and people really went out of the way to make sure everyone had their favorite drink. We also really enjoyed the specialty restaurant Prego - the carpaccio was amazing! Silk Road was good but I expected better. I think I would probably opt for the sushi bar next time around. Most mornings were had breakfast at the buffet and the options were comprehensive and of high quality - we especially appreciated all the healthy options. Lunches in the dining room were good but not as stellar as the dinners - although the coconut nut shrimp I had one had was one of my favorite dishes on the trip! We also enjoyed the fancy tea one afternoon and the spread for that was incredible. The bistro always had something available, if you just wanted a bite, and it was a nice area to enjoy an afternoon coffee or tea. Service One word describes the service: exceptional. Our waiters in the main dining room - Nicola and Emir were wonderful - very personable and great at making us feel welcome. Our wine steward Mila knew all our favorites after our second night and had my husband's drink almost as soon as he sat down. We felt like special guests everywhere we went. It was a great feeling. Our cabin attendant Jasmina was wonderful and always friendly and interested in making us as comfortable as possible. The ship The spaces on the ship were comfortable and attractive and spacious enough that everyone could find their spot without being on top of each other. There were lots of areas that looked lovely that I never got to spend time in because I was so busy. I especially loved the Saloon bar. Entertainment There are a lot of options hoping to appeal to a wide range of interests I never got to see a movie but thought the variety was great. The main stage shows were okay - I'm not a fan of singing to pre-recorded music so when that was used I wasn't a fan. The billy Joel show was good -a great lead and well produced. We also loved Perry Grant (who performed nightly in the Saloon) and his extremely unique style. There was a community that formed just from people who enjoyed Perry every night. We also thought the magician Derek Hughes was excellent and were super excited to see Crystal has a relationship with the Magic Castle. It means the quality of magic going forward will be high. My husband thought that much of the evening entertainment, while well-produced, lacked any edge. He would have preferred a nightly band (rock, jazz, blues) in one of the bars that strayed from the smooth lounge music that was ubiquitous on the ship. Activities I'm sorry that I did not have more hours in the day to take advantage of everything offered. I really wanted to take a dance class but never had the time. My dad loved the bridge classes and raved about the teacher on board. Excursions and sites We enjoyed all of our excursions. My husband was especially fond of the the fishing trip in Juneau and felt it was the experience of a lifetime. We also felt the trip to see the Davidson glacier up close was very special. Seeing the glaciers in glacier bay and then the Hubbard glacier were the highlights of the trip. They were spectacular!! The captain steered the ship to make sure everyone had a fantastic view. I would have liked to have at least an idea ahead of time what we would be seeing. I ended up canceling a massage appointment I had been looking forward to because it turned out to be right when we were passing the glaciers in Glacier Bay. I understand that likely the times are tentative due to weather, but I felt there wasn't even an idea given beforehand about what to expect. Perhaps that is my one complaint, it would be helpful to have more information earlier, instead of agendas delivered to cabins in the evening, so we can plan better. For example, if bridge classes are almost always beginners in the morning and intermediate in the afternoons, why not tell us that? or if dance classes almost always happen right after lunch - let people know that. Or that every evening a movie will be shown twice, and then again the next afternoon. For those of us new, it took us days to get the pattern and it would have been helpful to have a sense of this earlier. Overall, our experience was excellent. We can't wait to return. It was wonderful to cruise with family as everyone could do their own thing and meet up for dinner each night to share experiences. Crystal really impressed us at every turn. It's well worth the cost. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We were on the 10th floor in a stateroom on the back of the ship. Unbeknownst to us, six inches from our stateroom was a smoking area. With cigarette and cigar smoke coming into our room. We complained and the conceige told us they would ... Read More
We were on the 10th floor in a stateroom on the back of the ship. Unbeknownst to us, six inches from our stateroom was a smoking area. With cigarette and cigar smoke coming into our room. We complained and the conceige told us they would review their smoking policy. As if that was any help! My husband is a cancer survivor and the last thing we needed was smoke in our room. Their indifference to our situation is enough for us to never use Crystal ever again. Too many other disappointments with service to discribe here. Never again!!! The first night our wine steward was so rude it was astounding. We don’t what his problem was. After pouring the first glass of wine, he just slammed a bottle of wine on our table and we didn’t have any wine service after that. Which was really a relief! Not gourmet food, just good food fast. Getting close to 8:30 (the second seating) they practically pull the tablecloth off the table to get you out the door. The dining room is so noisy that having a conversation is difficult. The employees slam dishes and trays constantly. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We had wanted to take an Alaskan cruise for several years. We choose Crystal for several reasons. We wanted a round trip out of Vancouver, we wanted a nice ship and we wanted to visit either Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier. This Crystal ... Read More
We had wanted to take an Alaskan cruise for several years. We choose Crystal for several reasons. We wanted a round trip out of Vancouver, we wanted a nice ship and we wanted to visit either Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier. This Crystal itinerary met all those criteria. We had previously sailed with Seabourn, Oceania and Silver Seas. Up until this cruise Seabourn was our preferred cruise line. Crystal now is the top choice. We still like Seabourn, but the variety of venues on Crystal, because it is a larger ship really was impressive . The passenger count was around 900 and the ship was full, but you never felt crowded. The ship is very well maintained and quite lovely. Embarkation was a breeze. Upon entering the ship an crew member took our small carry on bags and escorted us to check in and then to our stateroom which was ready. Our penthouse verandah suite was beautiful. Very roomy with large closets and large verandah. Our butler Daniel arrived shorty after we did and let us know that he would be happy to take care of any request. We asked, if he could procure a latter seating for dinner and he took care of it. That was the way the rest of the trip went, if we needed help with anything Daniel took care of it. We had butlers on other ships and they usually did not take care of it. Anna was our head housekeeper and she was wonderful. She brought me just right combination of pillows, some soft some firm, that helped me get a good night sleep. The beds were very comfortable. She kept the cabin immaculate and we never knew she was there. Food was very good in every venue. We were delighted by the main dining room, because on Oceania and Silver Seas unless you ate in the specialty restaurants the food was not too good. Service was great thru out the ship, dining pool, spa. If you sail with Crystal there is a wonderful crew member named Benjamin and he works beverage service around the pool, he will know your name by the end of the day and remember it through the whole cruise. Shore excursions were wonderful. We did some whale watching, mushers dog sled and Misty Fjords. All were great, We had wonderful weather so that was a blessing. Glacier Bay was stunning. The captain positioned the ship very close to the glaciers. While we on deck observing the glaciers the staff came around with hot chocolate. I really highly recommend a cruise on Crystal Serenity. We are ready to be cruising with Crystal again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
First time Crystal Cruisers, spoiled for life. Very rarely do we see this kind of superior service. I can't even count them on one hand. The entire sailing was marked by pleasant surprises. We booked a year in advance, and I had ... Read More
First time Crystal Cruisers, spoiled for life. Very rarely do we see this kind of superior service. I can't even count them on one hand. The entire sailing was marked by pleasant surprises. We booked a year in advance, and I had forgotten that I had mentioned my birthday, and our anniversary. We were surprised 2 nights after dinner with a celebratory cake for our occasions, and well wishes from the staff. And lovely cards in the cabin, and our names on the daily occasions announcements on the TV. The bouquet of flowers that my husband sent to the cabin for my birthday, was exquisite! It's like the crew and staff are trained to never say no. We started to be careful to say, "Don't go to too much trouble, we were just wondering...." If we didn't start our inquiries this way, our wishes were carried out before we knew what had happened. The food was magnificent everywhere we went, and perfectly portioned. We always felt full, but when we got home, we had only gained a couple of pounds each. We were surprised at our traditional dining, as we were seated at the Assistant Chief Engineer's table. Thanks Samir for the company. What a treat to have an expert at our table to answer all of our cruising questions on the inner workings of our ship! We also enjoyed an invitation to the Captain's quarters for a cocktail. We are sushi lovers, and have never had a sushi experience on any cruise ship as fantastic as Silk Road. Again, if you don't see something you'd normally order at a sushi restaurant, on the menu, be sure to ask. Richie took excellent care of us at Silk Road! We very much enjoyed Tastes, and so much appreciate the Head Waiter fitting us in, after a late return from a shore excursion! At this sitting a huge eagle flew right past us, marvelous! We saw both of the comedians, and loved their shows! We enjoyed the rebroadcasts of the enrichment lectures in our cabin. We even enjoyed the brain teasers available in the library. The Bistro was always a great meeting spot to pick up a cappuccino or wine, and a little snack or fruit. Crystal Shore excursions- Skagway- Glacier Point Wilderness Safari-Loved this excursion! Not too aggressive, but a full day. The guides at the camp were delightful, knowledgeable, and charming. Davidson Glacier was spectacular! And when the boats were a little late picking us up at the camp, the guides went with us to pick wild strawberries. Victoria BC- Butchart Gardens and English Tea- we happened to be there on a very sunny day, and stepping into the gardens was like stepping into a movie. Just stunning everywhere we went. I used 2 of the pictures we took, for screen savers on my phone. So beautiful they don't even look real. They look like a graphic designer's summer dream. Be cautioned, the English Tea is amazing, and the tasty treats are plentiful and very filling. Go hungry, and expect to be full for a long time. Glacier Bay National Park- Once in a lifetime, perfect weather, dazzling! Just poetry. And be advised, soup and sandwiches are served in the Palm Court during the sailing through the park. This is also where the naturalist is stationed. There are neat little decks on the exterior of the Palm Court, where you can take breathtaking photos. I almost found this area too late, glad I caught it in time. In Prince Rupert and Sitka, we had no excursions. We wandered through town. Sitka was neat because there's a little hatchery on the main promenade, and salmon were lined up to spawn. These two ports, we lunched outside on the Lido deck looking over the pretty little towns below. And let me take a moment to let you know how amazing the meals on the Lido can be. We found on all of our visits, something that we wouldn't find on any of our other cruise line experiences, like perfectly cooked filet, or huge boiled prawns. This is not your ordinary buffet! Our cabin was perfect, balcony 8022. Loved the double vanity. The appointments were chic and inviting, from the marble top nightstands, to the plush bedding. Mariya kept us fully stocked with ice and plush towels. Really enjoyed the aft balcony on our deck, especially through Glacier Bay National Park. And the complimentary laundry was so very convenient. Lastly, I can't say how fantastic the all inclusive experience is! We've sailed some other cruise lines with drink packages, that we thought were adequate. But all inclusive is magnificent! It's obvious that when the servers don't have to deal with bookkeeping, that their attention is solely focused on taking care of cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We have never sailed on a cruise ship but do a lot of sailing on 10-12 passenger catamarans in Europe and Caribbean. Went on this cruise because friends were gong and we always wanted to do an Alaska cruise. We booked a penthouse with ... Read More
We have never sailed on a cruise ship but do a lot of sailing on 10-12 passenger catamarans in Europe and Caribbean. Went on this cruise because friends were gong and we always wanted to do an Alaska cruise. We booked a penthouse with verandah and all our concerns were assuaged. Despite that number of passengers, it never felt crowded. Never any lines. Extremely good about embarking and disembarking - very painless. When we came on the ship, some of the first on, cabin was ready for us, although we decided to have lunch first. My husband has celiac disease and the gluten-free requirement was no problem. Cabin was great and we used our balcony a lot. The sail into Glacier Bay was a highlight with rangers on board to answer questions and plenty of time in the Bay. Food was very good, as were the normal wines served with dinner. It made it so much easier not to have to figure gratuities and pay for drinks, etc. Everything felt very easy and the dress code was very manageable. My husband never needed a tie and I dressed as I would for going out to dinner at home in Houston. We will definitely think about doing a cruise with Crystal again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Wanted a smaller ship - had cruised on Azamara last year and liked the small ship experience. Very pleased with the Crystal experience - food and service were outstanding. So happy we made dinner reservations months in advance - we would ... Read More
Wanted a smaller ship - had cruised on Azamara last year and liked the small ship experience. Very pleased with the Crystal experience - food and service were outstanding. So happy we made dinner reservations months in advance - we would not have been happy if we had to wait on line for the 6:30 (too early) or 8:30 (too late) seating. We were able to get reservations for 7PM - do it early! The only snafu was the Meet and Mingle get together - the invitations were sent to our cabins, but when we all arrived at the designated meeting place, the staff was totally unaware of any get together. They did reschedule for another night, but since that date was near the end of our cruise - we did not attend. Our cabin was 8127 - near the elevators, but we never heard any noise from them - the stateroom was extremely quiet. This verandah cabin was advertised as "slightly obstructed view" - not at all a problem - you had to look down off of your verandah to see the obstruction. Another plus - we had our own somewhat private deck just down the hall at the rear of the ship - made it easy to run from port to starboard when we were cruising the glaciers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We wanted to see Alaska again and based on Crystal's previously held number one rating by a popular travel magazine and the many glowing reviews on CC we booked 10 days on the Crystal Serenity. We thoroughly enjoyed Alaska and our ... Read More
We wanted to see Alaska again and based on Crystal's previously held number one rating by a popular travel magazine and the many glowing reviews on CC we booked 10 days on the Crystal Serenity. We thoroughly enjoyed Alaska and our cruise. There were many things we enjoyed on Serenity, however, Crystal didn't live up to it's reported luxury status on our cruise. We are most likely "One and Done" with Crystal. The overall quality of the food was good to excellent. The overall layout, condition and cleanliness of the ship was excellent. The entertainment was a mixed bag but I would say it was above average to excellent. We thought the lectures and the iMovie classes were outstanding! Our cabin service was excellent and for the most part the crew was cheerful and engaging. So why the 'One and Done"? Our difficulties started with three trips to front desk to get functioning keys. (We all know about first impressions.) Next our experience in the Main Dining Room was the worst experience of any of our two dozen cruises. Our waiter was actually working in another section of the Dining Room so it wasn't poor service, it was literally no service. After three nights I complained and all subsequent visits to MD were excellent. We found Silk Road and Prego to be excellent. However, our worst dining experience was showing up 10 minutes before closing at Tastes without a reservation and being told we should consider room service. Ok, I was rather surprised but it was late and I agreed that RS would be ok. We ordered RS but somehow the order was lost or delivered to someone else. For the first time ever on a cruise we retired to bed hungry. We called RS after one hour had passed and were told it should be arriving soon. It never arrived! Crystal delivered a bottle of champagne the following day with an apology. Oh well, two points for that. Here's the issue I am most astonished by: We booked the train excursion in Skagway for 12:30 PM. That morning we wanted to shop in Skagway and asked the Crystal Excursion Rep if we would be able to board the train at the Train Depot in Skagway? Her answer: "absolutely"! At 12:15 we asked the ticket agent at the station where we needed to be to board the Crystal Excursion? Answer: "Back in front of your ship, the train for your excursion does not pass thru the station!" We had to literally run all the way back to the ship in an effort to make it back to the train in time! It left moments after we boarded! We were half way up the mountain before we stopped sweating.There was no miscommunications to the Crystal Rep, she was simply not educated on the specifics of that excursion, another simple fail for Crystal. In conclusion, in spite of these issues we had a overall enjoyable cruise. Crystal got a bunch right and a bunch wrong and that averages out to basically an "above average, also ran" experience for us. Not much different from other cruising we've done on other lines for substantially less cost. One additional observation was the intense preoccupation that the crew had towards preparing for the next NWP cruise. At times it seemed like we were aboard a sort of "dry run" for that cruise. Lastly, we are business owners that require the ability to stay accessible to clients for emergency situations. Crystal's internet access and speed does not meet our minimum requirements to stay connected to our business. That alone probably excludes us from future Crystal Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We had a wonderful 10 days despite the weather on our Crystal cruise to Alaska. We would prefer open seating rather than assigned 6 pm every night at the same table. It would be great to mingle with more people and dining with new ... Read More
We had a wonderful 10 days despite the weather on our Crystal cruise to Alaska. We would prefer open seating rather than assigned 6 pm every night at the same table. It would be great to mingle with more people and dining with new people on a regular basis would make that happen. The Breakfast and lunch buffets on deck 12 were very good. But dinner was a disappointment. I was so surprised that I was unable to dine on a good piece of salmon cooked to perfection on an Alaskan cruise. The shore excursions that we participated in were excellent. The guides were well informed, enthusiastic and enjoyable to be with. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, a couple of shore excursions were cancelled. I wish that we had additional lectures, as they were wonderful. Since the weather made it impossible for some excursions to go out, it would have been helpful to have additional lectures (repeats of those that were at inconvenient times (ie too close to early dinner)). Computer classes were helpful and enjoyable. Under the circumstances (weather), we could have had a few more classes as well! Entertainment mixed reviews. The dancers were wonderful as were some of the singers! Some of the other entertainers were not quite as good. Need some additional exciting entertainment. The Room Divisions Manager, Director of Activities, Captain, as well as other high level staff were always friendly. They went out of their way to make sure that we were enjoying the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Having taken many cruises on Silversea and Seabourn, this was my first Crystal experience, and although being mindful that while it is unfair to compare directly the Crystal product to the other two (due to Crystal's larger ship ... Read More
Having taken many cruises on Silversea and Seabourn, this was my first Crystal experience, and although being mindful that while it is unfair to compare directly the Crystal product to the other two (due to Crystal's larger ship capacity), given price, marketing and general feedback I read, I had high expectations. Overall the experience was very good, and I must say, that in terms of dining, Crystal were as good, or due to specialist dining venues, a touch better compared to Seabourn (my preference to date) - impressive given the increased capacity of the ship. With the exception of the main dining room, which I found noisy and frenetic at times, just OK food, with very inconsistent service, the specialist dining options of Prego and Silk Road were exceptional, as was the relaxed Tastes. One disappointment was afternoon tea. Tried it once and then to forget. Nothing compared with those on Seabourn and Silversea which really are lavish and exceptional daily events. Crystal's waiter service offering a small selection of boring sandwiches and cakes that you could find in the Bistro was extremely lack lustre. Customer service was overall very good, although it lacked some of the very personal touches on Seabourn that come with a smaller passenger number. Overall though I found the staff helpful and professional. One thing that I did note however (although this had no personal impact) was that our Cruise Director was the most low key, ineffective I have ever experienced, and seemed purely there to drift around the ship, open and close the entertainment, and record a daily briefing video. I'm sure he was doing a lot more, but we never saw it. We opted for the Penthouse Verandah. Lovely cabin, with plenty of space and storage, and our butler did a great job. Well worth the extra spend. Two things really left me disappointed. Overall, after the last refit, the ship is lovely, with a nice mix of traditional, modern and contemporary decor, all well maintained. I found the standard and style though was let down by an inconsistency in some of the public areas, for example the main dining room, casino most of all Palm Court. I was speechless at the decor in the Palm Court - potentially the most stunning space on the ship, on top deck with views forward. To me it seemed that during the last refurbishment, when they got there, Crystal ran out of money. The wicker furniture, fixed seating, and tired planting looked completely out of place with other public areas. The half empty pebble planters with plastic plants at the entrances were just dreadful. Did they put all this furniture together from other sources? It looked like something from the 80's. It did not even fill the space well. It looked tired and uninviting. Such a shame. My biggest issue and one that left me absolutely furious was disembarkation in Seward. Our pre-cruise documentation stated specifically that no flights could be booked from Anchorage International before 1400, due to docking time at 0800 and the long surface transfer from the ship. I was not at all happy given the implications for myself and my cruise companion, but duly complied. He was returning to Newport Beach California, and I was returning to Portugal via London. This restriction meant that I was unable to catch a flight form Anchorage to connect with any non-stop flights out of the US western seaboard that day to London, for a connection to Portugal. I therefore decided to travel back to Los Angeles with my friend, stay overnight and leave the next day. Given a schedule change by Delta, the only way for us to do that was at 1507 with Delta to Seattle, and with a change to Alaska Airlines, arriving LA at 0030 the following day! When we received our disembarkation details on the ship, 2 days before arrival, I was stunned to see that the ship was not arriving at 0800 but earlier. Indeed, our coach departure time was given as 0705!!!!!!!! I immediately queried this with the concierge, and to my further amazement, when challenged, he confirmed that some passengers had flights at 1215. I was absolutely furious. No explanation was given, only a suggestion to change my flights. When I explained that due to flight fare rules and change penalties, not least availability, that was not an option. I just got a blank expression. The result was that we arrived at the airport at 1030. We sat in the departure lounge and heard the boarding of a direct Alaska flight to LA, and even worse, a direct flight to Orange County (serving Newport Beach). So....we got up at 0600, had an exhausting day, arriving at LA at 0030, in to our hotel by 0200...wasting time, a day vacation for me,and money...and for no reason at all, had Crystal been accurate in their pre-cruise information. Strange that I have not been invited by Crystal to give feedback on this cruise (as today you cannot by a case of Coke without an online satisfaction survey), but I will be complaining about this. It was a horrible end to what had overall been a good experience. Would I go Crystal again? If the itinerary was good, and the fare competitive, possibly, but I have to say that I will probably be holding on with great excitement for the new launches of Silversea's Silver Muse, and Seaboard's Encore and Ovation. All three look stunning, and with products and service that I have always enjoyed tremendously. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
From embarkation to disembarkation we could not have asked for anything more. Our stateroom was situated on the Horizon Deck, midship. We dined in all of the locations and never once did we experience any upset stomachs. To us this goes ... Read More
From embarkation to disembarkation we could not have asked for anything more. Our stateroom was situated on the Horizon Deck, midship. We dined in all of the locations and never once did we experience any upset stomachs. To us this goes to show the high standard that Crystal adhere to. We also had a tour of the galley on our final day, this was very interesting indeed. Palm Court was a nice place to relax or at the Sunset Bar. It also tended to be where we went pre-dinner. We opted for four of the excursions. It was comforting to know that the ship would be waiting game for us, due to one of the excursions being late coming back. I will let you make up your own mind, for that is what we did. Lets just say we have already made an 'Open Booking'! Looking forward to making our next adventure aboard a Crystal ship. Happy sailing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Review Of Crystal Serenity: Alaska Cruise – Vancouver to Seward – 10 Days Northwest Passage – Seward to New York City – 32 Days Excluding my first cruise at age 12, my wife and I have been cruising since 1992 and have ... Read More
Review Of Crystal Serenity: Alaska Cruise – Vancouver to Seward – 10 Days Northwest Passage – Seward to New York City – 32 Days Excluding my first cruise at age 12, my wife and I have been cruising since 1992 and have taken well over 100 cruises. The sailing of the Northwest Passage ranks in our top couple of all-time cruises ever. It is by far the most unique cruise we have ever taken. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation at Vancouver turned out better than expected in spite of two other ships being in port that day. We stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel that is at Canada Place where the cruise ship terminal is located. Disembarkation was in New York City. It might have been challenging with two other ships in port, but since we had a private transfer with Crystal Cruises we had people from Crystal Cruises accompanying us the entire time from the time we were escorted off the ship to the time we got into our private vehicle. The one area for improvement would be having the luggage for those with Crystal private transfers in one section rather than combining it with another group of luggage. This is something that one of the Crystal representatives said would be corrected on the next cruise that disembarks in New York City. The Itinerary/Shore Excursions The itinerary including places on the itinerary plus the unexpected visits and all that we saw while at sea was incredible. Words cannot adequately express how much we enjoyed the itinerary. Following the first ten-day voyage when we did have rain in some of the ports we were blessed with incredible weather for the entire Northwest Passage voyage. While we were unable to get off at one of three ports in Greenland because of ice that in itself was unique as we had never seen so much ice while at sea. The visits and unexpected visits in the Northwest Passage were incredible. We took the community visits in each location. Although we were on an Ocean Vessel all of our visits had the feel and look of being on an expedition vessel. We took zodiacs to and from the ship and they were very organized allowing us to get on and off the ship in an orderly and safe manner. They were time perfectly so that we would not overwhelm any of the villages that we visited. Each visit allowed for interaction with the Inuit people and provided places to visit at each village. We also thoroughly enjoyed the hike that we took in one of the Greenland ports along with other community visits such as in Nome, Alaska. There were certainly many other options for excursions including Kayaking, Helicopters, Hikes and Overland’s. There were many highlights from the ship including seeing the ice and ten different polar bears, icebergs, glaciers, and the views of other sea life. Enrichment Program Crystal contracted with an expedition team over eighteen months before the actual voyage and they could not have selected a better team. They had a wonderful expedition leader and many interesting lecturers who covered a range of items including photography, history, geology, and so many other topics. They were not only experts in the areas they covered but they also were very personable. The same was true of others from the team including those who piloted the helicopters and those who drove the zodiacs. Typically three lectures were given each day. In addition, a daily 5:00 PM briefing was given that included a recap about the days activities along with information regarding next day plans. On top of this, they also had some lecturers who covered areas not related to the Northwest Passage. Entertainment: The entertainment was far greater than we thought it would be. It included production shows that are performed on most Crystal Cruises, some special events, and included several land based entertainers many of whom have performed on Crystal ships for years. Crystal also brought on some local shows for us. Cuisine: The cuisine was excellent.. We were wondering if some items such as fruits and vegetables would not be available as the voyage progressed but that was not the case. Crystal made special arrangements and chartered an entire 737 plane to bring on board perishable items in Cambridge Bay and then received another shipment in Nuuk, Greenland. Other than running out of some berries a day or two before taking delivery of new items we never felt like anything was missing. Service and The Crew: The crew on board Crystal ships has become the number one reason we sail with Crystal. The crew was better than ever. Many members of the crew helped out in areas that they normally would not be involved with and that included all of the crew that were present to assist in the process of getting guests on and off the ship via the zodiacs. Unlike typical voyages where the crew has the opportunity to get off in ports, the vast majority of the crew did not get off the ship until we reached Boston when the cruise was almost over. Yet, they were very positive and enthusiastic and took joy in listening to the guests describe their experiences to them. The Little Touches That Collectively Make A Big Difference: A lot and I mean a lot of thought was put into the planning of this voyage. They seemed to think of everything. They had high-powered telescopes and binoculars in one of the public rooms along with a special camera and large monitors in the public room to allow for getting wonderful views of sea life, other animals and the scenery. Realizing that there would not be enough items for guests to purchase at the first village, Crystal purchased art work for each guest that not only provided a memento for each of us but also contributed to the local economy. Realizing that it was very cold on the first unexpected zodiac voyage special zodiacs was deployed with hot chocolate, which was distributed to those guests on the zodiacs. A video was made for the guests and each guest received a jacket and a hat that worked out perfectly for the cold weather. Other items were provided along the way including a map and patches. Binoculars were placed in each room whereas they normally are only provided in the penthouse rooms. Internet: The Internet was quite a bit better than we expected. We thought that there could be outages each day and even that we could have days of outages. Other than one day where a good portion of the day the Internet was out of service we had many days with very little outages. The one area for improvement would be that on some days the internet would be out very early in the morning and would come up about fifteen minutes after the IT people began their workday. While 7x24 coverage might not be possible if there is away for someone from the IT group to start the day earlier or to be on-call that would help. Advanced Communication: Communications were very good and the web site for this voyage included an excellent question and answer write-up, which had answers to most of our questions. We also appreciated that Crystal made arrangements with a company called Ship and Shore allowing us to order clothing accessories and rent boots for this voyage. We could have the items sent to us at home or to the ship and we chose the latter. Their web site also had terrific recommendations on what type of clothing to have and we followed it and because of this we were very prepared for the voyage. We received three letters at home. A couple of minor items that could be improved for next year’s voyage would be to let those guests who are in standard staterooms to know that binoculars were being places in each of their rooms and to provide one specific letter on how the unexpected visits would work. While there was communication on the unexpected visits we found that some guests didn’t understand it as well as we did possibly because the information was contained in a letter that also covered other items. Planning: The planning that went into this voyage was amazing. I don’t believe that any voyage has ever had as much planning that went into this voyage and it clearly showed. While undoubtedly there might be some items that were not anticipated or that could have been modified, very few if any were obvious. It seemed to us that no stone was left unturned in the planning that went into this voyage. Bottom Line: This was clearly an epic and historical voyage. No cruise ship the size of Crystal Serenity and with as many guests and crew had ever sailed the Northwest Passage. The standards and planning that went into this voyage should be the model that other cruise lines who might sail this itinerary in the future should be required to follow. We are so very glad that we were on this very special voyage and we can say without a doubt that this voyage was a cruise of a lifetime. Congratulations to Crystal Cruises for allowing us to see a part of the world where very few people have gone and to do it in a manner that mirrored being on an expedition ship while enjoying all of the luxurious amenities that we enjoy on each Crystal Cruise. Kudos to Team Crystal including Team Serenity and Team Los Angeles. You have our respect and admiration for all that you do. You are the best in our book. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We had a great time, but as quite a few other reviews suggest, Crystal is slipping. The service in the main dining room was atrocious. The server was so confused by the orders that my wife something with lobster, which she is very ... Read More
We had a great time, but as quite a few other reviews suggest, Crystal is slipping. The service in the main dining room was atrocious. The server was so confused by the orders that my wife something with lobster, which she is very allergic to, and so Heidi was sick all night. I would have expected at least a token from the ship. The rest of the time, service was just garden-variety mediocre, with no one coming by etc. I've had much better service on Disney and even NCL. To a lesser extent, it was clear throughout the ship that "tips included" means "we don't have to try that hard." Of course people did things they were supposed to, but it was perfunctory. The Bistro and Lido Deck were prime examples of lackluster service. Some cost-cutting is apparent, too. They used to have lavish lunch buffets with ice sculptures. None now. The ship is also looking dated, especially the common rooms and the atrium. Celebrity Solstice Class has a better hard product. Pluses: both speciality restaurants, Vintage Room (though it's overpriced given that food and wine are already included), logistics (embarkation, etc.). The shows are still great. The piano player in Avenue Saloon (Perry) was fantastic. The speakers and classes are still a cut above. Needless to say, it was still a great cruise, but the slipping standards are disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
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