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32 Crystal Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We have just disembarked from the Crystal Symphony in Rome after a 11 day cruise. We couldn't fault any part of the cruise and feel we have experienced a very professional event. The entertainment was always enjoyable. All the ... Read More
We have just disembarked from the Crystal Symphony in Rome after a 11 day cruise. We couldn't fault any part of the cruise and feel we have experienced a very professional event. The entertainment was always enjoyable. All the staff were friendly and efficient but especially would like to mention our 2 dinner waiters on Table 49 at the 2nd sitting, Salih and Viaos Both of them were amazing, efficient and lovely personalities. We looked forward to dining experience because of them. Our other waiter was Louis in the Palm Lounge. He looked after our party of 14 wonderfully and efficiently, we couldn't fault him and his co-worker. Because of their friendliness we went to the Palm Lounge every day. They contributed to making our 'Crystal' experience complete. And of course our maid on the 7th Floor Marcie, always bright and helpful. We would love to do another Crystal cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We are a healthy, active couple in our mid-sixties who choose cruises based on the itinerary. One of our "bucket list" destinations was the Amalfi coast and this cruise made stops at both Sorrento & Amalfi. We took ... Read More
We are a healthy, active couple in our mid-sixties who choose cruises based on the itinerary. One of our "bucket list" destinations was the Amalfi coast and this cruise made stops at both Sorrento & Amalfi. We took excursions arranged by the ship and excursions with outside providers. The ship's excursions were fine and we enjoyed them. We did have rough seas on the stop at Amalfi which made entering and exiting the tenders difficult (and there were a few injuries as a result). We also prefer a smaller ship and the Crystal Symphony is just the right size. It never felt crowded and it is quiet, but there is plenty to do if you want to be busy. Our cruise had quite a diversity of passengers. According to the captain, 32 nationalities were represented among the passengers. There was also quite a mixture of ages, although probably most were over 60. But there were a number of younger people and even a few children younger than school age. We had a C1 cabin on the promenade deck, which was very nice (see the cabin review for details). The food was good, especially at Prego, and there was a large variety. You could certainly eat healthily if you wished to. Would have liked longer hours for lunch & dinner at the Lido Cafe & Trident Grill, though. We don't gamble, so the casino was wasted on us. The other entertainment was adequate. The only activity that we participated in was the pre-destination lectures, which were informative and entertaining, if fairly brief and broad. They are broadcast over the ship's TV channel if you miss them. We would have enjoyed more frequent and more in-depth lectures about our destinations. The service and staff were pleasant and attentive. Unlike previous cruises, the staff is very diverse (the captain said 49 nations were represented in the staff). All the staff works hard and it shows. The ship is immaculate. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and look forward to another cruise with Crystal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The food was amazing each dish was a beautiful creation. The staff was kind accommodating and always ready to say yes. The entertainment was mundane except for the piano bars which were great. Perfect cruise foe eating and ... Read More
The food was amazing each dish was a beautiful creation. The staff was kind accommodating and always ready to say yes. The entertainment was mundane except for the piano bars which were great. Perfect cruise foe eating and drinking. If you have trouble walking beware. They do not accommodate , at least they didn't for me. I ended up missing activities because I couldn't get from my room to the event. I had asked for a handicapped room, not available, then asked for a room close to the elevator, it didn't happen. Confirm which cabin you're getting and where it is located., even thou I paid for a balcony no effort was made to make it easier. If you go just walk slowly and eat a lot I was disappointed that no food or entertainment was related to the part of the world we were in. but the food was so wonderful that it wasn't a big deal. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was the first time I have sailed with Crystal. I had certain expectations engendered by what I had been told by friends who have made a life cruising around the world, and which were not all negative. I arrived back home wishing I ... Read More
This was the first time I have sailed with Crystal. I had certain expectations engendered by what I had been told by friends who have made a life cruising around the world, and which were not all negative. I arrived back home wishing I could have stayed longer and as a frequent land-traveler I do not often say that. There is elegance in simplicity and, though the ship is not as technically modern as other ships, the Crystal Symphony certainly is elegant. Friends advised me to start with a smaller cabin and not a large one because, in their opinion, if I did I would be spoiled forever. I can only agree. I booked a smaller cabin and though I wasn’t in it for anything other than sleeping it was very pleasant. I had space left over after unpacking and, though I hate to admit it, I packed much more than I needed. I did get the opportunity to see one of the penthouse suites and I am thankful to my friends for their advice – had I booked one of those I would not have wanted to leave the ship and that would have been a shame. I suffer from motion sickness and expected to become ill but the location of the cabin, mid-ship and between two decks with other cabins in them, prevented me from it, even on one particular night when I could feel the faint swaying of the ship. The feature I liked most about the Symphony was its staff and crew. From first setting foot on board to disembarking I was lavished with friendly attention and service. From the staff taking care of me out by the pool to the staff serving at Prego they were all so pleasant. I loved Prego as much for the gentlemen who had me laughing as for its food. The food was wonderful and living in a city known for its world-class cuisine that is saying something. I am sure, though, that had it not been so I would have enjoyed dining just because of the staff. One of the little things that have made me love Crystal is the staff at Prego moving my table so that I could watch the sunset. I was advised not to miss it and had it not been for them I would have. An unnecessary aside: they looked very smart in their white jackets. The entertainers were very talented, from the orchestra members to the pianists at the evening venues. Not only were they technically skilled but also warm and friendly when not performing, which is not always the case. One of the piano players had me laughing non-stop on more than one night after they finished their set. The venues were varied, from classical pianists to a performance from the Broadway musical Chicago. The range can appeal to people with varied interests and is at the very least technically good. The ports we visited were fascinating, and another little thing I would like to mention refers to what occurred at Santorini. The shore excursions looked to be cancelled due to the high winds which prevented the passengers from disembarking on the tenders and using the cable car. I expected the ship to depart early but instead the Symphony used the engines to stay in position until we could get on land. As you cannot anchor in Santorini I liked the fact that the captain stayed using up fuel until we could get on shore. The site of Akrotiri on Santorini is impressive and our guide was very knowledgeable. I can say the same about Delos on Mykonos. I can say it for every excursion I was able to join. I have very few criticisms and I have to label them as that because there is no other word milder than it. One was waiting for the transfer to the ship from the hotel in Athens. The time given for departure turned out to be 1.5 hours later than what was originally given, time I could have used to visit in Athens instead of waiting at the hotel for the shuttle. On the ship itself I was annoyed by the fact that I could not hear announcements when in the stateroom. I am sure I missed some though they must not have been important as the trip went well nevertheless. I also would wish to have the films played in the Hollywood Theater more often than they were, but seeing as the ports of call were too wonderful to miss visiting this is negligible. The itinerary was very interesting, and getting to visit ports not often on itineraries was fabulous. The staff is wonderful and the entertainment and dining were great. All in all it was a lovely experience and I am looking forward to traveling with Crystal once again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We choose this cruise as I always wanted to go to Greece. We have sailed with Crystal many times. Initially we were ending up in Instanbul. They changed that as the cruise line deemed it not safe. The CEO of Crystal was on that cruise ... Read More
We choose this cruise as I always wanted to go to Greece. We have sailed with Crystal many times. Initially we were ending up in Instanbul. They changed that as the cruise line deemed it not safe. The CEO of Crystal was on that cruise so that may have had something the do with it. It as changed Athens to Athens. It was a good cruise but cost us a lot to Change airfares etc to accommodate this. The ports were all nice, it was a perfect time to go, right before Grrek Easter. The weather was perfect, it wasn't crowded yet and all the islands were beautiful. Negatives were no sea days which we had originally. Not getting to go to Istanbul was very disappointing. If I had to do it again, I might have cancelled. But it's Crystal and they do a wonderful job always. The food and wine is wonderful. The service is the best. The specialty restaurants are grea. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was a very lovely cruise with wonderful attentive staff. The entertainment was not great. It was Broadway reviews almost every night. It would have been nice to have comic or magic night thrown in one of the nights. We made use of the ... Read More
This was a very lovely cruise with wonderful attentive staff. The entertainment was not great. It was Broadway reviews almost every night. It would have been nice to have comic or magic night thrown in one of the nights. We made use of the gym which was very nice. There is a deck for running which is the best and the largest running/ walking deck for a cruise line I have seen. Food and cabin were perfect...except for the coffee. Cruise coffee is always bad. Shore excursion to Ephesus Turkey is a must. We choose the "Ephesus Ancient city/ Mother Mary's house." We enjoyed the lectures on board. There was a great library with movie rentals. Our only complaint was the disembark from the ship. We used the Crystal transportation company to the airport. It felt very rushed and disorganized. We arrived at airport with only 45 minutes to spare for boarding. There was a fight between passengers. Poor staff did know how to handle these rude people. We barely made it through two different security screening check points. We were told that if we had not made it Crystal would pay the cost. I never saw that in writing anywhere. Ship is a little dated but is very clean and beautiful flowers everywhere. The food is the best part and it 4.5 at the worst nights and 5 star on the best nights. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Crystal Serenity is a very beautiful smaller cruise ship. It only carries up to 1000 passengers. The ratio of passenger to crew is one crewmember to every 3 passengers. That does make for unbelievable service. This was our first cruise on ... Read More
Crystal Serenity is a very beautiful smaller cruise ship. It only carries up to 1000 passengers. The ratio of passenger to crew is one crewmember to every 3 passengers. That does make for unbelievable service. This was our first cruise on Crystal Cruises and I am about to book another for 2017. I had told my travel agent that I wanted to pamper my wife since she had just finished her radiation for breast cancer and was found to be cancer free. It was a long six months for her. Our travel agent suggested the all inclusive cruise on Serenity. The service was on such a high level that it made the Four Seasons Hotels service and the Waldorf of New York services seem meek compared to Crystal's service. Believe me I should know for I was in the Hotel Industry for over 40 years and worked at some of the finest hotel companies in the world. Crystal's upscale service is seen as soon as you go to check in. It is one of the smoothest and quickest check ins I have ever experienced. Upon entering our beautiful stateroom one could see how well appointed it was. The bathroom consisted of double granite sinks, his and hers, plenty of storage spaces and a full bathtub and shower. Most comfortable and spacious bathroom on any ship I have been on. We really enjoyed the 24 hour room service. It definitely came in handy at 2 am after a night of dancing. The all inclusive package was the best I have ever had. Being able to have a standing order of beverage to be delivered at a certain time everyday was outstanding especially my 10 am bloody Mary. Lol The main dining room was found to be the best. Every night the menu exceeded our every wish. The all inclusive cruise included one night in their two specialty restaurants.. They both were excellent but my wife and I enjoyed the fare in the main dining room much more. Their European staff could not do enough for you. As soon as your wine glass was half full, along came a staff member to top it off for you. Anyone looking for a first class luxury cruise I would highly recommend Crystal. You will not be disappointed. Much value for your dollar. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Background - have previously cruised the inside passage in Alaska with Holland America, Caribbean islands with Princess, Crystal was equivalent but a smaller ship (for better and worse) The food and service were excellent. Especially ... Read More
Background - have previously cruised the inside passage in Alaska with Holland America, Caribbean islands with Princess, Crystal was equivalent but a smaller ship (for better and worse) The food and service were excellent. Especially Verner Petrovic as our waiter in the main dining room. Prego and Silk Road specialty restaurants were very nice. Lido buffet and Trident grill excellent Free liquor is a mixed blessing, one tends to overdo and not be as energetic for the excursions. One show (Billy joel imitator) was excellent, rest were adequate. Uncrowded but dead nightlife, glad I wasn't a single. Older crowd 7th deck room with a view but no veranda was nice and equivalent to previous experiences, Crystal overall organizational skills were OK except the interface with excursions and when something went wrong Unfortunately we got hit by pickpockets in Barcelona, the 5th floor office staff were generally of no help and actually gave us misinformation while acting like she knew what she talking about. Then Thursday or so the final bill from Crystal was to be settled, all the sudden we could make free international collect calls from their desk instead going onshore to the police stations, or aural facetiming on iphone using wifi to relatives in states. DEFINITELY NOT a luxury touch when stressed, and when WiFi is 55 euro/120 minutes with spotty SLOW reception even when docked. AND NO ATM on board. Also they didn't email us in advance what pier to arrive at in Barcelona, there's 6 km of piers for the taxi in traffic to navigate BCN 3 days, lots to see, PICKPOCKETS, beaches a subway ride, Crystal's Gaudi tour was excellent Ibiza interesting for 1 day, snorkeling excursion for 4 hrs was only 45 minutes in the water each for >150 euro each, some fish and grasses, warm salty water, bring your own mask Cartagena interesting for 1 day, excursion was OK Gibraltar interesting for 1 day, the park is huge and hilly - take a taxi Casablanca interesting for 1 day, I wont go back, tour guide not what he seemed to be, flim-flam attempts were laughable Algarve Tivoli hotel in Carvoeiro or all of Lagos was very nice, finally a good excursion guide, I might go back if I wanted a beach vacation almost rivaling Cinque Terra in Italy, LIS 3 days, enough sights for 3 days no days at sea so we did excursions rather than dance or art etc on board, gym was ok If the itinerary fits I'd do Crystal again, but prefer Holland America and Princess Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
First time on Crystal cruises. Had high expectations, and found that they were exceeded. Yes Crystal is not cheap, but since tips and drinks are included, they are comparable to others in price. What makes Crystal different is the ... Read More
First time on Crystal cruises. Had high expectations, and found that they were exceeded. Yes Crystal is not cheap, but since tips and drinks are included, they are comparable to others in price. What makes Crystal different is the attitude of ever member of the crew. Everyone greets you every time you see them. Waiters started greeting us by name. President - Edie was very open to input from passengers and she is focused on making Crystal even better. Food in main dining room was outstanding. Waiter was very attentive. Wine steward never let glass be empty. Ship docked in the middle of Bordeaux so very convenient. At all ports that needed it, a free shuttle was provided to take us to the center of each town. We started in Barcelona, then Ibiza, Cartgenta, Casa Blanca, then serveal ports in Portugal finally all though western France and the channel island of Guernsey. Recommend the Optional Oyster Farm tour. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
My third cruise on Serenity and my favorite so far. I have sailed 4 times on Holland America, which I enjoy, but Crystal really is a superior experience. I stayed one night in Monte Carlo at the Fairmont (Crystal package) which was ... Read More
My third cruise on Serenity and my favorite so far. I have sailed 4 times on Holland America, which I enjoy, but Crystal really is a superior experience. I stayed one night in Monte Carlo at the Fairmont (Crystal package) which was dreadful and outrageously overpriced. Once I was on the ship the bad hotel experience was forgotten. I appreciated the seamless ease of the check in and the immediate invitation into the dining room for a lovely luncheon with generous pourings of champagne. My cabin (B1 class) was ready and my luggage waiting as soon as I finished lunch. The cabin suited my needs perfectly - I appreciate the generous sized bathrooms and the veranda. Overall I found the service exemplary in every category - no complaints at all. I dined at the 6:00 seating, table of 8. I truly enjoyed the food in the dining room - this is where Crystal really excels. Great company at my assigned table although only 6 seemed to join us. Superb service in the dining room. I did not visit any of the specialty restaurants during this cruise because I so enjoyed the food and company in the main dining room. I enjoyed ports in the South of France the most - especially Sanary-sur-Mer which was just beautiful and not as overrun with tourists as St. Tropez. I took Crystal shore excursions in every port except Mallorca (didn't get off the ship that day). I was happy with each excursion - no complaints, although some were better than others. I disembarked in Barcelona - took Crystal transfer to the airport which was perfectly organized - smooth, quick and easy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our first Crystal cruise. We have cruised several other cruise lines including Celebrity, HAL, RCI and Carnival. We chose Crystal for this cruise because we normally cruise with our children and we wanted to do something special ... Read More
This was our first Crystal cruise. We have cruised several other cruise lines including Celebrity, HAL, RCI and Carnival. We chose Crystal for this cruise because we normally cruise with our children and we wanted to do something special for our romantic 20th anniverisary just for the two of us. We had an amazing three day precruise stay in Rome. On embarkation day, we had beautiful weather. The embarkation process was extremely smooth and easy. My evaluation in a nutshell: Cabin: We had a GTY cabin and received a category upgrade. We had a Deluxe Verandah Stateroom on Deck 10. The loaction was excellent. It was near the elevator and stairs. Easy access to everything. The decor was lovely. Very elegant and subtle. We had a nice verandah with comfortable furniture. Lots of storage space and a great bathroom with 2 sinks. I didn't give the cabin five stars only due to space issues. For the price point, more space would be nice. Dining: Dining on Crystal is extremely refined . The quality of the ingredients and the care in the presentation is apparent in each morsel served. In the main dining room, there are 2 sides of the menu with traditional and modern cuisine. All very good. We enjoyed our meals at the specialty restaurants: Prego, Silk Road and Tastes. Our favorite was Tastes, a casual dining option with creative and flavorful dishes. Our only criticism of the dining on Crystal was the relative lack of options if you wanted a casual dining option or wanted to eat a later lunch after coming back from shore excursions. I loved the ice cream and the coffee at the Bistro. Service: Service shines on Crystal. Absolutely impeccable in every aspect. Kudos to Crystal. Activities: The enrichment speakers were truly outstanding. I actually learned a lot on my vacation! The Magic Castle and evening entertainment were all very well done.I did feel that this was an area that the bigger ships do have a bit of an edge ( barring the enrichment was is superior on Crystal). Public Spaces: The ship was perfect,y maintained. The decor was thenepitomy of quiet elegance. Lots of quiet areas tonrelax and read or enjoy a drink. Never had a feeling of crowding. Just an oasis of relaxation. Spa Services: I had an excellent massage with no hard sell at the end...a welcome change from other cruise lines. The Ports: We had incredible luck. Perfect weather throughout the cruise and wonderful ports. All were enjoyable. Malta, Sorrento, Santorini, Ephesus, Taormina, Rhodes, and Istanbul. We loved having overnights in Malta, Sorrento and Istanbul as it gave us more time to explore. Excellent itinerary. Disembarkation: We disembarked in Istanbul. It was quite chaotic. Not sure how much control Crystal had over the process there. We enjoyed 4 extra days in Istanbul . A pity it has been cancelled as a cruise destination by most major lines. We loved Crystal and have booked a cruise i. juky for our entire family. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our third cruise and first on Crystal Serenity so we are fairly new to cruising. We embarked in Rome and the process was effortless. Disembarkation in Istanbul was terrible. We left the ship about 9:30 am and stood in line for ... Read More
This was our third cruise and first on Crystal Serenity so we are fairly new to cruising. We embarked in Rome and the process was effortless. Disembarkation in Istanbul was terrible. We left the ship about 9:30 am and stood in line for about two hours to go through passport control. We had prearranged transportation to our hotel in Istanbul and that was perfect although a bit chaotic. I was disappointment in both restaurants. The food at Prego was ordinary at best as was the service. I really enjoyed Tastes. We chose the open seating because we preferred to be free to dine when we wish. Our friends were disappointed that with open dining, we would be seated as a twosome or foursome when we ate together. In hindsight, they would have enjoyed sitting at a table for 8 so they could to meet new people. We would enjoy either. The ship was simply perfect for us. The weather this time of year couldn't have been better. I arranged most of our excursions independently of the ship and they were perfect. The Port of Sorrento was lovely. I have been to Pompeii and Capri before, so my husband and I chose to wonder on our own. Capri was crazy crowded and with several ships in port, it was a nightmare of chaos. Sorrento was lovely the next day as I think most people take the other excursions and miss how lovely Sorrento is. Entertainment was good, although we preferred to go to our room and relax after a busy, busy day. Overall a wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Our first Crystal cruise; we began cruising in 1998 and have taken at least one a year since, 8 with Oceania. The Serenity is a beautiful ship, meticulously maintained and extremely comfortable. The sea days offered many activities, ... Read More
Our first Crystal cruise; we began cruising in 1998 and have taken at least one a year since, 8 with Oceania. The Serenity is a beautiful ship, meticulously maintained and extremely comfortable. The sea days offered many activities, great lecturers, current films etc. Our stateroom was compact and there was plenty of storage. The bathroom had a tub - risky getting in and out - and the two vanity sinks were convenient. The guests were friendly, active, well-traveled and easy to chat with. The crew and staff are exceptional, many are long time employees and their eagerness to help and their friendly nature added to our enjoyment. Our sole complaint is with the dining policy. We chose late sitting and a table for 4, thinking we would meet another couple. Another couple never joined us yet our table remained set for four. Our table was next to several large tables of 8 and the area was noisy. The serving staff seemed to rush around, were eager to finish their shift. This was not the leisurely dining we expected aboard a Crystal ship. After 3 dinners in the dining room, we dined at Tastes, the informal restaurant placed where the covered pool use to be. Tastes became our restaurant of choice. No additional fee is required but reservations are. Tastes offered us a limited and unique menu; leisurely dining, a quiet atmosphere and we were not rushed. We also dined at Prego 3 times, nothing exceptional; we also dined once at Silk Road, the Asian restaurant, and the smell of raw fish was upsetting. We could not understand why tables were empty in the specialty restaurants and the dining room was crowded and noisy. Guests could not just walk in at the last minute to dine in the specialty restaurants. No sharing of tables as offered on Oceania ships. Guests we spoke to who selected the dining by reservation also complained about being seated near a serving station or in a noisy area. We asked for a different table for 2 and were told none were available. Fortunately we had Tastes. We cancelled next year's cruise aboard the Symphony when we were told there is no Tastes restaurant on that ship. For us to return to Crystal and their new ship due out in 2018, the dining policy needs to be changed. Open seating and any time dining has to be implemented. The set dining time is out of date. We were told the galley can't handle the any time open seating concept. On a different note, formal attire for women need not be a long gown; many women were dressed in slacks with a "dressy" tunic. I wish I knew that before packing! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
First time cruising in Crystal and had a lot of expectations..I loved it.From food to beautiful, spacious cabins, impeccable service,great itinerary.The staff are very professional,efficient and very friendly. Embarkation ... Read More
First time cruising in Crystal and had a lot of expectations..I loved it.From food to beautiful, spacious cabins, impeccable service,great itinerary.The staff are very professional,efficient and very friendly. Embarkation -disembarkation was fast and and luggage was handled carefully and transfers were o time. The specialty restaurants were amazing,having all inclusive( alcohol) is the way to go.. Since we didn't have a set time for dinner, it was great that they were able to accommodate us. One of my favorite days was in St Tropez, while spending all day there, we had access to go back to the ship and back in to town.Having a laundry room on the floor was really a plus, especially for a summer time vacation..Excursions were well organized and always run smooth and on time. Spa facilities amazing! Perhaps pool area can use a little love, but overall this is a fantastic ship, providing every guest a unique experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
After our youngest child graduated from college, we decided to splurge on a Crystal cruise in the Western Mediterranean. We had sailed on the crystal the Crystal Harmony several years ago and recalled the experience fondly. Also, the ... Read More
After our youngest child graduated from college, we decided to splurge on a Crystal cruise in the Western Mediterranean. We had sailed on the crystal the Crystal Harmony several years ago and recalled the experience fondly. Also, the itinerary called for stops in Majorca, Cadiz, and Lisbon, ports we were interested in visiting. We booked many months ahead and secured a good rate with an internet agency,including substantial shipboard credit. Embarcation in Barcelona was a breeze. We didn't have to wait at all. We checked in and went to lunch in the dining room, and were greeted with a flute of Champagne. As this was the first all-inclusive cruise we had been on, we realized that we would need to be moderate in eating and drinking, which was tough to do since the food was extremely good and the booze was always available. (We were amazed when, after returning home we found that one of us stayed the same weight and the other actually lost weight.) Our cabin was just a we expected. We had a limited view, but since we were on the starboard side, it really didn't make much difference. The cabin was very efficiently laid out. Our only complaints were that the mattress was too hard for our liking, but we never raised this as an issue since we didn't think anything could be done. Also the bathroom counter was only about 9 inches wide. Cabin service was outstanding. We would joke about trying to pack our stewardess, Jovanka, in our luggage when we left. It was very nice not to have worry about tipping, though would would have happily done so. The free self service laundry was greatly appreciated. The food everywhere was outstanding. We ate in the dining room every night, except for one night in Prego and two in Silk Road. The food in silk road was perhaps a cut above Prego, but only if you enjoy sushi and sashimi, which we do. We were seated at a table for six, but the other two couples were occasionally absent. When we asked to be reseated, we were directed to the Captain's table. A few diners complained that some of the desserts, like Bananas Forster, were not prepared table side, but they tasted fine to us. In the spirit of moderation, we tried to limit ourselves to wine at dinner. We found the complimentary wines to be quite good Service in the dining room was outstanding. We found our fellow travelers to be quite good companions. Although we are in our early sixties and comfortable financially, we got the sense that we were below the median in age and wealth, although nothing, of course, was a ever mentioned directly regarding the latter. The shore excursions we took we quite good. In particular we enjoyed the hike (nearly four miles) on Majorca and the Royal Equestrian School show in Jerez (Cadiz was the port. The later included a sherry tasting at a Bodega where the place bottles on the tables and allowed you to pour what you wanted. The entertainment was good, though one of us is not a big fan of Broadway show tunes, which seems to be a staple everywhere in the cruise industry. The Pianist/Comedian was good, as was the violinist when he played a classical piece the last night. Overall, the cruise experience was excellent. The ship is lovely and the number if passengers is less than most cruise ships these days. Service was uniformly good. However, the price point of Crystal Cruises is quite high. Is it good value for the money? This is a closer call, but in the end I would say so.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
My wife and I had never been on a cruise before as it just didn't seem like our kind of thing. Nevertheless, we signed up for this cruise, Crystal Cruise 3309, which went from Venice to Rome with 5 stops in between. Since it's ... Read More
My wife and I had never been on a cruise before as it just didn't seem like our kind of thing. Nevertheless, we signed up for this cruise, Crystal Cruise 3309, which went from Venice to Rome with 5 stops in between. Since it's a long way from California to Italy, we added time before and after in Italy to justify the long airline flight. We started off with 3 nights in Venice before boarding the ship. The embarkation process went very smoothly and we quickly lost first time cruiser angst. We had a cabin with veranda on deck 10. The room was very nice and more than adequate for our needs. The veranda is very comfortable and was larger than I expected. The bathroom was laid out very well and did not feel at all cramped, but rather seemed like an efficient use of the space. The beds were extremely comfortable, perhaps a bit hard for some but perfect for our tastes. Everything in the room worked well. The flat screen TV was well positioned for easy viewing from the sofa or bed. The first night, the ship stayed berthed in Venice and some tours were offered the next day. Since we had been three days in Venice, we elected to stay on board and checked out all the ships facilities. Our room was close to the forward stairwell/elevators, so we could get anywhere on the ship quite quickly. The ship seemed in immaculate condition. Scoped out the steam room and sauna on the top deck. It turns out, these are accessible 24 hours and became one of our favorite spots. Both the steam room and sauna were under utilized so I often had them to myself. The sauna in particular has a window to the outside so sitting there, sweating, watching the world go by was a enlightening experience. The first night, we booked in one of the specialty restaurants, Prego. It was very nice and we were a bit regretting that we could only pre-book one night. After that we ate in the main dining room (MDR) every night and were not at all disappointed. The menu was varied and always very good, some evenings downright delicious. Our desire to try to rebook at Prego waned as the MDR was terrific. Our waiters, Zoran and Angela were very attentive. Crystal does not seem to scrimp on staff. Our 2 waiters had only two (8 person) tables to tend to and got help from busboys and others. We had breakfast each morning in the LIDO buffet. There was never a wait except if one wanted a cooked to order omelet. The selection was very good for either American or European tastes... Bacon, Sausage, scrambled eggs, cold cuts, cheeses, breads, fruit, and fresh squeezed OJ. Our diner waiter, Zoran, recognized us and after the second morning knew our preference for cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso and had it for us without asking. Overall, the food quality and food service was much better than I had imagined possible. BTW, this cruise was all inclusive, so there was no extra charge for wine or cocktails or an after dinner port. The wife developed a taste for lemoncello. One could order special drinks that did cost, but we never found the wines and drinks offered to be at all wanting. We didn't go to any stage shows but did take in a couple of movies. The theater is small (may 100-150 seats) but more than adequate and was never more than 1/2 full. We did take in a special up close magic act. It was pretty lame, and seemed more like a promotion for the Magic Castle in LA. The ports of call were all pretty interesting. We did book one tour through the ship, Pompeii, during our call to Sorrento and it was wonderful with a very animated and informative guide. For all the other destinations, we just took the cruise line supplied shuttle to town and walked around the towns. Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, and Taormina each are charming and interesting. It was easy to burn 4 or 5 hours just walking around, looking in windows, drinking the local beer, and finding a free WIFI to catch up on the world. So what the bottom line..... The cruise was terrific. Crystal did a great job. Everyone was friendly and helpful. The concierge was very helpful the few times we needed something. The tour desk was also really informative. Our waiter was a jewel.... he even had some suggestions about what to see in the various ports. The condition of the ship was more or less perfect. There were no lines. The food was great. The all inclusive package is the way to go. The only minor quibble is I would prefer more non-smoking areas, though once we identified the areas that allowed smoking they were pretty easy to avoid. I can only hope this doesn't spoil me. We're looking into a Princess cruise and some of the reviews of the Grand Princess are getting me a bit nervous. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
The cabin was as advertised and as expected. The bedding was luxurious. The bathroom was spacious by ship standards. The food was good, not great, which was disappointing, since we expected great. The cheese selection was outstanding. The ... Read More
The cabin was as advertised and as expected. The bedding was luxurious. The bathroom was spacious by ship standards. The food was good, not great, which was disappointing, since we expected great. The cheese selection was outstanding. The "included" red wines were not good; the included white wines were acceptable, but no better; there were a couple of sparkling wines that were very good, and one very good champagne---but they ran out of the latter before the cruise ended and didn't replenish, although we were in France at the time. (And the sommeliers didn't want you to order it anyway. They were, on the whole, not helpful. They pushed the wines which cost extra, and those wines were expensive.) If you were lucky and got a good maitre d', he steered you towards the better-prepared food choices. The specialty restaurants were good if you knew what to order (one night the Italian restaurant had linguini made with fresh clams from that day's port, and it was outstanding.)Room service was good.The shore excursions were outrageously overpriced. A $635 Grand Prix ticket (plus a mediocre boxed lunch, ear phones, a thin seat cushion and a guide per 20 people to walk you from the ship to the grandstand) cost $829. I agree that a mark-up is appropriate, but 30% is too much. We booked the cruise at the last minute, so had no choice but to purchase from Crystal. We were told that other shore excursions also had astronomical mark-ups.Crystal's representatives told us that wi-fi was free; it was not, which was very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was our fifth Crystal Cruise and possibly our last. In my eyes, it was the classes and fabulous, educational lectures during sea days during our prior Crystal Cruises which distinguished Crystal from other luxery & non-luxury ... Read More
This was our fifth Crystal Cruise and possibly our last. In my eyes, it was the classes and fabulous, educational lectures during sea days during our prior Crystal Cruises which distinguished Crystal from other luxery & non-luxury lines. With port days each day of our cruise, there were no lectures. We found the attention of the crew much worse than it had been in the past. There were no beautifully presented luncheon buffets or the final buffet extravaganza that was too beautiful to touch. Our housekeeper didn't refill our refrigerator with items that had been used. She left empty, used glasses and plates so that we had to call Housekeeping to remove them. We needed to flag down waiters to refill our drinks during breakfast. This isn't acceptable on a luxury cruise. Also, they bill the cruise as providing top shelf liquor however, the wines were only mediocre. We keep kosher and as always, we found the food extraordinary. We even asked our head waiter to bring out enough of our baby lamb chops to share with the other diners at our table and they devoured them and rated them an A+! However, my intent when I go on a cruise is to experience the cruise experience which can only be done shipboard. As there is nothing happening on ship when in port, that defeats my purpose. Will I go on Number 6? I don't know. So far I haven't found any itineraries that satisfy my requirement for sufficient sea days. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We believed the PR about Crystal's ultra luxury image, and were expecting to be wowed. Well, whilst overall we enjoyed our cruise, we were somewhat underwhelmed. We were surprised at how dull and dated many areas of the ship were ... Read More
We believed the PR about Crystal's ultra luxury image, and were expecting to be wowed. Well, whilst overall we enjoyed our cruise, we were somewhat underwhelmed. We were surprised at how dull and dated many areas of the ship were (we struggled to identify what the much heralded refit had done - not having seen the ship before), and had a real issue with the antiquated and permissive smoking policies operated on this ship, which meant we were often unable to find a location for a drink or indeed a sunbed that was not smoke affected. The small amount of sun we did experience on deck always seemed to be in the smoking area! And the nicest bars /lounges were smallish areas which did not enable satisfactory separation of smokers and non-smokers. Perhaps we have been spoilt by recent cruises on newer smarter ships (notably Riviera) - but investment appeared lacking to maintain what we were expecting to be a top end premium product. Christmas decorations were overpowering and tacky beyond belief. Not all bad news though. Food, and the evening dining experience was mostly very good - and very good indeed in Prego. Staff were mostly lovely and service very good. Caberet style entertainment was enjoyable. The pool deck was comfy, apart from the smoking issues. The room was comfy, although the bed could have been better. All inclusive worked well for us too, and offered some super cocktails. Think the competition is overtaking this somewhat dated product. Needs some serious investment in the fabric of the ship, and some proper interior design - and most importantly a smoking policy appropriate to the 21st century. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I just returned from my first Crystal Cruise and am in what I'm calling the 'Crystal haze' --a surreal place where one is treated like royalty, wined and dined and pampered beyond belief. I booked my Crystal cruise expecting ... Read More
I just returned from my first Crystal Cruise and am in what I'm calling the 'Crystal haze' --a surreal place where one is treated like royalty, wined and dined and pampered beyond belief. I booked my Crystal cruise expecting to receive the level of excellence they tout, but had no idea that they would meet and exceed me expectations in all categories. We sailed the Serenity on the Roman Empire Exploration from Istanbul to Barcelona. Ours was a port-intensive voyage, calling in many wonderful ports. And with three days at-sea, there was time to relax and enjoy the ship's offerings as well. My stateroom (PH) lacked nothing. With a walk-in closet complete with plenty of drawers, jacuzzi tub and glass shower, vanity, writing desk, sofa/table, ample balcony and VERY comfy queen bed, I enjoyed the time spent there. My friendly, professional and most anxious -to -please butler provided pressing/shoe shine services and brought canapes and champagne nightly at my request. Breakfast on my balcony was delivered in minutes after requesting...and always with a smile and kind word or two. It is obvious that Crystal selects their crew because of their love of people. And it is the crew and their stellar service that separates Crystal from all other cruise lines. Our stewardesses, waiters, servers, spa employees, concierge and front desk staff and even the librarian could not do enough for us --they greeted us with smiles and warm welcomes at every meeting. The artistically presented five star cuisine also differentiates Crystal as well. I can honestly say that nearly every morsel I ate in our 12 days aboard was excellent. From fresh squeezed juices every morning at breakfast to the bananas foster our head waiter Augusto made for us table side by request after dinner, the meals were memorable. I particularly appreciated the use of fresh ingredients, prime meats, not overly salty sauces, the most perfectly prepared risotto I've had anywhere, amazing soups, fresh made pastas and desserts that were as beautiful as they were delicious. Sommeliers in all dining venues were knowledgeable, upbeat and added greatly to the overall dining experiences. Specialty restaurants Prego and Nobu's Silk Road served up meals among the best I've eaten anywhere in my life. I could write an entire review about the Prego cuisine, presentation, ambiance and service!! We attended both optional formal nights in the Crystal dining room and found them to be a delightful change of pace. Another thing Crystal excels at is offering choices. From the pillow menu from which one chooses their preferred pillows, to the multiple dining options at each meal my every desire was met...and then some! The lime and ginger salt rub I experienced in the spa was one of the singular happiest hours of my life. It was so amazing in fact that I booked the same treatment later that day for a friend with whom I was traveling, and he agreed it was one of the very best experiences of his life as well. For those contemplating cruising.....I would very highly suggest Crystal. Contrary to most things I've experienced in life, with Crystal Cruises, you really can 'believe the hype.' I cannot wait to return to sea with them. Though this was my first Crystal voyage, most all passengers I met were on their 2nd, 10th or 15th Crystal Cruise. Now I 'get it.' Someone asked me last week if I could change one thing about our voyage or Crystal Cruises what would it be.......I'm still thinking. The only thing that comes to mind is that one or two of the chocolate desserts was too sweet for my taste. If that's the worst thing I can say about 12 days in heaven, that's pretty darn good. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Having been on both five and six star lines, I have a pretty good idea of how a star rating should translate into the level of food, service, and accommodations on a ship. Despite my best efforts to truly appreciate Crystal, a few aspects ... Read More
Having been on both five and six star lines, I have a pretty good idea of how a star rating should translate into the level of food, service, and accommodations on a ship. Despite my best efforts to truly appreciate Crystal, a few aspects of the above criteria were disappointing. We (my wife and I) took this twelve day cruise in the Med mostly because of the great itinerary, which included half of every city in Europe we had ever hoped to see, and because the other lines rarely offer a Venice to Barcelona itinerary. Initially we were very impressed, both by the staterooms, which are about 20% larger than what we're used to, and the friendliness of he staff, who try to get to know you rather than just saying "hello" as you pass by. In these two points, Crystal is great. The food, while very good, was actually no better than Royal Caribbean, despite the fact that Crystal costs about three times as much as Royal. Yes, Crystal is all inclusive (other than excursions, more on that in a moment,) which justifiably accounts for about a 25% bump in the cost of a cruise, but at the end of your meal, you won't put down your fork and think, "Wow, that really was worth three times more." Which brings us to shore excursions. If you've ever been appalled by the 200% mark-up on most cruise lines' excursions, but bit the bullet anyway because you wanted to make sure the cruise ship would wait for you, you haven't seen "nuthin" yet. The best I could figure, Crystal's mark up is probably in the neighborhood of 350%, and even that may be conservative. For this reason alone, if you're trying to decide between six star lines, go with Regent Seven Seas, which, for about the same price or a few dollars more, includes all excursions as well. If you're interested in the best value for your money, period, go with Royal Caribbean (or sister line Celebrity). Would I sail with Crystal again? Yes, but only if they follow Regent's lead and include excursions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
I read a lot of member reviews in CruiseCritic to the extent that I think I can write my review even before the cruise started. Luckily, I can restrain myself and of course this review is written AFTER the cruise. Ha ha ha .... First, ... Read More
I read a lot of member reviews in CruiseCritic to the extent that I think I can write my review even before the cruise started. Luckily, I can restrain myself and of course this review is written AFTER the cruise. Ha ha ha .... First, the background. Both DW and myself are around our early 60 yo, from Indonesia, speaking very little English, vegetarian, no alcohol, no smoking. This is our first major cruise (a few local cruises of 2 or 3 nights are nothing, I suppose), and we did enjoy every moment of it. What I've read about Crystal Cruises proved to be true. The staff are (mostly) friendly and (all) courteous. A select few crews are extra special in winning our hearts. Embarkation : We pre-order a taxi via internet so the transfer from Istanbul airport to the port is easy. The boys took over our baggages, and I'm so confident those be will delivered to our cabin promptly we even gave them our carryon as well (of course I keep the important ones with me). It was already 2pm by the time we arrived so there was no line at all at the security check. Checking in was done in less than a minute (thanks, PCPC). The welcome onboard picture takes longer time than the check in, hahaha.... The Trident Grill served us veggie burger, and then the cabin was ready, with all our luggages inside. We started unpacking, and within 5 minutes Sheetal our stewardess knocked on the door. After a brief exchange of greetings I gave her my note (pre-printed, thanks CCers) of things we like to have in our fridge. She hesitated about cans of V-8 but said she would try (and she did find us enough cans for the length of the cruise!). Cabin : Clean and beautiful. Enough storage space. Of course I deliberately leave the closet all for DW, except for my three dress shirts and two suits. All my other things go into the drawers in the seating area. The extra hangers we brought proved to be unnecessary excess. Once emptied, we put our carryon inside our luggages, and everything disappear under the bed. Magic! So this is going to be our home for 12 nights ... not bad, eh? I only find the tiny sofa uneasy to sit on (and I am Asian size!). Perhaps they can make it little bit more "normal" size (hopeful mode "on"). Balcony : We enjoy using this space very much. Some times it is too windy, but Crystal so thoughtfully provided the mohair blankets which very pleasantly helped us to stay warm. Once we left a plate of cakes for a few minutes on the balcony and suddenly a seagull already perched on the railing! We shooh the bird away and flew he did but only after posing for my camera... Dining : Well, all vegetarians should not go hungry onboard Symphony. Plenty of choice, and choice, and choice! We took Perfect Dining by Reservation, and very happy as most of the time they sat us by the window, table for two. One evening my wife is not feeling so well we have to order room service from the CDR menu, and it is delivered promptly. We also enjoy one breakfast on the balcony as on that day we have an early excursion. We don't want to have more room service than necessary as we feel pity for Sheetal , who has to carry so heavy dishes to the room. Specialty restaurant: I highlight this item in separate heading as what I write might be controversial. Contrary to those wonderful reviews, we find there is nothing so 'special' about Nobu's Silk Road. It is even less than what we used to have in our country, or in Japan. Initially I thought our view may be biased as we are vegetarians, but I met some fellow passengers from Malaysia, and they also think that for those who are used to taking Japanese food in Asia, the food in Silk Road is under the expectation. However, we must admit that the mushroom soup and mushroom salad are nice (but not great!). On another night we tried our luck and sit at the Sushi Bar. They can't even serve simple "inari" which we can find on some days during buffet at Lido Cafe. There is less vegetarian option in the Sushi Bar, which we understood, but whatever vegetarian selection on offer is lacking "creativity". While one of the Japanese chef at the bar is quite friendly, one of the other chef looked as if he is disturbed by our being there. Prego is ok but again not great. I found the non-alcoholic wine they served there tastes "funny", unlike the ones I have at the CDR, which is nice. Drinks : We enjoy the non-alcoholic version of everything possible : NA beer, NA wine, NA cocktail... hmmm... Mozart tea : Hmm... Again, it is pathetic to see the crew in worn costumes. Crystal should have prepared better. Don't get me wrong. Mozart is my favorite composer, and I really enjoy the string quartet. It would of course be very fitting if the crew dress in the period costumes as well, but unfortunately I found their costumes have shown wear and tear. Please, please, please buy new costumes, please. Entertainment: With all due respect to the Crystal Singers and Dancers, who have entertained the guests with their wonderful talents, I must say that listening to "Evita" three times (albeit in three different versions) in a week is just too much. Somebody has to coordinate the repertoire, I think. Michel Bel deserves the standiong ovation. Naki Attaman is great with "Around the world" but in my humble opinion, the credit of that night should go to David Price with his superb percussion. And the winner of the best show in all goes to... the Sorrento Musical! Spa and fitness : I enjoy having sauna and steam in the spa, and more often than not take my shower there rather than in our cabin bathroom. Shore excursion : On our own. Crystal provided free shuttle so very easy to find our way around. We did participate in Crystla sponsored We Care You Care program in Athens, helping the Sea-Turtle Rehabilitation Project, and we did enjoy it very much. Best of the best : Hot chocolate at the Bistro, and the energetic smile of the Lido crews. Special thanks goes to Scott the CD and his team. In a short notice they enable us to have a Vesak Day celebration with our fellow Buddhists on board. Disembarkation : Smooth and easy. We disembark at our own timing as we stayed for two more nights in Barcelona. Well, funny that at first I thought I can easily write a cruise review. Now I must admit that writing a cruise review is not as easy as it seems. It takes me more than one month to finish this! :-) Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
As very experienced travelers, I tend to always look for the best value and usually book directly with airlines, hotels, etc. I found that the price of the cruise we booked was no cheaper booking online vs using a travel agent so we found ... Read More
As very experienced travelers, I tend to always look for the best value and usually book directly with airlines, hotels, etc. I found that the price of the cruise we booked was no cheaper booking online vs using a travel agent so we found an excellent local TA who had personally been to all of the ports we went to and had been on many cruises as well. We felt if you can get that level of expertise without additional expense it was the best way to go. Positives- The overall cruise lived up to our expectations and far exceeded them in some numerous areas. The entire ship was meticulously maintained with everything in excellent working order and virtually nothing showing any visible wear & tear including all public area seating, surfaces, flooring, windows, railings, etc. Cleanliness is apparently a top priority as well as there was no spills or dirt seen in any area including corners, nooks & crannies which commonly get overlooked. Our A-class cabin on Deck 9 was excellent with promised queen bed actually king bed width which was a pleasant surprise. Well designed storage and use of cabin space. Though the cabin is somewhat small, it was comfortable with a nicely appointed bath. Outstanding cabin service twice per day provided by very a cheerful stewardess from South Africa. Throughout the ship, crew members went out of their way to be polite and helpful. This was especially true on Deck 12 around the pool and in the casual dining areas where crew members were very attentive to customer needs, introducing themselves and checking continually to see if you needed anything. These crew members appeared to adopt passengers and greet you whenever you came into their area. The food on the ship was outstanding regardless if it was from the Lido or Bistro buffets, made-to-order pool area dining options, Crystal Dining Room or Prego. Prego & the Crystal Dining Room have an elegant design and an appealing look to them while Silk Road felt like a very stark large space with tables and little character. To me Prego is the superior restaurant on the ship while Silk Road was a disappointment. Areas that could be improved- The embarkation process in Venice was unsatisfactory. Many Crystal cruise passengers arrive at the cruise terminal via water taxi which has a scheduled arrival every 30-minutes and I expected someone to meet us along with other passengers on the dock and assist in some way like a larger less exclusive cruise ship at the same terminal who immediately took their passengers luggage on the dock. After searching for some sign of Crystal there was a young man with a sign standing up a ramp to the road who informed us that a shuttle bus would be by in 20-30 minutes or we could walk to the terminal(200-300 yards). About 20-passengers schlepped their luggage to the terminal which did not make a good 1st impression. As Open Dining by Reservation guests, It is a nice benefit to begin making dinner reservations once final payment was made however Crystal needs to advise guests which nights they are having theme dinners in the Crystal Dining Room. We had booked Prego & Silk Road on theme nights and had to reschedule once onboard but could only get acceptable times at the end of the cruise. Cocktail parties ie; Cruise Critic, Signature need to be communicated prior to the cruise. While Crystal offers the Open Dining by Reservation dinner reservation option you run the ship based on early & late dining. Announcements onboard as well as special activities in the evening refer to early & late seating. The #1 complaint I had with Crystal was the lack of information regarding confirmation of prepaid gratuities and shipboard credit. Since Crystal did not provide any of this important information prior to the cruise I ask my TA to confirm. He contacted Crystal and received confirmation from the various departments responsible for the credits and forwarded copies to me. In spite of his efforts, upon arrival Oct. 1 I found that I was missing shipboard credits that Crystal HQ had confirmed and it took 2 separate requests and 5-days to resolve the problem even though I presented them with written documentation. Crystals onboard activities are a star attraction with the Computer University equipped with the latest computers and a knowledgeable staff and special presenters who professionally help users and present classes. I expected the Taylor Made golf clinics to achieve the same high standards and the instructor lived up to those high standards however the groups were too large (30 or more people at each session) to provide any personal attention and none of the Taylor Made clubs were of current designs. In addition I expected a cruise line like Crystal to have golf simulators rather than nets with targets. We were really looking forward to the tours we had signed up for and although they all involved motor coach transportation we thought that Crystal would somehow take the group tour experience to a higher level. The tours were all very enjoyable with sights we truly enjoyed. Looking back on the tours, we had an unrealistic expectation as we realized that all cruise ship group tours use similar motor coaches, guides and visit the same places in the various ports. Our only suggestion involves grouping guests with good walking ability separately from guests who have limitations. This came to light on the Rome tour when at our 1st stop, the Coliseum the tour guide determined that the majority of the group was not able to climb the stairs to the upper levels and correctly modified the tour plans. She offered those of us with more stamina the opportunity to briefly explore the upper areas. We were accompanied by the Crystal tour helper but were unsuccessful in finding stairs that were open as none of the three of us knew where to go. When you have multiple groups for a given tour I suggest that Crystal make special provisions for those guest with limitations. A real tour frustration occurred in crowded venues like the Vatican. The tour guide continually stopped to count guests and on more than one occasion stalled the tours progress to locate guests who had separated from the group. While you dont want to lose anyone, reducing the experience of +25 other people seems inappropriate. A viable solution would be to provide an if you get separated meeting place & time plus on this tour there were two additional people assisting the tour guide so they could look for the missing guests while the tour proceeds. Friends who were part of another group said they had to wait 30-minutes at one point while missing guests were located. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I have taken a couple of weeks to reflect on my first experience on Crystal cruises. I think, all told, I am glad for the experience, but it did not live up to the very high standards I had set based on other reviews and the boards. The ... Read More
I have taken a couple of weeks to reflect on my first experience on Crystal cruises. I think, all told, I am glad for the experience, but it did not live up to the very high standards I had set based on other reviews and the boards. The good (and very good): -Our agent had secured early boarding for us, so that was great. We arrived at about 12:15. There was no one else in line, and we were escorted to lunch and then had a little time to explore before we were able to access our cabin. When we did get to our cabin, our luggage was already waiting, and we were unpacked and enjoying the ship by 3pm. -Our head waiter and senior waiter were an absolute treat. Our head waiter especially went way out of his way to ensure we had a wonderful dining experience every night. -Our stewardess was lovely. She tried really hard to accommodate our every need, although the ship did not have certain things which surprised me (like green apples and pretzels--??). -Having Marvin Hamlisch on board for a performance was a delight. -We also enjoyed the special NFL greats speaker series. -The main pool is very nice; and there were always chairs available to sit and enjoy the day -The food in the main dining room was very good; better than many mainland restaurants, actually. We thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the cruise...especially the "special" desserts that the head waiter prepared each night. -The European itinerary was perfect; exactly what we were looking for! -The cruise director on board was simply phenomenal...a real joy to meet! -We really enjoyed the daily Reflections...especially the introductions to each of the ports. -The excursions were well thought out and put together, albeit a little pricey. The one time there was a problem with one, they did refund part of the price, which was appreciated. -We thoroughly enjoyed most of the other guests we met...a treat since we were not sure what to expect (we are in our late 30's/early 40's) The not very good: (ps: I have names of the individuals below, if someone from Crystal is reading this and is interested) CABINS: -The couches in the cabins uncomfortable, and they are itchy when you sit on them with shorts...I know they are supposed to be getting leather ones very soon, which will be a LOT more comfortable. -The beds are actually pretty uncomfortable. It took a couple of nights before I realized I could ask for another featherbed to make it softer. That helped a lot. -The scent of the Aveda products in the bathroom was overwhelming, and I was very surprised that there were no other options. I ended up buying something on the shore. I think Crystal might investigate "scentless" options for passengers with sensitive skin/allergies, or at least one of Aveda's milder scents for passengers who prefer them. -The cabin doors are unbelievably thin...even conversation at a normal volume in the hallway can be heard in the rooms...as can the kids who kept running up and down the hallways. DINING: -The couple of nights with "open seating" in the main dining room were the worst nights for us, since the service was so spotty. There were also some service challenges on the Lido deck in terms of getting food in a timely fashion for both lunch and dinner. -There were some incredibly rude waiters in Prego--the specialty restaurant. Both nights I was there they were actually making fun of other passengers. I could not believe it, and actually reported it to the guest hostess on board since it made me so uncomfortable. She told me the dining manager would get in touch with me, but he never did. BOOKING AGAIN: -I wanted to take advantage of the on-board booking discount, and I got the feeling that the woman who was working at that desk did not care if I booked again or not. It was a stark contrast to how she had been talking to the older couple right before me...and quite disappointing. PUBLIC AREAS/LAUNDRY: -The ship does not have any comfortable places to sit to just read a book in the evening, except the bar in the main lobby, but the smoke often chased me away. In fact, ALL of the bars have smoking, which for me is an obstacle to enjoying the space. I wonder if Crystal might consider creating a non-smoking bar??? -A lot of the public areas seem a little dated; I am hoping this is rectified soon! -The laundry room ran out of dryer sheets quickly and were not replaced. Also, Crystal should place signs in the laundry rooms reminding guests to be aware of the timing of their washers and dryers. Especially when one machine is out of order (which it was for the entire cruise), the ability for quick "turn-over" is only respectful, although some passengers had no qualms about leaving their laundry for hours at a time and returning whenever it suited them (and then they had the nerve to complain about people removing their items!). NOT CRYSTAL'S FAULT, BUT STILL AFFECTED OUR TRIP: On this voyage, there were over 100 children, ranging in age from a couple of months to teenagers. The older kids were actually pretty good (except for running up and down the halls at night), but the parents really let their little kids run rampant around the ship and pool area. They were throwing toys in the pool, almost hitting other guests, and they were running around playing tag, and yelling, etc. Since they were with their parents, there was nothing Guest Services could do (or so they told me). But this is NOT a playground at home!! Again, a simple reminder in the daily cruise reflections might have made a positive difference. I made this suggestion, too, but it was ignored. So, all in all, I am glad for the experience. I did like it better than Regent, with whom we have sailed twice (Tahiti and Alaska trips). But, I am not looking to rush back either...I do have my $100 deposit down, so perhaps 2012...we'll see. At least now I have a more realistic expectation for my experience that should help next time... Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
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