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639 Crystal Cruise Reviews

I wish to provide my personal thoughts on a 8 day cruise. As for my background I am in my 70's with 20 cruises in the last 4 years 10 on 6 star lines Silver Sea, Seabourn and Oceana. First the pros for the Symphony The ship is 25 ... Read More
I wish to provide my personal thoughts on a 8 day cruise. As for my background I am in my 70's with 20 cruises in the last 4 years 10 on 6 star lines Silver Sea, Seabourn and Oceana. First the pros for the Symphony The ship is 25 years old but in general well cared for but you would expect this from a 6star line charging premium prices. No wow factor, The food is very good, nicely presented and a fine selection. The crew are friendly and helpful. The small cabin was clean, the bedding was first class. The TV was fine and the internet free and in general worked well. Getting on and off the ship was fast and smooth. Now the cons. My biggest complaint, and taken to the excursion director, was our trip to the Santa Barbara wine country $239 each for a trip to three wine tasting rooms which you can buy at tasting room for $15 each. No tour at any of these wineries only tasting a few wines and then back to the bus., This was a cruise excursion rip off. Now the most disturbing aspect of the excursion was the driver/ tour guide was driving down the freeway at 65mph in traffic talking to us on a hand held mic on one occasion using his cell phone. He was certainly distracted and one one occasion drifted off the lane and on to the shoulder very scary. The other 25 guests fortunately could not see what was going on. My wife insisted on telling the excursion director of this dangerous trip and of course the response was, she very sorry and will look into it.. This guy the driver was violating the law putting people at risk and she is sorry. Next the entertainment was ok but fell short of other six star ships. The public rooms in general featured worn out dated carpets and furniture and fixtures. This is ok but not ok on at 6 star prices. The liquors were top draw but the house wines were $10 to $12 and nothing special, Bottom line cruise was ok but would not sail again with her. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
After 55 cruises, the Crystal Serenity was such a unsatisfactory cruise, we made arrangements to get off the ship in Cabo San Lucas and fly home. Yes we left. This was the first leg of the world cruise and we found it to be a major ... Read More
After 55 cruises, the Crystal Serenity was such a unsatisfactory cruise, we made arrangements to get off the ship in Cabo San Lucas and fly home. Yes we left. This was the first leg of the world cruise and we found it to be a major disappointment. We looked at each other one day, and decided enough was enough and let’s leave. We contacted the concierge and made all the arrangements, got on the tender in Cabo with our luggage and were gone. You are probably wondering how this could happen. Well, let us tell you our feelings about the Crystal Serenity. We had booked this cruise a year in advance and having sailed on the Symphony 10 years ago thought it would be a pleasant experience. We are a well travel couple and in the last 12 months spent a week in Tahiti on the Paul Gauguin and then the St Regis in Bora Bora. In September we did a cruise from Montreal to Newfoundland on the Seabourn Quest. Both of these cruises were very satisfactory and we will be sailing with them in the future. Now on to Crystal. Boarding. We boarded in Miami. It was quick and our cabin 8011 a standard balcony cabin was ready. Our luggage showed up quickly. We remarked how small our cabin was. Not quite 200 sq feet, but we had booked it so that’s what we got. The balcony was nice and had two chairs and a table. Unfortunately most of the time the cushions were wet so we really were not able to use it as much as we would have wanted. There was no fruit, champagne, and I will add no chocolates on the pillows at night. The tiny loveseat in the cabin was not in good repair and when sitting on it one end was sinking in. We nicely ask for a replacement and nothing was done. The next day we ask again not in a pleasant tone, and it was replaced. The mattress was saggy and probably 10 years old. Now you may read about the renovations done to the ship to the tune of $17,000,000. Don’t think for a minute that anything was done to the standard balcony cabins. They were very original. Food: everyone enjoys eating on a cruise, and I must say I honestly could not believe the poor quality food. Everything was overly salty...yes everything. I am convinced that the Chinese Consortium who purchased Crystal have cut costs at every corner. I could not drink enough water. From the beloved Mushroom soup in the Italian restaurant that was inedible due to the sodium, to the bacon at breakfast. There is no way was that made fresh on the ship. I am convinced that the majority of the cooked food was pre-made and sold to Crystal. There was a rumor that they hid the raspberries at the breakfast buffet. I chuckled when I read this so I did a test. I went up and ask the man behind the buffet if there were any raspberries..he looked at me and said to go down a ways and ask the guy there and he would get me some from under the counter. So to keep this short, it was probably the worst food we have had on a cruise ship. Everything about it was prepared on the cheap. I will add that the guys at the Trident Grill could fix an amazing cheeseburger and fries. The Passengers: people were not friendly, did not make eye contact, and were in their own little Crystal world. Most of them were very elderly and only cruised on Crystal and could not believe there were other ships out there that provided a great experience. They were very unsociable except in their little group of friends. The Internet: it was included, but as you know everything that is included is paid for in your all-inclusive fare. To sum it up the speeds were so bad that you could sit and watch a page load. There were those Crystal fans who made excuses for it, but it was unsatisfactory. Shore Excursions: overpriced and very average. Lectures: we did go to the one with Scott Kelly ,the astronaut who spent a year in space. He was very engaging and enjoyable. In summary this was an expensive cruise. We felt like we would just cut our losses and get off, so we did. We stayed four days in Los Cabos and flew home. We call it “making the best out of a bad situation” I personally thing the new ownership has done a disservice to Crystal. Since we have cruised with them previously, I could see the difference and it was not luxury. We will not be cruising Crystal in the future. Update: We received a Certified letter from Crystal Dated March 2, 2020 that we were advised that we were placed on their "Do Not Sail List" Since there never was an issue on the ship, except we requested to leave, it appears this review ruffled a few feathers". Additionally they referenced a booking which we had cancelled for 2021. This was signed by someone in customer service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We had a great cruise on the Serenity from Miami to Los Angeles. This was the first leg of the 2020 World Cruise. Food and wine are an important part of cruising for us. We found the food to be very good to excellent with only a couple ... Read More
We had a great cruise on the Serenity from Miami to Los Angeles. This was the first leg of the 2020 World Cruise. Food and wine are an important part of cruising for us. We found the food to be very good to excellent with only a couple exceptions. The included wines were certainly up to the task. The service was great throughout the ship. We received particularly good service from Phil on deck 12 and Alexandra and Cameron in Crystal Cove. George the sommelier in Waterside also gave us good service after a slow start. The enrichment presentations were top notch. Ian Maclachlan and Dick Morgan both gave excellent presentation on the ports and the Panama Canal. Tim Grey was a great technology presenter and also helped my wife with some specific technology questions related to setting up a blog. Bob Ray gave some interesting behind the scenes presentations on The Beatles and The Beach Boys. And Astronaut Scott Kelly was a great bonus speaker. There were a couple presenters that didn’t really appeal to us but given the number of options, we just skipped them. The entertainment was excellent as well. I truly enjoyed Icons in Concert but that music is right in my wheelhouse. Any show ending with Queen is great in my book! Lou Gazzara, Vox Fortura and Rob Proulx, James Fox and his Billy Joel show, and comic John Joseph all put on great shows. We also found that Crystal Cove was our favorite spot for a pre-dinner drink. It was active and we enjoyed the music there more than the Avenue Saloon. especially the violinist, Irina Guskova. Or cabin was 8131, deck 8 aft. It was small compared to others we’ve had on Silversea that are comparable category. There was plenty of drawer space but closet space was tight. The balcony was fine and while it was labeled as slightly limited view, we wouldn’t have noticed if they hadn’t told us. The room temperature was fine and resumed well when we lowered the temperature at night for sleeping. The bed was quite comfortable. The sofa and table were cramped and not really usable. The shower was fine with good temperature and pressure. There was a problem with vibration in the room. The TV vibrated some and we would have to wedge something next to it soften the sound. The closet vibration was harder to solve; the doors would vibrate and the hangers would as well. It wasn’t real loud but a constant low-level presence. We noticed the vibration in Waterside as well, three decks down. We would not book this cabin again due to the vibration. Our stateroom attendant was generally efficient but we saw her infrequently. The muster drill was not well-organized. We checked in and the crew member checked us off the list. Then after all passengers were seated, the called our stateroom number, and we said we were present, and they only called our number once. We thought we were all set, but then we got a note from the captain that they showed we missed the muster and should watch the safety video or we were there, we could ignore his note. Very odd that we checked in twice but they still didn’t have us there. I guess that’s better than marking us present when we absent, but still very odd. More on the food. We ate in all the restaurants at our least once. Waterside: I really liked the pancakes at breakfast. Lunch was good, especially the salmon Caesar salad and the service was good but a couple times a little too leisurely. For dinner, it was not our favorite spot but certainly quite good. The entrees were not always A+, for instance the beef Wellington on the second BTO night was only OK. Jacques at the front desk at Waterside knew our name after one night. That made us feel very welcome. A couple times we were seated in the very back of Waterside though which we didn’t really enjoy. After that I asked not be seated that far back. I realize they need to balance the workload but twice was enough. Churascuria: We ate dinner there once and enjoyed it. However, the way a Brazilian steakhouse works is that you basically have everything on the menu so there was no real reason to go back unless you really loved it. If we were on longer, we might have gone back but once it 15 days was good for us. Supper Club: This was offered only on Black Tie Optional nights. We went on the first night and had the lobster entree. We are from Maine, so we know our lobster and we thought it was a great meal. There is one seating at 6:30 which was a little early for us and you will sit at a table for four. The entertainment during dinner was very good. We didn’t go a second time (you need a reservation) because of the one seating and the tables for four but we are glad we went for one dinner there. Prego: We ate here twice for dinner. Both times the service was very good. My wife ordered a special with pasta and vongole (small clams) that was watery. My carpaccio, mushroom soups in a bread bowl and lasagne were excellent and I was offered (and accepted) limoncello with dessert both times. The second time I repeated the carpaccio and soup they were so good! My wife repeated the mushroom soup as well. Umi Uma: We are not sushi fans but enjoyed this very much as well. We ate there twice. The lobster and rock shrimp tempura were excellent. My wife’s black cod the second night was not up to par. We did not care for the Nobu Chardonnay but there were plenty of other great included options. Silk: We ate twice here for dinner and enjoyed it both times. Thanks to other Cruise Critic members who posted about the pacing and not to order everything at once. We ordered in a two or three installments; the items are very shareable. Service was great again. We also had lunch there a couple times. I really enjoyed the Chinois chicken salad. Terrace Grill: Our go-to embarkation lunch is a burger and a margarita—to us, that marks a separation from non-vacation to vacation! The Terrace Grill did not disappoint on either front. We went back a couple times for a low key lunch, or an ice cream. Nothing fancy but hit the spot. Marketplace: We really enjoyed this location for breakfast and lunch. There was a great variety for both meals. At breakfast , my wife was glad to get blueberries for her oatmeal by asking. The pastries and donuts were not a strong point, but the scrambled eggs and bacon were very good. Bistro: Good to-go coffee and some snacks/pastries in the morning till afternoon. Champagne Lunch: This was an extra fee event. We enjoyed the education about champagne as well as the food. The servings were on the small side and we had a second lunch afterwards, but the event was great. Tilmar the head sommelier did a very nice job. Tea service: We went to this several times. There is a lot of food with the tea service, given that it’s an afternoon meal tea service, and it was good to very good. The Mozart Tea was quite good with a buffet set up and Viennese coffee as an option. Some people have commented on the Asian focus on the food. We noticed it, for instance two of the restaurants focus on Asian cuisine and the Marketplace often had Asian selections as well. However, there are a number of other options every day that are all very good to excellent. Wines: We found the included wines to be very good to excellent. If there was a wine not to our liking, the sommeliers were happy to provide another option. We never had a problem finding a wine we liked. The wine service was quite good except one night in Waterside we were poured a grunerveltliner and told it was a Riesling. We discussed this with the sommelier who took note. We also asked the same sommelier about Rhône wines and he promised to come back but never did. We discussed that lapse with another sommelier after which time the first sommelier was much more attentive. Cocktails: We mostly had wine but I thought the Crystal Martini with a twist was very good. My wife had the drink of the day a few times and enjoyed them. We really liked the vibe in Crystal Cove. We took Crystal excursions in Panama City and Huatulco. We got off in Cabo on our own and the ship couldn’t tender in Nicaragua. Of course, the Panama Canal itself was the star attraction and Crystal did a fabulous job of arranging for narration during the transit and presentations before the transit. The excursion in Panama City probably tried to cover too much but it was very thorough. The Hualtuco excursion was a very nice exposure to rural Mexico. The other passengers were a well-traveled group. Average age was probably around 65-70. Here’s an anecdote. Early on we met a nice gentleman who told me he was retired after 30+ years in the Coast Guard. His traveling companion told my wife he was a retired Admiral! He was too modest to reveal that. A couple days later we struck up a conversation with another gentleman from Maine who said he’d been in the Coast Guard. After more conversation, we learned that the Mainer had served with the Admiral we met the other night! Then they were able to meet and have dinner! I think this exemplifies the wonderful nature of the other passengers. One definite negative was the quality of the internet. I realize we’re on a ship but I also realize it’s 2020. Passengers depend on internet access. At times it was dismal. My wife finally got her work done but uploading photos for Cruise Critic was painful. Overall though, this was an excellent cruise! Both the service and the food and wine were very good to excellent. For us, those are the keys to a great cruise and Crystal succeeded! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Too expensive for what you got.food was good, service was good. Shore excursions were expensive and poorly done. Complaints to the excursion desk were blown off. Not much to do on sea days or in down hours. Okay, I have to add more to ... Read More
Too expensive for what you got.food was good, service was good. Shore excursions were expensive and poorly done. Complaints to the excursion desk were blown off. Not much to do on sea days or in down hours. Okay, I have to add more to post. There must be fun things to see on Turks,Antigua and or St Lucia. But we were packed into small Nissan mini buses or rough riding trolleys. Some guides were good,some were poor or even hostile. On St Lucia, our guide referred to each KFC we passed as “Killing Foolish Children.” I have no idea why. Our cabin was very clean room service was fairly quick and good. Table wines served with dinner were okay. Entertainment was meh. Most shows were one third to one half full. Close up magician was good. In my opinion, Princess Cruises was a much better value. Their daily activities were more interesting and much more numerous. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have previously sailed on Crystal Serenity. Both cruises our suite was beautifully furnished and very comfortable. Since we had cruised the Bahamas in past years, we wanted a different itinerary. So we decided to Hawaii would be a ... Read More
We have previously sailed on Crystal Serenity. Both cruises our suite was beautifully furnished and very comfortable. Since we had cruised the Bahamas in past years, we wanted a different itinerary. So we decided to Hawaii would be a nice change. Embarkation started off a little rocky, Crystal was trying out a new system and it took awhile to get information into an iPad. Our cabin was ready when we boarded. However, we were shocked and horrified after entering our penthouse suite 1035 to see duct tape all around a door connecting to another suite. Yes, duct tape. Then we looked at the furniture. First you see a big wooden desk that is old and shows a lot of wear. Nicks and dents in the wood. Then looking at the carpet you could see it was stained in places. The rest of the furniture was also worn and shabby. Shabby is probably a good description of this suite. This was very depressing. We try to book a suite when there a lot of sea days, since we usually spend more time in our cabin during sea days to relax. We had 10 sea days and we were not looking forward to spending time in this depressing room. We talked to the Concierge about changing rooms, but the ship was sold out. Housekeeping came by and apologized for the duct tape around the door. After they took it down it was apparent that there was a big gap around the door that allowed noise and light thru. So you have a choice of looking at duct tape having some privacy or hearing your neighbors conversations thru the door. Both the concierge and the head housekeeper to their credit did not try to deny that the suite was not what is should be. They noted the ship was going into dry dock in April, but that did not help us. There is only one outlet in the room, none next to the bed. They ran a big extension cord around room to get us a pug there. This ship is very cold in the some common rooms and venues, so pack a sweater. Coffee is very weak. We were saved by the coffee maker in room. There are lots of pluses. Crew were all friendly and helpful. I do think they are short on housekeeping staff. Took awhile to get our room made up. Food in all venues was very, very good. Probably better than on Serenity. Entertainment was ok. The New Years Eve party was fabulous. The cruise director Russ is the best we have seen. Try to catch the magic show. You get tickets in the library. Computer classes were good and a lot of people enjoyed the lectures. Weather, I was told by someone that the Pacific could be rough in December. I was hoping they were wrong. They were not. As soon as we left San Diego weather turned cold and over cast. Lots of wind and rough sea. This ship (as acknowledged by an officer) has unbalanced propeller which causes a lot of vibration and noise. We were delayed in leaving because the ship's doctor had become sick and was taken to the hospital. The captain had to go faster then he normally would in rough seas to make up time and that caused a lot of rocking and rolling. One night we heard a large crash when the ship hit a wave and dishes fell in the dining room. Finally, get to the Hawaii Islands only to be told by the captain that we would leave a day early missing the big island Hawaii, because more bad weather was coming. Another disappointment. So, this was not the best cruise we have been on. I would urge you, unless you need a connecting suite to stay clear of 1035. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Two years ago I had a cruise with the Crystal Symphony, and my husband valued it with a 10 + !! Fantastic... That is why I chose this year again for Crystal, but this time as a solo-cruiser because my husband passed away. Everywhere ... Read More
Two years ago I had a cruise with the Crystal Symphony, and my husband valued it with a 10 + !! Fantastic... That is why I chose this year again for Crystal, but this time as a solo-cruiser because my husband passed away. Everywhere is advertised that solo-passengers are welcome , there is a meet & greet party, there are hosts and solo passengers tables....etc. Before my trip I even checked that with an email to Crystal. They re-assured me. Well, nothing whatsoever. This cruise was not even worth a 6. A 3 star cruiseline would have done better. I was very disappointed and complained after a few days at the front desk and spoke to the concierge Mrs Arielle Goldstein. I have chosen for a 6 star cruise, paid for a 6 star cruise (plus a high extra solo passenger fee) and expected 6 star service. Was the atmosphere warm and welcome on the Symphony, on the Serenity it was cold and the crew was obviously not interested in the guests. The Asian crew was friendly, the crew from Eastern Europe was not. Captain and Officers were very present on the Symphony - mixing with the guests - on this ship they were invisible. The Captain's party was planned on an impossible hour and when I entered 15 minutes after startingtime, most people had already left... There was NO meet&greet party for solo passengers.* In the first Reflections was announced that there would be 3x a solo table in a specialty restaurant. Yes, but at 1800 !!! Who wants to dine at 1800 in an empty restaurant on a solo table ?? There was no organization, no hosts at the table, nothing. Anyway, I tried it two times. First time there was one lady, the second time the same lady and a man. A very sad situation and I decided rather to dine alone at a table.... Or dinner in my stateroom? Also roomservice was not an option. Ordering a simple pot of coffee had to be explained several times and ordering a meal in my cabin was not a success: it took 35 minutes instead the promised 20 minutes and the food was cold . The waiter dropped my glass of wine and it took him 25 minutes to bring me a new glass. Anyway, you will understand that I will not choose for Crystal again. I cruised many times with Seabourn, Regent, Oceania and Holland America Line and I am not a complainer but this cruise was far below my expectations . Two last remarks: 1. the food was OK but with cheap(er) ingredients. Nothing really luxury 2. Cabin attendant very friendly but sloppy and not alert to service as I had expected and knew form the Symphony. No good night chocolates anymore? Too expensive? Kind regards, Ellen W * After my complaint, yes they organized a 'solo meet & greet party.' You know when? The evening before disembarkation, (when everybody was packing) Saturday evening at 17.15 ! ?? Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We went on this cruise to share time with family, to escape cool weather and visit San Juan. We spent 3 days in San Juan, disappointing in these times where counties we have visited have prospered. True there had been a hurricane, but ... Read More
We went on this cruise to share time with family, to escape cool weather and visit San Juan. We spent 3 days in San Juan, disappointing in these times where counties we have visited have prospered. True there had been a hurricane, but very little signs of real growth on their own, just milking what they could get from the US. Overpriced goods and poor food. To us a cruise is measured by three things: 1) ship and Serenity was at least a 7. Embarking was a 10, debarking was a 4. Ship was well maintained, we have sailed it before and really missed the evening buffet. Our suite, was fine. 2) Service, as usual Crystal was a 10. 3) this was our third, and now, after the horrible food, our last. WHAT happened, did a bean counter insist n lowering costs and food was the only option? Rating - 2, compared to prior Crystal, Regent and Oceania cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was my 60th birthday celebration so we decided to go higher end. We have sailed with Disney with our kids and lately on the newer HAL pinnacle ships. We were overall thrilled with the cruise and are now spoiled. We booked a verandah ... Read More
This was my 60th birthday celebration so we decided to go higher end. We have sailed with Disney with our kids and lately on the newer HAL pinnacle ships. We were overall thrilled with the cruise and are now spoiled. We booked a verandah cabin and were fortunate to be upgraded to a Seabreeze Penthouse with butler. I think the word penthouse was a little over exaggerated although very nice it was basically a larger verandah cabin with nice seating area and larger bathroom not a whole lot bigger than our verandah cabin on HAL Konningsdam earlier this year. The butler was awesome and was unobtrusive however there if you needed him keeping our cabin stocked up on wine, beer, soft drinks, water and snacks. every afternoon around 4pm he brought a selection of cheese, fruit , shrimp cocktail etc. Service on the ship was outstanding and the staff seem genuinely friendly and warm. Not having to sign for drinks, specialty coffees and specialty dining was great. As soon as you sat down in bar or Restaurant they were all over you with a welcome smile. I oversee a high end country club so I feel I am more picky than the average guest and I could find no faults. The food was super impressive even the basic dining room Waterside was outstanding. On HAL only the specialty restaurants were excellent the basic dining room was not that good. Prego , Umi Umi were fantastic, Silk was very good we did not try the Brazilian steakhouse. Pastries and Cappuccino were a welcome mid morning and afternoon pleasure in the Bistro. My wife and I are in our late 50's and were amongst the younger crowd , most guests seemed in their 70's however this did not bother us. Not nearly as much wheelchairs and scooters as on HAL. Entertainment for a smaller ship was excellent and exceeded our expectations, the Broadway themed cruise had a broad variety of shows which we enjoyed. The Stardust Dinner show was fantastic 50's style dinner and dancing with band, singers and dancers. Although we payed more for this cruise by the time you pay gratuities, specialty dining, pressing, internet, drinks and specialty coffees it was not a whole lot more than our recent HAL cruise and far superior. We also enjoy the casino and on this ship not was no smoking unlike the HAL ships which we hated. Overall we loved this cruise and will definitely cruise with Crystal again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This ship is elegant and the staff are all wonderful. Lounges are delightful. Entertainment is amazing. They even have a magician aboard who entertains groups of only 20 at a time with very clever tricks. Beautiful live music everywhere. ... Read More
This ship is elegant and the staff are all wonderful. Lounges are delightful. Entertainment is amazing. They even have a magician aboard who entertains groups of only 20 at a time with very clever tricks. Beautiful live music everywhere. Cabins are spacious and excellent. The food is to die for. It is the best cruise line we have ever been on and we have been on most. This was not our first time and it will not be our last. We have done over 150 cruises. Crystal is doing everything right. Anyone who complains about the deck chairs being held unfairly or toiletries not being properly displayed in the gift shop should get a life. This is truly a wonderful cruise line in every way. The specialty dining rooms are fantastic. Our favorite was the Japanese dining. The main dining room was also terrific. The Brazilian Churasceria was very different and we loved it also. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We went on this cruise to relax and get a full service treat and in one. This is our 3rd cruise on this ship and we were not disappointed with the room,service or entertainment. I enjoyed the trip because everything you do is paid for and ... Read More
We went on this cruise to relax and get a full service treat and in one. This is our 3rd cruise on this ship and we were not disappointed with the room,service or entertainment. I enjoyed the trip because everything you do is paid for and they don't nickel and dime you for everything . It is nice to order a new drink and if you don;t like it then you can order something else. It is also enjoyable to have internet service in your room and any where on the ship. The casual attire at dinner is a very comfortable way to enjoy the cruise and yet have great dining experiences . The choices for evening meals at 5 different locations is nice to experience and a change of taste at each one. I will book my next cruise on Crystal even if it cost more the experience is worth it . I have travel on over 25 cruise and this by far is the best cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The 10 nights Symphony cruise from Caldera to San Diego was our 15th cruise and our first cruise on Crystal. We sailed on Oceania and Azamara and the rest were mainstream lines like Celebrity, Princess Cunard etc. Oceania was our best ... Read More
The 10 nights Symphony cruise from Caldera to San Diego was our 15th cruise and our first cruise on Crystal. We sailed on Oceania and Azamara and the rest were mainstream lines like Celebrity, Princess Cunard etc. Oceania was our best cruise experience so far and I was curious how it will compare to Crystal. Embarkation took literally 15 minutes till we were in our cabin. 30 seconds later our cabin attendant knocked and introduced herself. 5 minutes later our luggage arrived. So far so good. We always book the lowest category cabin since we don’t use it much other than sleep and shower. We were in E2 cabin on deck 8. It is described as fully obstructed view but it is not really fully obstructed. The lifeboat blocks about half of the view, so you can still see the upper part of the view. The cabin is not big but it worked just fine for us. There is a lot of storage, and it’s nice to have a bathtub shower combo. It is also very nice to have a free self laundry. One odd thing about the cabin is that they still have those old thermostats. Not sure why they don’t replace them with the digital ones. Took as a while to set the temperature to a comfortable level. The ship is very elegant, and is in an excellent condition considering its age. You could never tell it is 25 years old. For some reason there is no art on the ship. Not sure why. There are about 5-6 dining venues (including 3 specialty restaurants), a lounge for main evening shows, 4-5 other smaller lounges, a movie theater, a very nice library etc. Service was exceptional across the ship, very efficient and friendly at the same time. Very friendly staff. Our cabin attendant Marina was great. The cabin was always in perfect condition, our favorite drinks and ice always re filled on time. Evening entertainment and daily activities were excellent. We attended six guest lectures, by Joe Wolff and Louis Rene Beres, all of them were fascinating. Definitely a step up compared to Oceania. Food was outstanding and comparable to Oceania. The breakfast buffet very good, the dinner in the dining room is excellent, lunch buffet not very consistent. It is probably heaven for Asian food lovers, but for someone like me who doesn’t like Asian food, the selection was a bit limited some days. We had 3 visits to the Brazilian steakhouse and loved it. There is an option to pre order basically anything you want, as long as they have the ingredients, which is very nice. The Italian specialty restaurant, Prego, was excellent, similar quality to Oceania's Tuscana. Amazing experience, both food and service. Between the mushroom soup, the filet steak and the desert, I still have to decide which dish was the best. They all were so good. Loved the Bistro for quick snacks. Did not visit the Asian venues since I don't like Asian food, but overall feedback from those venues is excellent. Internet was very good. Not the best we have experienced on sea, but among the best. Disembarkation was super quick, took us literally 20 minutes from the moment we left the ship till we arrived to San Diego airport. We paid $12 for the 7 minutes taxi ride (Crystal wanted $42 per person for transfer to the airport - I still have no idea where they are getting those prices and who is willing to pay them). Some things that we didn't like (or liked less): 1. Shore excursions while well organized overall, I was surprised to see buses almost full on most excursions (around 40 people, sometimes more). If this is typical, this is significantly worse than we experienced on Oceania. Even on Celebrity some excursions had only 20-25 people. Also the excursion staff provided incorrect information on couple occasions. We tried to cancel one of the excursions 26 hours in advance and got a negative answer. Yes, it was after the deadline (which is 7pm two days before the cruise), but they could be more flexible. Especially considering the fact that this tour is a trolley to old town San Diego, which you can do for $2.5 each direction with public trolley - Crystal cost was $79!! On Oceania, we had no issues to change or cancel excursions even after the deadline. 2. Pool experience has been good overall, no issues to find chairs. But there are very few chairs in shade, and I was surprised to see that Crystal still allows to smoke in the pool area. 3. Lunch buffet closes at 1:30 and Waterside at 1:00. If you come back from excursion after 1:30, the lunch options are fairly limited (Silk if you like Asian food, Trident Grill with some burgers, hot dogs and salads, and Bistro). Of course there is always an options for room service, which works 24/7 and is free. Still not ideal in my opinion, and they could extend it when there are large groups of guests returning from shore excursions around 1-1:30. 4. For some reason, most computer based classes focus on Apple products (iPhone/iPad/Mac). We are Android users, so most classes were useless to us. Which is unfortunate, and I find it odd considering that 70%+ of smart phone users today use Android. Despite some imperfections, we had a wonderful time, and Crystal is really very special. It exceeded our expectations in most areas, except the shore excursions. The ship combines a small ship experience (excellent service, no lines etc.) with outstanding entertainment and enrichment program. A truly 6 star experience, and definitely a step up compared to Oceania. We loved Crystal and already booked three more cruises on Symphony and Serenity. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We went on this cruise to check out Crystal's luxury ocean cruise line. We picked this one because it has a paddle tennis court on it which we could use for pickleball. We brought four pickleball padles and by the end of the cruise we ... Read More
We went on this cruise to check out Crystal's luxury ocean cruise line. We picked this one because it has a paddle tennis court on it which we could use for pickleball. We brought four pickleball padles and by the end of the cruise we had about 14 players all rotating in at 9 o'clock a.m. every day. It made the trip. We liked the cruise experience so much that we're planning on doing another one on Serenity that has two paddle tennis courts September 28th in case anyway wants to join us for some pickleball. We have been on Oceania, Regent, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian so have experienced many different classes of ships and classes of service. We had pretty much given up the ocean cruising because we didn't like the masses of people on board and nickle and diming experience. Then we tried luxury cruising. Compared to the Regent, my only complaint is that there could be some more music on the pool deck. I think we only had music one day and then also there is no sports bar, so if you want to watch a sporting event you have to go to your Room. I also like the fact that you don't need to pay for excursions on crystal...(regent includes excursions in their fares). Also I have to say Crystal does a better job protecting their pickleball courts from the wind. They had wind screens all around the court and about a 12' plexiglass on one side so it's pretty protected from the wind that makes it more playable when your cruising. We really enjoyed the cruise and the ship. They also did fabulous decorating for Christmas. We didn't really care to get off in any the ports since we've been there so many times, just enjoyed the ship. Even went to few of the movies in the Hollywood theater. We had excellent service all around and big shout out to our Butler Victor who went above and beyond, anticipating our every need. We did tip him extra as he was unbelievable. We had absolutely wonderful 6 star service throughout the cruise from dining, housekeeping, to cocktails at the pool, every crew member was great. We did see one variety show and the dancers and singers were very good. Lastly, an interesting note is they still allow guests to come on board so we had 4 friends visit for dinner at our overnight port in San Diego. I have tons of pictures and video of this ship let me know if you need something in particular... like menus. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We've been on well over 50 cruises, but this was our first one on Crystal. We wanted to experience the 'top of the line' feeling and we were not disappointed. When we cruise, our most important aspect is the on-board life, ... Read More
We've been on well over 50 cruises, but this was our first one on Crystal. We wanted to experience the 'top of the line' feeling and we were not disappointed. When we cruise, our most important aspect is the on-board life, especially the food and service. On this ship the food was outstanding. Quality, quality and quality!! Of course the service was just as fine. You can tell the impact a high employee to passenger ratio really has. We were also very happy with the refined clientelle on this ship. Most everybody was happy and friendly. Oh, and the pool deck was just great: lots of chairs and lounges. No fighting for a chair at any time! Our cabin was the 'picture window' variety. It was very spacious, had ample of room for storage and even sported a bath tub. Noteworthy was the shower which had great water pressure and none of the temperature flucctuations experienced on most other ships. Would we go again? Certainly!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is a mixed review for what should have been a stellar cruise experience .... based on the considerable price per person that was charged. It appears that since the Chinese consortium has taken over this line ( last year ), some things ... Read More
This is a mixed review for what should have been a stellar cruise experience .... based on the considerable price per person that was charged. It appears that since the Chinese consortium has taken over this line ( last year ), some things have changed, perhaps not for the better.  We booked this back this  back-to-back "tres cher" 16 day cruise two years ago. We wanted to try what we thought was more upscale than Oceania cruises which we have enjoyed immensely. Unfortunately, we found that Crystal does not compare to Oceania on several important levels. Overall, while the entertainment on board Serenity was terrific, supported by very good and friendly service, the food was a major disappointment, in many venues including some of the specialty restaurants. Food: The food was consistently overly salty, highly spiced and meats were  tenderized ( we itched hours after a meal that had meat) ... with many dishes "smothered" in sauces that contain five spice, coriander or other distinctively tasting spices. Desserts were particularly disappointing, especially since the Executive chef is Austrian. Sadly, we had very few good meals, morning, noon or night in Waterside ( main dining room). Meats were not top quality cuts, along with very infrequent availability of steak. Fish, was abundant but overtly fishy even for fish that is supposed to be mild. Fruit juices ( just about all) highly watered down, and mixed cocktails lacked proper sweetness or condiments. We tried Mojitos, Pina Collada, Daiquiri's of different flavors, none of which tasted like what you would get in any restaurant. They did, however, make a good Bloody Mary. Wine was abundant. Waterside main dining room always had seating availability and service was superb, except for one disastrous lunch when we had no one to service our table. Except for soups, pasta entrees and bread, which were consistently good, most other dishes were lacking.  We had so few fine dishes, whether it be lunch or dinner that we began to wonder how the reputation of this line still exists? One night I had a rib-eye that was chewy and lacked flavor. Hubby had the Monkfish which was very fishy. Pecan pie that was so dense with pecans that it lacked moisture and was very dry. For  the "reported caliber" of this ship, we expected better.  You would also expect them to have sorbet, which is always available on the upscale ships. Not so, night after night, Sherbet is listed on the menu ... and Sherbet it is.  Salads are usually overly complected with add-ons like cauliflower, peas, chopped beet cubes. Who wants cauliflower in their salad? Homemade Pastas, sauces are indeed a strong suit. Try the fettucini alfredo or carbonara. One night Prego, specialty restaurant,  offered spaghetti ala vongole which was  very good. If I thought the fish was going to be fishy, and did not want the other entrees listed, I usually opted for pasta. We had a very poor meal at the specialty restaurant: UMI, where I ordered the famed "black cod", their signature dish, which was so terribly fishy. I sent it back after taking  a few bites, and got sick afterwards from the small portion I ate. Marketplace turns into Churriscaria  (Brazilian Rodizio) at night, something to which we looked forward. No reservations are possible. You show up, there is no Maitre'D, at the stand where you are greeted by simply a sign that says stay there and wait to be seated. You learn that the Maitre'D  is way around the bend in another part of the restaurant and he cannot see you/vice versa. We waited 10 minutes for someone to show, and finally walked around to other side of the restaurant and was escorted back to where we started and told to sit and wait for a table. We waited 45 minutes and finally were called.  We could see the chaos of this restaurant, as gauchos carrying meat on skewers scurried about, missing tables, walking to other sections, skipping tables who wanted to try what they were carrying.  The funny thing is that this restaurant probably has some of the best food on the ship, in terms of appetizers, meats only one cut of steak -sirloin) and desserts, but is so poorly managed that people get frustrated and leave because of long waits to be seated. This restaurant should have a reservation system. Our advice, get there a few minutes early for the 6:30 PM opening and know that there is a Maitre'D, but he is somewhere else where you can't see him and he can't see you. Note: We tried this restaurant again, during the second week we were on board, and got there a few minutes early. As people came we explained that someone will eventually come and seat them ... and that it is worth waiting for ... Our last night ( of 16 nights) at Waterside main dining room was the pits. Service was terrible, kitchen was slow, and our meals ... Pork Tenderloin, and what was supposed to be whole duck ( came as two small pieces of duck) were both dry and overcooked. Then, we could not believe our eyes as we saw the table next to us get served  Alaskan King Crab - never on any of the menus the two weeks we were on the ship, and Dover sole, served only once in the two weeks. Apparently the ship, will, if you ask  ... make upscale, off - the -menu meals for you, but you have to know to request them, at least a day before. Who knew??? Apparently not many people. Silk specialty restaurant has Chinese food ... sort of dim sum ... dumplings, egg rolls, terrific hot n' sour soup ( ask that they skip the hot oil added on top), other soups, and mini entrees, all in very small portions and share-able. The food was consistently good. You do need a reservation though, and it does not count against the rules of only two specialty restaurants per week. You can also eat late lunch in Silk, from 1 to 3 PM. It has some non-Chinese ( Reuben - awful, greasy, dripping mess), pizza and different Chinese specialties than at night. Prego, overall,  is the star of the specialty restaurants and does a good job with its offerings .... dense mushroom soup baked in a bread mini tureen; good salads, many interesting apps; wide range of entrees ... fish, veal, steak, all order-able with a side of potato,  pasta or polenta. We had superb service from Petar and Marko at this restaurant. There is also Scoops ice cream in Silk restaurant which offers Ben & Jerry's ice cream during limited day hours. Note: the waffle cones are home made, break apart in your hands and taste very "eggy". Stick to the paper cup serving of ice cream. Around the corner is a burger stand, with all the usual sides. They tend to overcook the burgers, so make your request for rarer cooking, firm. We were very surprised at what was not on the menu. All the major cruise lines usually offer, with regularity,  shrimp cocktail in the evenings, as an appetizer. Not so on Serenity. And only once, in 16 days, did they offer Escargot. The lack of upscale appetizers and steak left us feeling that this line is cutting back, yet not representing this in price. Further, by offering overly salty food it is costing the ship a small fortune in drinks since salty food makes you very thirsty! Pool: The pool is small and so shallow that at best you can walk and do a few calisthenics. The pool area has very nice couches, tables. Get one if you can by getting there early. For some strange reason, there are no bathrooms near the pool area and you have to walk all the way to the back of the ship or front to find a bathroom. Two whirlpools are right by the pool. Shopping Shopping is outrageously expensive. Full price++ for Ferrigamo accessories,  very upscale and overpriced brands of jewelry and watches. Even if you have a $1000++ OBC, it will not go far. The last two days they ran a few sales on Brahmin bags, priced close to full retail, only 15% off. Like us, any couples who had large unused shipboard credits were struggling to find useful items to purchase. Entertainment Entertainment is the star of the ship. They have multiple venues for such: Hollywood theater for movies, presentations. Galaxy theater (main theater) for major shows .... Starlight Ballroom for smaller shows. Serenity offers superb singing, dancing, music that rivals any major cruise line. Do not miss the evening shows which are held twice each night. Stardust ballroom, a small, intimate nightclub,  also transforms on formal nights to a "Supper" club.  On two nights we had Comedians who were excellent. John Joseph kept us laughing continuously with his jaded slice of life commentary. The Billy Joel review with Welshman J. Fox who starred in the UK and Broadway Bill Joel plays was terrific. Lovena B. Fox, songstress was also superb .... did justice to Tina Turner's Proud Mary. Computer room: Computer room is also a high point. It is properly staffed during the day, with two experts. It also has 12 very large screen Apple computers for use for passengers that do not bring IPAD.  They worked well and were greatly appreciated. Kudos for having a well supported computer system aboard. Cabin: Our balcony cabin was nicely appointed, but quite small and tight. Only room for a love seat, not full sofa. Bathroom has dual sinks, granite counters. For some insane reason, instead of a walk-in shower, this redesigned ship had a mini-tub-shower. Since the average age of passengers is somewhere around 75, the idea of seniors stepping almost three feet high into a tub and holding on for dear life while showering makes no sense. At least they supplied a rubber mat to prevent slipping. The balcony is small and tight. Here is where Oceania balcony cabins have it all over Crystal. Oceania has spacious balconies, lavish marble bathrooms with both shower and full tub. Embark/Disembark We boarded fairly easily, only waiting 30 minutes to get on board. Disembark was a nightmare. Apparently customs did not clear the ship as expected and getting off the ship was delayed for an hour and a half for everyone? People with early flights were panicking, trying to change their flights. The ship told people to report to Galaxy room ( forward) to sit and wait for their color tag to be called. Because, everything was backed up, there was not enough room in Galaxy, , and so people had to sit and wait elsewhere, and announcements were not being made about exiting by color code. Finally at 10:20 AM, someone came by and verbally told us, "everybody get off the ship". They just wanted us off. Overall, we did not feel we got value for this expensive cruise and probably would not cruise on Crystal again. There is no substitute for fine food that was expected. At best, we got a full notch below good food, certainly not the best possible cuts of meat, fish. Masking food with salt, spices and gravies is not fine dining ... which we expected Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My review of our recent back-to-back on the Serenity Caribbean cruise. Let me say we are not new to cruising and usually sail on Oceania (which is not a Luxury line). We chose Crystal this time because the price was right and we ... Read More
My review of our recent back-to-back on the Serenity Caribbean cruise. Let me say we are not new to cruising and usually sail on Oceania (which is not a Luxury line). We chose Crystal this time because the price was right and we wanted to try a different line but not a mainstream mega ship. We are not foodies nor big drinkers. We normally get an Ocean view or balcony on Oceania so we did book an Ocean view on Crystal (C1). Some will not agree with my opinions but that is OK they are MY opinions Some things we liked before even boarding was the fact that you can book Specialty restaurants right after you pay in full, even in the low cabin categories. You can also book excursions and some of the enrichment classes ahead of time if they interest you. Also, you can choose your bed preference and add credit card info for easier embarkation/disembarkation. Pros: Promenade deck where you can walk around the ship Coffee cafe with snacks all day I like that they list the Officers, guest speakers and entertainment on the website ahead of time. For those on the back-to-back in San Juan they offered a complimentary tour with lunch ..a nice touch Embarkation day they have several venues open for lunch They have a place where you can check your carry-ons so you do not have to carry them around until your cabin is ready Pillow menu Terry robe and lighter weight cloth robe Less public announcements Door bell at the cabin with service required button/privacy The brand of tea was very nice Cons: DH having to wear a jacket for 1 black tie only night ..per segment (takes up space when trying to pack light) Many smoking areas allocated for smokers. Even if 1 or 2 people in the area it is uncomfortable for non smokers to enjoy the area of the aft decks Lectures geared to American Politics Entertainment: Comedians. Magic shows and ventriloquists were not what I expected on a “Luxury” line Photographers Not many choices for the included wines No pillow chocolates or night light in the w/c or even an outlet to plug in your own nightlight Not sure if Crystal has figured out open seating or just Crystal cruisers prefer to dine alone or with those they already know People at meals seem to have cell phone or Ipads at the table texting whoever..very distracting to those around them .They should block internet signals in the main dining room and Specialties. Coffee is hit or miss. The Bistro and Prego were the best places to get a cappuccino or good coffee Embarkation day we usually eat before heading to the port. Regulars of Crystal said “oh go early and enjoy lunch in Waterside “. We decided to go and try it. Reality! We got to the port about 12:20 pm were given a boarding group number and sent to a room full of people waiting to board. By about 1:15pm our number was called and we signed in then boarded the ship. We checked our coats and carry on at the desk by reception then we were herded to the elevator to go to Marketplace for lunch. Only the regulars were taken to Waterside. When our cabin was ready we found they had delivered our coats and bag to the room left them on the bed with the door open so anyone could enter. I had my laptop/camera/phone and other important stuff in the bag .. not good for Crystal. I would have preferred to pick up my bag and had hoped it was kept in a secure area until then. Food is subjective but we found most meals were not quality ingredients. No fresh made pasta except one day they had Gnocchi. Afternoon tea they bring a stand of already plated things ..a waste of food IMO. We asked to just order what we like ..NO. Clotted cream for scones in a prepackaged tub and not freshly made and a small jar of jam. Whipped creme for scones??? We never went back ..the Bistro have the same offerings and you can choose just the items you want. In the dining room some of the choices on the menu were just bizarre. eg: Appetizer =1 tiger shrimp cut in 3 pieces with some corn in garlic sauce sprinkled with popcorn ?? Meatloaf as an entree and cabbage rolls another entree? Cheap peasant food and not “luxury”. Marketplace is a very bad layout with food stations staggered. The tables are on one side and sectioned off by screens which impeded the view of guests and wait staff. So many times coming from the table to go to the food station almost running into people or wait staff with trays of drinks/dishes etc. Evening buffet /Brazilian is a farce. You get your hot or cold items then sit and wait for the skewers of meat to be brought to the table. If you want 2 pieces of meat ..NO. You have to wait for that item to come back around. Took us 45 mins to get 2 items .. we gave up and left. We found some things at the Bistro to fill our tummies Prego was good and the offerings were similar to Oceania but some not as good. Silk was interesting but sharing plates were very small. Yes you can order more no problem. Trident Grill for lunch was good. The burgers are huge so we did not have more than one as it would spoiled us for dinner. We need not have worried as dinner was not that good most nights anyway. Grilled cheese sandwiches were nice option to have on a day when you did not want too much to eat. A couple of the production shows were very good and of course Lovena Fox was excellent. A classical pianist did 2 shows and both very good. We did not attend the lectures as they were of no interest to us. I did watch a bit of one on the TV but it was so boring. The pool area was a nightmare. People would be out very early and building their “nests” for the day. The staff did not seem to do anything about the hogging problem until many complaints and then the hogs complained so the staff backed off. Went to the aft decks but because it is for smokers it just stunk back there and always a couple of smokers on each deck. It seems a waste to have the 4 aft deck spaces dedicated to smokers. The artwork when compared to Oceania is tacky and more like Walmart art. Not appealing to the eye at all. The crew: Like all lines it is the front line staff who make the cruise good or bad and the staff were very good, pleasant & eager to please (most of them). Overall the cruise was fine and we did get a discounted rate. The old adage “you get what you pay for “ is true for this cruise experience. We were not Crystalized! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Beautiful ship. Excellent crew. We wanted a holiday getaway. Haven’t been back to Caribbean for many years. Friends highly recommended Crystal so decided to give it a try. This is mostly a ship for people who like food, alcoholic ... Read More
Beautiful ship. Excellent crew. We wanted a holiday getaway. Haven’t been back to Caribbean for many years. Friends highly recommended Crystal so decided to give it a try. This is mostly a ship for people who like food, alcoholic beverages, Bridge, Mah Jongg & computer classes. Short on sports activities. Dining: was rather disappointing. Aside from speciality restaurants, choice is Waterside, the main dining room which could be noisy & chaotic with mixed reviews on the menu and Churrascaria a Brazilian Steakhouse which is very good, part buffet & serves the same food every night. The best is The Bristo which has great coffee & light meals throughout the day & evening. Many days we enjoyed a light lunch here away from the chaos of The Marketplace Prego is excellent, the only speciality restaurant we attended. The Trident Grill serves burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches & is usually very crowded. The ice cream bar is a big hit. Liked the Avenue Saloon. Entertainment: Enjoyed the card magician and the Billy Joel show. Enrichment talks were mixed. Nice movie theater but poor choice of movies. Enjoyed an art class offered on several days. Complementary needlepoint kit offered first day in Palm Court. Wonderful violinist & pianist. Did not use Casino or pool area, small nice library. This back to back cruise was port heavy with only two sea days each leg. Ports: Biggest disappointment Over priced for length of time & quality. Poorly researched by set up person. Feel we wasted our money on most tours. Train trip on St Kitts was very good. Many islands recovering from recent hurricane damage. Loss of agricultural industry has increased tourism business & turned ports into Duty Free tourist shopping areas. Grand Turk had small beach crowded with chairs & umbrellas plus lots of shops. Nelson’s Dockyard on Antigua worth a visit. Service: the highlight for Crystal. Service crew is exceptionally good, friendly & helpful. Captain & Officers not very friendly or assessable Shops: very high end with only jewelry, watches & upscale clothing/accessory shops. Probably will not cruise with Crystal again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have sailed with several different lines, but this was our first experience with Crystal. The Symphony is among the smaller ships we have sailed, but you would not know it once on board. Embarkation was changed from Ft Lauderdale to ... Read More
We have sailed with several different lines, but this was our first experience with Crystal. The Symphony is among the smaller ships we have sailed, but you would not know it once on board. Embarkation was changed from Ft Lauderdale to Miami several months before, and Crystal notified us well in advance. The location in Miami sets opposite of the bigger ships, in a much quieter setting. Embarkation was extremely quick and before we knew it we were on board. Unlike most other lines, you do NOT receive your key cards at check in... They are in your stateroom. We were greeted with a glass of champagne, given an opportunity to drop carry on luggage at a secured station (which was then also delivered to our stateroom), and escorted on a brief tour before heading to the main dining room for lunch (another welcome surprise). By the time lunch was finished we were able to go to our stateroom to pick up our key cards, and find all our luggage there waiting for us. Speaking of dining... I wish I could rate the food higher than the 5 stars! ALL of the food in the MDR was excellent. With regards to embarkation lunch... Our waitress, Jessica told us to be sure to try the butternut squash ravioli (**only served at embarkation**). It was amazing! Also, on another note... **Do not pass up on the soups!** Crystal has the most delicious offering of soups we have ever come across. Service was outstanding... when the same waitress found out I had missed out on the escargot (due to bring at a specialty restaurant that night)... before I knew it the head waiter came over and asked for my name and stateroom number. (we were not even at her table this time!) The next night I had a special order of escargot! And since we were celebrating my birthday, I was treated to a celebration breakfast, not on the menu, that was offered either in the MDR, or could be served "en suite". It was the most memorable room service ever. There are a total of 4 specialty restaurants... Two of them, Silk (Asian) and Churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse), can be visited as many times as you wish at no extra charge. Prego (Italian) and Umi Uma (Japanese fusion), may both be visited once at no additional charge on a 10 day cruise. All were fabulous, and we especially loved Prego. We found that the Trident Grill served one of, if not the best burgers we have ever had at sea. Hot, fresh and always cooked to order. They also offer Impossible burgers. And as for the included alcohol...we were not disappointed. The offerings changed almost daily, and unless you wanted a special vintage, just about anything goes. As with most lines, there are some differences between the individual bars as to spirits and drinks available. The drink of the day was something worth trying, not your typical beach/tropical/cruise drinks. Other facilities... There are only three shops, all high end, and no huge sales events being pushed. In fact there was only one sales event, on the pool deck during our canal transit. The casino was quite large given the size of the ship, and included a separate high stakes table room. The pool and one enormous hot tub (occupancy listed at 16!) are very nicely designed, and the pool deck area was more than adequate to allow you to find a chair. This sailing was the President's cruise, and Crystal on Broadway. Our entertainment options were exceptional. Several Broadway headliners, as well as comedians and of course, Magic at Sea. Speaking of Magic at Sea, **be sure to go to the library the first day to obtain a ticket for the magic show**. These are small, intimate, close tip magic shows, and tickets are limited. On top of that the enrichment opportunities were plentiful. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Odyssea Art program over five different days, trying my hand at watercolor and jewelry making. We even had an art show at the end of the cruise displaying everyone's creations. Meanwhile my husband enjoyed golf workshops and bridge classes offered daily... All at no additional charge. There were many lectures and free Apple classes as well. This sailing through the old canal locks was our first trip through the Panama Canal, and our transit, while at the beginning of the dry season, was a rainy one. There is no need to worry, as there are many vantage points from inside, as well as covered areas on board. One caveat... If you so desire a prime vantage point, fore or aft, plan to be there well in advance of entering the breakwater. We went to find a spot an hour before our canal approach and the best seats were already taken in the forward lounge. Before we knew it the cruise was over. Disembarkation was just as smooth. Again, Crystal puts passengers first, and there is no push to be out of your stateroom prior to the time you leave the ship... So enjoy that last breakfast if you wish! We took advantage of the ship's transfers, which was a good idea as the airport was well over an hour away. It was an amazing sailing. Crystal truly exemplifies luxury. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
One of the major reasons was they marketed as a wine and food cruise, and there were only two wine tastings in 12 days. They were very limited to 4 two ounce pours each and that was it. Additionally I would suggest more on board ... Read More
One of the major reasons was they marketed as a wine and food cruise, and there were only two wine tastings in 12 days. They were very limited to 4 two ounce pours each and that was it. Additionally I would suggest more on board activities for port days. Many of us have been to the islands many times and we picked Crystal for the ship. I also feel three evenings of magician entertainment was too much. However, after all is said and done I will definitely be going Crystal again. When you market a cruise as a Wine and Food cruise we expected you to live up to your description. To only have two wine tastings, each with only four two ounce pours is less than a reasonable person would expect. Their specialty restaurants were very good! I would highly recommend dinner in Prego and the late breakfast in the Grill. Those two rooms were lovely with great food and service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The only reason I agreed to go on this cruise was for the water activities! We expected similarities to the Sea Cloud and the Windstar - NOT! We learned at check-in that “the Water Activities are not offered on this trip." ... Read More
The only reason I agreed to go on this cruise was for the water activities! We expected similarities to the Sea Cloud and the Windstar - NOT! We learned at check-in that “the Water Activities are not offered on this trip." The week before the trip I asked a rep at Crystal what I needed to bring for the Water Activities, and she said " just your water shoes.” We were sent a “Water Sports Participation Release” to sign & return We received our confirmation papers in October, 2 months after promised. We received a letter confirming our departure from Dubrovnik, though we were leaving from Dubai. I could go on with Crystal mishaps, both before the trip and and on-board, but you get the idea! Poor organization. Poorly planned shore excursions( missing the area highlights.) Unapologetic Activities Director & Assistant. The rest of the staff was excellent. The pianist/musician was great, but, they needed someone to give information about where we were, and what we were looking at. We had none of that. The ship was clean and the cabin spacious. There were not enough seats in the only sunny area for the number of passengers who wanted sun! The floor plan could be updated. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We wanted to try cruising on a small yacht and were very much looking forward to the water sports, such as swimming, and snorkeling, that Crystal advertised as being part of the Esprit experience. The ads showed how such activities could ... Read More
We wanted to try cruising on a small yacht and were very much looking forward to the water sports, such as swimming, and snorkeling, that Crystal advertised as being part of the Esprit experience. The ads showed how such activities could be accessed at the rear of the shop. To our dismay none of these activities were available and though Crystal had known about this for many months, passengers were not informed. So, our first problem is with the ethics of the way Crystal handled the water sports. The yacht is small and while the food and service were good, there is very little to do on the ship: no lectures on the interesting ports----Abu Dabi, Doha, Muscat---no areas to walk, no hot tubs, no entertainment, beyond a pianist. The cabins were spacious enough, but no balconies or bath tubs. The excursions were good and interesting, but not superior to those offered by other lines. Overall, the cost of the Crystal cruise was significantly higher than other lines and we did not see the benefits. Also I was really dismayed by Crystal's business practices. So, when dealing with Crystal Buyer Beware. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We just returned from another fabulous Crystal transatlantic crossing (our 5th) on Crystal Serenity. Crystal seems to just get better every year and a transatlantic crossing is the best way to take advantage of all the ship (and the ... Read More
We just returned from another fabulous Crystal transatlantic crossing (our 5th) on Crystal Serenity. Crystal seems to just get better every year and a transatlantic crossing is the best way to take advantage of all the ship (and the cruiseline) has to offer. With only about 800 people on a good-sized ship, the ship is small enough to seem intimate, but large enough to have multiple activities taking place from early morning to late at night. The ship is beautiful, the food is delicious with many choices and lots of flavor, the all-inclusive amenities are top notch. It is truly a fantastic experience. Many people often ask if the transatlantic crossing is boring or if the seas are rough. We have never had rough seas, and Crystal has so many activities going on that we need to prioritize our activities during the day and seem to be going non-stop from 8am to 1am! A typical day for us is: some kind of fitness in the morning (not always, but we tried!), breakfast, bridge lesson, trivia with our "team" at noon, lunch, dance lesson, duplicate bridge, snack and French press in the Bistro, get ready for dinner and watch the wonderful lectures we missed on our stateroom tv, before dinner drinks in the Crystal Cove, dinner, some kind of great entertainment, dancing with the Tommy Dorsey Big Band and finally listening to great piano in the Avenue Saloon. Whew! Of course, you can do as much or as little as you like. There are art courses, computer classes, movies...probably 4 things happening at once. Or, you can just relax in your stateroom, in the library, or out on deck. The entertainment at night was so varied...there was something for everyone from a violinist or guitarist, to a duo, the Crystal Quartet, the Showband who played Dixieland Jazz one night in the Crystal Cove, and of course the fabulous Tommy Dorsey Orchestra! We did stop in 2 ports - Antigua and St. Thomas (only half the passengers went ashore!) - the real attraction was the ship itself, where we were able to take advantage of all that Crystal has to offer. What a Wonderful World! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We are die hard Crystal fans. After many cruises, 40+, we experienced issues on board. Frist the terrific 1. Embarkation and Disembarkation are a breeze 2. Entertainment was top notch. Any time Christine Andreas is on board you ... Read More
We are die hard Crystal fans. After many cruises, 40+, we experienced issues on board. Frist the terrific 1. Embarkation and Disembarkation are a breeze 2. Entertainment was top notch. Any time Christine Andreas is on board you will have a wonderful evening. 3. Enrichment was interesting. The timing of lectures was poor and interfered with other classes. 4. Service is always top notch and this cruise did not disappoint. The Lido staff is always working to make a great experience. Now onto the not so great 5. Cabins are in dire need of updating. Our 9th floor veranda experienced a flood due to pipe bursting in hall. I had to call the front desk before any assistance, and never did the hotel manager come to our room. We had noisy fans running for 2 days, and who knows if mold is growing. One other mention the movies available for viewing in the passenger rooms is awful, talk about dated, and the selection of TV channels is little better. We found the internet to be adequate. 6. Public spaces are showing their age with ragged carpet in Starlite Club. The renovations are an added benefit to many rooms but in the end this is an old ship and despite being very clean she is showing her age. 7. Ports are never spectacular in the Caribbean ; we did not leave the ship in Grand Turk or Tortola. I was lucky to experience the Volunteerism group and it was the highlight of the cruise. We do not use the Shore excursion desk as traveling in a large bus for hours is not attractive to us. 8. Dining was the spot that confused us as Crystal cuisine is usually a 6 star experience. Trident Grill, Bistro, Uma Uma and the best Italian restaurant, Prego, were spot on in every respect. Water side was a hit or miss. Broths and pastas were the same as always; it was the mains that were disappointing with little to no seasoning (maybe salt was omitted due to the age of passengers:), bizarre menus that many found difficult to choose an entree (king crab legs at black tie night tons of venison, duck and lamb), and a dessert menu that just needs a total update. Silk is better with each cruise, and the Brazilian steakhouse was nothing short of inedible. Tapas bar was the normal salad bar, and the vegetable area housed the same boring steamed veges, gummy cauliflower au gratin, and poorly executed roasted broccoli. We tried 4 mains and only the lamb was edible. My short rib oozed grease and the chicken was dry as a bone. In fact all the poultry on board was tough and dry. Another ? as crystals poultry is usually moist.Wish management would consider an American steak house to replace Churiscuria. The captain was the most inconspicuous captain ever. Expect for the Captain's reception he remained out of site. We heard many new passenger comment on the age of the majority of passengers. The average age was well into 80s and greater; many wheelchairs and assisted mobility devices were in halls. I also heard several passengers discuss the entitlement shown by some passengers especially to the staff who work tirelessly. Someone once wrote that some passengers leave their manners at home. I think they have no manners to leave. It will be interesting to see how Crystal moves ahead attracting a younger clientele. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We really enjoyed the Crystal experience. We had decided to try a luxury cruise as a special treat and are glad we chose Crystal. The Barcelona to Lisbon itinerary was perfect for us and the ship is lovely and well kept. Our stateroom ... Read More
We really enjoyed the Crystal experience. We had decided to try a luxury cruise as a special treat and are glad we chose Crystal. The Barcelona to Lisbon itinerary was perfect for us and the ship is lovely and well kept. Our stateroom was compact, with a nice balcony and a very nice bathroom, with double sinks. The food in the main dining room was wonderful--so good, in fact, that we never even tried to dine in to any of the speciality restaurants. We like to dance and the Crystal Quartet was great. It is nice to find wooden dance floors as so many of the other lines have done away with them. Service was smooth--all the staff was courteous and helpful. We enjoyed the onboard enrichment lectures. Some other lines have turned those into sales opportunities, which really turns us off. We particularly enjoyed was not being subject to a constant barrage of sales pitches from shops and beverage services. We only took one shore excursion--from Malaga to the Alhambra. It was expensive, but worth the money as the guides were great and it included a very nice lunch. Overall, a wonderful cruise and we will be repeat customers for Crystal. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Had an enjoyable cruise but it was not 6 star. Cabin was as small as, or even smaller than I have had on 4 star ships No bottle of ‘bubbles’ in the cabin on arrival. I have come to expect this on even 4 star lines. Light over ... Read More
Had an enjoyable cruise but it was not 6 star. Cabin was as small as, or even smaller than I have had on 4 star ships No bottle of ‘bubbles’ in the cabin on arrival. I have come to expect this on even 4 star lines. Light over the bed was unusable and was very uncomfortable as I could not find a way of moving it away. I kept hitting my head on it, and I am short. I don’t know how tall men cope. Most of the tours were sold out before the ship sailed and you could not book a tour less than one week out. Why? Tours were not really well matched to the ratings. I did a snorkeling and stingray encounter on Grand Turk. You did not have to snorkel if you didn’t want to. The stingray encounter was just in a couple of feet of water - no need to swim. Yet it was rated ‘strenuous’ and I did hear at least one elderly couple say they decided to cancel because they were worried it might be too difficult for then. Perhaps you need someone with an excellent knowledge of each tour to be available to talk people through what they will need to be able to do. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
In the past 3 years we have sailed with Silversea 4 times, with Regent 3, with Oceania 1 and with Seabourn 2 times. We had heard excellent comments about Crystal when their Mediterranean cruise caught our attention. We booked a penthouse ... Read More
In the past 3 years we have sailed with Silversea 4 times, with Regent 3, with Oceania 1 and with Seabourn 2 times. We had heard excellent comments about Crystal when their Mediterranean cruise caught our attention. We booked a penthouse suite and it was an overwhelming experience. After the other cruise lines we had become familiar with our expectations of Crystal were high, but the Crystal exceeded our expectations by far. For us no other cruise line comes even close. They are simply the best! If you really want to spoil yourself to a cruise of a lifetime, book a penthouse suite on Crystal. Before we left on this cruise we had already booked a cruise with Seabourn in January, but now that we have experienced Crystals Serenity, we are no longer excited to cruise with any other cruise line. Crystal is a whole new experience. Embarking with the penthouse suite ticket is like flying first class, within minutes your are on board, you are accompanied to your suite. All is ready and our luggage was delivered before we had a chance to admire the tastefully designed suite in delightful light colors, wow! We choose to have our lunch not in the main restaurant Waterside but in the Marketplace where a sumptuous buffet awaited us. This was the way to travel. Announcements over the public address system were practically non existent. We always were annoyed by the frequent PA announcements on other lines, too often in a phoney British accent. Soliciting for future cruises was prohibited, if you are interested in future cruises you were of course welcome to so on beard. This all added to a totally relaxed and comfortable and unique cruise experience. The food was divine, there were options for everybody, even for health food nuts like us. Personally we are vegetarians but do eat fish. There was always something new and delicious on the menu. Starting with the amazing breakfast buffet at the Marketplace. The fresh fruit selections, especially mangoes, papaya, pine apple and strawberries were of the highest quality and always perfectly ripe. What a better way to start a day. The lunch buffet at the Marketplace was always a special treat, unfortunately we were mostly on an excursion at lunch time and too often missed the feast. We always had the choice of freshly steamed rice and vegetables. If you prefer the buttered kind, of course that was offered too. After our first nights dinner in the Waterside restaurant, where we were spoilt by the best waiters Raj and Ewa we knew that was going to be our dinner table for the entire cruise. There was absolutely no reason to try a different table we were so much at home. Soon we started talking that this was the only ship so far, where we could imagine to sail into the perpetual sunset. Seriously, instead of moving into an old folks home, why not spending the last years aboard Serenity. We are still talking about it, maybe one of these days. This was the only ship we have ever felt we could sail on forever. Our Med. Cruise had so many interesting landfalls that we couldn't really appreciate all the amenities. One of the great pluses on the Serenity are the possibilities to move and walk a around freely. On deck 7 there is a wide teak deck all around the ship offering the best walking in addition to the possibility to walk on the top deck. There was an internet lounge with iMacs and a differnt lectures could be followed about working with apple computers. Of course internet was free and of a good quality considering the fact that we were on a moving vessel with a satellite link. The entertainment on board was first rate, we missed most of the shows as we were very busy during the days and went to bed early. But our fellow cruisers were enthusiastic about the shows. Often I had watched other people soon falling asleep during lectures, not on board Serenity. The lecturers captured their audience and even you could watch the lectures on live TV in the privacy of your suite, most guests went to the lectures including ourselves to enjoy the lecturers. Ken Walsh, a long time White House correspondent and Dr. Jim Rowe talking about our destinations more than enriched our cruise experience. Booking a Med. Cruise at the end of October is always picking a wild card, the weather can change suddenly and summer just a memory. Still the touristic hot spots during our cruise like Santorini, Sorrento, Rome, Florence, Monaco, Marseille and Barcelona were still extremely crowded by fellow tourists. Still it is more pleasant to experience the world famous sights without the heat of summer but, rainy and cool days are not rare late in the fall. Much too soon our 13 day cruise came to an end, we hated to leave. The disembarking process was so perfectly organised, not one P.A. announcement, no pushing or shoving, just a relaxed walking off the boat and the luggage so cleverly arranged that finding our luggage was so easy. Thank You Crystal. We can't wait to come back. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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