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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
All expectations met on our recent 14 day sailing from Quebec City to FLORIDA. Enjoyed perfect weather, perfect service, amazing food and great enrichment and entertainment The staff was up to the usual high Crystal standards. Ship ... Read More
All expectations met on our recent 14 day sailing from Quebec City to FLORIDA. Enjoyed perfect weather, perfect service, amazing food and great enrichment and entertainment The staff was up to the usual high Crystal standards. Ship is so well designed it feels very special and yet we feel right at home, Initia check in is a breeze, no line ups and lots of help. Front desk staff are helpful and cheerful. We especially love the Palm Court for beautiful vistas and sunsets. Two highlights were the fun evenings in the Aveue Saloon enjoying Perry Grant's fun and funny show. The Bridge lessons were something special. Roseanne Levinson is a patient and entertaining teacher who has tons of patience and great teaching skills. We learned enough basics to feel confident going forward with the game. As always the day we disembark is always sad, hate to leave the ship and the staff - but look forward to next time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Cruised on Crystal Serenity Oct 3 to Oct 13, NYC to Quebec City. Sailing out of NYC at sunset is an experience everyone should have - with the sun setting in back of the Statue of Liberty and then a full moon. Simply amazing! I really ... Read More
Cruised on Crystal Serenity Oct 3 to Oct 13, NYC to Quebec City. Sailing out of NYC at sunset is an experience everyone should have - with the sun setting in back of the Statue of Liberty and then a full moon. Simply amazing! I really miss the leaves turning as I live in the desert. But the colors in Quebec were specular in early October. And Quebec City is an amazing walking town with plenty to see and do. And Crystal is an amazing experience - beautiful, friendly and all inclusive. The cabins even with a veranda are a little small for 2 people but we spent most time in the public areas. We also ate in Nobu sushi bar most nights - Simply amazing food and the chefs are fabulous. Will prepare a meal for you that will far exceed your expectations. Rough seas and winds one night that I truly enjoyed - like being on a roller coaster while cruising. Just love cruising! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise line to celebrate our 49th anniversary and were very disappointed. We did not sleep well any of the 7 nights as the temperature in our room was either boiling or freezing. Every day I went to the front desk and they ... Read More
We chose this cruise line to celebrate our 49th anniversary and were very disappointed. We did not sleep well any of the 7 nights as the temperature in our room was either boiling or freezing. Every day I went to the front desk and they immediately sent someone, but all they did was adjust it up or down, but never fixed it. You have no control over the fan and the temperature is either in the red section or the blue. You cannot set a temperature for your room or set the fan to low, high or off. We ended up settling for cold and slept in a robe they provided. It was not pleasant at all. It is a shame they did not fix the temperature as there were many good things about Crystal…good food, pleasant staff, small number of people on excursions and a very clean ship. I would be very hesitant to book another cruise with Crystal or to recommend it to friends or our travel agent. At this price point, I expect a room with a comfortable temperature. This should have been fixed before they booked the room. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. This was our first Crystal Cruise (but hopefully not the last). We did not know what to expect, having sailed more mass market ships before. Our cabin, 10058, was a penthouse ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. This was our first Crystal Cruise (but hopefully not the last). We did not know what to expect, having sailed more mass market ships before. Our cabin, 10058, was a penthouse with veranda. Loved the layout! Just beware of the high step into the bathroom. The closet was a fairly spacious walk-in, with a built in dresser and shelves. No problem hanging up/storing our overpacked clothes! In the bedroom were so many extra drawers, most of which simply went unused. Our suitcases (2 large, 2 small) fit into the closet. There is also a refrigerator in the cabin (no freezer). The bathroom had a tub and a shower. The service throughout the ship was extraordinary at every level. Particularly loved our butler and cabin attendants. They couldn’t do enough to ensure our comfort. Entertainment: simply the best we have seen on a ship. Dining: Well, there were a few warts. The main dining room menus got progressively less imaginative. The food quality in the main dining room slightly declined . A T-bone steak had to be sent back as it was very tough. What a waste! It was quite a disappointment that when sailing in New England and Nova Scotia there was no lobster on the menu! Tastes, Prego, and Silk Road were great. For breakfast and lunch you MUST visit Lido and Trident Grill. Never a disappointment. For example, burgers (and everything else) at the Trident were all freshly made to order, not stacked up waiting to be ordered. And, yes, there is sugarfree ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s and sugar free desserts at Lido. Activities: just ok. However, enrichment speakers were top quality and interesting. Shopping: High end only. No little sundry shop, selling tee shirts, etc. There is a sale at the end of the cruise but still high priced merchandise. Be aware that OBC can not be used in the casino. Only real cash there. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My husband and I have been on a couple of dozen cruises on a total of 12 lines. This Crystal cruise was outstanding in every way. In most ways it was comparable to less expensive cruises such as Oceania and Azamara, though the enrichment ... Read More
My husband and I have been on a couple of dozen cruises on a total of 12 lines. This Crystal cruise was outstanding in every way. In most ways it was comparable to less expensive cruises such as Oceania and Azamara, though the enrichment activities were far and away the best we've ever experiences. The cusine was top rate, though the specialty restaurants were, in my view,no better than the main dining room. Even top shelf liquor brands were included in the price, and service was impeccable.Gratuities and internet also were included in the price, so the high ticket was not as bad as it seemed. The ship, while beautiful, was a bit dated, but was due to go into dry dock right after our cruise. With the exception of Lisbon, Madeira and Morocco, the island ports were just so-so; but who cared? We would've been happy to never leave the sh\p! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We love cruises and had been looking for one to Croatia. Our previous cruises had been with the big middle market lines - Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, etc. We picked this 1-week Venice to Croatia cruise for three reasons. ... Read More
We love cruises and had been looking for one to Croatia. Our previous cruises had been with the big middle market lines - Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, etc. We picked this 1-week Venice to Croatia cruise for three reasons. First, most of the big ships stop in only one or two ports in Croatia, but Esprit stops in six different ports on a one-week cruise. The small size (they refer to it as a yacht) enables them to go to the smaller places that are less crowded and often more enjoyable. Second, we went with a group hosted by a family that owns a winery in Napa that we love and are club members of. So there were a number of special dinners, receptions and wine tours that were offered as part of this particular cruise, and we even got to visit their sister winery in Croatia. Almost half the 61 passengers aboard were part of our winery group, but we met and made friends with every guest on the boat. Lastly, we wanted to try a smaller boat. Last year, we went on a brand new Royal Caribbean ship that had 4,500 passengers and 1,500 crew. Though it had lots of high tech entertainment, it was overcrowded and overwhelming. With a max of 62 passengers and 90+ crew, we thought Esprit would be a very different experience. And it was. Embarkation in Venice was a cinch. We embarked from the San Basilio port, easily reached by public water taxi from our hotel in Santa Croce. Check-in was relaxed - no crowds at all, and we could embark anytime during the afternoon. All suites are the same size except for one larger owner's suite. We opted for S3 222 which was close to reception, the 24-hr. self-serve food and beverage pantry, one of stairways, and the gangway. This made it easy to get on/off, or to use the stairways to dining and other activities. I saw one review here that claimed this cabin had a lot of ship noise and another that said it was pretty soundproof. We agree with the latter. Dinners were top notch. Open seating, great service, nice selection of wonderful dishes - just like eating in a five star restaurant every night. The quality of the food and service was so good that we always opted to eat dinner on the boat rather than on shore. As we celebrated my wife's birthday while on board, we asked the chef the day before to make a special dish we wanted, and it was no problem. The included wine was pretty good and always served in Reidel glasses. The wine selections varied each day (we also had complimentary wine available from our group's winery host on several nights). There is also a premium wine list with some excellent choices that cost extra. We didn't see anyone opt for those given the decent quality of the complimentary wine. We enjoyed the informal buffet breakfasts and lunches too. There was a large selection of foods given such a small number of guests, and the food quality and service was, of course, excellent. We discovered about 5 days into the cruise that in addition to the buffet, there is actually a breakfast menu where you can order Japanese breakfasts or poached eggs (e.g., eggs benedict). The pantry was stocked with fancy sandwiches, snacks, desserts, fruit, cookies, beverages, etc. There was also an outdoor grill that had pizza (not great IMHO), hamburgers, and especially good salmon burgers. And room service. The entertainment was rather limited, but that's not what we chose this cruise for. There was a singer/piano player that would perform songs on his own or by your request pre- and after dinner. As with other high-end lines, all drinks were complimentary, all the time. One night, there was an excellent local Croatian music group that entertained us before dinner. In terms of water activities, we only tried the jet skis which were fun (and complimentary). There is a two-seater submersible which we thought was a bit pricey for a 20 minute dive. But it's amazing that they even have one. Guests we spoke with who tried it were a bit disappointed in what they could see in the Adriatic. I suspect this will be great when the yacht repositions to the Caribbean. There were at least two complimentary shore excursions in every port, plus others that involved special activities (bicycling, kayaking, zip lines, or private tours) for an added fee. We always opted for the complimentary excursions and enjoyed all but one of them (as we didn't think that local guide was very good). There is always a host from the ship along with the local guide, making sure no one gets separated especially in crowded ports like Split. Each group seemed limited to about a max of 10 people - Crystal just adds more groups to the popular excursions. Transportation was always in new luxury vans. On one of the islands, our local guide was a professor who teaches Croatian history and culture at universities throughout Croatia. Needless to say, he was incredible. There were a couple of things that really impressed my wife and me. As you embark, they take your photo for your ID card. Within an hour, every staff member we passed on the ship greeted us by name on sight. Wow. I've read that Crystal employees have to go to a very extensive service training program before working on the boat. Many of the staff, including the ever present reception hostesses, Jackie and Kiki, had worked for Crystal on other ships for 12-14 years. It shows. The second thing might seem small, but when you are traveling for 3 weeks, it's not. Each cabin deck has a self-serve washer and dryer. That enabled us to pack fewer clothes for our trip, and change 2-3 times a day (important given the heat during our shore excursions). If you were off at dinner, you could simply ask your butler (available 24x7) to pick up your laundry for you, or to even press your clothes. No charge for any of this. Even though Crystal is more expensive than any other cruise line we've taken (and I think Esprit is more expensive than Crystal Symphony, Serenity, etc.), we are seriously thinking about booking another trip, or at least staying within the Crystal family. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our 3rd Crystal cruise and whilst all have been excellent, this was probably the best. We booked fairly late due to life getting in the way of a previously booked cruise in July so did not have the best choice of cabin, and ended ... Read More
This was our 3rd Crystal cruise and whilst all have been excellent, this was probably the best. We booked fairly late due to life getting in the way of a previously booked cruise in July so did not have the best choice of cabin, and ended up right at the front of the ship. It was absolutely fine most of the time, but we did have one rather rocky night in the Bay of Biscay! Embarkation was remarkable. We were very lucky to be within driving distance of Dover, where our cruise started. From leaving the car, we were in the Crystal Dining Room within 15 minutes – having stopped off to check out our room on the way! We have stayed in this room category on Symphony previously (PS), so it was just as expected and very comfortable. As I have said in previous reviews, I do think a little updating is required and hopefully this will happen in the upcoming dry dock. In particular, the TVs are very small and somewhat dated and some of the furnishings are looking a little tired. However, it is a well-planned and thought out space with plenty of storage, and a good-sized and equipped bathroom. The bed was very comfortable with quality linens and pillows. We forgot to bring a phone charger, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that there was an integral charger in the clock. We sampled many of the facilities on the ship – the gym, spa, cinema (rather weird choices of films sometimes!), Vintage Room, lectures, casino, shops etc. We also enjoyed several specialty restaurant reservations. Service throughout the cruise was outstanding. Where we did have an issue, it was resolved quickly, efficiently and with good grace. The crew, across the board, were unfailingly friendly and helpful – I know they are trained to be so and ‘have’ to be, but it makes for a great ambience nevertheless. We found the food to be excellent, as previously. We did eat several times in the specialties and never tired of either. The CDR was also good, but I felt service was a little below par at times and that they were over-stretched with so many people to take care of especially on the BTO evenings. This resulted in either long waits before ordering and between courses, or conversely one plate being whipped away and the next course being served almost simultaneously. We found the included wines to be very drinkable and of course there was always the option to purchase wines when we felt like splurging. I wish they had a better included champagne though! We are reluctant to buy a bottle of champagne because we would never get anywhere near finishing it, but I cannot drink the included stuff. We had signed up for the Ultimate Vintage Room, but perhaps there wasn’t enough interest because it was not offered. Instead we did the regular Vintage Room dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Great food, wine and company.. a really good evening. We thought all the ports were well worth visiting, but perhaps didn’t make the best choices with a couple of our excursions which were a bit long/boring/expensive. We didn’t get to all the shows but enjoyed those that we saw, with the exception of the new light show which wasn’t to our taste, but I’m sure many would disagree. We also found the lectures interesting, informative and entertaining. All in all, we had a wonderful time and look forward to our next Crystal cruise. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose to take a short "taster" cruise from Dover for 6 days in order to try out Crystal cruises. We have sailed regularly on Seabourn and Silversea ships as well as trying other brands such as Celebrity, Cunard, Fred Olsen ... Read More
We chose to take a short "taster" cruise from Dover for 6 days in order to try out Crystal cruises. We have sailed regularly on Seabourn and Silversea ships as well as trying other brands such as Celebrity, Cunard, Fred Olsen and Thomson. Fellow cruisers had suggested that Crystal ships were the best but we did not want to risk the expense of a long haul flight only to find that the larger ships in the Crystal fleet did not suit us. As it happens we were very glad of our decision and the cruise was only saved by glorious weather and delightful ports. Crystal Symphony takes around 800 guests and is therefore not much larger than the Silversea and Seabourn ships we use regularly. It was very American in its style and ambience. Fellow passengers were mainly American (around 80% despite the cruise originating in the UK) with a wide range of other countries each represented by just a handful of people. The first major issue we had was the size of the cabins and bathroom. The bathroom was so small that it was difficult to avoid knocking one's head against the fancy glass washbasin if the ship rolled while rising from the sitting position. Bath products were supplied in non-branded and cheap looking plastic tubes. Performance of the products was mediocre at best. The cabin was very small indeed. If one wanted to eat in the room (the only option if one did not want to use one of the 2 set dinner times), then it would be a question of taking it in turns to move. The cabin on Crystal Symphony was 206 sq ft whereas on Seabourn Odyssey an ocean view cabin is 295 sq ft and on Silver Sea Spirit it is 312 sq ft. The second issue was the dining arrangements. We had booked dining by reservation in order to avoid the 6.15 or 8.30 dinner sittings. However, on trying to book we were told that the only tables available were at either of the set dinner sitting times - not exactly what we expected. Tables are mainly fixed at the size of the party in the booking so that mixing with other cruisers is not easy. Service was performed at the run with the next plate of food hovering at one's elbow before the knife and fork hit the plate for the final mouthful. Perhaps Americans like this style of service but we found it unpleasant. The food in general was at best moderate. On the formal dinner evening, caviar was offered. This turned out to be less than half a teaspoon of caviar on a huge plate with 3 blobs of sour cream and two blinis - not exactly the Seabourn standard of a beautiful set of dishes nestled in a crisp folded napkin containing a bowl of several ounces of caviar, bowls of chopped egg white and egg yolk, sour cream and a dozen crisp pieces of fine toasts. Desserts were poor at dinner but beautiful at the dessert buffet at lunch time. Coffee at dinner arrived with dessert - again perhaps due to American nature of the ship. Buffet lunch was better with a good range of hot and cold dishes but the buffet was only available for dinner on one night of the cruise. The deck grill (in a sort of conservatory with retractable roof where there used to be an indoor pool) was poor. At this standard I expect a toasted sandwich order to arrive with a little garnish to make the plate look attractive. it arrived on a blank plate looking forlorn. Ice cream (Ben and Jerry's) was available but served in waxed paper tubs with plastic spoons. Sauce is added by the guest from a huge plastic bottle - just not really what we expect from a top line cruise ship. The reason for the tiny cabins is clear once one explores the public rooms. There is a show lounge, cinema, ballroom, 3 bars with live entertainment, night club, paddle tennis court, golf driving nets as well as huge fitness and spa facility. The covered deck area is large and there are hundreds of sun loungers around the outdoor pool arranged in neatly packed rows. However, it was almost impossible to meet other cruisers. When we went to bars, there was hardly a soul there. If a dozen or so people were in the same place, then the music was so loud and the chairs so far apart that conversation was impossible except at impolite levels of raised voices. There was hard core of about 6 people who used the ballroom using the services of the gentleman hosts again making this large facility seem over sized. In conclusion, this cruise line would suit those with a wish to rush from lunch to entertainment, to dinner (in a hurry) and on the more entertainment. Use of the cabin should be restricted to sleeping only. One should not want to socialize with other guests too much. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
This cruise was chosen because it was so very special, Northwest Passage; only done last year by Crystal and not to be done again until at least 2020 according to onboard officers/crew. The ship itself was immaculate, easy to maneuver, ... Read More
This cruise was chosen because it was so very special, Northwest Passage; only done last year by Crystal and not to be done again until at least 2020 according to onboard officers/crew. The ship itself was immaculate, easy to maneuver, well laid out. Public rooms were excellent and the onboard computer room was great for help with any cell phone or computer issue. Free Wi-Fi for an hour a day was excellent. I can't even begin to describe this voyage and its route through the most challenging waters of the upper Arctic . At one time we had two ice breakers preceding us for safety. Never felt so secure and safe. The excursions were expensive, and you saw so much from just being on the ship itself. Service was unbelievably superior in every way at every venue. The all inclusive cost included alcohol and I was surprised at the upper shelf liquor including single malt scotches. The lectures were fantastic and always different speakers. They spared no expense in my mind in every way. I had a suite on deck 7 and no balcony but it was very spacious and bathroom was also. Because of the length of cruise, over a month, it was so nice to have washers/dryers/ironing boards available (no charge). The average age seemed to be 75+ but in no way made any difference to the experience. I want to do the Northwest Passage again on Crystal when they finish building a ship specific to the Arctic and Antarctic regions. This is a first class experience and the Northwest Passage was truly an experience and sight I will always remember. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
It was not for the faint-hearted, but still within the realm of a leisurely cruise. It was not an expedition, despite Crystal trying to make it one, but it is not possible to truly combine luxury with back packing. All and all though ... Read More
It was not for the faint-hearted, but still within the realm of a leisurely cruise. It was not an expedition, despite Crystal trying to make it one, but it is not possible to truly combine luxury with back packing. All and all though Crystal succeeded in providing a platform for some wild shore excursions from a luxury platform. The cost was steep, but once on our way we could see why. Zodiacs and drivers do not come cheap, neither does the British icebreaker, Shackleton, that escorted the Serenity most of the way, nor the four ice-pilots, the special excursion leaders for kayaking, etc. The lectures were plentiful and very high quality. So was the entertainment, mostly above shipboard quality one would expect, and Crystal had done some heroics in resuplying entertainers and provisions in places that did not even have a simple dock. At first we were very apprehensive, did not know what to expect. This was our first cruise with Crystal, the itinerary was the deciding factor, so cannot compare with Crystal people on less adventurous venues. People were friendly, but a bit standoffish. The rather restrictive seating arrangement did not foster wide interaction either. Food was fabulous, well prepared, great selection, daily menus never repeated in 31 days! Specialty restaurants OK, but not above the main dining room. Wine selections marginal. Serving staff exceptional, attentive, knowledgeable, and experienced. Mostly Eastern and Central Europeans, South Africans, and Brazilians, doing a fabulous job. The pastry chef did justice to his Austrian roots. One of us required a serious gluten free diet, and it was readily available without much sacrifice in the choices of dishes. There were some on board who heavily criticized Crystal for exploiting the eskimo villagers visited. This could not be further from the truth. Yes we had visited some people with very limited means, but Crystal did a super job in educating people beforehand, and organizing the tours in a dignified fashion. (This was not the first time a cruise ship visited some poor villages -- how about the Amazon or Indonesian cruises?) The fact is that the visit by the ship probably given a serious economic boost to the locals, asside from the substantial grants given to the communities. Shore excursion team was very good, considering the roughness of the territory. Unfortunately many of the excursions were very expensive. Internet was generous, 1 hr per day, cumulative, but slow. All and all it was an awesome cruise! Read Less
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