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325 Crystal Symphony 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
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
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
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 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
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
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
Seven days, Vancouver to Seward, AK, August 2019.This was our third cruise on Crystal (Harmony was first and Serenity was second). Compared to our one cruise on Holland America Prinsendam (no longer in service) and another on the Viking ... Read More
Seven days, Vancouver to Seward, AK, August 2019.This was our third cruise on Crystal (Harmony was first and Serenity was second). Compared to our one cruise on Holland America Prinsendam (no longer in service) and another on the Viking Sea last winter: Crystal is tops -- far ahead of Viking and clearly ahead of Holland America, too. Our fellow travelers included people of all ages (though obviously the average age would be higher than the general population) There were apparently a number of family groups travelling together, including children. All of the children we encountered were exceptionally well behaved (as were all of the adults, with only a couple minor exceptions). By the way, my wife and I are "seniors" in our so-called Golden Years (ha!). Service was excellent. Needs anticipated and met. In the past, service on Crystal service has been a little pretentious on occasion. Not this time. Pleasant, low key, but on top of the game. We had butler for our Seabreeze Penthouse cabin, who seemed very nice but we never really took advantage of what she might have done for us. We're just not butler-kind-of-people. The computer room staff was an excellent help in getting our devices hooked up with the ship's WiFi. We tried all of the dining venues (excepting the private party Vintage Room) and enjoyed them all. We had a number of lunches in the Marketplace (formerly Lido Cafe), but found breakfast there chaotic the first morning and after that we had breakfast in the main dining room (Waterside), or via room service. We tried Silk, Churrascaria,Umi Uma, and Prego each one time. All met our high expectations, as did Waterside. The only slight issue was that in Churrascaria the servers were slow with the meat offerings, and Waterside was real slow on breakfast one morning -- not sure why. The only poor meal I had was a steak one evening in Waterside, but I fault myself for that because I broke my own rule, which is: "Never order steak on a cruise ship." Overall dining was excellent -- no one's perfect. Our cabin was a Seabreeze Penthouse with Veranda (SH), No. 9035. No complaints, but did take us a while to get the hang of the lighting system, and our butler had to show us how to open the reading lights over our bed. Excellent lighting in all spaces, including the bathroom. The size of the room was good and it was well laid out. All in, the best cruise ship cabin we've ever had. We went to all the shows and entertainment. The variety was good. The house band and song and dance team did a variety of shows (only one of which was a little campy). Beyond that, there were a couple of good comedians, and some other featured performers. Same with the "enrichment" lectures -- Jay Wolff (a regular on Crystal) is a good story teller, and journalist Ken Walsh was very interesting and informative on presidential matters. I've forgotten his name, but the evening entertainer in the Avenue Saloon was great. The Avenue Saloon is a favorite place for us. The only downside is that you have to walk past the smelly cigar smoking room to get to it. For a reason or reasons beyond comprehension, they keep the door to the cigar room wide open into the hall. We only went on two shore excursions sponsored by the ship, one was to a bear viewing boardwalk outside Ketchikan, where we were lucky to hit the jackpot and could watch black bears feasting (or attempting to) on salmon (Humpies, a/k/a Pinks) coming up the creek to span. That's only going to happen for a short period of time each year. This tour also included a visit to a raptor rehabilitation center, an old saw mill and, naturally, a gift shop. The latter three things weren't of any value, but watching the bears was great. We have black bears roaming around one of our homes in the lower 48, but had never seen them in the salmon catching environment. In Skagway we rode on the Yukon & White Pass RR, which I'd recommend to anyone. Our weather wasn't great, but in southeast Alaska you take your chances on that. In Juneau we went off on our own to have lunch at the Red Dog Saloon, a tourist must do, and then to visit the Alaska Museum, also quite worthwhile. The only downside of Juneau is that to go from the ship into the town you have to pass a large number of typical cruise port shops along the street selling jewelry, watches, etc., etc., with very unpleasant and aggressive staff people standing at the doors trying to drag you in. The time at Hubbard Glacier was good, too, though calving activity was much weaker than we'd seen at other tidewater glaciers (including likely Hubbard) on a cruise 23 years ago. Again, this is something that's random -- you take your chances. Now, the really big disappointment. The first day was supposed to be "Cruising the Inside Passage." That did not happen. We were in Pacific the entire day. I asked Capt. Thomas Larsen about this omission at the "Captain's Reception" later and he simply said, "We did take last night." Not satisfactory. My guess, and it can only be that, is that Larsen avoided the Inside Passage route because it would have been too difficult for him to navigate. Oh, well. Finally, flying out to Vancouver from the east coast USA we missed our connection in Denver (weather related delay). However, United Airlines re-booked us on Air Canada to Vancouver from Denver, and I called Crystal to update them on our new arrival time for the transfer. Crystal's representatives met us at the Vancouver airport and had a car ready to take the two of us to the ship, which we made with 15 minutes to spare. We had some anxious moments, but thanks to United and Crystal we made the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose the Crystal Symphony on the basis of our own research, the recommendation of experienced travelers and our experience with the Crystal agent with whom we booked our voyage. The ship itself was modern and immaculate. While the ... Read More
We chose the Crystal Symphony on the basis of our own research, the recommendation of experienced travelers and our experience with the Crystal agent with whom we booked our voyage. The ship itself was modern and immaculate. While the staff clearly worked hard around the clock to keep the ship in extraordinarily beautiful condition, you were never aware of all the effort being expended on your behalf. The eating experiences were innumerable and comparable to the best restaurants we have ever eaten in. The service was superb. If it wasn't on the menu, the kitchen was pleased to prepare that for you as well. One cannot say enough about the graciousness of the staff. They worked elegantly and tirelessly to satisfy your every need and want. The excursions were well planned and the staff support made them thoroughly enjoyable. The ship's other guests were a pleasure to be with...mature and refined. I would travel again on the Crystal Syphony at the drop of a hat. In fact, I am planning our next Crystal Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our first time on a Crystal Cruise and chose this cruise based on recommendations and the itinerary. The pro's - Embarkation and disembarkion - quickest and most organised of any cruises done to date Food - The best food of ... Read More
Our first time on a Crystal Cruise and chose this cruise based on recommendations and the itinerary. The pro's - Embarkation and disembarkion - quickest and most organised of any cruises done to date Food - The best food of all cruise lines to date, only thing that let it down at times was the sweets, OK but not amazing unlike the entrée and mains. Service - Waterside - a big thanks to Gorkan, Tamas who really looked after us, the buffet staff were all wonderful, Pinto from the Italian restaurant and in the Cove bar, Chris and Priscilla who made our cruise memorable. Our cabin girl Danijela looked after us so well. Cabin - 5010 on the 5th deck was lovely, quiet, no movement, kept spotlessly clean and had adequate storage and all that you needed. Was a lot smaller than the Visa cabin (same cat.) on the Silverseas ships. Entertainment in the Galaxy theatre, enjoyable. the con's - Activities - What activities! So little to do apart from computer, lectures...…… Entertainment - this ship has marvellous bars but if your sitting in a bar after 10.00pm there is more likely hood that there will be more staff in the room than passengers. We sat in the Avalon bar one evening - Piano player and four of us and five staff...……...so no atmosphere at all. Found the piano (2 piano players) and violin (she was amazing) all a bit boring over an 11 day cruise. Same as the duo. Really need more entertainment geared for passengers who would like up beat music and a bit of fun. Saying that, seems that the majority of the passengers are very old (and we are in our 70's). We did not book our excursions through Crystal as found it much cheaper to book ourselves online. Alaska itself is more suited to fit and able passengers who would like to do outdoor activities. If your interest is the towns, found them all much the same, so many jewellery shops, same type of tourist shops, etc. All a bit contrived. Sitka was my favourite stop, lovely walks and suited for older passengers. After two cruises with Silversea's I was anticipating staff calling us by name occasionally but found only Chris in the Cove bar remembered our names after 11 days. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
During the last few years we have cruised on Viking, Oceania and now Crystal and having compared these cruises I can readily say that Crystal is by far the best. All of the ships are very similar in size and number of passengers, about ... Read More
During the last few years we have cruised on Viking, Oceania and now Crystal and having compared these cruises I can readily say that Crystal is by far the best. All of the ships are very similar in size and number of passengers, about 850. The difference is the amenities, service and food service. Crystal had excellent entertainment and lecturers who spoke about the what we would see and do on the trip and excursions. All of the excursions were excellent and on all excursions a crew member from the ship also went. All of the meals and food service was excellent and you can order just about anything even if it is not on the menus. The difference between Crystal and the other cruise lines is like comparing a Toyota Camry to a BMW. Both will get you to your destination but the BMW will get you there in a much more luxurious manner. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Going from Vancouver to Anchorage, we travelled on the Crystal Symphony departing June 30, 2019. We also took a post-cruise tour of Denali National Park. This review describes the ship, the journey, the excursions etc. Please know: ... Read More
Going from Vancouver to Anchorage, we travelled on the Crystal Symphony departing June 30, 2019. We also took a post-cruise tour of Denali National Park. This review describes the ship, the journey, the excursions etc. Please know: I will not barter a good review for a better room, for a lower price on anything, or for a refund intended to compensate me for poor quality products or services. I WILL disclose when a refund is made or a good price is given. My reviews are as honest as I can make them. Please know that I am extremely particular and notice small details others do not, so my review is both more thorough and more negative than most people's. This was a thoroughly delightful voyage. Our stateroom was a Penthouse Suite, code PS, with butler service. The room was quite large. It included a king bed, an ample sitting area with sofa, chair and cocktail table, small bar and double-hung walk-in closet with a built-in chest of drawers. The refrigerator was stocked with drinks. There was an ample supply of bottled water. The decor was contemporary, in teals, taupe and ivory, very tasteful. The bright and attractive white tile bath has double sinks, a toilet, bidet, stall shower and jacuzzi tub with European shower. There is plenty of drawer and shelf space in the bathroom. QUIBBLES here though: The bathroom lighting is inadequate for either shaving or applying makeup. There is only one outlet. It is only for a shaver. There is a wall-mounted hair dryer, but it is weak. We used the well-lit desk for shaving, hair styling and putting on makeup. There are several outlets at the desk for charging. No outlets at bedside. If you use your phone in bed before falling asleep, you must get up and cross the room to plug it in to charge if you want it to be charged when you wake up. Our butler, Greg was very helpful in answering our questions. He made sure we had a tempting fresh fruit plate, candy and hors d'oeuvres daily. He noticed we ate more tangerines than other fruit and, without our requesting it, started giving us extra tangerines each day. We had all the champagne and wine we could have wished for. Greg accommodated our allergy and dietary needs easily. He is personable without being obsequious. The ship has many lively public spaces and numerous restaurants described in their own literature. We enjoyed the Japanese and Italian restaurants the most. All of the restaurants and food options were excellent, and for the most part, even better than the descriptions of them in Crystal's literature. The reception area on Deck 5 midship is a dramatic and inviting two story atrium. The ceiling is stained glass and there is a long curved single staircase. The area includes a bar and buffet always stocked with ample snacks and sweets. A violinist played every day in the reception area. It was a great place to sit, have a bite or a drink and relax. QUIBBLE The bronzed statue of dancers in the reception area is extremely kitschy, at odds with the tasteful decor elsewhere throughout the ship. The Palm Court is a cool quiet room where tea is served daily while live music is played. This is a peaceful place to sit and watch the mountains rush by the large picture windows. Don't miss the Mozart tea which is much more elaborate with a stunning buffet. On the pool deck, we liked sitting on a deck chair to watch the ship float past the endless parade of wonders that is Alaska. There were cozy wool plaid blankets provided. Entertainment: The quality of singers, dancers and comedians was far better than that on the other cruise lines we've used. Elio Pace is a fantastic singer and all-around showman. Jimmy Travis is a great comedian and singer. We went to see him 4 times (!!) which is very unlike us. The house band and light man were excellent. The Crystal song-and-dance troupe performed a medley of songs and dances from Broadway musicals which was top-notch. Much better than the entertainment on other cruise lines we have used. CRUISE PORTS, EXCURSIONS VIEWS: Each port was interesting, and the excursions were fun, educational, and conducted with efficiency and professionalism. Not all the excursions we took were labelled Crystal Excursions, though many were. In Ketchikan we took the Wilderness Cruise with Rainforest Adventure. We boated to a small undeveloped island or peninsula and took an easy hike partly up a hill and steps. The forest consisted of evergreen trees and smelled lovely. It was beautiful and quiet. We saw a large (5 or more inch) banana slug and a leopard slug. Our guide was informative and very cordial. We enjoyed being in the Alaskan woods. Ketchikan is a charming little town with a picturesque rushing creek and waterfall. It is the best place to buy a totem pole. They had the broadest selection, and the totem poles were not priced any higher than in other towns. I believe most totem poles sold throughout Alaska are made in Ketchikan. In Hoonah I ziplined on the world's longest zipline. I glided smoothly over a gorgeous forest with a view of the water and t(iny cruise ship far ahead below me. 90 seconds of BLISS. (I am not usually adventurous ,nor am I in good shape. I am a bit overweight and typically sedentary.) We also went to a woodsy part of Chichagoff Island, where we saw a bear, red-headed woodpecker and bald eagle near a pretty river. In Juneau we took the Mendenhall Glaciet and Whale-watching tour. We saw whales breaching. We also saw their flukes and spouts. It was wonderful. Then we were driven to the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier. It was gradually melting into a pretty lake. There was a tall waterfall there as well. The walk through the woods to the waterfall was very uplifting. Sitka was also a great place to watch whales. We took a small boat excursion called the Sitka Marine Adventure. Our pilot was Sonny. He was extremely competent. We saw a sea otter as well as whales. Sitka is THE place to buy Russian products. I bought three stunning sets of nesting dolls, in Russian, "matroyshkas." If you are a collector, you will be in heaven here. Besides the very high-quality collectible nesting dolls, there are plenty of less-expensive sets to buy as souvenirs. Nowhere else stocked the quality and quantity of nesting dolls we saw here. We saw one 50-doll set priced at over $1000. The stores carried loads of other Russian products as well. Haines: The town is tiny and of little interest. What made this port worthwhile was our excursion by jet boat to a remote area, the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve where we saw eagles as well as a mother and baby moose. The scenery was, again, breathtakingly beautiful, mountains swathed in a thousand shades of green plunge into the flowing waters. Small islands of trees and brush drift by. Our guide stopped the boat for us to relish the rare quality of the silence as we sat surrounded by the green mountains, still water and azure skies. Cruise Tracy and Endicott Arms Glacier Viewing. Skagway. We helicoptered to a glacier and landed there. The ride took us through a breathtaking fjord. Flying in the helicopter and viewing Alaska's mountains and waters from above was well worth the time and money we invested. The glacier was fascinating with it's blue ice, rushing rivulets and crevasses--all surrounded by soaring mountains. Hubbard Glacier was viewed from the ship. It was magnificent. We saw it calve and heard it thunder as it moved. We were only about a quarter mile from the glacier. Post Cruise program which includes Denali, Girdwood and Talkeetna: The Excursion personnel on board the Crystal Symphony couldn't answer questions about the logistics of the post-cruise tour. Furthermore, they were unable to provide information about excursions during the post-cruise tour. We finally received a very general written summary ONE DAY BEFORE departure. When the post-cruise tour did begin, however, we were impressed with the high quality of the guide, driver and bus. Our guide was eponymously named Crystal! Our driver was Steve. The bus had an immaculately clean restroom. No sink, just hand sanitizer. The drive took us through breathtaking mountains and past idyllically exquisite lakes. Alyeska Hotel: There is often a 15 minute wait to get a table for breakfast! Allow time. The hotel has a beautiful dinner restaurant, Seven Glaciers. It is on top of a mountain. The Aleyska Resort Aerial Tramway takes you up from the hotel. Denali Park. This bus tour was excellent. Almost no private vehicles are allowed in the park, so a bus tour is the way to go. The scenery was as stunning and varied as one would expect. Wilderness Express Dome Rail Car. Denali to Talkeetna. Great experience, A trip back in time, riding the rails past mountains and lakes, over creeks. The transparent dome of the upper level car provided great viewing. We also had a delicious meal in the elegant dining car. There were even live flowers in a vase on each table. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This is are 9th cruise with Crystal and remained an excellent experience. Food entertainment were excellent as always. Being recognized by the crew is always a nice touch. We cruise from July 2nd to 14th and did the post cruise Alaska ... Read More
This is are 9th cruise with Crystal and remained an excellent experience. Food entertainment were excellent as always. Being recognized by the crew is always a nice touch. We cruise from July 2nd to 14th and did the post cruise Alaska adventure. The ship was only 2/3 occupied which meant even more attention. I believe leaving the ship in Seward which requires a 3 hour bus ride to Anchorage discourages some travelers. It is ideal to do the Alaska adventure post cruise. Although it is expensive I believe you “do get which she pay for” and if it is affordable is definitely the way to go.. Again a wonderful experience and I believe Crystal remains the best of the best. I do believe the best value is to obtain a cabin on the 8th deck avoiding those cabinets that have an obstructed view. The vintage room is an added expense but offers a special menu and some excellent wine choices. The Swan court remains a wonderful escape to have a beverage between the shows. The entertainment is certainly cleared for a mature audience but clearly separates Crystal from its competitors Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I am a Diamond member of RCCL, have recently tried a few newer Carnival ships, have sailed on one Silver Sea, have tried a few NCL and Costa, and have been on a small line whose name I don't even remember...and by far, this was the ... Read More
I am a Diamond member of RCCL, have recently tried a few newer Carnival ships, have sailed on one Silver Sea, have tried a few NCL and Costa, and have been on a small line whose name I don't even remember...and by far, this was the most amazing cruise I have ever experienced! The ship is beautiful! The service is beyond compare! The food was delicious! Most importantly, the people were incredibly friendly. This last one surprised me a bit, and I can't say for sure if it was specifically this sailing or typical for Crystal...but I do get the impression it is the latter (and I plan to find out for sure by sailing Crystal more often and as soon as possible!). Some of the things that impressed me the most (in no particular order): • No Smoking! Absolutely no smoking on board (with the exception of a contained cigar room and one small obscure area outside). • Cleanest casino I have ever seen (without smoke and no ashtrays). • Speaking of the Casino, best craps game I enjoyed in a very long time (with no crazy bonus bets slowing down the action). • Amazing drinks! There was an extensive martini menu and about 16 different gin & tonic combinations that you just can't experience anywhere else (and of course, being all-inclusive it is so much fun to try new drinks). The drink of the day on Canada Day was a maple martini, with a maple leaf stenciled on top in cinnamon. • Enrichment activities were so interesting and fun. I enjoyed historical lectures about the area we were cruising (Alaska) by Dr. Jay Wolfe. I learned how to improve my iPhone photography. I especially loved the watercolor painting class offered on each sea day (with a guest exhibition at the end of the cruise). • Waiters circulating with different hors d'oeuvres each evening, as most everyone gathered and mingled in one of two amazing cocktail lounges, both with very nice music (piano player, violinist, and/or vocal duo). • One complementary reservation at each of two specialty restaurants made dining such a diverse wonderful experience (while the main dining room was delightful as well). The "anytime dining" in the main dining room actually worked well for us. I usually prefer sitting with others rather than just my husband and I...but because we interacted with other guests all day, it was nice to just sit by the window in a table for two for dinner. • Entertainment! The production shows were amazing. The lounge musicians were delightful. And the Piano Player in the Avenue Saloon was the highlight of the evening each night for my husband. • No lines or crowds! At any time. Ever. Not at embarkation. Not at debarkation. Not at any lounge or activity. Not at the breakfast buffet. I can summarize the experience by saying that I felt like I was on a yacht being pampered, but with the friendliest down-to-earth fellow passengers; and that there were lots of interesting things to do, but at a much more relaxed pace than the frantic pace I feel on other lines. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was my first Crystal Cruise and my second ocean cruise. I was charmed and amazed by the lovely ship (Crystal Symphony) and especially the service. I couldn't sit down anywhere without someone popping up within the minute asking ... Read More
This was my first Crystal Cruise and my second ocean cruise. I was charmed and amazed by the lovely ship (Crystal Symphony) and especially the service. I couldn't sit down anywhere without someone popping up within the minute asking if they could bring me something. The pool deck (Deck 11) was blissfully uncrowded with comfortable seating and plenty of throws to wrap up in on a cold day (and this was a cold, windy cruise to the Pacific Northwest). Nice place to read a book and look out over the water. The service at the Marketplace buffet on the Lido deck was swift and attentive. My husband has a hard time walking, and a waiter or waitress was always on hand to carry his plates to our table. I liked that during lunch, you could carry your food anywhere on that deck (the grill, the Silk restaurant when it wasn't serving, basically any table you saw) and eat there. No one chased us back into the Marketplace eating area but waited on us where we were. Food was good, and the desserts tempted me a long way off my diet. Another thing I loved about dining on this ship--you can have anything you want, you have only to ask. One day at lunch in the Waterside dining room, I craved a sandwich, but didn't want the one on the menu. The waiter was happy to recommend another not listed and brought it to me quickly (and it was good). The public spaces on the ship are bright, airy, and relaxing. I found myself heading for the Bistro (coffee bar) on Deck 6 every afternoon for a pot of tea a scone or cold cuts (or both), to read a bit and relax. I attended one tea in the Palm Court (the Mozart tea), which had a full buffet of pastries and cakes. It was crowded that day, as it is the most popular tea of the voyage. The Library: Not many people review the library I imagine, but it is a book lover's dream. Shelves upon shelves of books of all subjects and fiction genres, plus niches to listen to audio books or just to read. They have a "swap" shelf where you can leave whatever book you brought with you and grab another. Just don't forget to return your library book, because the fines are high (understandably so--hardback books are expensive). Fitness Center: The fitness center, while small, has treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bicycles, and a rowing machine. Plus four or five weight machines that were multifaceted (worked more than one muscle group). I was pleased to see so many free weights from light to heavy, plus kettle weights, medicine balls, and exercise balls. I could replicate my usual workouts exactly. I took a few of the free classes with the fitness director who was very good at keeping the exercises easy for beginners but explained how to make them more advanced for those who were longtime exercisers. She was patient, friendly, and encouraging. The center offered personal training (for a fee), though I was too busy to sign up. Spa: Easily fit me in for appointments. I had my hair cut and got a massage. The massage was last minute on the last day, and they slid me in without a problem. Excellent massage--one of the best I've had. (Note, the spa is an extra fee, and they automatically add 18% gratuity.) Cabin: While small, it was comfortable and nice. The bathroom, while again small, had new fixtures, plenty of hot water, and best of all, lots of large towels. Anytime we needed something extra or when our TV remote stopped working, someone was there within 10 minutes to help us out. Voyage overall: I had been to some of the ports of call before (Seattle, San Francisco), but we found plenty to do. I did not take any of the excursions, because we booked this cruise at the last minute, and any that looked interesting to us were already sold out. I didn't mind, because I prefer to sightsee on my own anyway. Easy to call an Uber or taxi and head to whatever we wanted to do. Recommendations: San Francisco: Legion of Honor Museum, a branch of the SF Art museum. Beautiful place with amazing collection. It lies on the western edge of the city in Lincoln Park near Land's End. Worth the trip. Seattle: MoPop museum. Especially for music lovers and sci fi lovers! Right next to the Space Needle and the Chihuly Glass garden. Astoria: Columbia River Maritime Museum. Small but intense, full of information. I did not do the river walk or the trolley along the river walk, but I would do that on my next visit. Victoria: Tea at the Empress, of course. If you like dollhouses or miniatures, Miniature World museum right around the corner from the Empress. A fascinating collection of miniatures and dioramas. Well done. Butchart Gardens: While crowded that day, a beautiful not-to-miss botanical garden. Roses were in full bloom. A taxi is a must for that. (The free shuttle from the Symphony took us right to the Empress hotel). Overall, I loved this brief vacation on a very relaxing and surprisingly uncrowded ship. The lecturers were great too, as was the new show the Crystal singers and dancers debuted. I like the smaller ship experience--lack of noise, little stress, no lines (I rarely, rarely stood in a line on this ship). I felt like I was truly on a *ship*, not a condo block with a shopping mall that happened to be floating. I highly recommend the Crystal Symphony. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We're a couple of a certain age. Second Crystal cruise, dozens of other cruises over the decades. Our cruise Beijing to Hong Kong in 2015 was my favorite cruise ever. Cabin: Outside ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We're a couple of a certain age. Second Crystal cruise, dozens of other cruises over the decades. Our cruise Beijing to Hong Kong in 2015 was my favorite cruise ever. Cabin: Outside window on deck 7. Balconies were all booked when we signed up. No upsell offer unlike last time. Cabin was clean and well taken care of. Ship must have sailed full, but nothing was crowded. The weather didn't lend to sun worshiping, except the last day, in Vancouver, the heated pool was open and in use. Food: Service was good and no lines for the MDR longer than five minutes (at 6pm). We found a waiter we liked, South African young gent, and asked for his table each night. We ate at Umi once, and had rez for Prego on "formal" night, (blue blazer and gray pants, tie.) but cancelled when we learned MDR had lobster. Brought on board live, said two reliable bartenders. (All drinks free, of course) We liked MDR a lot. As usual we had hot breakfast in the room daily. On time and accurate. This was the only occasion on which we tip "extra." Entertainment: We liked the historical lectures (San Fran earthquake, Lewis and Clark) and skipped a lecture rumored to be somewhat political. I cruise to reduce my blood pressure, thanks. We especially enjoyed the Broadway themed show. Shore Exc: Just did two. Seemed reasonable in price. In Vancouver we took a cab to a museum. Would we go again? Absolutely. Find a good price and it's a value. There's a mid-level cruise line sailing to Iceland next year I have my eye on. Crystal has this itinerary for 2021, but at my age I don't buy green bananas. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Tokyo to San Francisco, 23 days of being pampered, educated, and involved. This was our first Crystal cruise, and hopefully it will not be our last. This “Movie and Theater” themed cruise offered speakers, documentaries and ... Read More
Tokyo to San Francisco, 23 days of being pampered, educated, and involved. This was our first Crystal cruise, and hopefully it will not be our last. This “Movie and Theater” themed cruise offered speakers, documentaries and entertainers. Our days at sea were filled with lecturers and performances. Tours from the ship in various ports were a little bit pricey, but enjoyable. The ship is small enough to be able to meet people more than once. Dining room staff was friendly. Special meal orders were served graciously. Symphony is an older ship, but is very well maintained. A few more electrical outlets would have been helpful, as would have been more prompt repairs to malfunctioning washers and dryers. Over all, cruising on Crystal Symphony was a wonderful experience! Special kudos to Saleh, our waiter who anticipated our every need. Remi, the head waiter, was a miracle worker who brought my the next day’s menu so that my requested salt free meals could be prepared for me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Wanted to revisit Japan, enjoy TransAtlantic sea days, heard wonderful comments re: Crystal. This cruise was spectacular in both food, lectures and personal service. Have been on 50 cruises over the years and found the Symphony to be one ... Read More
Wanted to revisit Japan, enjoy TransAtlantic sea days, heard wonderful comments re: Crystal. This cruise was spectacular in both food, lectures and personal service. Have been on 50 cruises over the years and found the Symphony to be one of the very best! Personal service from the luggage delivery to the transfers to and from the airports were truely first class. The employees knew who we were by the second day and their courtesies were most appreciated! Food was excellent everywhere we ate on the ship! Speciality dining was excellent and available most of the time! Lectures were outstanding, this trip highlighted “Hollywood” personalities and the history of musical and dramatic performances. Former astronaut, military general, nature photographer, song writers and well known performers! Ship is spotless and refreshed daily. Always a crew member around to answer question, give directions and offer a hand to complete any task! Ships excursions were excellent and timely! Cabins are nice, clean, comfortable and very quiet! Would suggest taking a small stool to help older or mobility challenged guests to get in and out of the tub-shower! Embarkation and Disembarkation were a snap, many crew members to help with baggage and porters were easily available! First cruise on Crystal and hopefully more in the future Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I have always wanted to visit Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands because my grandfather was a ship's carpenter there in 1910. I turned 80, the first night on the ship. Northern Japan has the influence of both Asia and Siberia in ... Read More
I have always wanted to visit Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands because my grandfather was a ship's carpenter there in 1910. I turned 80, the first night on the ship. Northern Japan has the influence of both Asia and Siberia in the faces of the people. Petropavlovsk on Siberia's Kamchatka Peninsula was fascinating because very few of us get to Siberia and this was an easy way. The volcanic museum was amazing, as was the presentation by its director. It's a large city with soviet-era block apartments and undoubtedly, subs anchored offshore. The sailing across the Bering Sea was uneventful. Sure, swells but I enjoy them, and these big ships have good stabilizers. We changed time zones 8 times! I kept asking reception for the correct day. The Aleutians are remote, and few Americans know the the history of the Japanese facing American troops there in WWII. Kodiak was picture perfect, although the bus driver tried, but could not find a bear for us. Still hibernating. I especially liked Seward, a small community with its harbor and Russian Orthodox Church. I had been there in the late 80's and like everything else, it has turned into a cruise ship port. The ship's entry into Lynn Canal and the Hubbard Glacier had everyone on deck to watch the calving and scenery. Ketchikan was ok, but by then I was spoiled. Victoria and Vancouver are always worth visiting. Both are beautiful cities with outstanding museums, well worth the time to visit. Landing in San Francisco and my home (only 45 minutes after disembarkation) was a definite plus. The crews and service staff on this cruise line are always superb. Unfailingly kind, courteous, knowledgeable and very smart. (All international.) This cruise had some passengers traveling with canes, 1 or 2 wheel chairs, oxygen, etc. The crew was there pronto whenever anyone needed help. The ship's Norwegian medical officer (whom I had met on another cruise when I carelessly fell on my tush) was kept reasonably busy. I loved having the stateroom all to myself. Sorry, hubby. Fabulous adventure. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose Crystal this time as it was the choice of my sister in law who had sailed with them before. Unfortunately she had not sailed with any other cruise line so thought they were fabulous without comparison. We had a balcony cabin on ... Read More
We chose Crystal this time as it was the choice of my sister in law who had sailed with them before. Unfortunately she had not sailed with any other cruise line so thought they were fabulous without comparison. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 8 and it was tiny. This was our first disappointment of the cruise. I am not sure how some of the larger passengers on the ship maneuvered themselves around the bathroom or managed to use the toilet as the bathroom was so small. The decor on the ship is quite boring and uninviting in many areas and there is a lack of artwork around the ship. However there is plenty of space on the ship and you never feel crowded anywhere. The boutiques on the ship were outrageously priced and lacked choice. What happened to passing on tax and duty free savings to the passengers? The pool area should have been a hive of activity but there is no pool bar and this area was underutilised. Seabourn and Oceania do fabulous sail away parties with drinks and entertainment. Not so on Crystal! The weather was perfect and not a drink or band in sight. The food was not fabulous and became very boring. The dining room needs a bigger menu and the market place at the back of the ship, usually one of our favourite places to eat on other ships was closed at night and replaced with a Brazilian restaurant that lacked variety. The Marketplace needs a wider range and themed offerings to relieve boredom. Yes, there are two speciality restaurants on board,but they are difficult to get into so don't rely on them as alternative choice. The Chinese was alright but not fabulous. The enrichment program was excellent and we enjoyed the speakers very much. We are not big on night time entertainment so I really can't comment on that area. Tours were only average and could have been improved. The staff were excellent and we could not fault their service and attitude at all. They were friendly and efficient so we were very happy with this aspect of the cruise. Would we sail with Crystal again? Probably not unless there was a great deal available as at this stage we do not believe value meets the current price point. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The cruise was recommended by some of our friends who had taken it in the past. We have sailed with Crystal 3 times before, but this time was truly a disappointment. The Symphony is old, tired and worn. The air conditioning could not ... Read More
The cruise was recommended by some of our friends who had taken it in the past. We have sailed with Crystal 3 times before, but this time was truly a disappointment. The Symphony is old, tired and worn. The air conditioning could not keep up with the tremendous heat outside and consequently the common areas were warm, the dining room was warm and my cabin had an electric fan to try and cool the air. It was very uncomfortable. Everyone was complaining, not just a few guests. The enrichment classes that Crystal is known for were almost non existent. The exercise room is far from capable of serving a boat that size in a health conscious world. The lack of updated outlets and electronic capability is a problem and requires you to have extension cords running through the room (plus the electric fan supplied by Crystal) and this must be against all fire codes especially on a boat. The Piano Bar entertainment was boring. The night entertainment was fair and there was actually nothing to do after dinner for folks who did not want to go to bed at 10 pm. On Deck 8 the laundry room is too small and was so hot that besides the washers overflowing because they did not work properly, it took many trips there to be able to wash your clothes. This was the first time I stayed on Deck 8 ( I was usually stay on Deck 9) so I am not sure if this is always a problem for those guests. Besides the outstanding service and very good food, there was nothing about the cruise itself that would bring us back to Crystal to sail again, unless they make some real changes to the ship. We went with two other couples and this was their first Crystal trip and they would also not travel with Crystal again. What a shame. I think the Crystal base and its fabulous reputation is about to change maybe as a result of the new owners. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I have now taken 4 voyages on Crystal Symphony, and 11 total on Crystal (including one river cruise) and on this cruise had the best combination of sea days and (to me) new interesting ports to visit. I felt the service was better than ... Read More
I have now taken 4 voyages on Crystal Symphony, and 11 total on Crystal (including one river cruise) and on this cruise had the best combination of sea days and (to me) new interesting ports to visit. I felt the service was better than ever. The staff were happy and did seem more relaxed and content, which helps me feel more relaxed during my vacation. Ambassador hosts were charming and good for company at shared tables even getting me on the dance floor a couple of times. The headwaiter was fabulous and also the wines were fantastic. I did several spa services which were quality and worth the cost. Trivia was again a highlight on sea days and all in all the cruise was filled with movies, lectures, shore tours, and great food, company and beverages. I guess we also hit the jackpot as we did have calm enough seas to get onto Easter Island for the day tours, which is a novel experience. I indulged in some great modern dishes in the dining room and was very well taken care of regarding my dietary restrictions. Also it was great to see that bartenders no longer automatically add straws in every drink. Now I can stop saying "no straw please" with my orders. Oh also I got to play table tennis doubles one afternoon! Kept in shape taking the stairs onboard, walking the promenade deck and snorkelling in Moorea! I highly recommend this itinerary, it was a real getaway and super for getting away from the winter. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have been sailing Crystal since 2001, on the Harmony, Symphony, and Serenity. Usually we do back-to-back cruises (our last was 35 days from Valparaiso to Auckland on the Symphony in a PH cabin). It will be our last on any Crystal ... Read More
We have been sailing Crystal since 2001, on the Harmony, Symphony, and Serenity. Usually we do back-to-back cruises (our last was 35 days from Valparaiso to Auckland on the Symphony in a PH cabin). It will be our last on any Crystal ship. Now that Crystal has chopped up its cruises into mini 5-day segments, and "relaxed" its dress code, it has become a down-scale cruise line. We have always avoided those 7-day cruise lines because we didn't want the 7-day cruise clientele. Now, that is who pretty much populates Crystal. There was frequent loud, vulgar cursing around and in the pool by clients who have obviously had too much to drink even at 11:00 AM. Baseball hats, flip-flops, athletic shoes, and t-shirts are common in the main dining room. Just read the reviews here on CruiseCritic from Crystal clients lauding the fact they will not even bring a sport coat onto their next Crystal cruise. There was a man in the cabin below us who smoked cigarettes on his balcony, despite it being explicitly prohibited by Crystal. We couldn't use our balcony or open our outside door without having to inhale his second-hand smoke. We complained to the Concierge multiple times, but Crystal was impotent in having him stop. So, WE (not him) had to change our room. Terrible. On the good side, Crystal does have great service. The staff is outstanding. With the elimination of set dining times, the food appears to have gotten even better. We have cancelled all future cruises we had already booked with Crystal. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I chose this cruise as a surprise Christmas present for my wife. We had been away from cruising for a couple years, and I remembered our Antarctic cruise with Crystal - just how great it was. Never been to Brazil, and now to see the ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a surprise Christmas present for my wife. We had been away from cruising for a couple years, and I remembered our Antarctic cruise with Crystal - just how great it was. Never been to Brazil, and now to see the refurbished Symphony - this was almost a "no brainer." I'm still a fan of traditional dining (not "any time"), and Crystal did that very well in the past. I'm afraid that is a thing of the past, unfortunately. I miss the friendships developed over the dining table, but replaced that with friendships made on Cruise Critic's Roll Call. Ports are nothing to get too excited about. Snorkeling at Buzios was wonderful (although the sea is a bit rough getting to the snorkeling site). Had a great time horseback riding in the Argentine pampas. Days at sea are always wonderful on Crystal - so busy with educational lectures, shows, dancing, spa appointments, and (of course) eating - the ports are not necessarily all that important. The staff is top-notch, and everyone seems to be enjoying himself while serving the guests. Can't wait to go on another Crustal Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Crystal Symphony Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 4.5 4.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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