What follows is a frank review, after all this is Cruise CRITIC and my comments are not here to beat-up on anything, but I hope it will be taken as an incentive for all mentioned to improve. This is meant to be CONSTRUCTIVE criticism not ranting. I'll break it down into both the good and the bad and name a winner in each category since I'd want to read a review like this if I was deciding on this cruise or comparing Crystal with Regent. One caveat, while my observations on Crystal are up to date, we haven't sailed on Regent for two years so please keep in mind some of my comparisons may no longer hold true with Regent since I’m afraid the cruise industry in general is increasingly losing some if its niceties.
Pre-Cruise (booking, planning, information gathering)
I made our booking through our travel agent and booked and paid well in advance to take advantage of every discount offered. My biggest gripe is having to always go through my travel agent every time I had a question. For example, I was trying to compare airline prices and decide whether we should go on our own our book through Crystal and get the advantage of them handling us, at least until Beijing. Normally this process takes a few hours, or I can find the information I want online. In this case every time my travel agent asked about a certain flight, it took two to three days. Apparently there’s just one person doing this at Crystal, and I guess he/she is overwhelmed.