After spending 12 days on the Crystal Symphony I am convinced that Crystal is clearly the cruise line for wealthy alcoholics. The all inclusive fare included everything at most bars with the exception the most expensive wine or brandy on the market...but what most folks call the "good stuff" all arrived with a smile and no bill.
Our first night on the ship we were in the Avenue Saloon listening to a top notch pianist and singer. The place was crowded and a nice man originally from London looked at my wife and announced, "I'm pissed!"
I told my wife that he wasn't mad or upset, but he was merely drunk. In talking with him he had just downed five rather full snifters of brandy. This was just the start of an interesting vacation.
STATEROOM: The only way we were going to be able to go on a Crystal Cruise was to do so in a non-balcony stateroom on the Promenade Deck (deck 7). When the brochure arrived in the mail with the non-balcony stateroom at $3,200 for a 12-day cruise, my wife had me call immediately. Instead of reaching employees of Crystal, I learned that the two-ship cruise line has private travel agents take calls and do bookings. I got David Butterfield of All Cruise Travel in San Jose. He said there were still a few cabins available. I told him I needed to call our house/dog sitter before I could book. Our dog sitter was available and I called David back within an hour. In that time all the cabins were reserved and we were waitlisted. After about a month we were guaranteed stateroom at the low price.We found the stateroom on Deck 7 to be larger than the three balcony staterooms on Cunard cruises we took in 2013. The bathroom was also much bigger and easy to get around. It was amazing how there was always hot water, regardless of the time of day or peak demand period. I'm not talking "warm" water, but "hot" water.The only complaints about the stateroom was that the furniture and desk chair were so low it was difficult to get up and the lack of electrical outlets. We asked for a multi outlet extension plug or cord. Our room stewardess could not provide it. Instead an electrician showed up with both.The room's window was slightly above the Promenade Deck so we would only see walker's heads and they could not easily look into the room. A lifeboat was above the window, but we had a clear view straight out of the window. The TV/DVD player and CD player in our lower-priced stateroom was far superior to what we had on the three Cunard cruises in 2013. While this was advertised as an "all-inclusive" cruise our stateroom laundry service was not free. Use of the washing machines and dryers on each deck was free...but if you wanted to send your laundry out it cost. However thanks to our travel agent David Butterfield who had given us $600 in on ship credits which more than paid for our laundry.