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The Crystal Symphony Baltic Sea cruise on 2017 was fantastic. We loved every aspect and element. We were invited to go with the Hillsdale College group which booked about a third of the ship and that overlay of programs and people was really wonderful. We knew the Symphony was going in for major remodeling a few weeks after our cruise, but the ship was still in great shape, and the staff and service were incredible. Our only complaint was the limited wifi, but this will be rectified in the rejuvenation of the ship which will greatly boost the wifi and turn the ship into a 24/7 free wifi inclusion. We would highly recommend Crystal and this ship. The ports on the Baltic were fabulous and we loved every Crystal excursion. Cannot adequately rave about this trip. it was our first cruise and we feel like we started at the top. Tip, we dined lavishly at every opportunity, but took the stairs everywhere and walked a lot on the shore excursions, and used the workout room, and we both actually lost weight on a cruise. Oh, which reminds me, my wife and son has some food allergies and needed gluten-free meals and almond milk and such, and Crystal was very accommodating and provided the tastiest meals and treats imaginable. And their sugar-free desserts were out of this world as well. Incredible!

Crystal Symphony Baltic Sea

Crystal Symphony Cruise Review by Jimbola

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2017
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom with Large Picture Window
The Crystal Symphony Baltic Sea cruise on 2017 was fantastic. We loved every aspect and element. We were invited to go with the Hillsdale College group which booked about a third of the ship and that overlay of programs and people was really wonderful. We knew the Symphony was going in for major remodeling a few weeks after our cruise, but the ship was still in great shape, and the staff and service were incredible. Our only complaint was the limited wifi, but this will be rectified in the rejuvenation of the ship which will greatly boost the wifi and turn the ship into a 24/7 free wifi inclusion. We would highly recommend Crystal and this ship.

The ports on the Baltic were fabulous and we loved every Crystal excursion. Cannot adequately rave about this trip. it was our first cruise and we feel like we started at the top. Tip, we dined lavishly at every opportunity, but took the stairs everywhere and walked a lot on the shore excursions, and used the workout room, and we both actually lost weight on a cruise. Oh, which reminds me, my wife and son has some food allergies and needed gluten-free meals and almond milk and such, and Crystal was very accommodating and provided the tastiest meals and treats imaginable. And their sugar-free desserts were out of this world as well. Incredible!
Jimbola’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 13 to 15
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Stateroom with Large Picture Window
Cabin C2 7220
Our cabin was surprisingly spacious and the dated elements are being replaced, i.e larger TV, more charging ports, and better, included 24/7 wifi. I would like to have a verandah in the future, but they were ll booked. To be honest, we were rarely in the room, but a balcony would be nice anyway. The bathroom was nice and we really appreciated the two sinks. Ample storage in the room, albeit a compact cruise cabin. Stewardess Jovana was fantastic and fun. Very comfortable bed- we slept like babies... without the crying and vomiting. Would highly recommend.
Promenade Deck Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Castles of North Zealand
    Frederiksborg Castle was amazing, lunch was very good, ran out of time so only got to see outside of Kronborg/Hamlet castle, but the whole day was very nice, so no complaints. Excellent guide & bus.
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  • Gdansk
    Incredible, very moving, a must-see.
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  • Gdansk Old Town
    Surprisingly wonderful- so glad we did this.
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  • Helsinki
    We booked the segway tour of Helsinki and when we got there found out our son could not pilot a segway as he wasn't quite 16. So much for being honest, but it wasn't allowed. So we just walked around and that was fantastic. We went to the flea market down by the sea and walked the Esplanade. We missed the Rock Church, which one should not miss. The Segway trip would be great if you can do it, however.
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  • City Tour
    Would highly recommend. The included lunch was incredibly good in the most amazingly over-the top restaurant.
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  • Kremlin
    Again: We did the all-day trip from St. Petersburg to Moscow via high-speed train, and while expensive, was well worth it and we were very glad we did. Extremely interesting just driving around Moscow, but the tour of the Kremlin with all its churches and the museum with Faberge eggs was fascinating. Crystal had obtained a private tour of the Kremlin Palace, which only a handful of people get to do a day and it was awesome. It was a very exclusive tour, our guide who used to be Mikhail Gorbachev's translator was phenomenal, and the beauty of the palace was astounding. Then we had an incredible Russian meal at the most lavish restaurant I've ever seen. Finally, we toured Red Square and got some great pictures, time for shopping, etc, then back on the high speed train (4 hours each way). Returned to the ship after midnight, but would highly recommend- a once in a lifetime experience. The thousands of others at the Kremlin & Red Square did not get to see what we did in the Kremlin Papace.
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  • Red Square
    We did the all-day trip from St. Petersburg to Moscow via high-speed train, and while expensive, was well worth it and we were very glad we did. Extremely interesting just driving around Moscow, but the tour of the Kremlin with all its churches and the museum with Faberge eggs was fascinating. Crystal had obtained a private tour of the Kremlin Palace, which only a handful of people get to do a day and it was awesome. It was a very exclusive tour, our guide who used to be Mikhail Gorbachev's translator was phenomenal, and the beauty of the palace was astounding. Then we had an incredible Russian meal at the most lavish restaurant I've ever seen. Finally, we toured Red Square and got some great pictures, time for shopping, etc, then back on the high speed train (4 hours each way). Returned to the ship after midnight, but would highly recommend- a once in a lifetime experience. The thousands of others at the Kremlin & Red Square did not get to see what we did in the Kremlin Papace.
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  • Oslo
    The National Gallery is a very good art museum with a wide range of exhibits and a wonderful flow and tour through the centuries. The Munch "Scream" is here, which is great, but we were quite taken and impressed by the collection. This was a very pleasant surprise and we would highly recommend the National Gallery. The Natural History Museum next door is good too, but not as exciting as the art museum, but definitely interesting and worth it. Both are 2 blocks from the main pedestrian mall with all its shops and restaurants and that's very fun too.
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  • Vigeland Sculpture Park
    We did the Vigeland Scuplture Tour and Ice Bar. While the guide was excellent, the tour was rather padded and if I had to do over again, I would just go to the Sculpture Park and call it a day. The Park is wonderful and a sight to behold. The Ice Bar is a 5 minute stop at best, a bonafide tourist trap, fun, but not worth it. We also killed time by walking to a waterfall in the city, which was nice, but we could have gotten a cab to the Sculpture Park in a fraction of the time and cost.
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  • Viking Ship Museum
    We took an Uber to the Viking Museum and got there right at opening, which was great because large crowds came in later as we were leaving. Very interesting and a must-see.
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  • Amber Room
    Glad we saw this- no photos allowed though.
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  • Catherine Palace
    Fantastic, a must see, much better than Peterhof Palace, although still crowded, but manageable. The lunch with the Crystal excursion was excellent too.
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  • Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
    Viewed the exterior as part of our city tour- a must-see, quick stop. Don't know if the interior is as beautiful, but you have to see the outside at least.
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  • City Tour
    Very interesting driving around St. Petersburg. The local guide was fantastic. Would highly recommend.
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  • Hermitage Museum
    This was incredible. We toured on a Monday when the Hermitage is closed, so it was opened specially for cruise guests only and this was a highlight of the trip. A marvelous museum with exquisite art, and so pleasant to have the place to ourselves. Quite efficient. Would HIGHLY recommend this at any time, but especially if you can get the private tour.
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  • Peter & Paul Fortress
    Beautiful, very interesting, well worth the hour stop.
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  • Peterhof Palace
    Exterior: Fantatic and worth it. Interior: Avoid like the plague. We had seen the Catherine Palace in the morning which was better and sufficient. Not only was the Peterhof interior redundant and disappointing after having seen Catherine's (it was really very much the same), but Peterhof was the most disorganized, horrible tourist attraction I've ever seen. It was crowded, no staff knew what to do or where the throngs should go, people were herded into various doors and crammed into hot rooms to put on booties, and rudely forced to randomly check bags and umbrellas, then herded through crammed bottlenecks and tiny hallways while there were numerous other visible hallways adjacent that could have greatly increased comfort and capacity. it was a total zoo. Then when we mercifully exited, I forgot my checked item so I had to swim upstream for a few meters and the one lone Russian staff member actually hit my arm and yelled at me for doing so. It was a very Soviet-era style experience and totally unnecessary to go inside. The grounds and fountains are fantastic, however, and very much worth a see. The hydrofoil service back to St. petersburg was fun and fast.
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  • Stockholm Old Town Tour
    We really enjoyed the Stockholm Modern & Medieval tour, but it would be better and easier to just do them yourself. It was a quick bus tour through the city, then to Old Town/Gamla Stan, which is delightful, then you can just walk to the Medieval Museum and see it in an hour. Then we went across to the Vasa Museum which is jaw-droopingly fantastic. Crystal didn't seem to offer a tour to this, but it was certainly the highlight of Stockholm and one of the best museums we've ever seen, Really cool. The cruise's shuttle bus drops you close to everything, so that is a better option in this city than the planned excursions.
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