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If you are looking to be pampered, the Crystal yacht Esprit should fill the bill. With 62 passengers and 85 crew, never went wanting or never stood in any lines. Because of the perception of damage from Hurricane Irma, we only had 32 passengers which made it even nicer. Only island that we observed any damage was St Marten but with big cruise ships visiting, this is not why we chose this cruise anyway. We landed in St Marten where the airport was severely impacted but did not deter the efficiency of clearing immigration. Crystal reps were there to assist you to the head of the line, gather the bags, and promptly move to the nice van to go to Marigot Bay and the ship. Embarkation was quick with no waiting whatsoever and first class service and escort to your cabin. The ship was immaculate and though not brand new, nothing was missing. Crew constantly cleans and keeps the vessel in tip top shape. Food was amazing with gourmet servings and amazing presentations. Despite this, you never left hungry and waiters were more than happy to substitute, add, make appetizer size portions, just about anything. I found the Dover Sole the best I had ever had anywhere and my request for a repeat on another night was eagerly complied with. Though we were not assigned a table and could eat anytime between 7 and 9PM in the evening, we always sought out Patricia from Portugal who was incredibly cheery, helpful, and made excellent recommendations each night. Breakfasts were in the cafe and one could order just about anything with omelets, fruits, bacon, sausage, pastries, and everything always available. Lunches were in the same place but we often ate outside at the grill where they offered calamari, cheeseburgers, regular and sweet potato fries, and tasty salmon sandwiches. Each evening before dinner, Kate whipped up the best cocktails and everyone knows your name and drink preference and the waiters and waitresses were wonderful Unfortunately I can't remember the name of one exceptional bar waiter but he looked just like Rory McElroy so thats what I called him. :-) He always made sure I had whatever I wished whether on the outside deck or in the bar. Louisa and Karen ran the excursions and most were wonderful. One feature that I found exceptional was the fact that one of them accompanied the tour making sure it went as advertised and handling any glitches that might arise. With the exception of St Marten, we did not see any big cruise ships which made it WONDERFUL. We enjoyed Zip lining on St Kitts which, due to the harness, was easy to use and required almost no physical strength or braking skills. The botanical tour and estate tour in Nevis was interesting and enjoyable. Snorkeling at Pinney's beach was only so-so but using a special section of the Four Season's Resort beach including 2 free drinks was nice. The Lagoon and Mangrove mini boat trip was just okay. I think this was a first for Crystal and I suppose they might make changes. A long boat ride on a small outboard powered boat (drive it yourself) to the mangrove forest was less than amazing and the snorkeling also very disappointing. On the way to the boats, our guide was very nice but her French accent was very difficult to understand. One of the best excursions was the visit to Montserrat and the volcano and the former capital city of Plymouth which was buried and destroyed by the 1997 lava flow. We were able to go into the exclusion zone and walk among the ruins. Falmouth Harbor in Antigua was very enjoyable with a short hike to Nelson's Dockyard and the fort which guarded it. Saw some beautiful yachts and toured it again aboard the Crystal 32 foot $300,000 speedboat. New Years Eve and Day were spent in Gustavia, St Barts. If you like seeing the super yachts of the rich and famous, this port is for you. The Russian oligarch owned Eclipse was in port and you too could have one for a reported $1.5 billion. Went to Shell Beach and enjoyed some snorkeling though the coral was sparse and not too much sea life either. We were warned to watch for Tiger Sharks but saw nothing. If you like expensive shops and a wild time, try this port, especially over New Years Eve. The ship went above and beyond with a lovely buffet, champagne, and a DJ for dancing while enjoying the harbor fireworks. It was fun at midnight when the yachts in port seemed to have a contest as to who had the loudest fog horn. Last stop was among the best where the ship visited Moskito Island, owned by Richard Branson. We had a private beach, spectacular barbecue, open bar, beautiful beaches and water sports, and a super relaxing time. Final stop was back to Marigot Bay for debarkation and because our plane was a 5:30 PM departure, they offered an ATV ride through the city where we were able to see first hand the damage to this beautiful city by Irma. They are making progress in returning to normal but they have a long way to go. We had hoped to hit beaches and mountain paths on the ATV but ended up caravanning through traffic which became a bit tedious and not really relaxing with all of the traffic. Bags were handled so we did not have to worry about them and delivered to the airport. Departure was less than optimum because the terminal is still closed so temporary tents, lavatories, check in counters, and food facilities are severely limited. Not a cruise for children though there was a delightful family from Mexico aboard with teenagers and they certainly seemed like they had a fun time too. Not recommended for anyone that has mobility issues. No elevators on this ship and all excursions leave the ship by Zodiac and embarking and disembarking can be challenging. Make sure you let the young men driving them assist you which is almost always necessary. This is also not the smoothest vessel because of its size. Most of the travel is done at night when the swaying of the ship rocks you to sleep. Only one passenger that I observed got a little seasick but that was just for one day. Entertainment is pretty much a piano player who is quite good but this is not one of those cruises with grandiose shows. In summary, if you want to go on a cruise where they make you feel like it is your private yacht, then this is the one for you. Loved it and will return again.

Might never go back to the big ships

Crystal Esprit Cruise Review by jdh67

26 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Caribbean
If you are looking to be pampered, the Crystal yacht Esprit should fill the bill. With 62 passengers and 85 crew, never went wanting or never stood in any lines. Because of the perception of damage from Hurricane Irma, we only had 32 passengers which made it even nicer. Only island that we observed any damage was St Marten but with big cruise ships visiting, this is not why we chose this cruise anyway. We landed in St Marten where the airport was severely impacted but did not deter the efficiency of clearing immigration. Crystal reps were there to assist you to the head of the line, gather the bags, and promptly move to the nice van to go to Marigot Bay and the ship. Embarkation was quick with no waiting whatsoever and first class service and escort to your cabin. The ship was immaculate and though not brand new, nothing was missing. Crew constantly cleans and keeps the vessel in tip top shape. Food was amazing with gourmet servings and amazing presentations. Despite this, you never left hungry and waiters were more than happy to substitute, add, make appetizer size portions, just about anything. I found the Dover Sole the best I had ever had anywhere and my request for a repeat on another night was eagerly complied with. Though we were not assigned a table and could eat anytime between 7 and 9PM in the evening, we always sought out Patricia from Portugal who was incredibly cheery, helpful, and made excellent recommendations each night. Breakfasts were in the cafe and one could order just about anything with omelets, fruits, bacon, sausage, pastries, and everything always available. Lunches were in the same place but we often ate outside at the grill where they offered calamari, cheeseburgers, regular and sweet potato fries, and tasty salmon sandwiches. Each evening before dinner, Kate whipped up the best cocktails and everyone knows your name and drink preference and the waiters and waitresses were wonderful Unfortunately I can't remember the name of one exceptional bar waiter but he looked just like Rory McElroy so thats what I called him. :-) He always made sure I had whatever I wished whether on the outside deck or in the bar.

Louisa and Karen ran the excursions and most were wonderful. One feature that I found exceptional was the fact that one of them accompanied the tour making sure it went as advertised and handling any glitches that might arise. With the exception of St Marten, we did not see any big cruise ships which made it WONDERFUL. We enjoyed Zip lining on St Kitts which, due to the harness, was easy to use and required almost no physical strength or braking skills. The botanical tour and estate tour in Nevis was interesting and enjoyable. Snorkeling at Pinney's beach was only so-so but using a special section of the Four Season's Resort beach including 2 free drinks was nice. The Lagoon and Mangrove mini boat trip was just okay. I think this was a first for Crystal and I suppose they might make changes. A long boat ride on a small outboard powered boat (drive it yourself) to the mangrove forest was less than amazing and the snorkeling also very disappointing. On the way to the boats, our guide was very nice but her French accent was very difficult to understand. One of the best excursions was the visit to Montserrat and the volcano and the former capital city of Plymouth which was buried and destroyed by the 1997 lava flow. We were able to go into the exclusion zone and walk among the ruins. Falmouth Harbor in Antigua was very enjoyable with a short hike to Nelson's Dockyard and the fort which guarded it. Saw some beautiful yachts and toured it again aboard the Crystal 32 foot $300,000 speedboat. New Years Eve and Day were spent in Gustavia, St Barts. If you like seeing the super yachts of the rich and famous, this port is for you. The Russian oligarch owned Eclipse was in port and you too could have one for a reported $1.5 billion. Went to Shell Beach and enjoyed some snorkeling though the coral was sparse and not too much sea life either. We were warned to watch for Tiger Sharks but saw nothing. If you like expensive shops and a wild time, try this port, especially over New Years Eve. The ship went above and beyond with a lovely buffet, champagne, and a DJ for dancing while enjoying the harbor fireworks. It was fun at midnight when the yachts in port seemed to have a contest as to who had the loudest fog horn. Last stop was among the best where the ship visited Moskito Island, owned by Richard Branson. We had a private beach, spectacular barbecue, open bar, beautiful beaches and water sports, and a super relaxing time. Final stop was back to Marigot Bay for debarkation and because our plane was a 5:30 PM departure, they offered an ATV ride through the city where we were able to see first hand the damage to this beautiful city by Irma. They are making progress in returning to normal but they have a long way to go. We had hoped to hit beaches and mountain paths on the ATV but ended up caravanning through traffic which became a bit tedious and not really relaxing with all of the traffic. Bags were handled so we did not have to worry about them and delivered to the airport. Departure was less than optimum because the terminal is still closed so temporary tents, lavatories, check in counters, and food facilities are severely limited.

Not a cruise for children though there was a delightful family from Mexico aboard with teenagers and they certainly seemed like they had a fun time too.

Not recommended for anyone that has mobility issues. No elevators on this ship and all excursions leave the ship by Zodiac and embarking and disembarking can be challenging. Make sure you let the young men driving them assist you which is almost always necessary.

This is also not the smoothest vessel because of its size. Most of the travel is done at night when the swaying of the ship rocks you to sleep. Only one passenger that I observed got a little seasick but that was just for one day.

Entertainment is pretty much a piano player who is quite good but this is not one of those cruises with grandiose shows.

In summary, if you want to go on a cruise where they make you feel like it is your private yacht, then this is the one for you. Loved it and will return again.
jdh67’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 218
Cabins are spacious with double sink bathrooms, tv behind the mirror, wonderful shower head, superb toiletries, comfortable beds, lots of outlets for smart phones and tablets, stocked frig (included), and amazing service. Nathaniel was our butler and Gee and another gal were the maids and they kept everything spotless. They almost appear disappointed that you don't ask for special requests. Would be nice to have a balcony but not really necessary since there are so many nice spaces to enjoy the outside and get served cocktails or whatever you wish. As noted in previous reviews, the temperature control is a simple rheostat that does not seem to make much difference.
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