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6 Middle East World Cruise Reviews

We joined the Ocean princess after being asked by Princess to consider swapping cruises,(overbooking??) we had been booked on the Dawn from Sydney to Rome .Maybe it wasn't such a good deal? 48days instead of 32 on a smaller ship, I ... Read More
We joined the Ocean princess after being asked by Princess to consider swapping cruises,(overbooking??) we had been booked on the Dawn from Sydney to Rome .Maybe it wasn't such a good deal? 48days instead of 32 on a smaller ship, I would not do it again. While the Ocean Princess is still a lovely ship, in spite of her age, I felt that it was too small for this cruise. Only 1 MDR and the Buffet ;the Steakhouse and Sabatini's were only open on alternate days, and not always then, which made dining choices limited. Only one Show lounge meant that on the 2nd half we had the same shows repeated, and there was no alternative .The daytime entertainment program was boring, too many repeated activities, films and lectures. The Ent. Director was a waste of space, no personality and we felt a definite sense of strain between the Director and the rest of the cruise staff. The shows were ok but improved at the end, possibly due to being one dancer short until a replacement arrived during the 2nd half of the cruise. It was obvious that some of the entertainers were not happy. The Library was excellent, good selection and great place for peace and quiet. Tahitian room had great views, we enjoyed the Trivia and dance classes. It should be NON Smoking!! Front desk not up to standard, some of the employees had a "not interested "attitude, we found only one who seemed to know what he was doing and wanted to help. We were not impressed by the Shore tours lecturer, her information seemed to come straight off Google and she had a boring voice. Food. We mainly ate in the MDR at night and the buffet at breakfast and lunch. Food was good and plentiful, but repetitious, our wait staff (ALL of them) were wonderful. Professional, helpful, friendly...not enough good things to say about them. They helped MAKE the cruise for us. I am having ongoing communication with Princess about the medical care so will not say anymore. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was my 20th cruise with Cunard - and the most adventurous. Leaving Southampton almost on time as usually, the first leg of the 2013 World Cruise led us into a rough Biscaye. Although QM2 is a still very comfortable ship even in rough ... Read More
This was my 20th cruise with Cunard - and the most adventurous. Leaving Southampton almost on time as usually, the first leg of the 2013 World Cruise led us into a rough Biscaye. Although QM2 is a still very comfortable ship even in rough sea, many passengers found that the meals weren't as attractive to them as they expected ;-) Barcelona proved to be an interesting place for everyone but Athens/Piraeus didn't really want the QM2. So due to high winds and a bad forecast for the next days Commodore Rynd and Cunard decided in the late evening to change the next destination to Heraklion/Crete. This is not quite an alternative to Athens, but larger ports in the region are rare. 70ton provisions stayed in Priraeus and subsequently eggs became a rare occasion, good for our cholesterol balance. Port Said saw us at late afternoon from a far distance and by 1am QM2 entered the Suez Canal in a foggy night. Almost until Ismailia the sight was poor, but the atmosphere nevertheless tensioning. The view of Suez was then clear and the short trip to Ain Sokhna completed in slow motion. Ein Sokhna - not a place to live or to die, only a place to enter the buses to Cairo and Gizeh. Next day saw us early in Safarga, only to get into the buses to Luxor. I wish I hadn't done this... Strange Egyptian water-waste-regulations required the the ship to block the washing machines and call for water saving, later enhanced because of a emerging water shortage due to unavailability of drinkable water supplies since Barcelona. Security precautions required blacking outs like 1942 for the next days from dawn to dusk and killed by this the board live almost to zero. The company of NATO warships was most welcomed although the pirates waited until the safe zone was passed for showing up and attracting the ship's attention. Anyway, nothing serious happened and we reached the fantastic town of Dubai in time. Major disadvantages: Very noticeable cost cuttings by Cunard in restaurant service and food selection All important regions with the exception of the southern part of the Suez Canal have been passed in the deepest night time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My partner and I decided to book a cruise as it was a holiday we had never done before and having reviewed many different cruise lines we settled upon Cunard and the Queen Mary 2. We took this decision as we managed to find a very good ... Read More
My partner and I decided to book a cruise as it was a holiday we had never done before and having reviewed many different cruise lines we settled upon Cunard and the Queen Mary 2. We took this decision as we managed to find a very good deal for this voyage from Southampton to Dubai, the first leg of the 2013 world voyage, in January (when could be a better time to head off to some heat after Christmas when everything is dismal and cold?) and personally I was excited by the glamour and sophistication which would await me on board such a magnificent looking vessel. I was not disappointed, this holiday exceeded my expectations in every way and I would recommend a voyage upon this wonderful ocean liner to anyone. I have focussed my review on the ship itself rather than ports / day trips as otherwise I will ramble on for too long. Checking in at Southampton was quick and simple. The Queen Mary 2 was docked in the old QE2 terminal which is like something out of the 1960's however was perfectly adequate and I quite enjoyed the feeling of stepping back in time as we boarded. As soon as we were on board we were greeted by smiling faces and warm welcomes from every member of the White Star staff we passed. We stayed in an inside cabin or 'stateroom' as they are called (4061), which is the best value option and if you don't mind not having a window or balcony it is quite adequate. The decks are all so beautiful and vast, there is no necessity to spend much needed cocktail money on a balcony when you can spend time on the public decks. I guess this is all down to individual preference, and if you have the cash to splash then the balcony staterooms are beautiful, but ours was clean, roomy enough for two including enough wardrobe space for all my evening dresses and throughout the voyage, if you tune the tv to the bridgecam channel you can see what the outside weather is doing and have your own little "window" to outside. The morning show with Paul O'Loughlin, Entertainment Director was also very interesting and a fun way to start every day telling us about upcoming shows and events, I didn't really want to go back to BBC Breakfast when I got home! We were lucky enough to have Commodore Rynd, head of the Cunard fleet at the helm and he was very personable, visible around the ship from day to day and his 12pm navigational announcements every day were very enjoyable informing us about the ships position and interesting facts of the day. When booking this voyage I had been worried that I might find the sea days a little tiresome and boring, particularly the 5 in a row between Egypt and Dubai however I could not have been more wrong, and the sea days were actually some of my favourites. Each evening we received a daily programme in our stateroom which listed all the activities for the following day along with evening dress code and information on guest performers. I looked forward to planning our next day and it was a struggle to fit everything in there was so much on offer. I guess at this point it is worth mentioning that on this particular voyage the majority of travellers were aged around 50 upwards and I guess many of the activities are geared towards this age group. However to put my review into context, I am 32 and was probably the youngest on board (bar 2 toddlers I saw) however I threw myself into it and thoroughly enjoyed everything on offer. Daytime activities included many pub quizzes in the Golden Lion pub (very enjoyable particularly as these days in usual pub quizzes everyone can cheat on their phone -- not so easily done at sea so much more enjoyable), daily lectures and talks, films and planetarium shows, shuffleboard, decathlon, short tennis, golf (there is an indoor simulator also), water volleyball, darts, i-seminars, art classes, make up demonstrations and our personal favourite ballroom dance classes with the wonderful Wilfried and Ilona ex ballroom and latin champions who were lovely and even managed to get my partner interested in dancing who has NEVER shown any interest before despite constant nagging! Flower arranging with Mikee and Mario is not to be missed, a hilarious double act and a fun 4 hour session over 2 days which allowed us to keep our floral masterpieces and have them in our stateroom or on the dinner table. There is a $50 supplement for this activity but well worth it for the fun you will have. Cunard do their best to secure good guest lecturers and entertainers and on this voyage Martin Bell, Ruthie Henshall, Roy Walker were the headliners, all of whom were very popular and very entertaining in their respective fields. However lesser known entertainers such as Goronwy Thom -- comedy juggler and Elio Pace -- singer and pianist were absolutely excellent. This brings me onto the subject of entertainment as a whole. The Royal Court singers and dancers were top quality and the shows presented were better than many I have seen in the West End and Broadway, shows were usually performed twice a night in the gorgeous theatre and this was good to give flexibility around different dinner sittings. On a couple of occasions we watched the shows twice as they were so good. The Entertainment staff and social hostess who ran the quizzes did an ok job but personality wise they were somewhat lacking apart from Paul (Ents Director) who was very good with his patter. I could not believe the number of wonderful resident musicians on board -- a string quartet, cocktail pianists, a jazz trio, the Queens Room orchestra, Vibz Caribbean band and Joey Mix with his Royal Court Orchestra were all outstanding and there was much live music on offer each day. Highlights were Dixieland in the Winter Garden, and the Afternoon Tea Dances with the Queens Room Orchestra and vocalist Michel Chartier. Food was overwhelming in terms of the amount on offer. The Kings Court buffet is open for 22 hours a day and serves pretty much anything you can think of, I agree with other reviews that the layout of this area isn't very cosy but we didn't eat there that often, only really for post evening dancing snacks and cookies before bed! When the weather is warm the boardwalk cafe is open in the afternoon and this serves great burgers, chips and salad. The main Britannia Restaurant was large and glamorous as I expected and we had such an attentive waiter and sommelier. When torn between 2 dishes they will offer to bring you both and no request was too much. We were always welcomed with a smile and enjoyed every evening we dined in here. Over our 18 day cruise I did consume a lot of food however it was too delicious not to and that is what holidays are all about. It is worth spending one evening dining in the Todd English restaurant, you pay a supplement here but the food was first class and it was a nice special treat. Drinks are plentiful and although pricey, you get what you pay for and the cocktails and champagne in particular were lovely. My tip is to have pre dinner cocktails in the Commodore Club on deck 9, which has a lovely ambience particularly when the pianist it playing, check out the molecular cosmopolitan for a delicious sweet and tangy treat. The Chart Room and Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar are also nice for a pre dinner aperitif. We opted to pay $6.50 per day and have unlimited soft drinks, this was well worth it and I would recommend it for people who like to have plenty of cola, lemonade, orangeade or juices as you can use this in any of the bars. I believe that Cunard line do many more formal nights than other companies and this was something which I personally loved as back at home these days, one never gets the chance very often to get dressed up. Everyone respected the dress code and it was such a lovely feeling looking around and seeing the glamour and sophistication of all the guests. Formal nights included a Masquerade Ball, Egyptian Ball, Burns Night Ball, and Black and White Ball, all of which we were informed about in advance of our voyage enabling us to bring appropriate formal wear. The Queens Ball room is elegant and again the live music, singing and performances by the resident dance couples are highlights of the evening. There are a number of pools and jacuzzi's and the indoor / outdoor pavilion pool with sliding glass roof on the top deck is a popular choice when the weather is not so hot, as it was when departing Southampton on 9th January! My personal favourite outdoor space was the stern of deck 8 as there was a terrace bar here and once the weather was warm it was a sunbathing hotspot and lunch time live music by the pool with Vibz really made the holiday. One of my favourite days was our trip down the Suez Canal as the weather was hot, I was in the Jacuzzi with a glass of prosecco enjoying the scenery and the live music -- absolute bliss. The one niggle I had on this voyage was the service received at the Pursers Office, as the staff here seemed a little disinterested in their jobs and they weren't as helpful as they could have been. Whilst enjoying a lovely performance by the on board choir in the Grand Lobby, they wouldn't shut up from talking very loudly interrupting the singing, and even my long glares didn't seem to make any difference. Apart from this we thoroughly enjoyed our time at sea and once we disembarked in Dubai I felt very sad to be leaving this magnificent beautiful ocean liner which by that point felt like home. I guess as a first time "cruiser" I have nothing to compare it to, however if you enjoy old fashioned glamour, variety, succulent fayre, live music, high quality entertainment and beautiful surroundings then this is the ocean liner for you. I am saving already for my next trip! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We sailed from Southampton in early January and headed South. This ship is the oldest in the Fred. Olsen cruise fleet but, despite this, is well maintained, comfortable and stable in rough seas. I had an outside double cabin on a single ... Read More
We sailed from Southampton in early January and headed South. This ship is the oldest in the Fred. Olsen cruise fleet but, despite this, is well maintained, comfortable and stable in rough seas. I had an outside double cabin on a single occupancy basis. It was clean, comfortable and had plenty of storage space. The air conditioning was flexible and effective. It had the additional bonus of a bath tub. The cabin stewardess kept the cabin spotlessly clean by servicing it twice daily. I found the food excellent throughout this long cruise. Normally I ate in the main restaurant but I had the occasional early breakfast in the Garden Cafe and the odd lunch at the Marquee Grill. The speciality evenings (Indian, Thai etc) in the Garden Cafe were most enjoyable. Wine prices remain very competitive. The daytime entertainment followed the normal cruise pattern. There were some very interesting talks by guest lecturers.The classical concerts were of a high standard. Evening cabarets were mixed, some good and some pretty poor but it is very much a personal taste. The occasional local shows brought on board at ports of call were most entertaining.Who could forget the belly dancer in Egypt? The ship's group of singers and dancers put on some lively and enjoyable performances. I booked several shore excursions prior to leaving home. Most of these proved very interesting, some were memorable. I have particularly fond memories of a day trip sailing on the Gambia River, the deserts of Namibia, Robben Island and the parks in RSA, the backwaters in Cochin India, Al Ain and the grand mosque in Abu Dhabi, Oman, the gorgeous beach in Aqaba Jordan, the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and the visits to Ephesus in Turkey and Seville in Spain. The security arrangements on board to protect it when sailing through the dangerous waters close to Somalia were most impressive. Happily, there were no attacks by pirates. As usual the staff on board made the cruise as far as I was concerned. They are friendly, efficient and always cheerful. Whether it was in the restaurants, bars or or in the cabins the service was first class. I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Just back from above. Had a really nice time. Met some lovely people. The itinery was very good. Jordan (Petra) and Dubai were really interesting. Positives first:       Ship very easy to get around. I never got lost once in three ... Read More
Just back from above. Had a really nice time. Met some lovely people. The itinery was very good. Jordan (Petra) and Dubai were really interesting. Positives first:       Ship very easy to get around. I never got lost once in three weeks!   Balconies fairly large compared to some other cruises weve been on.   Food quality in the Britannia good to very good on most nights.   Daily dancing classes were fun.       Negatives:       Flaws in the basic design of the ship (IMHO). The aft desk area with pool just seems unfinished. There is a small pool with a massive area for loungers but its totally soulless.       Flooding occurred quite regularly on various floors and in public places (table tennis table was constantly soaking!)       Rooms were fairly large but again the dEcor meant they seemed totally bare and emotionless places.       The aircon was a major complaint from everyone we met; Out of our group of about 16 people at least half came down with respiratory problems within the three weeks. We had engineers to switch down ours to no avail. We ended up sleeping on the floor beside the open balcony door one night! The pursers office refused to do anything but move our bed to the balcony end (which helped a bit). There was a but going about and it was spreading in the aircon. It needs to be investigated urgently (we sent a letter in the last few days to Tanya (Guest relations) stating that).       Staff were a lot more 'aloof' than on any other cruise line. Our stateroom attendant hardly spoke to us the whole time on board. Apart from perhaps one or two bar staff and Gemma and the rest of the Spa, the rest were totally stand offish. I realise that this is perhaps how Cunard train their staff but to have to run after them to try and get a drink after sitting in the bar for half an hour is excessive.       Food in Lido average at best. We have cruised with Celebrity on four occasions in last two years and they are miles ahead in their buffet service.       Big negative was Entertainment. In 20 nights there were two major shows. The rest were either average comics, instrumentalists or tribute acts (Beatles/El Divo). This is not acceptable and was clearly down to 'penny pinching' by Cunard. In their defence the two shows (especially La Danza) were fantastic.       In conclusion we wont be going with Cunard again (certainly not the Elizabeth anyway). If we had paid full price (not booked two weeks before sailing) we would have been a lot more critical. It is not 5 star. The hotel we stayed in Dubai was. Overall we ghave rated it 4 and this is mostly for the fun we had with new friends (not the actual cruise ship!)Celebrity remains our choice of lines and I look forward to August on Equinox!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Background ========= My wife and I have cruised with Crystal Cruises for many years and have also cruised on several other cruise lines. Prior to this cruise, we had cruised on two full world cruises with Crystal in 2007 and 2008 ... Read More
Background ========= My wife and I have cruised with Crystal Cruises for many years and have also cruised on several other cruise lines. Prior to this cruise, we had cruised on two full world cruises with Crystal in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Cruise Overview ============ This review is for our combined voyage on the Crystal Serenity, which included two cruises. The first cruise was a seven-day round-trip Miami cruise, which included stops in Grand Turks, Grand Cayman and Key West along with three full days at sea. The second cruise was a 108 day World Cruise that began in Miami, Florida and concluded in London, England. This cruise included stops in North and South America, Africa, The Middle East and Europe and included 59 days in port and 49 days at sea. Combined, we spent 115 glorious days cruising on the Crystal Serenity Summary ======= We had an outstanding cruise. While this was our third world cruise it was by far the best one yet. The World Cruise provides a wonderful opportunity to really get to know fellow passengers and the wonderful crew. In many ways the cruise ship becomes a village for everyone since you share many of the same experiences and memories over the course of this cruise. While some cruise lines have cut back on the services and amenities offered to their passengers during these challenging economic times, Crystal has actually enhanced the overall cruising experience. This World Cruise included more diversity in entertainment and other offerings then ever before. Crystal continues to exceed expectations with respect to service, cuisine, evening entertainment, enrichment programs and other daytime activities and the overall cruising experience. Their customer focus is unsurpassed. The other highlight of the itinerary was the extraordinary itinerary. We visited many unique ports of call including several in the Middle East that very few ships visit. This included ports of call in the UAE including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, and ports in places such as the Ukraine which very few cruise ships visit during this time of the year. Pre-Cruise ======== We enjoyed a wonderful pre-cruise in Miami, Florida. We visited with friends and took care of some last minute purchases for some items that we could not take with us on the airplane. We were joined in Miami for three days by our daughter and son-in-law and for one day by our son and his fiancE prior to them sailing with us for the seven day voyage. We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown Miami and enjoyed the facilities at this hotel. We stayed here last before we boarded the Crystal Serenity for the 2007 World Cruise. Crystal took care of all our travel arrangements. This included sending two vehicles to our home to transfer the two of our luggage and us to the airport for our flight to Miami. Upon arrival to the Miami airport, two vehicles took us over to the Hotel and then on embarkation day we were transported over to the Miami Cruise Ship Terminal. Crystal also made our flight arrangements, as this was included in the cruise fare. Embarkation ========= Embarkation was very smooth and orderly and we were on the ship by 12:15 PM. Once on board the ship we all enjoyed a wonderful lunch in the Main Dining Room. We toasted the start of the cruise with flutes of complimentary champagne provided by Crystal. Our room was ready by 2:00 PM and when we arrived most of our luggage was already in the room. The Ship ======= The ship began service in 2003 and we have sailed on the Crystal Serenity many times. For us it is the perfect size ship for voyages of this length. The Serenity is a mid-size ship. At almost 69,000 tons it is capable of carrying as many as 1,100 passengers and a 650 passenger crew. It very rarely carries this number of passengers as it also appeals to many guests traveling solo. The ship has a total of thirteen decks, ten of which are used by passengers. As the World Cruise is comprised of seven individual voyages the number of passengers on board the ship at anyone time varied by voyage to voyage. We had almost 950 passengers on the seven-day sailing. There were 201 passengers who took the entire world cruise and the total number of passengers ranged from around 400-450 on the first two voyages to anywhere's from 500 to 650 passengers on some of the legs. Like any ship there are probably a few minor areas showing some wear and tear but these items are normally addressed in dry-dock. The crew is always taking good care of the ship. They can be seen thoroughly cleaning the ship throughout the day and evening hours and also painting outside areas of the ship on a frequent basis. Accommodations ============ Our room is called a category PH Penthouse Suite. It was a perfect size for us for this length voyage. The room was located mid-deck on Deck 10. The room has a nice desk area which could be utilized for the computer and other related items while also having a vanity makeup table with mirror. There are shelves adjacent to the desk where we could store items along with a refrigerator and storage areas for bar and glassware. There is a nice walk in closet, which comes in very handy given the amount of clothes that are needed on a world cruise. Overhead lighting in the room is fine and the size of this category room and outside verandah works very well for us. The bathroom is quite spacious with both a separate shower and whirlpool bath and the bath products are quite nice. We are able to use the wireless Internet capabilities that are available in the room and other areas of the ship. We had the same room stewardess for the entire world cruise and the same assistant stewardess for both the seven-day voyage and almost the entire world cruise. They both kept the room looking great. The PH and above categories also have butler service and we had an outstanding butler who we also had in 2008. He takes care of the snacks and beverages and also will set up breakfast, lunch or dinner. For dinner he can serve meals course by course either from the Main Dining Room or from either one of the specialty restaurants on board the ship. While our children were on board he served the six of us a beautiful breakfast and also one night we all enjoyed shrimp, lobster, caviar and other canapEs and champagne. He sets a perfect table and everything was always perfect. During the course of the World Cruise he also served us dinner from one of the Specialty Restaurants a couple of times and he also served appetizers and champagne when we had some guests meet us for a pre-dinner drink and appetizers. Dining & Cuisine ============= There are many dining choices on board the Crystal Serenity. There is the main dining room serving breakfast, lunch and dinner at either the main or late seating's. There is open seating for breakfast and lunch and assigned seating for dinner. We enjoy the assigned seating as we like to have the same wait staff that quickly becomes familiar with all of your preferences. We sit at a table for two but there are various size tables from two to ten people. While our table was for two we could fit four people there so from time to time we would invite others to join us for dinner. For breakfast in addition to the main dining room there are other dining options such as the Lido Cafe serving a buffet breakfast, or The Bristo serving a light breakfast or Tastes serving a later risers breakfast. For lunch in addition to the main dining room there is also the Lido Cafe serving a buffet lunch, the Bistro serving various luncheon items, Tastes serving a nice lunch and also the Trident Grill serving hot dogs, burgers, wraps and other items For dinner there is the Main Dining Room. There is also Prego serving Italian Cuisine, Silk Road serving Japanese Cuisine under the direction of Nobu, Tastes which is open on most evenings which serves dinner by the pool in a casual atmosphere, The Vintage Room which for an extra charge serves a nice pairing of various wines/champagne with a multi course dinner. Of course there is always room service. The service and cuisine on board the ship are just outstanding. With 24 hours you can have almost any item you can think of. The staff is very accommodating to each individual. There are also many healthy items to choose from and these are designated on the various menus. The Crew ======= The Staff is the best of any staff that we have sailed with. The crew does not know the word "no" and makes every effort to please each passenger. It is amazing how quickly many on the staff learn your name and preferences. We saw many staff that we had not seen in two years and they not only remembered us but they remembered those items that we enjoyed from the previous cruise. Sometimes I felt that they know more about us than we do. The crew retention rate by Crystal is outstanding. Many on the crew have been with Crystal for many years and many have been promoted to increasing levels of responsibility. They like their jobs and it really shows. The Passengers =========== We know many passengers from previous cruises and we met many passengers for the very first time. We have made many friends from our previous cruises and this cruise was no exception. While we dined at a table for two, its size would accommodate up to four guests. From time to time we would invite one or two other people to join us for dinner in the Main Dining Room. Other times we would get together with others at one of the specialty restaurants on board the ship. As mentioned, over the course of such a long cruise many of the passengers and the crew become like an extended family and are clearly one of the reasons we come back to Crystal again and again. Itinerary/Shore Excursions =================== This itinerary was quite unique and diverse. We began in Miami, visited a few ports in the Caribbean and then made stops in Brazil and Argentina. From South America we cruises eight days until we reached Cape Town, South Africa. We made several stops in Africa and from there sailed to the Middle East. We not only stopped in places such as Jordan, Oman, UAE, Israel and Egypt but also stopped in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Kuwait. From there we stopped in stopped in various ports of the Mediterranean and then we sailed the Black Sea before ending the cruise in London. It was a very unique itinerary. We took many shore excursions through Crystal and find that they offer a nice array of choices. They also offer several overland tours for those who want to spend additional time on land to then meet up with the ship a few days later. We stopped at various ports of call that such as Kuwait that had not been visited by other passenger cruise ships or some other ports that only on occasion are visited by passenger cruise ships. We congratulate and commend Crystal Cruises for putting together such as unique itinerary. There were some who criticized the cruise line for including the Iranian Port of Call so it would have been easier for them not to have included this port of call and a couple of the others to avoid criticism. We respect the fact that Crystal Cruises believes in providing their clientele with an extraordinary experience and providing their guest with the opportunity to explore and discover the world. In short, this itinerary surpassed our expectations. Internet ====== Internet connectivity including speed was quite good. We had less delay than I anticipated and less delay than we have had on previous cruises on board this ship. We brought our own computer on with us but there are plenty of computers located in the computer university. There are many Internet plans to choose from. Per minute pricing varies by Internet plan. Crystal also has a computer university offering help to technical computer issues and also offering a variety of computer classes from basic classes to more advanced classes. My wife and I both took classes and enjoyed them. Fitness Center ========== We used the Fitness Center throughout the cruise. It is open 24 hours a day seven days a week and has a wonderful array of machines such as treadmills, elliptical and stationary bikes and a nice variety of weight lifting equipment. There is a wide range of classes offered, especially on sea days. Enrichment Programs, Activities and Entertainment, Special World Cruise Events ===================================== This is core strength and Crystal offers what we consider to be the best enrichment and entertainment program on the high seas. There were so many great and interesting activities to choose from and on sea days there are 50+ activities offered during the daytime and afternoon hours. On the World Cruise there were many special programs in addition to the core entertainment and enrichment programs and we found that we kept very active each and everyday. We enjoyed wonderful sea days because of all of the wonderful activities. The lecture series offered on this cruise was the best ever. The world cruise is divided into seven voyages and each voyage had a diverse set of very knowledgeable lecturers. In fact, one of the seven legs had twelve lecturers. Each sea day two to three lectures were offered. There were two special shore side events for those on the full World Cruise, which were fabulous. On each leg there was usually a special world cruise cocktail reception with drinks, dancing, and a special performance. There were also two special dinners held on the ship; both of which were truly outstanding. One of the shore side events that we will remember for the rest of our lives was one that was held in Israel. It was held in a very unique location and featured wonderful food, entertainment in a breathtaking location. There were several other activities and entertainment which were fabulous. Shopping ======= On board the ship there are several stores featuring sundries, jewelry and clothing. There is also a photo studio featuring cameras and video equipment and also there are several photographers on board the ship taking pictures. Disembarkation ============ The disembarkation process was a snap. We were off the ship by around 6:40 AM and the process was perfect. We were escorted off the ship by a member of the crew who carried our carry on luggage to the area where the checked luggage was stored. All our checked luggage was not only in the assigned area but our luggage was grouped together. After we claimed our luggage we were taken to an area where luggage concierge was located as they will be sending all of our luggage back to the United States. We then proceeded outside the terminal where we were greeted by a familiar face from Crystal. The person responsible for the shore excursions' took us to the vehicle that was waiting for us. Summary/Final Thoughts =================== For us, each time we sail with Crystal we feel that we are returning home as we know many of the crewmembers and fellow passengers so very well. This was our third World Cruise with Crystal and by far the best of the three Everything was perfect and we really appreciated all of the thought and care that went into both the planning and the implementation of the World Cruise. Crystal has a very loyal customer following because of their strong desire to make each and every sailing the best it can be for each and every passenger. Success can be measure by the customer service surveys which consistently rank Crystal number one and by the number of repeat cruisers that Crystal attracts. I hope others will find this review helpful. Keith Read Less
Sail Date January 2010

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