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3 San Diego to Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

We booked the cruise many months ahead when great fares were offered for a trip of this length. The ship is 10 years old and is showing signs of wear in some areas. The Lido Dining venue needs new furniture. Our cabin was located on ... Read More
We booked the cruise many months ahead when great fares were offered for a trip of this length. The ship is 10 years old and is showing signs of wear in some areas. The Lido Dining venue needs new furniture. Our cabin was located on Deck 5. It was very comfortable and quiet. The verandah added a lot to our time at sea because the weather was very pleasant most of the journey. Our cabin stewards, Hary & Sri, provided excellent service keeping things spotless and well organized every day. Dinner in the dining room was pleasant and not crowded or noisy during our visits around 8 p.m. Food was good to very good with more than a sufficient variety of choices for a long cruise when menus, by necessity, are repeated. Sanjaya (the maitre' d) and servers Paulus and Dewa provided great service. Abigail provided excellent service in the Pinnacle Bar. Service in the Lido was spotty. There didn't appear to be enough staff to handle rapid turnover of tables at during breakfast. At times, things appeared a bit disorganized. Main Office staff were extremely professional and helpful. We, and several other passengers, complained about Internet service. Some software upgrades were made to the ship's system shortly after we departed. Following this activity AOL and YAHOO mail-server customers were unable to access email accounts. This situation wasn't rectified before we left the ship. Given the high cost and slow speed of Internet access, this was an unfortunate management decision that created a lot of ill will. As with our prior HAL cruises, we were impressed by the constant maintenance activity. Paint, varnish and other exterior finishes always look clean and in good repair. This creates an impression of a very well-run ship where passenger comfort and safety are a primary goal. A well-organized, complete program is published daily. However, the cruise director made at least two announcements, broadcast throughout the ship, each day. When I provided feedback about this he explained it was HAL policy to do this. I understand part of this effort is directed at increasing interest in activities that generate revenue. That said, I believe this is unnecessary, redundant and disruptive. We greatly enjoyed the captain's daily updates about our position, progress and weather. The staff work very hard for many hours each day. Nearly everyone had a smile and friendly greeting as passengers approached them in the corridors or public areas. Kudos to HAL! The training and coaching that support these behaviors added a lot to our enjoyment of this cruise. Overall, I believe we received excellent value. We'll sail with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was my second Crystal cruise and my first on the older Symphony, though it had just emerged out of dry dock. The cruise caught my attention primarily because of the wealth of sea days -- it was a 15 day transpacific cruise with only ... Read More
This was my second Crystal cruise and my first on the older Symphony, though it had just emerged out of dry dock. The cruise caught my attention primarily because of the wealth of sea days -- it was a 15 day transpacific cruise with only one port stop (a 24 hour stop in Honolulu). I love sea days for the relaxation, calmness, and freedom to do as much or as little as I want. I was traveling solo, and Crystal treats solo passengers very well with very low single supplements and excellent on board service. As I had experienced before with Crystal, the embarkation went off without a hitch. Although there was a slight (5-10 minute) line on the port to get on the ship, once on the ship there were almost no lines and I had a crew member accompany me through the process until my ship card was issued. She was friendly but not obtrusive, making polite conversation about San Diego and New Zealand (where I would be disembarking). Several people boarding seemed to know some of the crew members they were chatting with from previous cruises. I had some lunch and did a good deal of people watching until the designated time when my bags would be in my room, and they were there when promised. I took some time to explore the ship, and was up on the top deck for sail away. The time on board was just as I had expected - terrific. There were 4 different lecturers on board - two I did not enjoy, but I very much enjoyed lectures from the other two. In fact, they were so popular that I enjoyed them relaxing in my room rather than in the lounge because it was so overly filled. I had wonderful table mates at my 8-top, and several of us got along so well that we socialized elsewhere on the ship (playing trivia, etc). At times when some of the people there were dining elsewhere, a couple of dance hosts or lecturers joined our table instead. The food ranged from good to excellent in the Main Dining Room, though there were not enough vegetables and too many courses for my preference. In the specialty restaurants, the food ranged from very good to absolutely fabulous; some of it ranked among the best restaurant food I have ever had, anywhere. I prefer Japanese to Italian food, so I preferred Silk Road to Prego, but I enjoyed them both. I had the pleasure of enjoying a specially-requested dessert that was requested in advance by a table mate - the first time I'd seen that happen - and It was excellent (a Salzburger nockerl). I also saw how nicely they dealt with the dietary restrictions of one of my table mates, who was Kosher. Every night the head waiter brought her the next night's menu to see if she found anything that fit her requirements and desires - if not, she would make a request and they would thaw that frozen meat from the freezer for her. One night it was lamb chops, one night it was duck (she got the whole roast duck, and she offered the remainder that she didn't eat as an extra to the rest of the table), another night it was a steak. I was impressed with their service and flexibility. The music in the various lounges was good, and they had a couple of last-minute Dixieland Jazz concerts (from some members of the showroom orchestra) that were truly amazing. I only danced a little, as the rocking of the ship many nights made me concerned about my balance (and my trick knee), but the 4 dance hosts did an excellent job of making sure all the unaccompanied women wanting to dance each got her turn(s). I danced with 2 of them, and each were pleasant and helpful, and didn't seem bothered by my amateur dancing skills. Crystal has a very calm and low-key atmosphere, which is so appreciated. There are no announcements aside from the once daily captain's update and safety announcements (muster drill). There are no sales pitches or advertisements for anything, though there are places to go should you want to buy photos/clothes/jewelery, etc. Even the on-board photographer was rather unobtrusive. There were enough lounges and seats on the lido deck when I was looking for them, and no shortage of available outdoor seating on the aft decks for additional places to relax in quiet. The service, which Crystal is probably best known for, was very, very good - in fact, better than it had been on my last Crystal cruise. The MDR staff I encountered were universally good, and our head waiter was downright excellent, being chatty when we talked to her and unobtrusive when we clearly were involved in something else (other food or conversation). Waitstaff on the Lido deck quickly learned my name, and my drink and breakfast preferences. All the staff were friendly and actually seemed happy to be there and answer questions or help out -- not like the somewhat forced smiles and obsequious service I've felt on other cruises. My cabin attendant made sure I had ice every day, and the in-cabin fridge stocked the way I wanted it (with Diet Coke and sparkling water). She also took care of storing my bag that didn't fit under the bed, and even retrieved it for me when I realized I'd left something in it when I unpacked. Disembarkation in Auckland went perfectly, and because I wasn't using any cruise-sponsored connections I was able to disembark at my leisure within a 2 hour time frame. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was a good way to get home and see some places I had never seen for less than a one way business airfare. I enjoyed the many sea days but didn't find any ports I wanted to go back to. Food and service was good, excellent most ... Read More
This was a good way to get home and see some places I had never seen for less than a one way business airfare. I enjoyed the many sea days but didn't find any ports I wanted to go back to. Food and service was good, excellent most of the time. The chef, Jock, was great, and so patient.His cooking demos were a highlight.I also enjoyed meeting the onboard florist.Fascinating and so modest. Some of the entertainment, [Xu Pingxin the dulcimer player,and Matilda and Patrick, the ventriloquist act,] was world class.We also had a good flautist, a violinist and a juggler who coped well with rough seas. The comedians were forgettable and the Zaandam dancers reminded me of high school musicals.Oh dear. I had a few problems with my cabin. It was a good size for a single but should have carried a 'beware of the noise' warning. I picked D6102 for the view and didn't realise that there would be a total lack of soundproofing from the theatre below. Hal handles solo cruisers well. I never booked for dinner in the Rotterdam, just turned up and was seated with various interesting fellow cruisers.I have to confess to a return visit to the Canaletto by myself so that I could eat all the candy floss they serve with coffee. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011

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