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Everything posted by ClefsDor

  1. Whilst tipping is, as everyone has pointed out, a personal choice I find the handing out of cash tips during the cruise to staff and crew who, for example, bring you a drink or seat you at the table unsavoury and not in the spirit of things. I've seen this happen on our current cruise and I think it makes the crew and other passengers feel uncomfortable. IMO, If you wish to tip it should be done at the end of the cruise.
  2. NJBelle, so sorry to hear about the "plot twist" that you and your husband had to deal with yesterday! If you see us around the ship please feel free to join us for drinks or dinner as I can imagine it must be hard to suddenly be on your own! We had an amazing time in Shanghai yesterday. We had a car and guide which we organised through Crystal and it was fabulous to be able to zip from one sight to a another and cover much more ground than I think we could have with a group tour. One of the fun things we did was take the Maglev train (magnetic levitation technology developed by Siemens) to Pudong airport and back. A round trip that would normally take over 1.5 hours was done in 14 minutes as it goes at a whopping 431 km per hour (268 miles p/h). The real highlight of the day however was the spectacular Shanghai skyline lit up at night. Truly one of the most amazing light shows I've ever seen. We ate dinner at Silks and this was the view we enjoyed during our meal. Sorry will have to download the picture later as it's taking too much time. After dinner we walked around deck 12 and took far too many photos and videos before seeing the local show of magician and acrobats at 9.00pm. It was then back out to deck 12 to watch the last of the lights before they were turned off. We finished the evening with a night cap in Palm Court. We originally thought we might go for dinner on the Bund and then see the iconic jazz show at the Peace Hotel (band members are all in their 90's) but we decided that the views from the ship just couldn't be beat and I'm so glad we decided to stay on board for the night. A spectacular day and evening!
  3. For me the decision would be based on whether you like the look and fit out of the new Seabreeze PH or if you prefer the style of regular PH. Position wouldn't be my primary concern as the two rooms are very very different. The older PH's feel more spacious but their furnishings are more dated. The new Seabreeze PH's are nice and new and more modern but the furniture they have chosen is very large and does make the room feel a lot smaller. We have stayed in a Seabreeze PH on Symphony but only visited the PH's on level 10. We enjoyed the Seabreeze but there were a couple of things we didn't care for such as the position of the TV and the coffee table that can't be adjusted to eat on. In fact the glass top of our coffee kept swivelling around which made using it almost impossible for anything, We asked our butler and she said they were all like that and couldn't be fixed, not sure if she was correct about this.
  4. I'm pretty sure the new payment policies are from 2020 onwards so your 2019 cruise in the fall should not be subject to the new cancellation fees.
  5. I think this is very sad! I'm glad we had the chance to sail on her a couple of years ago. I'm interested to hear what Genting have in mind but it's a real loss for Crystal IMO
  6. We enjoyed the beauty of Ishigaki yesterday but can't say the same for our excursion unfortunately. This was a maiden port of call for Crystal so I can understand it might take them some time to get it right. In hindsight I wish we had skipped the tour and just made our own way to a nice swimming spot. Dinner last night was at Silk and we really enjoyed it. We dined with some friends and the meal was well paced out and everything we ordered was great. The only thing I think needs a little work is the steamed dumplings. We'll definitely be dining here again and even though we ordered a lot of items last night we still didn't sample everything so the menu really has been extended in the evenings. We're in Naha today and we'll be touring on our own. It's still hot and humid so the plan is to go out in the morning and be back in time for lunch and spend the afternoon by the pool. Back to Prego for dinner tonight.
  7. Terry, we were also glad we did the 4 hour Taroko excursion rather than the full day. When we came back we had lunch at Waterside which was conveniently open until 2.00pm. Dinner was at Umi Uma last night and we tried the monkfish liver, not for everyone but we enjoyed it and it's nice to see some unusual and traditional items such as this on the menu. My favourite dishes of the night were the sweet shrimp nigiri, the scallop nigiri (raw) and the sashimi scallops. The black cod was also as good as ever. The service was excellent and it was nice to partake of some of the Matsuhisa Chardonnay. I was surprised to see though that there are no specialty reds for Umi Uma i.e. the inclusive reds are the same as at Waterside and other bars on board, no great hardship 🙂 Today we did a private excursion with 4 other guests to Taipei. The highlight of the day was a stop at a local temple, not a tourist in sight, where we learned all about the Taosist religion and it was just fascinating and an incredibly ornate and beautiful temple with spectacular views. We had a fabulous Chinese lunch at the Palace Museum and after a few more sights we were well and truly ready to head back to the ship. Very warm this afternoon as it was yesterday, too hot to even sit out by the pool and the water temperature of the pool is even hotter than the air temperature. I'm hoping that they may empty some of the water and refill it to get it to a more refreshing temp. I think we may need a vacation from this vacation when we get back - so port intensive and lots of long tours all of which start pretty early. Case in point being tomorrow where we need do a face to face immigration inspection at 7.00am to be able to leave for our tour by 8.15 in addition we turn the clocks forward an hour tonight as well - yikes!!
  8. We're loving the food and service in Waterside.The whole ambience of the dining room is lovely and everything has been spot on every time we've dined there so far and that includes breakfast yesterday which we normally avoid, having had such mediocre experiences in the past both in terms of food and service. As far as table spacing goes, and I am only talking about 2 tops, the spacing of the tables by the window is much much better than Serenity - between the table by the window and the next table there is a t least 3 times the amount of space compared to Serenity in January. We have Umi Uma tonight which we're really looking forward to and I'm determined to make it to the Avenue tonight to check out Colin Salter! We're due to dock in Hualien shortly and have an excursion to Taroko National Park. The weather is mild and the sun is peeking through. We've ordered breakfast to have on the balcony and weather permitting we'll be sitting by the pool this afternoon, big contented sigh!
  9. You guys normally stay in a Penthouse and there are no limits as to how many times you can go and there will be no charge. There is a limit on how many reservations you can make pre boarding but in a PH your butler can pretty much get you in whenever you wish.
  10. ClefsDor


    Yes, you're right - I was thinking about Symphony when they were just out of dry dock but they have tinkered with the times since then. 9.15 works really well for us. dinner at 7.00ish and then the show and not too much time, if any, to loose money in the casino 😁
  11. ClefsDor


    You're right, Patty - you can't please everyone and I really don't do a lot to justify my early bedtime but the same can't be said for Keith 😁
  12. ClefsDor


    I must say I found the show times on Serenity a tad difficult for someone who likes to dine around 7.00 - 7.30. We would invariably have anything from an hour and a quarter to 45 minutes to wait until the show and it was just too long. I find the show times of 7.00 and 9.15 on Symphony much more in amenable to open seating.
  13. We met the lovely Elizabeth and Vicki last night in the Cove and they kindly invited us to join their trivia team - I think they may regret asking us :)! We were exhausted last night and were back in our room and lights out at 9.30. Terry, I'm in awe of your stamina! We had a wonderful meal at Prego last night. We don't normally dine in the specialty restaurants on the first night of the cruise but decided to change things up a bit. It was little quieter there than usual and we enjoyed wonderful service and food. I had the amazing pomegranate semi fredo for a dessert and it was as delicious as ever. We also had two wines that we haven't seen before at Prego - an Italian Chardonnay that was lovely and a really good Italian red (wish I could remember the grape variety). It was nice to see some different wines offered and I am sorely tempted to ask for the chardonnay from Pego at Waterside but being unsure of how much they have in stock and not wanting to deprive others I'll abstain and just enjoy it when we dine at Prego. Sitting by the pool as I write this drinking a Bloody Caesar and wondering where we'll have lunch. I think it might be a combination of Trident and Silk. It's wonderful to be back on board!
  14. I must say I am particularly partial to their chilli. I didn't know what I felt like one day and decided to order it and now I treat myself to it a couple of times per cruise - topped with onion and cheese and some corn chips on the side it makes a nice change from the usual offerings and is very addictive!
  15. I'm actually unsure if the river cruises serve champagne or if it's a sparkling wine? I seem to remember when we were on the Mozart that even the bottle of bubbles in the room when we embarked was a sparkling wine - a very nice one but not a champagne. Just out of interest Kent9xxx1 have you only done Crystal river cruises or have you sailed on the ocean ships as well? Your experiences have been so out of the norm for the ocean ships that I'm wondering if you've only done river cruises with Crystal?
  16. Ha ha, yes my mistake and just shows how eager I am for Thursday to arrive already! We actually only depart for HK tomorrow so two more sleeps to go before boarding.
  17. So sorry to hear your very sad news. Wishing you safe travels back home. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your impressions - great writing and pictures!
  18. We've had two very different experiences on the two occasions we've dined at the Churrascaria. Our first time was on the Symphony and we throughly enjoyed it and the second time was on Serenity and it was very average. The meat selections were fine but they have a different and somewhat confused approach to the side dishes and appetisers on Serenity and it didn't lead to a very good overall experience. We board Symphony tomorrow and looking forward to trying the Churrascaria again and will report back and will do the same for Silk.
  19. Keith, can't believe your time on Serenity is almost over it seems like only a few weeks ago that you boarded or that we saw you on the short LA return cruise. It's been a colossal task to post such in depth reports daily, I know how time consuming it can be and you've never missed a day! Looking forward to hearing your impressions of the Mozart. For those of you worried about lack of entertainment or activities, don't be! We had an entertainer every night (lucky for us it happened to be Mark Farris). Trivia at least 4-5 times on a 10 day cruise and local entertainers of very high quality were bought on board in almost every port. Not to mention that there were some evenings when one was off the ship either going to a Michelin star restaurant (inclusive and at no extra cost) or in Vienna going to an evening private concert at Belvedere Palace, again included in the price. You won't be bored!
  20. Terry, we're looking forward to meeting you on board! We depart on Wednesday and we'll chime in from time to time on this thread and possibly do a few of our own posts too. There are many things we love about Symphony and miss many of the wonderful crew we've gotten to know so well. As you mentioned it's a port intensive cruise with many of the excursions starting early in the mornings but we're going to pack along our vitamins and try and stay up late 😁 I think this is going to be a lot of fun!
  21. Thanks, Keith - I didn't realise they did this for the world cruise , makes sense.
  22. As someone who likes to dine between 7.00 and 7.30pm I like the 9.15 start time too. The late show on Serenity at 9.45 pm is just too late. To me the show times of 7.45 and 9.45 are still catering for the early and late diners pre open seating i.e.people who eat at 6.00pm or 8.30 pm and doesn't take into consideration the people who like to dine outside of those times.
  23. Thanks for the review, Suzeluvscruz! It sounds like the new menu items in Prego on Serenity have not found their way onto Symphony yet which is a shame. I thought the menus would mirror each other on both ships for Prego and Umi Uma. Having said that my favourite dessert on Crystal is the Pomegranate semifreddo in Prego on Symphony which isn't available on Serenity. So glad to hear though that service and food in Waterside is as good as ever. 9 days until we board and we can't wait!
  24. You won't need to arrive early for any of the guest speakers or for any of the shows for that matter - there is plenty of room, no queuing and no bad vantage points in the Galaxy Lounge. I believe the show times on Symphony are 7.00pm and 9.00pm, unless that's changed since we were on board, so to make it in time for the 9.00pm show I would aim to get to Waterside at 7.00pm. We always like to let our waiter know that we want to eat at a leisurely pace otherwise our experience has been that the courses arrive too promptly. Menus for Waterside are available from the evening before so you just need to ask your waiter to see the next nights menu and then choose if you would like to do a special order - 24 hours is usually enough time for them to be able to do a special order assuming they have the ingredients on board. We do a lot of Crystal excursions as it's a good way to use our OBC. However, you are paying a premium and unless you have OBC to use, or there if there is a particular excursion that can't be replicated on your own, you will save money buy organising your own tours. Having said that the Crystal excursions are always done very well, with buses that are not jam packed and there's always a Crystal staff member on the excursions to ensure that all goes smoothly. Hope you have a fabulous experience and enjoy your first Crystal cruise!
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