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Everything posted by Stickman1990

  1. Really? So when Crystal went bankrupt in 2022 and Crystal Endeavor was put up for sale - Silversea had prior to the RCL acquisition already planned for that to happen and when it was sold by tender they knew just what to bid to win it over the competition. That being the case they're very good planners indeed! My point is that there has been money invested in the Silversea operation - so those complaining about the changes need to consider that element as well
  2. Yes and investing in new or acquired ships such as Silver Endeavour and Silver Nova and Ray - so if the have made “cut backs” they’ve also made investments in the brand
  3. You could add Explora Journeys to that list of possibilities - and their inaugural CEO just left recently
  4. Can’t tell you the dimensions but they’re huge and certainly felt like our King size at home - it’s not a snug fit
  5. interesting to note that the terms and conditions are clear on some referrals that are ineligible Soliciting bookings on social media websites or otherwise making general solicitations to strangers such as to a wide, unknown audience, is prohibited. Any Crystal Society Members or travel advisors found to be engaging in such conduct will not be permitted to participate in the Crystal Referral Program and all Credits will be forfeited; furthermore, they may see some of the benefits from the Crystal Society program revoked
  6. Looks like she’s through now
  7. Not sure it’s actually a decision - more an unsubstantiated rumour at this stage as I’ve certainly seen nothing announced by Crystal Barring where physical limitations exist (eg Super club only on Serenity) they typically deliver a uniform offering on both ships
  8. or Explora or Scenic - I think there’s a finite space on the stage/panel and therefore not every luxury line will be represented - I wouldn’t read anything into the absence of one line or another My questions to them are what is there view on the capacity coming into the luxury market? Where do they expect to get the additional guests to fill the ships? What trend do they see in the luxury market eg increased/decreased per diems, inclusions/exclusions?
  9. It won’t be the TAs that do reviews - they will come from journalists from newspapers and magazines. If I come across any I’ll post links to them
  10. If it worries you that much why don’t you email her and ask her - her email was at the bottom of the article - jrichards@fairfaxmedia.com.au Let us know what she says
  11. Guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the ranking although they do have some nice things on some of their ships and we enjoyed our cruise on Explorer back in November although there were some things that needed a little coaching before they got them right - but to their credit they listened and did act to fix them I’d put a big caveat on that assessment as well as they have a variety of ships with a variety of features available on them Glad you like things like the Block Party - not our idea of fun but thankfully it is entirely optional Let me assure you they host TAs on their ships all the time - not sure if they’ve joined in the influencer strategy though For us Regent is #3 or 4 on our list - which is entirely subjective - and they’re perfectly acceptable for us to cruise with again but not as attractive as a package for us as Crystal & Explora
  12. A review of Crystal Symphony from todays Sydney Morning Herald https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/reviews-and-advice/cruise-ship-review-a-new-owner-saved-this-luxury-ship-from-ruin-20240220-p5f6cg.html
  13. Who is the pianist you’re referring to on Crystal Serenity - she’s certainly not on there now and hasn’t been on for at least 3-4 weeks. Maybe she came on as a guest entertainer as opposed to a resident artist in the Cove/Palm Court Anyway my point stands - Explora have excellent live pianists to take advantage of the Steinways - and they even had several Steinway pianists come on and play them on one of the cruises late last year
  14. You know Explora’s business strategy? Interesting they would share that with you The rest is your opinion - which I don’t agree with so we will just have to agree to disagree All I ask is that you post factual information going forward - that will save me and others from having to correct your misstatements
  15. Let me assure you Crystal has had plenty of TAs cruising with them since the restart We’ve all come across groups of TAs on cruises living it up in the Avenue and the restaurants - and I wasn’t impressed by that. That’s happened since the restart as well. Having said that I know TAs who don’t abuse the invite and used the opportunity to find out about the line and the options. Personally I want my TA to be we informed about the lines I want to consider so they can advise me on what might or might now suit me - and without having been on the ship that’s a lot harder for them to do I’ve also seen plenty of influencers posting from onboard or attending events on land promoting the line - these are often people who would not fit your typical Crystal guest profile - will their posts result in bookings from their followers? - well only time will tell. The luxury industry is afloat with influencers being used by many brands - it’s hardly surprising that the cruise industry should adopt the same strategy. Now just what influencers one would consider appropriate is open to debate but I suspect we’re not really aware of who actually does influence the target market for these cruise lines (and whether those targets are indeed the same although I suspect there’s considerable cross over) But I do believe Crystal need a substantial new wave of guests coming onboard - and lots of them to backfill the aging guest population, who are typically very loyal, and grow the occupancy rate Now Explora don’t have the old customer base to maintain but they’re faced with winning new customers from other lines and maybe those new to cruising - that new wave of cruisers that everyone wants. So why wouldn’t they do exactly the same as Crystal (and others) and enlist TAs and Influencers to try to get the word out? Does one seriously expect them not to? So are we debating whether they should do that or how they’ve done it? If it’s the latter I’m sure there will be varying positions on just what number per cruise is acceptable Let’s keep it in perspective - neither line is one year old yet! They have a big challenge ahead of them to win new customers in sufficient numbers to make them viable
  16. I was on Explora at the same time (or at least part of it) as Whipsnade and had a great experience clearly very different to his I’m over the inaccurate claims about Explora v Crystal so will take a minute to rebut some of them 1. Piano - the claim there are no live pianists on board Explora is absurd - if they never heard Natalia play then they must have not been to many of the lounges on Explora. She is an excellent pianist who was the equal or better of any I’ve heard on Crystal 2. Entertainers - while true they don’t have the ensemble that Crystal have they do have live singers and band and the guest entertainers were of a similar standard as Crystal in fact one on our cruise was an artist Crystal has had several times, Rachel York. Guest entertainers are rarely exclusive to one line - we’ve seen many of the same ones across multiple luxury lines. Entertainment is very subjective - for us it was fine on both and I enjoyed some new material as having seen the production shows on Crystal many times over the years I’m ready for something new 3. Enrichment - There were interesting speakers and programmes on Explora, some very similar to Crystal and equally interesting 4. Dress - It’s just the same as Crystal without some of the formality eg formal nights - just as tidy as I’ve seen on Crystal over the years. Will there be exceptions from time to time, of course just as you will find on every line. I don’t understand the angst that dress violations seem to cause some - what impact does someone have on you that doesn’t comply? Just judge if you must but then get on and enjoy your cruise. I see Silversea made changes to their formal dress code yesterday - the trend is without doubt to less formal attire - no that doesn’t mean shorts and flip flops after 6pm - but it does mean no jackets and ties as mandatory requirements 5. Food - on this one Whipsnade and I are a thousand miles apart - we loved the dining options and delivery in terms of quality on Explora - and rate it very highly. This constant commentary about menus not changing is strange - let’s not forget that on Crystal the menus in Umi Uma, Tastes and Osteria don’t change either (although Osteria does seem to change sometimes at the moment as they try and find dishes that suit guests) - sure Waterside changes and is very good - but Fil Rouge and Med provide a wide range of options between them and The Emporium is in another class again over Crystals marketplace - to be fair they’re different styles and the food in both is good but you don’t get French Oysters and Lobsters or Filet steak and Foie Gras in Marketplace. We are very happy with both lines offerings and have favourites on both 6. Marketplace - both provide great service across the ship - sure Crystal have some crew who have been on that line for many many years, a new line can’t match that but we were very happy with the quality and standards of the Explora crew during our cruise and some even got to know our names but I’m not sure I’d rate service on that alone 7. Accomodation - with entry level cabins that are 50% larger than Crystals and very well appointed we were very happy. You would need to take an Aquamarine suite on Crystal to get an OT1 level cabin equivalent. I can’t comment on the higher categories except to say that physically they’re lovely on both lines and you get what you pay for 8. Loadings - both lines are sailing well below capacity (and that’s being kind) - I hear numbers re increasing on Crystal when the ships start Alaska and Med seasons over summer and I guess time will tell when Explora returns to the Med. the big challenge for all luxury lines is capturing new customers to expand their base - for Explora I think the challenge is itineraries more than anything (relatively easy to solve with more ships coming online) while for Crystal it’s evolving to attract a new customer who I’m not sure will find the older music and dancing etc to their tastes. Changing that and retaining the fiercely loyal customer base is going to be a challenge. Plus of course Crystal needs to deliver those 4 new ships that have been announced and just when that will happen remains unclear. Both need to understand who they are targeting and then make sure the onboard offering aligns to what they are selling and that it’s delivered to the quality that new luxury cruises are expecting. Of course each line will be different - if they weren’t I’d be amazed as what would then be the point of differentiation? Price? - well that’s a race to the bottom in a commoditised market. So cruisers will make choices based on those differences 9. Whipsnade seems surprised there’d be an up to 40% off sale at Black Friday on Explora - really? What lines don’t have a sale? Some are in constant sale mode eg Seabourn. Some are tightening up on changing bookings with some fare types forfeiting large percentages of deposits or in some cases full payments. As always know what you’re signing up for and expect it to be enforced As I’ve said several times already we’re very happy on both lines and will have different cruising experiences on both - both equally as good for us. I simply don’t subscribe to the theory that one line is so profoundly better than all others that one wouldn’t sail on certain others given the right circumstances (and price etc)
  17. Yes - they recognise Crystal Society membership pre bankruptcy so you’ll receive the standard Crystal Society discount. They also recognise milestone levels but they do not recognise awards earnt but unused from the era. But for example your tick over and achieved say 20th cruise milestone now you will receive the appropriate award for it
  18. Crystal have now opened up the survey on Casinos to anyone who wants to respond You can access the survey at this link https://survey.aktravelgroup.com/token/6ACBB11A-41AF-4755-9665-EAF3E3A7155B?
  19. For the avoidance of doubt we definitely plan to cruise on both Crystal and Explora - both are great options and provide us with different cruise experiences
  20. I suggest you check out this current thread as well for some info - although sadly “just the facts” in the title closest really reflect the content
  21. Glad you have faith in the posters optinions on here as I understand you haven’t actually sailed on new Crystal or Explora. I have so can talk from first hand experience - are you planning on doing so or will you rely on others opinions? What do you base the “Crystal came back, the same and better!” comment on? Some won’t agree with that But the big issue is what’s important to those cruising these lines - and what they deliver. Of course how people judge restaurants and service vary markedly - so unless you know that person and their tastes match up with yours then you are relying on others opinion You've bought up how Explora failed to deliver on some things - while not the same company let’s not forget that the old Crystal cost many cruisers a lot of money
  22. Way to look for a reaction throwing out the Bistro and the Hollywood theatre!m as possible locations! I suspect the Pulse nightclub would be a better alternative on Serenity - although a bit out of the way (not much more than the Hollywood I guess). Haven’t thought about on Symphony but I’m sure there’s a smaller location that could be used Right now as much as I like the objective of the Lounge for activities like games and puzzles I think it’s too big and the temperature settings need some work as it’s very cold in there - or at least it was for the last 3 weeks. Seeing people rugged up with clothes and with blankets on playing poker as we cruise across the Pacific was very unfortunate and I know they raised it with those responsible but it never got resolved Interestingly I didn’t get the survey today - so maybe it’s targeted We've cruised on a few different lines over the last year and aside from Regent who had a larger casino area the others, Silversea and Explora have very small casinos with a coupe of tables and slot machines - I wonder if that were the scale adopted by Crystal if it was acceptable. Interestingly on those other lines the casinos have never been busy when I’ve checked them out including on the evenings
  23. I’ve been on both lines recently (just got off Serenity two weeks ago and was on Explora last September) and do plan to do a bigger comparison but I’m still working on that to be fair to both lines Bottom line is both are excellent luxury lines - for different reasons and we’re booked for a month on both Crystal and Explora Over the next year We felt the food and service was excellent on both lines (in most cases) and in each case there are some restaurants we prefer over others - so for us we don’t see any major difference when compared across all the options - both lines have very high quality options across a range of cuisines - we did 18 nights on Explora and never tired of the options available to us and I struggle with some of the negative comments I see about menus and dishes - but o guess everyone has different tastes The entry level Explora cabins are much larger than the Crystal solos It depends what’s important to you as to which you might prefer - if you like dancing and entertainment Crystal wins but the physical features of Explora are hard to beat As I say I’d be happy on either and I don’t think it’s a case of one being better than the other - there are differences and it depends what’s important for you The itinerary would be one important factor for us as both lines are limited at the moment with 2 ships each (once Explora 2 comes into service). I know you’ve shared the itinerary options elsewhere but I can’t comment the Caribbean is not an area I’m familiar with The other thing would be to look at what you like on your cruises and that will guide you - if you like shows and dancing then it would be Crystal. If you like pools, fitness centres and spas then I’d be looking at Explora I see someone raised the issue of comparing similar cabins - if that were to happen you’d be comparing an entry level OT1 with an Aquamarine suite (no butler on Explora - but other than that pretty similar
  24. For those of us who remember Crystal Air https://simpleflying.com/boeing-787-ex-vip-scrapped-parts-roswell An 'Almost New' Ex-VIP Boeing 787 Will Be Scrapped For Spare Parts ….According to ch-aviation data, Boeing delivered the aircraft to Crystal Luxury Air, later renamed to Crystal AirCruises, a subsidiary of Crystal Cruises, which was planning to operate it as a VIP charter aircraft. In addition to the 787, the company acquired a Boeing 777-200LR and Bombardier Global Express XRS….
  25. I fell down those particular stairs which lead down to the specialty restaurants reservations desk - only to rescued by one of the officers (great way to meet officers) and the landing was on luxurious carpet so no injuries The way they have the dark marble strip at the bottom always gets me as it’s hard to tell whether it’s another step or the floor Pleased to say there were no stairs incidents on our recent Crystal cruise - I think given the age of the ships the design concepts are different and steps are easily navigated
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