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ilikewhatisgood

Once you try Crystal, you ever go back to Celebrity?

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Positives in this short Silhouette Cruise:

 

Comedian Rich Aronovich was AMAZING. Better than some HBO specials. Super funnny!

 

Food at Murano was delicious.

 

Service at Luminae (minus the “greeting”) was very good. Paola and Wendrel were excellent.

 

Q-sine Le Petit Chef was well worth a one time visit. Lobster and sea bass were delicious and Christian, our server, saved the night with excellent service.

 

Silhouette has many more options of bars and live music than Edge. Or at least it felt that way.

 

I think most of the glitches derived from lack of communication between the land concierge and Michael’s because all reservations were confirmed via email so there was a clear disconnect between land and ship.

 

The ship is a really good one. Our “problem” here was paying top dollar for the Royal Suite and having these glitches.

 

In hindsight, would still maybe come back to an S class ship, paying and expecting much less. Not sure we would want it. Depends how our investments turn out in the future 😜

 

But would be easier for us to come back to Silhouette than to Edge. We liked Edge but it feels more of a one time thing.

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On 1/12/2019 at 2:59 PM, caviargal said:

I am already regretting my (impulsive) decision to try Viking Ocean as the experience so far (pre-cruise) has been nothing short of frustrating.  I can only hope the onboard experience is a great improvement.  I am not expecting VO to be Crystal and that is the ocean cruise we are really looking forward to.  It is unlikely we will do another ocean cruise until we are ready for the Baltics in a few years. 

 

I am sorry that has been your experience. I just got off Viking Ocean and was very impressed with everything.  The food was great,  service was excellent, the ship was beautiful,  included excursions were good and internet was good.    My pre-cruise experience was also good with them.  I would cruise with them every time if I could afford to.

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If you haven't sailed on Crystal before, you might be surprised by the staterooms. We were in a deluxe stateroom with a verandah and during a "Stateroom Open House" toured the Penthouse with Verandah and the PH Suite with Verandah. All stateroom categories were disappointing compared to newer ships like the Celebrity Reflection. The Crystal deluxe stateroom with verandah is no better than regular balcony rooms on other cruise lines. And not as good as an Aqua Spa Celebrity Constellation upper deck stateroom. Frankly, the penthouses on Crystal shocked me- no comparison with the Celebrity Suite on the Reflection.

 

Also, the desserts on the Serenity were disappointing. Pastries aren't as good as Celebrity's Cafe al Bacio.

 

Our Crystal room attendant wasn't as good as our Azamara Journey attendant, or the best ever, who was on Princess (but overall really disliked Princess and would not sail with them again- I disagree with a Celebrity passenger who told me once that the two lines were comparable). The butler on the Celebrity Reflection was adorable but too eager- had to keep the do not disturb sign up most of the time.

 

But overall, we prefer Crystal and our next sailing will probably be with them. The public areas during the day are often empty- we usually had the big public aft deck to ourselves. Fellow passengers were very friendly and interesting- since we were on a shorter 7 day cruise it probably attracted a younger demographic- 30s, 40s and 50s on our particular sailing. Food quality on Crystal is superior to Celebrity in all venues except for desserts.

 

I agree with the others that the mass lines are not as good as they used to be decades ago. But we would go back to Celebrity to a non suite room again especially if we are taking extended family and need to economize. I always feel safe with Celebrity- they seem to be organized and reliable with a fun, lively vibe and great options in the evening.

 

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15 hours ago, newcruiser1956 said:

I am sorry that has been your experience. I just got off Viking Ocean and was very impressed with everything.  The food was great,  service was excellent, the ship was beautiful,  included excursions were good and internet was good.    My pre-cruise experience was also good with them.  I would cruise with them every time if I could afford to.

 

Our experience so far has been less than impressive. There were ZERO "included" excursions left after not even 24 hours from when they were offered; they royally screwed up our flights (and we paid for custom air); I never get the same answer twice from anyone.  We booked all private excursions since VO had nothing we were interested in on their list of optionals  and were able to book private for less than the costs of their shared group excursions.  We have also adjusted our expectations of what to expect onboard.

 

We are luxury/upscale travelers and don't cruise mass market.  We rarely take ocean cruises and have been enjoying river cruises (not Viking) for the past ten years as that style of travel and size of vessels works very well for us.

I had hoped VO would be comparable to Oceania but have tempered my expectations for food and service.  I am sure the ship will be nice but I have moderate expectations for everything else.  Very good friends who also enjoy Oceania are just back from VO and commented that ship itself was lovely but food, wine were both underwhelming (they upgraded the drink package to get better quality so had access to the full range and not just house wines), specialty restaurants mediocre and service was good but disorganized.

 

If we were mass market cruisers I suspect we would be impressed. However, we stopped cruising the big, mass market ships years ago as we found the overall experience to be in a constant decline and the size of the vessels and quality of food and service (unless we paid for specialty dining every evening) to be less than acceptable.  Also, we don't like to be around kids and have no interest in being on a vessel with thousands of people.

Edited by caviargal

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51 minutes ago, caviargal said:

There were ZERO "included" excursions left after not even 24 hours

 

Can you please clarify this? They include excursions but only have so many spots so it's a first serve first come and once they're "filled" you end up with nothing?

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5 minutes ago, ilikewhatisgood said:

 

Can you please clarify this? They include excursions but only have so many spots so it's a first serve first come and once they're "filled" you end up with nothing?

 

Their marketing is, IMO and IME, misleading.

 

We have two ports and basically 4 days in those ports.  In both, they include a walking tour.  In one port, there is an also an option for a catamaran sail.  We had no interest in walking tour but did want the catamaran tour.  It was totally booked for all time slots within 24 hours of excursions being offered. 

I contacted Viking as the Viking fans (on that forum) all insisted that I should reach out and Viking would "open space".  I contacted Viking and they said that no, they would not be offering more slots for that tour.  We then went back to confirm the walking tour (figuring we would do part of it and then head off on our own if it was too boring and the pace too slow) and then those slots were gone as well.

I was advised to check daily (um, NO) to see if something opened up or to ask once on board.

Their specific reply was that they do "guarantee" a tour in each port, however, they do not guarantee which included tour or on what date/time this might be available.  And since there were no times left, I would be given our option for the walking tour once onboard. 

This is for Cuba and I was not ok with waiting until we boarded to see what time or tour just might become available.  I would feel the same about any itinerary that was not just run of the mill Caribbean. 

 

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Thank you. When is your sailing Caviargal? Can you please post a quick review or your opinion after sailing? I am very interested in knowing as we booked Viking for November 2020. Thank you!

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The window of opportunity open to book your cruise excursions depends on your category of room.  We had booked a deluxe veranda - the bookings for our category opened at 2am.  (We are in the Midwest, CST). I set my alarm and  got up at 2 to get the excursions we wanted, also for Cuba.  I did get what we wanted, but we ended up changing our cruise because of multiple changes made in our itinerary (changed port from Havana to Cienfuego), also cancelled another island.  

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17 hours ago, ilikewhatisgood said:

Thank you. When is your sailing Caviargal? Can you please post a quick review or your opinion after sailing? I am very interested in knowing as we booked Viking for November 2020. Thank you!

 

In three weeks and absolutely.

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13 hours ago, jabrown40 said:

The window of opportunity open to book your cruise excursions depends on your category of room.  We had booked a deluxe veranda - the bookings for our category opened at 2am.  (We are in the Midwest, CST). I set my alarm and  got up at 2 to get the excursions we wanted, also for Cuba.  I did get what we wanted, but we ended up changing our cruise because of multiple changes made in our itinerary (changed port from Havana to Cienfuego), also cancelled another island.  

 

JMO, but having to get up at 2am to reserve an excursion is not a hallmark of an upscale/premium ocean cruise. 

We are in a DV1.

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6 hours ago, caviargal said:

 

JMO, but having to get up at 2am to reserve an excursion is not a hallmark of an upscale/premium ocean cruise. 

 

I completely agree. When I read this I cringed. 

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Dear OP,  

 I have returned to Celebrity after Crystal and have made these observations... 

There are many variables that influence each cruise experience, always important to be aware of as many as you can ponder, a few could include... itinerary, quality of the food and cabin, what provided entertainment is offered, age and size of the ship, where the ship is cruising (does the route have a history of rough seas?) demographics of the average cruiser, for that ship, (known to be friendly or isolating), (a surprise, our one Viking River Cruise was quite cliquey in the dining room), reputation of the cruise line, and land support (Crystal could up their game here)...  to mention a few.  After our first Crystal cruise, we wanted to try "Edge" and chose "The Retreat" to augment the feeling of a larger ship (we also tried MSC Seaside yacht club, for the same reason) The Edge cruise was in IMHO overpriced at almost $10,000. for a week in their Sky suite. We also didn't care for the public spaces compared to the Solstice Class. We are going on Reflection this summer and although we have some extra benefits as Elite, it may be our last Celebrity cruise that I plan for us as a couple (when we are with family or friends we have other priorities). It will be in Aqua class which we have previously enjoyed when peppered with specialty restaurants. Our MSC Yacht Club cost was much less but also was an inside  Yacht Club stateroom. Thought the quality of the food was lacking though the  pasta dishes were good as was the physical space of the "Yacht Club" restaurant and lounge area, truly expansive and more enjoyable than "The Retreat" lounge on Celebrity Edge to hang out in. On Crystal's Serenity, the whole ship is "the club", relaxing, high quality, sincere, and intuitive service, high quality food in every venue, live music and enjoyable (though more low-key) entertainment. An appreciated feeling of being taken care of well has stayed with us, and will bring us back again to Crystal Cruises.

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We've sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Star Clipper, Holland America, and Regent (I think that's all) in the past. Then we did Crystal because our best friends where we live love Crystal. One 14 day trip to the British Isles in 2015 did it for us even though we had stormy weather and missed four ports.  Since then we've looked at others; Seabourn, Paul Gauguin (in French Polynesia), Oceania, Regents again (preferably anything all inclusive).  Just haven't been able to tear ourselves away from Crystal and have since taken 2 more cruises and have another booked this year to Alaska in July and we're booking the Singapore to Hong Kong in March of 2020.  Love the crew and the other passengers so much.  They are relaxed and friendly with engaging personalities.  THEY make you have an unforgettable time. As leejnd4 said, you get SO MUCH MORE for your money when you cough up the big $$$ and travel with a luxury cuise line. 

 

Same goes for other things as well, of course. Now I mostly book great hotels, private transfers and excursions because you get so much more for the extra $$.  Learned the hard way that paying half as much gets you less than half as much, I think.  Plus we didn't enjoy camaraderie with the other passengers as much on the less expensive cruises.

 

So that's my $0.02 worth.

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6 minutes ago, sobellejanet said:

So that's my $0.02 worth.

 

Thanks so much! We booked 2 cruises on Crystal and are looking forward to experience it!

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On 1/10/2019 at 2:39 PM, Keith1010 said:

We sailed Celebrity for many years along with a couple of lines before sailing Crystal and Seabourn.  Crystal has become our go to cruise line.  However we took another Celebrity cruise several years later.  We were careful never to  compare the two.  We just focused on having a good time.  We picked it for the itinerary and for the time of the year.

 

Again just don't compare and focus on the best of each line.

 

Keith

I agree 100%.   I also found Celebrity was great when I traveled with family but can't compare to Crystal.

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On 2/3/2019 at 12:50 PM, C-sea said:

<snip>...demographics of the average cruiser, for that ship, (known to be friendly or isolating), (a surprise, our one Viking River Cruise was quite cliquey in the dining room)...<snip>

 

Hmm...I'm really curious how a dining room can be cliquey? Not that I'm questioning the veracity of this, just...I'm having a hard time visualizing it. I wouldn't expect people to invite me to sit with them unless I knew them. I always actively participate in a roll call before my cruises, so I have ready-made friends aboard which we end up dining with often. Can you share what occurred that led you to make this observation?

 

On 2/9/2019 at 10:18 AM, sobellejanet said:

We've sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Star Clipper, Holland America, and Regent (I think that's all) in the past. Then we did Crystal because our best friends where we live love Crystal. One 14 day trip to the British Isles in 2015 did it for us even though we had stormy weather and missed four ports.  Since then we've looked at others; Seabourn, Paul Gauguin (in French Polynesia), Oceania, Regents again (preferably anything all inclusive).  Just haven't been able to tear ourselves away from Crystal and have since taken 2 more cruises and have another booked this year to Alaska in July and we're booking the Singapore to Hong Kong in March of 2020.  Love the crew and the other passengers so much.  They are relaxed and friendly with engaging personalities.  THEY make you have an unforgettable time. As leejnd4 said, you get SO MUCH MORE for your money when you cough up the big $$$ and travel with a luxury cuise line. 

 

Same goes for other things as well, of course. Now I mostly book great hotels, private transfers and excursions because you get so much more for the extra $$.  Learned the hard way that paying half as much gets you less than half as much, I think.  Plus we didn't enjoy camaraderie with the other passengers as much on the less expensive cruises.

 

So that's my $0.02 worth.

 

Since you mentioned Paul Gauguin - even though I'm fully Crystalized, I would not hesitate to book that ship again (and I've done it twice). No it doesn't rise quite to the level of Crystal in the luxury department, but it's really an entirely different kind of cruise - less than half the size (330pax I believe) and it's total culture immersion in French Polynesia. I wouldn't want to cruise FP on any other ship...even Crystal, as much as I love them! On most cruises, you basically have two experiences: the ship, and the ports. The ship experience doesn't change much regardless of where you are. On the PG, you are fully immersed in the South Pacific both on land and at sea, and it's really worth it!

 

It helps that (at least when I was on it) the luxury level was very high. First time I did the PG, she was still part of the Regent fleet, so it had the six-star Regent service and cuisine. Next time I went on it (a few years ago), PG had divested from Regent, but the service and cuisine was still very high. I haven't read any recent reviews, but I hope nothing has changed! It's not quite as chi-chi as Crystal, but it worked given the cultural immersion.

 

On another note, you nailed it with this line: "Learned the hard way that paying half as much gets you less than half as much, I think." I think too! I made a decision long ago - no more skimping or cutting corners on vacation. The cost savings just doesn't justify the lesser experience. On this last cruise I just finished (Symphony in South America), we went whole-hog and did everything first class. Yes it cost more, but I'd rather take fewer vacations and have them be this wonderful, than more vacations and deal with the less enjoyable experience.

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Celebrity is a very good, upper level, mass market ship.  Ticks most of the boxes - private dining areas, good food, suites. 

 

It isn't Crystal once you leave your suite enclave or private restaurant.  There are a ton of people in the common areas of the ship.  Pool is generally crowded and difficult to find a lounger.  The ship is well designed to disperse 3000 pax but it is 3000 pax looking for pretty much the same thing as you at the same time

 

i have been on a number of celebrity ships and all in all the hard and soft product is pretty good - generally a cut above the RCCL, NCL.  Would I sail on Crystal all the time  - yes.  Sometimes their schedule doesn't fit and I find Celebrity to be a good value in Aqua Class.  Less than that then it is the MDR which is not my favorite.  Suites are getting expensive and would cause me to look elsewhere since I have to leave the suite sometime..

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On 2/11/2019 at 12:46 PM, Leejnd4 said:
On 2/11/2019 at 12:46 PM, Leejnd4 said:

Hmm...I'm really curious how a dining room can be cliquey? Not that I'm questioning the veracity of this, just...I'm having a hard time visualizing it. I wouldn't expect people to invite me to sit with them unless I knew them. I always actively participate in a roll call before my cruises, so I have ready-made friends aboard which we end up dining with often. Can you share what occurred that led you to make this observation?

  

It was a different social dining experience than any other cruise we have experienced. There were no two top tables and no assigned tables.  It was designed as communal dining. Some people  "claimed their table" even if they were not the first to sit at it and took a poor attitude when they saw "their" table occupied. Some people were reserving and even if the table was not going to be filled by their group, not welcoming others to join. It really felt like we were witnessing child like behavior. I also believe we just had bad luck as the last night we joined a welcoming group and had a great time. This is what I had hoped the whole week would be like. On our Crystal Cruises River cruise... there were mostly  two and four tops which could be connected as desired, this worked better with such a small cruising group as a river cruise is.

 

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I went on Celebrity for the first time last year.  I've been on about 5 Crystal cruises, and had previously been on 3 Carnival cruises (but those were around 30 years ago).  

 

If you care about food, service and class, and you can afford Crystal, then there really is no sense in comparing.  Go on Crystal. If money is an issue or you are more comfortable around those who would eat at Applebees than Michelin star diners, then you might prefer Celebrity (I don't mean to say that Crystal quite achieves that class of dining, but that's what they are aiming for).   

 

I don't really mean either classification to be objectively pejorative or preferred, though I do have my own preference.  But I do think some people would think of Crystal as too snooty for their tastes; I'm just not one of them.  The average person you will run into, and the way you will be treated by staff, on each ship is very different. The staff on Crystal is pretty uniformly nice and helpful to all passengers.The staff on Celebrity mostly seem like they are at most tolerating their job (or worse, overly obsequious because they are fearful that they will be fired if you make a complaint, even if the complaint is about the food and not them).  I ran into a lot of drunk people on Celebrity. One drunk woman actually pushed every button on the elevator, just like a five-year old would do.   Even the children on Crystal are always well-behaved, but some people might find that boring.

 

I did find the cabins and entertainment on the two ships to be basically comparable (Crystal is a little better laid out, especially the bathroom, but not really that significant a difference). So, if the service issues wouldn't bother you and you are fine with lower-quality food (and you would enjoy a bigger ship), then I think  you might be happier on Celebrity.

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11 hours ago, tryber said:

I went on Celebrity for the first time last year.  I've been on about 5 Crystal cruises, and had previously been on 3 Carnival cruises (but those were around 30 years ago).  

 

If you care about food, service and class, and you can afford Crystal, then there really is no sense in comparing.  Go on Crystal. If money is an issue or you are more comfortable around those who would eat at Applebees than Michelin star diners, then you might prefer Celebrity (I don't mean to say that Crystal quite achieves that class of dining, but that's what they are aiming for).   

 

I don't really mean either classification to be objectively pejorative or preferred, though I do have my own preference.  But I do think some people would think of Crystal as too snooty for their tastes; I'm just not one of them.  The average person you will run into, and the way you will be treated by staff, on each ship is very different. The staff on Crystal is pretty uniformly nice and helpful to all passengers.The staff on Celebrity mostly seem like they are at most tolerating their job (or worse, overly obsequious because they are fearful that they will be fired if you make a complaint, even if the complaint is about the food and not them).  I ran into a lot of drunk people on Celebrity. One drunk woman actually pushed every button on the elevator, just like a five-year old would do.   Even the children on Crystal are always well-behaved, but some people might find that boring.

 

I did find the cabins and entertainment on the two ships to be basically comparable (Crystal is a little better laid out, especially the bathroom, but not really that significant a difference). So, if the service issues wouldn't bother you and you are fine with lower-quality food (and you would enjoy a bigger ship), then I think  you might be happier on Celebrity.

Have you been in the SUITE class on Celebrity. From what I read it is a much more

upscale experience with very good service and food??

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I was with my parents, and siblings, and there were a few kids in our group, so if we had stayed in a suite, we wouldn't have been able to interact with the rest of the family.  One thing I like best about Crystal is that no matter what cabin you are staying in, you will be get the same food and service.  I've never stayed in a suite on Crystal.  Sure, you get a few perks if you are in the suites, but they are on the margins, and I've never felt that I was treated as a second-class citizen, even if staying in the cheapest of rooms on the ship (except maybe the laundry rooms; the laundry rooms on the lower decks get much more crowded and are not as nice as the penthouse decks.)

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On 1/12/2019 at 8:50 AM, caviargal said:

 

There were literally no choices for excursions on our Tauck cruise (Christmas markets).  They basically separated people into three groups and each one was paired with one of the "cruise managers" and taken on the tour of the day.  There were no active options,  no special interest options, no culinary options.   They had enough complaints by the 3rd day on the total lack of options and finally arranged for a local guide in Linz who provided the best excursion of the cruise for a small group of us who decided not to be herded about on wherever they were taking us that day.  Tauck had the worst excursions of any of our 18 river cruises.

 

Also, for us, the CM model did not work well as their local knowledge was poor.  The CD (or whatever they call them) on our Tauck cruise was an administrator and even then under delivered.

 

Other than the house duo, Tauck offered no entertainment in the evenings. 
Tauck was a snooze fest, day and night. 

This sounds so far removed from our Tauck River Cruse Experience.  We did a Blue Danube Cruise and every port was a local guide.  We had private concerts at the Budapest Opera House, At a Castle in Prague and in Vienna as well.  Actually, we've done 5-6 land trips with Tauck and they've been the most amazing experiences ever.  We had incredible food as well.  Maybe it's the season being Christmas Markets there is less available.  We had decided to never do another River Cruise after a Rhine River Cruise onViking.  That was one of the worst travel experiences. Talk about mystery meat ...and captive tours to the Cuckoo Clock Factory

 

Edited by ChatKat in Ca.

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2 hours ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

This sounds so far removed from our Tauck River Cruse Experience.  We did a Blue Danube Cruise and every port was a local guide.  We had private concerts at the Budapest Opera House, At a Castle in Prague and in Vienna as well.  Actually, we've done 5-6 land trips with Tauck and they've been the most amazing experiences ever.  We had incredible food as well.  Maybe it's the season being Christmas Markets there is less available.  We had decided to never do another River Cruise after a Rhine River Cruise onViking.  That was one of the worst travel experiences. Talk about mystery meat ...and captive tours to the Cuckoo Clock Factory

 

 

Tauck was actually our 6th cruise for the Christmas markets (we have done 19 river cruises total) and the absolute worst for both excursions and entertainment.  We were bored to tears and learned quickly not to rely on Tauck for any local experiences.  They had 3 "cruise managers" on board, all from the US, and these three lead all of the tours, day after day.  We gave up after 2 and found our own adventures.  I was also shocked when they turned the lights on and off in the dining room, asking guests to leave.  This happened twice and was the tackiest thing ever.  I went to the dining room manager to ask why in the world they would ever do something like that, when the dining room was about 20% full and guests were enjoying a coffee and after dinner drink.  His reply was that they worked hard and needed to get ready for breakfast.  We won't be traveling with Tauck again after our experience.

 

Generally the lines we sail with offer all of their regular excursions as well as additional options that feature the markets - it is not the time of year.  We love the holiday markets and and are headed back on a DIY land trip to Germany and Austria this year.  It is our favorite way to spend a portion of the Christmas season.

 

Our preference on the rivers is AmaWaterways and we also enjoy Uniworld.  We have never and will never take a Viking river cruise.  Their boats are ugly and generic inside and out; they cram far too many people on the boat; there is nothing about the line that appeals to me.  And I have heard that their food is mediocre and wine is private labeled for Viking.  No, thanks!

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12 hours ago, tryber said:

One thing I like best about Crystal is that no matter what cabin you are staying in, you will be get the same food and service. 

That's important to some people (like you, and myself) - but some people prefer to feel the "specialness" of being in a separate section and getting something more/different than other people on the ship. 

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1 hour ago, calliopecruiser said:

That's important to some people (like you, and myself) - but some people prefer to feel the "specialness" of being in a separate section and getting something more/different than other people on the ship. 

The only reason we stay in PH deck is because of space and my husband snores so bad that at least I have a couch to sleep on.  We have even paid extra for the connecting PH-PS which works out much better than the CP. If I were a solo a regular stateroom would be just fine.  We hardly use the Butler and rarely use room service and don’t request special treatment at all.  We go with the flow like everybody else.  Just paying a little extra for the real estate.

 

Yes, some people like to brag and request special attention like being first off the ship and being escorted by concierge to their luggage or first on the ship or first on a tender.  This is something we do not do out of respect to our fellow cruisers.  Same as boarding a plane we don’t que up to be first in line to board as if their seat will go away in first or business.  I have seen this selfish behavior many times.

 

Once we step outside of the cabin we are all the same and treated the same in any venue on the ship.  We know people with over 300 cruises on Crystal that feel the same way as we do.  I guess some people are very needy but we are not one of them.

 

I guess we were raised the right way and it was called respect others.

Edited by MalbecWine

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