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ak1004

Impressions from first time Crystal cruiser

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2 hours ago, ak1004 said:

 

Well, according to some posters, in order for the staff to call you by your name, you should call them by their names first.. interesting logic. Or maybe you should complete 5 Crystal cruises first? Book a suite? Tip them? Not sure what's the trick.

 

We actually did speak with most of the waiters. We did sit at dinner in the same section and had the same waiter 4 times.. still had to ask for ice and lemon every time.

 

Also, seeking the cruise director talking to dozens passengers who seem Crystal regulars, and not acknowledging our existence even once was a bit odd. 

 

Doesn't really bother me, we don't come to a cruise to become friends with the staff. But people new to Crystal should probably be aware that not all Crystal guests created equal. 

I am not sure who you spoke with but my experience from our first sailing to our last sailing (Crystal River Cruise where we knew a couple of people when boarding) many members of the crew go out of their way to learn names.  Some ask your name.  Sometimes we just ask them their name and where they are from (yes I know it is on their name tag but it does make for conversation) and we then let them know our names.  IMHO tipping nor accommodation is not a factor.  In fact, most would not know what your accommodation is.

 

How they remember our names amazes me given the number of guests they meet and overtime how they remember our preferences without looking at a file is equally amazing.

 

Like us ever crew member is not the same.  Many learn your preferences the first time around.  And there are some who don't.  Some who don't might not be back for a second contract if this is their first time working on board.

 

My experience on land and at sea is smile and show some kindness and often it is reciprocated.  We also realized when you choose to sail on a ship with 800+ other guests and it is a busy cruise or your first cruise that it does take time for crew to get to know you and just like with acquaintances at home not all of this happens day one or even on the first or second cruise.  If you want everyone to know you maybe a better choice is a small vessel carrying few guests but like all things there are tradeoffs such as potential boredom.

 

My other observation from sailing on many cruise lines is the vast (I didn't say all but vast) number of Crystal Crew members do not go through the motions and as you get to know them you see this.  They make the experience more personal.  I've seen this across the Crystal Vessels including on our recent River Cruise voyage.  On many of the other lines I have seen more of the professional side which is nice but it seemed more "robot" like.  

 

I do think each cruise line has their attributes.  I can't think of one that does not across mainstream, premium and luxury.  I do believe that one of Crystal's attributes is the warmth and family feeling between guests and crew but all of that does not happen on one sailing.  It does develop over many sailings.  Crystal has the highest retention rate of the other lines so likely each time one sails with them they will see familiar crew members.  Likewise, at one point after a certain number of sailings we would find that on pretty much every sailing we would recognize some guests from past sailings adding to the feeling of family on-board the vessels.

 

Keith

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6 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:


The Trident Grill isn’t a McDonalds franchise - ie it’s not all junk food - it’s certainly not just burgers - there are salads and other options. Silk also serve some dishes that are options for non Chinese fans if my memory serves me correctly 

 

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and there’s also room service...

 

I think it’s an over reaction to claim there’s nothing available at 1.30pm

 

I’m actually surprised you’d book further cruises if this is a big issue for you - as it will happen again - so if you’re cruising Crystal again you’ll need a Plan B to get you through a late lunch 

 

Terry, the menu you posted is a bit out of date.  I didn't see anything there I didn't consider Chinese.  Here's a more recent menu from Serenity:

 

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/silklunch.pdf

 

Pizza, Spaghetti, and a reuben may not be 6 star dining but they are alternatives for someone coming back from a late shore excursion.

 

Roy

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ak1004

you are never going to convince  the regulars that have cruised 20+ yrs with Crystal that things may be different for 1st timers

 

JMO

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8 hours ago, ak1004 said:

To me, the most important thing is that the service was exceptional across the ship, very efficient and friendly at the same time. We never waited for our drinks more than couple minutes, dinner service was very quick (unlike on O where meals lasted almost 2 hours on average) - this is what matters at the end of the day, in addition to other things, and this is what makes Crystal what it is. 

 

It's reassuring that you are leaving the ship with an overall positive impression of the experience, have reserved future voyages, and weighed the pro's & con's with an objective perspective. We feel so blessed and fortunate to have the time, health and resources to be able to cruise at all. We enjoy every moment for what it is and try to be friendly and respectful to other guests, staff and crew. We appreciate other guests' perceptions of how they may be treated, acknowledged, ignored, coddled, cussed at, slapped around, etc., but we try not to let others diminish our time onboard. :classic_smile::classic_biggrin: :classic_smile:

 

Again, safe travels home, and thank you for sharing your impressions on this board.

 

Rob 

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3 hours ago, LHT28 said:

ak1004

you are never going to convince  the regulars that have cruised 20+ yrs with Crystal that things may be different for 1st timers

 

JMO

It might be hard to believe but we were all first timers at some point.

 

I actually remember our first cruise extremely well starting a few minutes after we stepped on board Crystal Harmony to the moment we left the ship.

 

And yes I do remember the time where no crew members knew who we were and actually our children got to know some, such as the Lido Deck Stewards, well before we did so they did the introductions.

 

Everyone is a newbie on their first cruise.

 

Keith

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4 hours ago, LHT28 said:

ak1004

you are never going to convince  the regulars that have cruised 20+ yrs with Crystal that things may be different for 1st timers

JMO


Not everyone’s been sailing with them 20 years - I’m fresh enough at this that I remember my first Crystal Cruise around 5 years ago plus I have many friends who had their first Crystal cruise recently, the most recent being back in May. Don’t try and explain away things with that line or “opinion”

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7 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Here's a more recent menu from Serenity:

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/silklunch.pdf

 


Roy many thanks for that updated version - I was on a different device when I posted that and just used one I found on Google but as I thought there are some more western style dishes that have been added since that version as per the one you linked to (That ones different from what we had back in May on Symphony which I’ve included below yours from Serenity - I think there are limitations with what they can prepare in the Symphony kitchen)

 

For me it’s hard to go past a Reuben although the Dim Sum and Chinois Chicken Salad is also tempting....oh or the Shrimp Caesar (what  I’d define as a healthy choice)

 

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See you in LA in 32 days!

 

 

Edited by Stickman1990

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13 hours ago, ak1004 said:

But people new to Crystal should probably be aware that not all Crystal guests created equal. 

 

There is no doubt that the longer you cruise with the same line and on the same ships the deeper the relationships become with the officers and crew.  Naturally, with that comes an elevated level of service that is provided - for example, I have seen people who get reserved seats at the Crystal Cove bar, couples seated at the same four top table every evening in Waterside etc. We are relatively new to cruising with circa 10 cruises all on Crystal and we have gotten to know many of the crew who we really look forward to seeing again, hence the service and experience just keeps getting better and better with each passing cruise. Its a wonderful cycle.

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8 minutes ago, Fly Fast Cruise Slow said:

I have seen people who get reserved seats at the Crystal Cove bar


Now that’s a new one - I’ve never heard of that before. Hard to believe that happens or why for that matter - I find those seats uncomfortable and prefer sitting at a table and lounge chairs in the Cove

 

Must be like getting a SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground) membership here in Sydney - you have to put your name down at birth! 

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6 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

Now that’s a new one - I’ve never heard of that before.

 

It’s true, for an entire cruise every night there were two red wine glasses set there at the bar with an open bottle of red wine, the couple would come much later in the evening perhaps after the wine breathed a little.

 

I love sitting at the Cove bar, I guess you will know where to find me in February!

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10 hours ago, LHT28 said:

ak1004

you are never going to convince  the regulars that have cruised 20+ yrs with Crystal that things may be different for 1st timers

 

JMO

We have cruised Crystal only 5 times. Our first cruise was very memorable because we were treated marvelously by staff who did well remembering our names and our preferences. A more recent example: On our most recent cruise as we were checking in I looked up toward the front desk to see a crew member on duty there waving at me and calling me by name. She had been our room stewardess 18 months prior during her last cruise in that position before her promotion to a front desk assignment. Just one example of how we have always felt welcome and cared for by wonderful crew members on Crystal in a way we have never experienced on other cruise lines.

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Just now, edgee said:

She had been our room stewardess 18 months prior during her last cruise in that position before her promotion to a front desk assignment


Exactly!

 

It wasn’t Clarissa by any chance? She was excellent as our stewardess and we were delighted to see her promoted to the front desk

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4 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:


Exactly!

 

It wasn’t Clarissa by any chance? She was excellent as our stewardess and we were delighted to see her promoted to the front desk

Natalia, I believe (do not remember exact spelling) It's been a year ago..her sharp young brain works much better than my older one 😊

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The Chinois Chicken Salad at Silk is the one that’s so good. It’s delicious while leaving the feeling of not over-indulging so much on a cruise. 

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2 minutes ago, Mackenzie1 said:

The Chinois Chicken Salad at Silk is the one that’s so good


Someone will need to confirm it but if I recall correctly it’s available at the Trident on Symphony - not 100% certain on that though

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3 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:


Someone will need to confirm it but if I recall correctly it’s available at the Trident on Symphony - not 100% certain on that though

Prior to Silk, it used to be available at the Trident. Now it is on the Silk menu. 

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2 minutes ago, TER777 said:

Prior to Silk, it used to be available at the Trident. Now it is on the Silk menu. 


Thanks 

It’s strange as the Silk lunch menu I got back in May on Symphony didn’t have it on there (see post 107 above) - don’t suppose you have a copy you can post or send me? 

Edited by Stickman1990

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3 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:


Thanks 

It’s strange as the Silk lunch menu I got back in May on Symphony didn’t have it on there (see post 107 above) - don’t suppose you have a copy you can post or send me? 

 

No, I don’t. 

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4 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:


Thanks 

It’s strange as the Silk lunch menu I got back in May on Symphony didn’t have it on there (see post 107 above) - don’t suppose you have a copy you can post or send me? 

 

No, I don’t. 

 

PS. I just looked st post 107. It is there in the salad section. 

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3 minutes ago, TER777 said:

PS. I just looked st post 107. It is there in the salad section. 


OMG - too much Christmas Egg Nog for me I think! I missed it completely 😳

 

Oh well I was getting confused with things like the Reuben which is available at the Trident on Symphony and Silk on Serenity - now that one I definitely know is the case 

Edited by Stickman1990

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2 hours ago, edgee said:

. A more recent example: On our most recent cruise as we were checking in I looked up toward the front desk to see a crew member on duty there waving at me and calling me by name. She had been our room stewardess 18 months prior during her last cruise in that position before her promotion to a front desk assignment.

 

And for the "doubters" out there, this is not an uncommon, or recent, experience. Our first cruise on Crystal was in 2000 with my Better Half's parents, and one of the Lido guys served us regularly, Dio Bal. As far as I know he is still on Symphony. Our next cruise was on Harmony 18 months later, and as we are walking across the pool deck, we see Dio. He greets us by name and asks for my In-Laws by name (they were not with us), and to this day I have no idea how he remembered us! 

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7 hours ago, Fly Fast Cruise Slow said:

 

It’s true, for an entire cruise every night there were two red wine glasses set there at the bar with an open bottle of red wine, the couple would come much later in the evening perhaps after the wine breathed a little.

 

I love sitting at the Cove bar, I guess you will know where to find me in February!

 

Have to admit that the staff will do this. We generally sit toward the back of the Galaxy in front of the technical booth. I have fairly broad shoulders and can block a good chunk of the stage for anyone sitting behind me!! Several years ago, we would come into the Galaxy about 15 minutes before the show to find Ross, at that time a part of the Lido crew, now a Sommelier, would have two small bottles of Perrier and two glasses with ice waiting for us, and a big smile on his face!

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Thank you everyone for your thoughtful and helpful responses!

 

We are back at home. Disembarkation was super quick, took us literally 20 minutes from the moment we left the ship till we arrived to San Diego airport. We paid $12 for the 7 minutes taxi ride (Crystal wanted $42 per person for transfer to the airport - I still have no idea where they are getting those prices and who is willing to pay them).

 

The buffet lunch issue looks much less critical or "unacceptable" from the 4 days distance. The fact that I'm diabetic and was really hungry when we arrive from the shore excursion obviously contributed to my frustration, but we will definitely have Plan B for cases like this.

 

Overall it was a wonderful cruise and a truly 6 star experience, despite some minor imperfections. It is great to become part of Crystal family and this great CC community!

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3 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

Overall it was a wonderful cruise and a truly 6 star experience, despite some minor imperfections. It is great to become part of Crystal family and this great CC community!

ak1004, you've well and truly been "Crystalized"...!!

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