Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
ak1004

Impressions from first time Crystal cruiser

Recommended Posts

20 hours ago, Tarwood3 said:

So we were on this cruise as well...took my mom and her good friend with us ...We had done one previous Crystal cruise but it was on the yacht, Esprit which was phenomenal. We have mostly sailed on Silversea, Seabourn , REgent and Celebrity. After our experience on Esprit, we were very excited about this trip. In short, I have to say that we were disappointed in the ship. We loved the itinerary which is why we booked this cruise..itinerary is always number 1 for us when choosing a trip.  But compared to Silversea and Seabourn, we felt like it fell short of our expectations.  

Was service good on Crystal? Yes...but it’s good on SS and SB too.  

Was Food good? Yes, but nothing to write home about. In fact, in Waterside, we often had a hard time finding something that sounded good. What we had was good, but for us there wasnt enough variety that WE liked..however on the yacht, the menu was all so good and it was hard to make a decision.  We feel that SS and SB have the edge on food.  We did like Prego...went twice. Umi Uma was excellent.  Silk was good, nothing special. I know there was a lot of talk about the buffet..im pretty simple.  I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day..so for me variety wasnt an issue.  It worked fine for me and was good and fresh.  

Was my room nice? Yes, very nice! We had a Seabreeze penthouse...beautifully decorated, comfortable , plenty of storage, nice bathroom, big shower.  It does photograph larger than it really is. 

 

So what did I feel was lacking? Pool area is a miss.  SS and SB have a mix of live music and music piped in throughout the day.  There was only a live band for one hour , otherwise dead quiet.  There ‘s no pool bar.  Great place for socializing. Will waiters bring you what you want? Yes...just like on SS and SB....however we couldn’t order food from our lounger like on SS and SB. Dont care for Trident Grill being inside..it’s small and misses the Pool Grill feel.  There’’s also NO restaurant out by pool area like on SS and SB for al fresco dinners at night..love sitting outside ...  We asked for a boozy coffee beverage at the Bistro  like an Irish Coffee , Aspen Coffee etc...nope...not available. We can even get that on Celebrity.  Just the regular coffee offerings are limited.   Crystal Cove is way too small to be the heart of the ship’s bar...  The theatre definitely reflects its age.  It barely slopes up, so you always have a head blocking part of the stage.  It’s just an awkward layout of the ship. ...  Plus I have never seen a. Cruise Director be M.I.A. So much.  We would see him briefly at night in his fussy dress whites announce what’s going on after the main show/entertainment.  He did nothing around the pool. He didnt seem to socialize and wander about the ship.  Oh, there were no fun pop up themed lunches by the pool. There were no going away parties or any fun parties on teh pool deck like Chocolate decadent extravaganzas, ...

Not that we like dinners with officers and performers but we saw none of that. We just didnt find the crew very engaging.  

We just felt like it was a very blah cruise...nothing that really set Crystal apart and unique.  It was just very non descript. 

Then we get home and on Xmas Eve, we get an email that Crystal canceled our Endeavor cruise around West Africa because they got a charter instead for that itinerary....it’s only offered once...so cant just change the date.. Very disappointing.  

So then we thought we would give Symphony a second chance and liked an itinerary in Asia for 13 days...only to find out that it’s $22k in a Seabreeze Penthouse Veranda...! Tha’ts $1700 a day, which is around what an expedition cruise is...so we dont feel that old ship is worth that much money per day.  So I would say we are done with Crystal for now....better ships, better cabins, better prices on SS and SB...

 

Thank you, Tarwood, for sharing your impressions.  I am curious about how you feel about enrichment activities and lectures (and evening entertainment), areas that I did not see you mention.  I have not sailed on SS or SB, but my impression from reading reviews is that they both offer much less enrichment activities than Crystal.  I have not sailed Regent either, but I have a booking in 2020.  My expectation is that Regent has some, perhaps not quite as consistently as Crystal, but maybe more than SS & SB.

 

I would be very interested in hearing from you, since you have sailed all four lines, as to whether you think my presumptions are correct.  Also, since you did not mention this area and it is one of Crystal's strong points, it makes me think that perhaps the enrichment activities and lectures are not important to you.  Is that a valid assumption?  Even if so, I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this topic, as well as any input from others who may wish to comment.

 

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Tarwood3 said:

Yep that’s the same menu on Symphony. It’s not very extensive. And no fun coffees. Oh well. We survived. No big deal 

 

As a follow-up to my previous post to you, what is a "fun" coffee?????😎

 

Patty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Texas Tillie said:

As a follow-up to my previous post to you, what is a "fun" coffee?????😎

Patty

 

Some fun coffee. 😉👍

Rob

 

Types-of-coffee-funny-wallpaper.jpg

30075eb6068b8e30fc25c3bf854bf7d0--coffee-coffee-coffee-love.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There most assuredly are alcoholic "enhancements" available in the Bistro.  Definitely Bailey's, brandy, creme de menthe and kahlua/creme de cacao.   They aren't on the menu, but you sometimes spot it on the counter - usually kept in a cabinet below.  And if you would want to regularly partake of a particular alcohol in your beverage, I am sure that the F&B department can stock a bottle at the bistro for you after an initial request.  It should just take a day or two to requisition it from stores.

 

As for the illustrated drinks, you can get all of them with the possible exception of long black and flat white (which IIRC are primarily Aussie terms).

 

There are also wines stocked in the Bistro as well.

 

One "rule" to remember on Crystal. Even if you don't see it on a shelf or on a menu, try asking.  Odds are overwhelming it can be done, if not immediately then within a day's time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An observation on the bar situation on SB/SS/Regent compared with Crystal.  On those ships (or at least the ones of my experience), they don't open an interior bar until the late afternoon or early evening.  Thus, the "pool bar" is the only spot to have an alcoholic beverage.  On Crystal, the Cove opens during the day along with the Silk bar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Tarwood3 said:

Well I was told no when i asked ... i was told to go to one of the bars.


That’s the disconnect FlyerTalker - like you I know the booze is there and available on request but it seems his request was rejected - which just doesn’t make sense knowing what should have happened with such a request on Crystal 

Edited by Stickman1990

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Tarwood3 said:

Well I was told no when i asked ... i was told to go to one of the bars. But if it’s the middle of the afternoon and I want a snack and a specialty coffee in the Bistro , it should be available. I think my original post has been taken out of context somewhere along the line 

 

Reading this, I have to wonder if the reason is that you asked for a "specialty" where the ingredients weren't in the Bistro.   Say you wanted something with rum, or tequila, or more esoteric liqueurs.  And the Bistro may not have staff trained in more unusual cocktails.

 

So...just what kind of specialty coffee did you want?  That might help to figure this one out.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, SusieQft said:

 

Thank you, Tarwood, for sharing your impressions.  I am curious about how you feel about enrichment activities and lectures (and evening entertainment), areas that I did not see you mention.  I have not sailed on SS or SB, but my impression from reading reviews is that they both offer much less enrichment activities than Crystal.  I have not sailed Regent either, but I have a booking in 2020.  My expectation is that Regent has some, perhaps not quite as consistently as Crystal, but maybe more than SS & SB.

 

I would be very interested in hearing from you, since you have sailed all four lines, as to whether you think my presumptions are correct.  Also, since you did not mention this area and it is one of Crystal's strong points, it makes me think that perhaps the enrichment activities and lectures are not important to you.  Is that a valid assumption?  Even if so, I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this topic, as well as any input from others who may wish to comment.

 

Karen

Hey Karen...Thanks for your question. Let’s see ...well, I have also heard that Crystal has better/more enrichment activities particularly on sea days than the other lines.  I’ve never kept a tally from one cruise line to another but I did look through the Reflections in particular to compare from things that I remember on the other lines.  There were things like golf lessons, paddleball etc that were offered on our Crystal cruise and SS doesnt have this as they dont have paddle ball , tennis courts, golf putting.driving area that the Crystal ship does.  I noticed Crystal had knitting and needlepoint that I dont recall seeing on the other 3. But the other lines always have different lecturers as well. The others have mahjong, bridge, trivia and of course all the different activities offered by the fitness dept.  So there are a few things Crystal has the other do not, but let’s just say that it didnt seem like Crystal was far and above the others in this dept.  Crystal had a few more but nothing that wow’d me.  I dont do trivia, I dont like golf or paddle ball.  I do lectures and enjoy those.  I dont knit, needlepoint , do bridge etc...I mean, I’m a 52 yr old guy...so these things dont really interest me.  I dont do trivia either.  We are very physically fit, so we do fitness activities , some lectures, Relax, read, watch movies,...   So I suppose I didnt mention anything because I dont really participate in those things on any line ...but I did at least take notice since I had seen it brought up in other threads before.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, FlyerTalker said:

There most assuredly are alcoholic "enhancements" available in the Bistro.  Definitely Bailey's, brandy, creme de menthe and kahlua/creme de cacao.   They aren't on the menu, but you sometimes spot it on the counter - usually kept in a cabinet below.  And if you would want to regularly partake of a particular alcohol in your beverage, I am sure that the F&B department can stock a bottle at the bistro for you after an initial request.  It should just take a day or two to requisition it from stores.

 

As for the illustrated drinks, you can get all of them with the possible exception of long black and flat white (which IIRC are primarily Aussie terms).

 

There are also wines stocked in the Bistro as well.

 

One "rule" to remember on Crystal. Even if you don't see it on a shelf or on a menu, try asking.  Odds are overwhelming it can be done, if not immediately then within a day's time.

I actually had mentioned in an earlier post that I did ask and was told that I have to get an Irish Coffee from a bar... so I wasnt going to argue with the barista.  I just said ok, I’l have a latte...He said no and didn’t offer any alternative.  I try not to be a difficult guest, so I didnt want to bring it up to anyone as it’s not going to make or break my cruise. Hope that makes sense.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, FlyerTalker said:

An observation on the bar situation on SB/SS/Regent compared with Crystal.  On those ships (or at least the ones of my experience), they don't open an interior bar until the late afternoon or early evening.  Thus, the "pool bar" is the only spot to have an alcoholic beverage.  On Crystal, the Cove opens during the day along with the Silk bar.

I dont remember what time the interior bars open on SB/SS etc ...but you’re probably right...sometime in the mid to late afternoon sounds about right.  Of course at lunch time, all the restaurants serve them...and at any enrichment activities, there are always waiters who will get whatever you want ..and the hub of activity is around the pool area.......  If Crystal didnt have Crystal Cove open during the day , there wouldn’t be anywhere to get a. Cocktail...so I guess they have no choice since there’s no pool bar.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Stickman1990 said:


That’s the disconnect FlyerTalker - like you I know the booze is there and available on request but it seems his request was rejected - which just doesn’t make sense knowing what should have happened with such a request on Crystal 

Maybe I was just unlucky with the barista I had that day....he wasn’t particularly friendly or smiling.....  I suppose we all have those days. But I guess my point is that there’s not anything on the menu for these kind of drinks....I think there should be...I’m really not a lush folks...not a big drinker...but it sure sounds good some afternoons! Lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Tarwood3 said:

If Crystal didnt have Crystal Cove open during the day , there wouldn’t be anywhere to get a. Cocktail...so I guess they have no choice since there’s no pool bar.  


This is from a recent Reflections while Symphony was in the Caribbean 

 

Crystal Cove 10:00am – 11:30pm

Palm Court  3:30pm – 12 Midnight
Silk Bar 10:00am – 9:00pm

So there’s 3 daytime bars including the Cove - Silk Bar services the pool area as well as Silk and Trident Grill. Plus the Bistro and Waterside - and I think you can get a drink at Marketplace at lunchtime - or if you’re really struggling you can order a room service drink! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Tarwood3 said:

.... I just said ok, I’l have a latte...He said no and didn’t offer any alternative.  I try not to be a difficult guest, so I didnt want to bring it up to anyone as it’s not going to make or break my cruise. Hope that makes sense.  

 

Odd that you couldn't get a latte, my DH always gets a cappuccino and I mean always, like every night. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:


This is from a recent Reflections while Symphony was in the Caribbean 

 

Crystal Cove 10:00am – 11:30pm

Palm Court  3:30pm – 12 Midnight
Silk Bar 10:00am – 9:00pm

So there’s 3 daytime bars including the Cove - Silk Bar services the pool area as well as Silk and Trident Grill. Plus the Bistro and Waterside - and I think you can get a drink at Marketplace at lunchtime - or if you’re really struggling you can order a room service drink! 

 

Terry, You stole my post!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, suzeluvscruz said:

 

Odd that you couldn't get a latte, my DH always gets a cappuccino and I mean always, like every night. 

Guess I didn’t type that very well.  I was talking about the baileys coffee.....he said no so I just ordered a latte...the cursor was jumping around a bit when I had replied to that earlier comment...got a latte fine...no problem.  Just chalk it up to a cruise critic glitch with my reply...sorry for confusion 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We just got off the Seabourn Sojourn last week (our first Seabourn cruise) after taking our first Crystal cruise in October, so the differences between the two are very much in my mind now. I did notice that the inside bars did not open until late afternoon or early evening, and I don't like having to go to the pool bar for a drink unless I happen to be out there anyway (also, the pool bars didn't make very good drinks, but that's another story...). I like that I can get a drink at several indoor venues on Crystal during the day. So score one for Crystal. On the other hand, Seabourn Square (their version of the Bistro) had much better coffee drinks and MUCH friendlier baristas (the ones we encountered at the Bistro were sullen at best).

As far as activities are concerned, I had expected the entertainment and enrichment on Seabourn to be inferior to Crystal, but surprisingly it wasn't. The enrichment speakers were good to excellent, and the resident singers and dancers were very good (although the production numbers were less elaborate than on Crystal.) The entertainers they brought on were similar to Crystal (we even had the same comedian we had just seen on our Crystal cruise in October!)  There was a lot more Trivia on offer than on our Crystal cruise (and MUCH better prizes), as well as some things I didn't participate in (such as needlepoint, art, etc.). No computer classes like on Crystal. The CD was much more "hands on" than on Crystal. All in all, I was not disappointed in their offerings. 

Food and drinks.... that's another story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, late2cruisin said:

The CD was much more "hands on" than on Crystal.

 

IMO there is an institutional difference between the cruise director function on SS/SB/Regent and Crystal.  On those other lines, the CD is a very public face and is often the staff member present at functions, such as trivia, baggo and the like.  Some also put on their own shows as entertainers.  Much is because of the size of ships, staffing and overall entertainment program offerings.

 

On Crystal, CDs are public facing, but not the large "presence" you see elsewhere.  Other staffers run trivia, and Crystal is not as "games" oriented as others - no baggo, putting contests and the like, which are a prime component of onboard activity on Regent and SS.

 

As I've posted before, I am far more interested in the administrative capabilities of a CD than his showing up all over the ship.  He's got a big department to run and his time behind a desk will help ensure that it comes off without a hitch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/14/2019 at 12:08 PM, ak1004 said:

Service is outstanding as expected. They still don’t call us by our names and don’t remember our preferences, but maybe it will come later.

 

 

Food is one area which fell short of expectations so far compared to Oceania. The breakfast buffet is very good, the dinner in the dining room is excellent, but lunch buffet doesn’t have enough options for me. It is probably heaven for Asian food lovers, but for someone like me who doesn’t like Asian food, the selection is a bit limited. Yesterday we visited the Brazilian steakhouse and loved it.

 

 

We were on the same cruise, only we boarded on Dec. 1 in Miami and ended in San Diego.  Just to offer a different take on things, our experience was a bit different.  After less than 2 days on board, we were very impressed that the staff called us by name and were always friendly and could take an extra second to greet us or a quick chat to say hello.  After the 1st night, the Waterside Maitre d' Mr. Remy knew we liked a certain table and made sure we had it every night we went in - for the whole 20 night cruise!  Our bartenders in Silk and Avenue Saloon knew our preferences by the second day and our waiters in Waterside made a point of asking and learning our preferences the very first night.  (This was only our 2nd Crystal cruise, so it wasn't because we knew people or they knew us from before, although there were a few who did remember us from our 1st cruise 18 months ago.)

 

As far as the Marketplace buffet goes, we went there every day for lunch, so I know exactly what the offerings were.  I don't know how the OP got the impression that it was mostly Asian inspired because I did not see that at all.  I'm Asian and I would have definitely noticed if it was.  As others have said, there is one specifically Asian themed Buffet, and one Mediterranean themed Buffet during each cruise  (I saw 2 of each since we were technically on 2 cruises).  The rest of the time the selection is varied with a diverse choice of meat dishes and veggie / potato / rice side dishes prepared different ways (American, Latin, Italian, Asian, steamed, oven roasted, etc), as well as the pasta station with a changing sauce each day.  There was always a carving station of pork, beef or poultry spiced different ways.  The salads were a large selection of greens and veggies, and prepared pasta salads or veggie types with various vinaigrette sauces, along with a selection of cold fish like salmon, sardines, mackerels.    There was always a soup and sandwich section with potato chips, and french fries.  I thought the buffet had good fresh food and was better than other lines we've cruised on (30+ cruises on Celebrity, Princess, RCCL, Azamara).  I know some folks don't care for "buffet" food, and we're picky about the quality of our food - but during the day it was nice to enjoy the view, have a good fresh selection and we found it to be pleasant (especially port days when many people were off the ship).

 

While I don't have the frame of reference to compare with other lines like Regent or O, we have been very happy with Crystal and have already booked 2021 and 2022.  We like the attitude they have of the Crystal Family, and how well the staff seems to be treated.  The fact that many of them are long standing employees says a lot about their job satisfaction.  The first half of our cruise from Miami to Caldera was the President's Cruise with the Crystal President / CEO and his wife onboard.  His talk about Crystal, the employees and future plans showed that while they're running a business, they still care that the service and experience they provide to their passengers is their priority.

 

Just my opinon on our experience, thanks for letting me share....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, suzeluvscruz said:

 

Odd that you couldn't get a latte, my DH always gets a cappuccino and I mean always, like every night. 

This is an interesting thread, thanks to all.  I'll just chime in that on my one (so far) Crystal cruise, the line for the (one) barista in the Bistro was at least a half hour long and I wasn't that patient for my morning (or any other time) java, as luxurious as it might have been.  I found the tucked-away corner coffee station at Waterside and just popped up there every morning for my café au lait (coffee with hot milk) as a substitute for an espresso or a latté.  Even though it was a waiter's station, most of them knew my name and had it ready for me when I arrived (in my sweats after my morning workout).  It was just lovely and I'll take that over a barista any day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Cruise-y said:

This is an interesting thread, thanks to all.  I'll just chime in that on my one (so far) Crystal cruise, the line for the (one) barista in the Bistro was at least a half hour long and I wasn't that patient for my morning (or any other time) java, as luxurious as it might have been.  I found the tucked-away corner coffee station at Waterside and just popped up there every morning for my café au lait (coffee with hot milk) as a substitute for an espresso or a latté.  Even though it was a waiter's station, most of them knew my name and had it ready for me when I arrived (in my sweats after my morning workout).  It was just lovely and I'll take that over a barista any day.

I am a Bistro regular. Never waited more than 3-5 minutes even at high time.  My last cruise, the Barista saw me coming and by the time I was at the front, my regular triple cappuccino was waiting for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Cruise-y said:

the line for the (one) barista in the Bistro was at least a half hour long and I wasn't that patient for my morning (or any other time) java, as luxurious as it might have been

 

You wouldn't be exaggerating now would you?

 

A 30 minute wait, once, let alone multiple times at the Bistro for a coffee is frankly unbelievable - even at the morning rush hour between lectures

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, FlyerTalker said:

IMO there is an institutional difference between the cruise director function on SS/SB/Regent and Crystal.  On those other lines, the CD is a very public face and is often the staff member present at functions, such as trivia, baggo and the like.  Some also put on their own shows as entertainers.  Much is because of the size of ships, staffing and overall entertainment program offerings

 

Probably worthy of a separate thread I suspect

 

But I'd be happy to see some change in the role of CD - but I suspect that will only come as the CD team changes which will happen over the next couple of years

 

I've only sailed on Crystal and Seabourn so very limited exposure to non Crystal CD's - they all bring their own style to the role and that includes the physical presence around the ship even between the Crystal CD's. That's fine with me as a quick hello and knowing that I can contact them if there are issues I want to discuss is all I require

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

 

You wouldn't be exaggerating now would you?

 

A 30 minute wait, once, let alone multiple times at the Bistro for a coffee is frankly unbelievable - even at the morning rush hour between lectures

That was my experience and why I opted to head upstairs to Waterside.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Cruise-y said:

That was my experience and why I opted to head upstairs to Waterside.  

I was really struggling with the idea of going to Waterside just for a cup of coffee.  This provides a clue:  Did you mean to say you went upstairs to Marketplace for the coffee?  Waterside is the main dining room on deck 5.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

IMO there is an institutional difference between the cruise director function on SS/SB/Regent and Crystal.  On those other lines, the CD is a very public face and is often the staff member present at functions, such as trivia, baggo and the like.  Some also put on their own shows as entertainers.  Much is because of the size of ships, staffing and overall entertainment program offerings.

 

On Crystal, CDs are public facing, but not the large "presence" you see elsewhere.  Other staffers run trivia, and Crystal is not as "games" oriented as others - no baggo, putting contests and the like, which are a prime component of onboard activity on Regent and SS.

 

As I've posted before, I am far more interested in the administrative capabilities of a CD than his showing up all over the ship.  He's got a big department to run and his time behind a desk will help ensure that it comes off without a hitch.

I agree with you wholeheartedly and think your observations are spot on.  I saw the same when sailing SS and SB.  The administrative responsibilities are enormous on the Crystal Ocean Vessels  given the  vast number of  entertainers and enrichment  personnel and all of the coordination that goes into all of this.  It's not  just setting a  schedule in a vacuum.  Must consider ships  position, port  versus sea days, the enrichment/entertainers on board and other things and  that includes coordinating with Food & Beverage and the myriad of other things they do.  Also and I could be wrong but I believe there was a time when there was an assistant Cruise Director on all cruises but that is no longer the case.

 

At the same time just like each of us each Crystal CD brings their own persona and set of skills to their position.  Some are out and about more  than others.  Some focus on other areas a bit more while others might have someone else do some of that.  I think that is true of most of the positions.  Each one is different and I like that.  

 

Keith

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...