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Ok, we strayed from Crystal to be with friends on the Radission Mariner doing a 11 night 10day Mexican Rivera cruise. Never again!!!
We left on November 2nd out of LAX. Embarkation went rather smoothly, however you check-in on board with a glass of champagne. After you are checked in you proceed to your suite unescorted. On Crystal we are escorted and given assistance with our carry on baggage. We booked the Seven Seas Aft Suite with the "BUTLER." The suite was large with a nice sitting area and a seperate bedroom. Closets were adequate. The strange thing about this suite is that you must go through your closet to get to the bathroom. If you are hadicapped it will be a challenge for you to get in and out the the shower/tub.
Now for the BUTLER: Our butler arrived shortly after we were in the suite and introduced himself. The champagne was not delivered nor were the four bottles of complimentary liquor. He explained to us us that he could not deliver liquor until after we left the port. We called our friends to inquire if they had received theirs. They had received everything and they did not have a so called butler. On Crystal this has never happened that we know of.
My partner and I love caviar and we were informed that caviar is a $25.00 surcharge in or out of the suite. Not on Crystal. Now our evening horse doovers arrived <LOL> chips and salsa that's it. We informed out BUTLER that we would like small tea sandwhiches and mixed nuts or shrimp or crab claws. We also informed him that we do not eat cheese and crackers. Well the next day we received CHEESE & CRACKERS. On Crystal they seem to know what your preferences are especially if you are a past cruiser and the butler always stops by and and asks what you would like with cocktails. Ok, enough about the BUTLER. We could have done without him.
The ship is quite contemporary and spacious. One cannot beat the suites on any category. For us that was all the ship had going for it. Crystal does not have the largest cabins at sea. What Crystal does have is a can do attitude. Crystal also conveys more elegance in general without being snobby.
The dining experience: Compass Rose is the main dining room with open seating and they still maintain a small smoking section. The room never felt crowded or noisy. The food is nouvelle cuisne <sp>, pretty to look at but not much to eat. Almost every dish is french covered up with some sauce. Fine if you like that kind of food every evening. For us it was rather boring.
One evening La Veranda an alternative no reservation required venue was open and we tried to get in and they were full with a 50 minute wait. La Veranda was serving lobster tails which we were all looking forward to. So, we all went back to the Compass Rose for dinner. I decided that we would attempt to order the lobster there. When our waiter appeared we requested the lobster that was being served in La Veranda. The waiter had to check with the head chef. The answer came back NO. Well this upset me and I then asked for the head Maitre D' and he said it was not possible because of this and that. So we ordered off the menu. Our waiter knew we were not happy campers and he went the extra step and we all received the lobster. I think he was reprimanded for doing this. And if he was, shame on Radisson. At dinner the wine and cocktails flow freely. I would rather pay for my drinks and have the same wait staff every evening. Two seating on Crystal do not bother us as they have fantastic alternative resturants.
Pool deck stewards are very nice but lacking attention to detail. Examples of this is like carrying your plate and removing service items when you are finished. If you request a beverage from a waiter they need to find you a cocktail server. On the pool deck on Crystal they do it all with a smile and remember your name and drink prefrences. BTW cocktail are $6.50.
Signatures is another alternative resturant which is a very beautiful room. The food is far superior than the other venues. Service is very formal and the presentation was excellent.
Deck buffets were not high quality and looked more like all you can eat buffets. Deck theme special buffets lacked total imagination and were always congested. In this department, Crystal knows how to put on theme buffets.
On the Mexican ports we will not comment on as they are all the same to us. We did not do any ship tours.
Nothing about Radisson even comes close to resembling Crystal. My partner will kill me if I book any other line with the exception of Seabourne.
Please forgive any typos as we just arrived home and I am seeing double.
Sorry it was such a disappointment. We'll be happy to have you all sail with us on another Crystal cruise anytime. The people who seem to love Radisson value the size of the staterooms, the open dining, and the inclusive nature of the wine and gratuities above all else. That is fine if that is what you want. We love the service, programs and entertainment, and can do attitude on Crystal.
P.S. Took your recommendation and went to Cap's Place. It was great!!
This mirrors my sole experience on RSSC (the Mariner in Alaska). Yes, the staterooms are very nice but that's about it. Didn't have a "butler" suite but some friends did (also an aft suite) and they, too, had the salsa and chips. Even Celebrity serves elegant sandwiches and pastries to suite passengers. Too bad Crystal didn't do better with the staterooms on the new Serenity but the overall cruise experience is far superior to that of RSSC.
Why do you say they are like apples and oranges? I've read many write ups comparing the two lines -- not so much their price structures (except that they are both in the luxury category) but all aspects of the various cruises.
beanbag, in my opinion, everything I've read in the trades and in professional cruise books place RSSC, Silversea, Seabourn and Crystal in the luxury market, which means comparing any of those against each other is apples to apples. The ONLY difference between them is ship size, and if that's the only reason you're saying Crystal and RSSC cannot be compared, it is an incorrect assumption. Seabourn only carries 200, Silversea averages 350+, RSSC averages 650, and Crystal is nearly 100o, so if you're saying size is the main difference between trying to compare these lines, then it goes without saying that you cannot compare Seabourn to any of the others because their passenger load is so much smaller than any of the other three lines.
I am happy to see that others have echoed my experience with Radisson. It was probably one of the most disappointing cruise experiences I've had to date. Because RSSC is so highly touted as a luxury line, I was expecting top notch of everything, but the exact opposite was true. The food and service, with the exception of their two alternate restaurants, was very disappointing and I would heartily second suitetravels wrote. I also found them to be very single cruiser unfriendly.
Although I only had one Radisson cruise, I found the differences between Crystal and Radisson to be in the staterooms and food.
The lowest catagory stateroom on the Radisson Voyager was better than most penthouses on Crystal. They give you endless drinks and wine at dinner and the specialty restaurants were better than Crystal's in my opinion. The open seating format is much preferable to Crystal's two seatings.
Radisson's dining room food is unimaginative and lacks taste. The service is good, but not stylish. The entertainment is not nearly as good as Crystal. Onboard activities are better on Crystal as far as lectures, etc. Better parties on Crystal.
I will be on my first Crystal in Dec and I will be going on my first Radisson in April it will be interesting to compare the two I have been on Celebrity (liked the Butler but that was it) and on HAL the food and crew was wonderful the passangers pushy and rude. I am thinking I should have booked Radisson first to late now.
Perhaps I was being too general-All really I was saying- it really depends on the ship, type of cabin, itinerary, etc. But- It is very hard to make a general rule of thumb about pricing-however,Crystal is typically more expensive -yet not a partially inclusive (wine at dinner,liquor in cabin) product vs. Radisson that is. Make sense?? That's what I meant when I said apples and oranges, strickly from a financial view..and an partial inclusive one. I shall be more lucid next time.Or not.
We sailed on the Mariner to Alaska (Vancouver to San Francisco) during its first year of service, 2001. In a matter of fact we were on board during 9/11! We were fairly pleased with Radisson, but there were disappointments; and in our estimate Crystal is better. We believe that the quality of the two lines is similar. Judith's comments are right on.
The cabins on the Mariner are definitely larger than on Crystal, better designed, and more accomodating. We were, however, surprised that after only a few months of service the finishes were not wearing well.
The food on Crystal is steps ahead of Radisson. We actually complained about one meal that was almost inedible. The chef did call our cabin to find out the details, and promised a "follow-up" but nothing ever materialized. The quality is no where near Crystal overall.
It is nice to have wines (surprisingly good wines) included, and gratutities on Radisson; but that isn't a big deal to us.
Last, the open seating is nice on Radisson as you can choose each night what to do; and the Lido has a nice alternative dining experience each night. Crystal is now doing similarly on selected port evenings at the Trident Grill and I encourage them to continue it.