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.