Crystal instead of Europa 2?

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#1
Brisbane
91 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
As I have mentioned in another thread, I am not happy with HL at the moment and am therefore looking at other options. Crystal has an interesting itinerary ex Perth next February and I was wondering how they compare to HL? The two things important to us are food and being able to bring kids. We will have our nanny with us but it would still be good to have some sort of kids area, so it's easier to keep the kids away from the other guests. According to my research, there are probably a few cruise lines that are quite good food-wise (going to miss the German breakfast though ), but it seems only Crystal is willing to accommodate kids. Any ideas? Or should I just go for a more mainstream line (thinking Celebrity, RCC and Mein Schiff)?
#2
Sydney, Australia
4,286 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Kids are certainly welcome and catered for on Crystal. There are dedicated children's areas (one for young children and one for teenagers) on Crystal with games and toys

At that time of the year there won't be dedicated Activities hosts/hostesses onboard so your nanny would need to supervise them depending on their ages. Similarly there don't necessarily be a lot of kids for them to socialise with onboard. The Crystal staff are very good with children too

Sure you'll get some guests who don't like kids but the majority will be fine and enjoy having them around as they behave appropriately

Crystal food is generally very good and the specialty restaurants - Nobu based Silk Road and Prego an Italian style are both very good

If you are looking Perth to Sydney on Symphony in Feb 2018 I'd just note that seas can get a little rough in the Southern Bight - not always the case but it can happen - having said that Symphony handles heavy seas well
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04/14/2017 Crystal Symphony - Tokyo to San Diego - 17 days
12/21/2016 Crystal Symphony - Auckland to Melbourne - 15 days
01/24/2016 Crystal Serenity - San Francisco to Sydney - 22 days

11/13/2014 Crystal Symphony - Auckland to Sydney - 11 days
10/28/2014 Crystal Symphony - San Diego to Auckland - 15 days
02/16/2014 Crystal Symphony - Sydney to Bali - 12 days
01/05/2013 Crystal Symphony - Melbourne to Hobart - 6 days
#3
Brisbane
91 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
Thanks, bodogbodog. Yeah, I expect there wouldn't be many other kids around. Another reason why I am also considering the mainstream ships. Basically it's do I want what's best for us or the kids. They are too young to appreciate the luxury environment, so they probably would be better off on a line with more kids.
Didn't know about the rough seas (that is the itin I was looking at). I do get a bit seasick and not sure how the kids would deal with it.
#4
Sydney, Australia
4,286 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Don't mean to scare you on the seas - it's not Drake passage material but it can be a bit rough sometimes (not much between there and Antartica) - but as I say Crystal Symphony does handle heavy seas well

I'm biased towards Crystal so would recommend you give it a try

One other thing to consider - Crystals suites aren't he largest by comparison to modern builds - personally never been a problem but it's a constant topic of discussion on the forums so just ensure you'll be comfortable in the category you are considering

Definitely a challenge for you deciding on best for you (food and beverage) or them - although it doesn't sound like they're at the age where they want climbing walls, indoor sky diving or bumper cars as you might find on some of the family oriented lines
#5
antwerpen
970 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
i used to be a big fan of Crystal until i discovered the ms Europa in 2007 and afterwards the fact Crystal decided to go all inclusive with all the changes especially in the F and B department. I will try to be as honnest as possible.
So far i did 18 cruises with Crystal , nothing in option so far.
Kids are very welcome and indeed the team on board was always friendly to children , also the headwaiters and most of the waiters.
as said rough seas are not a problem for the Crystal Symphony.
You must take in consideration a basic cabin on the Symphony is a lot smaller as the lowest degree on the Europa sisters.
The differences are also in the entertainment - the taste of passengers vast majority from the Us on Crystal or on HL where the majority is 99% German speaking.
The f and b operations are still good On Crystal, providing you are not looking too closely ( frozen lobster tails smaller sizes of meat, dishes transferred from lunch to dinner ) , before all in and before the takeover by Genting i could judge Crystal as very good to even excellent.
While the complimentary drinks are very good , most of the wines are basic - exception made for an occasional glass of white at lunch i never drink the complimentary wines. The wines to purchase are not so friendly priced and i even think in "the all in " Crystal does have the most expensive wine list comparing to SS and SB. A lot of Us wines , i think 1 German and 2 Austrian wines last time. On the other side Crystal does have all the big "guns" ranging from Screaming Eagle, Petrus to Le Montrachet at appropriate prices . Exception for a better champagne as the included Jacquart no wines by the glass or carafes to buy .
The breakfast : despite Crystal is one of the few still offering freshly made orange juice ( the other juices are from cans ) the choice of cold cuts and cheeses is poor - the same 3 cold cuts every day and the same 2 "bread cheeses" - no speciality cheeses at all for breakfast. On the other side the cheeses for dinner are not bad at all.
Bread is ok but do not expect 15 different breads .
In general the quality of the ingredients on Hapag Lloyd is far better as on Crystal - however the difference - in German terms - is not KDW against Aldi at all.
There is also some canned fruit for breakfast aside fresh fruit..
I do not eat oriental food, so i cannot say anything about Silk Road , Prego is good but used to be better despite good service.
It is quite a difference with HL, but maybe the only alternative .
Celebrity seems to be the best of the "bigger " ones , i did visit it once lunch was good what i cannot say about Holland America.
#6
Brisbane
91 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
Thanks vistaman. I would certainly miss the German breakfast, especially decent cheeses. That's one of the reasons I am considering Mein Schiff. The only itinerary we could do (the Asian one) is not very exciting but at least we would get Laugenstangen. But then I'm not sure how the nanny would go on a German-only ship.
It is good to hear that food-wise it's not KDW versus Aldi. That should be good enough for us. I don't drink wines at all (except for a nice Beerenauslese from Weil now and then again) and hubby only a bit so that wouldn't be a deterrent.
I have considered the cabin size. Definitely an issue as there would be 4 of us. On Celebrity or Mein Schiff we would get a suite for half the price.
#7
antwerpen
970 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
well on the Symphony one of the hotel directors is Austrian , and the senior headwaiter also and there are several 2 and 3 stripped officers German or Austrian .
despite i probably will not return to Mein Schiff , i must admit the breads were very OK , and the cheeses were good even better as on the Queen Victoria in the QGrill ...
Orange juice was ( fresh but not chilled ) 2.9 € - very few people did buy it
The cakes for tea were very good on MSchiff in view of the size of the ship.
I forgot to mention the Bistro on Crystal, where the cold meats are better as on the breakfast buffet but do not expect the daily roastbeef or veal as on HL.
#8
Brisbane
91 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
Is the afternoon tea any good on Crystal?

I already put down a deposit for a Celebrity cruise later this year. I think I'll add one for the Mein Schiff for late next year. Then I only need to figure out whether I'll give Crystal a try in between.
#9
antwerpen
970 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
my last Crystal was some 20 months ago
tea time was always very good - once a cruise with some specialities "British- colonial " and once a Mozart tea time , when the waiters are dressed in clothes referring to the period Mozart lived ( but no wigs )
#10
1,140 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by vistaman
my last Crystal was some 20 months ago
tea time was always very good - once a cruise with some specialities "British- colonial " and once a Mozart tea time , when the waiters are dressed in clothes referring to the period Mozart lived ( but no wigs )
At the time of Mozart, the tax on tea in Britain was 119%.

Make a Cruise Line service charge an absolute bargain.