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Tarwood3

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Posts posted by Tarwood3

  1. 9 hours ago, ak1004 said:

     

    Thank you for sharing your observations.

     

    Obviously different people care for different things. We found the cruise excellent, but we haven't sailed on SS or SB, so cannot compare. 

     

    Would you mind to collaborate about "better prices on SS and SB"? We just booked a 11 nights cruise on Crystal from Dover to Lisbon for $3,550 USD. This was the cheapest category, but we don't really care about the cabin, and I didn't see any entry level cabins on SS or SB that come even close in price. 

     

    On related note, some people might say they would not cruise on a luxury line that charges extra for internet (SS) - but again, different people, different priorities.

    Hi there....Crystal’s smallest room is 207 sq ft, and Silversea Muse, their largest ship so closes in size to Symphony, has a 334sq ft vista suite as their smallest room...so if I’m comparing suite size apple for apple....the itinerary I was looking at for $22k is very steep in comparison to a similar on SS.  We have a spreadsheet off all the cruises we have done that breaks down cruise cost, excursions , what we spent onboard , total vacation cost of it ..etc...and so we have a per day amount that we have spent so we can compare the value of a particular cruise (even comparing on same line) but also comparing to other lines and ships to see if it’s really worth it for us to book it.  So $1700 Is on the steep end for a non expedition ship in just a normal size suite.  Hope that clarifies what I was trying to say.  Of course there are deals and steals on every line...but we dont book last minute, we are planners and book 1-2 yrs out ....

  2. 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...

  3. We are going on Oceania for the first time in July on Marina for a Baltic cruise.  We thought we would try them for the food and it’s mid level price range....we normally cruise Silversea, Seabourn etc...but occasionally throw in a Celebrity for something different.  We arent particularly loyal to anyone, we like to sample.  Hoping that there are some friendly gays...our last cruise on Crystal, the gays were pretty snobby.  I hear the ship is pretty nice..hoping for the best!

  4. 13 minutes ago, Travelcat2 said:

    Tarwood3 - not sure if this is the right cruise to determine what the "social atmosphere" is as there are 720 newbies onboard (in our experience, this is pretty typical of cruise lines in Alaska).  Everyone that we speak to is new to Crystal and very friendly.  Have only met one couple that has sailed Crystal once previously.

     

    As expected, there are many more Asian passengers than on Silversea or Regent (a mild comparison - still will not do head to head comparisons until the end of the cruise).  The only issues seems to be that many have large families (with toddlers) that want to dine at the same table.  I saw the staff having a bit of difficulty finding yet another table for 10 people (is this typical?).  On the plus side, the Asian food is amazing!  There are quite a few more international passengers which, at first, was surprising to me.  The thought of flying from Asia or Australia (the couple we spoke with at breakfast was from Adelaide) for a 7 night cruise was mind-boggling.  However, they are adding extra times in Canada and/or the U.S.

    Interesting...well, our cruise is a 10 day Dec 11-21st...I think its been a tough cruise to sell since its right before Xmas...which is our fav time to cruise ..so I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a lot of newbies as well.  On SS, Americans are always the minority...the Brits dominate , as does their rather more reserved social interaction... 

    Thanks again for sharing while on board..having done it many times myself. , sometimes it can seem like a burden with internet speeds and lack of time...so , we all appreciate your efforts!

  5. 16 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

    Another rushed post.  I will post the included wine list if there is such a thing (haven't seen it  yet).

     

    Roland - thank you again for reminding me that the ship entered service in the '90's.  She is so beautiful that I forget.  The newer ships cannot have as much wood as ships built in the 90's can have.  Now it is all plastic that looks like wood.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have what my DH calls stealth hearing while he has hearing loss which makes loud noise hurt his ears so he felt that the show was too loud and I find the scraping chairs super annoying (we live in an area where all we hear is the sounds of the forest). 

     

    Okay - food.  Dennis is blown away by the food while I am enjoying it (even husband's and wives have different tastes).  His salmon at lunch was amazing and tonight he had Wagu (misspelled) steak that was the best that he ever had.  The same goes for the tempura rock shrimp.  My salmon sashimi was a disappointment (and I  normally can eat endless pieces of salmon sashimi ) as was the mushroom soup (at the Japanese restaurant that I cannot spell).  The sake was great (of course) as was the miso glazed sea bass.

     

    Entertainment.  I knew that Crystal's entertainment was reportedly very good but I just saw perhaps the best show that I've ever seen on a cruise ship.  Loved it.

     

    In the computer room now and will be heading next door to Avenue Saloon (love the décor).  We are having a great time - the crew is wonderful and the ship is beautiful.  

     

    Tomorrow is the Magic Castle and either a computer class or a computer lecture.

     

    Almost forgot, one of the lecturers (don't have his name yet) had to leave for a family emergency but his lectures are on television.  They hope that he will be back in Ketchikan.  Will report this when I learn more as I'm sure that many of you know him.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience! We have done Silversea many times, Seabourn and did our first Regent in January where I did a “live” post as well.  We are doing our first Crystal later this year on the yacht , Esprit then a month later , in December, on Symphony.  I will be interested to hear how the “social atmosphere” compares to your other experiences as well.  Even though we have done Silversea the most of the luxury lines, I feel like they are the least friendly of the ones we have been on...Regent was so nice, so friendly , so fun...without the pretense of SS...so hopefully you find the same experience on Crystal...

  6. 36 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

    I hope you are pleased.  It's good you are trying the two vessels as I am sure you will have two unique experiences.

     

    Who knows with Endeavor coming out next year and hopefully another Ocean Vessel sometime in a few years hopefully there will be more choices for itinerary.

     

    I have many cruising friends who prefer Crystal but make their decisions based on itinerary so they do sail with other cruise lines.  As such, they don't have a go to line as you mentioned.  

     

    Please be sure to let us know about each of your experiences.

     

    I hope you have checked the Sticky Thread I write on this board with first time Crystal Cruisers in mind.  It is more focused on the Ocean Vessels but some the information applies to all of the Crystal Vessels.

     

    Keith

    Thanks Keith....I’ve browsed the Sticky Threads, but thanks for the reminder,  I will dive a bit deeper in it! 

  7. On 9/3/2019 at 9:58 AM, Keith1010 said:

    I agree with Patty and have two additional takeaways.  

     

    1.  We have not heard from the OP since the thread was started so have no idea whether the original posters question was answered.   I find this happens often and prefer hearing back from the OP to find out if the answers provided what they needed or didn't and that applies to all threads.

     

    2.  The only opinion that matters is our very own as they differ considerably.  For example, As Henry noted, I never saw any issues with the members of the staff on board Silversea or people being treated disrespectfully.  I want to note that it is very common for certain members of crews across most cruise lines to work very long contracts and they prefer that.  The same is true on land where contracts are involved.  Remember, they are there to make money not to be off half the year with no income and often say they want the longer conracts.

     

    For us sailing Silversea was a luxury experience.  However, we prefer Crystal much more than Silversea but for someone else they might feel differently.  This is why choice is good.

     

    For example for us the fitness center is important, the paddle tennis court is a nice plus, having several enrichment choices is important, a wrap around promenade deck is important, having a more robust computer university that is staffed and provides classes is a big plus, having more professional entertainment (both the in-house entertainers and ones brought on) is important and being able to dine as early as 6:00 PM is a bonus and having a more polished crew is important.   For someone else there might be other considerations that are more important including having larger suites,  more choice for on-demand movies, a smaller ship, smaller dining venues, more informal and formal nights, etc. etc..   

     

    Like most things so much of this is subjective.  Even looking at Crystal only do we all agree on Silk or the other venues or a multitude of other items.  

     

    What's a more luxurious car; Lexus, BMW, Mercedes?  Ummmmm.


    This is what makes the world go round.

     

    Keith

     

     

     

    We have done many Silversea in the past and are very much looking forward to our 2 first Crystal Cruises , October on Esprit and December on Symphony.  I think we will like it and we are actually looking forward to a slightly bigger ship .  The only thing that has held us back from trying Crystal is that there are only 2 ships...so not nearly as many itineraries and variations on itineraries as a Silversea or Seabourn for example.  So even if they become our favorite cruise line later this year, Crystal wont be our sole go-to line 

  8. 34 minutes ago, Prada Cowboy said:

    I have not sailed on Crystal as of yet, bust sailed once on the Silver Spirit and will never sail them again! Service was non existent from my Deck 9 Butler to the Restaurants, the Officers had nasty attitude beyond believe, food was mediocre to good, loved the supper club though which had an excellent singer, Suite was comfy, but that was it!

    Wow, that’s so disappointing to hear...we have sailed Silversea many times and me and my partner love them...we have even done the Silver Spirit twice...we have never had bad service from anyone...shocking to hear. 

  9. 10 hours ago, palm beach said:

    Tarwood3,

    I booked tours with Xuan for Saigon and the Mekong Delta. Did you have any kind of vaccination before going on the cruise? How about mosquito repellent, is it necessary

     

     

    We didnt have a problem with mosquitos......and we didnt use repellent.  We have traveled so much around the world, that I’m up to date on all vaccinations anyway, so honestly I dont remember if we needed something for Vietnam.  Usually if there are vaccinations required, it is listed on your invoice from Silversea at the bottom with all the info about the cruise...visas, vaccines, etc...  otherwise, check with your doctor or go to the CDC’s website. Also, I’m sure there is a travelers vaccine clinic near you....just check their website or call...

  10. On 6/27/2019 at 2:20 PM, Covepointcruiser said:

    Go with Seabourn or Silversea if you want a luxury experience.   See if you can get either for $1000 a day.   Azamara is perfectly fine for most folks but if you think you will be disappointed you should cancel.

    Yep, you can get SB or SS for $1000 a day...of course depends on when you book and where, but its not difficult to do.  And thats the thing...we have always done a mix of luxury and premium lines...to balance out travel expenses.  But lately, AZ has gotten so expensive and our Sky Suites on Celebrity are more than or equal to what we would pay on SS or SB...so for same price or lower, we will do SS or SB every time..  

  11. 7 minutes ago, palm beach said:

    Tarwood, you have been so helpful. I had looked at private tour guides and his name showed up. I will contact him, his reviews were excellent but knowing someone who used him is a better review. 

    I can’t thank you enough for all your help, I hope you don’t mind if I have other questions in the future.

    You’re quite welcome....I hope you enjoy Vietnam as much as we did!! Xuan does some unique things that big tour groups cant...so that’s nice to have! Book as early as possible ...he’s quite popular. 

    Like I said in an earlier post, if your cruise goes to Halong Bay in Northern Vietnam, please do the 12 hour Hanoi excursion .  We were freaked out by the time at first. We only like half day excursions but we were assured by shore excursion staf that it is well worth it! There were only maybe 50 people who did Hanoi.  We were split into groups of 6 and each group was in a comfortable mini van with private guide.  And each group did its own thing.  So we felt like it was a very private tour.  Probably the best ship excursion we have ever done. The description of tour says its a 3 hour drive on uneven roads but this isn’t true.  They built a new freeway and its great! 

  12. One more thing...I just looked back at my texts to my guide...the actual port name that we docked at was called Hiep Phuoc Port in the Xa Long Thoi neighborhood.  The shuttle went hourly to Union Square which is adjacent to the Hotel Continental Saigon that I sent a pic of.  Obviously these things could change but for the mid size ships I think this is the norm.  There was a Viking ship docked on the other side of the river from us.  No ships were downtown.  I think only the very small ships can make it downtown....

  13. 10 minutes ago, palm beach said:

    Tarwood3, thank you for your helpful post. The distance to town is not too bad, it could be worse and a shuttle is provided. Some ship dock so far away from Saigon. 

    You mentioned you had a private tour guide, were you pleased with him? Would you mind sharing his name?

    Great pictures!

     

    Yes, I highly recommend our guide.  I actually had found quite a reviews on him through Cruise Critic before our cruise and everyone raves about him and we were not disappointed.  His name is Xuan Le....his English is excellent...and couldnt be a nicer guy.  He customizes his tours to whatever you want to see, but will happily give you examples of itineraries.  No need for advance deposit.  Just pay him when finished with tour.  His email is tourwithxuan@gmail.com and his name Xuan is pronounced like “Soon”.  He is very used to dealing with luxury clientele .  By the end of our 2 days together, we felt like old friends and still keep in constant contact with him.  We have sent several friends to him and everyone has loved him! I will find a pic....  he will reply via email..but once you firm something up, he prefers to correspond via whatsapp.  

    Tell him Gary and Ben recommended you....he loves us! 

     

     

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  14. 25 minutes ago, Unibok said:

    That’s great news, Tarwood! I was hoping there was something closer to the city than the big port. Thank you for the details and the map!

    You’re very welcome! Btw...the sail out was unlike anything I had ever seen.  We went to the deck above Tors Observation Lounge for a good view forward...few people go up there btw.  Anyway, I have never heard a ship blow its horn as much as we did...I lost count after about 40 times.  The Saigon River is a very busy waterway with lots of barges and small boats that don’t yield to larger ships...they are pretty ballsy and arrogant.  The captain was getting very impatient with slower vessels not getting out of our way....quite the sight. 

  15. Hi there, we haven’t been but me and my partner are booked on the first Antarctica cruise late November.  There are different things to see depending on the month you go .  Some months are bettter for whale watching, others for penguin babies, others for seeing the large icebergs etc....  we found an easy to use guide at AudleyTravel.com which breaks down each month on “when is the best time to go”.  We chose early in the season before many tourists have been and also because we want to see the massive ice bergs.   We dont really care about penguin babies late in the season besides we have heard that the land is covered in penguin poop and smells late in the season...lol.  Anyway, to each his own, we all go for different reasons.  Do some simple google searches on best time to go and things to see...maybe we will even see you on our voyage!

  16.  

     

     

    Kaiseki is aJapanese cuisine is known for its meticulous preparation and beautiful presentation. It's also known as the most expensive type of Japanese food — meals can have more than 14 courses. Kaiseki restaurants offer a private room — often with a view of a Japanese garden.

     

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  17. On 5/9/2019 at 7:17 PM, palm beach said:

    Stumblefoot, I completely agree with you. Now we will be in the middle of nowhere for 4 days, that’s way too much. Very poor planning from Silverseas.

    Completely disagree with you on the poor planning comment...youhavent been and therefore you don’t understand the area...this is as close as they can get...the large ships like Royal Caribbean and Princess have to go to Phu My ...about a 3 hour drive each way......We have done the Vietnam cruise on the Muse and SS does an excellent job. 

  18. So we did Vietnam in November on the Muse.  We did not dock in Phu My or anywhere near.  We were able to sail up the Saigon River quite a ways but sadly not in downtown.  We were in an industrial port in an area called Xa Long Thoi. Silversea ran regular shuttles to Central Saigon.  The distance isn’t too far to central Saigon, its the traffic that can be difficult.  Sometimes it could be an hour, sometimes it was 30 mins.  At first we were quite disappointed, but it ended up not being too bad.  We had a private guide both days we were there.  The first day he just met us at the shuttle stop in front of the Hotel Continental Saigon.  At the end of the day, he dropped us off there and we took the SS shuttle back to ship.  The second morning we started very early, so our guide just met us at the entrance to the port.  I will try to include a map of where we were docked.  Look for the red dot on the map.  Hope that helps.  Ask if you have any other question.  We recommend you do Saigon one day and the Mekong delta another day...but there are so many tours and different places to go!! You will love it! Its an amazing place.  We love Saigon but we loved Hanoi even more.  Even though Hanoi is a 12 hour excursion from where you dock in Halong Bay stop..its definitely worth it!!!

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  19. I was hoping that all ships would have itineraries through May 2021, but just a few....we were hoping to take a closer look at the Accra to Lisbon on the Cloud which usually is in March or April...but nothing on the Cloud or any of the expedition ships and Spirit only to March 2021...we have tentatively booked teh April 5th 2021 Tokyo to Tokyo...hits everywhere ,north , south and central.  Excellent itinerary, but yes, very expensive.  

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