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About ggo85

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  1. The fact all cruises are canceled through July 31 doesn't mean they will start sailing Aug. 1 It means the earliest any cruise would start is Aug. 1. I strongly suspect that there will be additional cancellations -- perhaps months worth. Cruise lines first have to take into account the restrictions of certain states and countries -- both in terms of what is open, the availability of flights, ability to cross borders, etc. That is beyond their control. Like many businesses, they're taking it one step at a time. But if I were you, I'd make other plans for this summer.
  2. I would encourage the other folks who had spa (and boarding issues) to note it on the survey as I did. One person mentioning can be viewed as a "one-off" -- multiple people mentioning the same thing typically indicates a problem (spa management) or an opportunity for improvement (the boarding iPad -- which really just requires additional training/familiarity for those using it). Great businesses constantly strive to improve. Crystal does so much really, really well -- I'm sure they would like to know if there are areas where they can be even better and they won't unless we tell them.
  3. Personally, I'm less concerned with the "activities" that are nothing but sales pitches, as I can simply not attend. Thankfully Crystal, as opposed to most mainstream lines, has plenty of other activities. On RCCL and even Celebrity, 90% of the activities either cost to participate or are sales pitches. The issue I have with the spa is that I'm there to relax. Having someone pushing products is not relaxing and thus defeats the purpose of my visit. And, it's not as if I can readily walk out in the middle. I have on occasion (not on Crystal) told the esthetician up front that I wasn't interested in a discussion of products during my treatment. But it shouldn't come to that -- I have many spa treatments on land and almost never have this issue.
  4. Keith, Fair point on Crystal offering shorter voyages. However, the shorter itineraries usually don't work for us (aren't too our liking, done itinerary many times, wrong part of the world) or they are in Asia/Middle East, where you really can't just go for 7-8 nights, even if the cruise is only that long. Also, 8-9 nights is only possible during the summer or winter holiday b/c it really means 10-12 with travel on each end -- and if it's not WE to WE, that means you're really out 2 weeks of work. We really wanted to do Asia next Christmas, but it's 15 nights. Flying to/from adds at least another 3 (bare minimum) -- sadly, that just won't work. One of the challenges is having only two ships, one of which does a world cruise for much of the year. That limits the itineraries and timing. As I noted earlier, it's our problem, not theirs. We do still cruise, albeit on other lines. But I do wish it worked out that we could go more often on Crystal b/c it's really more to our liking.
  5. Agree with the poster that the spa employees are "encouraged" (i.e., browbeaten) to upsell. One of my estheticians actually told me that -- and it's not the first time I've heard it. I don't mind if the esthetician mentions products that might be helpful, but leave it at that (as mine did). BTW, the spa's 10/20/30 program wasn't too enticing -- especially on a short cruise. You have to book all 3 treatments on the same day (though they can be experienced on different days) and then get 10% off the most expensive, 20% of second most, etc. I supposed it's better than nothing (if you want 3 treatments), but it's not that great - certainly not something they should be selling with such fervor. As for traveling during the holidays . . .we knew there would be kids but this one of the very few Crystal itineraries that worked for us. Most people who work full-time have a hard time taking extended vacations (more than a week) outside of the Christmas/New Year holiday and the summer. Also, even a 15-night cruise becomes almost 3 weeks once you add in travel time, and a vacation that long is rarely an option for folks who work. It's the main reason we don't cruise Crystal more often -- their itineraries are largely designed for the retired crowd. Not a criticism, just a fact.
  6. I will let Crystal know about the spa. The "pushiness" seemed out of character for the business model of Crystal and just a bit off-putting. I think it was mostly due to the personality of the manager (and I have other reasons for saying this) and maybe pressure from Steiner as well. We didn't do Silk or Churrascaria. I've made 10 trips to China in the past 8 months so had my fill of Chinese food. Didn't do Churrascaria mostly b/c my DH liked Waterside but also timing. One other note . . . I was disappointed in the gift shops as compared to Serenity on prior cruise. Prices in all shops were outrageous (and I wasn't the only person who commented on this). On Serenity, I bought a nice logo T-shirt and lightweight hoodie. The quality was good and the price was fair ($30/40 per item). This time, the logo stuff was shoved into a back corner, and a flimsy, thin, V-neck T-shirt was $75. Seriously? Having only luxury shops on board seems to be an emerging trend (i.e., Celebrity Edge). Will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can only say that it saves me money b/c I don't even think about buying anything. But maybe others do.
  7. We returned to Crystal after a four-year absence. Cruise was 7 nights to the Caribbean on Symphony. Overall, it was as great as we remembered, with a few minor nits. Boarding seemed more complex than it needed to be (and took longer than on Celebrity or RCCL). The issue seemed to be that the person helping us was not familiar with how to work the iPad used to check you in. The minute we boarded, I was reminded why we loved Crystal the first time -- no one trying to sell you drink packages, internet packages, specialty restaurant packages . . . Just peace and quiet and great food and drink. Positives for us included first, the food. Dinner was terrific across the board. We actually thought the food in Waterside was at least equal to the food in the specialty restaurants (Prego and Uma Umi). Presentation was excellent, taste was excellent, quantity was perfect. Can't remember any course at any venue that we didn't absolutely enjoy. Lunch (mostly at the grill) and breakfast were both well above average in terms of food and service. Another (surprising) standout was the entertainment. The production shows were much better than I recalled from our first cruise. For me, the entertainers were much more experienced and seasoned (i.e., had more performing under their belts) and it showed. The female lead singer was a standout. Also, having the smaller theater made the events much more intimate. Really well done. Ditto for the "additional" entertainment. Everything we went to (piano player, violinist, etc.) was enjoyable and I love the fact that, unlike the mainstream lines, Crystal still offers a variety of line entertainment every night. Service was great as well -- everywhere. That said, we've had very good service on mainstream lines and aren't too demanding/needy so don't usually need that "extra" level -- but nice to have it anyway. Cabin (PH) was in good condition. Certainly not huge but well maintained. Loved the size of the closet -- lots of space with plenty of hangars. Wish the drawers were deeper, but it was workable. TV was well-positioned to watch from the sofa or the bed. In terms of opportunities for improvement . . . first was the spa. Let me start by saying that the estheticians were excellent and the treatments (massage, facial) were among the very best I've had on a cruise ship -- or on land. The issue was the way the spa was managed. The first day, when trying to confirm my appointment, it took the manager 15 minutes to find it. The computer didn't work. They had the wrong name. They needed to check in another computer.. . . on it went. When they finally found it, there was a LOT of pressure to sign up for their 10/20/30 deal (sign up for 3 services and get a discount). Saying I wasn't interested only caused the manager to try harder to convince me; I came close to canceling what I had booked. I realize it's Steiner (who runs the spa) not Crystal, but it's still their ship and it wasn't a very pleasant start. Later in the week when I arrived for a treatment, I was checked in by the manager (who again couldn't find my appointment for a while). I then waited for 15 minutes in the relaxation room until someone else's esthetician took it upon herself to find out why I was still sitting there. Apparently, they'd forgotten about me -- appointment started 25 minutes late, though I did get the full time. A+ for treatments; D for management. The (less annoying) nit was that they'd messed up our dinner reservations. We had the list in our cabin. It said we had Prego the first night at 7. We showed up and they said we didn't have a reservation. We showed them our card. They found us a table. However, we discovered that, while the card had our correct cabin #, it had someone else's name -- someone we didn't know at all.. This same issue had plagued us at check-in. Not sure what caused the glitch and neither did they, but we got it resolved early on. This may be controversial, but I don't think Crystal is a great line for young kids. There were a lot on this cruise. Many were well-behaved but some weren't. It's really annoying to have children screaming and running around at dinner, screaming on neighboring balconies, splashing everyone in the pool, etc. I recognize there can be badly behaved adults as well; I just think there are cruise lines that are better suited to youngsters. YMMV. In summary, it was a very positive experience and we definitely see why people come back over and over again. Happy to answer any questions.
  8. On Symphony last week, PH and SH and above were available at 1:00 (Boarding was at 12). Other cabins at 3:00. One piece of luggage (PH) was already there at 1. The other came closer to 4. They knocked on the door to indicate It had arrived.
  9. Every other cruise line I've been on does check-in at the pier. For muster drill, some scan your card; most ask you to provide your cabin number to someone checking off a list. The "shouting" is only for those cabins who didn't check in (or the checker missed them). Having (PH) rooms ready right away is a huge benefit!
  10. I've read the Crystal guide for casual night attire and understand jacket is optional. I'm interested in what most men actually do on a 7-night Caribbean cruise. Will most wear jackets (no tie) or collared shirt without jacket?
  11. ggo85

    Tipping Extra

    I did try searching but nothing relevant popped up on the first few pages of results. I might not have searched correctly.
  12. We are second time Crystal cruisers (last time was quite a few years ago). Am curious as to whether providing additional gratuities (beyond the prepaid) for great service is common. Please note: I'm NOT trying to start a debate about tipping -- I understand it's always a personal decision. I just want to know whether folks on this site generally tip extra for those crewmembers who go the extra mile. Also, for those who have butlers, do you tip him/her and, if so, under what circumstances?
  13. We booked rather late -- just before the 90 day final payment. We're in a PH. When I went on-line to book specialty restaurant reservations, spa reservations, etc.after final payment,, all of our preferred times (very early dinner, mid-afternoon spa) were not available. The ONLY thing I could book was VERY late (9 pm) dinner or very early morning (8 am) spa. So I took what I could get. Will we have more options once on board based on our cabin category? IOW, are tables or spa held back for suite passengers? I'm not complaining if they're not -- hey, we booked late and we take our chances, I'm just curious if we might have more options once on board.
  14. Just a note of caution. We asked the Michael’s Club concierge to book Murano’s for the last night of our cruise a few days ahead of time (used concierge as our butler was awful). We showed up at the restaurant and there was no reservation. (We prob should have confirmed). The concierge admitted that she had forgotten to make the reservation. She could not get us in at any time even though we were in a RS. She was very apologetic and we were understanding. But we still didn’t eat in Muranos. I realize this is likely an aberration as we’ve never had any other issues with dining. Buy don’t assume they can get you in at the last minute on any given night.
  15. We’ve done RS twice on X. Has the chance to get PS on Constellation for $1500 pp more. Cabin opened up early in prices - not a Move Up. In the end, we didn’t do it. We fins the RS and it’s benefits more than enough for folks and the main extra with a PS is space. But it it’s a very personal decision. If the price is right to you, you have the $$, and it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, go for it!
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