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About Paulatmich

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Golf, tennis
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    Celebrity, RCCL
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  1. The food was overkill and unnecessary. I did have a bottle of water with me, but it would have been nice to have a Coke while I waited. Honestly, the Crystal station would have been sufficient, but when they pitch themselves as being a luxury line, and you are literally next to another luxury line that has more to offer, it makes Crystal look like a step down. It’s really more optics than anything else.
  2. They did have snacks and food. It’s possible that they sourced it locally from St Barts, which would be allowed, it might not have come from the actual ship itself.
  3. That’s all I was asking for. In each port where we had tenders, there was a setup with some water and iced tea. It would have been nice for them to do the same during embarkation as a positive way to start the trip, not stick us in a holding pen with no information and not even a cup of water. If there were customs issues or other delays, oh well, those things happen, but the question is how do they handle the delay, and I just thought it could have been done better. One other observation...in St Barts, at the tender loading station, as you walk from downtown, you saw a really nice setup with water, soft drinks, snacks, etc. I heard 2 or 3 other passengers remark how nice it was that Crystal did that while you wait...and then as they walked closer, they had the same reaction I did...oh, that’s for the SeaDream passengers, Crystal only has these large water coolers setup. Again, it was an excellent trip, but there are always the little details where they can improve. But in no way did it have any impact on my enjoyment of the trip.
  4. Just off the 8 day 12/6 sailing on the Serenity and thought I’d share my review as a first timer on Crystal:Embarkation: This was the one negative point for the entire trip. It seemed they were overwhelmed with passengers around 11:30-12, which isn’t that surprising, but that’s the time that was on my tickets and suggested that I go. Numbers were handed out and finally when they started embarkation around noon, it was group 1, 2, etc., which seemed to very orderly. Just too much standing/sitting around, and no refreshments offered except for some terminal vending machines. It would have been nice to have a Crystal station with at least some water. Dining:Marketplace - the buffet was excellent everyday. Produce and fruits were fresh and plentiful. Many of the main courses mirrored the menu in Waterside, but without having to sit for a formal meal. Tables were plentiful, never had to wait or even look around for an option. Waiters quickly grabbed plates to escort you to a table so you didn’t have to carry them. Drinks were plentiful and delivered quickly. Staff was extremely friendly, smiles on their faces and seemed happy to be there.Waterside - Only had dinners here and felt the food was outstanding. I’ve been on many mainline cruises, and there’s no comparison. I’ve had the opportunity to dine in some of finest restaurants in the world, and thought the food was overall excellent. Meal pacing was perfect, plates were removed expeditiously, special requests were accommodated, waiter and his team were also excellent, as was the sommelier. I think we had one complaint here for the week, which is that a appetizer fork was delivered instead of an entree fork for on night. I mean, if fork size is the biggest complaint, you know they did an excellent job. Umi Uma - Sat at the sushi bar one night for dinner. Sushi/sashimi was extremely fresh and innovative, things we don’t always find in many places at home in NY. My wagyu filet was also very good. Prego - We arrived earlier than our 7:30 reservation, but were seated immediately. Service was impeccable, as was the theme throughout the trip. Special food requests were again handled perfectly. Avenue Saloon - Denis did a great job as bartender, taking care of our martinis and ensuring that we had a bowl of peanuts some nights when the regular jars had mixed nuts that we didn’t prefer. Would have liked to have seen pigs in a blanket more than just on Friday, but that was a treat. Otherwise, felt the passed apps were lacking in variety and quality. Cabin - We were in a B2, which I believe is the limited view verandah. There’s no limited view, so we were pleased. The gangway takes away nothing from the view. Although smaller than some other ships and much smaller than hotels, the room was completely adequate in size. There was no need for anything larger. Closet space and drawer space was plentiful, and there were sufficient hangers for us. The cabin stewardess was invisible, which is exactly as it should be, except our room was miraculously made up whenever we left. That’s 5-star service and what’s expected. I don’t want to walk down the hallways and always see the big cleaning carts and have to dodge vacuum cleaners. Very impressive. Deck Chairs - This was a treat compared to mainline ships. We never had an issue getting deck chairs and often were able to get the daybeds and couches on the sides, if that’s what we wanted. Yes, there are always some chairs that are reserved with nobody on them, but didn’t see it occur that much and never had an issue getting our own setup. In addition, often saw guests get up and remove their towels so others could take the seats, almost unheard of on other ships unless they charge $25 if you don’t return the towels. Smoking was also at a minimum on deck, which is excellent. Drink service was plentiful with a hardworking staff running around all day to ensure my drink never got empty. One odd complaint, the pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris are made from scratch, no mixes. I actually prefer the artificial taste of the mixes like island oasis, go figure. Casino - Relatively empty and very quiet for the trip. Offered reasonable rules for a BJ player and decent perks if you join the Resorts World at Sea program including OBC.Entertainment - I came in with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. The shows were short, but high energy. The dancers were excellent, as were the singers, and felt there was a bunch of music to appeal to different age groups. Overall, that part was great. Otherwise, I felt the evening entertainment was a bit lacking. I like to listen to live music, but as a younger individual, I know Crystal doesn’t generally cater to me. It would have been nice to have a night or two with the show and playing some light rock music that some of us would have enjoyed listening to. Ports - The itinerary was very good, with some good destination ports. The highlight for us was booking a day pass at the Four Seasons in Nevis and enjoying a beach day, once the rain passed. I do think Crystal needs to reevaluate their itineraries and the use of tenders. We hit some windy weather, which makes for rougher seas. Rougher seas equal more difficulty in boarding tenders. In St Barts, the tender boarding took entirely too long. The average passenger on Crystal skews older, and it makes tendering all that much more difficult. They had 4 Crew members assisting, but it still became dangerous and definitely not ideal. There needs to be a trade off between going to the more attractive islands (that don’t have docks) and the standard clientele where tendering is not a good solution. Debarkation - Best I’ve ever seen. Off the ship and through customs within 5 minutes, and then into a taxi onto the airport. It helps that many passengers were on a B2B, so not many getting off, but still, it was extremely efficient and easy. Overall, just an outstanding trip for our first experience on Crystal. We’d definitely consider another one if itineraries line up with our vacation plans. Almost no complaints whatsoever on the 8 day trip. Going to be hard to get back to reality and the office on Monday.
  5. If you have gaming history on land, it is possible to leverage those offers to get discounts or comps on Crystal cruises. In fact, I am going on a comped Crystal cruse in the next few weeks. I don't believe I can post the name of the main company that provides this service, but, if you google for "crystal cruise casino comp," I believe it will be the first one listed. I have used them multiple times, as well as my friends, and they do an excellent job.
  6. You make a good point. Nobody would consider any of those properties to be "value." For me, all of the hotels are generally in the same class, but the Aman and Peninsula are a slight step up. Now, if I am pricing the hotels and the RC is JPY50000 a night and the Peninsula is JPY90000 a night, to me, the Ritz Carlton is a better value. I'm not getting enough benefit out of the Peninsula to outweigh the extra JPY40000. From my previous stays, the Aman was generally JPY25000-50000 more than the Peninsula, so to me, there was no "value" in staying there versus the Peninsula, which I thought was just about as good. And it's likely the meal will cost you more than the hotel. Depending on your preferences and what type of meal you would want, I would suggest RyuGin, which I'd classify as seasonal Kaiseki, and is definitely a memorable meal, or Jiro, which is obviously the well known sushi spot, but I think excellent. Jiro is an experience in terms of the atmosphere and cuisine, but it's a relatively short meal compared to other places. Sushi Saito is another, but nearly impossible to get a reservation. The only way I was able to get in there was because I was dining with a very senior executive at one of the large Japanese banks. One other benefit of the Peninsula is that their concierge seems more capable of getting reservations at these spots, I found the Ritz Carlton concierge very unhelpful in this area.
  7. I'm comparing it to the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt Roppongi, and the Mandarin Oriental. The Aman is also a special hotel, but, from a value perspective, the Peninsula far outweighs the very slight benefit of the Aman.
  8. The Peninsula in Tokyo is phenomenal, I think it's the best hotel in the city. It's in the heart of Ginza and in some rooms, there's a view of the Imperial Gardens. The standard rooms are some of the best anywhere in the world, almost all like mini-suites with a sitting area, table and chairs, dressing room/closet, and a huge bathroom. The room is well thought out, for the daily paper in the morning, they have a box in the closet, they can access it from the hallway side, and you access it from the room, no need to open the door in a robe to get it. Service is impeccable, which is what you would expect from a Peninsula. There is only one weakness in my mind, which is the downstairs lobby/restaurant. It's just in the middle and there. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever. And the Peninsula will do the pre-arranged taxis from the airport, which work really well.
  9. Your memory is correct, it's going to be 60-90 minutes for that drive through beautiful, industrial Japan. But...if you look closely through some of rails on the side of the highway, you can very briefly see the castle in Disney Tokyo.
  10. I second calling up the hotel and having them book something. For many of the luxury hotels in Tokyo (I've done it at the Peninsula, Ritz Carlton, and Grand Hyatt Roppongi), they are able to reserve a taxi for you and have a reasonable fixed rate charged to your room bill. A hotel employee meets you at the airport with a sign, takes you to the taxi area, where a reserved taxi is waiting for you to take you to the hotel. It works extremely well, and is a similar fare to just taking a taxi (without dealing with the language barrier of telling them where to take you), and any possible payment issues.
  11. Thanks so much for the prompt answers! I figured they were ok and it’s mainly personal preference of others not wanting to see them.
  12. Hi All, Taking my first Crystal voyage in December. I’ve read their dress code and a bunch of the posts in here, but there never seems to be a good consensus on jeans. On non-BTO nights, are they allowed in Waterside and other venues? And when I say jeans, I mean designer jeans, appropriately fancy, no holes, the same type I’d wear out to fancy NYC dinners. Curious on everybody’s opinion since the dress code seems silent on it. Thanks!
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