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Posts posted by latsyrc

  1. Somewhat off topic but does anyone have any ideas why Symphony is being exiled from the US? After this fall there are no Symphony sailings hitting US waters through 2022 that I can find. At 25 is she too old to meet fuel efficiency standards? I just sailed on her to Alaska and didn't notice anything amiss. I asked several staff members who should know and they seemed very tight lipped. Thoughts?

  2. We tend to dine later so I picked a night we would be leaving port about 8. We did get a prime table by the back windows, very nice. The staff seemed very happy, were trying really hard to please. That said; drinks were slow, meat wasn't piping hot and juicy, sides were uninteresting to me, and I too intensely dislike buffets. Casual is fine but I want to be waited on. Personally I thought the food offered at the Symphony's sometimes casual dinner in the Lido was far better. Will it stop me from cruising Crystal? Absolutely not and since I'm very close to the 50 leg mark, soon I won't have to pay for unlimited sushi and Prego. YUM! 

  3. 1 minute ago, ClefsDor said:

    Whilst you might find strong perfume objectionable, there's very little chance it will kill you - the same can't be said for second hand smoke.

    The occasional whiff of second hand smoke won't kill you either, car exhaust is far worse. And no, I am not a smoker. I found some of the places Crystal formerly allowed smoking to be objectionable but to complain about an occasional whiff on an open deck is going too far, IMHO.

  4. 1 minute ago, ClefsDor said:

    I can't remember which cruise line it was on, but we recently saw a video where one luxury line had an outdoor area for smokers that was fully enclosed and that was the only place they could smoke and none of the fumes escaped. I would love to see this happen on all cruise ships. It seems to be a win win - smokers have somewhere they can smoke and non smokers don't have to deal with the second hand smoke.

    I would be willing to get behind that if they confiscated all the perfume. Far more objectionable IMHO.

  5. 16 hours ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

    That wasn't the experience I had on Symphony last year. I prefer a dark beer so asked the waiter in the Lido for a recommendation. He recommend La Fin du Monde which is a Canadian version of a Belgian-style beer. It was wonderful but, like many Belgian beers, very high alcohol.

    I agree, the spirit servers have always been a high spot among Crystal's superior staff but last week it was terrible. My daughter does not drink alcohol and ordered a non alcoholic GT Free or some such name. The waitress delivered a G&T. Fortunately she had had one before and I immediately noticed that the drink being offered was clear with lime as opposed cloudy garnished with a cucumber slice. When questioned the bar waitress stared at us blankly, wandered off and eventually came back with the correct drink. No apology just "I didn't know there was such a drink" in very broken English. An older (45+/-) eastern European woman with a long blonde ponytail. It felt as though she were saying it wasn't her fault. I consider this a rather serious mistake to be glossed over. On another occasion, I ordered Dr.Loosen Riesling, and was forced to wait until the sommelier could come to the table to ask if I wanted Sweet or Dry. I told her dry and was poured Sweet. 

      There are still some excellent staff, don't get me wrong, but the only Sommelier I recognized was the one from UmiUma who is celebrating 20 years on board this month. The Avenue bar tender was also excellent, we have sailed with him previously. I am pushing 50 legs with Crystal, probably over 1/2 on Symphony, my favorite ship. I thought maybe the addition of all the river boats and pulling staff to supply them had diluted the talent pool. I'm sure they'll get it together again.

  6. 7 minutes ago, jssabs said:

    Eleven years ago, we took a Symphony cruise that started in Beijing.  As part of the cruise package, Crystal included a complimentary pre cruise shore excursion of the Beijing area (3 or 4 days). I remember that when we went to the Great Wall, there were about 10 or 12 buses since everyone on the cruise had to be transported.  Traffic then was just as bad as the OP described but we had a police escort that allowed us to get through the traffic without any difficulty.  We felt like visiting dignitaries.  If my memory serves me right, we had police escorts to other locations during the pre cruise experience.  Typical of the Crystal experience. We just came back from our 11th Crystal cruise. 

    I was on the legendary Harmony b2b LA/Hong Kong/Beijing in March 2005, the one with the waves crashing over the cameras. We had a 3 day included tour at the end of the cruise. I don't know whether it was organized by Crystal or a ground tour agent but we not only had a front and rear police escort everywhere we went, we also were trailed by an EMS vehicle. Incredible tour, incredibly organized.

  7. 3 hours ago, Shrinkersgal said:

    We are considering a cruise on Symphony but have always sailed on Serenity. Can anyone tell us about the partially obstructed view penthouse cabins on deck 9 (SH). The cost seems the same as the other cabins in the category. Are they worth considering if nothing else in that category is available? The larger size is attractive, but we really don’t want to be staring at a lifeboat when we are in our cabin.



    The deck 9 cabins directly over the lifeboats have no view looking down. Looking out to sea, you wouldn't notice but if you go to the rail and look down (maybe trying to see  pilot transfer) there will be blockage.

  8. 1 hour ago, Nachosdelux said:


    I was under the impression there was no charge for specialty restaurants on Crystal.  Is this correct?  Or is only the first one (At each venue) complimentary?  Does it matter if you are in a PH?



    2 Specialty reservations unless cruise is 14 days or longer then, 4. I believe no charge if in PH or once you're beyond 50 segments. Silk and Charcuseria are included.

  9. Cruise-y,

    Crystal MDR or Waterside is NOTHING like Oceania in terms of service. O (in my not so humble opinion) purposely makes you wait 20-30 minutes to encourage you to order a cocktail - more revenue. Crystal has no such agenda and rather encourages you to have pre dinner drinks in the Cove. 

    The food on Crystal outshines every O venue with the possible exception of Jaques and that I'd call a tie. Do not miss formal (BTO) nights on crystal, be sure to try the lobster with truffled risotto  the first one and create your own surf and turf the second one by ordering a side of crab legs with your prefered main. Keith's advice to go to Umi uma the first night is spot on. This has been our standard for 26 years. If you're a sushi fan make reservations for a second night or go to the Sushi Bar for a fun show and food. The $30 charge is well worth it, it would probably cost you 3 to 4 times as much to duplicate it on land without alcohol. Prego is iconic, the lasagna is unbelievable! 


    I experienced the 2 new deck 11 restaurants last week for the first time. Unless you're very sensitive, don't believe them that the hot and sour soup is "very" hot (8 on a 1-10 scale I was told),  I would say about 2. Food was far better than my local Chinese take out but not as good as the best NY or SF establishments. The Charcuseria was well done and fun, not my favorite on land or sea but a representative example for sure. The Ciparinos (?sp) were very good. If you're cruising somewhere you might want to be looking at scenery during dinner, these would be good nights to select the more casual deck 11 venues.



  10. 12 minutes ago, Cruise-y said:

    Are there beers other than connoisseur?  


    Asahi Dry

    Blue Moon


    Bud Light


    Coors Light



    La Fin Du Monde

    Lagunitas IPA

    Samuel Adams




    from download above and seems to be what I remember from last week but don't expect the waiters to know about anything but Bud or Bud Light. I asked a waiter for a Singha at lunch and he denied their having any.I double checked the list and the next day asked the head waiter.He told a waiter to get it (a different one) and got a blank stare. Poor training, huge crew turn over, deficient English???? In a spectacularly wonderful cruise, spirit service was wanting in many areas.

  11. 16 hours ago, jashah said:



    Has anyone taken similar-aged kids on a 14 night cruise and if so, was it ok? Our goal is to see as much as possible but I worry the kids are going to be exhausted towards the end.





    My grandchildren are now 16,14,14 and 11. Last year I took them (with the parents) on the 14 day London to Monte Carlo cruise. In 2016 we did the 14 day British Isles and in 2014 we did the 14 day Norwegian Coastal  with the 2 older ones. Next year we're doing the Baltic and St.Petersburg and they're bummed it's only 11 days. If you're flying that far go for the 14 days. You get extra reservations in Prego and UmiUma, you really settle in to ship life, the kids will LOVE the fuss that gets made over them by the Lido staff. 

    The one thing I worried about was long dinners, but 3 out of 4 of them really enjoy trying new food and experimenting. The good thing is the fourth one can be excused to go watch a movie after her serving of undressed pasta, steamed plain chicken and raw carrots is done. Where did that one come from? At 13 if your kids don't enjoy Waterside they can certainly fend for themselves in one of the more casual new restaurants or order room service. 

  12. As a frequenter of "steerage" cabins, I prefer Symphony to Serenity. The Promenade deck is 4 steps down so people walking by are at most top of heads. In addition the railings are bars, easier to see through. 

    For laundry facilities, Serenity definitely better with a laundry on Deck 7, Symphony has none on 5 or 7 and they lock up the one on 10 so Lord and Lady Gotrocks are not disturbed by the hoi poloi.

    The Avenue on Symphony is much more comfortable than on Serenity. 

    The Palm Court on Serenity is better, especially the outside decks.

    If you would like to pay the fare, I'll take either happily.

  13. I am a devotee of Crystal, always my go to cruise line, but I have been graciously included in extended family cruises on Norwegian twice in recent years. Twelve on Crystal for Christmas week would be above our budget. The standard window rooms aren't terrible, not Crystal but adequate. Bathrooms are small, closets are almost nonexistent, only seating is 1 desk chair or the bed. We had the dine around package lest time, the French and Steakhouse venues were surprisingly good. There is also a 24 hour pub like included venue which produces a good omelet for breakfast and a nice selection for lunch. I'm not a big buffet fan but Norwegians was well organized and very expansive. Go and enjoy.

  14. I traditionally book Nobu (UmiUma) on embarkation night. Let them get all the kinks worked out in the dining room. Definitely don't book alternative dining on formal (BTO) nights if you have any. If you discover you messed up and the Maine lobster with truffled risotto is being served on a night you have reservations, see the maitre de and ask for it to be served another night.  Guaranteed you won't go hungry. Be sure to try the carpaccio and mushroom soup in Prego and White fish with jalapeno and lobster tempura in Nobu. 

    Stickman's recent blog has a treasure trove of menus, enjoy. I'll be on the July 30th sailing, I'll try to restrain myself and leave some goodies for you.

  15. A friend had a cruise booked and at least deposited when her husband passed away. They were using an upgrade reward so when she replaced her husband with her daughter, she was forced to pay the additional fare from the upgrade and the Crystal Society discount but no other problems. I also had a cruise booked when my husband passed, no problem in replacing him with my friend who was a Society member. Slightly different circumstances and most importantly under previous ownership. 

    You will definitely have to pay the port charges for the second passenger. 

    You are 8 months out from sailing so I would think they might be willing to be accomodating.

    Good luck.

  16. I have not been on Symphony since 2016 but tend to think these reviews are exaggerated. I have never seen a fan in a stateroom in 40 some cruises. The only time I have seen a fan was when they were drying out carpet due to a broken window from a rogue wave. No mention was made of the thermostat setting, did they adjust it? The only place I have experienced extreme heat is in the Grill/Scoops are on deck 11. If it is extremely hot, the AC simply cannot keep up while the sun is beating in. It was 108 F in Portugal last summer and it was probably 80 inside that area. I don't think this has anything to do with age or maintainance but rather extreme circumstances. 

    I will be boarding Symphony in 29 days (not counting much) and will take notes.

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