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latsyrc

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Posts posted by latsyrc

  1. :)Two points come to mind:

    Specialty Restaurants were always intended to be 1 reservation per person per restaurant until everyone got a reservation. It was that way in the mid 90's and it was intended to be that way now. If people found a way to get 4 per person per restaurant then I hope they are very proud of themselves because they've caused the rest of us a world of hurt!

    When Crystal finally changed their indoor smoking policy, (I do NOT have a dog in that battle, I no longer smoke but don't find it as irritating as perfume) they claimed it was going to take if I remember correctly about 18 months to get it all done. The reason given was that customers who had already booked their cruise ware entitled to the terms and conditions in place when they made the reservation. Why are they entitled to that consideration but we only get 10 weeks notice?

    Crystal could have avoided all of this by instituting the 1 reservation per person per restaurant until day 3 and then opened it up.Friends who wanted to dine together could simply make reservations for the same day and then contact the head waiter to request the necessary table size once they were on ship. At the same time they could have said that if this didn't solve the problem over the course of the next 6, 12, 18 months, there would have to be a charge to achieve crowd control. I think there are remarkably few DYKWIA's on Crystal. Mostly nice folks who would never think to make a 2nd reservation at the expense of a fellow passenger being deprived of the experience.:)

  2. Since this repeat reservation fee was instituted last week PRIOR to Ms. Bornstein's arrival at the helm, perhaps she would like to begin her tenure on a high note, by reversing it and chastising those who instituted it. She would begin her term as a "hero" and receive all kinds of accolades and good will from all of us loyal Crystal cruisers.;)

     

    Wouldn't that be nice (but don't hold your breath).

  3. My own experience over many Crystal cruises, including a virtually full cruse this summer, is that that I was able to make a number of speciality reservations without a great deal of difficulty provided I was prepared to be flexible on days/times.

     

    However I quite accept others will have a different experience.

     

    If some guest in the past have been so using the “speciality” options (e.g. dinning there every night) that it severely impacted on Crystals ability to allow reasonable access by other guests I would have expected a discrete and effective on-board management response.

     

    Tmcmullan, I was on the Black Sea cruise on the Symphony this past summer and I echo your thoughts. The ship was full. We had no trouble getting a reservation in either specialty restaurant as long as we were flexible as to day and time. We don't make our reservations on line because we like to wait until we get on board to go to the specialty restaurants with new found friends. Interestingly, Nobu was on board for this cruise which put an extra demand on Silk Road but we were still able to get a reservation. Again the key is flexibility and working with the maitre'd. In all of our 6 cruises to date on Symphony, we never had a problem as long as we maintained some flexibility and were willing to be waitlisted.

     

    Taking Crystal at its word that the new fee is a crowd control policy, I think it is a classic example of a few passengers abusing a privilege resulting in a rule that harms the large majority of passengers. I think the maitre'd is very capable of identifying the abusers and can manage the reservations accordingly without the need for any fee. While I was pleased to see that Crystal did take note of the high level of protest to the fee and made some adjustments, I am concerned that they will feel that the problem is now solved and will not consider further adjustments or elimination of the fee completely. I also share the concerns of many that this is a sign of the future and that the great Crystal product and experience is gradually being diluted so that Crystal will no longer be unique and special.

     

    Clearly, looking at the volume and content of comments that have been posted since we all learned of the latest adjustments, Crystal has still not eased the concerns of their loyal following. I only hope that they continue to monitor this board.

     

    This has been my experience as well over 21 cruises in the last 15 years, not always the exact day or time but always available except for one head waiter in Silk Road years ago who literally only spoke to Asians. That was easily skirted with Sushi Bar evenings and I haven't seen him around recently.

    I too hope Crystal is listening and reviews their policy, while I was pleased to hear initially that WC guests would be exempted (since I am looking forward to my first WC in 2015) I now feel that it is just as unfair as only allowing those with $$$ to burn to dine in these venues. I still feel an equitable solution would be 1 reservation (either venue) for each 5 nights (or 4 nights or 6 nights) on board and after day 2 (or 3 or whatever) open the bookings to all. Someone might have to grow a backbone and learn to say no but .....

     

    Caryll

  4. Keith

    You are right that there a pluses and minuses for each cruiseline, and it is good to have choice. But that is not the point so many of us are making. To many of us (not all) this change by Crystal undermines the All Inclusive promise by instituting a fee.We see it as a betrayal.

    This fee undercuts the feeling of being at home on Crystal, and is in my mind not needed to control access. We care, as you do, about Crystal, and we think this policy has hurt its brand, its reputation, and we don't want that to be. We urge Crystal once again to rescind this fee, at least until they have allowed the Maitre D' to control access and backed him up when he says no to a guest who wishes to dine at Prego and Silk Road every night.

    Gloria and Steve

     

    Agree wholeheartedly, very well said

     

    Caryll

  5. We have always put off the idea of trying Oceana because we are Crystal devotees since 2007. However after we finish our already booked cruises on Crystal in 2014, we would like to try other lines including Oceana . I think this is considered a premium line and not luxury like Crystal?

    Does anyone know if there are extra charges for the specialty restaurants on Oceana? I am hearing great reviews on them. On Marina and Riviera they have Jacques (French)) Red Ginger (Asian fusion cuisine)

    Toscana (Italian), and Polo Grill (Steak House). I know they also have exclusive venue restaurants like The Vintage Room on Crystal for extra $$.

    I agree with the posters here that Crystal charging $30 pp for crowd control is totally disingenuous. I would suggest Crystal add more dining venues within the existing framework and then they may have an excuse to charge extra $$. They just have not been innovative in terms of cuisine since 2007 (except at Tastes with the Asian comfort food which is only on Serenity) when we first started on the line. Crystal's food quality has always been top notch but it is getting stodgy after seven years of mostly the same cuisine.

     

    I did a 38 day Marina cruise from Tahiti to NYC this spring. I am also a long time Crystal cruiser (21 segments and counting). There is no charge for the 4 Speciality Restaurants on Marina. Personally found the Steak house and the Italian venues very disappointing, no better than Outback and Olive Garden, nothing really wrong but certainly nothing on Prego's level. Red Ginger was interesting and better than Toscano or Polo Grill but not even close to Nobu. The Sushi was premade and mundane, the Miso glazed fish however was very good. All in all I would rate it at 90% of Nobu. Jacques was fabulous, easily on a par with "French" night in the main dining room. I found the attitude of the staff in Jacques to be somewhat aloof. This was unique among Marina venues, maybe they were trying to give us an authentic "French" experience. LOL. The "Vintage Room" venue was very good. I have never done this on Crystal so I can't compare but it was delightful. About 25 people, explanations of the wines served, etc. They even have a salt menu, smoked, red, etc. Really neat! The MDR on Marina was nice but tables were very crowded and service was extremely slow. There was no offer of special ordered items however waiters were willing to leave things off the plate and bring side dishes of vegetables etc. from other entrees. This had to be the hardest working group of waiters I have ever experienced. Everyone seemed to pitch in. The food was overall very good, not quite Crystal IMHO but very good. Unfortunately the bread and desserts were even better than Crystal's. Usually I can stay away from that temptation on Crystal. The cheese service in the MDR was pre plated and boring on Marina, in Jacques it was equal to Crystal.

    The bars and lounges were virtually empty on Marina except for free drink nights. On those nights there weren't enough waiters to take care of people. Liquor is very expensive on Oceania, drinks are watered down, wine is even more expensive. The good news is that you can bring your own on board but that means the lounges are empty as everyone has a pre dinner drink in their stateroom. Oceania's Drink package is $55/person/day, I can't drink that much every day for 38 days! I think the most positive thing about AI on Crystal is the liveliness of the lounges since the inception. I sometimes have a drink before dinner and maybe 1 - 2 glasses of wine with dinner. A drink package doesn't fly and signing for each one annoys me (who knows why but it does)

    We were on a food and wine cruise on Marina. The lectures on that subject were very poor, the wine tastings carried a charge, and the Chef's dinner was only offered in the Lido! (I don't like buffets) Overall the most disappointing thing was the 3 - 4 announcements a day by the cruise director usually about the upcoming Bingo games. Yuk!

    The staterooms are about 40 sq feet bigger than Serenity's balcony cabins but are very poorly organized and felt smaller. Many of the drawers were so shallow as to be almost useless and one in the closet was over my head (I'm 5'10") so I couldn't see what was in it. The baths had closed storage next to the mirror which I really appreciated but no other storage. The much touted separate shower was so small as to be useless, I still used the one in the tub. Maybe it was a safety measure, you couldn't possibly fall - no room!

    Would I do another Oceania cruise? If the fare were low enough and the itinerary was interesting, sure; is Oceania equal to Crystal, not in my opinion.

    I will look forward to your impressions.

  6. I received the following reply from Thomas Mazloum this afternoon:

     

    Dear Mrs. Jeffries

     

    Thank you so much for your e-mail. I’m sure you know how important your feedback is to all of us thus I wanted to make sure that I get back to you as soon as possible.

     

    First, please allow me to clarify one point which may have not been communicated properly or was misunderstood initially: On Cruises 14 days or longer all Guests will be extended 2 (two) complimentary reservations in each Specialty Restaurant. Thus you will be able to enjoy it 4 times without incurring an additional charge. The second reservation will need to be made and confirmed on board the ship, once the sailing begins and is on a space available basis. Looking at your future bookings this essentially applies to some of your future sailings since they are longer than 14 days to begin with. Additionally, we are also looking at introducing some additional benefits to our long term Society Members and you will hear about them soon.

     

     

    Again, thank you so much for your feedback and I look forward to seeing you one day onboard

     

    Warm Regards

     

     

    Thomas Mazloum

    Executive Vice President

    Operations

    Tel: 310 203-4347

    Web: crystalcruises.com

     

    Ok so they are backing down hooray!!! Nowhere in the original announcement did it say anything about extras for over 14 days but it's a step in the right direction for sure.

  7. After calming down from being really angry I think I have finally figured out why I reacted so violently to this announcement: 1) Crystal must think their clientele are stupid and I get very angry when someone treats me as though I am stupid! 2) It is inherently unfair.

    First we were told that it was to enhance our cruising experience by facilitating reservations for all, implying those who got extra reservations were doing so at the expense of their fellow cruisers' vacation. Everyone concurs that Crystal could have easily solved this problem if it ever was a problem. Allow only 2 reservations pre cruise (for normal length cruises, shorty cruise 5- 7 days should get ONLY 1), then second day, on board open the book to extras, limiting the total number of reservations however they see fit. A cooked to order restaurant cannot have every table occupied every minute. If management wanted to, they could even set up automated calls the first day reminding folks to make reservations. People would probably be a lot less likely to complain about not getting reservations if they had received a reminder and not acted on it.

    After the "for the convenience of our guests" lie was exposed, Crystal then suggested (in their response to my post on FaceBook) that it was a surcharge to defray the extra cost. OK, Nobu is expensive, I know that, that is part of what I figure into the overall cost of my vacation. Crystal sold me a ticket under one set of conditions and then changed the conditions after I had no alternative but to accept them. That is inherently unfair. I go back to the days when crude oil prices were sky rocketing, Crystal and most (all)other cruise lines were applying surcharges to fares to cover these unforeseen costs. Crystal however contacted all of their booked passengers and gave them the option to pay for their cruise immediately and guarantee the price or roll the dice on what the fuel surcharge would be when the did pay. That is class, it's fair, it treats their customers like rational, thinking people.

    On another fairness driven topic, whether the surcharge is for crowd control or revenue enhancement, it MUST be applied fairly. If you pay for a 5 day cruise your are not entitled to the same number of reservations as someone on a 21 day segment. It must be driven by a per day of cruise length basis in fairness to all.

    I really hope Crystal will listen, and I am relieved to see signs that they are paying attention. When I wrote to them the first day someone (unsigned Email) responded by cutting and pasting the original announcement, now I see that people are getting responses that their concerns will be forwarded to the proper people and considered. This is a far more positive response.

     

    Caryll

  8. Just found Crystal's response to my Face Book post:

    Crystal Cruises Dear Caryll: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Following guest complaints that it was difficult to get into the restaurants, we designed a policy that we believed to be fairer and would enable every guest to dine in each restaurant. As part of our all-inclusive experience, guests can still enjoy a complimentary dinner in Prego and Silk Road. We believe that $30pp for a subsequent visit, including fine wine and tips, remains a tremendous value for Nobu or Prego cuisine, where a similar meal might cost $200pp on land. That said, we are looking at modifying and clarifying these policies. Until then, there are so many amenities and features included within the Crystal experience, and distinctive to Crystal, that contribute to its luxury value.

  9. I don't "do" Facebook, so I'm curious if this subject is being debated over there as well? ;):confused:

     

    I did post yesterday on Facebook's Home page that they were no longer All Inclusive but have not seen any other posts pop up, will check, maybe Crystal took it down. Still there but very difficult to find unless you're looking for it.

     

    I also wrote to Crystal and complained (nicely) about the new policy. Some nameless individual copied and pasted the press release as an "answer." I have written back but no response as yet. Doubt if I ever will.

  10. Where were all those disappointed people on the nights we ate in either restaurant and it was half empty?

    I have often wondered this myself. I typically make specialty reservations at the 6 months before cruise point when I pay in full to save a little extra money. Seven and seven thirty reservations are never available, this makes sense since seating people at this time means they can only use the table once that evening. I always assumed these "prime" times were put aside for big spenders with lots of nights on Crystal. I can only assume those that "can't get a reservation" passengers adopt a policy of 7:30 or I won't eat there! I have also never had a problem getting a second or third reservation for either restaurant by being just a little flexible.

     

    I am also anxiously awaiting Crystal's spin on how they are NOT charging for food, only the reservation but then charge for the Sushi Bar where there are NO reservations. Should be very entertaining.

  11. Got a reply from Crystal. Don't know about you but this sounds to me like a re-vomit of the press release - complete BS.

    Dear Ms. Schenker,

    Thank you for your email. Our unique Specialty Restaurants are meant to be enjoyed by all of our guests, equally. It is with this in mind, that we have revised our policy to ensure all our guests have at least one opportunity to enjoy each of these restaurant during their voyage. Beginning in January, 2014, each stateroom/suite will be able to book one reservation per voyage in Prego and one in Silk Road on a complimentary basis via our online guest check-in & reservations portal, PCPC - Priority Check-In and Planning Center. Once on board, if a guest chooses to dine again in one of the specialty restaurants he/she will be accommodated on a first come-first served reservation basis for a nominal fee of $30 per person.

     

    The $30 fee is a reservations fee that is intended to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the specialty restaurants equally. We have found that many guests enjoy the specialty restaurants and book every evening in their favorite venue. Unfortunately, that does not allow all of our guests to enjoy these restaurants throughout the voyage. With this policy we hope to ensure that all our guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the Specialty Restaurants during their cruise. Note: There is no additional charge for the food, the all-inclusive wine, spirits and beers, and gratuities.

     

    We look forward to welcoming you all aboard.

    Kind regards,

    Passenger Services

     

    I find this reply EVEN more annoying than the original announcement!

  12. This is NOT nickel and diming, it is FULL BLOWN HIGHWAY ROBBERY! My last cruise, the specialty restaurants were largely empty except for officers! Instead of charging me, maybe they should institute a guests first policy. I too am reconsidering WC 2015 with this announcement, unfortunately I have already bought air tickets for 2014. I have no problem with 1 reservation in advance, I have no problem with no second reservations until day 3 or 4 so everyone gets a chance to make one but why let the seats go empty or be filled by officers? Let the downgrades begin.

  13. My first cruise was on the Crystal Harmony in March 1996. My second (even though you didn't ask) was on the Regal Empress (is she still around?) in August of the same year. Talk about from one extreme to the other! And yes I am firmly hooked.

     

    Caryll

  14. Thanks, Keith, for the info on 8029. Is there a site to get the cabin information from? I have really detailed info on Celebrity cruise cabins from members on Cruise Critic who have made extensive charts for the Solstice class, and there are "best and Worst " cabin posts.

    Anything similar for Crystal?

     

    Judy

     

     

    PS I forgot to mention that I LOVE the FREE self service laundry - I think that is just terrific!!

     

    Roy (rafinmd) has a posting of obstructed cabins on Symphony you may wish to check out.

     

    http://costalexploration.blogspot.com

     

    Other than what you can see on the deck plans (larger balconies forward and aft for example) I think the staterooms are about the same.

     

    Caryll

  15. Jayeyeff: Good point.

     

    Hmmm . . . I wonder if "C2-Deck 7, Deluxe Stateroom with Large Picture Window Slightly Limited View" is considered an upgrade from D.

     

    I think so (but don't tell Crystal!) The obstructions on 7 are minimal and you can always get out onto the deck if something interesting is going by. I was on 5 last summer (because the cabins we needed weren't available on 7) and did not think it was an upgrade.

  16. Joy,

    What a pleasure it is to sit in the Avenue Saloon before dinner and to see you and Pete in there, looking good, listening to the music, and enjoying your cocktails. It adds some class to the joint! So, as I said to you on a different thread: I hope that we get to sail with the two of you again.

    When any of us schedule a cruise this far into the future, I think that the phrase "God willing" applies to all of our plans.

     

    That phrase (according to my Mother) is God be willing and the "cricks" don't rise. Sorry I didn't ask her where she learned it.

  17. Typically all evening shows for Early Seating are after dinner. Shows for late seating have tended in recent years to vary. The production shows are still scheduled after dinner but the others are typically scheduled before dinner. Hope this helps and I don't think there is a set policy, may also vary by itinerary.

    Caryll

  18. Third berths on Crystal are couches which pull out into single beds, no overhead bunks.

    I have stayed in most of the mid ship 7th floor cabins on Symphony and never heard a sound, much quieter than other lines where you can hear drawers being closed, etc.

    Enjoy your cruise.

  19. If you really are set on Santorini in April 2014 you can chose between Silver Wind 4/14 Monte Carlo to Istanbul @ $4350 for 11 nights($5450 balcony) or Oceania Riviera 4/21 Barcelona to Athens @$2849 for 10 nights ($4049 balcony). If it were my vacation I would postpone it until 5/7 and take Crystal Istanbul to Venice for $3568 for 11 nights ($4806 balcony) I have never traveled Silver Seas so cannot comment but am due to leave on Oceania in 5 weeks and find them to be nickel and diming me to death by comparison to Crystal. Drinks are extra ($55/day/person) laundry is charged for, if you go a day early they charge air deviation, extra for transfers EVEN WITH THEIR AIR. Can let you know in June if they are up to Crystal in other regards.

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