Currently onboard Crystal Symphony- Capetown to Mauritius 2018

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Maine and South Carolina
178 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
This cyclone looks very dangerous. Stay safe cruisers though I am sure the Captain will keep you out of harm's way. I wonder if folks getting on the next cruise will be able to get there.
Cheshire UK
2,321 Posts
Joined May 2004
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Western New Providence
92 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
We’re currently staying at the Oberoi Mauritius waiting out the storm. As of 7:30am the winds have picked up with intermittent rain. We normally live in the Atlantic hurricane zone so we’ve got plenty of experience and respect for these storms.

Aside from putting a dampener on our plans (we left Reunion Island early the day before yesterday) the storm seems to just be a nuisance. I don’t think it’ll be a problem for Symphony’s arrival.

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Crystal Symphony - Port Louis-Valparaiso January 22, 2018
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Toronto, Canada
6,969 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Yesterday, I took a needed sea day break but will continue later today.

In regards to the cyclone, the ship took a different route to get to reunion island. The captain decided to go up the Africa coast between Madagascar and Mozambique to protect the ship from the rough seas. Today we are in open Indian Ocean with some rain and slight tossing. At this point everyone is waiting patiently for the ship to hear back from both islands but the plan is both islands are still on.
Toronto, Canada
6,969 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Emdee's DD is back in action after a tiring day of doing nothing.

I was going to start off this next portion about the room but as other posters complained on their threads there is something more important:

I love having free internet and can say from 2016 they have upgraded their systems to even allow me to access my company's VOIP (not possible in my earlier crystal cruises). The guys working in the internet room have all been friendly and honest and helpful. I truly feel sorry for them at times with our questions how to get reflections or menus, how to connect on my iphone or ipad, or how many devices can be connected?

But with a benefit comes a major negative.... The change in dining. Everyone is connected all the time on the cruise and sometimes everyone at the table is on one device or even two rather than conversation. Mostly, it does not bother me if passive however today there were a few circumstances that made me join BAN the phones/ipads from the dining venues group.

In Prego, someone watched a video with full volume for 10 minutes. Normally, everyone thinks it is going to be the 33 year old but in this case he was significantly older. The less annoying but still irritating was the emails on the phone in Prego... it very dark there and the light from the ipads/iphones act as a beacon to lost ships at sea. In another venue I saw someone on facetime during dinner.

I admit at breakfast and lunch with my family I edit some of my safari pics on my phone but only when among my parents. I do see the enforcing of proper etiquette a major issue for staff and suggest Crystal gets rid of wifi signals in some of the dining areas OR like Asiana Airlines force everyone to watch a video about manners after the muster drill.
Toronto, Canada
6,969 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Now I spoke about the Internet on to the Room.

I am in 8063, which is an extremely limited view room. I love that is has more light than my previous 8067 but hate that randomly there are men outside my window doing work on the muster boats every few days.

New TV- I love the size however some may find it too big. The major problem is the entertainment choices for movies and tv shows are very limited. I have already complained on board and given the head of production here a list of all time classics such as Mr. Bean, Roman holiday, James Bond, etc. There are only about 50 movies, with some of them being third tier comedies such as Masterminds?? and very limited foreign films. The head of production mentioned that the videos change each quarter. The other note for Apple users, is the TV is more windows and android friendly.

The rest of the room is the same as before and is fine for max of 2 people.

Bath toiletries- here is an area that Crystal needs to work on ASAP. I bring my own and learnt that from my first crystal cruise but for a number of first timers on the ship, they are in shock. Lines like Seabourn and Regent have a selection of 2 or 3 choices. As others have commented the Musk is very strong smell and even if they had other Etro selection would be a step in the right direction. I mentioned this to Daniele (future cruise agent), who said he will make the suggestion to crystal.

Housekeeping- mine on the past two cruises have been the worst but Rosalie is doing a way better job AND way neater than me.
139 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
We were on Symphony from 9th December until 8th January, and also found the evening dining spoiled every night by the constant usage of phones and other electronic devices by fellow passengers. The 6 people seated at one table each had their phones switched on during the whole meal and were either watching YouTube clips on full volume or receiving/sending messages. The constant noise of the messages was akin to sitting by an elevator as it rang out the floors! Staff were powerless to do anything about this unacceptable behaviour, despite complaints.
Something needs to be done to ensure that phones etc aren’t used at the dinner table. I did suggest to Slavko that the redundant ice buckets could be used to house these devices - with or without the ice!
San Francisco Bay Area
214 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
The use of phones with volume on and Facetime, etc. at the dining tables would drive me out! (taking a picture or looking at something silently would be OK) If I could hear any of this at a shared table or at one of the very close tables I would have to say something to the "offenders". I wouldn't be surprised to see that on the more "mass market" lines, which is precisely one of many reasons I prefer Crystal. I'll be on Symphony in 2019 for my longest cruise to date and sure hope the Hotel management has resolved the issue by then. Emdee's Daughter has a good idea, is is possible to block WiFi only in the dining venues? How do other people feel about this? Am I just a fuddy duddy?
101,396 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
DD of Emdee, two suggestions.

I would note on your post cruise evaluation comments about the use of devices.

At the same time I would suggest that you or your parents speak with the Hotel Director about this. As they do with other items it might be a good idea that something is highlighted in Reflections asking that guests in respect of the other guests not play videos or other devices in public areas without ear buds and to refrain talking on cell phones in all restaurants or something along these lines.

I seem to remember that in the old days (but I could be wrong) that wifi was not available in restaurants and I think that would be a good idea.

Glad that you all are enjoying the cruise.

Toronto, Canada
6,969 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Bodogbodog- So far the storm seemed to barely affect Reunion Island. In fact we were very lucky according to our guide in seeing the volcanic crater (normally covered in mist).

Keith1010- thank you for both of your suggestions. We already spoke to the hotel director about a shore excursion gone wrong but will put in my comments. I think this is an area that crystal will have to figure out how to address with certain guests.
Sydney, Australia
6,271 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Thanks for that update Emdee - great to hear that you didn’t have to experience the brunt of it. Have a great time en route to Australia - are you on until Sydney?
Toronto, Canada
6,969 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Emdee's DD back for last departments i feel need to be discussed:

Concierges- Both Natalie and Melanie are wonderful representatives here. We were fortunate in Asia 2015 to meet Melanie (when she worked in the casino) and naturally love to chat with her. They both have great personalities and are very professional especially when things have gone wrong. The same can be said about all the kind ladies who work at the front desk.

Security Staff- They are amazing gentlemen, who do their job professionally but politely and always kindly reminds a guest if they left something behind. Sometimes on other ships this department can be caught in the security attitude but these guys are never that on this cruise. I want to especially thank them for helping my mom find her ipad left during a shore excursion.

Shore Excursions: One word is missing here: ORGANIZATION!!!! Jim's team is very polite, personable and helpful but based on my crystal cruise in Europe, Asia and Africa they are providing a 3 star experience on the actual excursion. I have to compare this to Regent, Paul Gauguin, Azamara and even Celebrity who have all chosen amazing restaurants or provide a nice fruit break with a beautiful view.

I will speak about an unfortunate experience at Richard's Bay. We were taken on 1.5 bus ride to the St. Lucia Reserve and while on the boat, a private excursion from golf group on Crystal proceeded to kick us off the boat. Some of the crystal representatives did not stand up for us and our guide said the polite thing to do is let them have the boat. The reality was the operator double booked. We opted to come back to the ship since my mother needs to take her medication rather than wait additional 2 hours for the golf group to finish. These things happen and can happen on all of the above cruise lines however crystal left us with a bad taste how they handled it afterwards. We came back 1.5 hours later and nobody from shore excursions or senior management was on the dock to apologize. Only after insisting to speak to the hotel director and suggesting an apology was needed, everyone got a letter stating we will get a refund/apology. This was simply not enough for majority of cruisers here, who all wasted 4 hours of our time on an excursion that didn't happen. A number of these cruisers on my bus are first time to crystal and shocked about how we could be treated as second class citizens. None of the passengers were asking for a free cruise but at least a senior officer should have personally apologized to every person since this was a waste of our day and opportunity to see Richards bay or some other way rather than a refund and standard apology letter.

I have chosen to wait till my final excursion today with crystal was completed to give a proper analysis and feel that the lunch provided in Reunion was not up to the standard. I hope Tom's team will read and take these comments seriously since this is a Major area that brings the crystal product down excluding the website issues.

Tomorrow will be last full day left on Crystal for 2018... My next one booked 2019. I am sad to be leaving even if all didn't go well. Overall, another great cruise and glad to finally say I saw the Garden Route of South Africa.
Sydney, Australia
6,271 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Emcees DD - can you say hi to Melanie, the lovely Australian from Brisbane, from Terry & Kerry from Sydney - we too met her initially in the casino and were thrilled to see her on the Concierge Desk

We shared NYE 2016/17 with her mother who came onboard to spend time with her and experience the Sydney fireworks. It’s nice when the crew can have their family visit with them

That Richards Bay excursion (or more correctly non excursion) sounds like a classic and right up there with some I’ve heard of (still doesn’t beat our NYE in Sydney mess though). Sorry you had to experience that and didn’t receive a personal apology
Toronto, Canada
6,969 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Originally posted by Bodogbodog
Emcees DD - can you say hi to Melanie, the lovely Australian from Brisbane, from Terry & Kerry from Sydney - we too met her initially in the casino and were thrilled to see her on the Concierge Desk

We shared NYE 2016/17 with her mother who came onboard to spend time with her and experience the Sydney fireworks. It’s nice when the crew can have their family visit with them

That Richards Bay excursion (or more correctly non excursion) sounds like a classic and right up there with some I’ve heard of (still doesn’t beat our NYE in Sydney mess though). Sorry you had to experience that and didn’t receive a personal apology
Hi bodogbodog, will mention the hi to Melanie and agree it’s wonderful the crew can have their family onboard. Sadly, back to work for me after Mauritius.

We did receive an apology from the hotel director during our meeting but feel for all the others on the shore excursion, who didn’t get a personal apology.
549 Posts
Joined Jan 2015
Sorry to hear about your experience in Richards Bay and I agree with you about the shore excursions. We were on the previous cruise and experienced many poor excursions that were a waste of our time and money. Very poor restaurant choices (and I'm talking about Cape Town which has a multitude of good restaurants to choose from), bad communication and organisation and quite frankly tours to places and sites that were ridiculous. We did get some refunds but it's the missing time that can't be replaced. I hope Crystal is taking note of these missteps because it could turn new Crystals cruisers off trying the line again. We have cruised with Crystal 5 times now so whilst it was annoying and disappointing there is much that we love about Crystal and a few shore excursion problems don't have the same impact on us that they would have to new to Crystal passengers.
Toronto, Canada
6,969 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
This is Emdee...

My problem with the botched excursion was that both the tour operator and the Crystal escorts just rolled over and played dead. Then instead of bringing us back to the ship tout suite they made us change buses and hang around before they came to any decision. As a result we got back too late to do anything.

The golf group were also very inconsiderate. When asked for each party to have an hour ‘s excursion they refused to budge and were heard on board saying they were glad to have kicked us off our excursion.

Other luxe lines would have management waiting for us at the dock and apologizing. Instead only after our complaint did the passengers get a letter.