Esprit Athens to Dubrovnik

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#1
4,547 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Greetings from sunny and warm Corfu, Greece!

We boarded Esprit last Sunday in Athens and since there has not been much of anything posted of late about Esprit, I thought I would add a few thoughts.

Things did not start out well when our airport/ship transfer in Athens failed to appear. After waiting for an hour we grabbed a limo and got ourselves to the pier. We arrived two hours late, but since we were not leaving until 9:00 PM, no harm done. And Crystal took care of the limo expense no questions asked.

We booked this cruise two years ago and I must admit we had a few concerns about sailing such a small ship. I mean, it's a converted yacht, right? I am happy to say our concerns were 100% unfounded. This ship is best described as a "big small ship". While she can easily get lost in a busy harbour, the interior spaces are well laid out, and surprisingly roomy. We expected the Dining Room to be cramped with a lot of tables very close together, but that is not the case. Actually I think there are closer together tables on the two ocean ships, The room can get a bit noisy, especially as it is an "open kitchen", but not so much that normal voiced conversation is not possible. The Patio Cafe for breakfast and lunch is a large step up from the Lido on the ocean ships, with both inside and outside seating and a cook-to-order station front and centre. On the subject of dining, the food in all venues is top-notch, and I dare say, the Dining Room fare has been much better than the ocean ships. The fresh lobster on the second night was airfreighted from Maine live, and each person receives the entire butterflied lobster, in the shell, with the claw arms removed, shelled and served alongside!! The one caveat to the food comment is it is possible to do a lot more, like the lobster, when you only have to serve 62 guests, so these comments are not a slight to the ocean ships.

Of the two bar spaces, The Cove on Deck Four serves more of the function of The Avenue as this is where the piano is. The room is a little small, but is furnished with very comfortable couches, as well as small tables/chairs down each side. Deck 5 is where you find the Sunset Bar at the stern, The Grill, the small (very small!) gym, and the pool, which is more of an oversized hot tub, only not heated, and no water jets! There are lots of comfy lounges, tub chairs and benches in the pool area. The bar seating is generous, with lots of high and low-backed chairs and two long, low couches, plus the bar and bar stools. It can get a little (or a LOT) windy, but it's a great place on a sea day, and for sail outs.

Service? It's Crystal!!! Lots of familiar faces among the staff, including Superman Clark, who is now a Butler, Luigi from Serenity's Tastes, Adrian and Joel from Serenity and a few others. The "new-to-Crystal" staff are uniformly outstanding as well and the entire staff obviously works great together.

If anyone has any questions please do ask. Internet if free and unlimited, though a bit slow, and we will be onboard another week to Venice.

Larry
#2
London, UK
1,678 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Yay!. Thanks for this. Was hoping for reports from the Esprit since we might be going on it later this year. We are braving the fact of downsizing form a 130 passengers + on the Mozart to 62 on the Esprit.
#3
Oregon
1,187 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Thanks for the report. We are considering a Eastern Med itinerary next year. It will be interesting to see if they are still moving the yacht to the Caribbean. The severe hurricane decimated the ports for the Esprit. All of the ports listed on the Carib itineraries are gone. Maybe they can dry dock for the winter or go back to the Seychelles. I vote for the Azores myself. No one listens to me so that isn't likely.

We shall see. Any word on revised new plans?
#4
London, UK
1,678 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
I will be amongst the first with feedback given I'm booked on the Christmas/New Year cruise on tue Esprit.

Unlikely to be dry docked all winter season.


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#5
Florida
4,105 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Roland 4, I first noticed on another thread that you are onboard, and I am so excited for you! Very glad you waited several days to post, so we could have your reaction beyond the missed transfer.

And then JohnKen3 will also be letting us know what's going on, at Esprit. How lucky can we be??!!

Thank you, gentlemen.
#6
4,547 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by ijkh
Thanks for the report. We are considering a Eastern Med itinerary next year. It will be interesting to see if they are still moving the yacht to the Caribbean. The severe hurricane decimated the ports for the Esprit. All of the ports listed on the Carib itineraries are gone. Maybe they can dry dock for the winter or go back to the Seychelles. I vote for the Azores myself. No one listens to me so that isn't likely.

We shall see. Any word on revised new plans?
No word from anyone onboard yet, but it has only been a week. The feeling among the more senior staff is they will still go, and I tend to agree. IMO it would be difficult to re-instate the cancelled Seychelles itineraries at this late date, and there are still lots of untouched ports in the Southern Caribbean they could work from. I assume nothing more in the way of hurricanes has happened in the last week. News from "across the pond" is scant over here.

I also discovered they do not carry guests on the repositionings due to the length of the trips. The top speed of Esprit is about 15 knots, and her best cruising speed is about 10 knots. They are projecting something like 28 days to sail from here to the Caribbean, and during the crossing they will have techs and trades onboard doing work on the interior of the ship. Sort of a mobile "wet dock".
#7
Florida
4,105 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by Roland4
No word from anyone onboard yet, but it has only been a week. The feeling among the more senior staff is they will still go, and I tend to agree. IMO it would be difficult to re-instate the cancelled Seychelles itineraries at this late date, and there are still lots of untouched ports in the Southern Caribbean they could work from. I assume nothing more in the way of hurricanes has happened in the last week. News from "across the pond" is scant over here.

I also discovered they do not carry guests on the repositionings due to the length of the trips. The top speed of Esprit is about 15 knots, and her best cruising speed is about 10 knots. They are projecting something like 28 days to sail from here to the Caribbean, and during the crossing they will have techs and trades onboard doing work on the interior of the ship. Sort of a mobile "wet dock".
How neat! about the repositioning.

There are plenty of Caribbean ports that are untouched, but they already were going to the best ones (much touched), and I highly doubt they will be able to use St. Maarten as a home port. When I say best ones, I mean, the beautiful and the beachy but less touristy.

I think you would've heard if we'd had another direct hit any place. Jose is still TBD, but heading for the northeast (I don't think it will be at your house, though).

Keep enjoying!
#8
4,547 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by May B
How neat! about the repositioning.

There are plenty of Caribbean ports that are untouched, but they already were going to the best ones (much touched), and I highly doubt they will be able to use St. Maarten as a home port. When I say best ones, I mean, the beautiful and the beachy but less touristy.

I think you would've heard if we'd had another direct hit any place. Jose is still TBD, but heading for the northeast (I don't think it will be at your house, though).

Keep enjoying!
We heard today that the Caribbean is a definite, with itineraries TBA. They leave for the Caribbean October 15 from Dubrovnik with a projected arrival in ????? Nov 10. That gives you some idea of timing.

The first seven days ends tomorrow in Dubrovnik and we are off on the second segment, ending next week in Venice.This cruise has far exceeded our expectations!!!
#9
Florida
4,105 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by Roland4
We heard today that the Caribbean is a definite, with itineraries TBA. They leave for the Caribbean October 15 from Dubrovnik with a projected arrival in ????? Nov 10. That gives you some idea of timing.

The first seven days ends tomorrow in Dubrovnik and we are off on the second segment, ending next week in Venice.This cruise has far exceeded our expectations!!!
Thx for the update.


And exceeding your expectations, now THAT is wonderful to hear.
#10
Vancouver, BC
949 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Larry, could you comment on the entertainment? We were so lucky to have Mark doing such an outstanding job that I wonder how the Esprit experience is affected with someone else in that role. Thanks and I'm so glad you're loving your cruise. To me the Esprit is the perfect vessel for the Adriatic itinerary.
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Claudia



#11
4,547 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by claudiaYVR
Larry, could you comment on the entertainment? We were so lucky to have Mark doing such an outstanding job that I wonder how the Esprit experience is affected with someone else in that role. Thanks and I'm so glad you're loving your cruise. To me the Esprit is the perfect vessel for the Adriatic itinerary.
So there is no misunderstanding for others. The entertainment in the evening is much like that on a river cruise, a guy playing the piano. He plays from 7:00 - 8:00 pre-dinner and 9:45 to 11:30. The pre-dinner is light melodies, while the after dinner includes some song, and by 10:30/11:00, he is mostly playing for himself and the barkeeps. We had a fellow named Phil last week (never did get his last name) and Oliver Holland this week. Both were/are good, but not in the Mark Farris mode, which is fine with us since neither of us is a huge fan of Mark's schtick.
#12
London, UK
1,678 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Currently on the Mozart with Charlie James. He has done a few stints on the Esprit as well. He is good and plays a great selection of songs that I would say are entirely suitable for Crystal passengers be it on a large or small vessel. It can be a very group sing-along set of songs.

Interestingly, he does minimal banter between songs which means he ends up working his vocal muscles more rather than breaking up the set with chat. This voyage is a bit of party boat so the guests are working him hard. Sounds a bit like the set-up on the Espirit currently.
#13
482 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Larry, could you comment on whether someone who isn't into water sports and toys would enjoy the itinerary you are enjoying. Would we be bored should we choose to stay onboard at a port? Thanks for your observations.
#14
4,547 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by ChansonDeLaMer
Larry, could you comment on whether someone who isn't into water sports and toys would enjoy the itinerary you are enjoying. Would we be bored should we choose to stay onboard at a port? Thanks for your observations.
Depends on what you would want to do. In the Adriatic/Greek Isles they don't get to use the Marina much. The submersible is not permitted to operate in Greek waters (might steal some antiquities!!), and the Marina was in use twice last week and will be used twice this week. The attraction to this itinerary is the port stops. There is one every day on this segment, and all but one day (not including Hydra where it was too rough to tender) last week in Greece. If the weather is warm, as it was last week, then Deck 5 is the place to be with lots of lounges and comfy chairs for sunning or reading or just doing nothing more than enjoying a glass or several. The weather this week is decidedly cooler and also windy and Deck 5 is rather uncomfortable. I was joking with Luigi after dinner if anyone had gone up to check on Jayson the barkeep to make sure he had not frozen to the bar! If you enjoy some touring and a lot of relaxing, in a warm weather climate/time of year, this is the ship, but this is definitely not a cool/cold weather ship.

I do plan on posting some thoughts on this week's experiences later in the week.
#15
955 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Thank you so much for your Esprit posts. It is nice to draw a mental picture for those of us who are comtemplating a future voyage.
Wishing you a wonderful 2nd half to your adventure!
Caryn
#17
4,547 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Now that we are in the home stretch, some thoughts after a few Croatian ports.

First and foremost, this ship is at its best in warm-weather destinations. After the heat of week one in Greece, the weather turned VERY cool and wet this week. Deck 5 is virtually unusable in this kind of weather. Even though they lowered the wind curtains, any wind from the front of the ship, or when the ship is in motion, whistles the length of the ship and makes the top deck very uncomfortable. They do try and keep the Sunset Bar open, staffed by the loneliest barkeep on the ship.

The corollary to this is that when Sunset is unusable, everyone congregates in The Cove, and it really is not big enough to comfortably accommodate everyone. The ship works best when all of the bars are open and being used.

The food remains top-notch, with both portion size and presentation being excellent. The downside to doing two weeks is the menus do repeat. The upside is that each day has two appetizer options, two soups and three main entrees, so you do not have to duplicate if you don't wish to. Special orders are available with 24 hours notice, assuming they have what you want onboard.

While the cabins are small they are comfortable. The only complaint we have heard this week is it is very hard to regulate the cabin temperature. With the variations in the weather, the cabin is either too hot, or a meat-locker! They do plan to install blinds, so this may help in this regard.

Beyond these few things, we have been very happy with our Esprit experience and it has definitely exceeded our expectations.
#18
Fishers, Indiana
383 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Thanks for your report. We are scheduled to board Esprit on Oct 1 for our first cruise on the ship. We read the Crystal website about the dress code but actually reading it made it less clear to us if the dress code is more casual or not compared to what we have seen on Symphony and Serenity in the past. For example, we are a bit confused about what is appropriate men's footwear for evenings (Yes, I know, its really a first-world problem).

What do you think about these pair of Maians? I think they are appropriately "Yacht themed," but not sure what others think.
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Naoyuki and Richard...Fishers, IN


Future Cruises:
Sapphire Princess May 2018 Scandinavia Roundtrip Southampton
Crystal Mozart March 2019 Budapest to Vienna
#19
Texas
4,041 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by Psoque
Thanks for your report. We are scheduled to board Esprit on Oct 1 for our first cruise on the ship. We read the Crystal website about the dress code but actually reading it made it less clear to us if the dress code is more casual or not compared to what we have seen on Symphony and Serenity in the past. For example, we are a bit confused about what is appropriate men's footwear for evenings (Yes, I know, its really a first-world problem).

What do you think about these pair of Maians? I think they are appropriately "Yacht themed," but not sure what others think.
My theory is that as long as you can't see a man's toes, it's OK! Ladies with nice pedicures are another matter. Yes, I know, that's sexist.

Patty
#20
4,547 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by Psoque
Thanks for your report. We are scheduled to board Esprit on Oct 1 for our first cruise on the ship. We read the Crystal website about the dress code but actually reading it made it less clear to us if the dress code is more casual or not compared to what we have seen on Symphony and Serenity in the past. For example, we are a bit confused about what is appropriate men's footwear for evenings (Yes, I know, its really a first-world problem).

What do you think about these pair of Maians? I think they are appropriately "Yacht themed," but not sure what others think.
Actually the dress code was something of an ongoing joke. What the heck is "Yacht chic"?? Bottom line is we wore exactly what we wear on the ocean ships. Most men wore golf-type shirts with Docker-type pants and some variation of mocks or deck shoes. Some even wore "dress" shorts to dinner in the heat of the first week. The second week was a noticeably older crowd and there were several gents in sport jackets. The ladies, as always, looked great. The bottom line is dress casually comfortable as you would for an evening on the ocean ships and you will be fine. Truth is, no one checks the dress code!

We left the ship in great ship for you, and the weather in the Greek Isles is supposed to be nice and warm so you should be able to use the whole ship comfortably.