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Judith02

It's April 3rd -- Welcome home March 24th cruisers from the Symphony

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Hi everybody. I'm not going to start naming names because there are too many of you for my senior mind to remember. Hope you all -- Crystal Society members and new passengers -- had a wonderful time. Please EVERYBODY post your reports on your cruise.

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just returned from symphony everything onboard was great. quite a stir was created when it was announced that harmoney was moving to japan. they had a big week booking future cruises onboard. any other questions please ask.

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Had a restful time, as usual. This was our 10th on Crystal. Really surprised to see so many newbies. One cocktail party was devoted only to newbies and heard they gave them all 30% off coupons for their next cruise.

 

Also, saw the remains of cabin 5020 after the damage from the storm during the Antartica cruise. They were waiting for new furniture to arrive before re-opening the cabin. Heard the people on board were not hurt (Thank GAWD) but were somewhat in shock. I would be in shock too having been woken up in the middle of the night with a blown out window and water rushing into the cabin!

 

There were around 40 children on board, not bad considering it was still the Easter Holiday vacation. A lot of people from New York, Florida and California were on board. Tours were nice on Antigua, Barbados and St. Lucia. There really weren't any great tours on St. Bath to speak of other than an hour and 1/2 snorkel trip.

 

All too soon, the cruise ended and we are back to reality waiting for August to arrive for our next cruise.

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Just returned home from the cruise, and had a wonderful time on our first Crystal cruise. As Ritty pointed out there were many newbies, but this was attributed to the American Express contest that many of us won (twenty couples all together).

 

We met some great people and I thank everyone on the forums here for the great insight provided prior to the cruise! I will provide a full review in the coming weeks, as well as a link to my website with over 600 pictures from the trip! :)

 

The only negative item that I can think of is that the dining room service didn't seem to live up to it's reputation. Many missed items, drinks were impossible to get on a regular basis. However we ate in Prego once and Jade Garden twice where it was perfection. My wife and I both had a bug for a couple days during the cruise, but we still fit in everything we wanted to do.

 

Tom & Kristin

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This was our first Crystal Cruise and we had a great time. The weather couldn't have been better, and the ports exceeded all expectations for us, with the exception of St. Barts. We had never been there, unlike the other islands and were really looking forward to it, and were very disappointed. Never felt more unwelcome ever. The shops were grossely overpriced (imho). We went to St. Jeans beach and wanted to rent chairs and hang out for the day. This may seem petty on an overall basis but they wanted 26 euro's per chair for the day. Given what we spent, it was really just a drop in the bucket, but I just couldn't do it - it seemed like a total rip off; so we went back to the ship and hung out by the pool and had a perfect day anyway. With St. Marteen just a stones throw away, it was unfortunate that we didn't go there. Beaches are fantastic, shopping is good (I'm not that bit a shopper and didn't buy anything) except another cruise in July 2006 to the Greek Islands!

 

The service, especially our stewardess was outstanding (Kristzina). She was in and out while we were at breakfast. When I called to have my husband's tuxcedo shirt cleaned she was literally there in seconds. All of the waiters at the Lido were wonderful as those around the pool. Always asking if we needed anything or wanted anything to drink.

 

The one issue we had was in the dining room. The first evening was open seating due to the late sailing. We sat with two lovely couples, one from Florida and the other from Canada and had a very nice time. On the second night we were escorted to our assigned table. We booked this cruise last October and requested a table for 2. When our documents arrived, we were confirmed late seating, table for 2. However, once aboard we were assigned to a table for 8. We did get a temporary table for 2 that night, the last table in the back and were told that this was temporary and there weren't any other table for 2 available because the ship was sold out. Also, we were told that this was our 5th cruise and we were sitting with people we were traveling with. This was our first cruise on Crystal and we were traveling alone. Ultimately, this was resolved, and we did get a table for 2 - I was okay with it but my husband wasn't happy with the location. It was right by the waiter's station (not our's) and there was quite a bit of rushing around. It was pretty clear that this table was dropped in where there was space available. Actually we did get into both Prego and Jade Garden twice (the food was outstanding, service outstanding) and much for subdued and quiet so actually it worked out fine. I did hear a lot of talking about how this trip was sold out and how people were used to the ship being 2/3rd's or 3/4's full. I can't help but think that the dining room was a little overwhelmed by it being a full ship. The entree's exceeded all expectations, but the appetizers and soups were a little disappointing (excluding the soft shells, shrimp cocktail and the crab and spinach tarts). I just think they could have been more exotic but that's just personal taste.

 

We missed the cruise critic cocktail party - we received an e-mail from Travelingator before we left - and the dates and times changed and we were unaware of this. We did get to meet OwlCPA for drinks and breakfast one day and had a very nice time.

 

I would say about 30% were new cruisers by the size of the cocktail party and about 30 children. Hardly every saw them and when we did they were very well behaved.

 

On arrival, we were 3 hours late getting in and 2 hours late getting home. Not too bad and our luggage arrived. There was a couple who didn't get there luggage until we arrived in St. Thomas.

 

Kudo's to the Casino staff - they were all very friendly and overall wonderful. As you can probably tell, I walked away with some of their money. LOL.

 

Overall - great trip and we'll do it again on the Symphony in 2006.

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We have vacationed in St. Barts a few times and stay at Le Toiny. The resort is beautiful and on the remote side of the island. All the shopping is in Gustavia and very pricey due to the weak dollar.

 

The people who live there were not happy that cruise ships would be brining us lowly Americans to their ritzy island. Most that live there are very rich Parisians and behave in their typical Parisian fashion.

 

My partner is french and refuses to go to Paris because of their attitude towards Americans. We do love the southern region of France where the Parisian attitude does not exist.

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CateW, thanks so much for your review. Despite a a few things, it sound like you had a great time and even booked for 2006. I was on the Symphony a couple of weeks before your cruise and thought it was great. Sorry that you had so much trouble in the main dining room, it's usually not like that.Since the ship was full, did you experience any lines or waiting? Once again, thanks for the post. Nancy

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We arrived home in CA late last night. Back to work EARLY this morning....UGH!

 

Overall, we had a great cruise (our 2nd w/Crystal). We did experience similar dining disappointments as CateW and Tcrandel noted. We felt the same way....the dining room was simply overwhelmed with a full ship. We were confirmed for late seating with a request for a table for two. When we visited the infamous Remi, he said we were at a table for six and was unable to give us a table for two. He said to check back with him in a couple of days, but that wasn't necessary as our table for six turned out to be the people we sponsored under STEX! We enjoyed dining w/Benita and her husband Michael as well as their friends. I'm sure it was no coincidence that Crystal paired us as dining companions since our bookings were linked under STEX.

 

As to specifics with the dining, we felt food presentation was lacking the first few days of the cruise. This was in contrast to our cruise aboard Harmony last June (not a full sailing) where everything they set in front of us was a work of art. The presentation did improve, however, as the Symphony cruise progressed. By the last formal night, presentation was similar to our experience on Harmony.

 

Our Asst waiter was lacking. He had a hard time keeping water glasses full, and delivering dessert beverages. Nearly every night, we were taking our last bites of dessert before beverages arrived.

 

Our wine steward was fine, but again very rushed due to the full dining room. There just wasn't time for any of the small chat we enjoyed on Harmony.

 

Lido, Bistro, Jade and Prego....all very good. The staff in the Lido is phenominal. How I miss Norman keeping my coffee filled this morning as well as Victor and his amazing waffles! We did have trouble some mornings finding seating outdoor aft on the Lido. Again, just another example of a full ship......

 

We very much enjoyed Hope Mihalap, one of the guest lecturers. She even added a 4th session due to popular demand. I appreciate the fact Crystal posts the entertainment/speaker line up on their website as I enjoy searching out these people on the Internet before we sail. I ordered Hope's book and it arrived just days before we sailed. It was fun to read her book while attending her lectures.

 

Also great was pianist Bernard Walz. He performed two concerts, one pop the other classical. Can't forget Colin in the Avenue Saloon either. We enjoyed his soft piano music before dinner, as well as his more rambunctious late night cabaret!

 

Add me to the ranks of those who prefer the Palm Court on Harmony vs Symphony. We enjoyed all the Captain and Crystal Society functions held in Palm Court on Harmony vs the Starlite Club on Symphony. No comparision in venues!

 

As to the Crystal-sponsored Cruise Critic gathering, it unfortunately got a little confusing. Travelingator emailed everyone just prior to sailing that it would be held on Fri March 25, based on his information from Mr Valdez. When we boarded the ship on the 24th, however, there was a formal invitation in our stateroom saying it would be held THAT evening in the Palm Court at 7:45pm. This was a bit ackward as open seating dining was going on that night. If you were booked for late seating, but BOARDED the ship early (at Noon like many of us) we were given "passes" for EARLY open seating. All in all, 7:45pm on embarkation night was just an ackward time, in my opinion. Hats off to Travelingator, however, for all his efforts. We were still able to meet a few Cruise Critic people, such as Travelingator, OWLCPA, etc throughout the voyage.

 

I'll post more as I think of things and wake up a little more!

 

By the way, Judith, I reminded Remi you're coming April 25. He beamed when I mentioned your name and said he's got your table all ready........

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Hi Beav. Glad you enjoyed your cruise. Before I forget. When you get early seating or late for the first night and don't want it, just ask for the opposite and it will be exchanged. No problem. I'm surprised they had open seating because for the past year, they have had regular seating for the first night. Larry and I and our friends adore Remi. He keeps a picture of all of us with him in his office -- right next to his teenage daughter and his four legged son, a German Shepherd. Crystal is a family affair with them. His adorable single brother Rafael is a sommelier (sometimes in Prego and sometimes in the dining room); his sister is assistant head housekeeper; and his wife has been an occasional stewardess. By the way, "our table" as he put it is where ever he or Leo put us. We've been all over the place. Sometimes he adds extra people to us and our friends because he knows we will be friendly and welcoming. They try very hard to match people up. NO, I don't thing the STEX mix seating was any accident. I'm sure Crystal notifies them of matches. If you don't want to sit with your match for any reason, just specifiy with whom you wish to sit on your cruise form.

 

Sorry about your party. I had expected it to be the first sea day just like ours was in September; that morning party at 11 a.m. had worked out great for almost all of us -- two (you know who you are!) slept through it. 7:45 -- I've commented on my questionnaire that whether it is for a party or a concert -- is a terrible time for anything. Too early to get there from the early dinner and runs too late to be in time for the late dinner. They often have concerts in the Palm Court at that time and people walk in late or leave early.

 

The Palm Court on the Serenity is more like the one on Harmony with the bar in front with separate seating and ceiling to floor windows and a larger dance floor. The Captain's parties are in there. We love to go to the parties and we dance and dance, but we find the Starlight lounge to be too small and crowded. The Stardust Lounge on Serenity is smaller but used as more of an entertainment supper club type venue rather than the lectures and parties on Symphony.

 

Was there any reaction to the transfer of the Harmony? We've heard the bookings for the last cruise have gotten heavy. Mexican Riviera in November. Did you book another cruise while you were on board. Who was the sales representative -- Randall or Kelley? We will need to shift all our 2006 booking while we are on board. Everything I picked got eliminated! I may put up a dart board and use that to pick our 2006 locations! Judith

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Hi Beav, welcome back and thanks for posting. I think they did the open seating the first night because the cruise left at 9pm. I think on cruises that depart earlier, they are doing normal, assigned seating the first night. Sorry that the dining room experience was not up to par. Overall, it sounds lilke you had a great time. Boy am I glad that I booked our Alaskan cruise this year! Sorry we're not going on the same one but hope to meet you one day. Once again, thanks for posting and welcome home. Nancy

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Nancygp, no lines waiting. The only time I really waited for anything was booking reservations for Prego and Jade Garden. I was number 20 and they were taking number 13 when I arrived. Not too bad. I was only disappointed, because of all of the exceptional things I've heard from others on this board. I would say that my disappointment was pretty low on the rictor scale though.

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Judith,

 

Kelley was training Billi Hare to be the next Future Cruise consultant. Actually he was taking all the new bookings with Kelley at his side for any questions. Kelley was to leave for vacation after the March 24 cruise. I suspect you'll have Billi aboard on your sailing. He's new to future cruise sales coming from the Concierge Dept on Serenity. Although we're already booked for Harmony May 30, we did book the Nov 8 Mexico sailing (next to the last cruise). However, there's a strong possibility we'll switch that one to the Symphony Canada/New England repo Montreal-Ft Lauderdale.

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Hi Beav, welcome back and thanks for posting. I think they did the open seating the first night because the cruise left at 9pm. I think on cruises that depart earlier, they are doing normal, assigned seating the first night. Sorry that the dining room experience was not up to par. Overall, it sounds lilke you had a great time. Boy am I glad that I booked our Alaskan cruise this year! Sorry we're not going on the same one but hope to meet you one day. Once again, thanks for posting and welcome home. Nancy

 

Hi Nancy,

 

Yes, the dining inefficiencies were more comparisons to our Harmony sailing than anything else. Still a great cruise! Glad we booked Alaska too since they're taking Harmony away from us. Sorry we're not on the same sailing, though....

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Beav, my first cruise on the Symphony last summer was perfect in every way! Our cruise wasn't sold out but was more than 3/4 full. The service in the dining room was superb! I my mini cruise I only ate in the dining room one night and it was just as good as the last time. HOwever, that cruise had about 700 to 750 passengers. The specialty restaurants were great, my favorite is Jade Garden. How does Kyoto compare to Jade Garden? I wish we could do 2 more cruise this year, oh well. I thought we'd do the Baltics but my husband rather wait on that and do one of the New England itineraries on the Symphony. The pricing for the Baltics is more than we can justify right now condsidering the cost of the flight and any pre or post trip we would do plus the time involved. Well, the Baltics will be there for us in the future. Once again, welcome back and thanks for all of your posts. Nancy

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Hi Beav, Glad to see you arrived home safely. Great meeting you and Gary. As a newbie, who had travelled many times on Celebrity, Holland American, and Royal Caribbean, not to mention the late, great Renaissance, I was really looking forward to trying the grand dame of them all - Crystal. We found a lot of positives and a few negatives, but overall had a great time.

The positives - superb food everywhere. Crystal's food just makes everybody elses pale by comparison. Prego and Jade Garden were just marvelous and even an average meal in the dining room was better then a great meal on the other lines.

The Bistro was also great - we tried every variety of coffee - the iced cappuchinos with chocolate sauce were our favorites. We also loved the two themed buffets poolside and the 50s party with the milkshakes (yes, I gained a few pounds). Free soft drinks were also a plus.

Although the ship was full, we never had trouble finding a lounge chair by the pool. The absence of music made for nice relaxation.

We took a few digital photography computer courses and found them very helpful and fun. The library had a great selection of books as well.

Now for the negatives - Crystal has the smallest basic cabins of any cruise line that we have sailed. Unless you paid for the very expensive tenth deck the cabins were tiny. Granted, we don't spend a huge amount of time in the cabins,but a little moving about room would have been nice.

I enjoyed the entertainers, but would have loved to see one piece performed by the singer, or bands that was written after I was born (and I am not that young).

All in all, however, we had a great cruise.

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You would not be referring to us? LOL On the Sept. Cruise we did over sleep.:mad:

It would be nice for CC to have a cocktail party before main seating. You can be assured that we will be there.:D

 

We need a rest and very much looking forward to the April 25th crossing. BTW, we are staying in Lisbon for three days and continuing on to Madrid for two days. Dan and I are going to a bull fight.:eek: This is not exactly my sort of venue.

 

We will see you both soon.

 

Miles

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You have a guilty conscience. I was actually thinking of another cc poster who told me he and his wife slept through the party. I'd forgotten that you and Dan did also.

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I had an absolutley wonderful time. Best cruise I have ever had. Beav sponsored me but less than 30 days before the cruise sailed and there was much confusion at the desk about whether or not I get my credit, not because of the 30 day rule as far as I can tell, but because they somehow thought I was sponsoring Beav. When I have a chance I'll write to LA and see if I can get a credit on my credit card.

 

As to the full ship I hardly noticed it. I never had a problem getting a table outside at breakfast, but I am an early riser. People would ask to sit at my table or I would tell the wonderful Norman (who left for three months vacation in the Phillipines the day the ship docked) that I wanted to sit outside and he would find me a place with someone. Invariably the people that joined me were pleasant and fun and towards as the cruise went on the same couple joined me for breakfast most mornings. I had breakfast and coffee and a number of fun chats with Beav and Gary during the cruise and they gave me many tips about crusing and travel sites.

 

I am an early bird so I had dinner at the first seating. As I was alone I asked for a table of 8. The first night at the table my heart sank when I found I and two ladies from New Mexico, who were close friends having a holiday without their husbands, seemed to have been put at a staff table: the cruise minister and his wife, the cruise priest, the computer teacher and his wife and a guest host. I turned out to be the most fun table that I had ever been at. Everybody was very funny and they had been on many different lines and had countless wonderful stories about their experiences. The dining room service was slow. It was not the waiter's fault as the pros said he had more people to serve than most of the other waiters, however we were having such a good time that we didn't really care.

 

The cabin was one of the smallest that I have been on but it was so beautifully planned and appointed that I didn't mind at all. The ship sparkled. In a futile attempt to stop my midriff from spreading I never took the elevators and went up and down the stairs. Invariably early in the morning there were several people polishing the brass on the stairs and landings.

 

St. Bart's is snotty because it has become too jet setty. The nice rich French (there are actually some of them) despise it. I went there several times in the early '70's and it was fine. I have friends who rent a house there every winter and say it is still nice if you know where to go (or not to go), but Gustavia and St. Jean are two of the tourist traps. The people who live there year round feel the way about the tourists (especially the French) the way year round Cape Codders feel about the tourists.

 

I had such a good time that I have booked a cabin on the mid-September Alaska cruise on the Harmony. Can anyone tell me about the limited view cabins on that ship? I was on deck 7 in a limited view cabin (7089) on the Symphony. I found it hardly a limited view as all I saw was a bit of a bottom of a lifeboat - it was about as intrusive as the view from a hotel or apartment balcony with another balcony above. It looked like all the limited view cabins on Deck had the same minimal obstruction. Deck 8 looked as though it could be a problem as the lifeboats seemed to obscure a good part of some windows. Does anyone know if the limited view decks are the same on the Harmony?

 

As to the cruise critic party some kind of a mix up had a pleasant result for me. Towards the end of the party I started talking with a delightful couple and we went down to the open seating dinner and sat together. They asked me how I got to the party because they had no idea what the party was or why they got the invitation that was sitting in their cabin when they arrived. I explained what it was and they said although they sometimes checked the web site they never indicated they were going on the cruise! Hope somebody didn't miss an invitation that they should have gotten.

 

All the pros at the table had been on most of the other lines and they all liked Crystal best, with the exception of the ministers wife, who loved Crystal but liked the much smaller Seaborn ships even better.

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Want to be a STEX sponsor on Harmony. What cruise will you be on. Harmony and Symphony's Promenade and 8th deck staterooms are very similar in terms of obstructions. The differences are basically elsewhere except on Harmony the bathrooms are smaller with one sink. Harmony's Bistro and Palm Court are nicer.

 

We will miss Norman. He was always there with a smile and a hello.

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Lucca30,

 

Glad to see you made it home safe and sound. Gary and I really enjoyed our times chatting with your over lattes on the aft lido, all under Norman's watchful eye! Sorry the STEX thing didn't work out as well with you as everyone else. But now that you're a Crystal Society member you, hopefully you can sponsor someone on Harmony to Alaska. Wish you were sailing with us May 30!

 

Decks 7 and 8 are very similar on both Harmony & Symphony in terms of the better obstructed cabins being on deck 7.

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Dear Judith,

 

 

I'ld be happy to be a sponsor as soon as I firm things up I will let you know. You are really swell to be doing the organizing of this for everybody. As I recall I get to sponsor three people. I will probably be travelling with someone so they will get one sponsorship which will leave me with two to sponsor

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Judith,

 

I have booked the Alaska Adventure September 15 cruise (#5123) from San Francisco on the Harmony and would be happy to sponsor as many as I can. I will be sponsoring my travelling companion so that takes up one slot. I believe that we are allowed a total of three.

 

I tried to get a limited view cabin on deck 7, but they were all taken. So we got 8097 which supposedly has a 50% view. Does anybody know this cabin? My TA says that he doesn't expect an Alaska cruise to be that full so late in the season and that he thinks that by checking with Crystal from time to time he will be able to get us a cabin on 7. I'm also thinking of booking the December 14 Caribbean cruise on the Symphony from Ft. Lauderdale. As you can tell I have become a real fan of Crystal.:)

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