Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Keith1010

Some Thoughts For First Time Crystal Cruisers

Recommended Posts

I have updated this thread once again and will do so again after the inclusive changes are implemented on both the Symphony and Serenity.

 

 

This thread has been written with first time Crystal Cruisers in mind. I believe it can also be helpful to those who have not cruised Crystal in sometime as well and hopefully to others who may have cruised Crystal a few times or less.

 

The information is primarily focused on cruise preparation, and on the first day of embarkation with a few additional thoughts as well.

 

In addition to this information I would like to highlight the following.

 

Cruise Critic Crystal Cruises Threads

===========================

 

MEET AND MINGLE PARTIES

 

After you have booked your cruise you can go over to the Meet and Mingle Board to register to attend a party. If 10 or more people sign hope Crystal Cruises will host a complimentary cocktail party for that voyage which will provide a nice opportunity for you to meet your fellow Cruise Critic Cruisers. Here is the link to sign up for the Meet and Mingle (M&M) Parties:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=995584

 

FUTURE BOOKINGS

 

After you have booked your cruise you can go over to the Future Booking Thread, which shows all of those from Cruise Critic who are booked on a particular voyage. You can post on this thread asking that you be added to the cruise you have booked. It also will provide a nice opportunity for you to see who will be on the cruise with you from cruise critic:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1259546

 

SHARE THE EXPERIENCE

 

At the current time Crystal Cruises has a program in place which provides some shipboard credit for those who are past Crystal Cruisers who sponsor a first time Crystal Cruiser who is on their first cruise with Crystal. To get the credit both the sponsor and the first time Crystal Cruiser need to be on the same cruise. If you would like to be sponsored you can go to the following thread. Then post the voyage number you are on and that you are a first time Crystal Cruiser and ask if someone who is on this cruise would like to be your sponsor:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1259655

 

ROLL CALL THREAD

 

Be sure to see if a roll call has been established for your cruise. There is a roll call thread that lists all of the roll calls. This link will take you to the first page of the thread and from there click on the last page to see the most current roll calls.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1236633&page=10

 

 

Pre-Cruise Items

============

 

-Visit the Crystal Cruises Web Site at http://www.crystalcruises.com as it provides lots of useful information to assist you in preparing for the cruise.

 

-Obtain a copy of Crystal Cruise Hard Copy Brochures as they do provide a wealth of information.

 

-For the best availability of cabins, book early.

 

-Utilize the shipboard diagram found in the Hard Copy Brochures on on-line to determine category of stateroom desired and to develop a prioritized list of stateroom numbers.

 

-At the time of your booking be sure to request your evening dining seating preference (main or late dining) and also have the TA request table size. If you prefer open dining by reservation do not request a traditional dining time.

 

-Tables available in the main dining room are typically configured for 2, 4, 6, and 8 guests and sometimes there are a few slightly larger tables. If you have any other special dining requirements have your Travel Agent note them on your booking reservation at the time of booking. For example, if you have allergies to certain foods, have that noted on the reservation or for foods such as low sodium foods or for kosher foods indicate that as well. If you are traveling solo and prefer to dine with others traveling solo even though the Restaurant Maitre d’ normally takes that into consideration, be sure to have that noted on your reservation. The same goes for any other preferences for tablemates. Your Travel Agent can also send a note to the on board guest services group at e mail address obgs@crystalcruises.com about any other special needs.

 

-If you do not want classic (fixed) seating, at the time of your booking indicate that you would like open choice by reservation dining. I will cover how to make the reservations further below. It is recommended that you make the reservations as soon as you make your final payment.

 

-If you have any special dietary needs us as kosher, gluten free or low sodium items, be sure that your TA notes this information on your reservation at the time of your booking.

 

-Before booking cruise air, compare prices that you can obtain by making your own independent airline arrangements vs. those offered by Crystal. To obtain specific flights through the cruise line, ask for Air Deviation. There is an additional free for custom air. Be aware that if you want to purchase economy seats and upgrade them to business or first class that usually cannot be done when you purchase tickets through the cruise line. Keep in mind that the Crystal air program includes transfers, which can save considerable money in certain areas of the world. I want to highlight that if you want to get the specific flights to your liking select custom air

 

-For long flights such as oversea flights, flights within the Continental USA involving long flights durations, consider flying in a day or more before. With most flights running at full capacity, this will help to ensure that should your flight be canceled or significantly delayed that you will not miss the cruise ship and that you will start the cruise with little to no jet lag. Personally no matter where the cruise begins, we always fly one or more days in advance. As they say, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Also, if you have to change planes look very closely at the connection times. Even those connections that are considered legal connections leave very little room for error and if your flight is delayed and/or you have a long way to get to the next flight you can easily miss your plane.

 

-Likewise, when you make flights to return home if you are departing the day that the ship arrives in port give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Be sure to factor in any delays that could occur including the ship arriving to port late, delays in clearing the ship for disembarkation, delays in claiming your luggage, the length of time to get from the pier over to the airport and the times required to check in for flights. My view is there is no sense in spending half the cruise worrying whether or not you will make your flight so think very carefully about the flight times.

 

-Look carefully at the cruise pre-hotel and post-hotel program. Remember, that while the hotel stay through the program is likely to be more costly than if you booked the stay on your own, the hotel program also includes transfers between the airport and the hotel and then on embarkation day from the hotel to the ship. In some cities around the world transportation can be quite costly. We have used the hotel program several times.

 

-At the time of your booking, determine if your cruise requires any visas that have to be arranged prior to your cruise and if any vaccinations are required. This information can be obtained from Crystal. The availability of this information may vary depending on how far in advance you book the cruise. Crystal does an outstanding job letting its guests know whether or not visas are required and if any vaccinations are required. Usually by around August the information is available for the following calendar year. Crystal Cruises will also let you know if a Yellow Fever Vaccination is required for your cruise.

 

PCPC _ Priority Check-in & Planning Center

 

-Sign in to the Priority Check-in & Planning Center (PCPC), by clicking on the following link. https://checkin.crystalcruises.com/ You will need to enter your first and last names and your booking number, which your travel agent/specialist should provide to you. You will complete four sections related to immigration such as passport information for each traveler, credit card, on board profile and a transportation section.

 

Make sure your credit card doesn't expire during or before the cruise ends. The check in system will NOT let you put in a CC that expires before the cruise. If you use a debit card to make your initial entries because your CC expires before the cruise, make sure you go back and put in your new Credit Card information.

 

-The PCPC will also provide you with other information about your cruise including a calendar that shows the itinerary, along with other information such as whether you are docked or will tender in port, and what the dress attire is for each evening. Be sure to print out a copy of this calendar and bring it with you for check in for your cruise on embarkation day.

 

-After you make your final payment you can use the system to pre book one specialty restaurant reservation per specialty restaurant, a reservation at the Vintage Room, reservations for shore excursions, spa and salon reservations, signups for classes including those taught at the computer university and even the ability to rent a tuxedo or to arrange for transfers from the airport to the ship if you are flying in the day of embarkation and not using the Crystal Cruises airline program or for the day of disembarkation if you are flying home that day and not using the Crystal Cruises air program.

 

-After making your final payment if you didn’t choose classic (fixed) evening dining then you will use this system for the open choice dining by reservation for the Crystal (main) Dining Room. For each evening you specify the time you would like to dine along with the table size and the reservation system will confirm this for you in real-time as you make each reservation. Please note that if you book a table that is larger than the size of your party (for example if you are two people and book a table for six) then you are responsible for inviting that number of people to join you as the Maitre d’ does not seat others with you. Do not wait to board the ship to first make reservations. The times and overall availability are capacity controlled so it’s best to make all of the reservations at the time or shortly after you make final payment.

 

-A few months before the cruise begins, under your voyage, the Crystal Web Site will list all of the shore excursions and provide the opportunity for you to sign up for these excursions. Most shore excursions can be canceled with no penalty. On the night that you embark the ship, your shore excursion tickets will be delivered to your stateroom, and each ticket will note the last day in which the tickets can be canceled to avoid penalties. Ordering the tickets ahead of time, saves you time early in the cruise and also helps to ensure that you get the excursions that you want as some of the more popular excursions with limited availability can be sold out prior to the commencement of the cruise.

 

-Be sure that your passport will not expire less than six months after your cruise ends. If it does expire be sure to get a new passport. Also, check to see if you have sufficient available visa pages in the back. You can have pages added to your existing passport for a charge. The key is to do this sooner rather than later to ensure that your passport is back in plenty of time.

 

Notify all of your credit card and atm card banks of the dates of your vacation and your itinerary so they do not think transactions from your vacation are fraud related. Make a list of your card numbers and phone numbers in case you need to reach the card company should your cards become lost or should your card not be returned from an ATM machine.

 

Attire

====

 

Often, there are questions about the evening attire. The following information about attire comes directly from the Crystal Cruises Web Site.

 

Formal Evening Attire

 

Formal attire is evening dresses and gowns of fashionable length for ladies, and a tuxedo, dinner jacket or dark suit and tie for gentlemen. Jeans, shorts, casual slacks, sport shirts, and caps or baseball hats are not permitted in the dining room or our specialty restaurants after 6 pm.

 

Informal Evening Attire

 

Informal attire is appropriate for most evenings on board. For ladies, this is evening cocktail dresses or pantsuits. Gentlemen wear suits or sport coats and slacks; ties are optional. Jeans, shorts, sport shirts and caps or baseball hats are not permitted in the dining room or our specialty restaurants after 6 pm.

 

Casual Evening Attire

 

On casual evenings, a more relaxed attire is accepted, such as casual dresses and pantsuits for ladies, and sport shirts and slacks for gentlemen. Ties and jackets are not required. Shorts and baseball caps are not permitted after 6pm. Casual daytime attire is not considered acceptable attire after 6pm.

 

The web site also notes the appropriate daytime attire for the Crystal Dining Room.

 

Final Documents, and other Preparations

=========================

 

 

-Your final documents should arrive approximately 30 days prior to the start of your cruise. It includes the cruise passenger ticket, your luggage tags, and other important information to read through including a book titled before you cruise. Be sure to read that book from cover to cover as it includes a lot of useful information which will address many questions that first time cruisers to Crystal undoubtedly have. NOTE: Your final documents will not be sent out unless you have filled out the information on the on line PCPC system. Final documents also include a shore excursion booklet.

 

-You may want to type up a list of any special requests for your stewardess, which you can hand to her the day you first meet her. This could be the type of non-alcoholic beverages that you prefer be stocked in your refrigerator, or the type of fruit that you like in your fruit bowl or any other special requests that you have. If you are staying in a PH or above category your butler will take care of your refrigerator so you could make a similar list for your butler.

 

-Think through what items you will take with you on the cruise and think through what you will wear the first day of embarkation and take into account what you will wear to dinner the first evening should your luggage arrive later than expected.

 

-Your final documents will include a shore excursion booklet. Much of the information in the book can be found on line but it is always nice to have a hard copy booklet as well. You will also receive some additional information about life on board the ship and how others can get a hold of you while you are on the ship. You will receive luggage tags, which you will want to attach to your luggage right before you go to the pier.

 

Be sure to print out a copy your PCPC document and place it with your final documents. When you check in at the Crystal Cruises Desk on the day of embarkation you can just show them a copy of the PCPC and this facilitates the check in process.

 

Getting Ready For The Cruise

==================

 

In addition to the evening attire, think through carefully what you will want to wear on the ship on sea days and what you want to wear while in port. Consider the weather that is expected based on the time of year and the itinerary you are sailing.

 

If you are on an extended cruise we bring wire hangers with us, which take up less room in the closet and allow for more clothes to be hung.

 

Complimentary laundry facilities are available on most passenger decks. They include washer, dryers and an iron and ironing board and complimentary laundry detergent and fabric softeners are provided.

 

Pressing and Dry Cleaning Services are also available on the ship for a charge. Complimentary pressing is available for those passengers booked in any of the three penthouse (PH, PS, or CP) categories.

 

We also bring some magnets with us and they can be hung on some of the walls in the cabin, which we use to hang up reminders and various invitations and the cruise ship summary and pictures of the family.

 

Be sure to print out a copy of the PCPC. If you have already entered your credit card information then they will check you in, take your picture and give you your shipboard card and you’ll be already to board the ship.

 

We bring extra passport pictures with us and we also bring a copy of each of our passports. We do this just in case we lost our passport either before the start of the cruise or after the cruise before we fly home. This will facilitate getting a new passport.

 

 

 

Embarkation Day

=============

 

-On most embarkation days, boarding of the ship begins at around 12:00 Noon. However, there are some exceptions to this.

 

-Be sure to bring a copy of the PCPC with you and that you bring your final documents with you. Crystal Cruise has implemented a new process whereby they will scan your final documents at the pier as there is now a bar code on them and they will do the rest of the check in process on the ship.

 

-If you embark at that hour, your stateroom will not be ready until approximately 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

 

-After you embark, stop by the front desk to get a copy of the Reflections daily program. This program is a keeper and I encourage you to read it thoroughly. While there will be one in your room, often we read the one we pick up the desk during lunch.

 

The embarkation Reflections program not only provides lots of information about the first day’s activities, but some additional information regarding the overall cruise. Read it cover to cover. You will learn a great deal about the cruise. One of the items that will be noted is all of the special theme meals in the Crystal Dining Room.

 

-Go enjoy lunch. A nice place for lunch is the Crystal Dining Room where a nice sit-down lunch is available along with complimentary flutes of champagne. While you are waiting for lunch, this might be a good time to read through reflections. You can enter and still be seated in the dining room up until 1:30 PM. A more casual luncheon-dining venue will also be open on the Lido Deck.

 

-If you want to make reservations at the Specialty Restaurants and/or also see where your dining room table is located for the evening dinner in the main dining room the Maitre D’s will have hours available in the afternoon when you can meet with them. The hours and the location will be posted in Reflections.

 

-If you have brought your own computer with you this is also a good day to go by the Computer University where they will configure your computer for use in your stateroom. You can also sign up for an Internet plan whether or not you have your own computer or use the computers located in the Computer University. If you would like to sign up for computer classes, stop by the Computer University to do so and to pick up a copy of the computer class schedule.

 

-If you have spa and other beauty salon appointments that you need to make, be sure to visit the spa. Also, pick up a schedule of all of the fitness classes that will be offered during the voyage at the Fitness Center.

 

-While you are waiting for your cabin this is a good day to get learn about the layout of the public areas on the ship. Take a walk to see what is on each deck.

 

-When your room is ready, go by your room. Some or your entire luggage may already be in the room and those pieces that are not yet there will be delivered throughout the afternoon. Your room should be ready sometime between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM.

 

-Stop by the library to checkout books, music CD’s, and DVD’s.

 

-Your stewardess will come by to see you sometime that afternoon. This is a good time to ask her any questions you have. If you like particular types of non-alcoholic beverages let her know. The same goes for the fruit bowl that she will fill each day. And, if there is any other requests you have you can let her know. If you have a list that you prepared mentioned earlier then this is a good time to give it to her.

 

-If you are staying in a PH or above category in addition to the stewardess who is also assisted by a stewardess in training you will also have a butler. The butler will stock your refrigerator with non-alcoholic drinks, and also certain complimentary beers if you so choose. There is also an initial complimentary set up of two bottles of alcohol, two bottles of wine and one bottle of champagne. You can trade a bottle for some other bottle in a similar price range.

 

-This is a good time to unpack and later in the day you will also attend the lifeboat drill. The time will be noted in the Reflections Program and an announcement will be made about the drill well before the start time. On your door there will be a sign noting where your muster station is. If in doubt, any of the assigned personnel in the hallways and near the stairways will be able to direct you to the appropriate muster station.

 

The Cruise

========

 

-The wait staff in the Main Dining Room will include the Maitre d’ who has several responsibilities including assigning passengers to their respective tables, the Head Waiter who is responsible for an area of the dining room which includes several tables and who you can see if you would like to order any special items, the senior waiter who takes your order and ensures that all of the items you ordered are served to you, and the waiter who assists the senior waiter in serving you your meal. There is also a sommelier that serves mixed drinks and wine and has responsibility for a specific section of tables.

 

- Gratuities can be charged to your shipboard account. If you have any pre-paid gratuities you can use the gratuity form to augment those gratuities or to give gratuities to other members of the crew. The deadline for turning in this form to the front desk will be duly noted in the daily Reflections Program and the form will be in the blue directory in your room. If you need another form they are available at the font desk.

 

NOTE: Recommended gratuities for the Butler (PH, PS and CP categories), Stewardess, Waiter and Senior Waiter will begin to be included in the cruise fare starting on the March sailing of the Symphony from Miami to Lisbon and in May on the Serenity from New York City to London. Of course, you can give additional gratuities to these crew members or to other crew members as you see fit.

 

-Wine. If you would like you can pre-order wine earlier in the day at the Bistro which is staffed with several of the sommeliers. That way if you are ordering a red wine it can be opened up ahead of time and regardless of whether you order a red or a white wine or both the table will be set accordingly. If you have a bottle of wine in your room that you would like to send to any of the restaurants just let your stewardess know or in the PH and above categories just let your butler know. If the wine is from Crystal Cruises and/or purchased as a gift for you through Crystal Cruises there is no charge for having the wine opened in any of the dining venues.

 

Selected wine and spirits will begin to be included in the cruise fare starting on the March sailing of the Symphony from Miami to Lisbon and in May on the Serenity from New York City to London. Other wines will be available for sale.

 

 

- Most importantly, start enjoying your cruise knowing that the superb personnel on board the Crystal Ship will take care of your every need. Enjoy the ambience of the ship and the five star+ services that awaits you from the outstanding cuisine to the outstanding service.

 

-Enjoy each and every minute of the cruise knowing that you are in the professional hands of the superb Crystal Staff. For those who like to keep busy there is so much to do and to learn. For those who just want to sit back, read a book, enjoy the sea, there are many special places around the ship in which to relax.

 

- Assuming you are enjoying the cruise know that at the end of the cruise you will be a member of the Crystal Society. As a Crystal Society member you receive discounts on future cruises and you can achieve additional benefits based on the number of cruises taken. Also, this is the time to consider booking a future cruise, as you will receive an on board-booking discount. The discount is on top of the Crystal Society discount and is the same percentage. So, if the Crystal Society discount was 4 percent then you would receive an additional 4% for the on board booking discount for a total savings of 8%.

 

-Assuming you enjoy your experience with Crystal Cruises, you can book another Crystal Cruise with the on-board booking consultant while still on the cruise and this will provide you with an on board booking discount. If you are unsure what cruise to book you can do an open booking which you can then apply to a specific cruise within the published time frame while back on land.

 

-Once you are home, you will have the opportunity to complete an on-line questionnaire. Take the time to fill it out. This used to be a hard copy questionnaire that you had to fill out on the ship. Now you can complete it at home within the established time frame, which allows Crystal Cruises to capture information on your disembarkation process and also allows you to take time to reflect on the cruise. There is lots of room for comments and also to recognize members of the crew for a job well done. The comments are read by many people including personnel in Los Angeles and on the ship and the results of the questionnaire are taken every seriously.

 

Before you leave the ship you will receive a letter in your cabin discussing the on-line questionnaire and noting the e-mail address they have on file for each passenger where the information will be sent. Sometime the day you disembark the ship you will receive an e-mail about the survey and there will be an area that you click on the e mail which will take you to the survey.

 

My wife and I feel so very fortunate to be able to cruise on a cruise line as special to us as Crystal. Through our many cruises with Crystal we have had the opportunity to learn so very much about the world we live in. In our humble opinion there is no better way to see so many places in a relatively short time as on a cruise. And, for us, each and every time we board the Crystal Serenity or the Crystal Symphony, and familiar faces, crew and passengers greet us alike, we know we are back home.

 

Finally, as soon as you board the ship, just start enjoying the cruise and I hope each of you will make memories that will last a lifetime.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith

 

Thank you for the valuable information regarding our upcoming first Crystal cruise. The only question I have regards air deviation. In planning our trip with Crystal air (an open-jaw from Atlanta to Boston from Montreal is a non-starter for big savings) we had been talking with our agent about deviation to fly earlier and ask for non-stop or a specific airline. He had assumed there was a deviation fee but called yesterday to say he had checked with Crystal and they did not have a fee on deviations. Do you know differently?

 

Also, let me ad as a cruiser on three Regent ships where there is no tipping, my experience, and that of others on the Regent board, is that additional gratuities are politely but firmly declined. The recommendation is to make a contribution to the crew fund or make a donation of bottles of liquor, as I did from some I obtained on shore, to the crew lounge. I would think that Crystal would work the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Keith

 

Thank you for the valuable information regarding our upcoming first Crystal cruise. The only question I have regards air deviation. In planning our trip with Crystal air (an open-jaw from Atlanta to Boston from Montreal is a non-starter for big savings) we had been talking with our agent about deviation to fly earlier and ask for non-stop or a specific airline. He had assumed there was a deviation fee but called yesterday to say he had checked with Crystal and they did not have a fee on deviations. Do you know differently?

 

Also, let me ad as a cruiser on three Regent ships where there is no tipping, my experience, and that of others on the Regent board, is that additional gratuities are politely but firmly declined. The recommendation is to make a contribution to the crew fund or make a donation of bottles of liquor, as I did from some I obtained on shore, to the crew lounge. I would think that Crystal would work the same.

 

In the past Crystal did provide custom air for an additional cost where you could specify flights and airlines. I would recommend having your agent contact them again and ask about custom air.

 

This is a link to the Crystal Web Site with some information about air.

 

http://www.crystalcruises.com/OfferDetail.aspx?OG=118&JLT=Air%7CDeviation

 

In terms of gratuities, Crystal is transitioning to recommended gratuities being part of the cruise fare for waiter, senior waiter, stewardess and butler for penthouse rooms. Tips will still be accepted as they are on cruise lines such as Seabourn and Silversea and whether or not someone tips more or others is a personal decision.

 

Crystal does have a crew fund which is a nice way to provide money for the benefit of the entire crew.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cannot even imagine the time that has gone into putting this information together. We are cruising Crystal for the first time in October and this has been extremely helpful! Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith, thanks so much for re-visiting and updating this thread. We are starting to prepare for our boarding on April 21 and am getting excited since we haven't been on Crystal since 2000. Your advise, as always, is very valuable.

 

I am planning on taking my IPad and not my laptop. Hope that is a wise decision. Currently am involved in my apple class with IPhoto for IPad and am learning how to do a daily journal page. The format is interesting and fun. Hoping on our Panama Canal Trip that I can capture the daily highlights with snippets. Two more classes before I leave and I hope it will work.

 

Off to print your advise and start the check off list. Thanks once again.

 

Best to you and Anne Marie. Wish we could see you as you depart but know your airlines connection must be close and we will not be arriving until about 1:00 unless we decide to go down the night before. Do you recommend a hotel near by the San Pedro Cruise Terminal?

 

Tom and Deanna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tom and Deanna, if you are comfortable with using the iPad at home then you will be fine on the Serenity with the iPad. I have been using the iPad on the Serenity on this trip for checking mail in the morning. I prefer the keyboard of the MacBook so for my writing and for editing my photos I prefer the MacBook. My one recommendation would be to consider getting an airport express so that you can strengthen the wireless connection from your stateroom.

 

Sorry we won't be sailing with you two.

 

I prefer Long Beach over San Pedro.

 

I would check out he Long Beach Avia Hotel. It is now owned by Hyatt (there is also a Hyatt Hotel in Long Beach. You will be around 15 minutes by taxi to the port. This is the web site for the Avia.

 

http://www.aviahotels.com/hotels/longbeach/?gclid=CNjDs7DisqgCFSFl7Aod-0qNEw

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just posting to push this thread up to make it more visible to first time Crystal Cruisers.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just posting to push this thread up to make it more visible to first time Crystal Cruisers.

 

Keith

 

Thanks Keith.

 

I have now paid in full and will use your information to proceed smoothly.;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith,

We read your posting prior to signing up for our Crystal cruise departing Monte Carlo on July 13th. We have now paid in full and I have tried to open the details of the excursions with no luck. Is it just my computer acting up? Has anyone had problems opening the details of the excursions?

Also, I did not check the section listing need of transportation. We are scheduling our own transport from Nice airport to Monte Carlo port and from Lisbon port to airport... very early flight. If I check that section, does Crystal make reservations for taxi pick up?

janines

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

janines, I can't look at PCPC since we are not booked on your voyage.

 

I did go to your specific voyage on the web site at the following link.

 

http://www.crystalcruises.com/VoyageDetail.aspx?CID=2314

 

From there go down a few lines and click on Crystal Adventure Shore Excursions. It brought them all up.

 

I am having a problem though that I noticed yesterday in PCPC. If I open any of them there is no place for me to close the description. I will report that now.

 

In the meantime see if you can at least read them using the link I provided and clicking on the shore excursions.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith,

Thanks for the quick response. I was not very clear about my procedures to retrieve the details of the excursions. I did click on cruise adventures and at the top of the page, you can click and scroll to the day/date of the cruise. I was able to do that and the selections of excursions appeared with pre book. I clicked on the excursion title to get the details of the trip but was unable to get the details. I just tried again. Maybe it is showing up somewhere else on the site. I will keep trying later today.

thanks,

janines

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

janines, I have sent an e mail to the Crystal Cruises Web Master that includes the problem that you encountered plus the problem that I also ran into. I have already heard from him and he asked me to pass along the message that he is following up on all of this for us.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith,

Thank you so much for contacting the webmaster. I was able to use the crystal adventures site to look at the excursions later in the afternoon.

janines

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have updated this thread once again.

 

This thread has been written with first time Crystal Cruisers in mind. I believe it can also be helpful to those who have not cruised Crystal in sometime as well and hopefully to others who may have cruised Crystal a few times or less.

 

The information is primarily focused on cruise preparation, and on the first day of embarkation with a few additional thoughts as well.

 

In addition to this information I would like to highlight the following.

 

Cruise Critic Crystal Cruises Threads

===========================

 

MEET AND MINGLE PARTIES

 

After you have booked your cruise you can go over to the Meet and Mingle Board to register to attend a party. If 10 or more people sign hope Crystal Cruises will host a complimentary cocktail party for that voyage which will provide a nice opportunity for you to meet your fellow Cruise Critic Cruisers. Here is the link to sign up for the Meet and Mingle (M&M) Parties:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=995584

 

FUTURE BOOKINGS

 

After you have booked your cruise you can go over to the Future Booking Thread, which shows all of those from Cruise Critic who are booked on a particular voyage. You can post on this thread asking that you be added to the cruise you have booked. It also will provide a nice opportunity for you to see who will be on the cruise with you from cruise critic:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1259546

 

SHARE THE EXPERIENCE

 

At the current time Crystal Cruises has a program in place which provides some shipboard credit for those who are past Crystal Cruisers who sponsor a first time Crystal Cruiser who is on their first cruise with Crystal. To get the credit both the sponsor and the first time Crystal Cruiser need to be on the same cruise. If you would like to be sponsored you can go to the following thread. Then post the voyage number you are on and that you are a first time Crystal Cruiser and ask if someone who is on this cruise would like to be your sponsor:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1259655

 

ROLL CALL THREAD

 

Be sure to see if a roll call has been established for your cruise. There is a roll call thread that lists all of the roll calls. This link will take you to the first page of the thread and from there click on the last page to see the most current roll calls.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1236633&page=10

 

 

Pre-Cruise Items

============

 

-Visit the Crystal Cruises Web Site at http://www.crystalcruises.com as it provides lots of useful information to assist you in preparing for the cruise.

 

-Obtain a copy of Crystal Cruise Hard Copy Brochures as they do provide a wealth of information.

 

-For the best availability of cabins, book early.

 

-Utilize the shipboard diagram found in the Hard Copy Brochures on on-line to determine category of stateroom desired and to develop a prioritized list of stateroom numbers.

 

-At the time of your booking be sure to request your evening dining seating preference (main or late dining) and also have the TA request table size. If you prefer open dining by reservation do not request a traditional dining time.

 

-Tables available in the main dining room are typically configured for 2, 4, 6, and 8 guests and sometimes there are a few slightly larger tables. If you have any other special dining requirements have your Travel Agent note them on your booking reservation at the time of booking. For example, if you have allergies to certain foods, have that noted on the reservation or for foods such as low sodium foods or for kosher foods indicate that as well. If you are traveling solo and prefer to dine with others traveling solo even though the Restaurant Maitre d’ normally takes that into consideration, be sure to have that noted on your reservation. The same goes for any other preferences for tablemates. Your Travel Agent can also send a note to the on board guest services group at e mail address obgs@crystalcruises.com about any other special needs.

 

-If you do not want classic (fixed) seating, at the time of your booking indicate that you would like open choice by reservation dining. I will cover how to make the reservations further below. It is recommended that you make the reservations as soon as you make your final payment.

 

-If you have any special dietary needs us as kosher, gluten free or low sodium items, be sure that your TA notes this information on your reservation at the time of your booking.

 

-Before booking air, compare prices that you can obtain by making your own independent airline arrangements vs. those offered by Crystal. To obtain specific flights through the cruise line, ask for Air Deviation. There is an additional free for custom air. Be aware that if you want to purchase economy seats and upgrade them to business or first class that usually cannot be done when you purchase tickets through the cruise line. Keep in mind that the Crystal air program includes transfers, which can save considerable money in certain areas of the world. I want to highlight that if you want to get the specific flights to your liking select custom air

 

-For long flights such as oversea flights, flights within the Continental USA involving long flights durations, consider flying in a day or more before. With most flights running at full capacity, this will help to ensure that should your flight be canceled or significantly delayed that you will not miss the cruise ship and that you will start the cruise with little to no jet lag. Personally no matter where the cruise begins, we always fly one or more days in advance. As they say, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Also, if you have to change planes look very closely at the connection times. Even those connections that are considered legal connections leave very little room for error and if your flight is delayed and/or you have a long way to get to the next flight you can easily miss your plane.

 

-Likewise, when you make flights to return home if you are departing the day that the ship arrives in port give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Be sure to factor in any delays that could occur including the ship arriving to port late, delays in clearing the ship for disembarkation, delays in claiming your luggage, the length of time to get from the pier over to the airport and the times required to check in for flights. My view is there is no sense in spending half the cruise worrying whether or not you will make your flight so think very carefully about the flight times.

 

-Look carefully at the cruise pre-hotel and post-hotel program. Remember, that while the hotel stay through the program is likely to be more costly than if you booked the stay on your own, the hotel program also includes transfers between the airport and the hotel and then on embarkation day from the hotel to the ship. In some cities around the world transportation can be quite costly. We have used the hotel program several times.

 

-At the time of your booking, determine if your cruise requires any visas that have to be arranged prior to your cruise and if any vaccinations are required. This information can be obtained from Crystal. The availability of this information may vary depending on how far in advance you book the cruise. Crystal does an outstanding job letting its guests know whether or not visas are required and if any vaccinations are required. Usually by around August the information is available for the following calendar year. Crystal Cruises will also let you know if a Yellow Fever Vaccination is required for your cruise.

 

PCPC _ Priority Check-in & Planning Center

 

-Sign in to the Priority Check-in & Planning Center (PCPC), by clicking on the following link. https://checkin.crystalcruises.com/ You will need to enter your first and last names and your booking number, which your travel agent/specialist should provide to you. You will complete four sections related to immigration such as passport information for each traveler, credit card, on board profile and a transportation section.

 

Make sure your credit card doesn't expire during or before the cruise ends. The check in system will NOT let you put in a CC that expires before the cruise. If you use a debit card to make your initial entries because your CC expires before the cruise, make sure you go back and put in your new Credit Card information.

 

-The PCPC will also provide you with other information about your cruise including a calendar that shows the itinerary, along with other information such as whether you are docked or will tender in port, and what the dress attire is for each evening. Be sure to print out a copy of this calendar and bring it with you for check in for your cruise on embarkation day.

 

-After you make your final payment you can use the system to pre book one specialty restaurant reservation per specialty restaurant, a reservation at the Vintage Room, reservations for shore excursions, spa and salon reservations, signups for classes including those taught at the computer university and even the ability to rent a tuxedo or to arrange for transfers from the airport to the ship if you are flying in the day of embarkation and not using the Crystal Cruises airline program or for the day of disembarkation if you are flying home that day and not using the Crystal Cruises air program.

 

-After making your final payment if you didn’t choose classic (fixed) evening dining then you will use this system for the open choice dining by reservation for the Crystal (main) Dining Room. For each evening you specify the time you would like to dine along with the table size and the reservation system will confirm this for you in real-time as you make each reservation. Please note that if you book a table that is larger than the size of your party (for example if you are two people and book a table for six) then you are responsible for inviting that number of people to join you as the Maitre d’ does not seat others with you. Do not wait to board the ship to first make reservations. The times and overall availability are capacity controlled so it’s best to make all of the reservations at the time or shortly after you make final payment.

 

-A few months before the cruise begins, under your voyage, the Crystal Web Site will list all of the shore excursions and provide the opportunity for you to sign up for these excursions. Most shore excursions can be canceled with no penalty. On the night that you embark the ship, your shore excursion tickets will be delivered to your stateroom, and each ticket will note the last day in which the tickets can be canceled to avoid penalties. Ordering the tickets ahead of time, saves you time early in the cruise and also helps to ensure that you get the excursions that you want as some of the more popular excursions with limited availability can be sold out prior to the commencement of the cruise.

 

-Be sure that your passport will not expire less than six months after your cruise ends. If it does expire be sure to get a new passport. Also, check to see if you have sufficient available visa pages in the back. You can have pages added to your existing passport for a charge. The key is to do this sooner rather than later to ensure that your passport is back in plenty of time.

 

Notify all of your credit card and atm card banks of the dates of your vacation and your itinerary so they do not think transactions from your vacation are fraud related. Make a list of your card numbers and phone numbers in case you need to reach the card company should your cards become lost or should your card not be returned from an ATM machine.

 

Attire

====

 

Often, there are questions about the evening attire. The following information about attire comes directly from the Crystal Cruises Web Site.

 

Formal Evening Attire

 

Formal attire is evening dresses and gowns of fashionable length for ladies, and a tuxedo, dinner jacket or dark suit and tie for gentlemen. Jeans, shorts, casual slacks, sport shirts, and caps or baseball hats are not permitted in the dining room or our specialty restaurants after 6 pm.

 

Informal Evening Attire

 

Informal attire is appropriate for most evenings on board. For ladies, this is evening cocktail dresses or pantsuits. Gentlemen wear suits or sport coats and slacks; ties are optional. Jeans, shorts, sport shirts and caps or baseball hats are not permitted in the dining room or our specialty restaurants after 6 pm.

 

Casual Evening Attire

 

On casual evenings, a more relaxed attire is accepted, such as casual dresses and pantsuits for ladies, and sport shirts and slacks for gentlemen. Ties and jackets are not required. Shorts and baseball caps are not permitted after 6pm. Casual daytime attire is not considered acceptable attire after 6pm.

 

The web site also notes the appropriate daytime attire for the Crystal Dining Room.

 

Final Documents, and other Preparations

=========================

 

 

-Your final documents should arrive approximately 30 days prior to the start of your cruise. It includes the cruise passenger ticket, your luggage tags, and other important information to read through including a book titled before you cruise. Be sure to read that book from cover to cover as it includes a lot of useful information which will address many questions that first time cruisers to Crystal undoubtedly have. NOTE: Your final documents will not be sent out unless you have filled out the information on the on line PCPC system. Final documents also include a shore excursion booklet.

 

-You may want to type up a list of any special requests for your stewardess, which you can hand to her the day you first meet her. This could be the type of non-alcoholic beverages that you prefer be stocked in your refrigerator, or the type of fruit that you like in your fruit bowl or any other special requests that you have. If you are staying in a PH or above category your butler will take care of your refrigerator so you could make a similar list for your butler.

 

-Think through what items you will take with you on the cruise and think through what you will wear the first day of embarkation and take into account what you will wear to dinner the first evening should your luggage arrive later than expected.

 

-Your final documents will include a shore excursion booklet. Much of the information in the book can be found on line but it is always nice to have a hard copy booklet as well. You will also receive some additional information about life on board the ship and how others can get a hold of you while you are on the ship. You will receive luggage tags, which you will want to attach to your luggage right before you go to the pier.

 

Be sure to print out a copy your PCPC document and place it with your final documents.

 

Getting Ready For The Cruise

==================

 

In addition to the evening attire, think through carefully what you will want to wear on the ship on sea days and what you want to wear while in port. Consider the weather that is expected based on the time of year and the itinerary you are sailing.

 

If you are on an extended cruise we bring wire hangers with us, which take up less room in the closet and allow for more clothes to be hung.

 

Complimentary laundry facilities are available on most passenger decks. They include washer, dryers and an iron and ironing board and complimentary laundry detergent and fabric softeners are provided.

 

Pressing and Dry Cleaning Services are also available on the ship for a charge. Complimentary pressing is available for those passengers booked in any of the three penthouse (PH, PS, or CP) categories.

 

We also bring some magnets with us and they can be hung on some of the walls in the cabin, which we use to hang up reminders and various invitations and the cruise ship summary and pictures of the family.

 

Be sure to print out a copy of the PCPC. If you have already entered your credit card information then they will check you in, take your picture and give you your shipboard card and you’ll be already to board the ship.

 

We bring extra passport pictures with us and we also bring a copy of each of our passports. We do this just in case we lost our passport either before the start of the cruise or after the cruise before we fly home. This will facilitate getting a new passport.

 

 

 

Embarkation Day

=============

 

-On most embarkation days, boarding of the ship begins at around 12:00 Noon. However, there are some exceptions to this.

 

-Your final documents include a document that will be scanned when you arrive to the ship for embarkation. The embarkation process is now handled on the ship including the photo of you being taken for your shipboard card.

 

 

-If you embark at that hour, your stateroom will not be ready until approximately 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

 

-After you embark, stop by the front desk to get a copy of the Reflections daily program. This program is a keeper and I encourage you to read it thoroughly. While there will be one in your room, often we read the one we pick up the desk during lunch.

 

The embarkation Reflections program not only provides lots of information about the first day’s activities, but some additional information regarding the overall cruise. Read it cover to cover. You will learn a great deal about the cruise. One of the items that will be noted is all of the special theme meals in the Crystal Dining Room.

 

-Go enjoy lunch. A nice place for lunch is the Crystal Dining Room where a nice sit-down lunch is available along with complimentary flutes of champagne. While you are waiting for lunch, this might be a good time to read through reflections. You can enter and still be seated in the dining room up until 1:30 PM. A more casual luncheon-dining venue will also be open on the Lido Deck.

 

-If you want to make reservations at the Specialty Restaurants and/or also see where your dining room table is located for the evening dinner in the main dining room the Maitre D’s will have hours available in the afternoon when you can meet with them. The hours and the location will be posted in Reflections.

 

-If you have brought your own computer with you this is also a good day to go by the Computer University where they will configure your computer for use in your stateroom. You can also sign up for an Internet plan whether or not you have your own computer or use the computers located in the Computer University. If you would like to sign up for computer classes, stop by the Computer University to do so and to pick up a copy of the computer class schedule.

 

-If you have spa and other beauty salon appointments that you need to make, be sure to visit the spa. Also, pick up a schedule of all of the fitness classes that will be offered during the voyage at the Fitness Center.

 

-While you are waiting for your cabin this is a good day to get learn about the layout of the public areas on the ship. Take a walk to see what is on each deck.

 

-When your room is ready, go by your room. Some or your entire luggage may already be in the room and those pieces that are not yet there will be delivered throughout the afternoon. Your room should be ready sometime between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM.

 

-Stop by the library to checkout books, music CD’s, and DVD’s.

 

-Your stewardess will come by to see you sometime that afternoon. This is a good time to ask her any questions you have. If you like particular types of non-alcoholic beverages let her know. The same goes for the fruit bowl that she will fill each day. And, if there is any other requests you have you can let her know. If you have a list that you prepared mentioned earlier then this is a good time to give it to her.

 

-If you are staying in a PH or above category in addition to the stewardess who is also assisted by a stewardess in training you will also have a butler. The butler will stock your refrigerator with non-alcoholic drinks, and also certain complimentary beers if you so choose. There is also an initial complimentary set up of two bottles of alcohol, two bottles of wine and one bottle of champagne. You can trade a bottle for some other bottle in a similar price range.

 

-This is a good time to unpack and later in the day you will also attend the lifeboat drill. The time will be noted in the Reflections Program and an announcement will be made about the drill well before the start time. On your door there will be a sign noting where your muster station is. If in doubt, any of the assigned personnel in the hallways and near the stairways will be able to direct you to the appropriate muster station.

 

The Cruise

========

 

-The wait staff in the Main Dining Room will include the Maitre d’ who has several responsibilities including assigning passengers to their respective tables, the Head Waiter who is responsible for an area of the dining room which includes several tables and who you can see if you would like to order any special items, the senior waiter who takes your order and ensures that all of the items you ordered are served to you, and the waiter who assists the senior waiter in serving you your meal. There is also a sommelier that serves mixed drinks and wine and has responsibility for a specific section of tables.

 

- Gratuities are now included with your cruise fare. However, should you wish to you can give gratuities to those from the cruise who you will to thank for the excellent service they have provided. You can either do this by giving them cash of if you would like you can obtain a form at the reception desk so that you can charge the tips to your shipboard account.

 

-Wine. Complimentary wine is available throughout the day/evening. For those who might want to have something other than the complimentary wine you can order it at the time you dine or you can pre-order it. If you would like you can pre-order wine earlier in the day at the Bistro which is staffed with several of the sommeliers. That way if you are ordering a red wine it can be opened up ahead of time and regardless of whether you order a red or a white wine or both the table will be set accordingly. If you have a bottle of wine in your room that you would like to send to any of the restaurants just let your stewardess know or in the PH and above categories just let your butler know. There is no charge for having wine opened in any of the dining venues.

 

- Most importantly, start enjoying your cruise knowing that the superb personnel on board the Crystal Ship will take care of your every need. Enjoy the ambience of the ship and the five star+ services that awaits you from the outstanding cuisine to the outstanding service.

 

-Enjoy each and every minute of the cruise knowing that you are in the professional hands of the superb Crystal Staff. For those who like to keep busy there is so much to do and to learn. For those who just want to sit back, read a book, enjoy the sea, there are many special places around the ship in which to relax.

 

- Assuming you are enjoying the cruise know that at the end of the cruise you will be a member of the Crystal Society. As a Crystal Society member you receive discounts on future cruises and you can achieve additional benefits based on the number of cruises taken. Also, this is the time to consider booking a future cruise, as you will receive an on board-booking discount. The discount is on top of the Crystal Society discount and is the same percentage. So, if the Crystal Society discount was 4 percent then you would receive an additional 4% for the on board booking discount for a total savings of 8%.

 

-Assuming you enjoy your experience with Crystal Cruises, you can book another Crystal Cruise with the on-board booking consultant while still on the cruise and this will provide you with an on board booking discount. If you are unsure what cruise to book you can do an open booking which you can then apply to a specific cruise within the published time frame while back on land.

 

-Once you are home, you will have the opportunity to complete an on-line questionnaire. Take the time to fill it out. This used to be a hard copy questionnaire that you had to fill out on the ship. Now you can complete it at home within the established time frame, which allows Crystal Cruises to capture information on your disembarkation process and also allows you to take time to reflect on the cruise. There is lots of room for comments and also to recognize members of the crew for a job well done. The comments are read by many people including personnel in Los Angeles and on the ship and the results of the questionnaire are taken every seriously.

 

Before you leave the ship you will receive a letter in your cabin discussing the on-line questionnaire and noting the e-mail address they have on file for each passenger where the information will be sent. Sometime the day you disembark the ship you will receive an e-mail about the survey and there will be an area that you click on the e mail which will take you to the survey.

 

My wife and I feel so very fortunate to be able to cruise on a cruise line as special to us as Crystal. Through our many cruises with Crystal we have had the opportunity to learn so very much about the world we live in. In our humble opinion there is no better way to see so many places in a relatively short time as on a cruise. And, for us, each and every time we board the Crystal Serenity or the Crystal Symphony, and familiar faces, crew and passengers greet us alike, we know we are back home.

 

Finally, as soon as you board the ship, just start enjoying the cruise and I hope each of you will make memories that will last a lifetime.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Keith for all the information. How far in advance will we know about the special dinners in the MDR? I assume on the formal nights they have the "best" menus which we would not want to miss so those evenings we would not go to the specialty restaurants. Is that correct? Any other related advice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you Keith for all the information. How far in advance will we know about the special dinners in the MDR? I assume on the formal nights they have the "best" menus which we would not want to miss so those evenings we would not go to the specialty restaurants. Is that correct? Any other related advice?

 

Dmgmd50, for your first cruise with Crystal I would recommend trying to get to the Crystal Dining Room on each formal night and even the informal nights. You can determine those from looking that the itinerary in PCPC which will list the evening attire. I would make the initial specialty restaurant reservations on a casual night.

 

You'll find nice foods on each night in the dining room. At the same timeI do think some of the nicest menus are formal nights and on other themed nights. The themed nights are listed in the first days issue of Reflections which is the daily program you receive in your cabin from Crystal.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would recommend trying to get to the Crystal Dining Room on each formal night and even the informal nights.

 

I've read several people say that, but I'm not sure why.......is the menu really that different? Or is there another reason?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The menu in the main dining room is always excellent but it goes up a notch on formal nights -- oysters, lobster (I usually order the surf and turf combination which isn't on the menu but is available) usually on the Captain's Formal Welcoming Night; caviar, escargo on French Night for the Crystal Society dinner, etc. Also, the atmosphere with everyone dressed in their formal attire is always nice. The photographers take table pictures both outside and inside the MDR. You aren't obligated to buy them, but if you want them, they are available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've read several people say that, but I'm not sure why.......is the menu really that different? Or is there another reason?

 

As Judith said on formal nights and some9f those themed nights you will find lots of items that are indeed special. This is why I would recommend going to the dining room those nights so you can see first hand for yourself.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dmgmd50, for your first cruise with Crystal I would recommend trying to get to the Crystal Dining Room on each formal night and even the informal nights. You can determine those from looking that the itinerary in PCPC which will list the evening attire. I would make the initial specialty restaurant reservations on a casual night.

 

You'll find nice foods on each night in the dining room. At the same timeI do think some of the nicest menus are formal nights and on other themed nights. The themed nights are listed in the first days issue of Reflections which is the daily program you receive in your cabin from Crystal.

 

Keith

 

We are taking b2b cruises, each one is seven nights. According to pcpc, each week has 2 formal nights, 1 informal night, and 4 casual nights. So I will try the restaurants on some casual evenings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We are taking b2b cruises, each one is seven nights. According to pcpc, each week has 2 formal nights, 1 informal night, and 4 casual nights. So I will try the restaurants on some casual evenings.

 

Since you have the two back to backs you may want to make reservations at each one twice; one for Prego and Silk Road for the first back to back and then one each for the second. You can do that on PCPC. Then after you dine at each one on the first back to back you can decide whether or not you want to go ahead with the reservations for the second back to back.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Since you have the two back to backs you may want to make reservations at each one twice; one for Prego and Silk Road for the first back to back and then one each for the second. You can do that on PCPC. Then after you dine at each one on the first back to back you can decide whether or not you want to go ahead with the reservations for the second back to back.

 

Keith

 

Thanks. My assumption is that we will love the specialty dining and will use the second set of reservations!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have updated this thread once again.

 

This thread has been written with first time Crystal Cruisers in mind. I believe it can also be helpful to those who have not cruised Crystal in sometime as well and hopefully to others who may have cruised Crystal a few times or less.

 

The information is primarily focused on cruise preparation, and on the first day of embarkation with a few additional thoughts as well.

 

In addition to this information I would like to highlight the following.

 

Cruise Critic Crystal Cruises Threads

===========================

 

MEET AND MINGLE PARTIES

 

After you have booked your cruise you can go over to the Meet and Mingle Board to register to attend a party. If 10 or more people sign hope Crystal Cruises will host a complimentary cocktail party for that voyage which will provide a nice opportunity for you to meet your fellow Cruise Critic Cruisers. Here is the link to sign up for the Meet and Mingle (M&M) Parties:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=995584

 

FUTURE BOOKINGS

 

After you have booked your cruise you can go over to the Future Booking Thread, which shows all of those from Cruise Critic who are booked on a particular voyage. You can post on this thread asking that you be added to the cruise you have booked. It also will provide a nice opportunity for you to see who will be on the cruise with you from cruise critic:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1259546

 

SHARE THE EXPERIENCE

 

At the current time Crystal Cruises has a program in place which provides some shipboard credit for those who are past Crystal Cruisers who sponsor a first time Crystal Cruiser who is on their first cruise with Crystal. To get the credit both the sponsor and the first time Crystal Cruiser need to be on the same cruise. If you would like to be sponsored you can go to the following thread. Then post the voyage number you are on and that you are a first time Crystal Cruiser and ask if someone who is on this cruise would like to be your sponsor:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1259655

 

ROLL CALL THREAD

 

Be sure to see if a roll call has been established for your cruise. There is a roll call thread that lists all of the roll calls. This link will take you to the first page of the thread and from there click on the last page to see the most current roll calls.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1236633&page=10

 

 

Pre-Cruise Items

============

 

-Visit the Crystal Cruises Web Site at http://www.crystalcruises.com as it provides lots of useful information to assist you in preparing for the cruise.

 

-Obtain a copy of Crystal Cruise Hard Copy Brochures as they do provide a wealth of information.

 

-For the best availability of cabins, book early.

 

-Utilize the shipboard diagram found in the Hard Copy Brochures on on-line to determine category of stateroom desired and to develop a prioritized list of stateroom numbers.

 

-At the time of your booking be sure to request your evening dining seating preference (main or late dining) and also have the TA request table size. If you prefer open dining by reservation do not request a traditional dining time.

 

-Tables available in the main dining room are typically configured for 2, 4, 6, and 8 guests and sometimes there are a few slightly larger tables. If you have any other special dining requirements have your Travel Agent note them on your booking reservation at the time of booking. For example, if you have allergies to certain foods, have that noted on the reservation or for foods such as low sodium foods or for kosher foods indicate that as well. If you are traveling solo and prefer to dine with others traveling solo even though the Restaurant Maitre d’ normally takes that into consideration, be sure to have that noted on your reservation. The same goes for any other preferences for tablemates. Your Travel Agent can also send a note to the on board guest services group at e mail address obgs@crystalcruises.com about any other special needs.

 

-If you do not want classic (fixed) seating, at the time of your booking indicate that you would like open choice by reservation dining. I will cover how to make the reservations further below. It is recommended that you make the reservations as soon as you make your final payment.

 

-If you have any special dietary needs us as kosher, gluten free or low sodium items, be sure that your TA notes this information on your reservation at the time of your booking.

 

-Before booking air, compare prices that you can obtain by making your own independent airline arrangements vs. those offered by Crystal. To obtain specific flights through the cruise line, ask for Air Deviation. There is an additional free for custom air. Be aware that if you want to purchase economy seats and upgrade them to business or first class that usually cannot be done when you purchase tickets through the cruise line. Keep in mind that the Crystal air program includes transfers, which can save considerable money in certain areas of the world. I want to highlight that if you want to get the specific flights to your liking select custom air

 

-For long flights such as oversea flights, flights within the Continental USA involving long flights durations, consider flying in a day or more before. With most flights running at full capacity, this will help to ensure that should your flight be canceled or significantly delayed that you will not miss the cruise ship and that you will start the cruise with little to no jet lag. Personally no matter where the cruise begins, we always fly one or more days in advance. As they say, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Also, if you have to change planes look very closely at the connection times. Even those connections that are considered legal connections leave very little room for error and if your flight is delayed and/or you have a long way to get to the next flight you can easily miss your plane.

 

-Likewise, when you make flights to return home if you are departing the day that the ship arrives in port give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Be sure to factor in any delays that could occur including the ship arriving to port late, delays in clearing the ship for disembarkation, delays in claiming your luggage, the length of time to get from the pier over to the airport and the times required to check in for flights. My view is there is no sense in spending half the cruise worrying whether or not you will make your flight so think very carefully about the flight times.

 

-Look carefully at the cruise pre-hotel and post-hotel program. Remember, that while the hotel stay through the program is likely to be more costly than if you booked the stay on your own, the hotel program also includes transfers between the airport and the hotel and then on embarkation day from the hotel to the ship. In some cities around the world transportation can be quite costly. We have used the hotel program several times.

 

-At the time of your booking, determine if your cruise requires any visas that have to be arranged prior to your cruise and if any vaccinations are required. This information can be obtained from Crystal. The availability of this information may vary depending on how far in advance you book the cruise. Crystal does an outstanding job letting its guests know whether or not visas are required and if any vaccinations are required. Usually by around August the information is available for the following calendar year. Crystal Cruises will also let you know if a Yellow Fever Vaccination is required for your cruise.

 

PCPC _ Priority Check-in & Planning Center

 

-Sign in to the Priority Check-in & Planning Center (PCPC), by clicking on the following link. https://checkin.crystalcruises.com/ You will need to enter your first and last names and your booking number, which your travel agent/specialist should provide to you. You will complete four sections related to immigration such as passport information for each traveler, credit card, on board profile and a transportation section.

 

Make sure your credit card doesn't expire during or before the cruise ends. The check in system will NOT let you put in a CC that expires before the cruise. If you use a debit card to make your initial entries because your CC expires before the cruise, make sure you go back and put in your new Credit Card information.

 

-The PCPC will also provide you with other information about your cruise including a calendar that shows the itinerary, along with other information such as whether you are docked or will tender in port, and what the dress attire is for each evening. Be sure to print out a copy of this calendar and bring it with you for check in for your cruise on embarkation day.

 

-After you make your final payment you can use the system to pre book one specialty restaurant reservation per specialty restaurant, a reservation at the Vintage Room, reservations for shore excursions, spa and salon reservations, signups for classes including those taught at the computer university and even the ability to rent a tuxedo or to arrange for transfers from the airport to the ship if you are flying in the day of embarkation and not using the Crystal Cruises airline program or for the day of disembarkation if you are flying home that day and not using the Crystal Cruises air program.

 

-After making your final payment if you didn’t choose classic (fixed) evening dining then you will use this system for the open choice dining by reservation for the Crystal (main) Dining Room. For each evening you specify the time you would like to dine along with the table size and the reservation system will confirm this for you in real-time as you make each reservation. Please note that if you book a table that is larger than the size of your party (for example if you are two people and book a table for six) then you are responsible for inviting that number of people to join you as the Maitre d’ does not seat others with you. Do not wait to board the ship to first make reservations. The times and overall availability are capacity controlled so it’s best to make all of the reservations at the time or shortly after you make final payment.

 

-A few months before the cruise begins, under your voyage, the Crystal Web Site will list all of the shore excursions and provide the opportunity for you to sign up for these excursions. Most shore excursions can be canceled with no penalty. On the night that you embark the ship, your shore excursion tickets will be delivered to your stateroom, and each ticket will note the last day in which the tickets can be canceled to avoid penalties. Ordering the tickets ahead of time, saves you time early in the cruise and also helps to ensure that you get the excursions that you want as some of the more popular excursions with limited availability can be sold out prior to the commencement of the cruise.

 

-Be sure that your passport will not expire less than six months after your cruise ends. If it does expire be sure to get a new passport. Also, check to see if you have sufficient available visa pages in the back. You can have pages added to your existing passport for a charge. The key is to do this sooner rather than later to ensure that your passport is back in plenty of time.

 

Notify all of your credit card and atm card banks of the dates of your vacation and your itinerary so they do not think transactions from your vacation are fraud related. Make a list of your card numbers and phone numbers in case you need to reach the card company should your cards become lost or should your card not be returned from an ATM machine.

 

Attire

====

 

Often, there are questions about the evening attire. The following information about attire comes directly from the Crystal Cruises Web Site.

 

Formal Evening Attire

 

Formal attire is evening dresses and gowns of fashionable length for ladies, and a tuxedo, dinner jacket or dark suit and tie for gentlemen. Jeans, shorts, casual slacks, sport shirts, and caps or baseball hats are not permitted in the dining room or our specialty restaurants after 6 pm.

 

Informal Evening Attire

 

Informal attire is appropriate for most evenings on board. For ladies, this is evening cocktail dresses or pantsuits. Gentlemen wear suits or sport coats and slacks; ties are optional. Jeans, shorts, sport shirts and caps or baseball hats are not permitted in the dining room or our specialty restaurants after 6 pm.

 

Casual Evening Attire

 

On casual evenings, a more relaxed attire is accepted, such as casual dresses and pantsuits for ladies, and sport shirts and slacks for gentlemen. Ties and jackets are not required. Shorts and baseball caps are not permitted after 6pm. Casual daytime attire is not considered acceptable attire after 6pm.

 

The web site also notes the appropriate daytime attire for the Crystal Dining Room.

 

Visitors

=====

 

Crystal is one of the few cruise lines, which permit having visitors on board the ship. This link will take you to the Visitors Authorization Form. Please be sure to fill out the form in its entirety. Visitors are permitted on embarkation day and other days of the cruise with the exception of the day you disembark the ship.

 

http://www.crystalcruises.com/files/forms/44268_req_for_visitors.pdf

 

 

 

Final Documents, and other Preparations

=========================

 

 

-Your final documents should arrive approximately 30 days prior to the start of your cruise. It includes the cruise passenger ticket, your luggage tags, and other important information to read through including a book titled before you cruise. Be sure to read that book from cover to cover as it includes a lot of useful information which will address many questions that first time cruisers to Crystal undoubtedly have. NOTE: Your final documents will not be sent out unless you have filled out the information on the on line PCPC system. Final documents also include a shore excursion booklet.

 

-You may want to type up a list of any special requests for your stewardess, which you can hand to her the day you first meet her. This could be the type of non-alcoholic beverages that you prefer be stocked in your refrigerator, or the type of fruit that you like in your fruit bowl or any other special requests that you have. If you are staying in a PH or above category your butler will take care of your refrigerator so you could make a similar list for your butler.

 

-Think through what items you will take with you on the cruise and think through what you will wear the first day of embarkation and take into account what you will wear to dinner the first evening should your luggage arrive later than expected.

 

-Your final documents will include a shore excursion booklet. Much of the information in the book can be found on line but it is always nice to have a hard copy booklet as well. You will also receive some additional information about life on board the ship and how others can get a hold of you while you are on the ship. You will receive luggage tags, which you will want to attach to your luggage right before you go to the pier.

 

Be sure to print out a copy your PCPC document and place it with your final documents.

 

Getting Ready For The Cruise

==================

 

In addition to the evening attire, think through carefully what you will want to wear on the ship on sea days and what you want to wear while in port. Consider the weather that is expected based on the time of year and the itinerary you are sailing.

 

If you are on an extended cruise we bring wire hangers with us, which take up less room in the closet and allow for more clothes to be hung.

 

Complimentary laundry facilities are available on most passenger decks. They include washer, dryers and an iron and ironing board and complimentary laundry detergent and fabric softeners are provided.

 

Pressing and Dry Cleaning Services are also available on the ship for a charge. Complimentary pressing is available for those passengers booked in any of the three penthouse (PH, PS, or CP) categories.

 

We also bring some magnets with us and they can be hung on some of the walls in the cabin, which we use to hang up reminders and various invitations and the cruise ship summary and pictures of the family.

 

Be sure to print out a copy of the PCPC. If you have already entered your credit card information then they will check you in, take your picture and give you your shipboard card and you’ll be already to board the ship.

 

We bring extra passport pictures with us and we also bring a copy of each of our passports. We do this just in case we lost our passport either before the start of the cruise or after the cruise before we fly home. This will facilitate getting a new passport.

 

 

 

Embarkation Day

=============

 

-On most embarkation days, boarding of the ship begins at around 12:00 Noon. However, there are some exceptions to this.

 

-Your final documents include a document that will be scanned when you arrive to the ship for embarkation. The embarkation process is now handled on the ship including the photo of you being taken for your shipboard card.

 

 

-If you embark at that hour, your stateroom will not be ready until approximately 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

 

-After you embark, stop by the front desk to get a copy of the Reflections daily program. This program is a keeper and I encourage you to read it thoroughly. While there will be one in your room, often we read the one we pick up the desk during lunch.

 

The embarkation Reflections program not only provides lots of information about the first day’s activities, but some additional information regarding the overall cruise. Read it cover to cover. You will learn a great deal about the cruise. One of the items that will be noted is all of the special theme meals in the Crystal Dining Room.

 

-Go enjoy lunch. A nice place for lunch is the Crystal Dining Room where a nice sit-down lunch is available along with complimentary flutes of champagne. While you are waiting for lunch, this might be a good time to read through reflections. You can enter and still be seated in the dining room up until 1:30 PM. A more casual luncheon-dining venue will also be open on the Lido Deck.

 

-If you want to make reservations at the Specialty Restaurants and/or also see where your dining room table is located for the evening dinner in the main dining room the Maitre D’s will have hours available in the afternoon when you can meet with them. The hours and the location will be posted in Reflections.

 

-If you have brought your own computer with you this is also a good day to go by the Computer University where they will configure your computer for use in your stateroom. You can also sign up for an Internet plan whether or not you have your own computer or use the computers located in the Computer University. If you would like to sign up for computer classes, stop by the Computer University to do so and to pick up a copy of the computer class schedule.

 

-If you have spa and other beauty salon appointments that you need to make, be sure to visit the spa. Also, pick up a schedule of all of the fitness classes that will be offered during the voyage at the Fitness Center.

 

-While you are waiting for your cabin this is a good day to get learn about the layout of the public areas on the ship. Take a walk to see what is on each deck.

 

-When your room is ready, go by your room. Some or your entire luggage may already be in the room and those pieces that are not yet there will be delivered throughout the afternoon. Your room should be ready sometime between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM.

 

-Stop by the library to checkout books, music CD’s, and DVD’s.

 

-Your stewardess will come by to see you sometime that afternoon. This is a good time to ask her any questions you have. If you like particular types of non-alcoholic beverages let her know. The same goes for the fruit bowl that she will fill each day. And, if there is any other requests you have you can let her know. If you have a list that you prepared mentioned earlier then this is a good time to give it to her.

 

-If you are staying in a PH or above category in addition to the stewardess who is also assisted by a stewardess in training you will also have a butler. The butler will stock your refrigerator with non-alcoholic drinks, and also certain complimentary beers if you so choose. There is also an initial complimentary set up of two bottles of alcohol, two bottles of wine and one bottle of champagne. You can trade a bottle for some other bottle in a similar price range.

 

-This is a good time to unpack and later in the day you will also attend the lifeboat drill. The time will be noted in the Reflections Program and an announcement will be made about the drill well before the start time. On your door there will be a sign noting where your muster station is. If in doubt, any of the assigned personnel in the hallways and near the stairways will be able to direct you to the appropriate muster station.

 

The Cruise

========

 

-The wait staff in the Main Dining Room will include the Maitre d’ who has several responsibilities including assigning passengers to their respective tables, the Head Waiter who is responsible for an area of the dining room which includes several tables and who you can see if you would like to order any special items, the senior waiter who takes your order and ensures that all of the items you ordered are served to you, and the waiter who assists the senior waiter in serving you your meal. There is also a sommelier that serves mixed drinks and wine and has responsibility for a specific section of tables.

 

- Gratuities are now included with your cruise fare. However, should you wish to you can give gratuities to those from the cruise who you will to thank for the excellent service they have provided. You can either do this by giving them cash of if you would like you can obtain a form at the reception desk so that you can charge the tips to your shipboard account.

 

-Wine. Complimentary wine is available throughout the day/evening. For those who might want to have something other than the complimentary wine you can order it at the time you dine or you can pre-order it. If you would like you can pre-order wine earlier in the day at the Bistro which is staffed with several of the sommeliers. That way if you are ordering a red wine it can be opened up ahead of time and regardless of whether you order a red or a white wine or both the table will be set accordingly. If you have a bottle of wine in your room that you would like to send to any of the restaurants just let your stewardess know or in the PH and above categories just let your butler know. There is no charge for having wine opened in any of the dining venues.

 

- Most importantly, start enjoying your cruise knowing that the superb personnel on board the Crystal Ship will take care of your every need. Enjoy the ambience of the ship and the five-star+ services that awaits you from the outstanding cuisine to the outstanding service.

 

-Enjoy each and every minute of the cruise knowing that you are in the professional hands of the superb Crystal Staff. For those who like to keep busy there is so much to do and to learn. For those who just want to sit back, read a book, enjoy the sea, there are many special places around the ship in which to relax.

 

- At the end of the cruise you will be a member of the Crystal Society. As a Crystal Society member you receive discounts on future cruises and you can achieve additional benefits based on the number of cruises taken. Also, this is the time to consider booking a future cruise, as you will receive an on board-booking discount. The discount is on top of the Crystal Society discount and is the same percentage. So, if the Crystal Society discount was 4 percent then you would receive an additional 4% for the on board booking discount for a total savings of 8%.

 

-Assuming you enjoy your experience with Crystal Cruises, you can book another Crystal Cruise with the on-board booking consultant while still on the cruise and this will provide you with an on board booking discount. If you are unsure what cruise to book you can do an open booking which you can then apply to a specific cruise within the published time frame while back on land.

 

-Once you are home, you will have the opportunity to complete an on-line questionnaire. Take the time to fill it out. This used to be a hard copy questionnaire that you had to fill out on the ship. Now you can complete it at home within the established time frame, which allows Crystal Cruises to capture information on your disembarkation process and also allows you to take time to reflect on the cruise. There is lots of room for comments and also to recognize members of the crew for a job well done. The comments are read by many people including personnel in Los Angeles and on the ship and the results of the questionnaire are taken every seriously.

 

Before you leave the ship you will receive a letter in your cabin discussing the on-line questionnaire and noting the e-mail address they have on file for each passenger where the information will be sent. Sometime the day you disembark the ship you will receive an e-mail about the survey and there will be an area that you click on the e mail which will take you to the survey.

 

My wife and I feel so very fortunate to be able to cruise on a cruise line as special to us as Crystal. Through our many cruises with Crystal we have had the opportunity to learn so very much about the world we live in. In our humble opinion there is no better way to see so many places in a relatively short time as on a cruise. And, for us, each and every time we board the Crystal Serenity or the Crystal Symphony, and familiar faces, crew and passengers greet us alike, we know we are back home.

 

Finally, as soon as you board the ship, just start enjoying the cruise and I hope each of you will make memories that will last a lifetime.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a 7-day Caribbean cruise for two!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...