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Crystal Announces a Change to Specialty Restaurants


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This is extremely disappointing! The $30 is not the issue, it just seems like this is the thin edge of the wedge. I can't believe that this is being instituted for anything more than to increase revenue.

 

We count ourselves among the very loyal Crystal cruisers, but we do sail other lines occasionally. Oceania, which, by the way, has outstanding food, has four specialty restaurants. There is NO charge for them and you can dine in them as many times as you like as long as there is space available.

 

Either you are All Inclusive or you are NOT All Inclusive, Crystal. Please be consistent.

 

Ricki

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Perhaps when we started cruising on Crystal in 2005, through around the end of 2010 were the good old days, and in the future we will only look back and remember how nice Crystal used to be. Sort of how we view United Airlines and most other airlines today...I can recall paying $30 extra and being moved to first class on Braniff on flights to Acapulco, or when Continental was our beloved regional carrier...days gone by which will never return.

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We have often just gone by Prego or Silk Road just before the 8:30 seating in the MDR and were able to get a table because they were not busy. I am wondering if this policy is only for making a 2nd reservation or if it applies also to "walk-ins" too. If that's the case, then it is surely a money making policy, not crowd control. And when the ship isn't full there is no need for crowd control! Effective crowd control can be achieved by doing a better job of keeping track of reservations. Quite a parting shot from Beancounter Michel!

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I think for the most part the average cruiser on a typical 10 night cruise will go to each one time and the rest they enjoy in the Crystal Dining Room.

For World Cruisers or those that book B2B segments even if you have one reservation number it still breaks it down into segments in your PCPC and my guess is that you will get one reservation for each restaurant for each segment.

 

What you have to remember that some segments are 19 and 23 days long....like they say "a long time between drinks".

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I have, in the past, laughed heartily at the petty complaints that arise on this board. No more pillow chocolates or trashcan doilies. Having to pay for a certain shuttle. No water here, no smoking there. To me, those are still petty complaints.

 

But this. 30 dollars (and contrary to all you rich folk out there, 30 bucks per person is NOT chicken feed to us) per person to visit a second time is LUDICROUS. Absolutely absurd.

 

All inclusive is one of the major components that keeps us sailing Crystal. We have a cruise booked in 2014 that I am SERIOUSLY reconsidering now. I've been online ordering some other cruise line brochures.

 

You don't give someone something and then decide to take it away. SHAME ON YOU CRYSTAL. Shame.

 

:mad::mad::mad:,

Scott

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I doubt Crystal cares what is written on this forum. Oceania maybe, Azamara yes but Crystal has maybe stepped on once or twice in the last five years to comment. Like Danny and others on this board, we pre-arrange one seating at Prego and SR, then add another dinner or two to eat with new aquaintances or staff. The reservation process once on board - stop by Prego about 2 PM on embarlation day or come by any evening when they open - has been painless. Yes, we might not get the exact time we want but I can not remember when we were shutout.

 

The timing is at least as interesting as the change, only a few days before the new boss assumes her duties. Why now?

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It is just possible that Keith has a life outside of Cruise Critic. He doesn't work for Crystal, he doesn't work for Cruise Critic, and he doesn't work for us. Geez!

 

You took he words right out of my mouth! Thanks for posting.

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If I have used my two complimentary visits (one for each venue) and I am an invited guest of another passenger, will I have to pay the $30.00? If that is the case, then I feel Crystal cannot be considered an all inclusive cruise line. This is a very tacky policy. On a longer cruise, the costs can certainly add up.

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We started with Crystal in 1992 and have wonderful bar glasses and vases , etc. as mementoes of our cruises. When those were gone it was ok as we got milestones. Now those have changed as has everything else. This extra charge is obscene and we will think our upcoming cruise and several more we had planned. Go Danny. You do realize there are charges now for shuttles in some ports?? Go figure. Not the Crystal we knew and loved. If it weren't for the staff onboad the Symphony, we would jump ship yesterday!!!!

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The timing is at least as interesting as the change, only a few days before the new boss assumes her duties. Why now?

 

Why now? Perhaps this is a clever marketing initiative by Crystal. A very unpopular (and, I think, unreasonable) new policy is announced. A new boss arrives shortly thereafter. She reverses the policy, thus generating lavish praise and oodles of good will. What a great way to launch one's tenure in a new job.

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

Dear Ms. Schenker,

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

 

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

 

We look forward to welcoming you all aboard.

Kind regards,

Passenger Services

 

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

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How much do they charge for their shuttles? We were thinking of booking the 2016 WC. These policies, along with very expensive shore excursions, may change our minds.

 

With only a few exceptions, their shuttles are complimentary.

 

:D:D:D,

Scott

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Note: There is no additional charge for the food, the all-inclusive wine, spirits and beers, and gratuities.

 

We look forward to welcoming you all aboard.

Kind regards,

Passenger Services

 

Makes it sound like the reserved sushi list is going away. That is no doubt not what they meant.

Edited by TER777
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$30/person reservation fee? If the old $7 gratuity charge kept people away, this certainly will! It would be a shame to see the specialty restaurants half full because everybody didn't take advantage of their opportunity to go. Full restaurants always have more vibrance than empty ones. It will be interesting to see if a "walk-in" at a half empty venue is considered a "reservation" and charged the $30/person. Crystal did make a point of calling it a "reservation fee". Certainly not well thought out. I would like to think that this is yet another case of LA saying one thing but on board staff doing another. It happens.

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Question: Will the Penthouses,Penthouse Suites and Crystal Penthouses still be able to order,coarse by coarse, from these two restaurants for diners in their cabins?

If so, will they have to cough up the "Fee""?

 

I'm sure the butlers will love the extra diners in the suites.

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

Dear Ms. Schenker,

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

 

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

 

We look forward to welcoming you all aboard.

Kind regards,

Passenger Services

 

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

 

Wow, I am really surprised at this move by Crystal. I fail to see how charging a "nominal fee" will ensure all guests will have access to the speciality restaurants. Either Crystal has not clearly thought this through, or they are being dishonest about their motivation. And as another poster mentioned, how will they handle night of walk-ins?

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This is total b*l*s*i*. No offense intended. This is a revenue generator. Saying it is for the reservation and not for the food is unbelievably insulting. I don't drink much, but understood that having all-inclusive would make it so much easier -- their answer made me even angrier. At least be honest. Maybe it's a scheduling problem that they can't figure out. I have been looking at Oceania --- I will miss the lectures, but this is insulting to all of their customers. If they want to compete with the premium lines, then that's a different matter. If they want to continue to compete with the top lines, this is at least one ding against them. Very, very sad that this is happening. Keith? Keith?? Just wondering where you are.

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My wife and I booked our first Crystal Cruise for May 2014, because of your "All Inclusive" promise.

 

We have watched Celebrity go from a Luxury cruise line to just another mass-market nickel-and-dimer, and were assured by our Travel Agent and by the Cruise Critic Crystal forum that Crystal was not like that. The evidence given was that even the old $7 specialty restaurant charge had been eliminated so that once you were onboard you were in the all-inclusive experience.

 

The new $30 charge for reservations is a terrible idea which completely undercuts all the marketing changes you have made over the last few years.

 

I have read your justification that this is to assure that every passenger gets a chance to visit once. BS. You already had that with the limitation on making pre-cruise reservations. This is a bald-faced attempt to raise revenue. Attempts to deny it merely add Hypocrisy to the charge of Greed.

 

As I make my plans for 2015, Crystal will no longer be at the top of the list since by then who knows what other new charges you will have thought of? Will you eliminate the included wine at dinner, or merely switch to plonk and swill? Will you drop town shuttles generally, since you got away with dropping two ports this year? How can one rely on Crystal as a Luxury line with this continual reduction in service and amenities?

 

PS - The timing of this couldn't be worse, with a number of people already worried about the new President's background with Carnival. "What were you thinking???"

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The booking number works as a password on the PCPC. In order to make the "group" reservation, you have to give your friend your booking number. Do you really want to?

 

Hopefully this is a far-fetched example, but let's say at 6 months out, I accept an invitation to dine in SR with Friend A and provide my booking number. Then months go by and we have a falling out. I now prefer to dine with Friend B. Can I cancel the reservation in my name? Maybe not, since I did not make it.

 

Friend A, or to more precisely say, ex-Friend A, now finds out we're not to be dining together and goes off the deep end. Ex-Friend A who you'll recall has my booking #, logs onto the PCPC as me and wreaks havoc perhaps cancelling my shore excursions, my spa appointments, my airport pickup, and what the heck, signing me up for other expensive shorex that have cancellation penalties. A potential big mess.

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With only a few exceptions, their shuttles are complimentary.

 

:D:D:D,

Scott

 

WERE complimentary? Wait for the next press release. "In order to assure that all our guests have the maximum opportunity for exercise, starting in January 2014 we are cancelling all shuttles."

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