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Onboard Serenity - Never Again


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For all the diehard Crystal fans out there, I will post a full review on return; but here are the initial impressions:

 

First the good:

 

  • Nice cabin
  • Good food - sometimes. Bakers needs a remedial course - pretty much no taste in many breads, pasteries, etc. Lido hours are a nightmare if you are getting off the ship at all.
  • Nice movie theater
  • Silk Road - Outstanding

Now the bad:

 

  • Service in the MDR (for the most part) - aloof to rude. That shows a decided lack of training.
  • Organization - pitiful. One staff member will tell you one thing and an announcement will tell you the opposite. Customs (with scheduled excursions) in Seattle was a circus - and not in an entertaining way.
  • Entertainment (Galaxy Lounge) was amateurish. One show was enough.
  • Communication - what communication? Embarkation was an absolute joke.
  • Ship out of dry dock ready for sea? NO. Contractors were still on board. Smell of paint, plumbing problems with flooded public restrooms, a sound like a ball being dropped (and bouncing repeatedly in the ceiling a/c), etc.
  • The captain - where's Waldo! No sign of officers that we saw during the embarkation fiasco.

More later.

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For all the diehard Crystal fans out there, I will post a full review on return; but here are the initial impressions:

 

First the good:

 

  • Nice cabin
  • Good food - sometimes. Bakers needs a remedial course - pretty much no taste in many breads, pasteries, etc. Lido hours are a nightmare if you are getting off the ship at all.
  • Nice movie theater
  • Silk Road - Outstanding

Now the bad:

 

  • Service in the MDR (for the most part) - aloof to rude. That shows a decided lack of training.
  • Organization - pitiful. One staff member will tell you one thing and an announcement will tell you the opposite. Customs (with scheduled excursions) in Seattle was a circus - and not in an entertaining way.
  • Entertainment (Galaxy Lounge) was amateurish. One show was enough.
  • Communication - what communication? Embarkation was an absolute joke.
  • Ship out of dry dock ready for sea? NO. Contractors were still on board. Smell of paint, plumbing problems with flooded public restrooms, a sound like a ball being dropped (and bouncing repeatedly in the ceiling a/c), etc.
  • The captain - where's Waldo! No sign of officers that we saw during the embarkation fiasco.

More later.

 

Fair enough... Organization is often my complaint with Crystal, but I'm very critical since travel and event logistic planning is sort of what I do for a living. I balance that with the observations of my travel companions who are usually more impressed with Crystal's operations, and try to tone down my expectations and criticisms.

 

I don't know if I consider myself a diehard Crystal fan or not, but they certainly deserve whatever ding they get for the poor embarkation experience and post-drydock work. It's certainly not uncommon in this industry, but it's a well deserved hit nonetheless.

 

Rude waiters and amateurish entertainment is certainly not most of our experience, so people may say their experience is different, but your experience matters.

 

Thanks for sharing -- look forward to hearing more...

 

Vince

Edited by BWIVince
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On our recent Tokyo to San Francsico leg of the WC we had a similar experience in the MDR. Our assistant waiter was rarely seen, and our senior waiter gave the impression he was done with providing good service. Our tablemates asked for grapes with their cheese (there was no cheese sommelier- it was the senior waiter who obtained it), and he groused that he would have to go to the kitchen to get some. We were never offered extra bread, water was not refilled. When we asked him about it he told us the table next to us was demanding and his assistant was helping them. This waiter has been with Crystal since the Harmony days. I think when the ship is full the staff is spread too thin to provide the service Crystal promises.

 

I should clarify that we were not particularly demanding, we were all polite to him, and he was polite back, but it just what we have experienced in our many cruises with Crystal.

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On our recent Tokyo to San Francsico leg of the WC we had a similar experience in the MDR. Our assistant waiter was rarely seen, and our senior waiter gave the impression he was done with providing good service. Our tablemates asked for grapes with their cheese (there was no cheese sommelier- it was the senior waiter who obtained it), and he groused that he would have to go to the kitchen to get some. We were never offered extra bread, water was not refilled. When we asked him about it he told us the table next to us was demanding and his assistant was helping them. This waiter has been with Crystal since the Harmony days. I think when the ship is full the staff is spread too thin to provide the service Crystal promises.

 

I should clarify that we were not particularly demanding, we were all polite to him, and he was polite back, but it just what we have experienced in our many cruises with Crystal.

 

Not questioning your experience at all, just want to note that I had the best senior waiter I've ever had on Crystal on the Tokyo to San Francisco cruise. It just goes to show that people on the same cruise can have vastly different experiences.

 

Patty

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Not questioning your experience at all, just want to note that I had the best senior waiter I've ever had on Crystal on the Tokyo to San Francisco cruise. It just goes to show that people on the same cruise can have vastly different experiences.

 

Patty

 

 

That's great. This was an anomoly for us. Our whole dining experience was weird- we requested a table for 6, were waitlisted for both main and late seating until we boarded, had our table assignment delivered to our room hand written in pen with cross-outs over previous assignments. We ended up as 6 people at an oblong table intended for 8. Near a huge table of 10. So it was always difficult for one person to converse. If it had been my first Crystal Cruise I would have been very unhappy. Since we have many under our belts I chalked it up to the ship being full, and the wait staff stretched too thin. And we had great companions, and enjoyed ourselves. Still, the servise was not on par with our expectations.

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[*]Service in the MDR (for the most part) - aloof to rude. That shows a decided lack of training.

 

Nip this in the bud by speaking to the maître d' asking to change tables because the service is poor. The Head Waiter for each section is normally talking to regular customers. This should spur on some action. Crystal is usually fairly responsive.

 

It may be day 1 issues with staff issue after coming out of dry dock.

 

Speak up while on-board if it is a service matter! It works on Crystal.

 

Sounds like dry-docking over-ran. Crystal needs to watch this especially the fiasco with the Espirt.

 

While I am fan, there are moment when that cause me to react. Crystal is not cheap so expectations are high.

Edited by JohnKen3
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So many things wrong on this segment. It's bizarre in so many ways. Our F and B experience has been great. Housekeeping very poor. The biggest problems are hotel manager related in my opinion.

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Reminders of why I avoid the sailings just prior to & directly following dry dock. Work always starts before guests disembark; & they're never back 100% afterward. You can make excuses; but that bitter taste in your mouth lingers.

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The biggest problems are hotel manager related in my opinion.
Peterson - on his first Serenity assignment taking over from Matt at drydock.

 

Have not sailed with him as a HD, but when CD he was organized and responsive. I am far from a Crystal cheerleader, but I suspect that this is a shakedown-related issue as he gets settled in to his first Serenity cruise. I'd wager it will quickly improve - IF he's made aware of issues. One can never fix what one is unaware of.

 

Speak up. I know he wants the straight dope.

Edited by FlyerTalker
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As far as organization is concerned and delivery of service, they can take a lesson from Emirates Airlines. We arrived from Bali to DBX and are awaiting are flight to JFK in the first class lounge. The inflight service was excellent and the lounge is over the top. Very exclusive...LOL. It really is.

 

We can choose the buffet or from a large menu of items delivered to you at any table or at the dining room. If you have a long layover they will give you a nice room to rest shower and sleep and they will wake you when you need to be ready to board your flight....that is exclusive.

 

If you feel you need to shower on the A-380...have at it and give a champagne toast as you leave refreshed going back to your seat along with caviar if you request it....that is exclusive.

 

When we are home our exclusive life ends and it is back to reality walking the dogs and doing our routine visits to the grocery store and fighting traffic on I-95 going to the doctor...etc. like normal people do. But when we travel I want it above and beyond and that is what we do. Why? Because we both worked for it and deserve it in our so called sunset years 59 and counting.

 

Crystal has a long way to go. That being said when we cruise Crystal we enjoy it very much....but exclusive not yet.

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Reminders of why I avoid the sailings just prior to & directly following dry dock. Work always starts before guests disembark; & they're never back 100% afterward. You can make excuses; but that bitter taste in your mouth lingers.

 

Becky, it's so true about right before/right after drydock.

 

But why the heck should one cruiser be experiencing poor housekeeping? So sorry to hear that, Oregon50. Frustrating/annoying/disappointing. A bummer.

 

And the MDR service sounds like what CatLover experienced on the sailing prior to drydock. So WHAT is going ON???

 

On Saturday, Serenity's off for 16 days to Hawaii. I hope somebody reminds the crew that the guests are hoping for a pleasant Crystal experience.

 

Thank you for the reminders, FlyerTalk and JohnKen3, that the "powers that be" want to hear if our experiences are less than stellar. Excellent advice.

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On Saturday, Serenity's off for 16 days to Hawaii. I hope somebody reminds the crew that the guests are hoping for a pleasant Crystal experience

 

There's a good number of CC regulars on there so it will be interesting to get their feedback

 

Perhaps we need Keith1010 on all sailings as they seem to behave themselves when he is there to keep an eye on things :p

 

It does sound like post dry dock cruises are best avoided - I wonder if the "C" word gets used - Compensation I mean....

 

Sorry to hear of the OP's issues - never good to hear of disappointing experiences on anyone's holiday - especially on Crystal

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There's a good number of CC regulars on there so it will be interesting to get their feedback

 

Perhaps we need Keith1010 on all sailings as they seem to behave themselves when he is there to keep an eye on things :p

 

It does sound like post dry dock cruises are best avoided - I wonder if the "C" word gets used - Compensation I mean....

 

Sorry to hear of the OP's issues - never good to hear of disappointing experiences on anyone's holiday - especially on Crystal

 

Terry, it's time for Genting and Edie to put up or shut up with all this exclusive imaginary vision. So far we have not read anything great about the other products Espirt or river cruise......

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There's a good number of CC regulars on there so it will be interesting to get their feedback

 

Perhaps we need Keith1010 on all sailings as they seem to behave themselves when he is there to keep an eye on things :p

 

It does sound like post dry dock cruises are best avoided - I wonder if the "C" word gets used - Compensation I mean....

 

Sorry to hear of the OP's issues - never good to hear of disappointing experiences on anyone's holiday - especially on Crystal

 

+1... I was on a Crystal sailing years and years ago with layers of issues (but overall still less significant than this), and they extended an offer to all of us post-cruise. I think compensation of some variety would be appropriate, even if just a token gesture.

 

Vince

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For all the diehard Crystal fans out there, I will post a full review on return; but here are the initial impressions:

 

First the good:

 

  • Nice cabin
  • Good food - sometimes. Bakers needs a remedial course - pretty much no taste in many breads, pasteries, etc. Lido hours are a nightmare if you are getting off the ship at all.
  • Nice movie theater
  • Silk Road - Outstanding

Now the bad:

 

  • Service in the MDR (for the most part) - aloof to rude. That shows a decided lack of training.
  • Organization - pitiful. One staff member will tell you one thing and an announcement will tell you the opposite. Customs (with scheduled excursions) in Seattle was a circus - and not in an entertaining way.
  • Entertainment (Galaxy Lounge) was amateurish. One show was enough.
  • Communication - what communication? Embarkation was an absolute joke.
  • Ship out of dry dock ready for sea? NO. Contractors were still on board. Smell of paint, plumbing problems with flooded public restrooms, a sound like a ball being dropped (and bouncing repeatedly in the ceiling a/c), etc.
  • The captain - where's Waldo! No sign of officers that we saw during the embarkation fiasco.

More later.

 

Michael, I am so sorry that you have had a disappointing on board experience.

 

I am sure that if this was our first Crystal Cruise between the late embarkation and dry dock related issues we would be disappointed. First impressions are very important.

 

Some of the other items such as dining room personnel being aloof or the entertainment as a whole (once in a while have seen an entertainer from land who we didn't care for) are not items we have experienced on our Crystal Sailings but in the end the only opinion that matters is our own opinion and the only experiences that count are are own.

 

If certain items did not please you that's all that counts. It doesn't matter what we think. It only matters what you think.

 

Again, I am sorry the cruise has not worked out for you.

 

I see today is a sea day. If you have time or even to do this, consider calling the Hotel Director to try to speak with him to discuss your feedback. In either case, be sure to also note your feedback on the survey from your cruise that you will receive a few days after the cruise ends and also have your TA provide feedback to Crystal Cruises once back home.

 

I hope that at some point you might consider giving Crystal another shot but understand if this is something you don't want to do.

 

Keith

Edited by Keith1010
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Becky, it's so true about right before/right after drydock.

 

 

May, I only have one experience before a dry dock and that one was on the one right before this dry dock.

 

Actually going into it I had three concerns.

 

Sailing on a voyage right before a dry dock, only five day in length, and also coming right at the end of a world cruise and on a segment that can be very challenging with the clock forwarded something like eight hours.

 

To our surprise the voyage was as good as any we have been on. Food was plentiful (yes I was a little concerned about that since it was right before the dry dock) and crew was in fine spirits and nothing was apparent about the ship gong into a dry dock other than the fact that disembarkation started early and everyone had to be off the ship a little earlier than normal.

 

So my point is you never know.

 

In general we do avoid post dry docks and usually avoid inaugural cruises although next year we are breaking the inaugural rule with two booked on river cruise vessels. Keeping fingers crossed it all works out as it did for our pre-dry dock cruise which diid. :)

 

Keith

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suitetravels,

i agree with you in full - also on Emirates

however the first class ( and also the business are great ) lounges are extremely luxurious and service oustanding, Emirates also does lack a small detail of total exclusivity by not providing a amenity kit on day flights in first or business :(

 

unfortunately since the all inclusive too many items changed on Crystal

i cannot call it exclusive to change fresh lobsters on welcome dinner by frozen tails and transferring dishes usually served during lunchtime as entree for dinner

entertainment is very personal however the acts of one particular cruise director are extremely dated and one piano player is doing nearly the same since the nineties when he was on the defunct Royal Viking

Crystal is still good providing you do not look too closely ...

however i always found the service far better as on SB or on SS

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Thanks for the reviews.

 

Does anyone have dry dock dates? I know I can search for "holes" in the itineraries, but maybe someone has a list?

 

Dwight, that's what I did. :)

 

Likely between 7219 and 7220 on Symphony.

 

One other seven day gap that I saw that likely would be a charter.

 

That's it for now.

 

Keith

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It does sound like post dry dock cruises are best avoided - I wonder if the "C" word gets used - Compensation I mean....

 

Form letter received May 26. $100 pp on board credit for issues involved regarding embarkation.

 

I was on previous voyage....smooth as glass....except for the seas.

 

Housekeeping supervisor appeared yesterday.

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I have some friends on this cruise -- a couple I met on a tour during a Symphony cruise. I imagine we will be in touch once they return to California and get settled.

 

It seems fair to assume that some of the issues are related to dry dock and may be considered to be inevitable. But I believe one issue has not been discussed, and it may be relevant.

 

Why did Crystal sell the first night of the cruise -- the one that began with a scheduled 6 pm embarkation, etc.? Was it fundamentally not to lose that night's revenue from passengers? As I recall, the ship was docked in YVR for the following day and embarkation could have been the following day, according to normal protocols.

 

If not losing the one day's revenue was the fundamental motivation, this may have been a misjudgment.

 

I look forward to chatting with my friends in the next few days and getting another perspective. They are pretty laid-back people and they may not have been disturbed by anything on the cruise.

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Please help me out here...Why do people apologize for Crystal? Of course Crystal makes mistakes as any other line. But over the years I realize that a small number of posters would never tarnish the Crystal name and always defend its perfection. I live in the real world some of you live in a fantasy world. Oh well.

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Sailing on a voyage right before a dry dock, only five day in length, and also coming right at the end of a world cruise and on a segment that can be very challenging with the clock forwarded something like eight hours.

 

Wondering how there are eight hours of time change on a five day cruise that stays in the Pacific time zone?

 

the acts of one particular cruise director are extremely dated
Paul's "Five O'Clock Funnies"?? ;)
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Any line can have a problem, I think it's nice that Crystal is giving a OBC, many lines would not. In the end a vacation with Crystal is a off the shelf trip designed to cater to the majority. They really try to make it special but there is a limit to what can be done. If you are looking for a customized trip as others have described renting a yacht is in order.

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