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Once you try Crystal, you ever go back to Celebrity?

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Once you try Azamara, Crystal, Oceania, Seabourn, Regent, do you ever go back to Celebrity? Or should I expect the luxury cruise to make me never want to cruise Celebrity again?

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We have not yet been on Crystal (that will change in April) but have cruised with Regent, Oceania and Ponant. 

 

We would rather stay home than cruise on any mass market line.  We also have a preference for DIY land trips and river cruising for our travels.

 

For us, the small ship experience is preferable in all aspects, as much for what is not onboard as the quality of the experience overall.

When we do choose the ocean, it will only be on an upper premium or luxury line.

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15 minutes ago, ilikewhatisgood said:

Once you try Azamara, Crystal, Oceania, Seabourn, Regent, do you ever go back to Celebrity? Or should I expect the luxury cruise to make me never want to cruise Celebrity again?

 

We would cruise Crystal ONLY if they had more cruises serving the Northeast.

unfortunately if we want to cruise at all we need to sometimes try some of the lesser lines. The answer you probably will not want to go back similar to once you travel in a suite it’s hard to go back to anything else.

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We sailed on Celebrity for many years and had  Elite + status. Then we sailed on Crystal. What a wonderful difference. No arguments with the restaurant staff about how food was cooked, or with reception about how long it should take to fix a problem with a toilet. Then we decided to take an Alaskan cruise again on Celebrity just to get away from the Texas heat. Since the price was good and we had been to Alaska a number of times we thought Celebrity in Aqua class and with our Elite level would be OK.  Not the worst of experiences, but such a stark contrast that we won’t be doing that again. We have also sailed on a number of other ocean and river cruise lines. Still love Crystal and try to sail with them at least once a year.

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We sailed Celebrity for many years along with a couple of lines before sailing Crystal and Seabourn.  Crystal has become our go to cruise line.  However we took another Celebrity cruise several years later.  We were careful never to  compare the two.  We just focused on having a good time.  We picked it for the itinerary and for the time of the year.

 

Again just don't compare and focus on the best of each line.

 

Keith

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It's really hard to go back to flying coach!  The only circumstances I can see where I would sail a mainstream cruise line again would be to join friends or family on their preferred cruise - in other words, I'd only do it for the company, not for the cruise.

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Actually we just did 12 nights on Silhouette in November, but you really do need to book a Suite to lessen the impact of the difference. This was a Caribbean cruise and we only left the ship twice, so it was just a get away after a busy few months. Crystal is our go-to line, but we are not averse to going "down market" on occasion. The key, as Keith mentioned, is do not ever compare the experience on a mass market to a luxury line, be it Crystal, Regent, Seabourn or Silversea. As my Grandfather used to say about beers, "There are no bad cruises, just some that are better than others."

Edited by Roland4

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We have to be realistic. Crystal doesn't have many itineraries in our region (Australia) and we aren't all that fond of long distance air travel, plus our budget doesn't allow us to cruise Crystal all the time. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on Symphony last year and have another booked in 2020 but the rest of our cruising will be on Princess and Celebrity, as usual.

 

We did a short cruise on Majestic Princess after the Symphony cruise and weren't too disappointed with it. In fact the Princess entertainment on that cruise was on a par with Crystal's, and one of the speciality restaurants, Harmony (Chinese) was exceptional - OK, not quite as good as Umi Uma but still very acceptable. We're also doing a cruise on Celebrity Solstice, our third on this ship, in March and expect to enjoy it as much as ever.

 

We regard Crystal as our cruising "treat", rather than an every day item. 😉 

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15 hours ago, ilikewhatisgood said:

Once you try Azamara, Crystal, Oceania, Seabourn, Regent, do you ever go back to Celebrity? Or should I expect the luxury cruise to make me never want to cruise Celebrity again?

I just wanted to add something to what I posted earlier.

 

We are all different.

 

I know some people who have been on Celebrity or a similar line and tried a luxury line including Crystal and for a range of items preferred Celebrity.  In some cases it was because they felt they didn't like the luxury experience or they thought based on their budget that Celebrity worked best for them.  On the other hand I have known some (including some on this board) who do a combination of Celebrity and Crystal because this allows them to maximize the number of cruises they can take.  And finally I have known some including myself whose go to lines had included Celebrity who primarily went with Crystal with a few sailings on two other luxury lines after experiencing Crystal for the first time. As I mentioned we did sail Celebrity subsequent to this for one cruise and the timing and the overall itinerary was the driver.

 

I was speaking with two people on the ship yesterday about this very topic and all three of us had comments similar to the comments from Roland which was that we have sailed many lines and in general didn't have a bad cruise but did enjoy some over others.  In our case Crystal.

 

I know that it is human nature to compare.  I just find though that we try to focus on what we enjoy and enjoyed about each cruise.  Furthermore, we especially try to avoid the comparison between a luxury line and say a premium line or more of an entry line because price points are often very different. For me it would be comparing apples to oranges.  For example I expect finer cuisine on Crystal than Celebrity and so forth.

 

In the end you have to make the choice yourself and know that only you will be the decider based on your experience on Crystal or what other line you might select and you might not know how you will react until you take the cruise.  But rest assured there is not one answer to fit all.

 

Keith

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4 hours ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

....

 

We did a short cruise on Majestic Princess after the Symphony cruise and weren't too disappointed with it.

 

We don't spend thousands of $$ to be "not too disappointed"! We spend them to be wowed and amazed and treated like royalty. It's awfully hard to get that at home. :classic_wink:

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4 hours ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

We did a short cruise on Majestic Princess after the Symphony cruise and weren't too disappointed with it.

If I'm spending $400 a day, I set a higher bar than not being too disappointed with my vacation.   And it's unlikely I'm going to get on Celebrity or Princess for much less than $400 a day (for a balcony cabin) unless I find a sale going when and where I want to go. 

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ilikewhatisgood, we have been lucky enough to sail on Crystal, Seabourn, and Regent multiple times.  We have also sailed once on Oceania.  IMO, there's lots of good reasons that we have to sail any of those cruise lines, but there's also lots of good reasons that we choose to continue to sail on Celebrity.  

 

We have an upcoming Australia/NZ cruise with family and friends that will be on the Celebrity Solstice.  To make the choice of what ship to sail, we considered the cost, the different personalities of people who will be joining us, the itinerary, and other factors.  Will it be Crystal?  No, but that's a good thing as Crystal would not be a good fit for some of the people on our sailing.  We have no doubt that it will be a fabulous time.

 

Celebrity worked really well for sailings we had with our grandchildren when they were younger.  Their first cruise was on Regent,  and it was a great fit for the four generation family cruise.  It would not have been a great fit for the next cruise when the sailing was just us and our grandchildren.  Celebrity and Princess became a better fit.  Our last cruise with them was on Oceania, and it worked out perfectly.  

 

Do we love Crystal?  Absolutely!  Do we still love to sail on other cruise lines?  Absolutely!  I love being at sea; I love the brief overviews we get when we spend time in different ports all over the world; and I love sailing with family and friends.  I've been happy on almost every ship we've ever sailed.  

 

It's obvious from reading the posts on this thread that different people have different opinions.  I'd be interested in your opinion once you have completed your sailing.  

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I've sailed on Celebrity, Crystal, Regent, Oceania, Paul Gauguin, Windstar, Uniworld & Royal Caribbean. Here's my take:  For the most part, you get what you pay for.

 

Yes, the luxury lines are more expensive, but for that additional money you get SO MUCH MORE! In every way. The food is better, the service is exemplary, the ships are more beautiful, you are treated like royalty, you aren't nickel-and-dimed to death, the entire experience is just...better, in more ways than I can even list here.

 

That doesn't mean you would have a *bad* time on any particular cruise line. Why would anyone pay money and spend their precious vacation time to have a bad experience? But they will definitely be different.

 

There is nothing wrong with comparing the lines...but I think the key is to add "for the money" at the end of each sentence. Will your cruise on Celebrity compare favorably to Crystal? The food will be good - for the money. The service will be good - for the money. You are paying less for a mass-market cruise line, so it stands to reason you will get less.

 

What I hear you asking, however, is...once you've "traded up", so to speak, will you ENJOY that lesser (and less expensive) experience? For me, the answer is...not enough to make me spend my limited vacation time and dollars on it. I've been spoiled, I admit it. I just don't have the opportunity to cruise that often, so when I do, I want the experience to be fabulous. Before I started cruising the luxury lines, I thought my mass-market cruises WERE fabulous. But now I have a different metric for what "fabulous" means, because I've experienced it. And mass-market cruising just doesn't measure up...for me, anyway.

 

All that being said...if I had more opportunities to cruise (without such limits on time and money), I absolutely would consider taking a mass-market cruise! If I found an itinerary on Celebrity that was particularly appealing, sure I'd do it. I would simply adjust my expectations to align with the money that I'm spending. Hey, when I'm traveling, sometimes I stay at the Ritz Carlton, and sometimes I stay at a Best Western. I don't expect the Ritz when I'm paying for a BW. 🙂

 

Hope that helps!

 

LeeAnne

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Thank you LeeAnne and Mariners!

 

Given my dining habits and how I stick with the restaurants we love and know everyone by name, I think I will become a loyalist. Just need to find out with which line now. Azamara in March, Oceania in December and Crystal, unfortunately, only in December of 2020. Unless I find disposition to fly to a port (we live in FL and love being able to drive to the ports).

 

I have to point out how amazed I am with the generosity and kindness of everyone here in the forum. Can’t wait to become frequent cruiser. And that’s starting now in 2019 😉

 

Thank you!

 

PS wonder if I can change my user name. I don’t like the one I picked LOL

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I will likely be a somewhat opposing voice here.  I do regularly cruise on several lines (and am presently on for 80 days on my favorite non-Crystal ship), and I will sort of do comparisons. 

 

I think every cruise line that stays in business does something well for a significant number of people.  While Crystal does pretty much everything well it is not all things to all people.  Besides Crystal I have 3 pretty regular go to lines:

Royal Caribbean primarily for a nice selection of easy to get to out of Baltimore.

Cunard, especially for transatlantics and the magnificent sea capabilities and promenade deck of QM2.

HAL for a vast selection of itineraries, good service and some program and culinary things.

 

When I am on these lines I do sort of compare, focusing on the things I love about the line and enjoying the special things they bring to the table (in my view).

 

Variety is the spice of life.

 

Roy

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50 minutes ago, ilikewhatisgood said:

 

PS wonder if I can change my user name. I don’t like the one I picked LOL

 

You might be able to - I would email the CC person and request a change. I don't know who that would be but I'm sure someone will chime in. Good luck!

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Thanks. I heard HAL is the best for Alaska and one of the very few to visit Glacier Bay. We still don't know if we'd like that itinerary since we are very much into warm weather. But I am sure the scenery is fantastic.

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3 hours ago, Leejnd4 said:

I've sailed on Celebrity, Crystal, Regent, Oceania, Paul Gauguin, Windstar, Uniworld & Royal Caribbean. Here's my take:  For the most part, you get what you pay for.

 

Yes, the luxury lines are more expensive, but for that additional money you get SO MUCH MORE! In every way. The food is better, the service is exemplary, the ships are more beautiful, you are treated like royalty, you aren't nickel-and-dimed to death, the entire experience is just...better, in more ways than I can even list here.

 

That doesn't mean you would have a *bad* time on any particular cruise line. Why would anyone pay money and spend their precious vacation time to have a bad experience? But they will definitely be different.

 

There is nothing wrong with comparing the lines...but I think the key is to add "for the money" at the end of each sentence. Will your cruise on Celebrity compare favorably to Crystal? The food will be good - for the money. The service will be good - for the money. You are paying less for a mass-market cruise line, so it stands to reason you will get less.

 

What I hear you asking, however, is...once you've "traded up", so to speak, will you ENJOY that lesser (and less expensive) experience? For me, the answer is...not enough to make me spend my limited vacation time and dollars on it. I've been spoiled, I admit it. I just don't have the opportunity to cruise that often, so when I do, I want the experience to be fabulous. Before I started cruising the luxury lines, I thought my mass-market cruises WERE fabulous. But now I have a different metric for what "fabulous" means, because I've experienced it. And mass-market cruising just doesn't measure up...for me, anyway.

 

All that being said...if I had more opportunities to cruise (without such limits on time and money), I absolutely would consider taking a mass-market cruise! If I found an itinerary on Celebrity that was particularly appealing, sure I'd do it. I would simply adjust my expectations to align with the money that I'm spending. Hey, when I'm traveling, sometimes I stay at the Ritz Carlton, and sometimes I stay at a Best Western. I don't expect the Ritz when I'm paying for a BW. 🙂

 

Hope that helps!

 

LeeAnne

Thanks, LeeAnne!  For our first five or six cruises, we sailed on Carnival and Royal Caribbean.  Then we stepped it up a bit in the past couple of years.  So far our experience with luxury has been on NCL Haven Suites and a Scenic river cruise on the Scenic Opal.  I would be interested on how you would rank the cruise lines you've experienced based on the quality and level of luxury?  Second, if the ranking is different, please rank the cruise lines based on the level of their all-inclusiveness.  Thank you in advance!

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8 hours ago, suzeluvscruz said:

 

We don't spend thousands of $$ to be "not too disappointed"! We spend them to be wowed and amazed and treated like royalty. It's awfully hard to get that at home. :classic_wink:

 

8 hours ago, calliopecruiser said:

If I'm spending $400 a day, I set a higher bar than not being too disappointed with my vacation.   And it's unlikely I'm going to get on Celebrity or Princess for much less than $400 a day (for a balcony cabin) unless I find a sale going when and where I want to go. 

 

I wasn't expecting to be wowed on Majestic Princess as it's a very different ship to the rest of the fleet since it was designed for the Chinese market. Personally I don't like that class of Princess ships but wanted to see what that ship was like so we chose to do a short, six night cruise. There were some differences in the public areas which were, if compared to other Princess ships, disappointing to us.  We scored one of the extended balcony cabins and our "all inclusive" cost came to around AU $320pp per day. That's including drinks and speciality restaurants. The service was excellent in all the bars (as good as Crystal) but not up to par in the MDRs. However the food wasn't not as good as on previous Princess cruises and, of course, well below Crystal standards - apart from the Harmony restaurant. So we got what we expected from that cruise. 

 

Many of you have much more opportunity to cruise on luxury lines without long haul air travel either side of your cruise. Since we don't have that option and prefer to do most of our cruising out of Australia, and out of the peak summer cruise season here, we're stuck with Princess (P&O Australia and Carnival aren't a good fit for us) and the occasional Celebrity cruise for variety - we like Celebrity Solstice for NZ cruises as it has a great Sky Lounge - the equivalent to the Palm Court on Crystal.

Edited by OzKiwiJJ

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We have gone back and forth.....being only travel in school vacations and limited vacation time means not many Crystal choices work logistically. That is why I really wish they would get new ships!

We just got back from a Celebrity cruise in a suite, and it definitely was a step closer to Crystal!

Hardest for me was when we did a cruise on Celebrity from San Juan (as someone else described, better 'fit' for the group) - and just across the way Symphony was headed to Rio.....that made me sad.

Things we miss most are rarely having to hand over a card,  Bistro (all of us), art class (daughter), Trident grill salmon (hubby).....

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45 minutes ago, phxbne said:

We have gone back and forth.....being only travel in school vacations and limited vacation time means not many Crystal choices work logistically. That is why I really wish they would get new ships!

We just got back from a Celebrity cruise in a suite, and it definitely was a step closer to Crystal!

Hardest for me was when we did a cruise on Celebrity from San Juan (as someone else described, better 'fit' for the group) - and just across the way Symphony was headed to Rio.....that made me sad.

Things we miss most are rarely having to hand over a card,  Bistro (all of us), art class (daughter), Trident grill salmon (hubby).....

 

I'm about to board Symphony in Rio! 🙂 My cruise leaves in 12 days. But who's counting, right? LOL!

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3 hours ago, Santacruzin2 said:

Thanks, LeeAnne!  For our first five or six cruises, we sailed on Carnival and Royal Caribbean.  Then we stepped it up a bit in the past couple of years.  So far our experience with luxury has been on NCL Haven Suites and a Scenic river cruise on the Scenic Opal.  I would be interested on how you would rank the cruise lines you've experienced based on the quality and level of luxury?  Second, if the ranking is different, please rank the cruise lines based on the level of their all-inclusiveness.  Thank you in advance!

 

Well! That's a tall order, but I'm happy to do my best. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to ramble on about my cruises, reliving them. Keep in mind, of course, this is just one person's experience, and each cruise on any particular line can be very different. But these are my personal impressions. I'll put them in order of my preference to cruise them again

 

1. Crystal - my absolute favorite by orders of magnitude! Just everything about this cruise was top-notch. Level of luxury is what I can only call "to die for". I felt like royalty. Best part: I took my Mom on this cruise. This is a woman who grew up barefoot on a farm in Tennessee, was widowed young with three young kids to raise, and never had an extra penny to spare...certainly not for luxury vacations. She obviously did a good job as she managed to get all of us through college and we all grew up to be happy, successful adults, and taking her on this cruise was one of the ways I showed my gratitude. She was...let's just say...GOBSMACKED! She is still talking about that cruise, which was several years ago. I'm not going to recount everything that was best, because pretty much everything was: ship, food, entertainment, service, just...all of it. Well, the cabins are smaller than other luxury lines (if you're going with the lowest category), so that's one downside, but I don't tend to spend much time in my cabin. And they are very luxurious cabins!

 

2. Regent - this cruise was more than ten years ago, and it was my first foray into luxury cruising. I've read that there are many things about Regent that are different now, and many people who used to love them are not so happy with them anymore...I know several people who used to be die-hard Regent loyalists, who now have "jumped ship" and are Crystal loyalists! So I have a feeling if I cruised them now, I might not rate them so high.  But MY experience was that it was definitely a luxury experience, although a step down from Crystal. the ship was gorgeous, the cabin was huge (and we got the smallest one), the service was great, the excursions were excellent, the ship was beautiful, the entertainment was top-notch (including a lot of local cultural shows brought on board). All second, of course, to Crystal.

 

3. Oceania - I'm torn between putting Oceania at #3 or Paul Gauguin, but Oceania wins for the food. Their food is second only to Crystal. However, the service and overall level of luxury was not as high as Crystal or Regent. Their ships are lovely, and the entertainment was among the best I've seen on a cruise, but their lounges were rather dull, and there wasn't much "other" entertainment besides the production shows. The cabins were a great size, too. 

 

4. Paul Gauguin - this is a FABULOUS cruise! The food was wonderful, the service was excellent, the immersion in Polynesian culture was wonderful. I did two different cruises on the PG and truly had a marvelous time. They come in 4th because the ship itself looked tired and worn out...it just didn't have the WOW factor of the cruise lines above this. Also, being a much smaller ship, the entertainment was scaled down quite a bit, and was of course very focused on Polynesian culture. But it still very much felt like a luxury experience! The crew is VERY friendly and mingles with the pax more than I've seen on any other cruise line. They also have their own onboard scuba operation, and will take you diving right from a drop-down platform off the back of the ship. If you are at all interested in the Polynesian experience, the PG is the only way to do it.

 

5. Windstar - it's hard to rate this one because it's just such a different experience from the other cruise lines. These are actual sailing vessels - they do put out the sails! And they are very small ships - ours had only 130 pax. The vibe, decor, etc. is all very nautical. The food was good - not luxury-level, and I did have a couple of main courses that were big misses, but I always found something to eat. The service was very good...they work hard to get to know you and treat you like family. The excursions were a major highlight - we did all ship tours (as opposed to my usual private tours) and they were truly excellent. They also have their own scuba operation onboard, and a similar drop-down platform off the back. Overall I wouldn't say they were a luxury experience...it was a much younger crowd, and the whole cruise was very much focused on active activities. In fact you HAVE to be reasonably active to cruise this ship - stairs, no elevators, and lots of wet beach landings from dinghys, so mobility-challenged folks wouldn't have a very good time. Oh, and the cabins are VERY smalll and the only real entertainment was karaoke. 

 

Continued in another post...(I guess this got too long...

Edited by Leejnd4

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...Continued...

 

6. Uniworld - being a river cruise, I'm not sure I should be rating it against the ocean-going vessels, but I'll include it. We did the Rhine & Moselle rivers, and had a wonderful time. It's all a very different experience from ocean cruising, though...and I was with a group of friends who are all very fit and active, so we did a lot of bike rides, hikes, runs, etc. But leaving out the differences between river and ocean cruises, and focusing only on the things I can compare - the food was good (not luxury, but I didn't go hungry), service was very good, the ship is attractive, although the cabins were TINY, so tiny as to be almost uncomfortable. But the whole experience was about the stops, not the ship, and so I loved it.

 

7. Celebrity - I've only been on Celebrity once, to Alaska. This was years ago, before my first luxury cruise. We had a lovely time, but even though I hadn't cruised luxury yet, there were things about it that irked me that are just part of the mass-market experience. One of them is the set dining times and table mates - I just dislike that so much! I'm too much of a rebel to want some cruise line telling me who I need to sit with for dinner. 😉 I recall the food was good - on a par with Uniworld and Windstar, nothing to write home about though. 

 

8. Royal Caribbean - we did two cruises on them when our children were younger. We had fun. Kids loved it. You couldn't pay me to get on one of their ships now. Just not my style of cruising anymore. But I know lots of people who love them...I just can't deal with the whole mass-market thing anymore. Like I said earlier, I got spoiled. 😉

 

Edited by Leejnd4

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