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caviargal

Concerned about Recent Serenity Reviews

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We are going on our first Crystal cruise in April.  It has been months since I have looked at reviews and I am now wishing I had not done so this morning.

 

There are far more negative than positive recent reviews and quite a few of those have the same complaints.  The one truly scathing review was so poorly written and sarcastic as to have no credibility IMO, but some of the others are well thought out and carefully written.

 

We were originally booked on Scenic Eclipse to Spain and Portugal and that cruise (and dozens of others) were cancelled due to multiple construction delays. After looking at all of the available options in the luxury cruise category, we booked our Serenity cruise as the timing and itinerary worked best.

 

We are also cruising for the first time with Viking Ocean and leave on Thursday.  My expectations are much more moderate for Viking than for our Crystal cruise.  It will be interesting to compare as we are paying substantially more for our one week Serenity cruise than our VO cruise and we have a better stateroom on VO, as well as the premium beverage package.  We also prepaid our gratuities as they are not included with VO.

After taking only one ocean cruise over the past 7 years (Ponant to the Adriatic in 2017,  having two planned is definitely not the norm for us.  We are avid river cruisers and DIY land trips to Europe are always our first choice. 

It will be interesting to see how we feel after about ocean cruising after these VO and Crystal cruises.  Ponant was a disappointment, mostly due to their disdain of non French passengers. The ship itself was lovely and food was very good, though the ship lacks any alternative dining venues.

Our next trips are a private yacht cruise with friends in Croatia late summer , a river cruise in France in fall, and a visit to Germany and Austria for the Christmas markets in mid December. 

 

I believe I will stop reading reviews now and will wait to see what we experience first hand.

 

 

 

Edited by caviargal

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55 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

I haven’t read them but I’m on Serenity now and we’ve sailed many Crystal cruises and I think this is one of our best experiences weve had 

 

Check out our the blog for some current info - https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2627606-live-a-plane-car-cruise-train-–-crystal-serenity-auckland-perth-5-20-feb-2019/?page=1

 

Thanks!

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Could you specify what was in the reviews that concerns you? Is Viking really less expensive considering you have to buy a drink package and cover your own tips and Crystal fare includes those? It might be easier for us to comment if you gave some examples of what your concerns are. Thanks.

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There are bogus reviews on there.  One guy states he stayed in cabin 9999.  Um there isn't such a cabin.  He claims to have been on a world cruise?   Right.  I highly doubt it.  Don't listen to those reviews as gospel.  Watch the posting of people on the ship at the moment.   There are a lot of posters who are blowing smoke if you catch my drift.  It isn't perfection but it is nice enough for most folks.

 

One more thing is that Crystal really shines in our opinion on voyages with sea days and relaxation to enjoy the ship.  Doing a one week port intensive Med voyage would be nice but not the full experience in our opinion.

Edited by ijkh

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12 minutes ago, ijkh said:

There are bogus reviews on there.  One guy states he stayed in cabin 9999.  Um there isn't such a cabin.  He claims to have been on a world cruise?   Right.  I highly doubt it.  Don't listen to those reviews as gospel.  Watch the posting of people on the ship at the moment.   There are a lot of posters who are blowing smoke if you catch my drift.  It isn't perfection but it is nice enough for most folks.

 

One more thing is that Crystal really shines in our opinion on voyages with sea days and relaxation to enjoy the ship.  Doing a one week port intensive Med voyage would be nice but not the full experience in our opinion.

 

I agree with Ijkh's post wholeheartedly. Crystal excels in so many ways that are superior to other lines: service, enrichment, entertainment and food. Serenity and Symphony have just been beautifully redone, and the public areas are stunning!

 

On a port intensive cruise, you may have much less opportunity to enjoy the enrichment activities. Sea days on Crystal are filled with activities to choose from: 2-3 lectures per day by people tops in their field, free art classes, trivia, etc. 

 

Crystal  has amped up entertainment with music available in many venues—just choose what you enjoy. Production shows, professional dance teams and individual entertainers are top notch! 

 

The quality and presentation of food, whether in Waterside ( the main dining room), Prego Italian Restaurant, Umi Uma ( Nobu's only restaurant at sea, and my favorite restaurant land or sea), Silk Chinese Restaurant or  Churriscaria, the Brazilian Restaurant, are all outstanding.

 

Service is personal and intuitive, but never intrusive.  Crystal has a very low attrition rate among officers, staff and crew, so it is always wonderful to be welcomed “home” again by employees you recognize.

 

You were wise wise to post your question on the board, and  you will find out much more information from those who post here.

 

I hope you enjoy all of your cruises, but I think your experience on Crystal will shine!

 

Ricki

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54 minutes ago, ijkh said:

There are bogus reviews on there.  One guy states he stayed in cabin 9999.  Um there isn't such a cabin.  He claims to have been on a world cruise?   Right.  I highly doubt it.  Don't listen to those reviews as gospel.  Watch the posting of people on the ship at the moment.   There are a lot of posters who are blowing smoke if you catch my drift.  It isn't perfection but it is nice enough for most folks.

 

One more thing is that Crystal really shines in our opinion on voyages with sea days and relaxation to enjoy the ship.  Doing a one week port intensive Med voyage would be nice but not the full experience in our opinion.

 

One of the reviews was totally ridiculous and I dismissed it immediately.  And I do take them all with a grain of salt.

 

We don't generally ocean longer cruise than 7 nights.  We are not retired and also are not big ocean cruise fans.  If we can get away for a longer period, we will chose a land trip first and foremost, as that is our preference.  To see the Greek Islands via a cruise (it will be my husband's first time seeing the islands and I have not been since my Regent cruise in 1994 or so, when they were Radisson)  just made more sense than hopping around by ferry.

 

For us, a week is enough on an ocean cruise and we are there to enjoy the destination, while also enjoying the ship as our floating hotel. 

Edited by caviargal

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2 hours ago, suzeluvscruz said:

 Is Viking really less expensive considering you have to buy a drink package and cover your own tips and Crystal fare includes those? It might be easier for us to comment if you gave some examples of what your concerns are. Thanks.

 

Our Viking cruise, not factoring in air, was 40% less than our Crystal cruise.  I am not thrilled with our stateroom on Crystal but there was basically one left that was not a suite, and we grabbed it. 

VO's beverage package is cheap by any standards, but then I have read and expect that the wines and liquor brands we will be getting are nothing to get excited about; they are just better than the low end wines they "include" at lunch and dinner.  We are bringing a few magnums of our favorites to enjoy with dinner.

VO "includes" excursions but those were all fully booked within hours of being open for booking .  We opted for private anyway as what they are pretty basic, but it would have been nice to have one or two actually available. 

We booked private excursions for our Crystal cruise as well.

We have always wanted to try Crystal and soon we can decide for ourselves.

 

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. 

Edited by caviargal

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You are correct, shore excursions are not included in Crystal's price. Viking's policy for signing up for excursions seems odd to me. We've never had an issue with getting on an excursion, even if we want to go last minute. Of course the private route is also great.

 

Drinks all over the ship at all times (not just lunch and dinner) are included unless you want to upgrade to something very pricey. The included wines and l spirits are especially good, not just "bar" quality - Grey Goose, Hendrick Gin, some pretty good scotch and bourbon too, as well as after dinner delights.

 

We've cruised Crystal for over 20 years and I can only remember 1 or 2 trips that seemed less than perfect. On a scale of 1-100,  I would give the total of 47 cruises a score of 99. The food is wonderful and varied, the crew is simply the best in the business. There are crew members still on board whom we met on our first cruise, I think that says something about how Crystal treats its employees. Happy crew makes happy guests. 

 

There will always be people who will point out negatives. We sailed with a couple once who came on the ship just looking for problems but were unable to find any in 16 days and are now "Crystallized". So don't worry what someone else says in a review, go and enjoy yourself and don't "sweat the teensies"! Do take time to read the aforementioned blog, you will learn a lot about what goes on each day.

 

Bon voyage.:classic_smile:

 

 

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It's good you read between the lines on reviews, as with any social media.

 

As Keith often reminds us it is all very personal preference with many things.

 

I will say this, if it helps, we've sailed on all the Crystal ocean ships for 20 years, and have 'jumped ship' several times to try Regent, Celebrity and Princess, and this May to Cunard (QM2). What we've found is we always return to Crystal and much happier doing so.  We have considered Viking and look forward to knowing your comparison.  

 

One woman we met on our South Pacific cruise said it absolutely the best, "on Crystal you pay twice the amount for four times the value."

Perfectly said and I couldn't agree more.

 

I hope you have a wonderful experience on Serenity. It's a beautiful ship.

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Please do not let the reviews bother you.

 

As someone who has sailed Crystal Serenity on 80+ voyages and presently sailing it now I will tell you that things are terrific.

 

The ship is beautiful with all the changes, the crew provides better service than ever,  the cuisine has been outstanding with more choices than ever before and the enrichment/entertainment have been top notch.

 

More times that not the majority of reviews I see are not on the review board but are on this board.  This is why I encourage people to also take the time to post reviews on the review board.  Sometimes it is as simple as copying and pasting a summary from this board to the review section.  As I have done in the past I will submit a review from all the voyages we are on.

 

We will be on your April sailing.

 

I am doing a live thread and a blog:

 

Blog at:  www.followourtrips.com and click on Current Voyage

 

and  a live Crystal Cruises thread at:

 

 

In the end the only opinion that matters is your own.  I look forward to hearing what you think.  In the meantime please don't let those reviews bother you.

 

Keith

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We have almost 40+ cruises but I am not includling multiple segments only the number of bookings with back to backs. So I guess I should add those up.  World cruisers get credit for each leg and back to back cruisers as well.  We just hit a milestone yea that we did not know about as we don’t keep track of them our TA does.

 

As far as reviews, are concerned, even Trip Advisor and Amazon have false reviews owners and employees can make false reviews and this was reported by the media.  So please don’t believe everything you read on those sites.  We can assure you that Crystal does deliver an excellent product.  We just pulled our booking in a Master Suite on the Regent Explorer for the Serenity as gorgeous as the MS is it will not compare to the service on Crystal and we have had five sailings with Regent.  So take it from experienced Crystal cruisers who know about the Crystal experience.  No worries you will have a fantastic time.

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7 hours ago, caviargal said:

VO "includes" excursions but those were all fully booked within hours of being open for booking .  We opted for private anyway as what they are pretty basic, but it would have been nice to have one or two actually available.

 

To clear up a misconception, Viking Ocean includes one excursion in each port and availability is guaranteed to all passengers.  They also offer the typical range of optional excursions, which may fill up or be cancelled for lack of interest as on most ocean cruise lines.  At the time we booked on Viking Ocean the value proposition only worked if you calculated the 'cost savings' of the included excursions – and we ended up not taking a single one as they are all very basic 'panoramic' bus rides or walking tours of the port city.  But the ship, the food, and overall experience were very good on Viking Ocean.

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9 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

To clear up a misconception, Viking Ocean includes one excursion in each port and availability is guaranteed to all passengers.  They also offer the typical range of optional excursions, which may fill up or be cancelled for lack of interest as on most ocean cruise lines.  At the time we booked on Viking Ocean the value proposition only worked if you calculated the 'cost savings' of the included excursions – and we ended up not taking a single one as they are all very basic 'panoramic' bus rides or walking tours of the port city.  But the ship, the food, and overall experience were very good on Viking Ocean.

 

While they may say they "guarantee" one excursion in each port, that is very misleading based on our experience.

We were not able to book any, as all were SOLD OUT within 24 hours of when we were able to make our request, with the exception of one walking tour in one port of the two we are stopping in.  I emailed and called and was told to check back daily (not happening) or wait til we got on the ship to see if something opened up.  There was only one we were  interested in, as I am aware that Viking provides the most basic tours possible, and not what I consider to be an excursion.  Their pre cruise customer service has been appalling in every aspect.  I hope the onboard experience is not as disappointing as everything else has been to date.  I expect VO will be a "one and done" for us.

 

 

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Is there not a similar issue with Regent and their ‘free’ excursions? I went to a presentation the other week that was hosted by Planet Cruise (Iglu) and Regent.

One of the questions I asked was about the ‘free’ excursions. i was concerned that if you were in a lower grade suite then when the excursions / restaurant bookings etc. became available that there was a possibility that they would have been ‘cherry picked’ and you could be out of luck 😀

They agreed this was possible but probably unlikely and they gave similar advice ... wait until you are onboard and see what is available!

I don’t think so 😏

 

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We have always got our first choice of excursions on Regent. Some we had to pay additional amount but still worth it.

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