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Crystal Dining Room Vs Oceania Question

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52 minutes ago, Paulchili said:

Of all people you know how well this concept can works on Oceania. Everyone is guaranteed their allotment and extra reservations are then given as they become available - at no extra cost while trying to be fair to everyone. 

No line is perfect - it's just a matter of the "best" fit.

For example, I wish Oceania had Crystal's Bistro and Crystal's enrichment program and Seabourn Square.

Oh, well....

 

 

I thought we had long since buried this "dead horse" and moved on.😏 Crystal identified a problem, found a solution, and it apparently works. Personally, I don't see anything "tacky" about it, but then, from our experiences on both, I don't think Oceania does much of anything better than Crystal, so who am I to say? By all means, if you think Oceania is the better line, then sail with Oceania. 

 

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20 minutes ago, Roland4 said:

I thought we had long since buried this "dead horse" and moved on

OK - what would you like to move on to now?

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Roland4 said:

if you think Oceania is the better line, then sail with Oceania. 

I do and I am.

That does not stop me from cruising other lines as well for certain itineraries (even if I personally don't think they are better than Oceania) 😀

Edited by Paulchili

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Paulchili said:

That does not stop me from cruising other lines as well for certain itineraries (even if I personally don't think they are better than Oceania) 😀

Just to add - in the next 2 - 3 years we are booked on Regent, Seabourn (30 day cruise) and Crystal as well as Oceania (B2B2B), Princess and a few river cruises. Each of these cruise lines have their pros and cons, strong and weak points and some aspects that are better than Oceania but overall we like Oceania best.

With all that said, we don’t limit our choices to Oceania alone.

Edited by Paulchili

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I've been away for a few days.  I see the factions have assembled.

 

We haven't cruised a lot, but I've developed one ironclad certainty:

 

"Cruising changes, cruisers never do."

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Paulchili said:

Of all people you know how well this concept can works on Oceania. Everyone is guaranteed their allotment and extra reservations are then given as they become available - at no extra cost while trying to be fair to everyone. 

No line is perfect - it's just a matter of the "best" fit.

For example, I wish Oceania had Crystal's Bistro and Crystal's enrichment program and Seabourn Square.

Oh, well....

 

Well it didn't work too well for us when we were on Marina since we never were able to get into Jacques and we were in a PH, yet we had run into a few people who had dined there 2x on our cruise.

Edited by AtA

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6 minutes ago, AtA said:

Well it didn't work too well for us when we were on Marina since we never were able to get into Jacques and we were in a PH, yet we had run into a few people who had dined there 2x on our cruise.

That is literally unheard of - perhaps you can give more details?

Everyone is GUARANTEED their share of reservations.

Perhaps you didn’t book your reservations online (PH can book well ahead of other cabins) and when you asked for a reservations once onboard you were given a time or table size you didn’t like? I am just guessing here but you certainly could have and should have booked the reservations online well ahead of the rest of the ship giving you the best chance of your date, time and table size.

I simply do not understand the circumstances that led to you not being able to get a single reservation at Jacques.

As this is a Crystal board, perhaps we can continue this on Oceania boards?

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, KenzSailing said:

I've developed one ironclad certainty:

 

"Cruising changes, cruisers never do."

Are you including yourself in this observation? 😁

Edited by Paulchili

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56 minutes ago, AtA said:

Well it didn't work too well for us when we were on Marina since we never were able to get into Jacques and we were in a PH, yet we had run into a few people who had dined there 2x on our cruise.

Did you try to book online  ahead of your Cruise?

We sail in lower cabins & not had a problem getting reservation for 2

 

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On 8/14/2019 at 5:07 PM, Paulchili said:

That must be something new. Yes, there were tiny pieces of lobster in appetizers but no lobster as a main course.

Can you please post a link for that menu.

Also, there would a charge for this after the 1st visit (unlike on Oceania where there is never a charge in any restaurant).

No it is not something new.  

 

Lobster has aways been offered as an entree since we first experienced Umi Umi (back then Silk Road) on Serenity in 2005.  It is still offered as an entree.

 

What is new is the Nobu Style Lobster Tacos which rolled out on Symphony and Serenity following their respective dry docks.  In addition whereas previously one could order Lobster Tempura as a special order, it was also added to the Umi Uma menu following the dry dock of the ship.

 

Photo of the new Lobster Tacos Appetizer.

 

img-2791.jpg.0976d497d28158c46cdb01aad65ee4ad.jpg

 

Here is the menu.

 

umiuma_1_orig-1.thumb.jpg.2cb1919c5be213e5148be0185744e9ca.jpg

 

 

These are the former menus when Umi Uma was called Silk Road.  They barely changed over the years and I've included a photo of how the Lobster Entree used to look.

 

img-0952_orig.jpg.dad4ec59206052460bf7284d5336c951.jpg

 

img-0951_1_orig.thumb.jpg.81790b2e1a27beab4b8b0ec6cc9d5d43.jpg

 

 

dsc00688_2.jpg.91164c3819aa0975cfc8e85c37209d68.jpg

 

Keith

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2 hours ago, AtA said:

Well it didn't work too well for us when we were on Marina since we never were able to get into Jacques and we were in a PH, yet we had run into a few people who had dined there 2x on our cruise.

I was also in a PH and I made 3 reservations as I do not eat Asian - so no red Ginger.  Caused my a minor problem I had to cancel Toskana  - no chance to get another reservation ( i am single ) until the last evening at a very unpleasant late hour. 

I also met people who were in the Italian twice … not in PH 

And I do refuse to pay the silly high prices for La Reserve , also for the Dom Pérignon dinner 295 + 18 % service.

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13 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:

 

Really? 

 

Apart from the new new name I struggle to see any real difference - what’s changed that makes a difference to you? 

 

Sure there’s some changes on a few dishes but it’s the same style and quality continues to be offered - all of which we enjoy

I enjoy the special Sashimi menu.  Our first two cruises we did not even know it existed.  Also the special dishes on the Sushi menu. Our last two cruises on Symphony and Serenity in Umi they seemed different/better.

We were disappointed that on our last cruise they had no Uni (Sea Urchin).

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By the way, at least on the cruise we were on earlier this year - lining up at 5:30 to get a seat at Sushi bar wouldn't have worked there were people lined up at 4:30 every day. What a way to spend your cruise vacation  - standing on line to for a restaurant.

 

Although i think there were and are better ways to manage reservations than charging $30/person I find it amusing that people spend many thousands of dollars for a cruise and complain about $30.   Reminded me on one recent stop in some town in Alaska we passed a McDonald's.  I woman on the Crystal tour said she really wanted to go have lunch there but it would cost her so not going to - you spend thousands for a cruise but don't do something for $10. 

 

On the new ocean ships I wonder if, along with more variety, Crystal will continue to increase capacity of specialty restaurants to eliminate some of these issues.

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10 hours ago, Paulchili said:

That is literally unheard of - perhaps you can give more details?

Everyone is GUARANTEED their share of reservations.

Perhaps you didn’t book your reservations online (PH can book well ahead of other cabins) and when you asked for a reservations once onboard you were given a time or table size you didn’t like? I am just guessing here but you certainly could have and should have booked the reservations online well ahead of the rest of the ship giving you the best chance of your date, time and table size.

I simply do not understand the circumstances that led to you not being able to get a single reservation at Jacques.

As this is a Crystal board, perhaps we can continue this on Oceania boards?

Honestly I don't remember the circumstances as it was 3 years ago. 

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The issue of the specialty restaurant fee has been discussed on several threads.

 

All I know is this.

 

Before inclusive there was a recommended fee of something like $8.00 a person.  Recommended.  Not even required but it was a gratuity.

 

As soon as the fee was eliminated the specialty restaurants filled up and they were too full.  They are not designed for full occupancy from the get go.  Waiters, the Galley, etc cannot keep up with this.  This is no different than a high end restaurant on land.  I know several people personally who used to go infrequently but when the fee was waived I would see them dining there way too often.  Some even complained that the menus didn't change.  I thought to myself.  Are you kidding me?  They were not planned for people to dine there every night.  This is what makes them special.

 

It was not a good situation.  Some would come in and demand seats.

 

So they went with what is in place today and it reduced demand.  It is still high on 7 day cruises with high occupancy to get everyone in once.  However, on longer cruises it works very well.

 

Back when these ships were designed and rolled out the vast majority of people ate the vast majority of their meals in Waterside (back then the Crystal Dining Room).  There was no on line system to make reservations ahead of time.  You made a reservation once on board.  

 

The good news is each ship now has three Specialty Restaurants (no fees for Silk) and when you add in the Brazilian and Waterside you have five dining venues plus room service plus a light snack at The Bistro.

 

For what it is worth dine at Nobu on land and for the typical person you are talking about a high priced meal.  I believe a glass of Nobu Chardonnay is $18.00 in the USA before tip and tax.

 

In the perfect world there would be no charge and if the ship was designed today there would be more dining choices which probably would address the issue.  On that one time will tell.  LOL.  I had to throw that in.  

 

Keith

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Keith,

Thank you for that succinct summary of Crystal's specialty restaurant history. It is very helpful to those of us that are neither Crystal cruise line nor Crystal CC board regulars.

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I hope I may add some more history : all those speciality restaurants on cruise ships  started with a Paul Bocuse restaurant on board the Royal Viking Sun in 1989 - in those days at a hefty charge of 45 $  ( no free visit ) 

the very first Italian speciality restaurant started in 1994 on board the ms Vistafjord "Tivoli" with extremely classic Italian dishes and a rather basic wine list ( Soave , Verdicchio , Chianti even a Bardolino ) with a few wines not very well known yet  : Tignanello, Sassicaia  at 47 $ and the S was mid 50s $ priced … times and prices are changing. In that period the Cloudy Bay hype started as well. 

Now we cannot imagine a cruise ship without a speciality restaurant anymore  - exception is Seadream

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Posted (edited)

I remember the concept on Celebrity in 2002 being new. I think it was The Olympic and it was $30 pp

 

I first sailed Regent (then Radisson) in 2001 - and they had the Cordon Bleu French restaurant and an Asian Restaurant that was amazing.

Edited by ChatKat in Ca.

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2 hours ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

I remember the concept on Celebrity in 2002 being new. I think it was The Olympic and it was $30 pp

 

I first sailed Regent (then Radisson) in 2001 - and they had the Cordon Bleu French restaurant and an Asian Restaurant that was amazing.

I loved the Asian restaurant except it seemed most people did not. 

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4 hours ago, vistaman said:

Now we cannot imagine a cruise ship without a speciality restaurant anymore

 

And now also we have a cruise ship (Silversea Muse) with no main dining room and only specialty restaurants! 

 

On the topic of specialty restaurant fees - what I'm gleaning from reading other boards, in particular the Regent Board, is that whilst their specialty restaurants have no fees it is almost impossible to get a second reservation. Getting into one each is fine but obtaining a second reservation seems to be highly unlikely. I've always been an advocate of doing away with the fees on Crystal but now I'm rethinking my position and would much rather pay a small fee but actually have the opportunity to get reservations fairly easily and yes a lot depends on length of cruise and if one is slightly flexible with times but we've almost always managed to get second or even third reservations at both specialty restaurants.

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5 hours ago, vistaman said:

In that period the Cloudy Bay hype started as well

 

Yes - I agree - a way over hyped Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough - there are many nicer ones from the region. I think they managed to get their distribution network right and managed to claim the mantle  

I know Crystal used to carry it and it was priced very reasonably 

The nice thing is there’s plenty of fine Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to sample and it’s evolving as the vines get older and new ones are brought into production 

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10 hours ago, PaulMCO said:

I enjoy the special Sashimi menu.  Our first two cruises we did not even know it existed.  Also the special dishes on the Sushi menu.

 

Thanks for clarifying

 

I don’t know if you’ve tried it but I’d recommend sitting at the sushi bar one evening and enjoying watching the chef and his assistants in action. The real treat for us was when the chef started to present sashimi and sushi dishes to us that we didn’t order - we asked what it was and he said oh that’s the xyz I think you’ll like it (I cant remember the name) - I said it’s not on the menu (as I wanted to order it next time we were there) - he replied oh we must have taken that one off the menu - so it really does come down to asking for things you might like or have had in the past. That same night we enjoyed some other dishes made with red snapper from the fish market in Auckland that the chef had selected - again not on the menu but certainly available if you happened to be in the right place at the right time 

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25 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

 

Thanks for clarifying

 

I don’t know if you’ve tried it but I’d recommend sitting at the sushi bar one evening and enjoying watching the chef and his assistants in action. The real treat for us was when the chef started to present sashimi and sushi dishes to us that we didn’t order - we asked what it was and he said oh that’s the xyz I think you’ll like it (I cant remember the name) - I said it’s not on the menu (as I wanted to order it next time we were there) - he replied oh we must have taken that one off the menu - so it really does come down to asking for things you might like or have had in the past. That same night we enjoyed some other dishes made with red snapper from the fish market in Auckland that the chef had selected - again not on the menu but certainly available if you happened to be in the right place at the right time 

That was our favorite thing to do...  We asked the Chef -- what is new,  what is special... 

My DW wanted Uni, but they did not have it.   The fresh Abalone was good..

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30 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

 

Thanks for clarifying

 

I don’t know if you’ve tried it but I’d recommend sitting at the sushi bar one evening and enjoying watching the chef and his assistants in action. The real treat for us was when the chef started to present sashimi and sushi dishes to us that we didn’t order - we asked what it was and he said oh that’s the xyz I think you’ll like it (I cant remember the name) - I said it’s not on the menu (as I wanted to order it next time we were there) - he replied oh we must have taken that one off the menu - so it really does come down to asking for things you might like or have had in the past. That same night we enjoyed some other dishes made with red snapper from the fish market in Auckland that the chef had selected - again not on the menu but certainly available if you happened to be in the right place at the right time 

 

You can also watch what others order and if something looks interesting say you’d like one of those as well, whatever it may be.

 

On my last cruise sitting at the sushi bar, I ordered for my dining companion and myself from the chef (who knows me) whatever he felt like making for us. Worked just fine. 

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Two cruises ago the Sushi Chef got to know us quite well and he served us a special dessert. When I mentioned how much I enjoyed it, he asked if we'd be back again and when we told him what night, he made sure to have the same dessert that night again for us.

Oh and if they have Uni and you like it, ask for an uni shooter. 

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