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LIVE - Crystal Symphony (compared to Regent)


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Guess that it is time to wrap this up.  The easy part of this blog was reporting on the wonderful time we had on the Symphony.  All I had to think about was what we were doing that day and not comparing everything to Regent.  Once the comparison came into the equation, it because much more difficult.

 

Firstly, I acknowledge that we have sailed on Regent for 449 nights - 33 cruises - over 15 1/2 years.  Over the years we have made friends with crew members that we remain in contact with.  They make us feel very welcome and we look forward to updates about their lives and that of their families.  I am sure that this is the same for long time Crystal passengers.

 

So, I will first discuss the crew and officers.  The service is wonderful but is still a bit different than Regent (not better or worse - just different).  Crystal crew members seem to open up more easily about their lives and are willing share stories with you.  Dennis had quite the discussion with a server from Serbia about the war(s) and how it affected the life of the people.  While I could have a similar discussion with crew members that I know on Regent, this would not have occurred on our first cruise.

 

OTOH, the officers were more remote.  We missed the interaction between guests and officers.  There could have been “hosted” tables - I don’t know since we did not have dinner in the MDR even once (sorry to those of you that wanted a report of how open seating was going).  I can say that the Marketplace (La Veranda on Regent) was packed and so people were using tables at Silk (during lunch - it is adjacent to the Marketplace) outside of Silk (by the bar). 

 

Regent officers host tables quite a lot.  Not only in the the MDR (Compass Rose) but in specialty restaurants as well.  They also drop by the lounges and chat with passengers.  Regent has one Captain (Captain Serena) that is everywhere (when not at the bridge or asleep).  She enjoys chatting with as many guests as possible.  She was so warm and welcoming the first time that we met that I wanted to give her my card (to discuss a private issue).  By the last day, I still had not given her the card.  Suddenly, there was a knock at the door and there she was with a hug and lovely words (and she got the card). That is really over the top and we appreciate her so very much.  She was the first female Captain of a Regent ship and will be launching Regent’s new ship - Splendor - in February, 2020.

 

As I believe I have mentioned previously, the tables in the MDR (Waterside), are so close together that it would be difficult not to talk to the person next to you.  This is likely the result of trying to fit as many tables as possible into the space.

 

Food is so subjective.  What we thought was wonderful, you may find not so good.  All I can report on is what our experience was during this particular cruise 

 

We could dine in Uma Umi (sometimes I write the name backwards - if I did, I apologize) 5 times a week.  It is amazing.  Prego’s Italian food is also quite good but I prefer the spaghetti on Regent.  Regent cannot touch the Veal Parmesan on Crystal - it is tender, well cooked and delicious.  The service in both of these dining venues are over the top.  Note to Regent customers:  If you want to dine in these reservation restaurants, after your first visit, there is a $30/person charge (not applicable to those in the Crystal Penthouse suite and I believe the fee is also waived for some levels of their loyalty program.  We dined in the Japanese restaurant 3 times and the Italian restaurant 2 times.

 

Another quick comment about this wonderful Japanese venue....... you can order a California Roll (for instance), and only ask for 2 pieces rather than an entire roll.  My favorite roll was something special on the menu - it had 5 types of fish inside including crab. In additional to the nori on the outside, there was also shared daikon radish.  For some reason, the sashimi was much better on the Asian buffet than in the restaurant.  Still cannot figure that out.

 

OOPS - somehow I accidentally hit the quote button.  Ignore the box.

On 8/8/2019 at 6:19 PM, Floridiana said:

 

On Regent, their buffet restaurant (La Veranda) becomes an Italian restaurant at night.  Similar in some ways to the Brazilian restaurant that is a buffet during the day.  Like Sette Mari on Regent, part of the meal is served to you and part is buffet.  Loved the venue but not crazy about the meat/chicken, etc.  We did not return there.

 

Unfortunately, Silk was the only real “miss” for dinner.  The atmosphere is strange.  During the day, people walk through the restaurant to get from the buffet area to the ice cream and equivalent to the Pool Grill arena (which is indoors rather than outdoors).  Even at night it felt like a hallway.  They suggest that you try several small dishes and we did.  It was okay but really not our cup of tea.  Once the meal was served, we did not see our server (or the cocktail person) again.

 

Regent has an Asian/Fusion restaurant on Explorer only (and will be on the new ship).  I love Pacific Rim but obviously it cannot compare to a named restaurant’s cuisine (Nobu).

 

Breakfast was buffet.  Unlike Regent, they put their pancakes on the buffet.  We prefer to have them made to order.  In fact, we love the grill on Regent where they can prepare many more made to order items than Crystal can (especially at lunch when they are preparing steaks, etc.).  The quality of the food on both lines were comparable....... except the bread.

 

Think that I want to adopt the person that makes bread/muffins on Symphony.  The muffins were warm every morning and were absolutely delicious.  There is no other way to say it other than the bread/muffins on Crystal is better than on Regent (this does not include the baked desserts).

 

There is sort of an equivalent to the Coffee Connection on Crystal (The Bistro).  It is open until 11:30 p.m. and there are people there late.  Wish that Regent would extend their hours.  Also would like to see smoked salmon in the Coffee Connection on Regent and coffee drinks with alcohol on Crystal.  The coffee was good - especially for Dennis who drinks double Americano’s.  

 

This is getting too long.  End of part I.  Part II next.

 

 

 

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Part II of the Wrap Up.

 

Let’ discuss passengers (again, acknowledging that 720 out of approx. 900 guests were new to Crystal).  There was a very high percentage of Asian’s, British, Australian and European guests.  The only issue was the large families with toddlers and small children.  While not as wild as children in the U.S., some sounded as if someone had wound them up and they wouldn’t stop talking (in medium to medium loud voices).  They were almost impossible to avoid.  Since Crystal is an Asian owned company, it does cater to that audience (several items on the buffet that are targeting Asian customers and some of the food was quite good).

 

Ages of the passengers on this cruise went from 1 - 90.  The people from the U.S. tended to be younger and did not have their children with them.  Asians were all ages and had the most large families and children.  Europeans, Brits and Aussies were about the same as they are on Regent. Note to Crystal passengers reading this:  Regent runs about 80% U.S./Canadian passengers with British, Australian, European and Asians making up the rest (with a sprinkling of other countries in the world).  

 

Enrichment - longer itineraries are likely better in this area than on our cruise.  They did have plenty of computer lectures/classes - mostly about advanced photography using Photo Shop and other photo programs.  We were interested in the classes regarding “Apps” and tips for iPad users.  We cancelled our hands-on classes as they were pretty advanced for us (again, photography).  

 

Entertainment.  Plenty of entertainment.  Really enjoyed the music played in the Starlight Lounge (the one across from the wall of photographs which, by the way, we learned can be slid back to reveal nice windows (only saw the windows a couple of times).  in my opinion, most people want to look out of the window rather than of a wall of photos.  Perhaps they can have the windows when the bar opens at 5:00 p.m. and open the wall of windows once the sun goes does.  

 

As if I am not writing too much already, I could write pages about Mark Farris.  What an amazing performer.  He starts out mellow (before dinner) and from 9:30 p.m. - 1:00 a.m., he gets passengers singing with him, playing a tambourine, etc.  What a hoot!  After seeing for the first time on the 3rd night, we were there every night until we left (he also went on vacation after the cruise).  He interacts with the people in the lounge, plays songs about where they are from - their favorite song from their wedding or whatever.  He is multi-talented and very funny.  

 

Entertainers do go from cruise line to cruise line.  We saw Mark Preston on Regent (excellent singer) and he is now on Crystal.  Mark is mostly on Crystal but also plays a few gigs in his hometown of Chicago (where he will be playing this weekend) and has been on Silversea.)

 

The computer room is lovely - crew members available all day - into the night.  Plenty of computers (and the Computer University with rows of computers are just through a glass door in the computer room).  I cannot say enough times how great it is to not have to log in when you are in the computer room.  And, to have Windows and Excel available on each computer (plus a few games) is wonderful.  Regent has needed to replace their computers for a long time.  Regent is going towards very small computer rooms since so many passengers have their own devices.  Crystal, however, seems to realize that a nice big screen, new(ish) computer is way better than any iPad or laptop.

 

Alcoholic Beverages - Regent pours mostly a higher level of “house” alcohol than Crystal.  It surprises me that so many people do not bother to ask for a named brand.  Also, Patron and Don Julio tequila have a charge on Crystal.  Talisker (misspelled) has a cost on Regent and not Crystal.  Overall, the offerings on Regent are better but the number of innovative drinks on the menu are better on Crystal.  Note to Mudhen:  Yes - we tried a Bellini-tini - finally:-).

 

Butler.  Our is a super nice man with years and years of experience.  He only serves the top suites.  His style is simply not what we are used to (not bad - again - just different).  It felt like he was reading from a script and when interrupted - had to go back from where he left off.  The first day, he must have said “let the party begin” 3 times.  He referred to the area we were in as the “neighborhood” and said that he would be around the neighborhood every time we saw him.  The same appetizers were delivered to each suite (no choices as they have on Regent).  We basically kept our electronic “Do not Disturb” button on when we were in the suite (love the electronic buttons.

 

Before I forget, there is only ONE thing that Regent needs to do on their ships.  Passengers keep complaining about night lights (we bring our own).  Lights in our suite on Crystal were dimmer lights.  While we do not need them everywhere, in the bathroom they were perfect.  We were able to lower the lights until they became the same as having a nightlight on.  

 

Hopefully only one more part.

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Part III - I hope the last part

 

I do not want to belabor the small suites more than I already have.  It is an issue.  We would not sail Crystal again unless it was in a CP suite (and those are pricey).  For others, the small suite is not a big deal.  Again, a matter of taste/preference.  I remember when Regent guests were disappointed that what we heard that, what was going to be “single” suites on Explorer, became just small suites that not a lot of people want.  When a newbie to Explorer asks about those suites, I tell them that if you are used to small suites, these are lovely.  However, if you have sailed on other Regent ships, you may find these too small (small bathroom, closet but nice balcony ....... Regent is big on balconies an no blocked views).

 

I am likely missing things but I’m sure that it is understood that we enjoyed our cruise very much.  There was never a thought or intention of leaving Regent for any other cruise line.  Instead, what we do is have back-up cruise lines that we enjoy and would sail again for the right itinerary.  Right now that list includes Crystal, Silversea and Celebrity (and I suppose Oceania if my DH could convince me to go back).  

 

Again, my thanks - especially to those of you on the Crystal board that have tolerated my ramblings, my small criticisms and have been so helpful.  It has been a pleasure being here.

 

Final photos (a toast to all of you)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Travelcat2 said:

Silk - where do I begin.  The best way to describe it is ..... poor atmosphere ......... mediocre food and service (the only area where this occurred).  The photos do it too much justice as it is not as good as it may look.

 

 

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While I disagree about the atmosphere (I happen to love the look of it) I do have to agree with you 100% about the food and the service the one time we did eat there ourselves. The food was bland at best, and some of it that should have come out hot, wasn't. I feel it's the biggest miss on the ship.

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"Regent officers host tables quite a lot.  Not only in the the MDR (Compass Rose) but in specialty restaurants as well.  They also drop by the lounges and chat with passengers."  

 

Actually Crystal officers also host tables. One needs to request it before sailing through your TA if you'd like to sit with an officer one night. We usually make it a point to ask to sit with an officer one night as we enjoy getting to know them.

 

"Think that I want to adopt the person that makes bread/muffins on Symphony.  The muffins were warm every morning and were absolutely delicious.  There is no other way to say it other than the bread/muffins on Crystal is better than on Regent (this does not include the baked desserts)."

 

From what I remember about the breads on Regent I have to agree with you. That and the coffee! LOL

 

"There is sort of an equivalent to the Coffee Connection on Crystal (The Bistro).  It is open until 11:30 p.m. and there are people there late.  Wish that Regent would extend their hours.  Also would like to see smoked salmon in the Coffee Connection on Regent and coffee drinks with alcohol on Crystal.  The coffee was good - especially for Dennis who drinks double Americano’s."  

 

 

I thought they had coffee drinks with alcohol?

 

 

"Butler.  Our is a super nice man with years and years of experience.  He only serves the top suites.  His style is simply not what we are used to (not bad - again - just different).  It felt like he was reading from a script and when interrupted - had to go back from where he left off.  The first day, he must have said “let the party begin” 3 times.  He referred to the area we were in as the “neighborhood” and said that he would be around the neighborhood every time we saw him."  

 

Oh you must have had Greg! He serves a section of the PH and above suites on 10. Different butlers are different. 🙂

 

"The same appetizers were delivered to each suite (no choices as they have on Regent)."  

 

Actually you could have requested whatever you wanted for appetizers. I believe there is a menu in the room too.

 

Thank you for your review.

 

 

 

 

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Jackie,

 

Wanted to clarify the following:

 

.  Note to Regent customers:  If you want to dine in these reservation restaurants, after your first visit, there is a $30/person charge (not applicable to those in the Crystal Penthouse suite and I believe the fee is also waived for some levels of their loyalty program.  We dined in the Japanese restaurant 3 times and the Italianrestaurant 2 times.

 

On cruises of 14 days or more, one gets 2 included visits to Umi Uma and 2 at Prego..the second ones are based on availability and this is regardless of cabin type.  Additionally, those who are in a Penthouse (SP/PH) and above, aren't charged for additional visits, based on availability.  The fee is also waived for passengers with 50 or more cruises and passengers on the full world cruise. 

 

thanks for your review and glad you had a nice time.  Welcome home.

 

 

Nancy

Edited by nancygp
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36 minutes ago, AtA said:

While I disagree about the atmosphere (I happen to love the look of it) I do have to agree with you 100% about the food and the service the one time we did eat there ourselves. The food was bland at best, and some of it that should have come out hot, wasn't. I feel it's the biggest miss on the ship.

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty disappointed to read a fair amount of bad reports about Silk.  I expect a premium line with premium prices to have premium food in all venues.  That’s one reason why I booked them.  

 

I understand there are opinions and choices and all that, but there are more bad than good. 

 

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1 minute ago, Cruise-y said:

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty disappointed to read a fair amount of bad reports about Silk.  I expect a premium line with premium prices to have premium food in all venues.  That’s one reason why I booked them.  

 

I understand there are opinions and choices and all that, but there are more bad than good. 

 

I'm not a fan of the Brazilian steak house either but that's more a function of the fact I don't eat meat and can't eat shellfish. (Although I did love the pineapple and the bread!) However I have never, ever starved on Crystal when it comes to food with Umi Uma, Prego, Waterside, Trident Grill, the Bistro and I'm having a senior moment for the name of the buffet area.

 

I honestly don't think that you'll be disappointed overall. The majority of the food is truly excellent. As I said, Silk I considered their one true miss but then again there are people who really enjoy it too. And I only didn't enjoy it for dinner. The few times I've had lunch in Silk, I enjoyed their lunch choices (but given the choice, I'd still rather have my tuna melt for lunch!)

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18 minutes ago, Cruise-y said:

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty disappointed to read a fair amount of bad reports about Silk.  I expect a premium line with premium prices to have premium food in all venues.  That’s one reason why I booked them.  

 

I understand there are opinions and choices and all that, but there are more bad than good. 

 

You really have to try it for yourself.  I just would not react to what one or even some think.

 

Also, as someone who has now eaten there six times it did take me around three times to figure it out.  There are some restaurants on land and at sea that just take time to figure out what you like and for that matter how to order.

 

I know plenty of people who love the food there including some on this board.  I know some who think it is good and I know some who don't care for it.

 

I can say that about all the restaurants across all ships we have sailed.

 

Some think Umi Uma is outstanding.  Jackie says she can eat there five times a week.  Trust me over the years some have posted that they didn't think was anything special.  Same goes for Prego.  We love both but that's irrelevant for those who don't.

 

The thread about what restaurants should be offered reaffirms my view as well.  One person says a French Restaurant.  Another has no interest in it.  One wants a buffet.  One wants to be served.  One wants hamburgers at night.  Umm..Is that luxury?  Is that luxury for lunch?  Well, it is for those who like it.

 

Choice is good because you are not going to please all of the people all of the time.  

 

Keith

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16 minutes ago, Cruise-y said:

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty disappointed to read a fair amount of bad reports about Silk

 

I think it’s best to try something’s for yourself and make your own judgement rather than relying on the opinions of others 

 

If you’re looking for universal agreement, on pretty much anything, then Cruise Critic is the wrong place for you 

 

Personally Silk is the last on the list of Restaurants onboard that I choose to dine at, but I don’t particularly like Chinese so that would be the case on land as well

 

Don’t forget you have 4 other restaurant venues to choose from when onboard

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Jackie, thanks for sharing your review.

 

It sounds like you have another cruise line should you want to cruise during a specific time frame and the ones on Regent don't work for you.  

 

Next time try Serenity.  😀  

 

If it's OK I want to comment about Officer Tables.

 

Some Crystal officers still host tables at Waterside on select nights.  As mentioned if one is interested in dining at one of these tables they can have their TA let Crystal know prior to their sailing.  In addition from time to time officers/senior staff might invite guests to join them.

 

Some Captains still dine at Waterside on occasion while some are hosting tables in other venues.

 

On a related note, the Crystal ships were not designed for open dining.  To implement open dining they had to do several things from a capacity perspective including:

 

Adding two dining venues to Symphony; Silk and Churrascaria and Chrrascaria on Serenity along with The Supper Club on Serenity on selected BTO night to reduce demand at Waterside.

 

Eliminate several of the larger tables on both ships at Waterside and maximize two person tables.

 

Eliminate most of the food preparation which used to be done by Head Waiters at Waterside.

 

Reduce overall passenger capacity by increasing the number of suites and eliminating several standard rooms.  

 

This means less tables which can be used by officers to host tables.

 

Symphony was converted first and there were some lessons learned such as having too many two person tables and overall to many tables at Waterside compared to Serenity which went second.  They have made modifications to Symphony but it is a little tighter in Waterside than Serenity.  


The positives from all of this were open dining, making Waterside more of a restaurant and less of a banquet facility, reducing some noise at Waterside and choices for dining.

 

When they roll out a new ship it will benefit from being designed for open dining from the get-go.

 

Keith

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Jackie, Welcome home.  Glad you wrote the report, I think you couldn't have been more fair.  Frankly, Once you started the report I wasn't so sure about it.  But to my surprise it was a great report and you stated the god and the bad about both lines.  I enjoy cruising and know I won't be on a lot of lines, but it's fun to read about them--Since we don't chose a cruise on ports, we pick the ship that best suits us best.  The suite is important as we do use it, somedays like a Sunday afternoon at home doing nothing except enjoying the day in the suite (and deck).  Thanks again, sorry that you'll be getting off the ship in Miami when we get on--but one day (even if we don't agree all the time on cruising😊).

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7 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

 

I do not want to belabor the small suites more than I already have.  It is an issue.  We would not sail Crystal again unless it was in a CP suite (and those are pricey).  

 

 

 

With the most respect, and probably a little envy, I cannot comprehend the absolute requirement for two people to cruise in a space larger than most Manhattan apartments.  Desire yes, need no.

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18 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

I’m back with a few pictures that I think that I forgot to post.  This was from the 

Asian buffet and shows how nice the small little dishes of food are.  I know that Regent does small plates on a few items but I bet this is a money saver and helps to not waste food.

 

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You have highlighted one of the Marketplace features that we find so appealing. Small serving dishes are a feature at all meals, not just the themed lunches. Also applies to those wonderful desserts. Gives us an easy opportunity to try different dishes, with possible seconds, of course !!

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15 hours ago, nancygp said:

Jackie,

 

Wanted to clarify the following:

 

.  Note to Regent customers:  If you want to dine in these reservation restaurants, after your first visit, there is a $30/person charge (not applicable to those in the Crystal Penthouse suite and I believe the fee is also waived for some levels of their loyalty program.  We dined in the Japanese restaurant 3 times and the Italianrestaurant 2 times.

 

On cruises of 14 days or more, one gets 2 included visits to Umi Uma and 2 at Prego..the second ones are based on availability and this is regardless of cabin type.  Additionally, those who are in a Penthouse (SP/PH) and above, aren't charged for additional visits, based on availability.  The fee is also waived for passengers with 50 or more cruises and passengers on the full world cruise. 

 

thanks for your review and glad you had a nice time.  Welcome home.

 

 Nancy

Just to add, 4 included visits can be split however you wish, eg all at Umi Uma, all at Prego or 3 at one and 1 at the other.

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Jackie - a BIG thank you for all the photos, insightful posts and in general for taking us along with you!!   I liked Crystal more from your photos, descriptions etc than I thought I would.  I was also very interested in Keith's (I think it was) background to why there are tables so close together and why Silk exists where it does...

I still think the size of the suites is an issue for us.  We are used to space at home and don't like to be cramped when travelling.  But who knows ??

Merci mille fois - or as they say in parts of my country - merci vielmal !!

Gerry

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1 hour ago, Hambagahle said:

We are used to space at home and don't like to be cramped when travelling.  But who knows ??

Merci mille fois - or as they say in parts of my country - merci vielmal !!

Gerry

If you do the regular suites on Regent, then you'll be fine with the PH suites on Crystal and the pricing is similar for both.

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