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thixson

Review of Symphony from first time Crystal cruiser...

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Hi everyone.  My husband and I just returned from our first ever Crystal Cruise roundtrip from Vancouver to Alaska.  We got home last evening and I am still full! Yikes!

 

We originally booked a Veranda Room (Category B1), but decided to upgrade to the Seabreeze Penthouse Suite (SP), which was beautiful, but in my humble opinion, not worth the upgrade and unlikely to do it again.  It was nice having our clothes ironed, but we didn't use the butler much at all (did our own packing/unpacking, declined the afternoon canapés, etc....).  The other issue, was just as others have suggested, the SP room is quite cramped.  I have a hard time believing it is over 400 sq.ft.  Suites on mega cruise lines - Holland America and RCCL, were much more spacious in my opinion.  I did like the large rain shower!

 

We stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront the night before the cruise.  We went to Granville Island and had lunch at The Sand Bar, which was quite good.  The crab cake and Louie salad were excellent.  We had a table on the water and it was fun to watch the boats go by.  After lunch we walked back to the Fairmont, rested for a little while, and then enjoyed drinks at ARC in the Fairmont.  We booked our room using our Chase Sapphire Card and received $100 dining credit and free breakfast, so we just the $100 for pre-dinner drinks.  We made reservations at Hy's Steakhouse a short walk from the hotel and the food was excellent!

 

We arrived to the cruise terminal (short walk across the street) around 11:30ish and were onboard and in our suite by 12:00.  The boarding process was the best I have experienced cruising.  Very simple and quick.  

 

The good:

-The staff! AMAZING folks working on this ship... If you sat down, someone was there offering drinks within 1 minute and always with a smile.  Many of the staff learned our names.

-The food! I don't normally cruise for food, but after this experience on Crystal, I think I will from now on.  We ate at Prego once, twice at Uma Umi, twice at Silk (one lunch and one dinner), and 3 times at Waterside.  We did not have any issues being seated at Waterside and were seated by the window twice.  On our anniversary they had a picture printed out of us to catch us and included a special cake and ribbons for our table.  Nice personal touch. We ate breakfast and lunch at the Marketplace/Trident Grill.  I loved the Rueben sandwich and the hamburgers were delicious.  The salad bar was so fresh and by far the best I have seen on any cruise.

-Mark Ferris! Great piano player, fun to watch, and made everyone smile/laugh...

- Photography! Excellent job taking nice photos for a reasonable price.

- Room attendants! Did a great job of finding ways to freshen the room while we weren't there...

- The ports and excursions! I booked all of my excursions through Crystal. They were a little more expensive that way, BUT they always had a Crystal employee on the excursion with us, which was a nice tough.  In Juneau we did a helicopter onto the glacier and a 3 hour hike and ice climb - AMAZING! In Skagway, we did the dog mushing and tour and thought it was "just okay,"  The dogs were cute, but the tour left much to be desired.  In Ketchikan we did fishing and wilderness dining and it was awesome.  We each caught more than 10 fish and our guide cleaned them and grilled them up at a campsite.

 

The less desired:

- Entertainment... Maybe it is our age (me 43, hubby 51), but needlepointing, bridge, and computer lessons are not of much interest to us.  We also don't like production shows with dancers/singers.  We were looking forward to the comedian, but neither of us found him funny, and although my husband enjoyed the magic show, I didn't (nothing wrong with the magician, I just find magic boring...). While we were fine doing a lot of relaxing, I don't think I would bring my family on a Crystal Cruise unless there was a port everyday as I fear we would be bored on a sea day extensive cruise...

 

Other than the entertainment (and I know this is a personal thing), I have nothing negative to say about the cruise.  The experience was amazing and we definitely will return on another Crystal cruise.  My husband is looking to retire in about 5 years. I could see us on a longer voyage with Crystal! Thanks for all on this board (especially Keith) for your pre-cruise suggestions.  I appreciate it very much.

 

Tiffany

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Thanks for sharing

We will do our 1st Crystal cruise in Dec

I think I may have the same feeling as you re entertainment  🙂

Time will tell

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Tiffany,

 

Welcome home and how lovely to read your review.

 

Very well written.   Very balanced.  Loved the photosincluding those active ones.  Wow!

 

I am so glad that you both enjoyed the that you will sail with Crystal again in the future.  

 

Longer cruises on Crystal are very special and are wonderful to experience during retirement.

 

Keith

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I do believe that entertainment is a generational issue and that we will see more for the "youth" in the future. For us old coots it's already started getting out of our (well, my) comfort zone. For example, the new show has songs from 2 shows that I have never seen. I know Rent is a modern La Boheme (seen the opera 5 times), but have no idea what Something Rotten might be. Fewer of us each year, unfortunately!!

 

Patty

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Thanks for your well written and balanced review.

 

lovely photos!!!

 

Nancy

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Tiffany, thanks for your post.  We will be on Symphony two weeks from Saturday, our first Crystal cruise.  We are looking forward to some delicious food (and maybe a few glasses of wine).  After many cruises (on 13 different cruise lines) we have gotten numb to most shows, but we will try them out, just may not stay.  I am in the older crowd and love my down time to read and SLEEP. My old body requires a lot of rest.  

 

Thanks again.😍  😎

 

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1 hour ago, Robb said:

Tiffany, thanks for your post.  We will be on Symphony two weeks from Saturday, our first Crystal cruise.  We are looking forward to some delicious food (and maybe a few glasses of wine).  After many cruises (on 13 different cruise lines) we have gotten numb to most shows, but we will try them out, just may not stay.  I am in the older crowd and love my down time to read and SLEEP. My old body requires a lot of rest.  

 

Thanks again.😍  😎

 

You will surely have an amazing time.  The food and service alone are amazing enough.  One thing I forgot to share, was that my husband dropped a wad of cash in the casino.  It was seen on the above cameras and a guest was seen picking it up.  Casino staff asked the guest if they would like to return it as they saw who had dropped it and lucky for us, this honest person chose to return it.  Classy service from Crystal as they were under no obligation to intervene at all.

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32 minutes ago, thixson said:

One thing I forgot to share, was that my husband dropped a wad of cash in the casino.

 

I once dropped a was of cash in the casino, and a guy watching from the eye in the sky came down and told me to stop hitting on 16.

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"- Entertainment... Maybe it is our age (me 43, hubby 51), but needlepointing, bridge, and computer lessons are not of much interest to us.  We also don't like production shows with dancers/singers.  We were looking forward to the comedian, but neither of us found him funny, and although my husband enjoyed the magic show, I didn't (nothing wrong with the magician, I just find magic boring...). While we were fine doing a lot of relaxing, I don't think I would bring my family on a Crystal Cruise unless there was a port everyday as I fear we would be bored on a sea day extensive cruise..."

 

Thank you for an excellent review of one of our favorite ships. 

Did you go to any of the lectures because that's one of the things Crystal excels at besides classes. They also have the golf lessons and pickle ball. 

 

I hope when you fill in your card, you offer some suggestions on some other activities that might be welcome for sea days. Change is a good thing especially if its updating the offerings.

 

Interesting about the production shows. I've seen them all and am not a huge fan myself (except the new broadway one is good) but I found my 20 something daughter and my 40 something step daughter and son in law really enjoyed them. Go figure. On longer cruises they do bring in more entertainment some of which is absolutely excellent.

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10 minutes ago, AtA said:

"- Entertainment... Maybe it is our age (me 43, hubby 51), but needlepointing, bridge, and computer lessons are not of much interest to us.  We also don't like production shows with dancers/singers.  We were looking forward to the comedian, but neither of us found him funny, and although my husband enjoyed the magic show, I didn't (nothing wrong with the magician, I just find magic boring...). While we were fine doing a lot of relaxing, I don't think I would bring my family on a Crystal Cruise unless there was a port everyday as I fear we would be bored on a sea day extensive cruise..."

 

Thank you for an excellent review of one of our favorite ships. 

Did you go to any of the lectures because that's one of the things Crystal excels at besides classes. They also have the golf lessons and pickle ball. 

 

I hope when you fill in your card, you offer some suggestions on some other activities that might be welcome for sea days. Change is a good thing especially if its updating the offerings.

 

Interesting about the production shows. I've seen them all and am not a huge fan myself (except the new broadway one is good) but I found my 20 something daughter and my 40 something step daughter and son in law really enjoyed them. Go figure. On longer cruises they do bring in more entertainment some of which is absolutely excellent.

No lectures for us... We are more active people and would have enjoyed seeming some dance classes, perhaps one of those funny "love and marriage shows,"  more comedy,  and more trivia.  We went to one trivia, but the crew member hosting it was really dull.  But like I said, I honestly didn't mind resting. I took a lot of naps and I love being rocked to sleep 🙂

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16 minutes ago, thixson said:

No lectures for us... We are more active people and would have enjoyed seeming some dance classes, perhaps one of those funny "love and marriage shows,"  more comedy,  and more trivia.  We went to one trivia, but the crew member hosting it was really dull.  But like I said, I honestly didn't mind resting. I took a lot of naps and I love being rocked to sleep 🙂

 

I can't imagine that there weren't dance classes on sea days. Can't recall there ever not being those. Also, for active people there are always classes in the fitness center - spin, yoga, etc. Did you check the daily schedule in "Reflections"?

 

Patty

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3 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

 

Longer cruises on Crystal are very special and are wonderful to experience during retirement.

 

 

As a still working stiff, I think getting out of bed in the morning will be wonderful to experience during retirement. 😃

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21 minutes ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

I can't imagine that there weren't dance classes on sea days. Can't recall there ever not being those. Also, for active people there are always classes in the fitness center - spin, yoga, etc. Did you check the daily schedule in "Reflections"?

 

Patty

Yes I did. They had one dance class, a ton of needlepoint, bridge, and trivia only twice.

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9 minutes ago, KenzSailing said:

 

As a still working stiff, I think getting out of bed in the morning will be wonderful to experience during retirement. 😃

I can attest to the joy it brings each and every weekday morning. 👍

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14 minutes ago, KenzSailing said:

 

As a still working stiff, I think getting out of bed in the morning will be wonderful to experience during retirement. 😃

Anytime you can get out of bed, retired or working is better than the alternative don't you think.

 

Same goes as we get older and we have pains from exercising.  Best to have pains than the alternative which I remind people about all the time at our fitness center.

 

Keith

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1 hour ago, thixson said:

Yes I did. They had one dance class, a ton of needlepoint, bridge, and trivia only twice.

 

I really enjoyed the dance classes...and since you both, like me, are active people, you would have enjoyed the cardio classes at the gym.  These two activities were central to my enjoyment of my first Crystal cruise last May.

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Thank you for this review. Love your photos, they are beautiful.  So impressed with the ice climb! 

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Nice review and thank you so much for taking the time.l. Looks like over all you had a good cruise.

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Thanks for your review and your awesome pictures!

 

I am between you and your husband's age - I sort of like the more traditional cruising experience. On some of my recent non-Crystal cruises - I wish they were "less loud". I enjoyed the sole piano player in the evenings in the atrium on Crystal and the attention to detail and quality (vs quantity) of food. Now saying that, I agree there is room for every line to improve. We had a horrible comedian on my Crystal cruise and I wasn't impressed with the production show either. I also like that Crystal has an employee on every tour - this is so cool! More lines should do this.

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4 hours ago, thixson said:

perhaps one of those funny "love and marriage shows,"

 

23 minutes ago, suzeluvscruz said:

Please NONONONO!!!

 

The start of the slippery slope towards belly-flop competitions and hairy chest contests.

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I also saw "love and marriage" and wondered what she was thinking. I don't want entertainment on Crystal to be composed of several passengers and a cruise director. That's what Carnival is for. And Royal. And Princess. And, and...

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11 hours ago, fyree39 said:

I also saw "love and marriage" and wondered what she was thinking. I don't want entertainment on Crystal to be composed of several passengers and a cruise director. That's what Carnival is for. And Royal. And Princess. And, and...

 

Well.... needlepoint, bridge, and computer lessons won't do it for the 40s crowd... Fun can be had even by those who don't like or can't afford caviar... A tad elitist some of you may be... One of the reasons we didn't like the comedian... (1) he wasn't funny, and (2) he acted elitist and snobby..

 

I'll skip your needlepoint and you can skip my love and marriage show, but I guarantee, the theater would be packed.

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7 minutes ago, thixson said:

 

I'll skip your needlepoint and you can skip my love and marriage show, but I guarantee, the theater would be packed.

Oceania  has those games  like newlywed show etc

they are popular

but then  Oceania  in not a luxury line  😉

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