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Impressions from first time Crystal cruiser


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5 hours ago, edgee said:

We all are entitled to our opinions.

 

Food on O and Crystal are about equal overall. 

 

Oceania entertainment is not even in the same universe as Crystal entertainment. Crystal entertainment is often of the highest professional quality. O entertainment is good if you prefer high school level quality and sometimes it doesn't even measure up to that standard.


I agree on both more or less.

 

We were on O more than a year ago, so I might not remember all the details. But as far as I remember, dinner in MDR is similar quality and outstanding on both. Lunch buffet I liked O better. Specialty restaurants excellent on both, about same quality (we tried Prego only on Crystal).

 

Entertainment is outstanding on Crystal, especially the guest performers. O guest performers were not bad, but in house performances were pretty weak.

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54 minutes ago, ak1004 said:


I agree on both more or less.

 

We were on O more than a year ago, so I might not remember all the details. But as far as I remember, dinner in MDR is similar quality and outstanding on both. Lunch buffet I liked O better. Specialty restaurants excellent on both, about same quality (we tried Prego only on Crystal).

 

 

In MDR on O - Try ordering something not on the menu or cooked to order.  Asking a server on O to make any kind of variation will be met with a no.  On Crystal, they will 95% of the time find a way to make anything they can to your specs.  They will go ask the Chef if they need to.

 

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If Waterside was closed for several days it would be a one-off.

 

Yes when in Europe especially on a  port intensive Mediterranean cruise where many guests are off on full day or close to full day tours there will be some days when Waterside is closed.  We've seen this ourselves and there have been some threads about this (usually one time a year when one of the vessels is sailing the Med) In our case we fully understand the reasoning behind this.  Full disclosure while we love dining in Waterside we do this infrequently for lunch because because of the time involved.  

 

I've been on several Caribbean cruises with Crystal and have found Waterside open most if not all the time.  The same is true of cruises such as California Coastal Cruises and other similar cruises.

 

This is why if it was for several days I have to believe this is one-off and is certianly not typical of our experiences sailing Crystal.

 

Keith

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4 hours ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

In MDR on O - Try ordering something not on the menu or cooked to order.  Asking a server on O to make any kind of variation will be met with a no.  On Crystal, they will 95% of the time find a way to make anything they can to your specs.  They will go ask the Chef if they need to.

 

That is why we sail Crystal and Regent and not O. The no’s get tiresome. Azamara on the other hand is very customer friendly and do all they can to make your trip special.

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13 hours ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

In MDR on O - Try ordering something not on the menu or cooked to order.  Asking a server on O to make any kind of variation will be met with a no.  On Crystal, they will 95% of the time find a way to make anything they can to your specs.  They will go ask the Chef if they need to.

 

 

Very true.

 

We din't feel the need to customize things on O because the food was so good, but it's definitely nice to have the option, and we are using it on Crystal. 

 

That said, we spoke with few people on board who tried both O and Crystal, and most of them find the food on O better overall. I would still say that to me it's very similar quality, definitely few steps above Celebrity.

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3 hours ago, ak1004 said:

 

Very true.

 

We din't feel the need to customize things on O because the food was so good, but it's definitely nice to have the option, and we are using it on Crystal. 

 

That said, we spoke with few people on board who tried both O and Crystal, and most of them find the food on O better overall. I would still say that to me it's very similar quality, definitely few steps above Celebrity.

They won't even customize for allergies?

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5 hours ago, ak1004 said:

That said, we spoke with few people on board who tried both O and Crystal, and most of them find the food on O better overall. I would still say that to me it's very similar quality, definitely few steps above Celebrity.

 

We sailed on Riviera in July 2018, and while I will agree their specialty restaurants are very good, the MDR food and service was abysmal at best. Our first attempt, my wife's duck entree magically turned into chicken, while my steak frites was served without the frites, which eventually arrived, and medium-rare had become A) beyond well done, and B) cold!! And that was after waiting almost 40 minutes between the appetizers and the mains! Thinking any room can have a bad night, we tried again, and while the food was marginally better, the service was even worse than the first time! We never went back. I'm not saying Crystal is perfect, but the few times Waterside has "missed the mark" on the food, the issues have been dealt with promptly and the service has been seamless! 

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In my view, the food in Waterside and the speciality restaurants on Crystal (Serenity, 2019) is much better than on Oceania (Riviera, 2017). I chose Riviera in part because of high praise for the ship on CruiseCritic, but I was not impressed with food, the service or the ship.

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6 hours ago, ak1004 said:

 

Very true.

 

We din't feel the need to customize things on O because the food was so good, but it's definitely nice to have the option, and we are using it on Crystal. 

 

That said, we spoke with few people on board who tried both O and Crystal, and most of them find the food on O better overall. I would still say that to me it's very similar quality, definitely few steps above Celebrity.

you may not be able to order off menu items on O but you can ask for different portions sizes /no sauce /more sauce  etc..

I do it all the time

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20 hours ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

In MDR on O - Try ordering something not on the menu or cooked to order.  Asking a server on O to make any kind of variation will be met with a no.  On Crystal, they will 95% of the time find a way to make anything they can to your specs.  They will go ask the Chef if they need to.

 

So true. On O the first impulse to any out of the ordinary request is a "no." On Crystal the first inclination is to find a way to say yes if at all possible. Generally a much better customer service attitude on Crystal. I believe that the staff on Crystal is generally a much happier team. Plenty of nice staff on O also, but I oftenhave seen a much more negative almost downtrodden culture on O from front desk personnel to officers who seem to almost want to avoid guest contact...certainly a 180 from Crystal.

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2 hours ago, LHT28 said:

not true

You had a bad experience  at tea apparently  but what about the rest of the meals on your cruise???

Red Ginger was excellent. We never were able to get into Jacques. The MDR and the Italian place were ok. I'd take Prego over it any day and the food in Waterside is more consistent. I don't eat meat so we didn't do the steak house.

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14 minutes ago, Cruisemonty said:

In my view, the food in Waterside and the speciality restaurants on Crystal (Serenity, 2019) is much better than on Oceania (Riviera, 2017). I chose Riviera in part because of high praise for the ship on CruiseCritic, but I was not impressed with food, the service or the ship.

We loved the Grill in the evening on Riviera and Marina.  The MDR for us was very uninspiring.  Toscana for us felt one step above Olive Garden. We loved the Jacques and Red Ginger/Asian Fusion.   We all have favorite meals but the thing that comes with a meal on Crystal is personal  choice above and beyond the ordinary. And the legendary service.

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1 hour ago, edgee said:

So true. On O the first impulse to any out of the ordinary request is a "no." On Crystal the first inclination is to find a way to say yes if at all possible. Generally a much better customer service attitude on Crystal. I believe that the staff on Crystal is generally a much happier team. Plenty of nice staff on O also, but I oftenhave seen a much more negative almost downtrodden culture on O from front desk personnel to officers who seem to almost want to avoid guest contact...certainly a 180 from Crystal.

So true from my one experience on O. Our butler and stewardess on O were almost surly. (My PH cabin when we first arrived was dirty and the salt on the cushions and deck outside were 1/4" thick.) The stewardess wasn't happy that we insisted she reclean the room. As to the balcony we were told, "that's the way they are." YUCK! We didn't go out once the whole cruise because it was never cleaned well.

When I had an issue with being served a food I was allergic to and reported it to the head maitre'd, his attitude was one of "ok, we'll take care of it." (While mine is more of a food sensitivity, if someone truly was allergic it could have killed them) When I went to the concierge to voice my concerns, we were listened to and assured he'd get back to us after he looked into it. That was over 3 years ago and we've yet to hear back. 

My SO even wrote the president about our experience when we got home. Crickets.

 

Now having said that, because I believe everyone deserves a second chance and because their fares were so reasonable, I'm taking my son on an O Caribbean cruise in 3 weeks. I'm again in a PH so I'll be sure to report back. I'm hoping my last experience was an anomaly.

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1 hour ago, edgee said:

So true. On O the first impulse to any out of the ordinary request is a "no." On Crystal the first inclination is to find a way to say yes if at all possible. Generally a much better customer service attitude on Crystal. I believe that the staff on Crystal is generally a much happier team. Plenty of nice staff on O also, but I oftenhave seen a much more negative almost downtrodden culture on O from front desk personnel to officers who seem to almost want to avoid guest contact...certainly a 180 from Crystal.

 

This was not our experience on O. But I guess everyone has different expectations and different opinions. We had an excellent experience on O, but I agree that Crystal is a step up. In some areas a big step up. In terms of service, we found service on O excellent.

 

Of course we also have to remember that we came to O after Celebrity and Princess. Maybe after we tried Crystal, we might have a different perspective. Next year we will be sailing both Crystal and O, so will have more data points.

 

O has a very loyal customer base, so things are definitely not black and white. Also don't forget that there is a significant price difference, and in terms of value for money, some people might consider O a better value.  

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31 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

O has a very loyal customer base, so things are definitely not black and white. Also don't forget that there is a significant price difference, and in terms of value for money, some people might consider O a better value.  

 

I think the reason O passengers feel it's a good value is entry level is lower. They have smaller cabins - even inside cabins. The entertainment is very weak,  Alcohol is extra, Excursions are extra.  I compared apples to apples and Crystal was less money and a better experience

 

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15 minutes ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

 

I think the reason O passengers feel it's a good value is entry level is lower. They have smaller cabins - even inside cabins. The entertainment is very weak,  Alcohol is extra, Excursions are extra.  I compared apples to apples and Crystal was less money and a better experience

 

 

Well, for some people (us included) alcohol is not important. We are okay with smaller cabins, but upgrade to OV is usually not very expensive. And OV on O is larger than on Crystal. Excursions are extra on Crystal too.

 

It is very rare to find an cruise where Crystal is less expensive. Again, it doesn't necessarily make O a better value, but it really depends what the price difference is.

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13 hours ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

 

I think the reason O passengers feel it's a good value is entry level is lower. They have smaller cabins - even inside cabins. The entertainment is very weak,  Alcohol is extra, Excursions are extra.  I compared apples to apples and Crystal was less money and a better experience

 

I did not see free excursions on Crystal is that more of the insider information only known to the regulars?

 

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Shore excursions is one area where O beats Crystal. Again, this is based on one O cruise and one Crystal cruise, so might not be representative.

 

On O, we had no issues to change or cancel excursions even after the deadline. On Crystal, we tried to cancel an excursion 26 hours in advance and got a negative answer. Yes, it was after the deadline (which is 7pm two days before the cruise), but they could be more flexible. Especially considering the fact that this tour is a trolley to old town San Diego, which you can do for $2.5 each direction with public trolley - Crystal cost was $79!!

 

This is in addition to the group sizes which I already mentioned earlier, and excursions usually more expensive on Crystal.

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14 hours ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

.  Toscana for us felt one step above Olive Garden.

That is  amusing since Prego &Toscana  have very similar offerings  but  I guess  having more options on O is the Olive Garden comment

 Everyone has a personal preference 

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25 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

Shore excursions is one area where O beats Crystal. Again, this is based on one O cruise and one Crystal cruise, so might not be representative.

 

On O, we had no issues to change or cancel excursions even after the deadline. On Crystal, we tried to cancel an excursion 26 hours in advance and got a negative answer. Yes, it was after the deadline (which is 7pm two days before the cruise), but they could be more flexible. Especially considering the fact that this tour is a trolley to old town San Diego, which you can do for $2.5 each direction with public trolley - Crystal cost was $79!!

 

This is in addition to the group sizes which I already mentioned earlier, and excursions usually more expensive on Crystal.

We have had exactly the opposite experience. My wife was not feeling well so we tried to cancel an excursion a couple of hours after the 48 hour deadline. O said absolutely not and kept our $400. On Crystal we cancelled an excursion the same morning due to a personal circumstance and they refunded all of our money.

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24 minutes ago, edgee said:

We have had exactly the opposite experience. My wife was not feeling well so we tried to cancel an excursion a couple of hours after the 48 hour deadline. O said absolutely not and kept our $400. On Crystal we cancelled an excursion the same morning due to a personal circumstance and they refunded all of our money.

 

Could be related to popularity of the tour. If the tour is in high demand, they might be able to re sell the tickets. 

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On 12/19/2019 at 3:42 AM, Keith1010 said:

If Waterside was closed for several days it would be a one-off.

 

Yes when in Europe especially on a  port intensive Mediterranean cruise where many guests are off on full day or close to full day tours there will be some days when Waterside is closed.  We've seen this ourselves and there have been some threads about this (usually one time a year when one of the vessels is sailing the Med) In our case we fully understand the reasoning behind this.  Full disclosure while we love dining in Waterside we do this infrequently for lunch because because of the time involved.  

 

I've been on several Caribbean cruises with Crystal and have found Waterside open most if not all the time.  The same is true of cruises such as California Coastal Cruises and other similar cruises.

 

This is why if it was for several days I have to believe this is one-off and is certianly not typical of our experiences sailing Crystal.

 

Keith

 

We had a kitchen tour yesterday, and i asked the chef regarding this issue. He explained that the decision is made based on number of guests expected to be ashore during the lunch time. If it's a large amount, they might close the Waterside, otherwise keep it open.

 

Which makes perfect sense. What doesn't make sense is closing the buffet at 1:30, especially on days when large number of guests return from the excursions around 1-1:30. This is completely unacceptable.

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