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Impressions from first time Crystal cruiser


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So our cruise is almost over, and I wanted to share some more observations.

 

Overall we have a wonderful time, and Crystal is really very special. It exceeded our expectations in most areas, except the shore excursions.

 

Service was exceptional across all venues. Very friendly and efficient. Some people mentioned the personal aspect of the service - we haven't seen it yet. Except for one waiter in breakfast buffet, nobody called us by name after 10 days on board. Also, nobody remembered our preferences. For example, I always ask for ice and lemon with my water - I had to request it every day, nobody remembered the previous days. Which is not a big deal for me, but since so many people mentioned it, I have to mention that this was not our experience so far. Maybe it takes few cruises, not sure.

 

Pool experience has been good, no issues to find chairs. But there are very few chairs in shade, and I was surprised to see that Crystal still allows to smoke in the pool area.

 

While dinner was usually outstanding and very consistent across all venues, lunch was much less consistent, with less variety than I would like. We absolutely loved the Bistro. Breakfast was good overall.

 

Overall, Crystal is now our new benchmark, but Oceania still remains a valid option, depending on itinerary and pricing. We currently have 3 future cruises with Crystal and 2 with Oceania. It will definitely provide more data points. 

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32 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

So our cruise is almost over, and I wanted to share some more observations.

 

 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and observations. It takes considerable time, effort and energy to post while onboard and I wanted to let you know that your fair and balanced narratives have been most appreciated. Safe travels home and a happy, healthy and cruise-filled new year's!

 

Rob

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I know this is your first Crystal Cruise.  We have done quite a few.

 

If lots of tours were getting back at 1:30 our experience is they would keep Marketplace open a little longer as they have done from time to time.

 

However, often this is not the case and they can't keep Marketplace opened very late.  Why?

 

Because the people who work there have other jobs to do starting early evening.  For example the folks in the Specialty Restaurants work there and they need time off (there are regulations as to how many hours crew members can work) and they will be at the restaurants early getting everything set to welcome guests starting at 6:00 PM.  The same is true for the personnel who work other dining venues plus the chefs and other personnel.

 

These folks do not work 7x24.

 

As guests we certainly have other options if we get back late from touring and that includes Trident Grill, Silk which would be open until 2:00 PM, The Bistro and Room Service.

 

It's funny I would never think of using the word unacceptable for something like this.  I guess to each their own.

 

Keith

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2 hours ago, LHT28 said:

 

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 

You can have Lasagna at Olive Garden or at Award Winning Valentino (the restaurant in Los Angeles that the Executive Chef/owner of Valentino  who was the inspiration for Prego). I was very unimpressed with Toscana.  The food quality and preparation in my opinion are opposite ends of the spectrum. 

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27 minutes ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

You can have Lasagna at Olive Garden or at Award Winning Valentino (the restaurant in Los Angeles that the Executive Chef/owner of Valentino  who was the inspiration for Prego). I was very unimpressed with Toscana.  The food quality and preparation in my opinion are opposite ends of the spectrum. 

I will repeat  my comment in case you missed it  😉

"everyone has a personal preference "

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1 hour ago, ak1004 said:

So our cruise is almost over, and I wanted to share some more observations.

 

Overall we have a wonderful time, and Crystal is really very special. It exceeded our expectations in most areas, except the shore excursions.

 

Service was exceptional across all venues. Very friendly and efficient. Some people mentioned the personal aspect of the service - we haven't seen it yet. Except for one waiter in breakfast buffet, nobody called us by name after 10 days on board. Also, nobody remembered our preferences. For example, I always ask for ice and lemon with my water - I had to request it every day, nobody remembered the previous days. Which is not a big deal for me, but since so many people mentioned it, I have to mention that this was not our experience so far. Maybe it takes few cruises, not sure.

 

 

Do not feel bad  we have been on 14 days  & no one called us by name either  except Paulo  the Maitre'd  & only because we had spoken to him about an issue in the dining room ..which was resolved

The lady at breakfast  today remembered our drink order  ..after 14 days  sitting in her section daily 😉

I do not expect  anyone to remember us  or call us by name  but it is nice when they do

Safe trip

 

 

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"It's funny I would never think of using the word unacceptable for something like this.  I guess to each their own."

 

--Agree with you Keith, and the "author" of the statement also has "agreed", since he has already booked several future Crystal cruises, however, I also think that extending Marketplace hours to 2 pm on port days would be very helpful for people returning from excursions. Crystal can somehow "manage' the coverage for the "employees".

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7 minutes ago, docmark said:

"It's funny I would never think of using the word unacceptable for something like this.  I guess to each their own."

 

--Agree with you Keith, and the "author" of the statement also has "agreed", since he has already booked several future Crystal cruises, however, I also think that extending Marketplace hours to 2 pm on port days would be very helpful for people returning from excursions. Crystal can somehow "manage' the coverage for the "employees".

I think that ShoreEx and Dining should consider how many people are returning to the ship at  a late lunch time.  We had an issue on our June cruise with a wait at the Trident that was about 30 minutes + two days in a row.  We ended up at the Bistro and some people ended up even ordering Room Service.

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10 minutes ago, docmark said:

"It's funny I would never think of using the word unacceptable for something like this.  I guess to each their own."

 

--Agree with you Keith, and the "author" of the statement also has "agreed", since he has already booked several future Crystal cruises, however, I also think that extending Marketplace hours to 2 pm on port days would be very helpful for people returning from excursions. Crystal can somehow "manage' the coverage for the "employees".


 

From time to time, marketplace has been open until 2pm on port days and there have been times when the normal noon opening has occurred at 11:30 when arriving around noon at a port.  This has occurred on several of my cruises in recent years.

 

Nancy

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26 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

The lady at breakfast  today remembered our drink order  ..after 14 days  sitting in her section daily 😉

I do not expect  anyone to remember us  or call us by name  but it is nice when they do


I find the Crystal staff respond to the way guests interact with them, that’s what makes a guest memorable - I’ve never had an issue with them remembering my preferences or name - both on a voyage and when we return after several months 

 

Reminds me of the saying that served me well in business as well - “People buy from People” 

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8 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:


I find the Crystal staff respond to the way guests interact with them, that’s what makes a guest memorable - I’ve never had an issue with them remembering my preferences or name - both on a voyage and when we return after several months 


same here..we were so amazed on our first crystal cruise how wonderful the staff/crew interacted with us and that remains the same 15 years later and many, many cruises later.

 

nancy

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We make a point of acknowledging staff’s names and asking about their home country when we see their name tags. The personal interaction creates great rapport during the voyage, and as Stickman mentioned earlier, during subsequent voyages onboard.

 

Rob

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2 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:


I find the Crystal staff respond to the way guests interact with them, that’s what makes a guest memorable - I’ve never had an issue with them remembering my preferences or name - both on a voyage and when we return after several months 

 

Reminds me of the saying that served me well in business as well - “People buy from People” 

 

2 hours ago, nancygp said:


same here..we were so amazed on our first crystal cruise how wonderful the staff/crew interacted with us and that remains the same 15 years later and many, many cruises later.

 

nancy

 

1 hour ago, ryndam said:

We make a point of acknowledging staff’s names and asking about their home country when we see their name tags. The personal interaction creates great rapport during the voyage, and as Stickman mentioned earlier, during subsequent voyages onboard.

 

Rob

Margaret & I take the time to speak with service personnel, and always treat them with courtesy, decency, and respect (not implying the OP and/or others don't) whether onboard a Crystal cruise ship, or on the land. 

 

Within a couple days during our first Crystal cruise, from Monte Carlo to Athens onboard Crystal Serenity in October 2010, numerous of the team members, especially those on the Lido Deck, were calling Margaret & me by our names, and this has been repeated during each of our other six cruises on Crystal (and once, when we weren't actually passengers - as I will detail below - cut and pasted from my post on Cruise Critic on July 6, 2011):

 

Keith & Anne Marie hosted Margaret & me onboard Crystal Serenity for lunch when the ship was in port in Brisbane in March 2011 (approximately five months after we had disembarked from Crystal Serenity).

 

After lunch, Margaret & I said goodbye to Keith & Anne-Marie, and went up to the Lido Deck to walk around and reminisce about our first Crystal cruise in October 2010.

 

The first Lido steward to see us was Johnnie (who had served us so well on our cruise on Serenity); after a quick couple seconds (I could honestly tell that Johnnie recognised both of us), I shook his hand, said "hi Johnnie, I'm Charles", and in an instant Johnnie said "hello Miss Margaret, it's nice to see you again".

 

Two other Lido stewards passed us while we were speaking with Johnnie (our collective memories aren't as good as theirs, so I can't definitely tell you "who" - but would guess Edwin and Reggie), and they both remembered us as Charles and Margaret, calling us by our names.

 

Special, special, SPECIAL...and why Margaret & I can't wait to be able to sail on Crystal once again.

Edited by CharleMarg
Added additional wording; punctuation
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3 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:


I find the Crystal staff respond to the way guests interact with them, that’s what makes a guest memorable - I’ve never had an issue with them remembering my preferences or name - both on a voyage and when we return after several months 

 

 

maybe you should give some pointers for new people to Crystal

Obviously sitting in the same section daily  being polite  ..saying Please & Thank you  is not enough

Asking them about their home Country  when they are running from table to table  did just not seem appropriate  at the time  🙄

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7 hours ago, LHT28 said:

 

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 

No it's probably the taste of the food.

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1 hour ago, LHT28 said:

maybe you should give some pointers for new people to Crystal

Obviously sitting in the same section daily  being polite  ..saying Please & Thank you  is not enough

Asking them about their home Country  when they are running from table to table  did just not seem appropriate  at the time  🙄

 

Many years ago, I was taught a very valuable lesson by a good friend, who was, ironically enough,  at the time a used car salesman. How's that for a stereotype!! He told me the key to establishing a relationship is using a person's name, because when you do that, you recognize them as a person, and not (in his environment) a "lead" to a possible sale. It is something I always try and do, be it at on a ship or at the grocery store, and I am frequently surprised to be remembered by service staff, often a long time after the fact. I realize it is easier for us, as long-time Crystal cruisers, but we always make a point of greeting as many of the staff as we can (remember) by name.  I suspect "Thank you (insert name here)" goes a lot further over time than a pro-forma "Thank you". 

Edited by Roland4
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8 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

I know this is your first Crystal Cruise.  We have done quite a few.

 

If lots of tours were getting back at 1:30 our experience is they would keep Marketplace open a little longer as they have done from time to time.

 

However, often this is not the case and they can't keep Marketplace opened very late.  Why?

 

Because the people who work there have other jobs to do starting early evening.  For example the folks in the Specialty Restaurants work there and they need time off (there are regulations as to how many hours crew members can work) and they will be at the restaurants early getting everything set to welcome guests starting at 6:00 PM.  The same is true for the personnel who work other dining venues plus the chefs and other personnel.

 

These folks do not work 7x24.

 

As guests we certainly have other options if we get back late from touring and that includes Trident Grill, Silk which would be open until 2:00 PM, The Bistro and Room Service.

 

It's funny I would never think of using the word unacceptable for something like this.  I guess to each their own.

 

Keith

 

I actually asked the chef the same question during our tour, and he provided the same explanation. 

 

But frankly, staff allocation is not my problem. Yes, this is our first crystal cruise, but we sailed on 10 different lines before Crystal and never had this issue. On all other lines the lunch buffet is open at least till 2:30. If other lines can manage it, I'm sure Crystal can too.

 

On two different occasions, there was a fairly large group of people returning from shore excursions and coming to the buffet at 1:35, just to find the staff removing all the food and closing the stations. The line at the Trident Grill was huge. Sorry, but I don't come to a luxury cruise to eat junk food, and I don't eat Asian food either. And yes, not to have an option to have a "normal" meal at 1:35 is unacceptable. But I guess it is what it is, next time we will adjust our schedules.

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12 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

Sorry, but I don't come to a luxury cruise to eat junk food, and I don't eat Asian food either. And yes, not to have an option to have a "normal" meal at 1:35 is unacceptable. But I guess it is what it is, next time we will adjust our schedules.


The Trident Grill isn’t a McDonalds franchise - ie it’s not all junk food - it’s certainly not just burgers - there are salads and other options. Silk also serve some dishes that are options for non Chinese fans if my memory serves me correctly 

 

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and there’s also room service...

 

I think it’s an over reaction to claim there’s nothing available at 1.30pm

 

I’m actually surprised you’d book further cruises if this is a big issue for you - as it will happen again - so if you’re cruising Crystal again you’ll need a Plan B to get you through a late lunch 

Edited by Stickman1990
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3 hours ago, LHT28 said:

maybe you should give some pointers for new people to Crystal

Obviously sitting in the same section daily  being polite  ..saying Please & Thank you  is not enough

Asking them about their home Country  when they are running from table to table  did just not seem appropriate  at the time  🙄

 

Well, according to some posters, in order for the staff to call you by your name, you should call them by their names first.. interesting logic. Or maybe you should complete 5 Crystal cruises first? Book a suite? Tip them? Not sure what's the trick.

 

We actually did speak with most of the waiters. We did sit at dinner in the same section and had the same waiter 4 times.. still had to ask for ice and lemon every time.

 

Also, seeking the cruise director talking to dozens passengers who seem Crystal regulars, and not acknowledging our existence even once was a bit odd. 

 

Doesn't really bother me, we don't come to a cruise to become friends with the staff. But people new to Crystal should probably be aware that not all Crystal guests created equal. 

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4 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:


The Trident Grill isn’t a McDonalds franchise - ie it’s not all junk food - it’s certainly not just burgers - there are salads and other options. Silk also service non Asian dishes if my memory serves me correctly 

 

and there’s also room service...

 

I think it’s an over reaction to claim there’s nothing available at 1.30pm

 

I’m actually surprised you’d book further cruises if this is a big issue for you - as it will happen again - so if you’re cruising Crystal again you’ll need a Plan B to get you through a late lunch 

 

As many people mentioned, food is very subjective. We tried Trident Grill once and didn't like it. 

 

But yes, we will have a Plan B on our next cruises, knowing how things work. There is always a solution, I'm just surprised that this is how things work since on no single ship we sailed the buffet was closed so early. 

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2 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

 

Well, according to some posters, in order for the staff to call you by your name, you should call them by their names first.. interesting logic. Or maybe you should complete 5 Crystal cruises first? Book a suite? Tip them? Not sure what's the trick.

...But people new to Crystal should probably be aware that not all Crystal guests created equal. 


Well it’s not that list for sure - Jonathon on the Lido deck knew my name (surname) and drink preference within the first couple of days of my first Crystal cruise as I chatted with him about Manila the first time he bought me a drink - maybe that was it? - and I don’t stay in Suites 

 

Actually I am hopeless with names - so only after a few cruises do I tend to remember first names - but I do smile and laugh a lot and make conversation and get an engagement happening people generally like being around happy and grateful people - to me you don’t need to use first names as they typically will be reluctant to call you by your first name - it’s generally Mr...

 

I do tip - but generally to the Crew Fund - sometimes on an individual basis but that’s at the end of the cruise so they only know about that on the last day 

 

To your last point - Crystal guests are treated equally - no matter which level of cabin/suite you stay in. I’ve never seen anything happening that leads me to believe otherwise 

 

I don’t presume to be able to tell you how to engage with the staff So they use your first name - if you haven’t worked that out yet it’s unlikely I’m going to change your style and it seems you don’t really care about it anyway 

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8 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

To your last point - Crystal guests are treated equally - no matter which level of cabin/suite you stay in. I’ve never seen anything happening that leads me to believe otherwise 

 

 

Well, if some guests are called by their names and others are not.. if some guests are remembered their preferences and others are not.. then obviously not all Crystal guests are treated equally. Your point is that it's based on the guest friendless and engagement with the staff. I get it. Not all people are equally social and friendly.

 

To me, the most important thing is that the service was exceptional across the ship, very efficient and friendly at the same time. We never waited for our drinks more than couple minutes, dinner service was very quick (unlike on O where meals lasted almost 2 hours on average) - this is what matters at the end of the day, in addition to other things, and this is what makes Crystal what it is. 

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1 hour ago, ak1004 said:

 

I actually asked the chef the same question during our tour, and he provided the same explanation. 

 

But frankly, staff allocation is not my problem. Yes, this is our first crystal cruise, but we sailed on 10 different lines before Crystal and never had this issue. On all other lines the lunch buffet is open at least till 2:30. If other lines can manage it, I'm sure Crystal can too.

 

On two different occasions, there was a fairly large group of people returning from shore excursions and coming to the buffet at 1:35, just to find the staff removing all the food and closing the stations. The line at the Trident Grill was huge. Sorry, but I don't come to a luxury cruise to eat junk food, and I don't eat Asian food either. And yes, not to have an option to have a "normal" meal at 1:35 is unacceptable. But I guess it is what it is, next time we will adjust our schedules.

You are correct.  It is what it is.

 

You are just never going to find everything that will meet your wishes on land or in sea IMHO.

 

I'd love it on land if some restaurants opened earlier so we don't have to eat a quick breakfast before a tour.  But that is not always possible.

 

So yes, we have to be flexible at times.  Maybe not expect each and every item to be the way "one person(s) wants it.

 

I am glad to hear the explanation you were provided was consistent with what I posted.  I've been told the same thing but also I've seen and understand it. 

 

Keith

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