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Impressions from first time Crystal cruiser


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3 hours ago, Cruise-y said:

This is an interesting thread, thanks to all.  I'll just chime in that on my one (so far) Crystal cruise, the line for the (one) barista in the Bistro was at least a half hour long and I wasn't that patient for my morning (or any other time) java, as luxurious as it might have been.  I found the tucked-away corner coffee station at Waterside and just popped up there every morning for my café au lait (coffee with hot milk) as a substitute for an espresso or a latté.  Even though it was a waiter's station, most of them knew my name and had it ready for me when I arrived (in my sweats after my morning workout).  It was just lovely and I'll take that over a barista any day.

 

Before 9 AM the Bistro is a carry out only. After that time you can get a carry out but most people sit at tables and are waited on by staff. I have never had to wait over 5 minutes at the most before or after 9 AM.

 

Patty

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5 hours ago, SusieQft said:

I was really struggling with the idea of going to Waterside just for a cup of coffee.  This provides a clue:  Did you mean to say you went upstairs to Marketplace for the coffee?  Waterside is the main dining room on deck 5.

Oh yes I’m sorry!  I did mean Marketplace.  I can never remember the proper names!  Thank you

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10 hours ago, CruisinCindy said:

 

We were on the same cruise, only we boarded on Dec. 1 in Miami and ended in San Diego.  Just to offer a different take on things, our experience was a bit different.  After less than 2 days on board, we were very impressed that the staff called us by name and were always friendly and could take an extra second to greet us or a quick chat to say hello.  After the 1st night, the Waterside Maitre d' Mr. Remy knew we liked a certain table and made sure we had it every night we went in - for the whole 20 night cruise!  Our bartenders in Silk and Avenue Saloon knew our preferences by the second day and our waiters in Waterside made a point of asking and learning our preferences the very first night.  (This was only our 2nd Crystal cruise, so it wasn't because we knew people or they knew us from before, although there were a few who did remember us from our 1st cruise 18 months ago.)

 

As far as the Marketplace buffet goes, we went there every day for lunch, so I know exactly what the offerings were.  I don't know how the OP got the impression that it was mostly Asian inspired because I did not see that at all.  I'm Asian and I would have definitely noticed if it was.  As others have said, there is one specifically Asian themed Buffet, and one Mediterranean themed Buffet during each cruise  (I saw 2 of each since we were technically on 2 cruises).  The rest of the time the selection is varied with a diverse choice of meat dishes and veggie / potato / rice side dishes prepared different ways (American, Latin, Italian, Asian, steamed, oven roasted, etc), as well as the pasta station with a changing sauce each day.  There was always a carving station of pork, beef or poultry spiced different ways.  The salads were a large selection of greens and veggies, and prepared pasta salads or veggie types with various vinaigrette sauces, along with a selection of cold fish like salmon, sardines, mackerels.    There was always a soup and sandwich section with potato chips, and french fries.  I thought the buffet had good fresh food and was better than other lines we've cruised on (30+ cruises on Celebrity, Princess, RCCL, Azamara).  I know some folks don't care for "buffet" food, and we're picky about the quality of our food - but during the day it was nice to enjoy the view, have a good fresh selection and we found it to be pleasant (especially port days when many people were off the ship).

 

While I don't have the frame of reference to compare with other lines like Regent or O, we have been very happy with Crystal and have already booked 2021 and 2022.  We like the attitude they have of the Crystal Family, and how well the staff seems to be treated.  The fact that many of them are long standing employees says a lot about their job satisfaction.  The first half of our cruise from Miami to Caldera was the President's Cruise with the Crystal President / CEO and his wife onboard.  His talk about Crystal, the employees and future plans showed that while they're running a business, they still care that the service and experience they provide to their passengers is their priority.

 

Just my opinon on our experience, thanks for letting me share....

 

Thank you for sharing your observations.

 

I have no idea why your experience regarding staff calling you by names and remembering your preferences was different from ours. Maybe because it was your second cruise, and you sailed 21 nights and our was only 10 nights? I really don't know. Frankly, this aspect is not really important to us - I only mentioned it because so many mention it as one of the highlights of Crystal. Would it be nice if staff called us by names? Yes, but for us it's more important that they provide friendly, efficient and quick service. Which they did. Would it be nice if after 10 days they remembered that I asked for ice and lemon with my water, and my wife asked for hot water, day after day? Yes. It would be nice if after 3-4 days they just bring it the way we liked it. But they didn't, so we asked for it. Day after day, till the last day. Not a big deal at all.

 

I still consider the service on Crystal outstanding, despite some imperfections. But so was the service on O. Honestly, I did not see big difference.

 

As for food - well, 2 out of 3 specialty restaurants are Asian, so yes, it's pretty safe to say that food overall has strong Asian influence. As many mentioned food is very subjective. I still found the food very good, but OVERALL, we liked the food on O better. I could not point out what exactly I was missing - till I read this post by @PaulchiliAs he mentioned, this is MY opinion. I'm very specific with my food preferences, and food on O was just a better fit for ME. Doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the food on Crystal.

 

As many people mentioned, different people like different things. Some might say they are missing the music by the pool, others would argue that they come to the pool to relax and don't need the music there. it's really matter of personal preferences. We had a wonderful cruise, and we are booked three more on Crystal, but it doesn't mean it's perfect. No line is. 

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4 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

 

 

 

As for food - well, 2 out of 3 specialty restaurants are Asian, so yes, it's pretty safe to say that food overall has strong Asian influence. As many mentioned food is very subjective. I still found the food very good, but OVERALL, we liked the food on O better. I could not point out what exactly I was missing - till I read this post by @PaulchiliAs he mentioned, this is MY opinion. I'm very specific with my food preferences, and food on O was just a better fit for ME. Doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the food on Crystal.

 

 

 

There are 4 specialty restaurants. Did you forget about the Brazilian restaurant in Marketplace, or did you not know it was there? Admittedly, it gets mixed reviews from both old and new Crystal cruisers.

 

Patty

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1 minute ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

There are 4 specialty restaurants. Did you forget about the Brazilian restaurant in Marketplace, or did you not know it was there? Admittedly, it gets mixed reviews from both old and new Crystal cruisers.

 

Patty

 

We visited the Brazilian restaurant twice and loved it! I did not include it because it replaces the buffet in the evening, it's half buffet by itself, and it's free, with unlimited visits. But yes, technically, it is one of the four specialty restaurants. Still even 2 Asian venues out of 4 is higher than on most other lines.

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18 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

Still even 2 Asian venues out of 4 is higher than on most other lines.


The corporate Asian ownership (both original operator and current operation) may have some significant influence in the selection of specialty cuisines offered onboard.

 

Rob

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1 hour ago, ak1004 said:

As for food - well, 2 out of 3 specialty restaurants are Asian, so yes, it's pretty safe to say that food overall has strong Asian influence. As many mentioned food is very subjective. I still found the food very good, but OVERALL, we liked the food on O better. I could not point out what exactly I was missing - till I read this post by @PaulchiliAs he mentioned, this is MY opinion. I'm very specific with my food preferences, and food on O was just a better fit for ME. Doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the food on Crystal.

 

You're right about the 2/3 Asian influence for the specialty restaurants.  I thought you were writing specifically about the Buffet selections, hence my detailed observation of that... In contrast to your constructive observations and that you still did enjoy the cruise, I did meet a few passengers who kept saying how much they liked Seabourne over Crystal for the food and also the service.  They did it so much throughout the cruise I had to ask why they were onboard this ship.  They had been on Crystal before and said it was purely for the itinerary.  Still, it seemed that if they were going to spend much of the cruise comparing and grousing to fellow passengers, maybe that choice wasn't worth it...

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In our December 6-14 cruise there were two large Asian/Asian American groups, plus couples and small family groups.  I can see why Marketplace dedicated a special section of Asian food at lunch,  plus other Asian food interspersed in the the other stations.  DH and I are not particularly fond of Asian food, but understand most people from around the world are.  We found that lunch at Waterside provided a good variety of foods, and we were very satisfied to eat lunch at W every day.  

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4 hours ago, ak1004 said:

 

Thank you for sharing your observations.

 

I have no idea why your experience regarding staff calling you by names and remembering your preferences was different from ours. Maybe because it was your second cruise, and you sailed 21 nights and our was only 10 nights? I really don't know. Frankly, this aspect is not really important to us - I only mentioned it because so many mention it as one of the highlights of Crystal. Would it be nice if staff called us by names? Yes, but for us it's more important that they provide friendly, efficient and quick service. Which they did. Would it be nice if after 10 days they remembered that I asked for ice and lemon with my water, and my wife asked for hot water, day after day? Yes. It would be nice if after 3-4 days they just bring it the way we liked it. But they didn't, so we asked for it. Day after day, till the last day. Not a big deal at all.

 

I still consider the service on Crystal outstanding, despite some imperfections. But so was the service on O. Honestly, I did not see big difference.

 

As for food - well, 2 out of 3 specialty restaurants are Asian, so yes, it's pretty safe to say that food overall has strong Asian influence. As many mentioned food is very subjective. I still found the food very good, but OVERALL, we liked the food on O better. I could not point out what exactly I was missing - till I read this post by @PaulchiliAs he mentioned, this is MY opinion. I'm very specific with my food preferences, and food on O was just a better fit for ME. Doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the food on Crystal.

 

As many people mentioned, different people like different things. Some might say they are missing the music by the pool, others would argue that they come to the pool to relax and don't need the music there. it's really matter of personal preferences. We had a wonderful cruise, and we are booked three more on Crystal, but it doesn't mean it's perfect. No line is. 

Thanks for saying that...I agree....just because we point out a difference or a preference, certainly doesn’t mean we are bashing one line or the other...simple a preference and observation...Tha’ts why cruise critic is all about....sharing experiences...both good, bad and indifferent. 

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I thought I had a copy of the specialty coffee menu, I just had to find it! I do not believe any of these coffees with added alcohol are available at the Bistro, since liquors are not normally stocked there. But they are available at all other bars, and I have seen folks order these coffees pre-show in the Galaxy.

 

Rob

 

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19 hours ago, FlyerTalker said:

An observation on the bar situation on SB/SS/Regent compared with Crystal.  On those ships (or at least the ones of my experience), they don't open an interior bar until the late afternoon or early evening.  Thus, the "pool bar" is the only spot to have an alcoholic beverage.  On Crystal, the Cove opens during the day along with the Silk bar.

This is from the Silversea SilverWind...as you can see , there are bars open besides the pool bar during the day...I couldnt remember myself to be honest, so I asked someone who is currently on a ship....

45E1B5E3-C1CF-4247-B831-4D5B410ADF10.png

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On 12/27/2019 at 2:21 PM, Stickman1990 said:


Agreed - this line about no Specialty Coffees being available in the Bistro just isn’t correct. I can’t recall if they’re listed on the menu but they’re certainly available - just as trying out the range of All Inclusive wines is a nice leisurely option in the Bistro 

They absolutely are listed

Edited by AtA
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19 hours ago, Tarwood3 said:

The others have mahjong, bridge, trivia and of course all the different activities offered by the fitness dept.  So there are a few things Crystal has the other do not, but let’s just say that it didnt seem like Crystal was far and above the others in this dept.  

Crystal has all of those things too including bridge instructors on every cruise with them I've been on. They have trivia on all sea days but not port days. And there are a minimum of 4-5 fitness classes a day. Additionally you mentioned movies. Crystal has its own movie theater with popcorn and a different movie daily .

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7 minutes ago, AtA said:

Crystal has all of those things too including bridge instructors on every cruise with them I've been on. They have trivia on all sea days but not port days. And there are a minimum of 4-5 fitness classes a day. Additionally you mentioned movies. Crystal has its own movie theater with popcorn and a different movie daily .

Yes, that was my point in the post...the others have the same thing as Crystal when it came to all that .... yes, the movie theatre is a very nice perk! Although we had seen every movie they showed  while on board...but they were pretty recent movies which is great !

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55 minutes ago, Tarwood3 said:

This is from the Silversea SilverWind...as you can see , there are bars open besides the pool bar during the day...I couldnt remember myself to be honest, so I asked someone who is currently on a ship....

45E1B5E3-C1CF-4247-B831-4D5B410ADF10.png

 

Well, maybe SS is a better fit for you.

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All of this reinforces my view.

 

We all have different opinions and what works for one person might not work for the other person.

 

So in the end figure out what Cruise Line(s) works for you.  It might not be my choice but that is irrelevant.

 

If we all views things the same way it would be boring and we would miss out on all of the back and forth on Cruise Critic.  😀

 

For those of us who can cruise we are blessed.  And we are lucky to live at a time when there is so much choice in so many areas.  

 

Do you remember the old days when choice in so many areas was limited?  I do.

 

Keith

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On 12/27/2019 at 5:48 PM, FlyerTalker said:

An observation on the bar situation on SB/SS/Regent compared with Crystal.  On those ships (or at least the ones of my experience), they don't open an interior bar until the late afternoon or early evening.  Thus, the "pool bar" is the only spot to have an alcoholic beverage.  On Crystal, the Cove opens during the day along with the Silk bar.

On Seabourn you can get alcoholic drinks from Seabourn Square starting when it open at 6:15 a.m., if that is your thing.  Also in any of the restaurants during breakfast.  It is true there are no indoor bars open until 4 p.m., unless it is a cold weather day - or cruise - in which case the Observation Bar opens at noon.  And even if it is not open usually some crew member passes by periodically and will accommodate your request.  The outside bars on Seabourn are an attractive feature to many who sail on that line.  

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33 minutes ago, 2SailingNomads said:

On Seabourn you can get alcoholic drinks from Seabourn Square starting when it open at 6:15 a.m., if that is your thing.  Also in any of the restaurants during breakfast.

 

The Square is far from a bar...they have a bare-bones inventory.  So yes you can get "alcoholic drinks".  Can you get a proper martini?  Old Fashioned or Sidecar?

 

Unless things have changed drastically from my last SB cruise.

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It is not a proper bar it is a coffee bar that serves alcohol on request from opening to close.  It was not my intent to imply it was a bar, rather that one can get alcohol with their coffee drinks as a poster above was remarking they could not get a coffee spiked. starting when it opens, and of course 24 hours a day via room service.  And while I'm not sure I'd classify it as bare bones, if they do not have something you request they will get it from elsewhere.  They do serve wines and other drinks, in addition to coffee to people sitting outside of the Square all day long when open.      

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Well I am just sitting at the Hotel with time on our side so I have time on my hands to write a somewhat long post.

 

I think it is very evident not only own this thread but on all of the cruise line boards that the vast majority of people have a  favorite cruise line(s) and certainly takes pride in all of this.  Yes some do not and are solely itinerary driven or can adapt to many different lines and finds they all work for them.

 

It is also evident that what appeals to one person might not be important to another.

 

What makes one line more special can easily vary by person.

 

In fact, what makes a line special to one person could be a big turn-off for another person.

 

Examples:

 

What is or not included in the Cruise Fare. Some want as much as possible included.  Example tours.  Some would see tours included as a big negative.  

 

Size of Accommodations (for some important for others not very important)

 

Amenities in the room (for some they want lots of movies available on demand.  For other they don't watch TV.  Some want butlers.  Some could care less.  Some want to dine in their room. Some would never do this)

 

Size of ship. (for some smaller is a plus for others it is a negative)

 

Size of public areas.

 

Food.  For some type of cuisine, number of restaurants, outside dining, hours of operation are all important and for others some are non-factors as long as they enjoy the food.

 

Number of people

 

Fitness Center (for some size and equipment offered is important.  For others they don't even know where the fitness center is located).

 

Other amenities outside the ship (for some pool is important for others they don't care; for some they enjoy outside activities such as pool/paddle tennis/shuffleboard/table tennis. For other some or all of these have no interest).

 

Enrichment lecturers (for some this is very important and not just that it is offered but that there are lots of lecturers on board rather than one or two.  For some one or two is plenty).

 

Evening Entertainment.  (for some they want production shows and for others an individual performer is plenty and some don't go to shows)

 

Photo Shop (LOL for some they love it so they can have photos taken.  For others they find it tacky).

 

Dedicated Movie Theatre.  (some go to movies each and every day and would like to see them on a full screen.  Others don't want to see movies when they cruise as they have other things they want to do).

 

Computer Center with staff on call (for some very important as they need assistance and they want access to computers.  For others they have their own devices and don't require any help).

 

Some come on board to play bridge.  Some do not.  Some want to take golf lessons.  Some could care less.  Some want to dance with Ambassador Hosts.  Some don't even dance.  Some want to go

 

How we view things.  For some a line looks that it might require standing for 30 minutes.  Others see that line moving much quicker than that).  Some of us have more patience than others.  This is not a put-down but reality.  Remember some are Type A personalities and some are not).  Some are bothered by children on board.  Some love it.

 

Some desire a bar at the pool.  Some people could care less and don't even sit at the pool.

 

If we think hard we could list another 50 or more items; maybe more.

 

There is a saying that one size doesn't fit all

 

I think that is very true.  It applies to most things and that includes cruising.

 

Even within a cruise line some prefer one ship over the other and that is the same cruise line.  

 

We all take pride in our views.  We all don't see things the same way. We all have preferences which are not the same.  We all have likes and dislikes that are not the same. 

 

We can often just agree to disagree because after all we are each human.

 

Happy New Year and whatever you choose in life be happy.  

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 12/28/2019 at 8:00 PM, Texas Tillie said:


Before 9 AM the Bistro is a carry out only.

Patty

That was a serious downside for us. Espressos served in giant cardboard cups are awful, especially when they make the coffee into a proper espresso cup then dump it into the cardboard cup, but it was the only option if we wanted an extra coffee before leaving on a excursion.

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