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Opinion of current state of Crystal Cruise


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On 8/31/2020 at 4:10 AM, Keith1010 said:

I don't see how Crystal has gone down the toilet.

 

This is a challenging time for the entire travel industry; Airlines, Hotels, Cruise Lines, Travel Specialists, Major Parks such as Disney, Restaurants, etc.  Does this mean they are down the toilet?  No.  

 

We have found plenty of enhancement since Genting purchased Crystal.  

This includes the changes made to Symphony and Serenity with respect to the enhancements made to both ships in dry dock and the changes including open dining.  The river cruise vessels are amazing and we loved the opportunity to sail one of them.  Haven't sailed the Yacht but heard almost all good things about it and was looking forward to Endeavor.

 

If you go back to the live reports for the past few years you would read lots of positive things that people have expressed along with some items that people didn't care for.  Having been on these boards from inception I would tell you that the positive views have been as positive as I have read since that time.  There are always some who don't care for the cruise line or didn't have a good experience but by and large the vast majority have been positive.  Crystal has been making changes since its inception and some have been applauded by many people and some have not.  From the moment we sailed Crystal in 2002 some complained about cut backs.  I've seen this mentioned on every cruise line board and on every line we've sailed.  I am reminded that some people don't like change which is a contributing factor.

 

The future was very bright for Crystal.  I believe booking for 2020 and 2021 were very strong just simply looking at cruise availability before COVID-19 hit.  

 

COVID-19 put a damper on all of this.  It has some similarities to the Great Recession of 2018 where without a bailout banks, the largest insurer, major companies (in the USA GE, Verizon, etc.), would have gone under without the government taking many steps to safe them.  It was a matter of days before the banking and financial institutions were to collapse and companies such as GE and Verizon had insufficient cash on hand to even meet their payroll.

 

Yes, the refund process has been very difficult.   Many thought that COVID-19 would impact itineraries for a few months and by end of Summer cruises would sail again.  Remember, when some in the USA said it would be gone soon and very few people would be impacted.  This turned out to be wrong and with so many cruises being cancelled it has resulted in massive refunds.

 

I am reminded that if everyone went to the bank today to withdraw all of their money we would have a crisis.  

 

Time will tell how this all plays out.  I am hopeful Crystal will make it through this troubling time.   

 

To me the overall product before COVID-19 was as good as ever with some things being better than ever before, some about the same and a few that we miss. Service levels IMHO have been the best we've ever experienced and overall we have enjoyed the continued changes to other areas including all the choices in entertainment and all of the options for dining.


Viking is interesting.  There was an article about Viking I read in May of 2019 (ether in Forbes or Fortune 500 - can't remember) about the owner and Viking.  It had several positive things to say but also covered their financial challenges and how the owner was on the verge of bankruptcy and also questioned if he was doing things so the company could be sold.  Whether right or wrong I've learned as an outsider and even an insider when I worked that some companies might have financial issues which are not readily picked up by most people.  Time will tell on them as well.

 

The unknown to all of this is COVID-19, what happens over the coming months, whether or not there will be a successful vaccine, whether or not the virus will continue to mutate, whether or not antibodies will prevent reinfection in most people, how long it will take for those who want a vaccine to get it when countries will open up to USA travelers and for that matter to travelers outside their own country and the list goes on and on. All of this will impact the travel industry and so many other industries.


Time will tell.

 

My opinion though is if things get resolved and Crystal gets back to cruising it won't be long before most people forget about waiting for refunds.  I truly believe that most people would rather be cruising on Crystal rather than having their cruise cancelled or having cancelled it themselves and waiting for a refund.  This is not the first bumpy road for Crystal or the travel industry.  Yes it has been the bumpiest of all roads.

 

Keith

Keith, if you think people will forget about waiting for refunds, you have not been keeping up with the refund string.  People will not forget waiting over 100 days for tens of thousands of dollars.  Some of us are experiencing great angst waiting and wondering if we will ever see our money.  Many have said, and I do believe, they will not return to a Crystal! 

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Keith,

if you think people will forget waiting for refunds, you have not been keeping up with the refund string.  People will not soon forget waiting 100+ days for tens of thousands of dollars. We are experiencing great angst waiting and wondering if we will ever see our refund/money. Money we can definitely use in these trying times.  Many have said, and I believe them, that they are done with Crystal! 

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3 hours ago, Ccohen314 said:

Keith,

if you think people will forget waiting for refunds, you have not been keeping up with the refund string.  People will not soon forget waiting 100+ days for tens of thousands of dollars. We are experiencing great angst waiting and wondering if we will ever see our refund/money. Money we can definitely use in these trying times.  Many have said, and I believe them, that they are done with Crystal! 

As I said time will tell.

 

You are right.  I am not reading the refund threads on this board. I did read some early on but stopped after awhile.  I do not need to read them to have a good sense of what people think because of the people I speak with and hear from and based on my own experience on refunds.  I have seen enough that I could probably write a book based on my own experiences on this.  I certainly have experienced my set of frustrations on this by the way as I waited for refunds and currently am waiting on refunds.  And yes, I have lots of money on the table both in refund and in future cruises that is greater than "tens" of thousands.  I don't need to read the threads to have a fairly good feel for what people think.  The majority of people I have heard from (some are from this board) are very frustrated about the process (who wouldn't be), and have concerns in addition to this.

 

With that said, most want to get back to cruising hoping things get back to normal or some form of normal sooner rather than later.  I don't see the vast majority jumping ship  at this time.  They are more concerned with when cruise lines in general will get back to cruising, about Crystal's future, what cruising and travel will be like in the future with a vaccine likely not being effective for everyone, and feel a great deal for those at Crystal who have had their jobs impacted by the shutdown of cruising due to COVID-19.

 

Of course people are very frustrated.  There are some who say they won't return to Crystal.  Some who say they won't will IMHO.  I think many will and like most things after a period of time will just move forward on this and the experience they had. 

 

Personally, I think things could have been and still can be handled better on all of this by Crystal. 

 

In the end, time will tell.

 

I just hope we will get beyond the virus so we can all cruise again, that the industry can bounce back from this, that people will not give up on cruising and Crystal will be a key player in the luxury market.

 

I think many challenges lay ahead when cruises start up again. There are those who have never cruised who might have cruised but I think they will wait for now.  There are some who have cruised who will wait.  There might be consolidation in the industry.  Some lines might not make it.  Assuming the vaccine is not 100% effective (what I read is it could be 50 to 55% effective and a major success would be if it is 70 to 75% effective) what things are like on land and at sea on this and how companies will deal with the added costs of preventing COVI-19 outbreaks assuming the scientists are right with their projections.

 

Another challenge for the lines is depending on how much longer the industry is shut-down how many members of the crew don't come back and the challenges of augmenting teams where lots of new people are needed.

 

Lots of issues to work through.

 

Retaining customers is certainly one of them.

 

Keith

 

 

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Ccohen314--I think you are completely correct.  When I said stated Crystal was "going down the toilet" in the original post I was referring to the fact that refunds for deposits and payments were not being handled in a very professional and timely manner.  I would not have taken 33 cruises on Crystal if I thought that the crew and amenities on the ship were not the best in the world.  But money does matter--at least to me-- and by the refund string I would have to say it matters to a lot of other folks also.  In my opinion not refunding funds is the fastest way to ruin even a great product's reputation.  Money does talk and it looks by the refund string that the passengers have spoken loud and clear.   Therefore I will still stick to my statement that Crystal is "going down the toilet."

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I fully agree with Keith’s assessment on cruising again with Crustal. So far no one has actually lost their money only experiencing lengthy delays. I am not excusing Crystal For the poor refund situation but to say you will never cruise on Crystal because of the delay in refunds is Certainly your right but in MHO very premature and short sighted.
 

Those that are stressed because of not receiving their refunds in a timely manor should probably not have booked a luxury cruise In the first place if they cannot afford to wait to eventually get their money back. Money already paid is a sunken cost so even if you do not get it back which I think you will eventually, you have only really lost the experience of a cruise that did not take place. The money is already spent.

 

I know that is a controversial way of looking at discretionary spending but from a financial planning perspective, do not risk prepaying for something you cannot afford to lose and then stress over it because the services you paid for is delayed, especially when in most cases you can file a dispute with the credit card company and eventually get it back.

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19 hours ago, vslyko said:

Ccohen314--I think you are completely correct.  When I said stated Crystal was "going down the toilet" in the original post I was referring to the fact that refunds for deposits and payments were not being handled in a very professional and timely manner.  I would not have taken 33 cruises on Crystal if I thought that the crew and amenities on the ship were not the best in the world.  But money does matter--at least to me-- and by the refund string I would have to say it matters to a lot of other folks also.  In my opinion not refunding funds is the fastest way to ruin even a great product's reputation.  Money does talk and it looks by the refund string that the passengers have spoken loud and clear.   Therefore I will still stick to my statement that Crystal is "going down the toilet."

 

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it is hard to put much credence in an opinion from someone, who by their own admission, has not sailed Crystal in over six years! While there is no excuse for the lengthy delays in providing refunds, one needs only to look at Seabourn and Ponant in the ocean segment, or any line BUT Viking in the River segment, to know that Crystal is not alone in this.

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41 minutes ago, Jimmycruiser said:

 
 

Those that are stressed because of not receiving their refunds in a timely manor should probably not have booked a luxury cruise In the first place if they cannot afford to wait to eventually get their money back. 

 

 

Wow just wow.  Wrong and offensive on so many levels.  

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You learn about people when difficulties arise.  I have learned that I have a lot of respect for Keith.  Next time we are on Crystal together, let's be sure to say hello to each other.  The last time was on a Los Angeles to Vancouver cruise via Hawaii on the Symphony in 2018.  We would see you and your wife having a pre-dinner cocktail every evening in the Avenue Saloon while we sat at the bar talking to Teo.  You seemed to be enjoying yourselves so we did not interrupt.  Next time we'll say hi and if you do the Vintage Room, we'll be very happy if you'd allow us to join you. 

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1 hour ago, eroller said:
1 hour ago, Jimmycruiser said:

Those that are stressed because of not receiving their refunds in a timely manor should probably not have booked a luxury cruise In the first place if they cannot afford to wait to eventually get their money back. 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, eroller said:

 

 

Wow just wow.  Wrong and offensive on so many levels.  

 

eroller: Enough.  Just enough.  One in eight American families currently don't have enough to eat each day.  Worse I'm sure in many other countries around the globe.  So get your "offensive" right outta here. And get in line for the return of the money you were fortunate enough to allocate to a luxury cruise.  You'll live, with a full belly.

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1 hour ago, eroller said:

Wow just wow.  Wrong and offensive on so many levels.  

 

Nope.  Accurate.

 

And if factual reality is now "offensive", we have big problems in terms of future discourse.

 

But then, so many are now more concerned about feelings and micro-aggressions and offenses and slights and disrespecting than they are about dealing with reality.

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Dear Roland4-- I hate to be argumentative but even though I have not cruised on Crystal the last 6 years due to family issues even if I had I would be furious if Crystal was holding a deposit/payment for over 6 months and being so deceptive about it.  My issue is about money and not Crystal's product.  Please read the refund thread.  It speaks for itself.  Other cruise lines have refunded deposits and payments in a timely matter according to their refund threads including Viking Ocean and Seaborne.  Crystal can not do so because of their financial situation.  I will always feel for those who have refunds owed to them.  Enough said!

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45 minutes ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

Nope.  Accurate.

 

And if factual reality is now "offensive", we have big problems in terms of future discourse.

 

But then, so many are now more concerned about feelings and micro-aggressions and offenses and slights and disrespecting than they are about dealing with reality.

and what are you doing by  invalidating another cc member's opinion?

Edited by wearesiamese
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55 minutes ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

Nope.  Accurate.

 

 

 

 

Wrong again.  Who are you or anyone else to preach about someone else's "factual reality".  You know your own reality, no one else's.  Who is to say that someone hasn't saved up their entire life for a once in a lifetime luxury cruise, only to have their hard earned savings tied up by some corporation when they now find themselves in a position where that money is needed?  

 

Yes offensive is the word.  Speak for yourself and your own situation.  Don't impose it on others.  

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1 hour ago, KenzSailing said:

 

 

eroller: Enough.  Just enough.  One in eight American families currently don't have enough to eat each day.  Worse I'm sure in many other countries around the globe.  So get your "offensive" right outta here. And get in line for the return of the money you were fortunate enough to allocate to a luxury cruise.  You'll live, with a full belly.

 

 

You literally missed my entire point of why I found the original comment offensive.  I'm actually on the same page as what you just wrote, but instead to decided to preach some sermon to me.  No not enough KenzSailing.  You are way out of line.  

Edited by eroller
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7 minutes ago, eroller said:

 

 

You literally missed my entire point of why I found the original comment offensive.  I'm actually on the same page as what you just wrote, but instead to decided to preach some sermon to me.  No not enough KenzSailing.  You are way out of line.  

 

Huh.  Well, I do apologize. The meaning behind the written word is treacherous, even for Shakespeare. With regard to your post, brevity may be the soul of wit, but not always the most clear of intention.  But "way out of line?" We must agree to disagree.    

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2 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:

I’m now so confused about who is offended by what!

I don’t know whether I’m offended or not

 

I thought we were all entitled to our opinions on here 

Wow, there is at least one recent post here that I can agree with.  🙂

 

I would also say that although many (probably even most) who are waiting for refunds for Crystal are not being seriously harmed financially by the delay, undoubtably there are also some who are in real need of the money as soon as possible.  To me, the primary issue is the uncertainty of knowing if the refund will ever be issued, and what effect the current situation will have on a 2022 booking that I have not cancelled.


It took them 3 months (June through August) to work their way through most of the March cancellations.  At that rate, the April cancellations will all take 90 days longer, etc.  If they are not sailing for a year, it could take 3 years to make their way through all the refunds.  Hopefully there were more cancellations in March than in later months, so maybe they will eventually be able to refund a month's worth of cancellations in only 2 months.  Or maybe the cash flow will continue to worsen, and it will take even longer.

 

In the spring, Regent was not issuing any refunds.  Then NCLH restructured their finances with some new investors and loans.  Right after than, the refunds started flowing and now are nearly all coming out within less than 60 days.  I hope I am not being unrealistic to hope that something similar might happen with Crystal, to get them out of this slump.

 

The only thing that can really salvage the situation is to be able to start sailing again.  I am still holding on to my 2022 booking, and hoping that it will be able to sail as planned.  If not, by then I project that it will be a 6 year wait for a refund of my deposit.  (That was a lame attempt a humor.  Obviously the status quo cannot endure that long.) 

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I will put my 2 cents in.

 

Many people who could afford a luxury cruise last year have been financially devastated this year. People have lost jobs, businesses, their homes and much more. I have elderly neighbors who cannot even leave their homes for groceries without fear of getting sick.  One of my neighbors took a risk to go with his wife grocery shopping once a week during senior hours.  He died last week.

 

We are a very fortunate group of people no matter.  Let's be kind here.  Hopefully we will meet up some time on land or sea.

 

 

 

 

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I apologize for offending anyone and I did not mean to start a firestorm. I prefaced comments with IMHO. You can agree or not agree with my comments but to be highly offended by my comments was very surprising. Enough said. I stand by my previous post.

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10 hours ago, eroller said:

Wrong again.  Who are you or anyone else to preach about someone else's "factual reality".  You know your own reality, no one else's.

 

As Daniel Patrick Moynihan aptly said years ago:

 

“You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

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FWIW, another "C-named" cruise line (Costa) has canceled its entire 2020-21 South American cruise season. According to this article excerpted from Seatrade Cruise News, Costa is not obligated to offer ANY refunds, just future cruise credits. However, if requested, they will refund fares on the canceled voyages within 12 months, less the amount of agent commissions. Different countries, different rule sets...

 

Rob

 

 

"Costa Cruises canceled its three-ship 2020/21 South America season. For the 2021/22 season, Costa will deploy just two ships there. The cancellation for this year and early next applies to all cruises aboard Costa Fascinosa, Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica with South America embarkations scheduled from November to April.

 

Booked passengers may transfer the amount paid, or a portion of it, for cruises that were scheduled up to Dec. 31, 2021, to any other sailing departing until June 30, 2022, under the terms of Law No. 14,046 of Aug. 24, 2020.

 

Costa said it is not required by law to give refunds but will process refund requests within the period defined by Law 14,046 of 2020, that is, up to 12 months from the closing date of the state of public emergency recognized by Legislative Decree No. 6 of 2020. The amount to be refunded will be money paid for the canceled cruise, minus the travel agent commission."

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52 minutes ago, ryndam said:

FWIW, another "C-named" cruise line (Costa) has canceled its entire 2020-21 South American cruise season. According to this article excerpted from Seatrade Cruise News, Costa is not obligated to offer ANY refunds, just future cruise credits. However, if requested, they will refund fares on the canceled voyages within 12 months, less the amount of agent commissions. Different countries, different rule sets...

 

Rob

 

 

"Costa Cruises canceled its three-ship 2020/21 South America season. For the 2021/22 season, Costa will deploy just two ships there. The cancellation for this year and early next applies to all cruises aboard Costa Fascinosa, Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica with South America embarkations scheduled from November to April.

 

Booked passengers may transfer the amount paid, or a portion of it, for cruises that were scheduled up to Dec. 31, 2021, to any other sailing departing until June 30, 2022, under the terms of Law No. 14,046 of Aug. 24, 2020.

 

Costa said it is not required by law to give refunds but will process refund requests within the period defined by Law 14,046 of 2020, that is, up to 12 months from the closing date of the state of public emergency recognized by Legislative Decree No. 6 of 2020. The amount to be refunded will be money paid for the canceled cruise, minus the travel agent commission."

 

Note that it is "up to 12 months from the closing date of the state of public emergency recognized by Legislative Decree No. 6 of 2020" NOT 12 months from the date of cancellation. That could be a really long wait!

 

Nice that they are protecting the agent commissions, but that would anywhere from 12% to 16% off the top of the refund amount!!

Edited by Roland4
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2 hours ago, Roland4 said:

 

Note that it is "up to 12 months from the closing date of the state of public emergency recognized by Legislative Decree No. 6 of 2020" NOT 12 months from the date of cancellation. That could be a really long wait!

 

Nice that they are protecting the agent commissions, but that would anywhere from 12% to 16% off the top of the refund amount!!


Totally agree on both points.  12 Months from the lifting of the state of emergency, I can hardly envision from where I sit.  We might just have one giant cruise line left by that point, with several different hotel-within-a-hotel brands on each giant ship.  (Like a seagoing version of those Residence Inn/Courtyard/AC Hotel-type (pick any 3) multiplexes.). LOL, j/k.


I agree about the commissions, but deducting them from the refunds just seems like a convenient way to pit clients against agents — especially with the agency and consortium overrides included!  I fear that makes the agent sort of an enemy.

 

Vince

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22 minutes ago, BWIVince said:

I agree about the commissions, but deducting them from the refunds just seems like a convenient way to pit clients against agents — especially with the agency and consortium overrides included!  I fear that makes the agent sort of an enemy.

 

Vince

 

Yes, that thought has crossed my mind. If the TA/client relationship is a good one, then it likely won't be a problem. If not, or if it is a "one off" booking, there could be problems! Fortunately our office does not book much Costa, and I personally have not booked anyone on Costa in at least five years.

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