The Crystal Cruises Experience…
There is not just one, but MANY good reasons why Crystal Cruises is the TOP Cruise Line year after year. The attention payed to the finer details makes a Crystal Cruises cruise stand apart from the rest.
(FYI, this blog post strictly covers our experience sailing on Crystal & doesn’t review the itinerary/ports at all… click here if you want to read our review of our “Black Sea Cruise” that we did while on Crystal.)
On our arrival at the cruise port our carry-on bags were whisked up the gangway by friendly staff and then we were immediately given the choice to have them checked and delivered to our stateroom while we looked about the Crystal Symphony ship…. Not a bad start!
Next, we checked in “onboard the ship” in the elegant lobby rather then in a warehouse, like you would on big-ship ocean cruises. Nice touch!
For the next hour… it was amazing how Crystal Cruises staff members greeted us at every turn with friendly and genuine sincerity… They were so happy to have us onboard- we couldn’t have felt more special and welcomed.
Our first meal onboard was not a buffet (like it would be on a mass-market big ship) but rather we enjoyed a delicious meal in the elegant dining room. We both picked our favorite foods and agreed that it was some of the best flavors we have ever had! The seafood was super fresh, like they plucked it right out of the ocean and the bacon cheeseburger–Yummy! 🙂
To top it off, the Crystal Cruises welcome onboard Champagne was the perfect way to clink and celebrate a fantastic cruise to come.
Here are some of the Crystal Cruises Highlights we experienced onboard:
The All-Inclusive perks on Crystal Cruises truly gives you permission to be completely pampered without feeling guilty or like you need to give something back (besides a smile- of course). Just take, take, take and feel good about it 🙂 … as all your gratuities are included plus fine wine, champagne and premium drinks are all free flowing for your sampling.
Something we appreciated that you don’t see often, is when we sat for a cocktail “immediately” we were being served and almost immediately to follow that we were served delicious hor d’oeuvres… you gotta love that!
Our Crystal Cruises Deluxe Veranda stateroom was spacious and cozy… you REALLY DO want to spend time there! (Visit here to see our videos of the Stateroom & Suite choices onboard)
One afternoon we ordered champagne, a cheese & cracker platter and chocolate covered strawberries (at the cost of $0.00) while we drew a hot bubble bath. We were SO relaxed enjoying those delicious treats and warm soak. Then we cooled down with a final glass of champagne on the balcony… listening to the gentle lap of the ocean while watching the sun go down… what a way to start the evening!
That’s The Crystal Cruises Experience…
Oh, and speaking of the balcony, there are slippers and 2 sets of robes in your room. A light Kimono set for the warm weather and the big fluffy comfy ones when it’s cooler. Talk about perfect!
We made a few trips to the Crystal Cruises Library to put our feet up in the quiet and read a novel (something we don’t always take time to do at home- usually its for education) as they have the BIGGEST collection of books as well as lots of boardgames.
A note about the 24 hour room service and yet again, another nice Crystal Cruises touch… we called room service one evening and they told us they were busy. A couple minutes later they called us right back… Tasteful. Much better then being on hold like we’ve experienced on the big ships.
Then, every-time, no matter how big our order was our meal was to our room in 20 mins or less… nice! 🙂
Crystal Cruises Onboard Enrichment
What a treat it was to meet famous Chef, Nobu Matsuhisa, owner of Nobu restaurants (along with his over 30 restaurants around the World, Nobu has a restaurant on both Crystal Cruises ships) who visits Crystal Cruises Ships from time to time. He did some cooking demonstrations in the theater and provided private dining options for a fee if you wanted a more up-close and personal experience. We enjoyed meeting him very much!
Computer University at sea. Onboard are Mac computers with many computer studies options to choose from… and unlike on big ships, $0 charge!
Creative Learning Institute provide professional lecturers for your learning pleasure… we were cruising the Black Sea, so it was fantastic to learn all about it and to have a better appreciation of our surroundings. Do you know why they call the Black sea Black? 🙂
On Crystal Cruises: What else can you do Onboard?
The daytime schedule is filled with so many activities from learning how to dance, to Zumba classes, to bridge tournaments, to lectures about the region, wine tasting, etc etc. It’s endless what you can do. But it also has features to enhance relaxation as well, like the spa!
In the evenings there are live theater productions, jazz players, dancing, piano playing, a casino, you can have a late evening snack at the Bistro Cafe, you can dance in the Nightclub and so much more. For a quieter evening you could watch a movie in the movie theater (very cool onboard feature) play a game of cards or a board game or sit in the library and read a nice book or watch a movie back in your Stateroom or Suite.
Crystal Cruises: Dining
We won’t go into to much detail and ruin it for you but the Crystal Cruises open seating dining room, and specialty restaurants Prego and Umi Uma & Sushi Bar will not disappoint your palate. Tip: Try the black cod at Nobu- it’s so good!
Another TIP: The Asian buffet they have 1 day for lunch is excellent, don’t miss it! Pot stickers, sushi, peking duck, sweets, soups, crab salad, noodles… All really tasty.
Any Negatives When Sailing with Crystal Cruises?
There are a few Staterooms onboard the Symphony that can be noisier as the balcony catches a lot of wind and we would not recommend staying in them. Also, there are some obstructed Oceanview staterooms onboard & some slightly limited-view Balconies but you can check with Shawn about that before you book so he can get you the best room!
Also, if you are 40 or younger, you will not find Crystal Cruises to be a fit for you if you are looking for late night parties or a night life scene, as it’s just not that type of cruise. The age group tends to be 55+ on average and the entertainment caters to this age group. Now keep in mind, we’re 39 and loved it but we knew in advance it wouldn’t be a party Cruise. 🙂
But of course, overall, we had a great time on the Crystal Symphony and would do it again tomorrow. We can certainly appreciate after 32 Cruises why Crystal Cruises have been rated the World’s Best Cruise line for 19 years in a row!
Are you itching to cruise with Crystal Cruises now too?:-)
If so, when you’re ready to start planning your 1st, or next, Crystal Cruises cruise simply contact Shawn as he’ll be Happy to share more of our experience with you and will help you get that perfect Crystal Cruises Vacation planned & booked.
Oh yeah, we took lots of pictures & videos while on our Crystal Cruises cruise for you to see… you can check them all out at our Crystal Cruises “Black Sea” Cruise onboard “Crystal Symphony” photo & video gallery.
And when in the above gallery make sure to check out what we did during our 5 nights in Rome, Italy before our Crystal Cruises cruise and during our 3 night stay in Istanbul, Turkey after the cruise… you’ll get some great shore excursion ideas.
We appreciate you!
Nancy & Shawn
Your Trusted Cruise Experts!