I had a dream...

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Review Details

Overall Rating:
Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
Cruise Ship:
Crystal Symphony

Review Profile

Times cruised before:
December 2017
Family holiday

Cruise Elements:

Quality of Food:
Budget seems way down, and apart from fresh bread rolls three times daily there were virtually no real desserts nor cakes from the pastry shop. Plenty German style biscuits!
Except for some crooners in the bars the Crystal dancers and band are very good for a ship of this size.
Shore Excursions:
The port bus drop off points were very poor often being the back of beyond shopping malls. The 2 Wild life parks we bumped around were little better than the average zoo. The no charge Township/slum visit on the edge of Cape Town was something to see and unforgettable. It was my first time on a bicycle for? 20 years!!
Captain and officers were very low profile but the waiters and crew in general were good. No one new our names and staff seemed a bit spoiled and precious at times.
Onboard Activities:
I think there is plenty to do, though poolside seating was often full or "BOOKED". Pleasant library, lectures can be seen on the cabin TV as required.
Looking smaller as the years go by On boarding no in room Champers, flower, fruit, wine. During the cruise no chocolates, gifts, etc. Net curtain needs replacing, and the little couch needs to be improved. Very decent air conditioning, and sliding balcony door. The huge TV needs to be interactive, and show menus, bill, and room service (which was poorly served)
Since our back to back on Crystal Serenity, a few years ago,I honestly thought Crystal were at the top of their game and looked forward greatly to the Symphony after the injection of money on the recent makeover. We sailed out and back to Cape Town over Christmas & New Year. I am in shock as to how ordinary Crystal has become and do not expect to sail with them again. It is well known that standard balcony cabins and bathrooms are small, if quite well furnished. The huge bed end TV with plenty movies (the cinema now not required) is not that useful, having no menu, bill, nor room service features. The old phone and room service of poor quality showed the ship up as OLD. For a "Lux" line not to have a flower, fruit, wine, gift, or even a chocolate on boarding and throughout most of the 16 days (we were given a single flower twice) really sums up the feel of Crystal at the moment. (The very next hotel I stayed at gave me all of those.) The redecorated areas looked very good but many areas lacked any atmosphere and many a cocktail I wished I were at home as I can make a better one. Entertainment was generally excellent, apart from some bar room crooners. The food was clearly budget restricted and with several German chefs not great. Strangely improving on the last day. Crystal like to spoil their staff at the expense of passengers so forget late breakfast or lunch (even after you have paid for a very expensive shore trip) you often find a crowd (including ships staff) at the dull cramped "Bistro" which may one day be scraped to make way for another shop? The "Churrascaria" evening food was very generous and good, however sitting on the back of deck11 the movement can be bad.Talking about vibration I thought at times the old ship was juddering. "Prego and Umi Uma" are quite gloomy now and the food and drinks service hit or miss. "Waterside" was looking and working extremely well, seemed over staffed, pity about the average menus though. A lunch soup sometimes renamed at dinner. The Galley tour notes state "8 patissiers" in the pastry shop, well in 16 days I never saw an interesting dessert nor cake, unbelievable. On the good side I hardly put on weight! The Christmas decorations were BIG rather than stylish and some stunts fell flat. Santas treats for the kids, the Crystal Society party, afternoon tea (by British standards was very poorly served). The one tender outing went well, these are large good boats. Our cabin maids were charming and after a very dirty port visit the balcony was well washed down by the deck crew. Unfortunately balcony cushions are left out and never quite dry off. So there you are, lots of money has been spent on the look of the old ship but this passenger wanted to feel the love and money coming his way too!
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