I had a dream...
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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