My wife and I have just disembarked from Crystal Symphony after what we have felt has been a disappointing experience. We booked this cruise through yourselves with high hopes as Crystal is always portrayed as a 6 star experience and friends had told us how wonderful it had been when they cruised with Crystal some years ago. We have cruised with Regent Seven Seas, Silversea and Cunard plus Princess and they are all in our view well ahead of what Crystal offers. The ship looks tired with the corridor carpets ill chosen as they looked (but weren't) positively dirty and cabins (sorry staterooms!) that need uplifting.....colours are drab and don't seem to blend and the bed throw was poorly made and matched nothing . The stateroom is small but we were impressed with the storage space and the many drawers. The bathroom is well appointed again with good storage and an excellent shower and small bath but the toilet seat needs to be replaced - yellow in colour instead of white and even the wood showing through the white seat lid. We felt the waiters/bar staff/chambermaids were VERY friendly and caring but this could not be said for some more senior members of staff and we got the feeling that although there is no tipping it appeared to us that tipping made a difference! The food in the main restaurant was excellent and the wine was of a high standard but the food in the Lido was never hot when it was meant to be. We had dinner in the speciality restaurant, The Silk Road, on one evening and it was outstanding. There seemed to be a lack of willingness to go the extra mile - e.g. We returned from a trip and made it to the Lido at 1.30pm to be told it was now closed (they were clearing the counters as it was 1.30pm) and that we could have a hamburger/pizza at the Trident.....we didn't want either but that was the offer. And we certainly didn't find the Tour Desk staff helpful and their organisational skills left much to be desired. One tour was an hour late in starting and even then they didn't have a guide for us! Crystal is not a budget cruise line but we felt it in no way warrants the 6 star billing it gives itself......yes it is very self congratulatory and even the Captain ends his daily report with something like 'enjoy your day on the beautiful Crystal Symphony' - I feel we should decide if it is beautiful. Our next cruise will certainly not be on Crystal and I think they need to brush up on a number of matters before they boast about how good they are.
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