2002 Summary

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Concluding Thoughts

Now that we are home and have had time to think over our experience, would we do it again?  YES!  In fact, we are already booked for next year’s World Cruise.  With all of our whining, you probably think we didn’t like anything, but that is far from the truth.  Overall, we are very satisfied with the cruise.  Was it perfect?  No.  But what is?

Honestly, there are only a couple of things we found truly unacceptable.  First is the way the some upper echelon staff members seem to forget that they are not guests.  We’re talking about entertainers, lecturers, and the computer university staff for the most part.  They are told they have “guest privileges” which means they are allowed eat in the restaurants and basically go wherever a regular passenger can go.  Unfortunately, they interpret this to mean that they actually are guests, which they are not.  So, they do not give up their seats in crowded places and complain even louder than real guests when on tour.  This behavior is outrageous and should be stopped.

The second incident we find disturbing is the “error” that caused us to be shorted $1,800 in Crystal Society credits while on board.  It was only by happenstance that we discovered the shortage.  Had we not noticed, as we’re sure 90% of the guests did not, we would have simply lost it.  Yes, the error was fixed, but did they then go through every guest’s account to be sure they got their due?  We highly doubt it.  And, we find it hard to believe the excuse that the computer at the Los Angeles office is “full”. 

So, those complaints aside, how did the rest of the experience fare and what did we think of each port?  Here is a recap.

Service and Staff

There is no doubt about it, Crystal has the most attentive, friendly and gracious staff afloat.  Everyone is eager to please and there is never a problem getting what you want, even if the request is ridiculous.  The Filipino Deck Stewards are so attuned to pleasing the guests that they learn names and use them from day one.  The rest of the crew doesn’t always know your name, but they quickly learn what drink you like and how to please you in the Dining Room.

We do believe that having a stateroom on the Penthouse Deck and/or being on the Full World Cruise makes a difference in service.  It gets even better.  If you are in a penthouse, you can rest assured that everyone will know your name and your preferences, some even before actually meeting you.

With a mostly European staff, it is easy to strike up a meaningful conversation and forge friendships among the crew.  We spend far more time interacting with the crew than we ever do with fellow guests.  Many of the crewmembers and staff have become friends who stay in touch even when we are not on board.  For us, this is the best part of cruising with Crystal and is what brings us back.   


Overall, we would rate the food as above average to very good.  Don’t believe the hype, this is not the best food you have ever eaten. After all, they are serving over 400 people per seating, so how good can it be?  That said, we found the food in the Dining Room to be much improved and the variety reasonable.  Our only quibble is that they serve way too much veal and other things that most Americans don’t eat on a regular basis.  If it is considered fancy, you’ll get it every day.  That’s not a problem until you have been looking at it for 100 days.  We realize Crystal has to serve upscale items, but there should be more standard fare offered also.

For the most part, the quality is very high, the sauces have been lightened up, and everything is reasonably fresh.  We didn’t like everything we ordered, but most of our choices were satisfactory, with a few being outstanding.  The desserts were usually quite good, as well.  The worst item in the Dining Room and elsewhere is the bread and rolls.  By the second seating, it is usually past its prime. Also, the variety never changes.  By the end of the cruise, our assistant waiter would just give us the one we always chose without asking us, that’s how limited the selection is.

The Crystal Dining Room is not a leisurely dining experience and it is extremely noisy when it is full.  However, the service is top notch, friendly and efficient.  Don’t try to pick up the pepper grinder on the table lest you lose a hand!  Your waiter will literally run from across the room if he sees you reach for it.  Hot foods are served steaming hot and cold foods properly chilled.  A variety of colorful chargers are used according to the theme of the evening.  Waiters' jackets also change with the theme.  We would prefer to see less emphasis on fanciness and more on plain old good food, but we doubt that will ever happen.  Linens and glassware are top quality, as one would expect.

Crystal has done an excellent job of improving the food in the alternative restaurants, Prego (Italian) and Jade Garden (Asian).  Jade Garden has had a complete décor makeover and the food is much improved.  Service in both venues is outstanding and always has been.  We think the menus in these restaurants should change a bit over the course of the cruise, but since we don’t eat in them all that often, it’s not a big deal to us.

Casual dining options are less successful.  The Lido Café is simply ghastly.  The food is basically the same as that served in the Dining Room, which means it is the same fancy offering, but dispensed from a buffet.   That doesn’t work, period.  If you choose the daily Asian selection, which is unique to the Lido, you’ll be ahead of the game.  The rest of the options are too limited and the fancy factor is too high.  Desserts are usually leftovers from the night before.  On the plus side, the new décor is very nice.  Waiters grab your tray whether you like it or not, so be prepared to fight if you want to carry it yourself.  After we complained about this practice, it did alleviate somewhat, so there is hope for developing a happy medium.

The Trident Grill by the Neptune Pool is usually very good, the food fresh, and the fancy factor non-existent.  In addition to hamburgers and hot dogs, they also serve grilled cheese, tuna melts, steak sandwiches, pizza and a daily wrap sandwich.   The pizza is barely edible, but everything else is very good.  There is also a small buffet of sliced fruit available.  Deck Stewards will carry your tray and fetch drinks.  If you try to wait for your food to cook, they will insist you sit down so they can bring it to you.  We especially like the fact that the daily operating hours span the entire day, from 11:00am until 6:00pm.  The very popular Trident Ice Cream Bar has the same long hours and has a large variety of good quality ice cream and a wide variety of self-serve toppings and liqueurs.

Don’t believe the brochures that claim the ship offers casual evening dining around the pool.  That happens only a couple of times during a cruise and only on evenings that have a casual dress code to begin with.  In our opinion, this is not a real casual option.  The food offered during these dinners is satisfactory, but the concept needs work.   Entrees are served by waiters, but appetizers and desserts are from a small self-serve buffet.  We only went once and probably would not do so again unless there is a drastic change.

About every four or five days there is a theme buffet around the pool at lunch.  These elaborately decorated affairs vary widely in appeal, but the food is usually of good quality and there is plenty of it.  In our opinion, the Asian buffet is the most successful.  They have an American Classic, Mexican (only on long cruises), Cuisine of the Sun (Mediterranean, lots of seafood), Asia Café, and Italian.  Most of the food only changes slightly, such as the BBQ selections, but there is something for everyone and it is usually a pleasant alternative to sit out by the pool to eat while being entertained by the Starlite Orchestra.

On some late port days, there is a casual deck BBQ for dinner, as well.  We loved these because the food options were truly outstanding and there wasn’t some weird theme for them to attempt.  If this option is offered, take advantage of it.

Once per cruise, there is the Grand Gala Luncheon Buffet in the lobby.  We never go to this event anymore because the food is uninspired, although it is beautiful to look at.  For this cruise, they adjusted the format to a scatter system rather than one long buffet table, which is a vast improvement.  Guests take their food into the Crystal Dining Room to eat or they may sit at the few cocktail tables in the Crystal Cove.

Something new during the World Cruise were several Sunday Brunches in the Crystal Dining Room.  These were outstanding and some of the best food we have had on any ship.  This buffet is set up in the center of the Dining Room and features freshly made omelets, waffles and the like. Don’t miss it if this is offered during your Crystal cruise.

Snacks are served all day in the Bistro.  Until 11:00am, this consists of pastries, donuts, fruit, bagels, smoked salmon, and the like.  From 11:00am until 6:00pm, the selection is a variety of cheese, pate, sliced meat, rolls, and desserts left over from the previous night’s dinner.  It’s a good place to grab a snack and the selection is predictable enough to know in advance if it is interesting to you.  Our problem with this area is that it is usually overrun with staff even at the most crowded moments, which we have already mentioned.

Room service is available 24 hours a day for no extra charge.  We did not order room service during this cruise.  There is a limited menu available all day, plus one may order from the Crystal Dining Room menu during meal hours.  This is available to all staterooms.  The only difference on Penthouse Deck is that the meals are served by your butler rather than a stewardess, which we imagine from past experience is a big advantage.  Penthouse guests may also order from the alternative restaurant menus.

Every afternoon, in our case at 5:30pm, butlers on Penthouse Deck deliver the daily cocktail snack plate.  After taking what was offered for the first week (pate, smoked salmon, fruit, veggies and dip, cold seafood, etc.) we decided it was too fancy for us and asked for guacamole and chips instead.  We got that every day from then on.  They also bring a small bowl of cashews, pretzels, or whatever you want.  If you want caviar every day, you may have it.  They will also serve afternoon tea with all the accoutrements if you so desire.  We really like this perk mostly because it gave us a chance to chat with the friendly butler and catch up on the daily ship’s gossip.  It pays to kiss up to the crew because they will tell you some interesting stuff if you behave properly!


The standard cabins on Crystal Symphony, regardless of category, are all the same size with the same amenities.  The only difference is location, view (or lack of one), and perhaps a verandah.  We would never sail again without a verandah.  Not so much because we sit there very often, but because we can get fresh air and check the weather just by opening the door.  It is also nice to watch the sail away without having to be particularly presentable.

This is the first time we have had a penthouse.  Besides the size, which is almost double a standard cabin, the penthouse amenities include upgraded linens changed daily (as opposed to every other day), a free stocked mini bar, afternoon tea and snacks (anything you ask for) served by your butler, free pressing, and the services of both a stewardess and an assistant.  The butler will make shore excursion and restaurant reservations for you so you need never leave the room for such mundane tasks (although we did that ourselves for the most part.)  He will also unpack and pack for you.  We rarely used the services of the butler, except for occasional pressing and shoe shining because he insisted.  We had two different butlers during the cruise and both were very friendly and not the slightest bit stuffy.

The bathrooms in the penthouses are huge and have a separate shower and a Jacuzzi tub.  We never used the tub except to store our purchases, which was quite handy.  The shower was tiny, but serviceable.  As you know from the diary, we had a mildew problem that was never adequately solved in spite of conscientious cleaning by our stewardess.

Enhanced lighting options in the penthouses include dimmers and extra electrical outlets at the desk. 

We wouldn’t bother to book a penthouse for a short cruise, but for a World Cruise it is really a necessity.  Honestly, we find the standard cabins on the new Holland America ships to be better organized than those on Crystal with the exception of the bathrooms which are larger on Crystal ships.


We’re not the only ones who thought the entertainment offered during this cruise was sorely lacking in variety.  There was a classical pianist literally every week and sometimes more often.  The only entertainment we regularly attend are the production shows.  In spite of the hype, Crystal’s shows are not the best thing on the sea, but they are lavish.  That doesn’t make all of them good, however.  A few are more like expensive fashion shows than entertainment.  Our main complaint is that the shows never die.  Half of them have been around for almost 10 years and they are very tired.  At the moment, there are six shows, but only four of them are always shown.  These are Cole (excellent), Symphony of Nations (average), Rock Around the Clock (average – this is one of the theme nights with all crew in costumes), Excalibur! (awful – another elaborate theme night that includes a special menu in the Crystal Dining Room), Million Dollar Musicals (outstanding) and the new Fascinatin’ Rhythm (average).  We also were presented with Spirit of America (awful), a show that was dredged up after 9/11.  We understand that Cole is being replaced by Fascinatin’ Rhythm, which is a true shame.  The Crystal Ensemble that performs these shows is usually outstanding, but there is sometimes a clunker among the cast.  That was not an issue this time.

The ensemble cast interacts with the guests during the day and they are usually very pleasant and friendly.  However, they don’t hang around as much as they do on other ships simply because there are not a lot of activities offered where they are necessary.

The featured entertainment was generally sub par.  As mentioned, there were far too many pianists.  “Name” singers were fairly entertaining with the unknown lounge singers coming in a close second.  We did see one act that we would gladly pay to see on land, but that’s one out of 100 days.  There were only a couple of comedians, one of which was unbearable.  There was also a ventriloquist and a few other presentations we didn’t attend.

Atmosphere entertainment, the Starlite Orchestra, Galaxy Orchestra and Champagne Strings were uniformly outstanding.  The pianists in the Crystal Cove and Avenue Saloon were also excellent.  The only weak link was a terrible harpist who constantly begged for more exposure because people stopped showing up to see her at night.  For good reason, too. She was awful!

Crystal has also introduced a new featured entertainment called Repertory at Sea.  This trio presents short plays such as “Love Letters” as an alternative to regular programming.  We never attended these presentations and had assumed they were acceptable.  However, we found out at the end of the cruise that they had received very poor ratings and their audience was less than 20 on a regular basis.  We wonder why Crystal continues to book these long-term acts without an audition?

In exotic ports, local folkloric entertainment is presented whenever possible.  We saw several of these shows that were excellent.

Shore Excursions

We don’t take organized tours if we can avoid it, but that isn’t a problem here.  Shore Excursions or the Concierge will gladly make private arrangements for you which you can charge to your shipboard account.  We have found these arrangements to be outstanding.  On the other hand, if one wants an honest opinion of the tours offered, just ask.  The staff is quite honest about them and will readily tell guests if they don’t think a particular tour is any good.  Rest assured that they really want you to have  a good time even if it means telling you to go out on your own.

There was an overnight excursion to Beijing included in our cruise.  Even though the entire passenger list went (over 600 people), this excursion was operated flawlessly.  Remember, this is the opinion of two people who absolutely hate tours and we loved it.

Organized excursions are reasonably priced and well organized.  No announcements are made for departures.  All guests meet in the Starlite Club and are escorted to the busses by staff.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

Crystal offers extended overland tours in some ports, but we think they are way overpriced.  We heard several people talking about them and although they were well organized, they all said they wouldn’t do it again.

World Cruise Special Events

The cruise started off with the Gala Bon Voyage Party in Beverly Hills, along with a free overnight at the Beverly Hills Hotel and limousine transfer at the start and finish of the cruise.  This is a very nice, well planned feature that is much appreciated.

We were promised four “exclusive” luncheons ashore for full World Cruise guests.  The first two, in Costa Rica and Bora Bora, were indeed quite special and well worth attending.  However, the one in Singapore at Raffles Hotel was a complete waste of time, the food was terrible, the service non-existent, and the room stifling.  We know this must have cost them a fortune, but it was not a good choice.  We didn’t attend the lunch in Honolulu at the Royal Hawaiian because we weren’t interested in spending another afternoon in a hotel ballroom.  People who did go said it was even worse than the event in Singapore.

The ship provided a perky World Cruise Host who did as good a job as can be expected for such a demanding job.  He tried his best to befriend everyone, but it was a bit of a losing battle.  As a person, he was very nice, but we’re not sure he was the best choice for the job.  He produced a pointless newsletter most every night that contained contrived news and a little biography of a few guests each time.  The news and schedules were often inaccurate and confusing, which is unacceptable in our opinion.

There were way too many parties to keep World Cruisers together.  They started off with a reasonable theme or point, but about halfway through the cruise they lost focus and became nothing more than an excuse for a free drink.  We stopped going at that point.  To be fair, we did enjoy the special party in Provisions on Deck 3, an Open House in the Officer’s Cabins, and several others.  But, we grew tired of the forced camaraderie, as did many others.  The World Cruise Host asked us one time if we thought maybe they should cut down on the get-togethers to make them seem more special.  YES!

We received many gifts along the way with somewhat of a connection to wherever in the world we were at the time.  These came with nice, personalized notes from different officers, such as the Hotel Director and Executive Housekeeper.  The gifts are high quality and well though out.  However, the nicest gift we received had nothing to do with the World Cruise.  It is a large crystal globe etched with the route for the President’s Cruise which was during the last segment.  In other words, everyone received this gift, not just World Cruisers.  Bad idea.  We’re not the only ones who noticed the gaff.

Ports of Call

Frankly, 90% of the ports were pointless, but we didn’t go on the cruise for a particular port.  We were really only interested in seeing Japan, so we didn’t care about anything else.  Here is how we would rate the various ports in retrospect:

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico:  If you like Mexico, you’ll like Puerto Vallarta.  We don’t, so we wouldn’t go back here.  But, there wasn’t really anything objectionable about it nor was there anything interesting.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica:  This was the location of a lovely World Cruise luncheon at a boutique hotel in the lush jungle overlooking the coast.  We wouldn’t make an effort to go to Costa Rica again, but it is pleasant, clean, and relatively interesting.

Guayaquil, Ecuador:  The only reason the ship stopped here was to disembark guests on an overland trip to Machu Picchu.  Otherwise, it is dangerous, dirty and depressing.  We did not get off the ship and would not do so if we returned.

Callao (Lima), Peru:  Again, the point was to pick up the returning passengers from the overland trip, but there is a bit more of interest here.  Still, it is very dangerous, with guards around the shops and banks, and barbed wire and electric fences around buildings.  Not a very welcoming place, is it?  Once inside a guarded shopping center, it was fine, but outside were beggars and sinister looking young men.  We would not get off the ship the next time, even though it appeared clean and tidy.

Valparaíso, Chile:  Far from the dangerous atmosphere of Peru, Chile is clean, friendly, and relatively safe for tourists.  There were no guards or barbed wire here and vendors didn’t grab at us.  In fact, we had to look for a shop keeper to take our money.  Very pleasant, but of limited interest.

Easter Island, Chile:  This isn’t really developed into a tourist destination, so it still has an innocence that makes the mysterious statues even more interesting.  One may walk directly up to the quarry and the statues with barely a trail to follow.  This is a very interesting place and a must-see for any adventurous tourist.  We’d go here again in a second.

Pitcairn Island, UK:  This isn’t really a port. The inhabitants, all of them, come to the ship aboard a single longboat to sell their wares.  The experience is interesting, but not worth repeating unless you want to buy woodcarving and such.  We enjoyed this activity, but it is probably not worth repeating.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia:  This was the location for another World Cruise lunch which was a BBQ on a deserted island.  The food and everything necessary to serve it was transported from the ship, so it wasn’t very exciting food wise.  But, the atmosphere was quite special.  The island itself doesn’t lend itself to short-term visits as the town has nothing in it.  This is the kind of place one needs to visit for a few weeks and stay in one of the exclusive resorts that dot the nearly deserted islands.  We would get off the ship again if it came here, but we wouldn’t come here for a vacation.

Papeete, Tahiti:  Many guests didn’t like this city at all, but we didn’t find anything objectionable about it.  It is like Hawaii 50 years ago with a French overlay.  The shopping is interesting, the street scene lively, and the general tropical ambience is appealing.  Again, we wouldn’t come here on a vacation, but it is a reasonable place to stop for a day.  Very expensive!

Mooréa, French Polynesia:  In our opinion, even mentioning this as a port was false advertising.  We didn’t even arrive until almost dark and all we did was anchor in a small bay for a BBQ.  We were not allowed to go ashore.  It looked nice, but that’s all we know about it.

Nuku’Alofa, Tonga:  Poor, run down, and a bit scary.  We would not get off the ship if it stopped here again.  In fact, Crystal received so many complaints that this port was deleted from the already-announced itinerary for next year and replaced with a different island.

Auckland, New Zealand:  Wonderful!  Clean, very friendly, modern, great shopping, low prices, you name it!  This is an outstanding country and well worth a visit.  We’d love to return here.

Sydney, Australia:  Our top pick for a great port of call!  This city is so beautiful, clean and well organized that we really wanted to move here.  There is not enough we can say to encourage everyone to visit this great place.  We’d go back in a second.

Hayman Island, Australia:  This is another case of false advertising.  There is nothing here except a private island with an expensive resort.  The point was to drop people off for snorkeling at a nearby reef and pick them up here.  However, the water was too rough and the excursion was cancelled.  We spent the day anchored in the bay with tender service to the hotel.  It also poured rain the entire time.  That aside, this was a waste of time.

Port Douglas, Australia:  This quaint port was added after the reef excursions were cancelled.  There isn’t much here except a lovely marina and shopping mall. But, it was very pleasant and relaxing.  Most people enjoyed this bonus stop, as did we.

Cairns, Australia:  We’ve been here before.  It’s just as clean and friendly as other Australian ports, but it is extremely hot and humid.  We would probably get off the ship if for nothing else than to shop, but other than that it isn’t very interesting except as a base to go to the Great Barrier Reef.  It’s a compact, modern resort town.  No swimming here due to the poisonous jellyfish.

Darwin, Australia:  Again, very friendly and welcoming, but way too hot to be enjoyable.  We have been here before, so we didn’t get off the ship this time and would not again.  The water is full of poisonous jellyfish that are plainly visible at the port.

Singapore:  Stunning.  This is a great city that is more like one giant shopping mall than anything else.  Spotlessly clean, well organized and easy to negotiate.  English is spoken, so it is an easy city for tourists to get around.  It’s also very hot and humid, but most people spend their time shopping in air-conditioned comfort anyway.  Prices are reasonable for shoppers.  This is the location of the disastrous World Cruise luncheon at the famous Raffles Hotel.  We would gladly return to this city.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam:  This is a very interesting place to visit…once.  Shopping is the only real bargain left in the world.  Huge ceramic elephant tables, for example, are only $4 on the pier.  We had a great time here, but there is an undercurrent that is a bit scary.  We probably would not get off the ship if it stopped here again, but we’re glad we did this time.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam:  Gross!  It smelled even with the ship anchored well off shore. We didn’t go into town at all.  The point here is to view the stunning scenery, but those who took the boat trip for that purpose said they would not do it again.

Hong Kong, China:  This port is still a great place to shop even though it isn’t the bargain it once was.  The city is easy to negotiate and many people speak English.  Modern and exciting.  Everyone should see it at night at least once.  Truly one of the most beautiful harbors in the world.  We’ve been here before and would come back again.

Beijing, China:  We were on the perfectly orchestrated overland trip provided with the World Cruise. We loved what we saw, but this is a very polluted place.  A vast majority of guests came down with respiratory infections after the stop here.  We’re glad we went, but we might not do it again.  It would depend on the sights to be seen whether we would come here again.  We definitely would not travel independently.

Seoul, South Korea:  A modern, clean, and welcoming place in spite of tensions with nearby North Korea.  We enjoyed what we saw and the city of Seoul is quite pleasant.  However, there is little of interest that would warrant a second visit.  So, this port gets a thumbs up for a first visit, but not for a return.

Hiroshima, Japan:  Touching and very interesting.  This is a must-see for any traveler.  We loved it and would come back anytime, even independently.  The people are very friendly and welcoming even though English is not spoken anywhere.

Osaka, Japan:  We didn’t see much of the city except the port, which was immaculate and modern.  Our tour took us to Kyoto, which was somewhat disappointing.  But, as with Hiroshima, people are friendly, helpful, and the city is as modern and efficient as it gets. 

Yokohama, Japan:  Pretty much the same impression as the other Japanese ports.  Clean, modern, friendly, etc.  We’d come back if for nothing else than a chance to go to DisneySea!

Shimizu, Japan:  Same as the other Japanese ports except on a smaller scale.  The entire town turned out to watch us sail, which was quite touching.  People were incredibly friendly and obviously happy to see us.  Rather than just wanting our money, they seemed genuinely interested in welcoming us to their city.  Wonderful.

Honolulu, Hawaii:  We love Hawaii.  The Waikiki area has been refurbished and looks great.  We skipped the World Cruise lunch here at the Royal Hawaiian. 

Lahaina, Hawaii:  We sailed at 3:30pm, which is a ridiculously short time to be in such a lovely place.  We love the galleries and restaurants and it’s always great to call here.

San Francisco, California:   Again, way too short a stay.  We sailed inexplicably at 4:45pm and literally killed time to waste a day before reaching Los Angeles.  Most guests felt we should have skipped this port altogether, but it was very picturesque. Had we stayed longer it would have been a nice stop.


If you like lots of activities, this is not the ship for you.  Crystal caters to experienced travelers who have done it all, so there is no napkin folding, ice carving, or other trite activities.  You’ll find enrichment lectures on current events, lectures on ports of call, bridge lessons, bingo, a Caesar’s Palace Casino, fitness classes, golf lessons, yoga, etc.  What it boils down to is that you have to be self-sufficient to a certain extent.  Most people spend lots of time in their stateroom, not participating in activities.  If you need constant entertainment, this is not the ship for you.

We noticed that the attendance at the yoga classes dwindled from about 20 at the beginning down to one at the end.  That’s fairly typical and is the reason Crystal has pared it down to the most basic, popular activities.

There is also the Computer University at Sea that provides basic instructions in using email and such.  We found the computers and software to be very out of date, although we doubt 99% of the guests noticed it. For example, they were still using email software from Windows 95, which we feel is doing a disservice to people learning how to use it.  But, this is a very popular feature nonetheless.

Should I Take a Crystal Cruise?

If you want to be left alone and can entertain yourself, absolutely yes.  The primary reason to take Crystal over others is for the balance of sea days to ports.  Crystal deliberately inserts sea days between ports for a more leisurely cruise experience and you will find that their passengers have “been there, done that.”  There is basically nothing to do after midnight, so you will need to either go to bed early or find some way to entertain yourself.  They do have a library of videos and DVD’s for in-room use (all rooms have a VCR) if you get desperate.

The food is very fancy in our opinion.  If you are a picky eater beware.  It is possible to order anything you want within reason, but who wants to be a pain every night?  You would also have to be prepared to describe what you want in great detail lest you get something completely off the mark.  We think one should be aware of what is served and choose the cruise accordingly, not expect the cruise line to adjust to them.

Why do we choose Crystal?  Mostly because we know the many of the staff so well, but also because the duration of the cruises on Crystal are longer, it is possible to combine cruises to make up an even longer trip, and the pre and post cruise programs are handled flawlessly.

A Final Thought

The diary and events described are solely our opinion.  We only focus on things that are important to us.  You may like something entirely different than we do.  Crystal is not for everyone, no doubt about it.  But, it suits us.  Passengers either love it or find themselves bored to tears.  There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.  Did we get bored?  Not in the slightest.  The key is to just go with the flow and fall into a routine. After all, we spent a quarter of an entire year on board!  We saw the crew more often than we see our friends and family at home in an entire year and then some.  We’ll be back next year, same time, same place.  Watch this space for the continuing saga!

Thank you for joining us on this journey.  We hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as we enjoyed presenting it to you.

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