Just got back from this cruise. I'm a veteran sea cruise with nearly a dozen or so previous cruises on Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Royal Carib, and Carnival. The two star rating is based on the same scale as these other ships. If I were to base the rating on the fact that this supposedly a 5-6 star ship, one star would be more than generous. (Having written and nearly three page review on this forum that somehow did not get published, I am going to keep this relatively brief).
On two separate occasions, Crystal was very close to leaving me, my wife, and other guests stranded in in the dark, near freezing temperatures, in a totally unfamiliar environment. Totally foreseeable and unforgivable.
Food was mediocre for the first week and selection very limited. Do not try their 'local dishes' for they don't know how to cook them (we tried to local dishes in many restaurants at many stops along the way and they were delicious.) The Bistro that supposedly features street food from all over the world has a fixed menu limited to about 9 items. In my book, ceasar salad, beef tartar, and fried mushrooms is not 'street food.' The food was so bad and limited that I was hungry for the first week. Food did improve during the second week.
While I was looking forward to the Michelin rated dining experience - we did not get the menu until the day of the event. With a fixed menu featuring pigeon as the main dish, I decided against going and ended up eating ham and cheese for dinner.
Service level is robotic and very confused. With the exception of a few individuals, service emphasis is on efficiency - It was hard to find a friendly smile or a warm conversation in the entire dining room staff. We supposedly had a 'butler' who introduced himself during the second day of our stay and was never to be heard from again. My wife and I had a massage at the spa - we both agree it was among the worst we've experienced in many years. Staff to guest ratio is excellent;however, many staff members stand around with nothing to do - I say put those people to good use - maybe a course on how to say a few words in the local language. Discussions about culture - history - traditions. Host various card and board games... Anything to make the stay aboard the ship more entertaining.
Excursions: Some are misleading - castle tour turns out to be a tour of a small museum. Many of the tour guides have difficult to understand accents and are not flexible to accommodate their groups, for example, walking very fast when you have a lot of elderly people in the group, stopping for a prolonged time in a very cold un- sheltered area in near freezing temperatures. Crystal's quality control emphasis appears to be on the back end - so, instead of ensuring quality ahead of time, they employ quality control after the fact to see if everyone is happy.
Entertainment: Very limited activities - entertainment staff limited to one member who plays piano to music form the 60's and early 70's. Five local guest 'local' entertainers making limited appearance at various stops - Two were terrible, one was ok, and two were fantastic.
On a positive note, the private concert at the Belvedere Palace was incredible.
Attended a classic music concert that was included. Definitely the highlight of the trip.View All 29 Belvedere Palace & Museum Reviews