We went to Crystal Symphony because our past experience was excellent even though the company was bought by an Asian company. We had been cruising with different cruise lines for over a long time. We still decided to try again even when we saw some bad reviews recently. First, the embarkation was a total disaster at Melbourne. There were hardly any Crystal agents and there were no instructions where to go and what to do. The lines to the security were long and the check in once we board the ship was confusing. The whole cruise experience was very disappointing. The food especially with the main dining room was very poor. Even with the specialty restaurants Prego and Silk Road, they were below par. The menu choice was small and food was ordinary. They don't deserve to be called specialty restaurants.
The chef at the kitchen tour apologized that because the ship is required to purchase everything from Australia and the price was experience, the ship had to purchase the lower quality produce. This is absurd, so Crystal decided to buy lower quality food for their customers for the Australia/New Zealand trip when the theme of this cruise was supposed to be Food and Wine! Their chef table only offered twice through out the trip and they were already filled even the first day. I don't know why they didn't do the chef table every night like other cruise lines.
The excursions for New Zealand were almost identical in every port so there weren't much to choose from.
The cabin size and furnishing was alright, about the same with Royal Caribbean balcony room. The LCD was old and small and blurry at times. There were limited channels and the remote hardly worked. There was no movies channel so there was nothing we could watch before bed time. The news channel was only CNN and lacked FOX channel. Even though we had a limited view cabin but we had no problems seeing outside through the window because there were no life boats in front of our window.
We didn't take an excursion at Melbourne because we arrived 2 day prior to embarkation and chose 2 local excursions from the Regency Hyatt hotel. The city don't have much going on.
We went on shore but the port was extremely small with only one main street.
Our excursion was cancelled due to recent earth quake. We just stayed on the ship.
Very boring city.
There was no excursion available. The ship docked at 8 pm and therefore the ship didn't have any excursion which was pretty bad. Luckily we stayed at Sydney for 3 extra days and planned our own excursions online through Captain Cook as recommended by TripAdvisor. The best was the Sydney Harbor Seafood lunch buffet. The seafood were very flesh and plentiful. The view of the harbor was very nice especially we got a good view to the Opera House and took many great photos.