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hospsafe

First Crystal Cruise - what would you choose?

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Background - 50 yr old laid back, low maintenance male.  I have been on 12 cruises with RC, Princess, Carnival and as of last week, Celebrity.  I was on the Celebrity Eclipse in Alaska.  My second Alaskan cruise.  The weather was amazing but wasn't impressed with the overall value of Celebrity and yes I did have a suite. That being said, after much research, I am ready for my first Crystal cruise. What itinerary would you suggest that would give me great insight/example as to what Crystal is all about?  BTW....I have no problems going back to Alaska for a third time. 

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Part of the decision process involves what you like about cruising.   Do you enjoy the ports more than the on board experience etc.   For the most part, for instance, a port visit in Alaska is the same off the ship regardless of the ship.  I assume you're interested in the food, service,  entertainment and enrichment.    I'd pick a cruise that has at least several at sea days as well as port days.    If you pick one with a good weather area you will get to enjoy sitting on the pool deck and getting probably the best service (as strange as it sounds but the pool service staff is outstanding). 

If you have special interests like Jazz or theater pick a cruise with that theme you will get to interact with true stars in that area of interest.

 

Also read the pinned thread from Keith about first time Crystal cruises - it is great information about everything Crystal related.

Edited by ctjon

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Yes, discussing money is so gauche, but it does come into play here! 😱 Since you have sailed only on mass market lines ( even if in a suite on Celebrity), you're going to be paying more money for Crystal, although a standard cabin on Crystal for a domestic (Alaska or Caribbean, for example) might be comparable to a fancy suite on Celebrity. If you have sticker shock with Crystal, I suggest a shorter domestic cruise. I believe that you'll discover that Crystal is "worth it". I started out on a 7 day round trip from Miami and 12 years and 40 cruises later all over the world, the rest is history, as they say.

 

Agree that to really understand everything Crystal has to offer you do need to have sea days.

 

Patty

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Hi:

 

as a Solo Crystal traveler, I agree with what has already been said.

 

But, when looking at the value of knowing that the Single Supplement is less then most lines, I feel that the value for the dollar is unbelievable especially when one looks at what is included in the cruise fare.

 

Howard

Edited by 1lehrer

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we are trying Crystal in Dec

Doing  a Caribbean cruise   not really interested in the ports  more in the ship board life

plus some good deals for Dec 😁

YMMV

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I will echo some of what has been said.

 

I would find an itinerary somewhere between 12 and 14 days.

 

I would look for one with several sea days.  

 

One of the areas Crystal excels in is its enrichment program and on sea days you will get to experience it with lots of daytime activities.  It will also give you more time to see the outstanding service provided by the Crystal Crew.

 

One thought is a crossing.  There are several ones.  

 

However if a crossing is not appealing search the itineraries and look for ones with four or more sea days.

 

This is the link to my last update on the sticky thread I maintain for first time Crystal Cruisers and/or those who have sailed Crystal but not in many years.

 

 

Keith

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Thanks everyone. Since I have been to a lot of the ports both in the Caribbean and Alaska, I knew sea days were important to get the real feel of Crystal. To me ship life during sea days makes the cruise line.  That's why I was disappointed with Celebrity.

 

Howard, the single supplement does factor in as well. 

 

Keith, you aren't the first to suggest a T/A.  I talked to someone at my local watering hole that suggested the same thing.  However, I own two small businesses and it would be very difficult to take that much time away.  I am going to look for a cruise that has at least 4 sea days even it means repeating several familiar ports.

 

Time to do more research!

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In my opinion, if you really want to see the best of Crystal, choose an itinerary with lots of sea days, ideally at least in groups of two or three.  That's when days are slower, and you can really appreciate the service, amenities, and extras like the great lectures.

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1 hour ago, hospsafe said:

Thanks everyone. Since I have been to a lot of the ports both in the Caribbean and Alaska, I knew sea days were important to get the real feel of Crystal. To me ship life during sea days makes the cruise line.  That's why I was disappointed with Celebrity.

 

Howard, the single supplement does factor in as well. 

 

Keith, you aren't the first to suggest a T/A.  I talked to someone at my local watering hole that suggested the same thing.  However, I own two small businesses and it would be very difficult to take that much time away.  I am going to look for a cruise that has at least 4 sea days even it means repeating several familiar ports.

 

Time to do more research!

 

Have a look at the Nov. 24 - Dec. 1 out of Miami on the Symphony. It's a 7 day with 3 sea days. Not an "exciting" cruise, but inexpensive (for Crystal!!) and might be a good introduction to Crystal. It is similar to my first Crystal cruise 12 years ago and I was "hooked"!

 

Patty

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2 hours ago, hospsafe said:

Thanks everyone. Since I have been to a lot of the ports both in the Caribbean and Alaska, I knew sea days were important to get the real feel of Crystal. To me ship life during sea days makes the cruise line.  That's why I was disappointed with Celebrity.

 

We love Crystal for sea days and pampering.  We have only sailed them in the Caribbean and New England.  Im not sure for us  if we would splurge on crystal in Europe when we are off ship all day touring, although it would be hard to go back 🤪🤪😳😳😳

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2 hours ago, hospsafe said:

Thanks everyone. Since I have been to a lot of the ports both in the Caribbean and Alaska, I knew sea days were important to get the real feel of Crystal. To me ship life during sea days makes the cruise line.  That's why I was disappointed with Celebrity.

 

Howard, the single supplement does factor in as well. 

 

Keith, you aren't the first to suggest a T/A.  I talked to someone at my local watering hole that suggested the same thing.  However, I own two small businesses and it would be very difficult to take that much time away.  I am going to look for a cruise that has at least 4 sea days even it means repeating several familiar ports.

 

Time to do more research!

during a cruise with 4 sea days , you have the special buffet or brunch as well …

longer Caribbean cruises do have 4 sea days

some European cruises are on offer for the moment

 

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One of our favorite itineraries is the West Coast/California Coastal.  Sails usually on Crystal from San Francisco to Vancouver or reverse.  Sometimes Los Angeles.  The ports are all great for getting of the ship and walking around without needing any excursions - although they are there if you want.  Seattle, Astoria, San Francisco, Victoria and Vancouver.

 

It's a great way to sample what the ships offer.  We have done that on Crystal twice and other lines as well. Fares are not over and above and you can decide if a longer cruise is worth the spend.

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I want to stress a couple of things, especially thinking of your Celebrity cruise.  First, the onboard experience for everybody on Crystal is surprisingly consistent, from a first or second timer in the very cheapest cabin to the 100 cruises or more person there are surprisingly few differences.  Yes there are a few penthouse perks (like room service from the specialty restaurants) but they are very much on the edge of things.  The other thing is that the standard cabins are very small for a luxury ship, but they are more than adequate, especially for a solo.  The flip side of small cabins is that public spaces, both inside and out are extremely generous.  Today I would really hesitate to sail Celebrity without at least a balcony but I'll usually take one of the most basic cabins on Crystal.  Between Crystal's low solo supplements and the lack of need for an upscale cabin the sticker shock might not be as bad as you might expect.

 

I saw 3 cruises that I'll point out.  Someone has already pointed out the November 24 Symphony cruise.  The only downside I see with that is that there are only 3 sea days and non-consecutive.  If you do choose that one I'll see you onboard.

 

There's a very nice October 25 repo New Orleans to Miami that would fit almost everything perfectly with an attractive per diem, and a nice assortment of sea days but it sounds like 14 days is more than your willing to take on.

 

My final suggestion borders on the crazy.  there's a 10-day "Panama Canal Getaway" October 15 from Panama City to New Orleans.  It's a significantly higher per diem and Panama City is a tender port but Crystal seems to have that figured out.  The canal is a special experience and it's a nice mix of ports and sea days.  Maybe crazy but still maybe a possibility.  I think there's enough air service Austin to Panama so there are a couple of options if there;s a flight delay but I would really recommend going a day early if at all possible.

 

I do hope you will try Crystal.

 

Roy

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2 hours ago, sullaRaffaello said:

The Serenity crossing this coming November,  Lisbon to Ft. Lauderdale,  has eliminated single supplenents below penthouse level.

 

https://www.crystalcruises.com/voyage/lisbon-to-fort-lauderdale-ocy191112-12#suites-and-fares

That would be a good one to try. It's a food and wine cruise as well as big band and ballroom. 12 days.

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I'm pleased to see Roy recommending my next Crystal cruise, as I was getting ready to recommend it -- Oct. 25th, New Orleans to Miami. It's a Mind, Body & Spirit sailing (special enrichment) as well as Crystal on Broadway (special enrichment). It also features Jim Brochu, an outstanding piece of the enrichment lineup. Remember when you consider being away for 14 days, with the wifi being quite dependable, you can easily stay connected by email but also by Whats App.

 

Have fun choosing.

 

 

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1 hour ago, May B said:

I'm pleased to see Roy recommending my next Crystal cruise, as I was getting ready to recommend it -- Oct. 25th, New Orleans to Miami. It's a Mind, Body & Spirit sailing (special enrichment) as well as Crystal on Broadway (special enrichment). It also features Jim Brochu, an outstanding piece of the enrichment lineup. Remember when you consider being away for 14 days, with the wifi being quite dependable, you can easily stay connected by email but also by Whats App.

 

Have fun choosing.

The more I look at that one the nicer it looks (but I won't be there; I'll be on Bach and Serenity then).  I still fear that that may be longer than the OP is willing to be away but I just noticed something about it; it's divided into 2 "Crystal Getaways".  While the first (New Orleans to Curacao) only shows 2 non-consecutive sea days that's misleading.  The ship leaves New Orleans at 5AM the 26th so that's really a sea day and the first port arrival is noon so it's really 2 1/2 sea days (Crystal is very good about programming a morning at sea) followed by a couple of ports and then a final sea day.  Worth a consideration?

 

Roy

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Excellent points, Roy.

 

I mentioned it to Mr. B (the New Orleans to Curacao part) and he said, but how would he get home? I guess he thinks OP would have to swim back to TX; but I’m guessing some airplanes go.

🙃

 

I’m so excited that you’re going on the Bach! Looking forward to following along.

Edited by May B

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