Crystal Cruises are one of the world’s leading luxury Cruise companies. And our first choice for a cruise holiday.
We have sailed twice with Crystal once on their luxury yacht, Crystal Espirit and on their second largest ship the Crystal Symphony. In 2020 we hope to be back on board a Crystal Deck, heading for another adventure.
Did you know that Crystal Cruises have more awards for Conde Nast Traveller’s ’World’s Best’ (cruise, hotel or resort) than any other travel company.? That’s pretty cool.
And did you know their fleet isn’t just ships, they have a yacht, some private jets and an ice breaker (sort of)?
I dug into their back story to learn more about this wonderful company.
Crystal Cruises: Small Ships, Modern Fleet
Focused on small ship, all inclusive luxury, The Crystal fleet is designed to get you closer than most whilst maintaining very high levels of service. The largest ship, Crystal Serenity, sleeps 980 guests with 1,470 crew. To put this into extreme comparison, the Symphony of the Seas can accommodate 5,518 passengers. By contrast, the Crystal Espirit sleeps just 62 passengers.
These smaller ships give you a more intimate experience whilst still ensuring plenty of space to. yourself. The small ship size meant there were times on our Alaska Cruise when we were the only ship by the glacier. The larger competitors would be further back in Glacier Bay leaving us to sip hot chocolate in peace!
On board the Crystal Espirit, we could tie up alongside many of the small coastal towns and islands as we sailed the Croatian coast.
To make it easy, the Crystal fleet are all called Crystal… Ocean cruising with Crystal Symphony and Serenity , rover cruising with Crystal Bach, Debussy, Mahler, Mozart and Ravel. Crystal Espirit is their luxury yacht, with the Crystal Endeavour starting its second season of adventures.
All Inclusive On Board
The All Inclusive packages really do mean all inclusive. Food options include full breakfast, lunch and dinner plus ‘elevenses’ and afternoon tea. Drink options pretty much include anything you want to drink. There may be an odd Petrus exception but in the main you can have whatever and as much as you like.
Every stateroom includes a mini bar and 24 hour butler. When you board for the first time your butler will ask for you drink preferences and how you would like the fridge stocked. A full bottle of Hendricks Gin and regular bottles of Champagne were our drinks of choice.
Service is second to none. From experienced and engaging captains like Lars Thomas Larsen to the staff including Norman, Sonny and countless unnamed individuals, the whole team works to ensure you have a great cruise.
Dining with Crystal Cruises
With over 25 years of luxury dining experience, the food on board Crystal is out of this world. On the larger ships, you have a choice of restaurants to eat. On Symphony we could choose from the main Waterside restaurant or themed Italian, Asian and South American menus.
The smaller Crystal Espirit offered fewer dining options; the main restaurant or the on deck grill bar. The lack of size did not mean a limit on the quality or variety of food on board. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were a feast for the eyes and the senses.
Despite the small fleet, Crystal Cruises really do sail the world. The Espirit focuses on Dubai/Maldives in the winter and Croatia during the summer. The River fleet traverse Europe’s beautiful waterways leaving the larger vessels to explore the world’s oceans. Our Crystal Symphony cruise took us from Vancouver to [almost] Anchorage Alaska, and back. It was then sailing onto San Francisco and across to Hawaii. The Serenity travels from Europe to the Far East and beyond.
In 2020, the Crystal Endeavour will cruise the Northeast Passage North of Russia and into the Arctic Sea!
If you want the ultimate luxury experience, then charter Crystal Air’s exclusive 777. Price on application!
Have you cruised with Crystal? Have you cruised with their competitors? Let me know in the comments!