Departing Monday 19th March 2012, Lesley sampled the new All Inclusive Crystal experience for herself.

Monday, 19th March 2012

1345. Arrived at Miami port.  Disposed of luggage, cleared security and taken to lounge.  Good selection of wrapped and labelled sandwiches available, along with cookies and water.

Boarding by coloured passes.  Seems quite quick.  Priority boarding should be given to penthouses and above.

Guests good humoured whilst waiting.  No microphone system for calling guests.  Looks and sounds like a bit of a shambles.

1431 Called to board.  Very swift check-in and straight to Penthouse 1063.  What a lovely suite!  Shades of grey, silver and cream with large mirrors making it very light.  Beautiful all white bathroom – with two washbowls, large separate walk-in shower, spa bath and lots of shelves and drawers.  Lovely large bottles of Aveda toiletries and plenty of them!!!  Two hairdryers!!

Luggage arrived almost as we did.  Very spacious walk-in closet and excellent storage around the suite.  large safe.  The first time I have not have to ask for additional hangers!!  Everything put away very easily – just looking for a space for the kitchen sink!!!

Usual TV, DVD player, stocked minibar, but no iPod dock.  Plenty of electric sockets (European and USA) and computer port.  Wifi in suites and around the ship.  Also very comfortable three seated sofa and two chairs.  Large veranda with table and two chairs (bit battered!)

Theo (our Butler) and Virginija (our Stewardess) introduced themselves and were very enthusiastic and friendly.  Our couple of requests were dealt with immediately.

Afternoon tea in Palm Court with string quartet.  Panoramic views and white wicker furniture gives this the airy feel of a conservatory.  Excellent selection of tea presented at the table, followed by waiter service of sandwiches, cakes, scones (with jam and cream – not clotted).  Top quality food and service.

2000 hrs.  Lifeboat drill.  Very difficult to hear what was being said due to fork lift trucks on the quay.  Full roll-call and safety announcement which was made over the public address system. Managed not to fall into a lifeboat!

2030 hrs.  Dinner in Prego – a beautifully designed room which is a pleasure to dine in.  Excellent friendly service and a superb meal (especially the lemon souffles which are divine!).  Complimentary wines were good quality and freely offered.

Dress code tonight is casual.  Joy of joys – not one pair of jeans or a baseball hat in sight!!!
Most guests are well dressed.

Wandered around the ship and found many guests in the Starlight Club all dancing to the big band music of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.  We stayed dancing until 1230 (which will surprise a few people!!!)

More to follow ………


Quality of food and service is absolutely excellent and so far cannot be faulted.  Food beautifully presented and in appetising portions.  Silk Road has a good selection of Nobu cuisine and Sushi Bar, and the Piero Selvaggio designed menus in Prego are a wonderful taste of Italy.  Silk Road and Prego are by reservation.

The Crystal Dining Room offers Open Dining by Reservation which invites you to reserve a table at a different time each evening of your voyage if you wish.  Also offers Fixed early and main dining if this is your preference.

The Lido offers sumptuous displays for your selection for breakfast and lunch.  The Trident Bar & Grill offers late breakfast and burgers, wraps etc throughout lunch and afternoon.  Wonderful Ice Cream Bar with vast selection of ice creams, toppings and liqueurs.

The Bistro is a charming cafe offering snacks, tarts and pastries.

Palm Court is the venue for afternoon tea.  Today is Mozart Tea where we are promised a lavish display of pastries and confectionery with background music by the Crystal
String Quartet.

Stunning ice sculptures and sugar craft decorations were features of the Chefs’ masterpiece showcase buffet presented in the Crystal Plaza at lunch time yesterday.  To quote the Cruise Director “never has so much food been eaten by so few people in so little time’!!!

Late night snack?  Served in Avenue Saloon, LUXE and Starlight Club.

Dining in-suite and 24 hour complimentary room service.  Penthouses and above may also select from Prego and Silk Road menus which the very efficient Butlers serve course by course.

Complimentary wines include Roederer Estate fizz, and at the moment, an acceptable but limited selection of red and white wines (we understand that there will be a wider selection when the ship reaches Europe).

Things to Do & Entertainment

LIBRARY –  Crystal Cruises has created a Recommended Reading List  which is a diverse selection of books for each of the regions visited by Crystal.  These include classic literary selections, destination guide books, essays and more – all selected to enhance your cruise experience.  There is a staffed library with over 2,000 books, board games and DVD’s and some newspapers.  Amazing selection of DVD’s with many recent releases (all catalogued) with wait list facility.  Silence is requested and observed!!!

COMPUTER UNIVERSITY AT SEA  – complimentary computer classes cover such areas as Photoshop, Microsoft (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Business cards, Greetings cards & invitations, personalised calendar building, digital postcards, web design).  General computer skills for all levels covering a wide range of topics.  A very busy department!!!!

ART AT SEA – complimentary art lessons on sea days.  On this cruise the classes were watercolours and I am looking forward to seeing Geoffrey’s efforts on display tomorrow!!!!

BERLITZ CONVERSATIONAL LANGUAGE LESSONS – complimentary lessons in Spanish offered on this cruise.

CRYSTAL VISION ENRICHMENT PROGRAMME – Guest lecturers of a high calibre covering such topics as wildlife, music, security & CIA, prize winning novels.  These lectures are selected for the area of travel.

NEEDLEPOINT – complimentary needlepoint get together.

YAMAHA KEYBOARDS – complimentary lessons for all levels including beginners.  Great fun and easy to follow programme with instruction book to take away to assist with your future musical development!!!

BRIDGE – complimentary lessons and tournaments for all levels.  Bridge is big on Crystal !!

DANCE CLASSES – complimentary twice daily lessons (beginners welcome and no partner needed)

TRIVIA – yes it is thriving on Crystal Cruises!!!

BINGO & KARAOKE – the delights of these Geoffrey and I have not experienced !!!!

ACTIVITIES – where to start?!

DANCE CLASSES – complimentary dance lessons morning and afternoon.  Beginners welcome and no partner needed.

FITNESS CENTRE – a fully equipped gym with kinetic wall.  Fitness staff on hand for general assistance or as personal trainer (charge for personal training).

FITNESS PROGRAMME – different activities at various times of the day.  Morning Walking on Water, Nordic Walking Programme, yoga, spin, Tai Chi, Abs, stretch

HEALTH & SPA SEMINARS – various seminars throughout the cruise.

PADDLE TENNIS – at Wimbledon Court – this cruise has Anand Amritraj as instructor (please Google for full list of tournament successes).  A very popular activity!  Anand should be on the 31 October 2012  New York to Los Angeles (Bridge of the Americas cruise hosted by Lesley).

PROMENADE DECK 7 – a wrap around deck.  4 laps = 1 mile with alternating directions.  How lovely to be able to take a walk (at whatever pace you choose) to walk off all that lovely food and drink!!!

SUNDECK – take a turn around the deck after dinner and stargaze.

TAILOR-MADE GOLF CLINIC – this cruise with PGA Golf Teaching Professional Bill Stutzer.  another very popular activity.  Two golf driving nets and putting green.

TABLE TENNIS – take lessons from the Fitness Director.

WALKVEST – borrow a Walkvest (special jacket with pockets for weights to improve your walking performance)

Crystal Cruises is definitely for active guests!!!!


The first time we have never felt pressured to disembark at the end of a cruise.  Guests are not pushed out of their suites at 0800 hrs and you do not get the feeling that you are in the way of the crew preparing for the new guests.  There is a comprehensive video on the in-suite TV which covers all aspects of disembarkation.  No announcements are made – it is a very efficient and seamless procedure which does not leave one feeling hassled.


Posted on: 27/03/2012