Definitely forgettable

Crystal Symphony Cruise Review to World Cruise

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 20

Overall rating:

3.2 out of 5
Crystal Symphony

16 Night Polynesian Palette (Auckland To Papeete)

Sail date: March 03, 2018

Ship: Crystal Symphony

Cabin type: Oceanview

Cabin number: 7102

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

We will not be booking further voyages with Crystal, for sure.


5 out of 5

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Disappointing all around. Too much emphasis on innovation grew boring. Service was often slow and meats dry and overcooked. Why would they make two out of three specialty restaurants Asian themed? Two out of three meals I had at Prego, the Tuscan one, were overcooked and awful, but I didn't take the time to send them back.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Did not use.


3 out of 5
Usually too loud, so I skipped most shows. The violinist and pianist in the Crystal Cover were amazing.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
In general, service was excellent.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
The ship was clean, but access to midship on the sixth floor involved navigating the Starlight Lounge, which is seriously awkward with floors sloping randomly up and down. Between that and dodging chairs if I didn't go clear to the right, I'm amazed I never stumbled. The Starlight is the most awkward space I can imagine.

Cabin / Stateroom

1 out of 5
In most respects it was standard. My husband and I played a constant game of "Getting out of your way," but storage was ample, and the bed was great. The bathroom was immaculate and the tub lovely to use. BUT. We had constant plumbing problems. At one point a clogged drain resulted in a squishy wet carpet that took days to dry. Bubbles oozed out of the floor drain several times, and once water also flowed out. A faucet dripped. A few times we had scalding water at both hot and cold settings. Half the time the bathroom smelled like sewer gas. Now and then we had to have the air vents adjusted now and then when it became too cold with the thermostat set on high. Beyond that, the sheer drapes were filthy and stiffly pleated, leaving a gap of three inches, enough for those strolling by on the Promenade Deck to peek in. We did receive new ones at my request. Our peeling wallpaper would have been replaced, but we did not want the inconvenience of vacating the room for four hours and possibly smelling glue for who knows how long. This cabin was so substandard, especially surprising considering all the hype about the "completely refurbished" ship. All was not as advertised! We would not have been surprised to find a cabin this shabby on budget cruise lines for less than a third the price, but we expected a lot more.

Ship tip

Book on another line! We like Celebrity.

Ports of call

Auckland, New Zealand

5 out of 5
We've been there before on an extended visit. Went straight to the port.

Bay Of Islands, New Zealand Did not visit port

Aside from the rain, nothing appealed to us enough to pay the high entrance fees.

Lautoka, Fiji Islands

2 out of 5
The ship doctor ordered me to go to the hospital there for testing, then sent me back to be admitted to the hospital. Thank God the hospital doctor is not required to practice defensive medicine on behalf of the ship, and I was given a simple antibiotic and sent on my way. My husband and I spent a couple of days strolling around town experiencing local culture, which seems laid back and unreliable for the most part. The port agents failed to live up to promises and we made our own arrangements to fly to Tonga to reboard the ship. BTW, contrary to what the ship's doctor told me, the hospitals in Fiji do not take credit cards, only cash, in Fiji dollars. That was nearly a disaster.

Yasawa Islands, Fiji Did not visit port

I was put off the ship in Lautoka and literally did not see this port.

Nuku'Alofa, Tonga Islands

3 out of 5
We had little experience here. We flew in late in the evening and had to pay a fee because we entered Tonga by air and planned to leave by ship. We went straight to the flashy new International Dateline Hotel, then left for the ship right after breakfast. I did not feel well enough to go back ashore.

Cross International Dateline

3 out of 5
Port? What port? We didn't even know when we crossed it. Whatever. We did get a certificate.

Alofi, Niue Island

3 out of 5
We went ashore on Sunday morning. Everything but the visitor center and churches was closed. The church service a friend and I attended was interesting although it was conducted almost entirely in the native tongue. Singing was lovely.

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

3 out of 5
A local man who hailed from the USA decades ago took us on a ride around the island. That was surely more interesting and way less expensive than a ship tour. Basically this small island has a couple of towns, lots of houses along the beach, palm trees everywhere, and a volcano in the center. Everybody is related to everybody else.

Aitutaki, Cook Islands

4 out of 5
We teamed up with an Australian couple and rented a car. This allowed us to go to the highest point on the island and basically see everything there was to see in about three hours. Total cost for the excursion for four: $85 US, including petrol. Nobody checked for a driver's license, which is good, because they were all on the ship.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

2 out of 5
Although the beauty of Bora Bora is legendary, a serious downpour began soon after we arrived. We shared a van ride around the island with two other people and had both a driver and a guide for the four of us. We saw lots of wind-bent palm trees and stopped at the original Bloody Mary's Restaurant, just to look around. We went back to the ship and ordered Bloody Marys at the bar. Even if it hadn't been raining, it became clear that one island with a volcano looks about like the others.

Moorea, French Polynesia

5 out of 5
We spent several days on Moorea previously and consider it the prettiest island around. On this visit we again teamed up with the Aussies for a one-hour taxi ride up to the lookout point. We'd been there before and were the only ones there. This time, a dozen years later, tourists thronged the place. Our driver was an amazing font of ecological, cultural and historical information about Moorea and Polynesia in general. Friends who took a ship excursion in a boat were disappointed.

Papeete, Tahiti

3 out of 5
Been there, done that. Papeete is a city. It's colorful, but not exciting. The addition of traffic lights to make street crossing safe is a definite improvement!


3 out of 5
No problems.
Was this review helpful? 20


Leave a comment

Remember: Be polite and respectful. Our diverse community is home to members with different opinions and a broad range of cruise experiences.