Established in 1988, Crystal Cruise Lines, more commonly referred to as just Crystal Cruises, is one of the foremost luxury cruise lines in the world, receiving accolades from a variety of cruise and travel publications, including Conde Nast Traveler.
Until 2015, Crystal employed two mid-size cruise ships, the original Crystal Symphony followed by the Crystal Serenity.
Both Crystal Cruises ships make ongoing travels around the world, with notable travel locales including the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Baltic Sea, and even the Arctic Circle, among others.
In 2015, Crystal Cruises announced an expansion of their travel options by introducing Crystal Yachts, River Cruises, and Crystal Air travel.
First cruise on Regent Seven Seas. Heard good things and had high expectations. Ship is "tired" and showing wear. Hanging artwork a joke. SPA was crowded. Food was good but not exceptional. Service was only average in restaurants, staff not well trained. Had to stack plates on table before they would remove them. Internet was bad to nonexistent. Excursions (included) were okay, but weather made some unenjoyable. Wine and drinks were included but wine selection was quite limited. Shows were okay but only four nights. Should remove a chair from suit to give more room to move around. Bathroom and walkin closet had enough room. Bed was comfortable. Maid service was good. Even found me large slippers. For Regent, there were lots of families with kids, about 90 people under 21. Not much to do on cruise days except eat and drink. No cooking demos or tour of ship's operations. Never got close to Hubbard Glacier. Two excursions to see whales were disappointing. Long ride from Seward disembarkation port to Anchorage. Vancouver Four Seasons hotel was nice.
Food was the best I've had on any cruise ship. Cruised 12 times. Ship's staff also some of the best as well as their service. Specialty restaurant Pacific Rim clearly our favorite. Ship always spotless. Liked flying business class with one night at hotel with breakfast and the fact that all transfers were included if you choose Concierge E or above. To me well worth the extra and no hassle. Improvements: Enrichment speaker boring and needs to liven it up some. Shops onboard very limited leaning toward high end. No night light in bathroom. Entertainment regrettably only average. Some hits some misses. Wine selection not as great as I expected. I am not a wine snob but they offered me 2 Cabs. Tours needed some improvements and not what I had expected. Tour guides average only. Procedure for getting on and off for tours was very professional. Would consider returning.
We chose the Regent 7 night cruise to Alaska on the advice of our very knowledgeable travel consultant at AAA in Stuart, FL. As first time cruisers, we were a little apprehensive on embarking on this adventure. No worries, it was a perfect vacation in every way. This cruise on the Seven Seas Mariner was an all inclusive trip which provided a spacious suite with a veranda, king bed, large bath with daily service. Also included were wonderful meals & drinks at a variety of dining rooms, pool deck, lounges and room service. Our room stewardesses, Lusan and Julie were cheerful, attentive, and efficient. We found that every member of the staff: dining staff, crew, and all service personnel were so accessible, friendly and eager to please. In addition, the excursions, whale watching, wildlife excursions, a crab feast were excellent and also part of the package. We were met at the pier, transported to the various sites and returned to the pier! So very well organized. There was a PhD anthropologist that provided educational and entertaining insights into the Alaskan history, the majestic scenery, fjords, glaciers, etc. Their was nightly entertainment provided by a talented group of singers/dancers. Our first cruise but not our last on Regent Seven Seas Cruise Line!
This was our second cruise on the Explorer. Our previous one was when the ship was "young" - fall, 2016. We were so impressed that we chose another cruise 8 months later. In addition, the itinerary fit our vacation plans. After spending several days in Norway, we boarded the ship in Stockholm. Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived at about 2 PM and within a half hour were relaxing in our cabin, with luggage delivered. If only the airlines were so prompt! The ship was in perfect condition, with everything polished and clean. Service was outstanding, from the cabin staff to the restaurants to the spa and gym. The ship traveled smoothly, even on the one night when the Baltic was rather rough. The lecturer was interesting and informative, especially with regard to Russian history. Entertainment was still spotty (see our previous review). This is not a 1980 Las Vegas crowd. Food was good to excellent. We had meals in all three specialty restaurants. Compass Rose was fine, as were Prime 7 and the French restaurant. Pacific Rim was somewhat disappointing. This was American Chinese food - OK for someone from a tiny town I suppose, but for us it was boring. And the wait staff, who were non-Asian, were clueless about the food. We chose Regent shore excursions and they were excellent. While the excursions often depend on the tour leader, we must have lucked out as the leaders were uniformly good.
My wife and I did the 10 day Baltic cruise from Copenhagen to Stockholm. We are not experienced cruisers - we had only been on one short Carnival Ecstasy cruise in 2007. Regent's Explorer provides a far superior experience. Bottom line: the Explorer is beautiful and the service is top-notch. Embarkation was initially a little bumpy - we had stayed at a hotel arranged by Regent and rode the 12:10pm bus to the port to discover a really long line. The initial passport check took 40 minutes. After that, the rest of the checkin process went smoothly. We talked with a couple who took a different approach to embarkation: they stayed at a Regent hotel and used the bus to transport their luggage. But they enjoyed the afternoon in Copenhagen and then had a taxi take them to the ship at about 3pm and they experienced no lines. In general the food was delicious. We ate at La Veranda most days for breakfast and lunch and then Compass Rose for supper. The food was not overly spicy but was not bland either. Our only complaint about Compass Rose was the noise level - it gets really loud which diminishes the ambience a bit. Noise was never a problem in any of the other restaurants and we tried them all: Prime 7, Chartreuse, Sette Mari, and Pacific Rim. We found that as a general rule Regent's food service staff will accommodate just about any request. If you want an appetizer-sized portion of an entree, they can make that happen. Or if you enjoy an entree so much that you want a second helping, they will bring it to you - I requested seconds on the scallops one night at Compass Rose. Regarding the Regent excursions, I've seen reviews complaining about overcrowded buses, which we did not encounter. The problem we had was that the quality of the guides on the Regent excursions varied dramatically. A secondary issue was the scheduling of the Regent excursions: in most of the ports, it was only possible to go on one of Regent's excursions because they schedule all excursions to leave with an hour of each other. But the most important factor regarding excursions is: are you cruising to enjoy the ship or to spend time in the ports? For ports where you really want to learn about the city and make the best use of your time, arrange a private guide in advance. That's what we did in St. Petersburg and Stockholm and we are very glad that we did. A few other things: 1. Ships in general are not designed for tall people. I am 6'5" (195cm) and in the public rooms (restaurants, bars, etc) that was never a problem on the Explorer. And thankfully the shower stall in our cabin had adequate head room. But walking the hallways on the decks that have cabins was a bit dicey. And since our room was all the way aft, the hallway slopes up slightly, leaving less head room, so I could not actually stand up straight outside our door without banging my head on the light fixture. 2. There are laundry facilities available and Regent even provides soap. If Regent does your laundry for you, the prices are similar to what you would pay in a hotel: starting at $1.95 for socks and going up to $8.95 for slacks. 3. Reservations for the premium restaurants, Regent excursions, and spa services should be made in advance to guarantee you get the days/times that you want. The restaurant and excursion reservations are easily done through the Regent web site but I was not able to find a way to make spa reservations online. All in all, a great trip. Everything about it lived up to Regent's luxury reputation. The staff was always helpful, cheerful, and attentive. We've never really thought of ourselves as "cruise people," but if we cruise again it will be on Regent.
Summary: Exploring Alaska was an awesome, unforgettable experience, and traveling by cruise ship was an excellent--and comfortable--way to explore much of that huge state without having to relocate from hotel to hotel. It was also very convenient to have virtually all cruise-related costs (e.g., drinks, tips, most excursion fees, etc.) included in one overall cruise price. However, while the food ranged from good to excellent, the condition of the ship and the quality of its service were less than five-star. The ship: While most public areas were attractive, the ship is old and overdue for an overhaul. Our cabin was comfortable but much in need of renovation (holes in curtains, stained marble floors in bathroom, sticking drawers, nicked furniture, stained chair and peeling paint on veranda). The dining areas and lounges were attractive but had some deteriorated and corroded window seals, which detracted from the view and the experience. The caulking in the teak decks by the pool was loose or deteriorated in many places. Many on-deck lights and fixtures had been painted over so many times that the different layers of paint and drips were visible. When leaving and boarding the ship at ports of call it was possible to see that portions of the ship’s hull paint were peeling or discolored. Dining: The food quality ranged from good to very good in the two restaurants that were open to all passengers, and from very good to excellent in the two special restaurants that were restricted primarily to upper-class passengers. The included wines were acceptable but nothing special; “premium” wines were available at substantial extra cost and were not what I would consider premium. Service in the lower-class restaurants ranged from good to terrible; in the two upper-class restaurants service was very good to excellent. Given Regent’s very high prices for even the smallest cabins, the fact that lower-class passengers were discriminated against in access to the two better dining venues was quite aggravating. During the booking process I was told I could reserve one meal in each of the upper-class restaurants prior to boarding, which was true, and I was repeatedly told by Regent’s booking agents that after boarding I could reserve additional meals in the two upper-class restaurants, which was totally untrue. Other service: Service in the lounges ranged from very good to terrible. Cabin cleaning, bed-making, etc. service was very good. Crew: Most crew members were friendly and helpful; however, several were the opposite (not just one or two individuals on one or two occasions, more like six or seven crew members on multiple occasions each). Some destination services staff were pleasant, but one was dour throughout the trip and did not seem to like assisting passengers. In general, the crew who interact with passengers would greatly benefit from upgraded hospitality training with a focus on improving food service and the overall passenger experience (perhaps linking crew advancement and modest bonuses or benefits to performance). Further, most of the crew are non-native English speakers and/or have strong accents, which often led to misunderstandings and poor service; ongoing brush-up English courses would greatly improve crew service for, and interaction with, passengers. (For Regent’s high prices the service should be more like that offered by a top hotel chain such as Ritz-Carlton.) Excursions: There were many interesting and enjoyable shore excursions to choose from, most at no additional cost. The quality of the on-shore guides was good to fair; one spent as much time talking about herself as about the rainforest we were walking through, and knew little about the history of the area. Some cruise lines are apparently working to upgrade the quality of their excursions and guides, something Regent might want to consider. Spa and fitness: As might be expected, the Canyon Ranch spa is expensive. The fitness area is small and its equipment is limited and not up to date. Entertainment: Most or all of the performers were new to the ship and seemed a bit ill at ease or uncertain; their routines were not all that entertaining. For me the most enjoyable event was the performance put on by the crew near the end of the cruise. Wi-Fi: The ship’s wi-fi was very slow and erratic, and crashed at least a couple of times daily. Health: Our cabin, the dining venues and the other public areas were kept very clean at all times. Hand sanitizer stations were available at numerous strategic locations in the public areas throughout the ship, though perhaps only once or twice in my 7-day trip did I ever see a crew member use the sanitizers in the public areas; I assume (and hope) that sanitizer stations were available, and used, in the behind-the-scenes areas frequented by the crew. Toward the end of our cruise it was announced that 11 crew members and passengers had come down with a flu-like illness and were restricted to quarters. The captain declared a Code Red Influenza condition and instituted preventive measures such as removing books and board games from the ship’s library; offering free medical consultations to passengers who thought they might be ill; leaving public restroom doors ajar so visitors did not have to touch the door handle; discouraging hand-shaking; encouraging passengers to cover up with a tissue or elbow when sneezing; and having crew members with rubber gloves serve food to passengers at the buffets in lieu of self-service. Contrary to the CDC’s recommendations on influenza control for commercial ships, paper towels were removed from the public restrooms and passengers had to use tissues to dry their hands. Another lapse: I watched a worker sanitizing on-deck handrails by wiping only the tops of the rails, not the sides and bottoms, which people’s fingers inevitably touch when they grip the rails. The very good news is that the flu problem was successfully contained and only a very small percentage of the Mariner’s passengers and crew came down with the flu. Upon completing my cruise I did a bit of research and learned that last year the Mariner was cited by the CDC for connecting “potable [drinking] water hose to [two] black water [sewage] collecting tanks.” This astonishing error was apparently corrected as soon as the CDC inspector caught it, but I was surprised to learn that the ship’s procedures and supervision were not in place to prevent such a potentially disastrous error from occurring in the first place--and that the ship’s supervisors and management did not know of the problem until it was discovered by the CDC inspector. Value: Regent’s pricing seems to be the highest in the cruise line business but given the shortcomings noted above the value is only fair. For such high prices passengers should receive outstanding service and accommodations. Bottom line: As a result of my recent experience on the Regent Mariner I definitely would not consider booking on the Mariner again until after it is renovated in 2018; I suppose there will be no way to know if any crew hospitality training and English language improvement efforts have been implemented without traveling on the ship. In any case my trip did not live up to Regent’s glossy advertising, so when I book my next cruise I will be looking closely at the offerings of other lines, especially Ritz-Carlton, which is world-renowned for its service and luxury and is entering the cruise business. Perhaps Ritz-Carlton’s presence will raise the performance bar for all cruise lines, including Regent.
We'd previously cruised the RSSC Alaska route on the Navigator Ship and choose to do the cruise again with friends but this time it was the Mariners route. The Mariner is almost double the size but very similar in the overall treatment of and services for guests. Billed as the first all-suite ship, Mariner is certainly a lovely ship. Granted, it's gracious but dated interior was due for a make-over in dry-dock in April 2017 but was postponed until April 2018. We're sure the renovations will be stunning. Public areas are never crowed (even during disembarkation at ports). There are numerous spaces for couples or groups to gather both inside and outside. The boutique shops are small, few and feel more like souvenir shops than the more specialized and higher-end shops on the Navigator. All the rooms are very spacious with generous balconies. Our suite, Horizon, was at the back of the ship and was very comfortable with a huge balcony. Our Butler, Ryan, was the true gem of our cruise and seemed to raise everything up a level or two every time we turned around. We found dinner in the restaurants (general and specialty) less than enjoyable with sporadic service and mediocre food. However, we enjoyed private dinners on our deck or in the room three times and the food always seemed much better, hotter/colder as appropriate and very timely. In fact, we accused Ryan of having a camera in room because he would magically appear to clear dishes or serve the next course just as the last of our group set down their fork. One area we suggest they examine is the liquor set-up. My husband asked for Scotch and Cognac and I asked for Grand Marnier. The bottles were HUGE and between us and our friends next door, we only managed to drink half of the scotch and only a portion of the cognac. Maybe smaller bottles would be a good idea and we could ask for more if needed. Of course the private wine selection was very good (although they were out or limited on several) and they happily ensured our bottles were chilled or breathing in time for our afternoon canapes. Our roomkeepers, Sri and Sachin, were very pleasant, thorough and seemingly refreshed the room each time we stepped out. They even got a chuckle doing our turn-down service watching Ryan juggle the dishes, wine, and our constant questions. Kristina and Kassy in the Horizon bar were stellar and worked like a well-oiled machine. We would sit in amazement watching them handle the rush of guests arriving after the shows ended. Kristina directed traffic, guided staff and mixed drinks and made guests feel welcome all at the same time. Kassy just churned out drinks, smiling all the while. The pool is saltwater and heated and the three hot tubs were uncrowded and always steaming. There were several children on the cruise and they seemed to enjoy the pool throughout the cruise, even on the coldest days! The excursions were very good and, unlike our first Alaska cruise, were all conducted. Some reviewers criticize RSSC for cancelled excursions but in fairness, it's Alaska and weather is variable by the hour and unless RSSC has more power than I know, they can't do anything to change it. Even tho our excursions were all held, the ice was too thick to go close to the Hubbard Glacier so instead of the fabulous up-close view we had on our first cruise, we only saw it in the distance on this one. Our Captain, a lady (woot woot), seemed to set a pace in the ship that was just a bit too fast. We were always early in port, leaving exactly at the departure time each day. This seems to run over to general staff too in that they always seemed to be rushed but not rude and in a hurry to deal with you and go on. In fact, we had to ask them to slow down our meals at the specialty restaurants so our "relaxing meal" could last more than 45 minutes! It's hard to feed 700 people and please them in all areas. Maybe a higher level food experience for us foodies would be a good addition to the services provided. Regent may look more expensive than other cruises but when you factor in everything you get - airfare, meals, drinks, excursions, entertainment, etc. - it's definitely a good value cruise. In summary, yes the ship needs updating but overall it's still a lovely ship. Sort of like your grandmothers house: fine details, a little rough around the edge but loaded with history, love, care and the desire to see you again.
I read all of the reviews I could find to select the best cruise for my family. I didn't want a huge ship with crowded facilities and screaming children. Although this cruise was pricey, the cruise discourages tips, and everything is included. There is no nickel and diming that I have heard occurs on other cruise lines. It turned out that this cruise met all of my expectations and more. The food was delicious and healthy; the staff was friendly and competent; the suites were clean and elegant. The entertainment was fun. And best of all, the excursions were free and excellent. (A few cost extra.) We saw whales, eagles, and sea otters on the Sea Otter excursion. The cruise line also offered experts who presented lectures daily about the sites that were on our itinerary. These lectures were broadcast on the television for those who had conflicts, and couldn't attend. The spa was great too. We all had pedicures, and some of us had massages. The track on deck 12 was wonderful and the exercise room provided machines for those who wanted to hit the "gym." I loved this cruise, and will gladly book my next cruise with Regent Seven Seas.
The Mariner was a beautiful ship with amazing staff, lots to do, good food, great ports of call and fun excursions. It was our first trip to Alaska and it was great. The scenery was gorgeous all the way from north to south. The size is just right so you have enough variety in restaurants, activities, excursions but you do not feel like you are surrounded by hundreds of people. The cabins are gorgeous, each with a veranda and it made no difference which side of the ship you were on. The food was good - other dinners were better than others, but nothing below what we would say is good. The buffets were beautiful and there was no shortage of food or adult beverages! The excursions were very well organized and the guide companies they used were top notch. The staff was terrific - so polite, helpful and friendly. We would recommend this line to anyone wanting a great cruise with fewer people. It is definitely now our list for our next big vacation.