We just booked the Crystal Harmony and after reading all the messages here on this board I can't tell you how excited I am!!!!!!!!!!!! She sounds like a wonderful ship. The input from everyone that has posted here has been so helpful! My printer has gone into cardiac arrest>:>)! We have had many cruise experiences and most recently in the past two years with Radisson Seven Seas ships and we are very, very spoiled after the Diamond and the PG. It was difficult to make the decision to go with Crystal and not another Radisson cruise but now I see from all your positive and enthusiatic postings here we will not be disappointed and will have a wonderful adventure etc. to look forward to this coming August. I look forward to hearing more about the Crystal Harmony in the next months. We booked cat. PH due to the stateroom size. A lot more expensive than the Radisson for about the same sq. feet. Would love to hear from anyone else who will be doing the Alaska cruise this summer. Packing for Alaska should be a challenge. Will I need my snorkel jacket and wool socks etc.? :<(! MJ
I was on the same cruise two years ago - we left and returned to Vancover instead of San Francisco. It was my first Crystal Cruise and I prefer Crystal to any other line. I go back about every 6 months whereever she is. You will love this line. It is owned by the NYK shipping company in Japan. They are one of the oldest and most respected companies at sea and their objective (according to my Japanese friends) is not to make a profit but have absolutely the finest ships at sea. There is a wonderful comraderie on the ship - the employees are wonderful and they give you the idea that they think they are lucky to be there. Unlike most cruise ships they do not work 20 hours a day - they have a respectful amount of time off and it shows. They are pleasant and familylike. I particularly enjoyed the lunches in the dining room. Yes, I know that there is a buffet on 11 but the luxurious ambiance in the dining room is such a treat. Service is efficient and speedy so that it doesn't take any longer than going through the buffet line and we got to meet people other than those at our evening table as it is open seating for about an hour and a half. Be sure to have the ribs when they are served.
The lectures are so interesting and they repeat them on the television channel. So you don't have to miss another activity in order to attend.
The Penthouse level is great because you don't have to go to the deck to see the scenery and the scenery in Alaska is fabulous. We saw Glacier Bay from our Balconey in the robes that Crystal provided - we missed the hot chocolate served in the Odyssey Lounge but I am sure that if we asked they would have brought it to the room!. And you will have both the stewardess and the butler on 10. Service is exquisite - they will even pack and unpack for you if you like.
And be sure to take a class in the Computer University at Sea. Most people think that they know everything about computers. I am a power user and I am always amazed at how much I learn in their classes. So do yourself a favor - get up there early. You can even make a webpage so that you friends and family at home can track your progress.
And one more thing - The night to eat in the Kyoto specialty restaurant is the night that you leave Skagway. Try for 7:30 so that the entire evening at dinner will be in the light of day. That evening you cruise through the most picturesque islands and it looks like something out of a picturebook.
Go and enjoy. Don't sleep. Just move from one activity to another. And hang the cost, it is still one of the best values at sea despite the price!
Travel Blond.........:>)! Thank you, thank you for taking the time to send your wonderful post!!!!!!!! Your enthusiam just burst from the page! Just what I was so hoping to hear..................as we are spending a lot of $$$$$$$$$$$$ for this adventure flying from the North East etc. etc. My husband and I hate buffets .lol . we have five sons .....it's like a buffet every night! We did the same as you on our Radisson cruises and lunched in the dining room, always seated by the windows with a glorous view and a relaxed meal.
Would love to know about attire.........how many formal nights? Is velvet OK in August?
Sounds like the Harmony is very formal.........My Tahiti & Med. Formal won't work for sure.
Will there really be time for the Computer University? I sure have a lot to learn but can't imagine my face in a computer while cruising on the Harmony through Alaska.
I appreciate the input on dinner in the Kyoto.......that was great advice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How are the seas? Does it get rough crossing in the Pacific? Seabands/patches etc. did you need?????????????
What are the best lounges and shows? Is there a nice quiet lounge for cocktails before dinner and after? Anything else you can add would be so much appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks again! MJ
MJ -- Just got off the Harmony after 2 weeks in South America. Once again, it was a wonderful experience. We LOVE Crystal.
Crystal's buffets are works of art. We, too, enjoy lunch in the dining room, but you have to go visit the buffets just to see the show! The food is always good, but I find it's not quite as good all around as the dining room's, which is supurb.
We had 3 formal nights on a 13-day cruise. I thought the formals were not as glitzy or grand as they were on our last cruise, about a year and a half ago. Almost all the men are in tuxes, but women come in anything from smart cocktail dresses to backless sequined gowns.
Is your velvet gown warm-looking -- long sleeved and high necked?? -- personally, all the people we've ever met on Crystal don't have time to judge other people's clothes, so I'd say be comfortable and wear what you like!
There isn't time to do everything; there are great activities aboard. You'll have to pick and choose every day and decide what you want to do. Such a hardship!!
Again, Crystal is our favorite line -- our first Radisson cruise was just canceled, so I can't compare yet -- but there are small downsides.
The Harmony is not a new ship, and it is showing small signs of wear. There are 3 or so clothing stores, but no sundry store where you can purchase odds and ends. There's one corner in one store that has some travel items.
The service is more than excellent. We had two parties in our room and our stewardess got everything ready for us, brought the food we ordered, (caviar, shrimp, lobster and crab for the champagne party) and then cleaned up when we went to dinner. All for the price of just the champagne!! Your butler will certainly do the same.
Feel free to order ANYTHING from the kitchen. If you give them 24-hours notice, they will prepare anything you like, especially dishes from the Crystal cookbook, on sale in the stores. I had caviar every night.
The wine sommeliers are all very knowledgeable. We especially like Ales, Ronald and Caroline. Crystal has a wine for just about any taste; from very reasonable to wish-I-could-afford-that.
Enjoy your trip -- pat
We have only sailed Crystal once and it was the Harmony on a glorious voyage from San Francisco to Sydney for the Olympics. Being a theme cruise they had former gold medal winners on board who shared stories with us. It was an experience to be with Nadia Cominici and her husband Bart Conner in addition to many others.
The Harmony has the Palm Court that the Symphony does not have and that was a mistake with the newer ship (Symphony) that many mentioned. I am not one for afternoon tea but it is done so elegantly that I caught a number of them. Especially, don't miss the Beethoven tea where the formal attire of the wait staff turns into period costuming.
Another facet about Crystal is that one can order items not on the menu. Sometimes you won't get it until the following night but it's amazing what they must have in storage on board. Toward the end of our 20 day cruise the head waiter asked if we would like anything special. After endless nights of gourmet food, one of the people at our table said he'd like some Southern Fried Chicken. We all said that sounded good to us. You wouldn't believe the endless platters of the best tasting chicken we ever had.
Crystal by far is the best cruise line we've ever been on and we've taken about 10 cruises. However, we need to find another bargain price before we go again since we can take two Princess or Celebrity cruises for the price of one Crystal and although we agree that quality is better than quantity it just doesn't cut it for us unless one of their value cruises has an itinerary that we like.
I just thought of one thing we didn't like about the Harmony - their tubs. I know they look elegant but they are very difficult to get in and out of for people like ourselves that just want to shower. Once in it is roomier than the showers one has on other cruise ships but it was a chore to get in and out. JMO.
Just curious. We were on the 8/02 and 03 cruise to Alaska on Crystal. Maybe you saw Jean and I. We wore 49ers caps each day. After taking your cruise, how would you rate the ship compared to Raddison? We have had 7 cruises on Crystal, but leaving in 2 weeks for a cruise Panama Canal on Holland America, then in December back on Crystal for over New Years in Carribean. We will try Princess next May for a Pacific cruise.
Have cruised often to Alaska and encountered cool foggy rain, heat, and temperate climates. All about the same time of year - late May, early June, even September. All the same coastal cities and once as far north as Anchorage. Last year we cruised three nights and took land tour through the Yukon into the Alaska interior including Denali, then to Anchorage and out to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula. Never have used the silk underwear I purchased for my first trip. A mid-weight jacket, water resistant, is a great idea. Good walking shoes good idea. Comfortable clothing including jeans good idea. One outfit works for evening... take earrings and necklaces and wear monotones... nobody notices. Everyone has worn themselves out sightseeing. I cannot recommend Alaska enough. This is a gorgeous, world-class beautiful trip!!! ph