I know that on ocassion, a Crystal rep looks at this board, so I want to address this to him/her, and also to anyone else who has an opinion on this matter.
A couple of weeks ago, a dear friend of mine and her husband went to a Crystal Cruise Line presentation in San Francisco. My friends are frequent Crystal cruisers and will be on the upcoming Serenity maiden voyage. At this presentation, the leader of the group clearly stated that Crystal is looking into changing their policy regarding dress codes. It was stated that not many men wear tuxes on a Crystal cruise (a blatant falsehood in my opinion---in my 12 Crystal cruises the tux count was well over 90%), that Crystal won't have many formal nights, they will be greatly reducing if not outright stopping informal nights in favor of more "smart casual" nights. If this is true, believe me, Crystal will be losing many of their loyal customers. With the casual troops having dozens of choices in cruising, those of us who want to continue the lovely ambience of formal and informal dining will only have Silversea and Seabourn to chose from. I realize that Crystal, along with most other cruise lines, are in a financial pinch, but changing their basic product to attract more customers will only alienate their core customers. If Crystal does decide to give up the style and elegance they are known for, what will make them different from Celebrity (with their re-branding and upgrading of their product), HAL and Radisson? Crystal will be nothing more than a very expensive mass-market line. Crystal has already started changing things by trying to attract families as evidenced by their "kids cruise free to Alaska" program, and now they appear to be trying to attract a whole new clientele. The "all casual" didn't work with the former Seabourn twins, and it won't work with Crystal. And if the powers that be at Crystal think this change will attract the Seabourn and Radisson devotees, think again. Those people cruise with those lines because of their all-inclusive policy and single seating dining. And you're not going to attract Princess, HAL or other cruise line passengers because Crystal's prices are so much higher than any of those lines. Please, Crystal, think twice before changing your product.
BTW, I keep in touch with many Crystal devotees on various travel boards, and they are all quite up in arms about this.
Ever since ships went to formal dress on certain occassions only (unlike formal EVERY night), I think the writing has been on the wall. The cruiselines are not selling formality anymore; they are selling a vacation experience. I like to take my tux when I cruise. However, I am looking forward to my trip this week on the Diamond to see how I like a less formal cruise experience. I will be very disappointed if the attire is sloppy. I will feel more inclined to accept the change if pax are still "nicely" attired.
I will be taking my tux to the Med and thru the canal later this year because I stil do like the formality of the sea. I also like to dress up for land restaurants too. Hopefully, Crystal will truly listen to their pax. However, if they feel that they are losing more pax than they are gaining (e.g., the more formal pax might not leave since they have few options), I believe that Crystal too will, at least part of the time, go to a less formal environment.
Re: Re: Is Crystal Changing Their Policy: Dress Code
I would hope, Darcie, that the spokesperson for Crystal may have been referring only to Alaska cruises, and maybe not all of those, either. I agree, Crystal sets itself apart from other mid-size ships with its service, activities, lecturers, entertainment, cuisine and sophisticated atmosphere, which definitely includes formal evenings. Crystal will not "stand out" as it now does if it bows to an informal casual atmosphere. Say it isn't so, Crystal!
Re: Re: Re: Is Crystal Changing Their Policy: Dress Code
If you look at the cruisecritic board, the VP of Crystal posted a message that says they are definitely not changing the dress code. Everybody can relax, and don't let rumors get your knickers in a twist until you find out the real story.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Is Crystal Changing Their Policy: Dress Cod
Alexia, I don't thing anyone was getting their "knickers in a twist" but they were just posting a valid concern. I think that what these boards are for, asking questions and making comments. If that weren't the case, there wouldn't be a need for a message board, now would there?
My Crystal rep just did a presentation here yesterday for a group of business professionals and I can assure you that those formal nights are still in place. She was very careful to explain the dress code, as well as all other aspects regarding sailing with Crystal, in great detail.
For those who prefer to remain casual on the formal nights, full menu is available for room service.
It is so great to hear someone who appreciates tuxes and the classic style! I haven't heard that Crystal was making any changes to their policy about tuxes and evening wear. Until you hear the official word from Crystal, I think that you can rest easy - maybe it is just someone thinking out loud and the idea may die.
As you know, much of society has gone to a more casual dress. Perhaps Crystal is just thinking to loosen their dress code to allow guests to choose a tuxedo or a nice suit and tie and a black cocktail dress, say with pearls. Crystal has made such a lovely impression with the upscale, classic guests and passengers, I can't imagine that they will abandon their success completely. I would expect that they will loosen their policy, but request good taste and the nicest possible more casual alternatives - say a nice suit or outfit from Nordstrom, and still advising against abandoning good taste entirely.
Since it is from a press release, it may be permissable to quote in its entirety, but I am not certain. Therefore, I would prefer that you try again with the URL which just worked fine for me. You could also go to http://www.crystalcruises.com and check the media center area for press releases.
The press release is called "CRYSTAL CRUISES LAUNCHES FIRST-EVER MEETINGS AND INCENTIVES PROGRAM".
I am concerned that Crystal will be packing the ships with groups to the detriment of the individual passenger. I certainly will not book passage on any of the sailings that have large affinity groups on them.
Here are some excerpts from the press release:
"LOS ANGELES, June 30, 2003 - To appeal to meetings and incentives groups beginning in 2004, award-winning 940-guest sister-ships Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, and the luxurious 1,080-guest Crystal Serenity, set to debut this week, will offer a series of seven-day cruises in the Caribbean, Mexico, Mediterranean and New England.
All three Crystal vessels offer spacious meeting rooms, state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, elegantly appointed staterooms (most with private verandahs), up to five evening dining options plus outdoor grill, and Italian and Asian specialty restaurants to meetings and incentives groups."
"On their free time, meetings and incentive guests may enjoy the Feng Shui-designed Crystal spa, fitness center featuring yoga, Pilates instruction and personal training, lap pool, paddle tennis courts, golf driving ranges and putting greens, renowned Computer University@Sea facility, Crystal Visions Enrichment lecture series, and a Caesar’s Palace at Sea casino. ..."
To learn more about Crystal Cruises, and its meetings and incentives program, please contact von Wittenau at 310-203-4366. Visit the web site at www.crystalcruises.com.
Most importantly, these "groups" will have the standard Radisson benefits of insuite bar setup, wines with dinner, no charge for sodas and water, and prepaid tips. Sure looks like a Radisson cruise to me.
Re: Re: Is Crystal Changing Their Policy: Dress Code
Thank you for your information. Iagree with you I most certainly would not book the cruises with these group on board. At hotels groups use the conference or ballroom for meetings , on Crystal they would have to use Palm Court, the cinema or the show room. thus denying use by the rest of the passengers. Imagine the Crystal Cove or Avenue Salon packed out by "Bubba" and his "secretary"!
What is Gregg Mitchel et al thinking about to debase Crystal in this way. I never did think the new "team " had much brains . Now I know they have none