We are looking for a calm, relaxing cruise. We are in our early 40's and getting away for the first time alone since having kids. We're looking at a fall Harmony voyage to the Mexican Riviera. Is it stuffy? What is the average age? We'd love to just lay by the pool and read books for a week. Nothing too wild...How dressy is dinner every night? We don't own really fancy clothes.
I am in my mid-40's and I took my first cruise last Fall (to the Carribean) on the Crystal Harmony. I traveled alone..(my husband does not really like to travel, but I LOVE it...so he was sweet enough to really encourage me to go!) I did not find the cruise to be "stuffy" at all! Everyone was very, very friendly. The nice thing was the calm and relaxing atmosphere on the ship! No foolish drinking games etc. by the pool, no blaring anouncements from the PA System and the level of service is out of this world! The staff is so accomodating. They remember little things you like and cater to your desires! I was not prepared for that. I think Crystal deserves the 6* rating and more! Granted I have never been on a different Cruise Line, but I have talked with lots of people who have and I knew what I liked and what I was looking for. It sounds like you would enjoy Crystal.
It is somewhat formal at night sometimes though. I was on an 11 day cruise and there were 3 formal nights. That means very dressy. But the other nights were casual, or semi-formal. (Look for descriptions of all this on Crystal's Home Page) If your cruise is shorter, there will less formal nights of course.
I did not own formal clothing either. So, berfore the cruise I went to Marshall Field's dept. store and found some fantastic bargins on long formal gowns. They were Summery and it was late Nov. when I departed last year on my cruise, so some of these dresses were 75-80% off!
Plus, you will love being on your cruise so much...you will want to go again, I am sure, so you'll be able to wear those nice clothes again. Good luck making up your mind! Let me know if I can help in anyway!
I love Crystal. My first trip with them was for my 40th birthday (with my parents) and while I was amoung the younger group (but not the youngest) I enjoyed it immensely. I went again on a 20 day trip with my whole family and again it was great.
While they do dress up on the formal nights, you can get by cheaply. Consider renting a tux for the gentlemen (you will see LOTS of tuxes on this cruise). My mother and I use sequined tops and either black velvet slacks or black chiffon shirts in various combinations. Check out outlet stores such as Ross or Mervyn's for some really good deals (try July after the prom season or January after Christmas). On a longer cruise I wear the same outfit several times. No one will remember except you. Be sure to wear some appropriate costume jewelry for that fake bling too!
Crystal is one of the most formal lines in the business. On a typical cruise most men wear tuxes (at least 90%) on formal night or else dark suits and the women wear long gowns or dressy evening pants and sparkly tops. For informal nights it's a jacket, dress shirt, dress slacks and for some men, a tie (ties aren't required but many men do tend to wear the tie) and for the women it's dinner suits, a nice dress you'd wear to your best local restaurant or a dressy pant suit, and on casual nights it's collared shirts and nice slacks for the men and slacks and top or sundresses for the women.
Crystal cruises do tend to attract older passengers with their average age on most of their cruises being 60 and older, although you will find all age groups on board. They are well traveled and very friendly and welcome everyone. Is it stuffy? I don't think that at all. The word no isn't in Crystal's vocabulary and they have the best in terms of food and service.
If you're looking for a more laid back cruise, Crystal is for you. But, if what you want is a very casual cruise, then this might not be the best idea because as I said earlier, Crystal is a very dressy cruise line. You can chose to dine in your room, but the dress code applies to all public areas of the ship at night, and passengers don't go back to their room to change into casual clothes after dinner.
I wouldn't say it is stuffy. We are 70 and have been on 13 cruises with Crystal. There are frequently couples in the 40's and we have enjoyed them. Formal nights are just that....formal and informal nights even if a tie isn't required lots of the "older" guys wear them. Last cruise to Antarctica the casual nights were very "country club" casual. You'll need some fancy clothes .
I wouldn't consider Crystal to be stuffy at all compared to some other luxury lines. The crowd tends to be from the West Coast (because they are a California company) and so the onboard ambience reflects the lighter, west-coast lifestyle.
Service is great - you will be treated like royalty.
And if you don't want to dress up - they will serve you your dinner in your cabin - one course at a time.
I am the editor, but I also speculate, ask questions and play devil's advocate. I reserve the right to change my mind.