Crystal Cruises Review — Ships, Destinations, Dining, and More

Full Disclosure: We may receive financial compensation when you click on links and are approved for credit card products from our advertising partners. Opinions and product recommendations on this site are ours alone, and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. We appreciate your support!

Crystal Cruises has been offering luxury cruise vacations since 1990. This all-inclusive cruise line doesn’t have a large fleet, but what they do have focuses on total luxury and intimate, small ship sailings.

With Crystal Cruises you won’t find mega-ships like Royal Caribbean or discount party ships like Carnival. What you will find are luxury ocean and river ships along with a yacht and an expedition ship.

Let’s explore what makes Crystal Cruises a unique experience.

Basic Information

Name: Crystal Ltd.

Parent Company: Genting Hong Kong

Number of Ships: 8

Destinations: 800+

Loyalty Program: Crystal Society

Credit Card: None

Ships

Crystal Cruises operates 2 ocean ships, 4 river ships, 1 yacht, and 1 expedition ship.

Crystal Bach
Crystal Bach is one of Crystal Cruises’ river ships. Image Credit: Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises Ocean Ships

  • Crystal Serenity
  • Crystal Symphony

Crystal Cruises River Ships

  • Crystal Bach
  • Crystal Debussy
  • Crystal Mahler
  • Crystal Ravel

Crystal Cruises Yacht

  • Crystal Esprit

Crystal Cruises Expedition Ship

  • Crystal Endeavor
Crystal Endeavor
Crystal Endeavor is Crystal Cruise’s expedition ship. Image Credit: Crystal Cruises

Departure Ports

Crystal Cruises sails to over 800 destinations on all 7 continents from 84 departure ports.

Departure Ports
North America and the CaribbeanAnchorage, AlaskaLos Angeles, CAMiami, FLMontreal, Quebec, Canada
New York, NYPanama City, PanamaPuerto Caldera, Costa RicaQuebec City, Quebec, Canada
San Juan, Puerto RicoVancouver, British Columbia, CanadaWest Palm Beach, FL
EuropeAmsterdam, NetherlandsAthens (Piraeus), GreeceBarcelona, SpainBasel (Sexton), Switzerland
Belfast, U.K.Bordeaux, FranceBudapest, HungaryCivitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Copenhagen, DenmarkDover (London), U.K.Dubrovnik, CroatiaGiurgiu, Romania
Greenwich, U.K.Istanbul, TurkeyKangerlussuaq, GreenlandLarnaca, Cyprus
Leith, U.K.Limassol, CyprusLisbon, PortugalLivorno (Florence), Italy
Malaga, SpainMarseille, FranceMonte Carlo, MonacoNice, France
Palma de Mallorca, SpainPassau, GermanyRegensburg, GermanyReykjavik, Iceland
Rhodes, GreeceSorrento, ItalySouthampton, U.K.Stockholm, Sweden
Tromsø, NorwayVenice, ItalyVilshofen, Germany
AsiaAnadyr, RussiaAntalya, TurkeyBangkok (Laem Chabang), ThailandBenoa (Bali), Indonesia
Columbo, Sri LankaHo Chi Minh City, VietnamHong Kong, Hong KongKeelung (Taipei), Taiwan
Kusadasi (Ephesus), TurkeyMumbai, IndiaOsaka, JapanOtaru, Japan
Shanghai, ChinaSingapore, SingaporeTokyo, JapanYokohama, Japan
Middle EastAbu Dhabi, United Arab EmiratesAqaba (Petra), JordanDubai, United Arab Emirates
AfricaCape Town, South AfricaDakar, SenegalMahe, SeychellesMombassa, Kenya
Tema, GhanaVictoria, Seychelles
South America

Buenos Aires, ArgentinaCallao, PeruPuerto Montt, ChileRio de Janeiro, Brazil
Ushuaia, Argentina
Australia and New Zealand

Auckland, New ZealandBrisbane, AustraliaCairns, AustraliaFremantle, Australia
Hobart, AustraliaLyttleton, New ZealandMelbourne, AustraliaSydney, Australia

Private Ships/Islands

Crystal Cruises does not have a private island or port.

Onboard Activities

Here are some of the activities you may experience on a Crystal Cruises ship (not all activities are available on every ship).

  • 360 Degree promenade deck
  • Afternoon tea
  • Computer [email protected]
  • Crystal Life Sauna
  • Crystal Life Spa & Salon
  • Dancing
  • Fitness center
  • Golf driving nets
  • Junior activities program (seasonal)
  • Kayaking
  • Lectures
  • Paddle tennis courts
  • Personal training
  • Photography workshops
  • Pool
  • Resorts World at Sea Casino
  • Yoga
  • Zodiacs

Dress Code

You’ll be able to find the dress code for your ocean or expedition voyage, either Crystal Casual or black tie optional, for each day at sea in your Personal Cruise Calendar.

Crystal River Ships Dress Code

  • Comfortable and casual attire is appropriate during the day, however, swimsuits, cover-ups, and baseball hats are not permitted in the dining rooms.
  • Crystal Casual attire is appropriate for evenings on board. This is a slightly dressed up version of daytime wear.

Crystal Esprit (Yacht) Dress Code

  • Tasteful swimwear, sandals, shorts, casual short sleeves, and cover-ups are appropriate during the day.
  • Stylish resort wear should be worn for nights on board. This includes capri pants, blouses, sundresses, and sandals for women. Men should wear khakis, Bermuda shorts, short-sleeve button-down shirts, or golf shirts.

Hot Tip: Be prepared for your cruise’s action-packed days and fun-filled nights — check out our printable cruise packing list!

Dining and Beverages

Dining is a little different on Crystal Cruises because everything is included. There are 3 specialty restaurants across the fleet and each guest is entitled to dine at each of these once or twice per cruise (depending on cruise length) at no extra cost. All beverages in the restaurants, including alcohol, are included as well.

Complimentary Dining

Look out for these restaurants on your next cruise; not all locations are available on every ship.

  • 24-hour room service
  • Bistro Bach
  • Bistro Debussy
  • Bistro Endeavor
  • Bistro Mahler
  • Bistro Ravel
  • Churrascaria
  • Marketplace
  • Palm Court
  • Patio Cafe
  • Prego*
  • Scoops Ice Cream Bar
  • Silk Kitchen & Bar
  • Sunset Grill
  • The Bistro
  • The Pantry
  • The Vintage Room*
  • Trident Grill
  • Umi Uma & Sushi Bar*
  • Waterside
  • Yacht Club

*Denotes a specialty restaurant that requires reservations.

All locations with the exception of specialty restaurants Umi Uma, Prego, and The Vintage Room have open seating. That means you can dine anytime (usually between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. for dinner) you wish without reservations.

Silk Kitchen and Bar on Crystal Serenity
Silk Kitchen and Bar on Crystal Serenity features Chinese inspired al fresco dining. Image Credit: Crystal Cruises

Specialty Restaurants

Umi Uma & Sushi Bar, Prego, and The Vintage Room are considered specialty restaurants and require reservations. You can dine at each of the specialty restaurants once per cruise for free. Each additional reservation you make at a specialty restaurant will incur a $30 per person fee.

For any cruise that is 14 days or longer, each guest is allowed 2 complimentary visits to each specialty restaurant before the $30 fee is charged. The Vintage Room wine pairing dining experience is also subject to additional charges.

Bars and Beverages

All beverages are included on your Crystal cruise. Wine, Champagne, premium spirits, and specialty coffees? Yes, they’re all included!

Look out for these bars and lounges on your next cruise; not all locations are available on every ship.

  • Avenue Saloon
  • Connoisseur Club
  • Crystal Cove
  • Galaxy Lounge
  • Palm Court
  • Starlite Club
  • Sunset Bar
  • The Cove
  • Vista Bar

Bottom Line: Crystal Cruises goes the all-inclusive route. Beverages (including wines, Champagne, and specialty coffees), specialty restaurants, Wi-Fi, and gratuities are all included.

Accommodations

No matter which room type you choose or what type of ship you’re sailing on, you’ll find luxury accommodations across the Crystal Cruises fleet.

Crystal Ocean Cruises

Every stateroom on a Crystal ocean cruise comes with standard amenities including:

  • Sitting area
  • Double-vanity bathroom
  • Full bathtub/shower
  • Bathrobes, kimonos, and slippers for onboard use
  • Luxury bath products
  • Twice-daily housekeeping
  • Evening turndown service

Here are some of the highlights:

The Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah features butler service, a walk-in closet, private verandah, in-suite tea or cocktails, plus canapés and dining from specialty restaurants Umi Uma and Prego.

Crystal Penthouse with Verandah bathroom
The Crystal Penthouse with Verandah has a luxurious master bathroom with heated floors. Image Credit: Crystal Cruises

For the ultimate in luxury, choose the Crystal Penthouse with Verandah. This amazing room features over 1,300 square feet of living space. You’ll find a separate living and dining area featuring a custom entertainment center. The master bathroom includes a Jacuzzi tub, flat-screen TV, heated floor, and bidet. There’s also a guest bathroom with a shower.

Crystal River Cruises

Sailing on a river cruise is so different than a more traditional ocean cruise. Crystal river cruises are a great way to travel if you’re looking for luxury because every room on each river ship is a suite!

Here are some of the highlights:

The “basic” room on a Crystal river cruise is anything but basic. The Petite Suite with Panoramic Balcony-Window features a king-size bed with Egyptian cotton linens, glass shower with 2 shower heads, single vanity with halo-lit mirror, and a huge panoramic window so you won’t miss the spectacular views.

The Two-Bedroom Crystal Suite with Panoramic Balcony-Window sleeps up to 5 guests and comes with butler service. This elegant room features 2 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, a fireplace with ambient lighting, a separate dining area, and an extra powder room.

Two bedroom crystal suite with panoramic balcony window
The Two-Bedroom Crystal Suite with Panoramic Balcony-Window features a fireplace in the living area. Image Credit: Crystal Cruises

Crystal Yacht Cruises

Cruising on a yacht is a special treat. Crystal Cruise’s yacht, Crystal Esprit, accommodates only 62 guests, so you’ll enjoy personalized service along with deluxe accommodations.

Here are some of the highlights:

The Yacht Suite features a king-size bed, bed-side iPads, and large picture window. The bathroom has a glass-enclosed shower, double sink, and a natural stone floor. Personalized butler service and twice-daily housekeeping will round out your luxurious experience.

The 500+ square foot Owner’s Suite features a living area with sofa and chairs, flat-screen TV, and dining table. The bathroom includes a glass-enclosed rain shower and double vanity with a backlit mirror and integrated TV.

Owners Suite on Crystal Esprit
The Owner’s Suite on Crystal Esprit features a separate living and dining area. Image Credit: Crystal Cruises

Crystal Expedition Cruises

On the Crystal Endeavor Expedition ship, all rooms are suites and every suite has a private verandah.

Here are some of the highlights:

The Penthouse Suite with Verandah features a king-size bed, living area, and a heated storage closet for expedition gear. The bathroom features a glass-enclosed shower with dual shower heads, double vanity, and a separate water closet.

For even more space and luxury, check out the Expedition Suite with Verandah. This expansive suite features 2 bedrooms in over 1,200 square feet of space. Each bedroom features a king-size bed, bedside iPads, and interactive TVs. Each bedroom has an en suite bathroom with dual sinks, heated floors, Jacuzzis, and separate water closets.

Expedition Suite with Verandah bedroom
One of the bedrooms in the Expedition Suite with Verandah on Crystal Endeavor. Image Credit: Crystal Cruises

Crystal Society

The Crystal Society is Crystal Cruise’s loyalty program. It’s free to join, and you’ll be automatically enrolled after you complete your first full-revenue cruise. As a member, you’ll receive special offers, upgrades, onboard credits, special events, and savings on future cruises.

Every member receives benefits including:

  • 2.5% savings on all voyages
  • 2.5% onboard booking savings when you book your next cruise on board
  • Exclusive onboard cocktail party

Plus, you’ll earn cruise credits each time you sail. Each time you hit a new milestone, you’ll be eligible for even more benefits like unlimited free reservations at specialty restaurants, credits towards future sailings, and recognition pins.

Hot Tip: Not sure which credit card to use to get the most bang for your cruise buck? Check out our guide to the best credit cards to book cruises for some guidance.

Final Thoughts

Crystal Cruises is a luxury cruise line offering ocean, river, yacht, and expedition cruises. Each of its 8 ships is designed for the luxury traveler and includes elegant accommodations and exquisite cuisine.

On Crystal Cruises, everything is included. You won’t pay extra for specialty restaurants, beverages, gratuities, or Wi-Fi.

If you’re looking for mega-ships with endless activities, check out other lines like Disney Cruises, Norwegian, or Princess. However, if you prefer smaller ships or the intimacy of a river or yacht cruise, Crystal Cruises has a lot to offer.


Frequently asked questions

Is a Crystal cruise all-inclusive?

Yes, Crystal Cruises is an all-inclusive line. You won’t have to pay extra for beverages like wine, Champagne, spirits, or specialty coffees. The specialty restaurants are included as is Wi-Fi, room service, and gratuities.

Do Crystal Cruises include excursions in the price?

If you’re sailing on Crystal Cruises’ yacht, Crystal Esprit, Crystal Cruises’ Expedition ship, Crystal Endeavor, or a Crystal Cruises river ship, some shore excursions are included. However, if you’re sailing on a Crystal Cruises ocean ship, shore excursions will come with an additional charge.

Are children allowed on Crystal Cruise ships?

Yes, children aged 6 months and older are welcome on any Crystal Cruises ship with a few exceptions. When traveling on the Crystal Esprit, children younger than 7 are not allowed on the Zodiacs. Some ports require Zodiac transportation to disembark the yacht, so young children would have to stay on board with an adult in those situations. Children under 6 years old are not allowed on Crystal Endeavor expeditions to the Arctic or Antarctic.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

We respect your privacy. Please view our privacy policy here.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. Click here to see a list of advertisers that we work with.