Step aboard the new-look Crystal Symphony and it doesn’t take long to be completely smitten. The the new innovations include new butler-serviced penthouses, chic restaurants, unlimited bow-to-stern complimentary wi-fi, reimagined spaces, an open seating and anytime dining concept, and fresh entertainment options. Karen Christensen, senior vice president and managing director of Crystal Cruises, Australia and New Zealand, says she is excited about the multi-million dollar makeover. “The month-long dry dock redesign is the ship’s most expansive makeover and reaffirms Crystal’s commitment to providing the most luxurious ocean experiences in the world,” she says.
A look around the glamorous ship, which oozes understated elegance and style, reveals why Crystal Cruises has earned the name of the world’s most luxurious cruise line. So what’s new?
Two new categories have been added to the existing penthouse options, including 12 Seabreeze Penthouses with verandahs and a small sitting area, plus 28 Seabreeze Penthouse Suites with verandah rooms and a combination washer and dryer machine. Penthouse guests receive enhanced amenities, 24-hour butler service, in-room dining and unlimited complimentary dining at speciality restaurants. Although passenger capacity has been reduced from 922 to 848 to accommodate the additional penthouses, crew numbers remain at 545, providing even more personalised service.
The big news on the dining front is the introduction of the open seating and anytime dining. The main dining room, now called Waterside and known for its Michelin-level cuisine and fabulous service, is open from 6 to 9.30pm. The Lido Café space is now Marketplace. It serves buffet-style dining for breakfast and lunch and transforms into the impressive Churrascaria, a Brazilian steakhouse, by night.
Asian food lovers will enjoy the new Silk Kitchen & Bar for modern Chinese-inspired cuisine with a family-style dinner menu made for sharing. Self-service options are available for breakfast and lunch – think delicious Chinois salads, soup, a noodle bar and dumplings. The renowned cuisine of legendary master chef Nobu Matsuhisa is served at the newly named Umi Uma & Sushi Bar, which is Japanese for Crystal’s seahorse emblem. Crystal Cruises offer the only Nobu restaurants at sea and dishes are prepared by his personally trained chefs.
We dine in the ship’s second speciality restaurant, Prego, which features an authentic Italian menu. It’s a difficult choice from the seasonal menu with traditional favourites such as caprese salad, veal scaloppine with lemon and delicious pastas, such as linguine con aragosta e zucchini. The finale, tiramisu, is deserving of praise and is simply bellissimo.
Unlimited complimentary wi-fi is now offered on all Crystal voyages and the new guest portal, Crystal Connect, showcases daily menus, activities, shore excursions and ship information. International newspapers, just-released movies, music and Crystal lectures on demand are available, and staterooms and penthouses have new large interactive flat-panel televisions.
Entertainment at Sea
Crystal Symphony’s stages have a glamorous new look and feature a new show, Crystal in Motion, starring the talented Crystal Ensemble, while Broadway producer Kevin McCollum adds glitz with Crystal on Broadway. The Starlite Club, Galaxy Lounge and Palm Court have had elegant makeovers with gleaming marble and striking décor. By the end of the tour of one of the most luxurious ships afloat, stowaway fever takes hold and even a little passenger envy sets in. Luckily, we are escorted off.
Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity offer 119 voyages of 6 to 129 days with 2000 unique Crystal Adventures shore excursions. Visit crystalcruises.com to plan your trip.