My Review of the Crystal Symphony
I just returned from a wonderful 10 day cruise on the Crystal Symphony and would like to share my voyage with you.
The Crystal Experience - Outstanding!
For those of you who are not familiar with Crystal Cruises, allow me to provide some background information.
Crystal Cruises is part NYK Cruises, who are the largest shipping company in the world.
They currently have a fleet of 3 ships: The Harmony, The Symphony and The Serenity
The Harmony was retired at the end of November 2005 and Crystal is currently looking for a shipyard to build another vessel.
I strive to be a "Princess" and I must say this voyage fulfilled that need. From the moment I arrived at the pier for embarkation, I realized this was going to be a different voyage from any I have taken before.
There were no line ups for embarkation. I was greeted, checked in and aboard the ship in approximately 5 minutes.
I was welcomed aboard and escorted to my stateroom by a white gloved steward. The stateroom was beautiful and spacious. The room was inviting with colors that were soft and warm.
Having traveled many hours to arrive in port, I decided to explore the ship.
My first stop was the Trident Grill. This casual dining area by a covered pool, had tables with comfortable wicker chairs. The itinerary was Canada/New England and the weather was chilly.
Crystal Cruises anticipated this and supplies beautiful wool blankets that are draped on the backs of the chairs. How wonderful to wrap up in the blanket to keep off the chill in the air while indulging in a delicious lunch. The waiters were attentive and welcoming.
After lunch, I took a stroll around the ship to become familiar with the layout. I arrived back in the stateroom to unpack and settle in. The stateroom was exquisite.
Plenty of closet space to put all your belongings. The attention to detail from Crystal was evident. The closet lights up when the door is opened. An umbrella is in the room in case it is raining in port.
The bathroom was lovely with tiled walls, two sinks, two hair dryers and a luxurious bathtub with shower. Bath products by Aveda, plush terrycloth robes and slippers are provided. A fresh fruit bowl arrived and was replenished daily.
Crystal Cruises provides non alcoholic beverages at no charge and the stateroom has a mini fridge stocked with sodas, Perrier water and bottled water (replenished daily). The cupboard came complete with ice bucket, corkscrew, and crystal wine and water glasses.
The beds have plush duvets, Egyptian cotton sheets and two pillows (chosen from a pillow menu). Getting into bed was a shore excursion in itself! What a comfortable place to retire after a day of sightseeing.
The balcony was spacious with two chairs and a table. Mohair blankets are placed in the room to provide additional warmth required while enjoying the fresh air and views of the sea.
A highlight of the trip was sitting on my balcony, wrapped up in my terry cloth robe and mohair blanket and sailing past the Statue of Liberty!
My room stewardess, Sarmite, came to greet me and asked if there were any desires or wishes I had, to please let her know. The desire to serve is evident wherever you go on the ship.
The first evening arriving in the dining room, I was unexpectedly escorted to my table by a very handsome waiter. What a nice touch to be guided to your dining place on the arm of a well attending staff member.
This service continued every evening and I must say it was hard to come home and walk into the kitchen myself.
The food on the Symphony was excellent and the service even better. Each evening, provided a culinary experience that was memorable.
My favorite place (and the hub of gathering on the ship) was The Bistro. This beautiful cafe provides daily snacks such as bagels, smoked salmon (capers and onions for garnish), assorted cold cuts, fresh fruit, muffins, pastries, cookies, cheese and crackers throughout the day.
Cafe lattes, cappuccinos, espresso or just regular coffee and tea are available in beautiful china cups (no charge). This lovely spot was a great meeting place for people to come in the morning for a light snack before going ashore and also for gathering after the day to share a snack and discuss the adventures you had in port.
If you just want to have a coffee and read, a variety of magazines filled the wall of The Bistro. I found myself at this spot many times during the voyage. The staff is also ready to make your beverage "to go" if you prefer to relax elsewhere on the ship.
Entertainment for the evening consisted of full production shows as well as singers and pianists. The entertainment was top notch. If movies are more to your liking, the Hollywood Theatre had a great selection of evening movies and matinees for your viewing pleasure.
Crystal Cruises even provides warm fresh made popcorn to guests watching movies.
If you just want to relax and have dinner and a movie in your stateroom, this can also be done. Dinner can be ordered and delivered to your room, course by course, from the dining room. DVD players are provided in each stateroom and there is a library where you can choose from a large variety of DVD's.
If some enrichment is needed on your cruise, guest lecturers, bridge classes, dance lessons, language classes, piano lessons and computer classes as well as yoga and pilates classes are available at no charge.
I took two computer classes and enjoyed the ability to learn on vacation. (by the way, no charge for any of the classes).
The spa facilities on the Crystal Symphony are fabulous. There are a wide variety of treatments to pamper yourself with relaxation and tranquility.
Available for passengers to use (again, no charge) is the steam, sauna and showers. Just stop at the desk to get a key from the friendly staff and you will be given a locker to use complete with robe, towels and slippers. The shower in the spa consists of 5 water jets. Elemis products are available for use!
I must say, having a shower here is an experience. Bottled water and Perrier are of course available in the locker rooms to replenish you after your shower or steam.
For days in port, Crystal offers numerous shore excursions. However if you prefer to explore on your own, Crystal offers free shuttle buses into the cities (if they are not within walking distance).
Our itinerary was port intensive with only 3 sea days on the 10 day voyage. As we approached Ft. Lauderdale, the weather warmed up enough to sit outside comfortably. Blankets on the deck were removed and were replaced with towels on the deck chairs.
I decided to enjoy the sun by the pool one afternoon and the pool attendants watched me as I choose my chair and quickly came to spread out the towel and adjust the chair to my desired position. Beverages were offered. As the day progressed and the heat increased, the pool attendants came around with chilled wash cloths to help cool me down.
It's as if the staff can read your mind and they jump to meet your needs even before they are spoken.
I could go on and on for pages about the dining, service and entertainment onboard this spectacular ship but that would take too long and is not the purpose of this review. I wanted to share with you my experience and let you know how much I loved it.
A hundred times during the voyage, I heard myself say "WOW".
Crystal provides a level of pampering and service that is excellent and it is no wonder they have received the award for the World's Best Large Ship Cruise Line 10 years in a row by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine.
Did You Know?.CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) 62 cruise line members represent more than 90 percent of global cruise capacity, with 482,000 berths on CLIA Member ships. With more than 22 million people cruising worldwide each year, the cruise industry will invest $25 billion to launch 55 new ships between 2015 and 2020. In 2015, the industry will introduce six new oceangoing cruise ships and 16 new river cruise ships.
Top 2014 Cruise Trends (CLIA)
Rebound in luxury cruising (luxury category ships, onboard upgrades) based on an improving economy and increased consumer confidence
Multigenerational and celebration travel increase for all passenger source markets with larger sized family as well as social/ affinity groups traveling together
Continued development and availability of technology to facilitate and lower the cost of onboard communications as well as to provide more efficient passenger servicing
Expectation of first-time passenger growth driven by the 95 million Millennial generation based on population size and positive experiences cruising with their parents
Cruise lines offering more all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities for increased ease in booking and ship enjoyment
Cruises increasingly attracting consumers seeking active vacations with extreme excursions, longer stays in ports for sightseeing and high-energy onboard facilities
Seeing the world in comfort and ease, especially exotic locations, will continue to drive new itinerary creation and cruise ship deployment
Hot destinations for 2014 according to CLIA cruise line members include: Trans Pacific, World Cruises, U.S. Rivers, South America, Antarctic, Middle East, Canada/New England, Africa and Exotic Rivers