Crystal Symphony is the second ship to start operating for the Crystal ocean brand which was revived in 2023. Following the post-pandemic collapse of former luxury line Crystal Cruises, the 606-passenger vessel was acquired by the A&K Travel Group along with the larger Crystal Serenity. First launched in 1995, Crystal Symphony was refurbished in 2002, upgraded in 2020 and underwent a further extensive revamp at Italy's Fincantieri shipyard ahead of its relaunch with A&K. The new-look ship, carrying fewer passengers than before, will sail on world-wide itineraries starting in September 2023 and offer the familiar upscale experience to the previous Crystal line.
Described by Crystal as offering "Exceptional Suites, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Dining, and Exceptional Experiences", staterooms are among the areas that have been reimagined prior to the ship's debut for A&K. One of the comments in the ship's previous guise was that cabins were small compared with newer luxury vessels. As a result, some suites have been enlarged, by combining adjoining rooms, which provides more space and has considerably reduced the ship's capacity from 848 to just over 600.
With elevated detail and contemporary craftsmanship, accommodations feature marble quarried from Italy, contemporary furnishings and fine cotton lines. There is butler service to every cabin, with the level of service depending on the suite category.
Crystal Symphony has eight grades of cabins, all oceanview or with balconies, which start with dedicated solo staterooms measuring 215 square feet and standard oceanview cabins for two which are around the same size. The largest cabin on the ship is the 850-square-foot Crystal Penthouse Suite with a veranda measuring up to 161 square feet. Perks for penthouse passengers include complimentary in-suite dining from the ship's specialty restaurants.
With almost one member of crew to each passenger, the ship also boasts a large space ratio of one passenger per 84.2 cubic feet.
Public areas on the ship include the Crystal trademark -- the Palm Court -- which is situated high on Deck 11 and has large skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows and a 270-degree forward view. It is a popular venue for afternoon tea, cocktails and dancing.
The main entertainment venue for shows is the Galaxy Lounge and there is also the smaller Starlite Club for cabaret performances, Hollywood Studio used for movies and lectures, Avenue Saloon piano lounge and Jade night club.
Wellness facilities include Crystal Life Spa, which has also been refreshed, a pool, gym, tennis court and golf driving nets. The ship also has the Waves and Fantasia spaces for children and teens, a library, shop, photo studio.
The ship has 11 eating venues to choose from with flexible dining times, along with 24-hour room service menu, that allows passengers to choose exactly what they want to eat at a time to suit them.
Waterside Restaurant is the main dining room, with plenty of tables for two which is often a rarity on cruises ships, as well as open seating on larger tables. The Marketplace is a buffet restaurant that includes an al fresco area. Casual dining can be found at The Bistro, a Parisian-inspired cafe and coffee bar, and the poolside Trident Grill. Tastes Kitchen & Bar serves tapas-style cuisine to share.
Offering an exclusive experience is Osteria d'Ovido, with fine Italian dining in a sophisticated setting. The Vintage Room is the most intimate dining venue on Crystal Symphony. Overseen by the ship's head sommelier, the focus is on cuisine and wine enrichment and a six-course menu is paired with selected vintages. For the ultimate gastronomic experience a dinner hosted by guest chefs is also available on selected sailings. The ship also offers a caviar menu.
The food and beverage program has been created to reflect the cuisine and local flavors of the destinations being visited with regional and seasonal specialties featured on the menus.
Following the rebranding Crystal Symphony will set sail for the first time on September 1, 2023, from Athens (Piraeus) to Istanbul. The seven-night voyage will include stops at Santorini, Patmos and Kos, Greece, and Izmir in Turkey.
After the maiden voyage the ship will spend the rest of the season sailing a variety of 7- to 17-night cruises in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia before ending the year in Australia and New Zealand. In 2024 Crystal Symphony itineraries will focus on the South Pacific, Australia and Asia, including a 53-night cruise from Bali to Mumbai. In April the vessel with reposition and spend the rest of the year in the Mediterranean and northern Europe.
Crystal Symphony is 51,044 gross tons and carries 606 passengers at full capacity with 545 crew.
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