Our last day in Fort Lauderdale/Miami, we had a chance to tour the Crystal Symphony. Crystal Cruises is a luxury cruise line with two ships each with just under 500 cabins. There are no inside staterooms, only ocean view and balcony. An entire deck is dedicated to penthouses, which include butler services. Starting in the Spring of 2012, Crystal Cruises will become all-inclusive with wine, spirits, gratuities and much more included. Right now they offer an “As You Wish” spending credits. Airfare from major US airports is included, though you can get a credit instead for not using their air program.
Getting on the ship for guests was very different than any we have experienced before. The guests came in and crew checked their ID and name against their list before they went up the escalator to security. Once past security, they went straight onboard (We were there early so no one was checking in. Early arrivals may have to wait until the ship is cleared though). No check in, no nothing. What we soon found out was that check in for the ship was done on the ship. One of the lounges was set up for check in.
We split into groups of 12 and made our way to the ship. We came in on deck 6 which was unusual for this ship as embarkation is usually on deck 5. What we first saw was an amazing fountain in the Atrium.
The atrium area had some places to sit, The Bistro to grab a bite, shopping, onboard cruise sales, the front desk and concierge, the library and Crystal Cove bar. A pianist was playing in front of the fountain.
Next we toured the staterooms. We were able to tour all categories of staterooms except the Crystal Penthouse with verandah as guests were already in there from a previous sailing. The first room we toured was a Deluxe Stateroom with Large Picture Window (Category C & D). The one we toured was a wheelchair accessible room.
Next we went to a Deluxe Stateroom with Large Picture Window (limited or extremely limited view), Category E. These rooms can be obstructed by the lifeboats.
The next cabin, categories A & B, was a Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah.
We moved up to the Penthouse deck and saw the Penthouse with Verandah and the Penthouse Suite with Verandah. Both of these rooms came with butler service. First the Penthouse.
And the Penthouse Suite with Verandah.
Every thing in the ship was elegant. Here are some of the stairwells, hallways and elevator lobbies.
One of the drawbacks of this ship is that smoking is allowed. We did notice a faint cigarette smell in areas of the ship. There were a few places where smoking was not permitted.
Another thing that is different from other ships we have been on is there are Ambassador Hosts available for dancing with the single ladies onboard. Crystal Cruises is known for their Enrichment Courses and on this sailing some of the Dancing With the Stars dancers would be onboard teaching dance lessons.
There are number of different venues to dine in on the Crystal Symphony. In addition to the Crystal Dining Room, the main dining room on the ship, there are other choices. For a casual bite to eat, you can go to the Bistro or the Trident Bar and Grill. The specialty restaurants include Prego, Silk Road and the Sushi Bar.
The Vintage Room was available for parties up to 10. Parties less than 10 are permitted but they must pay for 10.
Another casual dining experience is the Lido Cafe on deck 11, which is a buffet.
Back down to the Atrium, we looked at the shops. Our tour guide worked in one of the shops. She told us that the merchandise in her shop changes on a daily basis so you always have a reason to shop. The will also have designers onboard and showcase their work.
Many luxury cruise lines do not have a children’s programming, except on select sailings. While Crystal’s program is not large, they do have a nice area for the kids and bring on extra counselors if necessary.
The next areas I’ll show you are the night clubs and other lounges. Next to the casino is Luxe. This is the karaoke bar.
Starlite Club is where the check in for the ship occurred. Here you could also get your embarkation photo taken.
Heading toward the back of deck 6, was the photo shop, Connoisseur Club (where cigar smoking is allowed), Avenue Saloon, Computer University @Sea, The Studio and the Bridge Lounge.
Deck 11 is the Lido Deck. There is a solarium with the Trident Bar & Grill.
Up on deck 12 was the Crystal Salon, Crystal Spa and fitness center.
There are two theaters – The Hollywood Theatre for movies and sports events. We had to catch a picture of who was playing that day!
The Galaxy is where the Broadway-type shows are held.
The next two photos are in the Casino. It was a good sized casino for a smaller ship.
The Promenade Deck has a walking path all around the ship.
Finally, our tour ended in the Palm Court. This area has a bar, tables and chairs and a dance floor. It’s a nice casual lounge. Crystal put on a very nice buffet for us and we had a while to sit and relax with some food and a mimosa.
We really enjoyed this ship. While being elegant and luxurious, it was warm and inviting. The only negative we saw on the ship was the smoking policy. We were told if you got a room that was not acceptable due to the cigarette smell, if they were not full they would be able to move you to another room. Only the first room we were in was very noticeable though.
If you are interested in a Crystal Cruises sailing, Crystal now offers Book Now Fares. This fares are the prices you will get for a period of time, guaranteed (right now prices are through December 31, 2011). After this date, a new set of prices will come out. Some sailings may remain the same price but others will go up. Contact Travel On A Dream to book your cabin today!