Recent Cruise Review of the 51.044-ton 960-guest Crystal Symphony

S24381KThis review by Hall Coons of a voyage in the Crystal Symphony first appeared on Liners List on June 12, 2014:

My three sons and I are just back from a trip to New England and Nova Scotia. We used the Crystal Symphony as transport from New York up to Halifax.  We were aboard Crystal Symphony for five days – she was on a longer voyage from New York to Iceland, but we only booked the segment to Halifax.  It is nice that Crystal offers these short segments on their longer cruises, as they can be used to travel between ports that do not usually offer any passenger ship services.   Our short voyage from New York also stopped at Newport, Boston, and Bar Harbor.

I am sure that most listers will not have a particularly high opinion of Crystal Symphony.  She is one of the first of the All Outside Cabin cruise  ships  and in many ways resembles the very first AOC ship, Royal Princess (i). First of all the bad news, don’t sail Crystal Symphonyif you are sailing for bold and exciting interior décor.  It is all (well mostly) very bland modern big Hotel style. Lots of beiges , glass , and neutral colors.  The only public rooms that had any notable style were the small Movie Theatre (bright white seats along with a light purple lighting) and the small wood-panelled library.  Also cabins, while very modern, are on the small size for a luxury ship.

But Oh the service!  Honestly, this ship has the best crew and best service that I have encountered in 40 years. The ship has an international crew, but they are predominately from Europe and South America. Our female dining room steward was from Brazil and her male assistant was from Spain. They both offered top notch service.  Every crew member that I encountered seemed to really be enjoying their job and all were friendly, outgoing, and interested in meeting the passengers requests.  And much to my surprise, this ship has deck stewards who really do deck steward work !  Not just selling you drinks (all are included in your ticket on Crystal) but they worked to find you a deck chair or seat, bring you some food from the Quick Service Lunch Counter (aka Trident Grill) or bring you a chilled towel.

The other outstanding feature of the Crystal Symphony is the food.  Really excellent, gourmet quality food served in a professional style.  The menus offer a wide selection of items and everything I had was excellent. Special requests were quickly handled and welcomed.  Food at the lido was also top notch, and the Trident Grill offered the usual hamburgers and hot dogs along with a lot of other choices like salads, pizzas, steak sandwiches, grilled chicken, fresh fruit, etc…. Also the free ice cream bar offered a broad array of choices along with milk shakes and ice cream floats.  Afternoon tea was an event and really a meal within itself.  Warm bouillon was served on the tenders on cool days !  I can’t say enough good things about the quality of the food, the selection, freshness…I mean really it could not have been better in my opinion.

So if you like a cruise for top notch s ervice and great food, I strongly recommend Crystal.

Other features of the ship were a really nice and big swimming pool.  A large hot tub.  A wrap around promenade deck (but not deck chairs here). Tons of open deck space.  A large deck tennis court.  Small putting green.  Secluded tanning space at the front of the ship.

Another notable feature of this voyage was that you never had to wait more than about two minutes for anything !  Even tender boarding only took a two-minute wait.  All meals quickly served, room service right on time, shows on time, boarding the ship was a breeze, and leaving the last day was quick and easy.

So as you can tell I loved the Crystal Symphony.  I hope to sail on her, or her sister, again in the next few years.  She is a bit more expensive than most ships, but you definitely get what you pay for.

For further details on Crystal Cruises please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk or in North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

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About thecruisepeople
Specialists in sea travel - ultra-luxury cruising, freighter travel, small ships and expedition voyages.

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