Yesterday, during Cruise Shipping Miami, Chet and I toured the Crystal Symphony cruise ship which was in Miami for the day. We have cruised on this ship twice, once in the Mediterranean and once through the Panama Canal.
We looked forward to seeing all of the changes that were made to the ship when it went into an extensive drydock in November 2009. This ship, which was built in 1995 – making it one of the older vessels currently in service – is in immaculate condition and has retained its five-star ranking. It still carries around 900 passengers with a crew of 545.
Here is just some of what was done in 2009:
All of the rooms were re-done, with new furnishings. All of the shops and most of the public spaces were updated, too.
An intimate bar called the Luxe was installed in what was formerly a portion of the casino.
The Bistro restaurant was updated and is a favorite for breakfast and lunch.
There used to be a long wall in front of the Starlight Lounge, cutting it off from sunlight provided by large hall windows. This wall has been removed, allowing natural light into the room and making it a more open space.
The Vintage Room was added, which will accommodate small dinner parties of up to 12 people.
The former pan-Asian restaurant was transformed into Nobu’s Silk Road and Sushi Bar, featuring recipes by Nobu. The Prego restaurant is still Italian, but now has the imprint of chef Piero Selvaggio. (There is no upcharge for dining in these speciality restaurants.)
The Lido was transformed, with the long buffet lines removed and food stations installed. Just outside of this casual restaurant, the second swimming pool was removed and a large relaxing area was installed. This was perhaps the most impressive change we saw and we would really enjoy this area of comfortable chairs and sofas, most shaded.
The main pool area was also changed, with the pool being made smaller and a single very large hot tub installed. “You can always find a deck chair,” stated Mimi Weisband, vice president of public relations for Crystal, who was conducting our tour.
Other key elements of the ship like the Palm Court, a great lounge overlooking the bow which is used for afternoon tea, dancing and other activities look as fresh as ever.
Chet kept commenting how much he liked the changes and I totally agree. We will share a few photos here and urge you to consider a Crystal cruise when you want an upscale experience with like-minded cruisers.
Photos by Chet Janssens