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Thursday,  June 13, 2024 3:50 AM 

5 things we love about the redesigned Crystal Symphony


5 things we love about the redesigned Crystal Symphony
Ming Tappin

Ming Tappin is a cruise industry expert and is the owner of Your Cruise Coach.

Crystal Cruises hosted 75 travel agents and clients onboard the Crystal Symphony in Vancouver yesterday, as the ship completed her Alaska season.

PAX was onboard to see the many upgrades that were implemented from the extensive dry-dock last fall.

READ MORE: Crystal Symphony & Crystal Serenity add dozens of new sailings

Reduced guests: a first for the industry

While other cruise lines are increasing capacity, Crystal made history by reducing the guest capacity on the Symphony.

She originally carried 980 guests, but after the refurbishment, her capacity is now 848, served by 566 crew. Fewer guests means there is now an even greater sense of space, and added flexibility in dining options.

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The month-long dry dock redesign also saw the addition of new accommodations, dining venues, technology upgrades, and refreshed public spaces. Here are our favourites.

Seabreeze Penthouse Suites

A cluster of verandah staterooms were eliminated, and in their place a new Seabreeze Penthouse category was born, with 28 Seabreeze Penthouses (367 square feet) and 12 Seabreeze Penthouse Suites (491 square feet). Outfitted in monotones of beige and gray with dusty rose accents, these luxurious suites boast spacious living area, private verandas, personal butlers, in-suite dining from specialty restaurants, and fully stocked bar.

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Open seating dining

With the reduced guest capacity, the Waterside Dining Room now offers open seating for dinner, with added tables of two and four for an intimate dining experience. Until now, Crystal was the only luxury cruise line that still had first and second seating. This is a welcomed change, as is the chic new décor of cream and grey coloured furnishings and classy crystal chandeliers.

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Umi Uma by Nobu

The former Silk Road and Sushi Bar specialty restaurants of master chef Nobu Matsuhisa have been rebranded Umi Uma (Japanese for seahorse, Crystal’s logo). With purple-accented walls and burgundy chairs and a single gerbera daisy centrepiece at each table, guests can enjoy dining on Japanese specialties at the only Nobu restaurant at sea.

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Upgraded Lido Dining

The casual Marketplace buffet serves breakfast and lunch but at dinner time is transformed into Churrascaria – a Brazilian steakhouse with “gaucho” servers carving grilled meats from oversized skewers. The adjacent Silk Kitchen & Bar offers Chinese fusion fare with family-style shared plates. The entire Lido area is bright and airy with black-framed glass ceiling panels, funky art, and living plant walls. All dining venues onboard Crystal are complimentary.

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Unlimited complimentary Wifi

Crystal guests now receive unlimited connectivity while at sea onboard the Symphony, a tremendous added-value considering wifi on ships can cost upwards of US$30 per day. Guests can also access internet, view dining room menus and order room service from the interactive Crystal Connect portal on the ensuite flat screen TVs.

The Crystal Symphony will spend the summer cruising Hawaii, Panama and reposition to Canada/New England for the fall, globetrotting through the Caribbean, South America, South Pacific and Asia in the winter, before returning to Alaska in May.

Sister ship Crystal Serenity will enter dry dock in October to receive the same redesign and enhancements.

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