"" Writer's Wanderings: Crystal Cruise Line - The Crystal Symphony

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Crystal Cruise Line - The Crystal Symphony

A good part of the reason for this last trip/cruise was to try out a different cruise line than our usual choices. We elected to use Crystal Cruise Line this time and boarded the Crystal Symphony with enthusiasm for a new adventure. The Symphony is not a large ship by today’s cruise standards—just 50,000 tons and somewhere around a thousand passengers, but it is a little bit of heaven at sea.

The public areas are lovely and classy. The ship has recently been refurbished and one of the pools was done away with. In its place is a beautiful area of wicker sofas and chairs and tables conducive to light dining and/or visiting or relaxing near the Trident Grill which features all sorts of grilled sandwiches, pizza, and my favorite, sweet potato fries. At the other end is the Lido Buffet which is beautifully done with an easy to follow buffet line that is anything but boring.

There is a new large hot tub next to the only pool onboard and plenty of lounge chairs all covered with terrycloth and lots more wicker loungers with cushioned comfort. The pool is sufficient for the number of cruisers actually wanting to use it.

Other areas on the upper decks include a spa/salon, putting green, golf swing area, and a paddle tennis court. There is a complete promenade deck with four times around equaling a mile.

On the fifth and sixth decks, are the main dining areas including two specialty restaurants, one Italian and one Asian. There is also a Bistro which serves a late breakfast and a light lunch in addition to specialty coffees. A movie theater, a dance lounge, the main entertainment lounge, a well-stocked library, a computer lab, a large room with card tables for learning bridge and keyboards for learning to play piano, a boutique shopping area, and of course the reception area enhanced by the midship fountain which is quite elegant.

The staterooms are well-appointed. Lots of storage space. So much in fact, that I didn’t have enough to fill it all. The bathroom is done in granite and decorative tile and includes two glass-bowled sinks as well as a mini-bathtub. Note in the picture of the stateroom that the bags are already there as we arrive in our room just around 3 p.m. about an hour and a half after boarding the ship. I think that’s a record in our experience.

Food and service are exemplary no matter where you go on the ship. I have yet to see a short-tempered crew member or one without a smile beaming no matter what time of day. Several of the crew members are amazing at remembering names and/or the usual things you like—cream in your decaf, for instance.

On board activities are varied and cater to enrichment programs (including learning foreign languages—this trip is French) thus making it a very interesting mix of passengers as well. Bottom line is however, you get what you pay for and this cruise line is on the higher end of the scale for cost. I don’t know how many cruises we could afford to take if we used it exclusively but it sure is a nice way to reach some areas not covered by other lines and just give yourself a chance to be pampered.

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