The luxury sector has never been move competitive, with new contenders and pretenders everywhere.
Crystal Cruises once held centre stage, winning awards for more than two decades.
Now, the line is fighting back.The Crystal Symphony has emerged from an expansive multi-million dollar make-over looking chic and contemporary as she sails on her 114-day world cruise from Capetown to Fort Lauderdale. She is now currently cruising in French Polynesia, where Cruise Passenger joined her for an inspection.
The ship has introduced a new open seating concept in her revamped main dining restaurant called the Waterside. Instead of the formal two seating arrangement where dinner is promptly served at 6pm and 8.30pm, now guests can simply walk in without any reservations.
There’s a new Silk Kitchen and bar restaurant on deck 11 serving dim sum and other Asian favourites including Hainanese chicken rice. For lovers of Brazilian food, there is the new Churrascaria, a stylish casual eatery for tapas, ceviche and grilled meats.
Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s restaurant has been renamed Umi Uma serving fine Japanese cuisine and has retained its popular, seven-seater, Sushi Bar.
A total of 40 new Seabreeze penthouse suites have been added on deck 9. Restyled in a soothing palette of beige, white and silver, the suites are elegant and spacious. The Seabreeze penthouse suites with verandah at 367 sq ft has a comfortable sofa with geometric designed pillows in white and dusky pink. Bigger penthouse suites at 491 sq ft have a separate lounge room, two flat-screen televisions and a built-in washer-dryer.
The drinks cabinet in light wood has subtle touches of gold. There is a Julius Meinl coffee machine with similar branded cups and saucers. The white and grey marble bathroom has double washbasins, a shower room big enough to fit two people and the water pressure from the Hansgrohe shower is heavenly. There are ample supplies of Etro bath products and fluffy Egyptian cotton towels.
All penthouse suites come with their own butler.
Crystal Symphony has also upped its internet offering giving passengers unlimited complimentary WiFi connectivity on any Crystal voyage. All public areas feature high-definition, interactive flat-panel televisions.
And the Starlite Club, the hub for evening dancing and cocktails has also been refitted.
Sister ship, Crystal Serenity is due for a major facelift later this year.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.