Crystal Symphony returns to service

Crystal Symphony, one of the jewels of the luxury cruise industry, has officially returned to service after an extensive refurbishment. Following its acquisition by A&K Travel Group last summer, the second of Crystal Cruises‘ two units has undergone a transformation that promises to redefine the standards of luxury cruising.

The refurbishment operations have encompassed a significant portion of the ship’s interiors and services. One of the most striking features is the impressive crew-to-guest ratio, with nearly one staff member dedicated to each guest. This translates into impeccable service and a personalized experience, making every passenger feel like a true VIP on board.

Many onboard spaces have undergone a remarkable transformation, with larger and renovated suites offering unmatched comfort and elegance. Crystal Symphony now boasts award-winning specialty restaurants, offering guests an expanded and diverse range of dining options. Common areas such as bars and lounges have been meticulously designed to create a welcoming and luxurious atmosphere, further enhancing the overall guest experience.

One of the most notable achievements of this project has been the speed at which the work was carried out, with Crystal Symphony and its sister ship, Crystal Serenity, returning to service in just one year. This rapid turnaround demonstrates the dedication and expertise of the Crystal team, which has also ensured the retention of over 80% of beloved crew members.

Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group, expressed her pride in this milestone, stating, “We are so proud that Crystal Symphony has officially joined Crystal Serenity, both now in operation, marking an exciting new chapter for Crystal. Two refurbished ships returning to service in less than a year is completely unprecedented. The ship’s exceptional improvements reflect our unwavering commitment to providing guests with inspiration and enrichment as they sail to the world’s most coveted destinations.”

The collaboration between Crystal Cruises and the renowned naval architecture firm GEM has resulted in the refurbishment of some guest cabins and suites. The redesigned design features a soothing palette of neutral tones complemented by delicate pastel shades reminiscent of ocean colors. Two new guest room categories have been introduced: the Jr. Crystal Penthouse Suite and the Single Guest Room with Ocean View, catering to solo travelers and increasing the availability of the popular Sapphire Suite category.

The refurbishment of Crystal Symphony also extends to its wellness facilities. The ship now boasts a full-sized paddle tennis and pickleball court, a revamped fitness center, and a new spa concept called Aurōra. This spa offers a modern design, with a ceiling illuminated by fiber optic lights and organic materials such as natural salt crystals and silk-brushed slate stone.

The extensive spa treatment offerings include customized facials, massage treatments, and a full-service salon, with special programs such as the SuperTech Facial, Chariot of Light Massage, and Grown Alchemist Restoration Shave.

After the inaugural voyage from Athens to Istanbul, Crystal Symphony is preparing to explore some of the world’s most exciting and culturally rich destinations. The ship will sail eastward, taking passengers to Santorini, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, and Mumbai. For the rest of 2023, the ship’s itinerary includes visits to Oceania, with stops in Sydney, Auckland, Papua New Guinea, and Bali.

The resumption of operations by the two ships in the fleet is just the first step in Crystal Cruises‘ development policy. The brand is currently working on an agreement with two European shipyards to develop four new ships in the next six years, including two classic ships and two expedition vessels.

Stay tuned for more information, tips, and reviews of Crystal Cruises on Cruising Journal, with opinions, photos, videos, and special cruise offers.

Gabriele Bassi