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At Crystal Cruises’ gala sailing for top producing agents in June, recent renovations for the 940-passenger Crystal Symphony were awarded an enthusiastic round of applause. The 15-year-old Symphony’s $25 million makeover, which took place last October following an earlier $25 million refurbishment, brought many new features to the ship, including:
• A redesign of the Crystal Penthouse• A transformed Lido Restaurant• A new Trident Lounge where the Neptune Pool was formerly located • Sleek new decor in the Prego restaurant. • Swarovski Crystal chandeliers • Cashmere throws• New pool deck furniture• An enormous Jacuzzi at the main pool
Trident Lounge, where the little-used Neptune pool was replaced by tables and chairs, a grill, bar and ice cream bar, is a very popular gathering place, in use from morning to night for meals, snacks, relaxing and parties.
Symphony’s 982-square-foot suites were remodeled from top to bottom, with expanded living space and floor-to-ceiling dining room windows. Oceanview bathrooms offer large Philippe Starck-designed bathtubs, glass mosaic tiles and recessed televisions.
Staterooms look new as well, and the Crystal Penthouse was reconfigured with a spectacular main bathroom looking out to sea. The Penthouse Jacuzzi is now located indoors with a large glassed-in shower and unusual marble accents throughout. The balcony was cut in half, although it is still large enough to accommodate lounge chairs, table and chairs, and the extra space was brought indoors to house a dining room table in a glass bay window that is one of the Penthouse’s nicest features.
Prego, Symphony’s Italian restaurant, possessed a very warm, stylish feel with chocolate suede walls and accents of lime green, orange and yellow.
Crystal president Gregg Michel said that the new Lido deck, with its open kitchen and service islands and top-of-the-line pizza ovens and woks, has been very successful, and Crystal is looking at doing something similar onboard sister ship Serenity on her drydock next May. Michel said that the company will likely build forward on Serenity, going into an area where there are currently two large restrooms, and that removal of a pool would be unlikely.
A new Jacuzzi graces the Crystal Symphony's Pool Deck // © 2010 Crystal Cruises
“We really want to have product consistency,” Michel added.
Part of that consistency lies in such moves as Crystal’s two Nobu restaurants. They represent a real coup for Crystal, since the internationally known chef Nobu Matsuhisa receives daily requests to open restaurants in new locales and is noted for his passionate insistence on exactly the same quality in those he does initiate, from product supply to preparation and service.
Occupying the former Jade Garden space on both the Serenity and the Symphony, the Nobu restaurants each accommodate a total of 68 guests. While there is no charge for dining there, reservations are highly recommended for Silk Road; dining at the adjoining Sushi Bar is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Michel pointed to the high ratings and awards that Crystal’s ships have consistently received as evidence that the ships compete very successfully against luxury newbuilds. However, he said that as the market shows evidence of stable recovery the company is likely to consider a new vessel order.