If you didn’t get the memo, the beloved luxury brand Crystal Cruises went belly up about a year ago. Its two luxury liners, Symphony and Serenity, were purchased on the auction block by the prestigious travel company Abercrombie & Kent.
A&K has altered the cruise line's name to Crystal: Exceptional at Sea but retained the ships' names. They've been redesigned and reimagined to include more spacious suites and staterooms, nine restaurants, dazzling décor, a new spa, gym and even a pickleball court.
Much to the delight of Crystal’s foodie fans, world-famous Master Chef Nobuyuki (Nobu) Matsuhisa will once again offer his culinary creations for your dining pleasure in the superb Japanese-influenced venue UMI UMA.
Nobu restaurants on Crystal Cruises were always a guest favorite — including that of myself and my husband Richard. And much to our delight, and that of the luxury line's past passengers, it will be back on board when the cruise line returns to service this summer.
Crystal Serenity’s inaugural sailing will depart July 31, from Marseille for a Mediterranean cruise, and Crystal Symphony will depart on Sept. 1 from Athens. Planned voyages will take passengers throughout the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
“It wouldn’t be Crystal without having one of the most popular restaurants UMI UMA back on board when the new Crystal sets sail,” said Senior Vice President Hotel Operations of Crystal Bernie Leypold. “Crystal’s guests have come to know and love the exquisite offerings chef Nobu has created specifically for UMI UMA and we are so grateful for Crystal to be the only cruise line with a Nobu restaurant at sea.”
While food and drinks are free on Crystal, UMI UMA comes with a charge after passengers dine once on sailings of 11 days or twice on longer voyages. It is by reservation only, while other dining venues offer open seating.
The ships' makeovers
Symphony returns with larger updated suites that include artisanal finishes, cutting-edge onboard wellness programs and the line’s world-class dining and entertainment. With more than nine dining options aboard each ship as well as a leading spa, fitness facilities and large pool, there are ample choices for all.
The suites and guest rooms are bigger and more detailed with contemporary craftsmanship such as marble quarried from Italy, modern furnishings and fine cotton linens.
Having sailed with Crystal about a dozen times, I am hoping A&K can continue to offer the exceptional service and amenities my husband and I enjoyed before the former line's financial woes. And I'm betting they will.
Both the spa and the gym will be upgraded. The Wimbledon courts will host both paddle tennis and pickleball. A refreshed approach to entertainment and events programming has been developed, too.
Staterooms in the redo
Accommodations include the opulent Crystal Penthouse Suite: It looks to be a truly heavenly 850 square feet of luxury with a 107 square foot veranda. It has a personal butler to cater to your needs.
Junior Crystal Penthouse Suite: This one consists of 646 square feet of luxury with separate dining and living areas. It looks out to a private veranda and is accompanied by butler service.
Sapphire Veranda Suite: This 430 sq. ft. suite hosts a living area, lavish furnishings and private veranda, accompanied by butler service.
Sapphire Ocean View Suite: This one runs 430 sq. ft. and comes with ocean views and butler service. Contact Cruiseable or check out the website for additional stateroom information.
Both Crystal ocean liners have been scaled down in terms of passenger load. The reinvented Crystal Serenity now can host 740 passengers and Symphony 606. The idea was to make them more intimate and likely to make them more competitive with small luxury lines like Seabourn, Regent and Silversea.
I can't wait for my next opportunity to see the new ships in person.
Ready to cruise in luxury?
Interested in hearing more about the new Crystal ships? Contact a Cruiseable travel consultant in our business department at 1-866-3773 or email [email protected].