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For those who sail on Crystal ships, it's easy to see why the cruise line wins so many accolades and fans: Extraordinary service, abundant space, exceptional quality and incredible choices are the reasons you'll love this ultra-luxe cruise line. The Crystal brand conveys friendly, top-flight service without offputting formality.
Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are the two highest-rated ships in the world — both ships and Crystal Cruises have garnered a slew of 5-star ratings (including from Cruiseable). The line has been voted World's Best by readers of Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler more than any other cruise line, hotel or resort in history.
The cruise line's previous owners, Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha, encountered choppy waters when the pandemic hit, resulting in bankruptcy proceedings. After the line's five European riverboats and one expedition vessel were sold off, the line was given a second wind in 2022 by its new owners, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent. A&K is remaking the Crystal brand from the ground up, starting with refurbishments of Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony in 2022-23 and with plans for adding additional ships.
Changes under the new ownership include a reduced number of passengers, affording more roominess, as well as a refreshed design on board, an upgrade to some staterooms, a larger gym, and the addition of paddle and pickleball courts on both ships.
Many of the ships’ most popular amenities remain intact, such as the PURE hypoallergenic staterooms and stylishly redesigned penthouses as well as new culinary offerings like molecular gastronomy-based cuisine in the Crystal dining rooms and global-inspired tapas in Tastes.
Crystal introduced open-seating dining in 2011; you can also opt for a choice of fixed-time dining. And its ships offer five evening dining choices in all, including two specialty dining restaurants at no charge. The exquisite cuisine, prepared by renowned world-class chefs such as Nobu Matsuhisa, will remind you of the best dining experiences you've ever have — on land or sea.
Crystal also shines for its wide variety of enrichment programs (wine-tasting, languages, etc.), top-notch entertainment, a sublime Spa & Salon, and its elegant staterooms, among the most comfortable you'll find on a cruise ship. As one publication put it, "Crystal Penthouses are drop-dead gorgeous, with furnishings that wouldn’t be out of place in a Manhattan penthouse."
Guests on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are attracted by Crystal's exceptional service and diverse enrichment programs. They tend to be well heeled but not overly conscious about it, with mostly North Americans and some Europeans.
Crystal offers “Kids Sail Free” programs on some cruises. Fantasia, Crystal's junior activities program, welcomes kids ages 3-12. Activities for children ages 12 and under include arts and crafts, roving reporter, scavenger hunts, fort building and more. Waves, for ages 13-17, is a separate teen club and video arcade with Xbox 360s and Playstations, late-night pool parties, movies and more.
Crystal's ships visit both classic and exotic ports of call. Set sail to Europe, New England and Canada, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand and the Caribbean. Journey lengths vary, with voyages ranging from five to 115 days.
What kind of cruise do you want? Use Cruiseable's Bliss Filters — and fine-tune your results — to see upcoming Crystal Cruises that are a perfect match for you!
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“Ships are superbly maintained, and passengers who seek fine food in a sophisticated setting should be delighted with their choice of ship and company.”