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For those who sail on Crystal Cruises, 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.
Crystal Cruises, owned by the large Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha, goes the extra mile: Its $120 million spent on ship makeovers in recent years have refreshed the fleet and have added new enhancements that include the addition of 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."
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. See more details in Eileen Ogintz's article Family cruises on Crystal Cruises.
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 guests like luxury without the pretentiousness and enjoy exploring a variety of interesting destinations rather than a quick dash to the Bahamas. You'll also find more solo cruisers than on most ships and some children, depending on school breaks.
Crystal has been busy lately remaking itself into a larger brand that's all about luxury experiences. In addition to Serenity, Symphony and Crystal Esprit (launched in December 2015), Crystal has launched the expedition ship Crystal Endeavour as well as a fleet of river yachts:
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 six to 108 days. See the ships below for their upcoming itineraries.
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“Both ships are superbly maintained, and passengers who seek fine food in a sophisticated setting should be delighted with their choice of ship and company.”