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In-Depth Crystal Cruises Information
In-Depth Crystal Cruises Information
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 The Fleet:

 Onboard:

 Stateroom and Suite Amenities:

 Cuisine:

 Entertainment and Enrichment:

 Spa and Fitness

 Children and Families:

Overview:
Combining the best design concepts of legendary ocean liners and world-class hotels with superb dining, exemplary service, modern amenities and destination-rich itineraries, Crystal Cruises was born in 1988 with the vision of setting a new standard in luxury travel. Crystal Harmony debuted in 1990 (retiring in 2005) followed by Crystal Symphony in 1995 and Crystal Serenity in 2003. Offering cruises of 7 to 89 nights and itineraries that include all 7 continents, Crystal ships are known for excellent dining, service and big-ship amenities, as well as onboard sushi bars, extensive wine cellars, paddle tennis, comprehensive Computer University @ Sea labs, and one of the one of the best enrichment programs in cruising.

Los Angeles-based, Crystal Cruises is owned by NYK Line, one of the world's largest shipping companies, and the only shipping company to be recognized by Ethisphere (in 2011) as one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies." Respectful treatment of the environment, oceans and communities in which they travel, is a cornerstone of Crystal Cruises culture. The cruise line's commitment is evidenced not only by their "Crystal Clean" campaign to facilitate a greener approach to sailing, but their innovative "You Care. We Care." Program that allows passengers a free excursion during which they can participate in a local volunteer effort.
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The Fleet:
Though not large by today's standards, Crystal's elegant, tastefully furnished and thoughtfully designed ships are the largest in the true luxury line category. Sporting the latest cutting-edge technology and electronic enhancements, the ships feature multiple restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, as well as spacious fitness facilities and luxurious spas. Although some staterooms might be slightly smaller than those of their competitors, Crystal boasts one of the highest space-per-guest ratios at sea and they clearly understand how to keep their ships contemporary while still maintaining the essential ambiance so treasured by their passengers.

The 51,044-ton Crystal Symphony accommodates 992 guests, while Crystal Serenity weighs in at 68,870 tons with a guest capacity of 1,070. Crystal Symphony underwent three major refurbishments: one in 2006, one in 2009, and the latest in 2012, focusing on redesign, updates and additions to both public areas and cabins, and marking the completion of an ambitious five-year $65 million project to redesign every room aboard the ship. In response to the increasing number of families and multigenerational family groups on some cruises, Crystal Symphony also recently completed a refitting of 18 cabins that can be used as 9 adjoining family suites.

Crystal Serenity received a $25 million makeover in 2011, with a complete cabin redesign as well as new lighting, carpeting and furnishings. The ship will undergo a further $17 million renovation in November of 2013, with a complete redo of the Crystal Penthouses, as well as reconfiguration and redesign of restaurants and public areas on the Pool Deck. Of interest to allergy sufferers and others with respiratory issues, the makeover will also include transformation of 70 verandah staterooms into the cruise industry's first hypoallergenic accommodations. Partnering with PURE Marine Solutions, sister company of leading allergy-friendly hospitality innovator PURE Global, the cabins will undergo a seven-step purification process to ensure elimination of 99% of pollutants in the room. Currently category "AA" staterooms, these cabins will be redesignated as categories "P1" and "P2" in April 2014. While PURE rooms are typically sold at a premium in the shoreside luxury properties currently featuring them, Crystal's Deluxe PURE Staterooms will be available to guests without additional charge.
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Onboard:
Atmosphere is luxurious and relaxed, with a nice variety of activities and the top-notch dining and service one would expect. Whether due to Crystal's "California" influence, the larger passenger capacity, or the cruise line's commitment to creating a sense of community among those on the ship, there is a palpable energy and vitality onboard. Fellow cruisers are well-heeled and well-traveled, generally couples in their 50s, although on some itineraries 30-and 40-somethings are not uncommon. Longer, more exotic cruises attract more of the 55-plus crowd.

In an effort to attract a younger demographic, Crystal has introduced a flexible dining option (in addition to the traditional dining that is still clearly a favorite of many) and even some shorter itineraries. Particularly during holidays or the summer months it's not uncommon to find multi-generational family groups on board, with as many as 100 kids on some of the week-long Mediterranean, Alaska, or even Caribbean itineraries. They've also made their fares more inclusive, covering an all-inclusive wine and spirits menu, bottled water, soda, juices and specialty coffee, specialty restaurants (with the exception of The Vintage Room), and gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining room staff.

Dress is a mix of active resort wear to elegant casual during the day. Each evening has a specific dress code for dining and public areas, ranging from Resort Casual (slacks and sweater or shirt for men; casual dress, skirt or slacks with sweater or blouse for women) to Elegant Casual (suit or slacks with jacket over a sweater or shirt for men - ties optional; cocktail dress, skirt or slacks with a sweater or blouse for women) to Black Tie/Formal (dark suit with tie, or tuxedo for men; formal cocktail dress, gown or dressy evening separates for women). The number of evenings specified for each dress code is provided on the cruise ticket as well as online. Casual daytime attire is not permitted after 6 pm in dining rooms or public areas (except for al fresco dining on deck, when available).
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Stateroom and Suite Amenities:
Staterooms on both ships are all oceanview with a large percentage featuring verandahs, and Penthouse categories that include personal butler service. Cabin sizes range from 202-226 square feet for oceanview and 491-1345 square feet for the Penthouse accommodations. All staterooms are attractively furnished in contemporary boutique-hotel style, with queen-sized beds that can convert to two twins, sumptuous linens and pillow menu, seating area, bathrooms with double sinks, bath tub/shower combination, Aveda bath products and hairdryer, flat-panel television with DVD/CD player, refrigerator with complimentary bottled water and soft drinks (and complimentary select beer, wine and spirits upon request), Frette bathrobes and slippers to borrow, safe, and plenty of storage space. Penthouse accommodations, available in several levels of increasing luxury, all have Jacuzzi bath tubs and butler service in addition to many other amenities.

Smoking is prohibited in Penthouses, staterooms and on balconies, in addition to being fairly restricted in many other areas. Beginning January 2014 it will also be prohibited in all indoor areas except the Connoisseur Club smoking lounge, with outside smoking allowed only in a limited number of designated spaces.
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Cuisine:
Dining is a superb experience in terms of cuisine and attentive service. Menus in the main restaurant are elaborate and comfortably varied, featuring continental as well as regional-themed offerings, light choices, and vegetarian options. Special diets can be accommodated, and the sumptuous desserts range from decadent to more healthy. Dinner seating is either traditional with assigned times and tablemates or Open Dining by Reservation for those wishing more flexibility. Casual dining options include the Lido Cafe with smartly placed food islands replacing the traditional long buffet counters, The Bistro, and Trident Bar & Grill. Lavishly arranged lunch buffets are offered on deck during select days at sea, and proper English tea at the Palm Court is a delightful tradition. Specialty restaurants include Nobu's Silk Road and The Sushi Bar for Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine and sushi, and Prego, featuring signature Italian dishes. For a special occasion guests can splurge on dinner in The Vintage Room, sampling extraordinary wines paired with delicious culinary creations of famed visiting chefs.
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Entertainment and Enrichment:
Enrichment opportunities abound through Creative Learning Institute workshop offerings on topics such as the arts, wine, wellness, and history, and guest lecturers on a variety of subjects. The Computer University at Sea features hands-on instruction in everything from how to write a financial spreadsheet to social media, as well as lectures on the state of technology. Recent-release films are shown in the surround-sound Hollywood Theatre, and both ships have a lively casino, art auctions, and games. There's even a dedicated Bridge Lounge for daily instruction and play.

Entertainment offerings include lavish Broadway-style musical theatre productions, piano bars, cocktails and dancing in the Starlite and Stardust Clubs, and after-hours dancing and karaoke in Luxe and Pulse nightclubs. Professional dance instructors offer complimentary classes in the most classic dance steps, and Ambassador Hosts are available to dance with ladies lacking a dance partner.
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Spa and Fitness
Consistently ranked among the world's most renowned resort and destination spas by Spa Finder and Conde Nast Traveler, the Feng-shui inspired Crystal Spa offers a variety of pampering treatments including facials, body wraps, body therapy and massage, as well as the full service Crystal Salon with its sweeping ocean views. This tranquil environment is complemented by a private canopied relaxation area for guests to further unwind before or after a treatment.

The fitness center features state-of-the-art equipment and a variety of classes including Pilates, "Tour de Spin" cycling, Kinesis systems, yoga, Tai Chi, and more. The 360-degree wraparound teak Promenade Deck is ideal for walking or jogging, and the cruise line also offers WOW Walk on Water with weighted vests, and a Nordic Walking program. Other onboard fitness facilities include paddle tennis courts, table tennis, shuffleboard courts, lovely pools and whirlpools, as well as golf driving ranges and putting greens, with a qualified PGA golf pro on board to offer classes and clinics.
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Children and Families:
Although one typically thinks of Crystal as being a luxury cruise line for adult travelers, they were the first luxury line to make a significant commitment to attracting families by upgrading children's onboard facilities and activities, and a Crystal cruise works well for some families. While there is typically an older crowd on exotic or longer itineraries, well-heeled families and multi-generational families are choosing Crystal for Alaska, Europe and Caribbean cruises. During Holiday cruises and virtually all summer sailings, both ships offer a fully supervised Junior Activities program for kids 3-17, with separate play areas for kids, juniors, and teens. New Magic Castle at Sea "junior cruisers" classes and shows are offered onboard during summer cruises, and every Crystal cruise offers family-friendly learning and entertainment, from iPad Digital Filmmaking classes to dedicated onboard spaces for the younger set. Activities can include everything from scavenger hunts, cooking classes, and behind-the-scenes tours, to movies, dancing, mini-Olympics, pool games and late-night pool parties. For kids not wishing to participate in the youth programs, a Crystal cruise can also be a good time for parents and kids to spend some quality time together. The cruise reported a 20 percent increase family groups onboard in 2012 over 2011, and 2013 had surpassed 2012 in this regard before the year was even out.

In-stateroom babysitting is available for a fee on a first-come first-served basis for children 1 year and older, on all sailings and depending upon demand.
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