Part of what makes Crystal Cruises stand out from the crowd is their spacious public areas, restaurants and onboard entertainment. I believe when it comes to luxury cruising, where you pay top notch prices, expectations need to be surpassed. The Crystal Symphony does not disappoint it may even in fact set your luxury standard. Part 2 of my review talks about a few of the things that really stood out while I was on the Crystal Symphony.
Palm Court Tea: Around 3:30 PM almost every day, port day or sea day it did not matter you could find me forward on deck 11, sitting in Palm Court enjoying a full English High Tea. Palm Court is filled with cozy couches and over sized chairs with panoramic views of whatever destination you just so happen to be that day. Your tea menu is already on the table, choose from a variety of black teas, herbal teas and green teas. It comes served in an individual pewter tea pot at the perfect temperature for drinking – not once did I burn my mouth! This did not taste like your average boil hot water add tea bag beverage either. With a pianist leisurely playing in the background you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed at first, as tray after tray of scones, clotted cream (I don’t even want to know the calories in clotted cream but it was magical), cookies, brownies, and these fantastic mini sandwiches in all sorts of flavors are presented to you. They say ambience is everything, and that may be the case here, but to this day whenever I drink tea, I still cannot get over how I had that “perfect cup of tea” every day on the Symphony. Palm Court Tea is a must at least once, for anyone sailing on Crystal Cruises, just make sure you skip lunch and plan a late dinner that night, you’ll be stuffed by the time you leave.
Prego & Silk Road: Prego and Silk Road are the two alternative dining restaurants on board the Crystal Symphony. Depending on the length of your cruise you will have at least one complimentary reservation in each restaurant if not more. Prego is Italian themed and features all the classics veal scaloppine, gnocchi, caprese..but my two recommendations are the beef carpaccio & mushroom soup. The carpaccio is a bit of performance art with your meal the way your server applies the olive oil, balsamic, squeeze of lemon and pinch of pepper. The aged balsamic really kicks the whole dish up to another level, I would do shots of that aged balsamic if it wasn’t for the fact I was on a five star luxury ship in the middle of dinner – sometimes you have to be a little classy. Silk Road is the other equally delicious alternative dining restaurant. Traditional Japanese with flares of Peruvian and European influences it is comprised of both a sushi bar and a traditional dining area. The sushi bar is first come first serve- no reservations, and for you sushi fanatics it is real treat! If you are a sushi fan you have undoubtedly heard of the world
renowned master chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa. Crystal Cruises has partnered with the Master Chef on Silk Road so you can rest assured your eating well as Nobu-trained chefs prepare your Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño. With both dining venues reservations are not required but you may want to make them in advanced anyway, the restaurants are popular and if you are looking at going during a specific time it is highly recommended.
Magic Castle @ Sea: On every cruise ship there is various forms of entertainment. They have movies, production shows, lectures, enrichment classes and Crystal was no different in this respect. Yes some (myself included) will argue about the merits of varying cruise companies entertainment, some are better than others but what was really special on the Crystal Symphony was their partnership with Magic Castle and the Magic Castle at Sea show. I am a fan of magic shows – who doesn’t like to believe in a little wonder. Every year learning a magic trick is on my list of new years resolutions and one of these days I will learn! I was a bit apprehensive about how a magic show would translate on a cruise ship, without being comical, in a bad way but was more than pleased by the end of the show. David Kovac from Chicago was the Magician on my cruise and he turned out a great performance. The magic is extremely up close, sleight of hand my favorite kind, leaving no room for error and no fancy big mirrors that make the elephant disappear. You go into it, thinking you’re going to “catch” them making a mistake because “you know better” after watching every episode of Breaking the Magician’s code, but by the time it is over you’re giving a standing ovation because you have no idea how that torn dollar bill wound up in the orange! Make sure you sign up early, this intimate performance is only done a few times each cruise and tickets sell out quickly. The icing on the cake – keep your ticket as it doubles as entry to LA’s Magic Castle, which with the exception of special events, is generally only open to guests invited by Magicians already affiliated with the Magic Castle.
There are a multitude of reasons that make Crystal Cruises and the Crystal Symphony a fantastic choice for your next vacation, these are only just a few of the highlights.
Until next time,
Interested in taking your own Crystal Cruise? Check out my dedicated Crystal Cruise Line Website for sailing information and specials, Don’t forget to reach out and let me help make your vacation even more memorable.