Crystal Symphony officially re-entered service last Friday (Sept. 1) following an extensive refurbishment after being purchased by A&K Travel Group last summer.
Departing on its inaugural voyage from Athens, the vessel which accommodates 606 guests, joins sister ship Crystal Serenity in a new chapter for the luxury brand.
With nearly one staff member per guest and an impressive space-to-guest ratio (84.2 cu. ft. for every guest), Symphony now boasts larger, revamped suites, specialty dining restaurants and expansive public spaces.
The ship’s re-entry to service marks an impressive feat – in just one year, and on schedule, Crystal revitalized two ships and returned more than 80 per cent of the line’s beloved crew.
“We are so proud that Crystal Symphony has officially joined Crystal Serenity back in the water, signaling an exciting new chapter for Crystal – two ships refurbished and back in service in under a year is completely unprecedented,” said Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group, in a press release.
“The ship’s exceptional enhancements reflect our unwavering commitment to providing guests with inspiration and enrichment as they sail to the globe’s most coveted destinations.”
Following the ship’s inaugural voyage from Athens to Istanbul, Crystal Symphony will sail eastward, towards destinations such as Santorini, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi and Mumbai.
For the remainder of 2023, the ship will sail throughout Oceania visiting locales including Sydney, Auckland, Papua New Guinea and Bali.
Crystal collaborated with cruise ship architectural firm, GEM, to revamp select guest rooms and suites.
The refreshed design incorporates a palette of neutral shades and elevated touchpoints, enhanced by gentle pastel tones reminiscent of the ocean’s colors.
As part of the ship’s refurbishments, there are two new guest room categories – the Jr. Crystal Penthouse Suite and Single Guest Room with Ocean View, which serves as an option for solo travelers.
These new categories will also increase the availability of the Sapphire Suite category.
With 10 distinct dining options, including 24-hour in-suite dining service, guests onboard Crystal Symphony now have access to culinary experiences such as Umi Uma, the only Nobu dining concept at sea,
In addition to now offering a full-sized paddle tennis and pickleball court and a revamped fitness center, Crystal’s new spa concept, Aurōra offers a fresh design with light-bright neutral colours, an illuminated fibre optic starlight ceiling and organic materials like natural salt crystal and silk-brushed slate stone.
Four new ships
In addition to Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity being back in service, Crystal recently announced the brand is currently working with advisors, lenders and export credit agents to sign a memorandum of agreement with two European shipbuilders.
The agreement is poised to include the development of four new ships in the next six years including two classic ships and two expedition vessels.
Earlier this year, Crystal announced a new website and updated branding, including a new name and vision for the cruise line: “Crystal – Exceptional at Sea.”
Meanwhile, other ships formally operated by Crystal Cruises have wound up in different hands.
Last year, Royal Caribbean Group acquired Crystal Endeavor, which joined the Silversea fleet as Silver Endeavour.
Riverside Luxury Cruises, a start-up based in Germany, has also purchased former Crystal river ships – MS Bach, MS Ravel, MS Mahler and MS Debussy.
The company also acquired Crystal Mozart – which has been renamed Riverside Mozart – last November.