Upgraded Crystal Cruise Ship Finally Returns to Service

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Crystal, the ultra-luxe line formerly known as Crystal Cruises, has relaunched its second ship, Crystal Symphony, following a major interior refurbishment at a Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

The ship has embarked on her inaugural voyage from Athens to Istanbul, joining sister ship Crystal Serenity in an exciting new chapter for the highly regarded cruise line.

Crystal Symphony Embarks on Inaugural Cruise

A revitalized Crystal Symphony, one of Crystal’s two luxury ships, has returned to sea following a massive renovation, departing on her inaugural cruise from Athens on September 1, 2023. Her debut followed sister ship Crystal Serenity’s relaunch in late July, also fresh out of the shipyard and newly refurbished.

The two ships were acquired just over a year ago by A&K Travel Group, the luxury travel and tour company, after Crystal Cruises’ owner, Genting Group, went bankrupt. The planned relaunch of the cruise brand was originally announced in February 2023.

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.

Crystal Symphony Cruise Ship
Crystal Symphony Cruise Ship

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,Levis added.

During the ship’s inaugural voyage from Athens to Istanbul, Crystal Symphony will call at Santorini, Patmos, and Kos, all in Greece, and Izmir, Turkey.

Following the debut cruise, the ship will sail 7- to 10-night cruises between Rome and Venice until early October, then head eastward to offer sailings to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Mumbai. Later in the year, the ship will sail the South Pacific, including to Sydney, Auckland, Papua New Guinea, and Bali.

Crystal Serenity, meanwhile, departed on her post-renovation cruise just weeks ago, on July 31, a 12-night voyage from Marseille, France to Lisbon, Portugal. The ship, on January 18, 2024, will set sail on a 141-night World Cruise sailing that will visit 62 destinations in 29 countries.

New Spaces, Services Onboard Crystal Symphony

Crystal Symphony, like her sister ship, was redesigned to accommodate fewer guests and offer enhanced public spaces. The 51,044-gross ton Crystal Symphony now has a guest capacity of 606, down from 960 guests, while the 68,870-gross ton Crystal Serenity now accommodates 740, down from 1,040.

Read Also: Top 30 Cruise Accessories You’ll Want to Have Packed

Crystal Symphony offers 10 dining options, including Master Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s Umi Uma, which serves Japanese-Peruvian cuisine; Osteria D’Ovidio, named for Crystal’s Executive Chairman, Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, and specializes in traditional Italian meals; The Bistro, a modern café and coffee bar; and the ship’s main dining venue, Waterside Restaurant.

Crystal Cruises, New lavish Designs
Crystal Cruises, New lavish Designs

As part of the ship’s refurbishments, two guest room categories were added, the Junior Crystal Penthouse Suite and Single Guest Room with Ocean View, the latter serving as an option for solo travelers. Sapphire Veranda Suites, measuring up to 430 square feet, feature butler service and can be booked in both new and classic designs.

The ship’s wellness facilities were also updated and expanded to include paddle tennis and pickleball courts and the cruise line’s new spa, Aurora, offering an extensive roster of treatments and salon services.

Crystal Planning For Larger Fleet

Crystal plans to expand its fleet and construct four new cruise ships in the next six years. The brand is working with advisors, lenders, and others to draft a memorandum of agreement with two unnamed European shipbuilders. The line plans to build two classic ships and two expedition vessels.

Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony originally launched in 2005 and 1995, respectively. Crystal Serenity was built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, while Crystal Symphony was constructed at what is now a division of the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland.

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