A Transatlantic with a difference.
Having had 3 superb cruises on sister ship Serenity, we looked forward to cruising on the smaller Crystal Symphony along the Eastern Seaboard of the USA , embarking in New York. After 3 fabulous days in New York, we embarked at the Manhattan terminal, a speedy, welcoming and well organised process, and as soon as our hand luggage was whisked away, had a delightful champagne lunch . We sat by the pool in glorious sunshine until cabins were ready, speedily unpacked , changed and had a swim in the lovely pool. Waiters were on hand to proffer drinks as we lounged in the comfortable circular seats. Symphony proved a delightful ship, elegant, spacious, perfectly maintained , with a quality rarely found on a cruise ship. Our Promenade deck cabin was quite small, but beautifully furnished in light woods, with plenty of storage, wonderfully comfortable bed with high quality Frette bedding, a well stocked fridge, and a lovely marble bathroom with small tub and twin sinks. Unlike many ships, the uncluttered teak promenade was well below the level of staterooms, so guests never feel that they can be overlooked. Cabin services was efficient, unobtrusive and thorough. A delightful, fountain - decorated atrium is mid ships, with a popular , charming bar on the lowest level where a pianist plays a crystal piano in the evening, and the upper level has a terrific Bistro cafe with a great range of snacks, small bites and good coffees. The ship's shops , also on the upper level, were closed for several days as suppliers were in the process of changing over, but when they did open, we were very disappointed with quality the overpriced merchandise with limited choices. Dining was a delight, in a beautifully laid out main dining room which has superb menus, offering both modern and traditional dishes, daily changing , accompanied by daily selections of quality wines, correctly served. Alternately , we dined in the alternative fine dining Prego, with tempting Mediterranean dishes cooked to order, and perfect service. We decided not to visit the Nobu restaurant Silk Road on this cruise,or the proper sushi bar, preferring Italian food. For guests who wanted casual dining, alternatives were offered in the lovely Lido, a venue we chose daily for lunch. Our favourite lunch spot was in the open air section of the Lido, enjoying excellent menus from a wide choice, and particularly liked the Asian and Mediterranean themed lunches. An additional delight were the range of tiny, tempting perfect desserts, sure to break any diet resolutions. It was hard to resist an extra glass of the excellent wines proffered . Not to be missed were the themed afternoon teas, especially a Mozart tea with incredible Viennese cakes and pastries, offered by costumed waiters. A gala lunch buffet was a culinary highlight, with a most amazing display of the chef's skills. Waiters assisted in carrying guests' choices to a table, and organised the drinks service. A favourite spot was the gorgeous Palm Court, with its lovely decor and comfortable seating, overlooking the ocean. A perfect spot for pre.- dinner or pre- show drinks served by attentive waiters. As we looked out over the Atlantic we were entertained by live music, on this jazz themed cruise , a jazz trio, a singer or a lively jazz group, played nightly. Daily activities and evening entertainment on Crystal are extremely well organised and varied, creative crafts, sports, dancing, good lectures, social activities and learning experiences all feature daily, and each evening gave us so many choices. There were production shows, quiet music, a terrific jazz group, recent release films in the cinema, a dance band and bars with live music . In port, Crystal organised free shuttles to city centres, plus a wide range of well organised , though expensive ,tours.
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