Fiona and I paid a visit to the Crystal Symphony as it was docked in Portsmouth. It was a sunny day and the waiting lounge was very warm. However, once we were on board it was pleasant and not too overbearing. The ship is smaller than some but the layout will be familiar to anyone who has been on a cruise ship before. The décor, to me, seemed stylish and contemporary, making it feel very light and spacious.
We walked up and down the wide staircase to take a look at the various dining options on board. These vary from the exclusive and speciality options to casual dining, café, grill or ice cream bar by the pool. We went into The Vintage Room – here you can have a tasting menu where you will be given choices from the vast range of wines available on board, or you can hire the room out for a private function. The table was laid and I have never seen 6 wine glasses per setting before! There are also the speciality restaurants; Prego offering Italian cuisine and, much to the excitement of some of the visitors, Silk Road which serves Asian food and is supervised by Nobu Matsuhisa known for his restaurants over the world!
The cabins are all outside with either a large picture window up to a good size balcony complete with lovely outdoor chairs with footstools in the Penthouse Suite. It is very easy to imagine that, with the butler service on offer, you could not feel the need to leave your cabin at all. Having stayed in hotels with very uncomfortable beds I had to make sure it would not be the case here – I can confirm it was not. I was impressed with the bathrooms which all had a double sink and full size bath some with shower over but the larger ones had a Jacuzzi bath with a separate shower.
We looked at the various entertainment rooms on board. The Hollywood Theatre was a good size but not so huge that you felt you were in a large concert hall. I liked the fact that there was a room dedicated for younger visitors with lots of games and activities to keep them occupied. They also offer supervised activities which can include cookie baking – I am not sure how the kitchen staff feel about that!
We visited the gym which has a variety of equipment and staff to offer advice. I particularly liked the fact there was a small outside area with some equipment so you could exercise outdoor and enjoy the views. There is a Spa with sauna and steam room and you can indulge in various therapies if you wish.
We ended our tour walking past the pool and Jacuzzi area which, as it was so warm, was very tempting. We then entered the Palm Court area which has spectacular panoramic windows and comfy seats where I could quite happily sit for hours, enjoy a cup of coffee, a drink or even a cream tea apparently.
As it was lunch time by then we were offered a splendid buffet lunch. Fiona much enjoyed the vegetable soup and I was impressed by the various ‘small bites’ on offer.
When it was time to leave we both felt we would have been very happy to stay on board and sail away into the sunset!