Symphony's posh Crystal Penthouse Suite sitting room
Every season there's a fashionable new "look" for women to
aspire to and it's much the same for cruise ships. Like we ladies
who have reached a "certain maturity," our feminine
floating counterparts also appreciate a bit of sprucing up to belie
the passage of time.
years" Crystal Cruises' luxurious Crystal Symphony is but a
youngster (launched in 1995); however, a ship at sea doesn't age
quite as gracefully as her land bound cruise mates. There's all that
sun and salt water to contend with, not to mention all the water
under her keel and the wear and tear imposed by thousands of guests
who scurry up her gangway every year.
What's a fair maiden
to do? The answer for women can be as simple as a new shade of eye
shadow to perk up a tired appearance or as complex as a complete
surgical makeover. For cruise liners, the equivalent of a trip to a
health spa is the dry-dock. While sailing on the newest ship at sea
certainly holds appeal for many passengers, cruise lines are anxious
to keep their entire fleets in pristine condition.
Take for instance the
care with which Crystal Cruises has routinely enhanced the already luxurious
Crystal Symphony. In 2001, the 50,000-ton, 940-guest
vessel emerged from renovations all a-glow. In addition to several
contemporary design updates, many of Crystal Symphony's public areas
and the two sumptuous 982-square-foot Crystal Penthouses were
treated to a new look during the scheduled winter dry-dock.
According to Gregg L.
Michel, president, Crystal Cruises, "Our refurbishment strategy
is always guided by our commitment to product quality, service and
innovation. To maintain, and to further enhance Crystal Cruises'
leadership position in the luxury market, we strive for innovation
in design, function and product delivery."
Symphony's Sophisticated Crystal Cove and Plaza
How was that
accomplished? First of all, the Crystal Cove and Plaza, the central
lobby area and popular gathering place aboard Crystal Symphony, were
completely outfitted with new furnishings. The soothing gray toned
decor of the two-story atrium complements turquoise shades featured
in the adjacent Crystal Dining Room and the new color scheme was
further highlighted by rich blue and lavender patterns, turquoises and
grays. Italian sofas and armchairs, with modern leather accent
pieces added to the updated look. Custom patterned carpeting in
greens, purples, and gray runs through the Crystal Cove, while the
Crystal Plaza features a large, hand-woven area rug. Filmy silver
drapery and jacquard curtains in green-green and metallic lavender
frame expansive windows. The room's residential feel is enhanced
when the curtains are drawn at night.
Symphony's completely renovated Jade Garden Restaurant
Asian specialty restaurant, Jade Garden, was remodeled from floor to
ceiling and sports new paneling, carpet, furniture, framed artwork
and lighting. Geometric patterns in crisp royal blue, maroon, gold
and jade contrast with the soft cream, yellow, and taupe-hued
backgrounds of dining chairs and carpets. Blonde-toned wood,
atmospheric lighting and bamboo-framed Asian artwork and more modern
pieces with brushed gold, completes the sophisticated backdrop for a
unique dining experience. Even new menu covers and sleek outfits for
the wait staff complement the stylish new surroundings.
On Penthouse Deck,
Crystal Symphony's most expansive accommodations, the two 982 square
feet Crystal Penthouses, were transformed from top to bottom (top
photo above). According to Crystal
Cruises, "...the spacious suites were completely renovated to replicate the
drawing room, master suite, and bath of a discerning world
traveler's private residence. The hand-tufted entrance carpet and
elegantly upholstered walls immediately convey elegance. The living
room features a mix of sophisticated dark wood dining, cocktail and
end tables and upholstered silk and satin sofas, accent chairs and
fringed pillows. While the most pervasive color is gold, the two
Crystal Penthouses are distinguished by a soft accent color of rust
or blue. The entertainment center houses state-of-the-art audio
visual equipment, including a new, large 35-inch flat-screen color
television, DVD and new CD and stereo components. Wheat-colored
Axminster carpeting, residential lighting, and new frames on both
original artwork and classic prints add to the comfortable, yet
sumptuous, ambiance. Balloon shades, framed mirrors and subtle
lighting, with dimmers, embellish the marble master bath. Fine bed
linens and bath towels augment the new décor."
Crystal Cruises reported these additional Crystal Symphony dry-dock
The Lido Café,
one of the ship's casual dining venues with indoor and outdoor
seating for extensive breakfast and lunch buffet service, sports
newly upholstered chairs in sky blue and violet, a slate tiled
floor, carpet, and window treatments.
The Crystal Spa
& Salon boasts new steam room and sauna facilities.
dry-dock, Crystal Cruises complemented the ongoing year-round
maintenance of the ship and soft goods with more intensive
refurbishment. This included heavy-duty cleaning or replacement
of carpets and soft furnishings in all staterooms, re-grouting
bathrooms and painting verandahs; sanding and varnishing all
dance floors and stages; off loading deck cushions for dry
cleaning; installing new teak decking; having teams of French
polishers come aboard to refine all marble surfaces; and
scouring all housekeeping pantries, galley store rooms and
Overseeing the Crystal Symphony project was noted ship
architect Robert Tillberg and his Tillberg Design U.S. office in
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who have specialized in cruise ship
interior design for over 40 years. The refurbishment was
completed at Lisnave Dry-dock in Lisbon, Portugal.
Do all ships' dry-docks include such extensive
updating? Yes and no. When Celebrity Cruise Line added a specialty
restaurant, an AquaSpa Café, the Persian Garden thermal suite, a
whopping 314 balconies, new Martini Bar, and even additional
cabins to Century, the vessel was taken out
of service for dry-dock. Like the renovations on Crystal Symphony,
that project was simply too substantial to be undertaken with
passengers on board.
Sometimes cruise ships are taken out of service
for a specific purpose, such as mechanical or physical repairs that
cannot be done while they are in the water. Other times, customary
maintenance can be performed while a ship is in service; for
instance, routine exterior painting and varnishing and the
replacement of worn carpeting. However, for extensive work, a
dry-dock is a necessity.
With her chic appearance, which was again updated in
2006 when Luxe Lounge was added and staterooms and bathrooms
were revamped, Crystal Symphony and her guests can look forward to many years
of stylish smooth sailing.
Ship Fun Facts Index
For Your Lifestyle
of FOCUS Features
-- Topics related to cruise travel