27 May 2016

Crystal Symphony interiors: decks 6-5, 12 May 2016

Continuing from the previous entry, today we complete the top-to-bottom tour of the Crystal Symphony. In case you missed it, you can read the first entry, covering decks twelve through seven, here.

Crystal Symphony

IMO 9066667
Built 1995, Kvaerner Masa Yards Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 51 044 GT
Length 238,01 m
Width 30,20 m
Draught 7,60 m
1 010 passengers
6 Sultzer diesels, combined 38 880 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 22 knots

Before we get to the beef of the entry, I would like to adress an issue that bothered me when I was onboard the Crystal Symphony and that I already alluded to in the previous entry: the naming policy of various public rooms onboard. Some of them are simply misnamed: the Lido Café is not a café but a cafeteria (despite the similarity, the terms are not interchangable) and The Bistro is not a bistro but a café. Other venues are give completely superfluous Crystal-prefixes (Crystal Casino, Crystal Cove, Crystal Dining Room, Crystal Plaza); the passengers already know they are onboard a Crystal Cruises ship, there's no need to rub it in - and even Crystal's own staff referred to these as The Cove, The Casino etc. when I was onboard. It's not only more practical but also sounds better.

In the same vein, Silk Road - the Japanese restaurant onboard - is a borderline case. Sure, it serves Japanese-European fusion cuisine, but while the historical Silk Road connected Europe to Asia, it did not extend to Japan, making the name a somewhat unfortunate choice. And in a further case of it being called something else by the company staff, I heard it referred to as Nobu's after Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa, who both designed the menus and trained the chefs. Since it's very much his restaurant, I can't help thinking Nobu's would be a much superior name for the venue than the historically inaccurate Silk Road.

But enough of nitpicking and rambling, onwards to the point. All photos in this entry were taken while the Crystal Symphony was in port at Civitavecchia on 12 May 2016. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Deck 6 (Tiffany Deck) contains the bulk of public rooms onboard. Starting forward, they are the Galaxy Lounge showroom, the Crystal Casino, Hollywood Theatre cinema, the top level of the atrium, which is surrounded by shops, the Bistro (actually a café), and the Library, followed by the Starlite Club, the photo shop, Connoisseur Club smoking room, Avenue Saloon bar, Computer University @ Sea, the Bridge Lounge and three speciality restaurants: The Vintage Room, Silk Road and Prego.
The decór of Galaxy Lounge doesn't exactly reflect the venue's name. Then again, since the show lounge is usually darkened and you're concentrating on the actual show, the decor doesn't really matter that much...
Immediately aft of the Galaxy Lounge is the Crystal Casino, which has an interesting ancient Greece -inspired ceiling treatment.
The entrance to the casino as seen from the arcade that connects the forward stair lobby to the atrium.
Aft of the Crystal Casino on the starboard side is Luxe, a former night club which has been converted to an extra casino area.
Considering how quiet the casino seemed to be during my trip, I'm not sure if extra space was nescessary, but at least the new bit looks better than old one.
Sandwiched between the casino areas and the arcade to port is Hollywood Theatre. It's decor is, according to Crystal's website, "inspired by classic Art Deco movie palaces". I'm not sure I see that, apart from the lighting fixtures, but it's a nice-looking venue never the less.
The Atrium - sorry, Crystal Plaza, as seen from the upper level on deck seven, facing aft. Behind the photographer and to the left are the ship's shops, which I didn't get to photograph as they were sealed due to us being in port.
The Bistro (which you can also see in the upper right-hand corner of the photo above), which, as said, is not actually a bistro but rather a café.
On the other side of the ship from The Bistro is the ship's well-stocked Library (blissfully, they didn't call it "The Crystal Library").
The Starlite Club is the ship's main entertainment venue apart from the Galaxy Lounge. But I just can't get past the fact it has a layout identical to the night club of Viking Line's Mariella. Okay, both ships were built by the same shipyard and all, but it does give me a vide that doesn't really fit a luxury cruise ship.
Not to mention that fact that the name Starlite Club is also direct from the Baltic ferry night club name catalogue.
That said, I really dig the design of Starlite Club's bar counter.
Aft of Starlite Club is the most exclusive of Crystal Symphony's rrestaurants, The Vintage Room, which offers "wine-themed dinners" to small groups. The decor matches the theme beautifully.
Aft of The Vintage Room is Silk Road. The entrance is not perhaps terrible impressive...
...but I rather dig the interior decor.
More Silk Road. I could make the criticism that the interior isn't particularly Japanese, but on the other hand the decor matches the Japanese-European fusion cusine served quite nicely.
The Sushi Bar is marked on deck plans as a separate restaurant, but it's actually just a bar inside Silk Road. The sushi was rather good though, as was everything else served in the venue.
While Silk Road in on the port side of the funnel casing, the starboard side has a series of small public rooms, starting with the Connoisseur Club smoking room seen here.
Another Connoisseur Club view. The air conditioning in the room was rather good, there was essentially no smell of tobacco in the room.
The next space afwards is Avenue Saloon. Crystal's website gives the impression this is one of the key spaces onboard, but to be fair it's faily small, though apparently popular.
Another Avenue Saloon view, looking aft and towards the bar.
Aft of Avenue Saloon there's first Computer University @ Sea (use of the @ sign for "at" is so embarrassing in 2016) and then the Bridge Lounge seen here.
Aft of Silk Road on the port side of the ship, but accessible from the starboard is Prego, the ship's Italian restaurant. To quote my wife "that look like the entrance to an ancient Greek mausoleum, not an Italian restaurant!" Impressive, though.
Inside, Prego looks much less morbid. I'm particularly fond of the multicoloured carpet.
The entrance area gives a really neat contrast to the rest of the interior.
Also, the food was rather fantastic. Both speciality restaurants onboard were really quite superb.
Deck 5 (Crystal Deck) has the medical center and some cabins forward, followed by the Crystal Plaza atrium and Crystal Cove, and the Crystal Dining Room amidships. Apart from a tender platform, deck five is the lowest passenger-accessible deck.
Another view of Crystal Plaza. The fountain actually consists of suspected threads, on which the water runs down, neatly keeping it from spraying all over.
Crystal Cove, adjacent to Crystal Plaza is a neat piano bar. Alas, I never had a chance to sample if the resident pianist was any good.
Aft of Crystal Plaza and Crystal Cove is the Crystal Dining Room (remember what I said about the superfluous Crystal prefixes?). Here is the entrance looking forward and hence outside the restaurant.
Inside, the Crystal Dining Room's decor didn't quite reach the level of the specialist restaurants. Alas, the same can also be said for the food, which was clearly below the specialist restaurant fare.

Thanks to Paul Garcia and Jaque Brown.

Kships will return.

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