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The Luxurious Crystal Symphony Debut

By Richard Carroll / Photography: Donna Carroll

May 3, 1995 -- The gleaming, white, 960-passenger Crystal Symphony, spotlessly new and eager to begin a life of exotic global travels, stands out like a sparkling gem against the New York harbor skyline.

Tugging at her bow lines, she is counting the minutes to departure time and her long-awaited Grand Maiden Voyage when she can strut her stuff past the Statue of Liberty on the way to Bermuda, Tortola, St. Thomas, Nassau, the Panama Canal, Mexico and the world.


Earlier in the day, gracious Angela Lansbury, the Symphony's Godmother, christened the ship with some rare Roederer brut champagne and then enjoyed lunch in the elegant Crystal Dining Room where experienced, European-trained waiters fussed over the passengers as if they were royalty.

The Los Angeles-based, 50,000 ton beauty, a sister ship to the Crystal Harmony, is the creme-de-la-creme in cruising. The glamorous cruiser, with its showcase, two-story atrium lobby and floor-to-ceiling windows, utilizes space in a flowing sweep of hallways and public rooms.

You won't get lost in a maze of dead-end passageways that end in the boiler room, or spend half the cruise trying to memorize the location of the public rooms.

Offering the highest standards expected of a luxury vessel, the Symphony has no inside cabins or passenger port holes. Cruisers who want to see where they are going have the choice of a picture window, or sliding door leading to a cozy private veranda.


A staff of smiling Scandinavian stewardesses attends to the fluffy duvet, down pillows and double-sink bathrooms with two hair dryers. They aim to please, complete with 24-hour room service. All cabins have remote-control TV with 14 channels including 24-hour CNN/ESPN, a video cassette player, direct-dial telephones with voice mail, and a mini-refrigerator. You will sleep like a child and never feel so pampered.

The ship also knows how to tease your taste buds. In addition to the airy main dining room, passengers can choose from Prego, an Italian restaurant, or the Jade Garden serving Chinese fare; incredibly, each with separate kitchens.

Art Sbarsky, Senior Vice President, marketing, who has worked for the Los Angeles-based line from its infancy and the debut of the Crystal Harmony in 1990, says, "The Symphony is like a Four Seasons Resort except we change locations each day. You can work out in the spa, take a sauna or steam and enjoy light cuisine. But long after passengers forget about the food and entertainment, they will remember the staff."

The staff is wonderful, but the entertainment is "Broadway" style with costumes running more than $100,000 and with talent to match. Virginia Hoffman, who has booked 23 Crystal Cruises, says, "I am so relaxed when I'm aboard. The staff is like family. I can't think of a better way to see the world."

To get a free color brochure, see your travel agent or call Crystal Cruises at (213) 340-4121.

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