Crystal Cruises took its 922-passenger, 51,044-ton Crystal Symphony out of service last October (2009) for some fairly radical work, throwing $25 million at a lightning-fast, two-and-a-half week refit. The results are impressive and include some significant changes, mainly on the Lido Deck, which has had a complete rethink -- and overhaul. The refit has also brought boutique hotel-style chic to the casual dining Lido Cafe and created what have to be two of the most desirable suites at sea in the Crystal Penthouses.
The changes to the Lido Deck in particular are seriously ambitious -- not many cruise lines would be brave enough to remove a swimming pool. But the risk seems to have paid off, and the new outdoor seating and eating area seems genuinely popular. The whole ship, in fact, is looking stunning now, full of light, space and understated elegance, comfortable yet perfectly contemporary, a combination Crystal always does well.