We arrived into JFK at 17:30 on embarcation day. Used Crystal's transfer service, which is offered at the reasonable fare of $60.00 per person. We were to only passengers transferred on that flight ...so we had a stretch limo to ourselves from the airport to the ship. Nice way to begin the trip. In retrospect we should have planning to arrive into NYC the day before so we could have had a few extra hours on the ship. Embarcation was no more than a few short minutes as we'd pre-registered on-line. We were processed and escorted to our stateroom.
We had sailed on Serenity in 2006, and we were not disappointed in Symphony's verandah stateroom. We were about mid -ship .. port side. Out TA had originally booked a B catagory verandah stateroom on deck 8, but on the starboard side. We requested a port side room and Crystal assigned us a portside stateroom on deck nine at no extra charge. The room is certainly adequate space-wise...beautiful creamy leather two-seat sofa and comfortable upholstered chair at vanity. Bathroom was lovely with the dual bowl sinks, marble, shower/bath fixtures, storage, etc. Bath products supplied are very nice. Our Stewardess was outstanding....room kept spotlessly clean...room service was delectable and served beautifully....my partner is a breakfast-on-the-verandah affecianado...and wasn't disappointed.
A plus was being near the self-service (and free) laundry room.
Also helpful were the two 'block-plug' outlets we took along as there is only one outlet at the vsnity and one outlet in the bathroom.....not enoufht to accomodate our phone, IPad, and camera charging stations.
A Note On charges:
The 1000.00 cabiin credit sufficed as. our 'all inclusive' feature ... covered our wine and cocktails and spa treatments and tours.....a real plus.....along with the Crystal Society savings we were pleased with the fare. It's worth it for the service and treatment offered. We even did the portrait photo...great photographer at a reasonable charge (50.00).
On Board Guests
If you pre-arrange with Crystal you are more than welcome to invite friends on board ... which we did in both New York and Boston. Note that there is no charge to feed your guests to a lovely meal at the Trident Grille at no charge...you only pay the bar bill ... (MDR and Lido Buffet also available at $23.50 per guest.)
Incomparable, Six-Star service and cuisine. Can't be improved upon. Senior
waiter, waiter, and Maitre d' .... all anxious to make your dining experience memorable. If there is some item you particularly enjoyed on the menu they will make sure that is available to you even if not on the menu. (I enjoyed Caviar every night!)
Prego and Silk Road are equally impressive, and all you pay is $7.00 per person for gratuity...a deal!
Captain's Party and Crystal Society cocktails and dancing in the Starlight Club, and hosted cocktails by Cruise Critic (join the website to be included in their 'meet and mingle' event.
Don't miss daily Tea .... especially the costumed Mozart Tea. All held in the lovely Palm Court with String Quartet playing.
Best activity is seeing all the lovely ladies dressed up in their formals.
We did the Peggy's Cove tour in Halifax. Very well organized. All the port tours offered were varied and interesting....
Entertainment / Programs
The Production Shows were very well done ... enthusiastic, young, and beautiful casts!
this is not your 'Cirque de Soliel' extravaganzas --- just well-done variety song and dance production numbers....even some vocal over dubbing and such, but very entertaining and well-programmed for the Crystal passenger.
Overall Impression and brief thoughts
there was only one child on board ... a charming daughter of a European couple ... the MDR staff treated her like a little Princess!! Crystal has delightful venues onboard for children, but I'd guess Disney might be more of a choice if you had active kids along.
General passenger profile was straight, senior, married couples...each and every passenger we struck up conversations and friendships with were charming. I will add that as an older gay male couple we were made to feel extremely welcome...we openly danced together and socialized ...thank you Crystal for being so embracing.
Smooth and well organized. We were on our bus ( transfer from ship to airport in Montreal) with luggage in about fifteen minutes.
We feel that the professional attitude, welcoming and personalized service, cuisine, and ship amenities and accomodations make Crystal our favored choice in cruise lines. We have surely been CRYSTALIZED!!