We chose Crystal Cruises because of the Panama Canal itinerary (so we can tick it off the bucket list) and the Luxury Cruise Experience. Crystal was recommended to us by a friend (who is a travel agent) we met on a non-luxury cruise in 2012 and she said Crystal is one of the best. So we checked off a few ticks on the bucket list. The ship Symphony was beautiful. The accommodations were very well layed out with a lot of storage. No need to use the suitcases for extra storage as we had empty drawers and the clothes in the wardrobe were spaced out not squashed up. Of everything there was only one this that irritated me that I have never come across on other ships we have cruise is the cigar room. Horrible horrible horrible. To get to The Avenue, Umi Uma restaurant and Prego restaurant you had to walk past it and the door was always open, therefore the smoke flooded into the hallway. The door should always be shut and there should be sufficient ventilation in the smoking room so if the door is left open the smoke doesn't affect other passengers. That is my only issue and I am hoping that when we are on Serenity in 2021 Crystal will have rectified this problem by having either an automatic door or a gas closing door. The rest of Crystal Symphony was fantastic. For a ship smaller than we are used to (3000-3500) this ship has a lot of quiet places to sit and relax. There are never any crowds, no children running rampant and what children were on the ship were extremely well behaved.
We dined at every location and the food was divine. My favourites were Waterside (the main dining room), Prego, Silk, Palm Court for amazing afternoon tea and views. However, I still enjoyed the food and atmosphere at Umi Uma, Churriscaria, Trident Grill and the Marketplace only for an early breakfast.
The staff go above and beyond and are always very polite and friendly. They always have smiles on their faces and no request is too hard. They take the time to get to know their customers.
The cabin was laid out extremely well with a lot of room to move. I loved that the mini-fridge/bar was elevated which made it very easy to access. I also thought putting the safe above it was also genius as it got it out of the wardrobe where it takes up valuable space. However, storage space was definitely not an issue, there was a lot of it. I especially thought extending the wardrobe behind the wall was a great idea for extra hanging space. One side of the wardrobe had shelves with two level hanging rails easy to reach and I'm 5'3". A shoe rack and also a lot of hangars. There were slippers, kimonos and terry-toweling dressing gowns. The verandah also had a lot of room. The cabin was forward on Deck 8. We never encountered noise from our neighbours or from the ship. Our cabin also had an interconnecting door which was locked as we weren't travelling with anyone else. The bathroom is one of the best bathrooms I have ever encountered in non-suite cabin. Double sink, bath with handheld showerhead. Nothing was squashed in and again a great layout.The decor in the cabin is very tasteful and serene.
Antigua City Sights & Azotea Cultural Centre. This was a fantastic tour.