Crystal Symphony

(11:25 a.m. EDT) -- Details about Crystal Symphony's and Serenity's longest-ever dry docks were revealed today during a media breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, hosted by the line's CEO Edie Rodriguez. The news comes weeks after Crystal gave top travel agents a sneak peek of the ships' refurb plans at a sales gala on Crystal Mozart.

Refurb Schedule

Crystal Symphony will enter a four-and-a-half-week dry dock September 19, 2017. It will receive 28 new penthouses and 12 new penthouse suites -- a 63-percent suite increase that will bring its passenger capacity from 922 to 848. The penthouses will replace smaller suites onboard.

When Symphony reenters service October 21, both ocean ships will begin a new program of offering free Wi-Fi to all passengers onboard.

On October 14, 2018, sister ship Crystal Serenity will enter a four-week dry dock that concludes November 10. Its passenger capacity will drop from 1,070 to 980 with the addition of 36 new penthouses and two new penthouse suites.

New and Refurbished Suites

Suites will be updated with new carpet and furnishings and subtle technological upgrades, including increased outlets. While Crystal Serenity's Penthouse Suite categories will remain the same, Crystal Symphony will introduce two new suite categories. The Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah and Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah will be the same size as existing Penthouse Suites, but boast a slightly more contemporary design, as well as showers with body jets instead of bathtubs.

All cabins and suites also will be equipped with interactive TVs that allow passengers to order room service, download movies on demand and watch destination videos.

Dining Changes

One of the biggest changes to come, however, will be the launch of an open-seating dining concept, in addition to other changes.  

Open seating will be offered in all restaurants except Prego and Silk, which will still require reservations. Rodriguez stressed that the dining restructuring will cater to both those who want more flexibility as well as traditionalists, who prefer to stick with the same-table, fixed-time (6 and 8:30 p.m.) arrangement.

"You'll be able to walk in when you want, with whom you want," said Rodriguez. "If tonight, you want to go to Waterside, you can stroll in at 8 and get a table for two. If tomorrow night, you want a table for 10 at 9 p.m. because you just got back from a shore excursion all day and you wanted to nap and shower, you can do it."

Other previously revealed dining changes include Umi Uma, a new restaurant helmed by the line's long-standing partner, Celebrity Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, that will focus on serving his acclaimed Japanese-Peruvian cuisine; Waterside (replaces the main dining room), which will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and serve dishes such as handmade pasta, custom sandwiches and salads; and the Churrascaria, a Brazilian popup restaurant that will be available every night at the Marketplace (the buffet formerly known as the Lido Cafe).

The Lido Deck on Crystal Symphony

Impact on Booked Passengers

Some Cruise Critic members have expressed concern on Cruise Critic's Crystal forum, regarding passengers booked in smaller suites expected to be replaced during the dry dock and those booked during the dry dock periods.

Bodogbodog said their Crystal Serenity cruise slated for next year had been canceled after the dry dock was extended, but that "suitable compensation has been offered and will be gratefully accepted." A letter received from Crystal states those affected by the dry dock can choose to either rebook another cruise on Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises or Crystal Esprit, or receive a full refund and $750 future cruise credit.

--By Gina Kramer, Editor