An Uncompromising Commitment to Service, Space, Choices and Quality

The ‘Crystal Difference’ starts with the company’s most important mission: to be the best in the luxury service business, not just the luxury cruise industry. Through this uncompromising commitment, Crystal Cruises has become the benchmark by which clients and travel agents measure all other cruise lines. Since the launch of its first ship, Crystal Harmony, in 1990, Crystal’s exceptional quality has been recognized by consistently winning the travel industry’s most distinguished and coveted hospitality awards and guidebook ratings. Crystal Cruises continues to earn these honors daily by providing guests with unparalleled service, space, quality, and choices.

Service begins with one of the highest staff-to-passenger ratios in the industry. The European-trained staff hail from more than 40 nations and are selected based on their winning and friendly personalities as well as their expertise in providing Six-Star service. Extraordinary space has been dedicated not only to the staterooms and suite accommodations but also to the public spaces – extra-wide 360° promenade decks, lavish fitness and spa areas, full-sized cinemas and nightclubs, dedicated children’s areas, and various learning centers. Choices are numerous, from which stateroom on which deck, and where and when to dine, to how much to do or how little. A wealth of onboard activities, including unique educational programs, enlightening enrichment lectures and world-class entertainment, set the Crystal fleet apart from all other luxury lines.

Innovative shore excursions and customized private off-ship adventures are similarly indicative of Crystal’s dedication to its guests’ overall experience. Quality is noted throughout – in the superb furnishings, accessories and amenities, and also in the selection of alliances that the line has forged – including Yamaha, Berlitz, and Smithsonian. Gourmet cuisine is served in a number of elegant venues including the spacious Crystal Dining Room, casual eateries, and intimate specialty restaurants with menus designed by celebrity restaurateurs such as Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio. Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, including soft drinks, bottled waters, juices, and specialty coffees are served throughout, with both ships going “All Inclusive” in spring 2012.

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Crystal’s service tenet is that serving and respecting fellow employees is as important as the care of guests. The company’s high service standards are maintained through a significant investment in staff recruiting and training, and a genuine commitment to staff’s well-being. At just 9%, the line boasts the industry’s lowest turnover rate and one that is virtually unheard of in most luxury hotels and resorts.

Through an intensive training program, the ladies and gentlemen of Crystal Cruises are taught to implement the Six-Star Crystal Basics, a multi-point credo that addresses attitude, communication, competence, style, safety/environment and execution. Staff members address guests by name from the time they are introduced and quickly identify and focus on their personal preferences. The fine points remembered by staff members include such details as how guests take their coffee to what their favorite cookies are, where they like to sit in which restaurant, what type of wines they prefer, what amenities are most used and which are not, and exactly how they like their blankets and pillows arranged.


The company’s first ship, Crystal Harmony, took its maiden voyage in 1990, followed by sister ship Crystal Symphony in 1995. Crystal Harmony eventually joined its parent company’s Japanese cruise division in 2005. Carrying 922 guests and 545 staff members, Crystal Symphony is less than half the size of mass-market mega-ships. Yet at 51,044 tons, it is large by luxury-ship standards with considerable space dedicated to innovative spa and learning facilities, exciting entertainment options, creative dining options, spacious decks, generous amenities, and sumptuous staterooms. These are features valued by luxury-loving cruisers, especially those who find yacht-like ships too cozy or limited in activity options.

With the launch of the 68,870-ton Crystal Serenity in July 2003, the company raised the bar even higher – 655 crew members for 1,070 guests and 64.4 tons of space per guest, one of the highest space ratios of any luxury ship. In November 2008, Crystal converted 12 of Crystal Serenity’s deluxe staterooms into eight plush Penthouses, further increasing the space ratio on the ultra-luxurious vessel.

One might say that each ship’s spirit and sense of class reflects their legendary godmothers: Mary Tyler Moore christened Crystal Harmony, Angela Lansbury launched Crystal Symphony, and Dame Julie Andrews christened Crystal Serenity.


For discriminating travelers, choosing among the wide selection of rooms is the first step in creating the ultimate travel experience. More than half of the rooms (85 percent on Crystal Serenity) open onto roomy verandahs. Here, guests can enjoy morning coffee, be served a full breakfast or dinner, read a book from the extensive library, or simply enjoy the view.

Even the minimum category staterooms feature separate sitting areas with love seats and coffee tables, and desks or vanities. All guestrooms have queen-size or twin beds dressed with 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, down pillows, plush duvets, and feather beds. A large closet with both padded and wooden hangers, ample drawer space, shower and bathtub, telephones in bathrooms, two hair dryers, fresh fruit and flowers, complimentary bottled water and soft drinks, Frette bathrobes, plush slippers, umbrellas, tote bags, and English mohair lap blankets are just a few of the luxuries that are standard with every stateroom. Other amenities include Internet access, flat-screen televisions with CD/DVD players with MP3 input, laundry and dry-cleaning service (or guests can use complimentary guest laundry facilities), twice-daily housekeeping, and complimentary 24-hour in-stateroom dining.

With choice and quality at the heart of Crystal Cruises’ legendary service, the award-winning cruise line has also introduced a Pillow Menu, offering the ultimate in comfort and luxury. From soft, fluffy down to therapeutic and hypo-allergenic, guests now have a choice of four different pillow types, each designed to cater to the particular wishes of a discerning clientele.

The luxurious Penthouse staterooms and suites further offer full sofas, walk-in closets, separate showers and Jacuzzi® tubs and sophisticated sound-systems. Penthouse guests also enjoy personal butler service; a bar stocked with complimentary wine and choice of liquor, and Riedel glassware; complimentary shoe shine and pressing; the use of binoculars; and evening appetizers delivered by their butler. In addition to in-stateroom dining from the Crystal Dining Room, Penthouse guests can order from the specialty restaurants during dinner hours.

As well as the many amenities enjoyed by Penthouse floor guests, the most sumptuous accommodations – the Crystal Penthouse – feature separate living rooms, dining areas, and guest bathrooms. Larger verandahs are completely private and are furnished with comfortable chairs and an outdoor table, and master baths with full-sized Jacuzzis have ocean views. Other enhancements include cordless phones and fully stocked bars with Riedel stemware and Cristal champagne.


Creativity, quality, ambiance, choices, and gracious, anticipatory service are the principles behind Crystal’s extraordinary culinary success. Choices are key elements of the Crystal dining experience, rich in menus and venues. Elaborate, four- or five-course menus are presented daily in several settings. The grand Crystal Dining Room features international cuisine and regionally inspired dishes based on the itinerary, and never repeats a menu, even on a 100-plus day World Cruise. With the most extensive wine cellars at sea (some 20,000 bottles), Crystal offers guests a comprehensive choice of wines. Further, the intimate Vintage Rooms play host to the ultimate gourmet experiences with the first-ever at-sea special wine-pairing dinners.

Both vessels offer additional specialty dinner restaurants: Silk Road and The Sushi Bar with Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature cuisine, and Prego, featuring the inspired specialties of Piero Selvaggio. For lunch, quick snacks, and lighter fare on all ships, The Lido Café, Tastes (on Crystal Serenity) and the Trident Bar & Grill offer casual dining. The Bistro serves morning coffee and pastries, and premium wines with cheeses in the afternoon. Other options include the Ice Cream Bar and the Palm Court Lounge for Afternoon Tea. A poolside Late-Risers Breakfast, restricted diet menus, (low-carb, diabetic, gluten-free, allergy, and more), and Sunday Brunch are also among the many choices available to guests.


Even when miles from the nearest city, guests on board Crystal Cruises can enjoy Broadway-style productions, comedy shows and musical performances. Other entertainment choices include screenings of recently released movies in the Hollywood Theatre, string quartets or piano music in intimate lounges, ballroom dancing with a live orchestra (plus Ambassador Hosts to serve as dance partners), and the nightclub.

Guests can swim laps in one of two swimming pools, play paddle tennis (two courts on Crystal Serenity), jog or power walk on the wide Promenade Deck, work out in a well-equipped Fitness Center, polish their swing with golf instruction from PGA golf pros, and pamper themselves in the lavish Crystal Spa & Salon.

Many guests enjoy the friendly competition and camaraderie of onboard tournaments such as ping-pong, shuffleboard, bingo, and bridge. Others may choose to relax and read a bestseller from the extensive library or borrow a recently-released movie to watch in their room. Shopping at sea is another favorite pastime, with upscale clothing shops, jewelry stores, skincare, and gift boutiques along the Avenue of the Stars shopping arcade.


The only floating spa designed according to Feng Shui principles, the award-winning Crystal Spa & Salon offers a range of innovative face and body treatments that focus on the balance of the five primordial elements within the body – water, earth, fire, wood, and metal – as well as other stress-relieving, chi-balancing therapies from ten Eastern cultures. Spa services and Elemis aromatherapy products aboard Crystal Cruises are from Steiner Leisure, the largest operator of onboard spas in the world. For ultra pampering, Crystal’s Ceremony Treatments combine multiple remedies in sessions ranging from three-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hours.

The facility includes a sauna and steam room, a full-service hair and nail salon, and a well-equipped fitness center with LifeFitness® treadmills, cross trainers, recumbent and upright life cycles and steppers, strength-training equipment, free weights, and a KinesisTM Wall, complete with ocean views. The fitness center is staffed by full-time fitness and sports directors. Complimentary classes that change daily are offered in yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, strength training, and more. Personal trainers and individual consultations are also available. Pilates Reformer equipment and instructors are available on select Crystal Serenity voyages.


The Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program features popular speakers such as celebrated authors, guest chefs and renowned wine connoisseurs, high-level ambassadors and foreign diplomats, historians, television journalists, celebrities, and noted business and financial leaders, including experts from The Smithsonian Associates. For guests who want to stay connected or learn new computer skills, the innovative ComputerUniversity@Sea® offers 24-hour e-mail and Internet access and complimentary classes in Photoshop, digital video editing, web page design, and even basics such as email. This program is the most extensive in the luxury cruise industry.

First introduced on Crystal Serenity and expanded fleetwide in early 2004, the Creative Learning Institute (CLI) is a partnership between Crystal Cruises and carefully-selected, quality alliances to bring experts in their respective fields aboard to share their knowledge through a series of interactive classes. Examples of such instruction include keyboard lessons by Yamaha, language immersion with Berlitz, and wellness seminars from the Cleveland Clinic and the Tai Chi Cultural Center.


Crystal’s standards of quality and service extend well beyond the confines of the ship when guests go ashore. Known for unique shore excursions, Crystal offers diverse options varying from more adventurous (such as flying in a MiG fighter jet in Russia, hot-air ballooning in Italy, a jet boat ride on a wild New Zealand river, cage-diving with sharks in Cape Town, plus more than 15 wildlife safaris in South Africa) to relaxing (including bicycle tours and wine tastings in Europe, discovering the culinary secrets of Greek and Mediterranean cuisine at a private cooking demonstration, and enjoying an exclusive evening of classical music and tour of Western European art at the legendary Hermitage). Guests can research the options and pre-reserve shore excursions on Crystal Cruises’ website from sixth months, and sometimes up to a year, in advance before they sail. Many larger-group excursions have a Private Adventure Option, wherein Crystal can arrange a private vehicle and tour guide for a group of two, four, or six people to experience the same adventure more exclusively. In addition to the extensive off-ship offerings, every ship has a Land Programs Specialist, who will work with local specialists to create ultimate independent excursions based on one-of-a-kind requests as a part of the line’s Crystal Private Adventures. For guests wishing to take advantage of being near some of the world’s most remarkable cities and destinations, there are also extended land programs ranging from two- to eight-night trips, pre- or post-cruise, and sometimes even during the cruise.


Crystal Cruises’ commitment to quality, choice, and personalized service promises children a Six-Star experience with dedicated facilities (unusual on luxury ships) and imaginative activities created specifically to suit the ages and number of children on select itineraries. Both ships offer spacious staterooms in a range of categories as well as suites and connecting staterooms, highly acclaimed children’s programs and activities for children ages 3-17. During holiday cruises and selected summer sailings, additional children’s activities are offered under the supervision of experienced Junior Activities Directors. The Fantasia playroom offers arts and crafts, board games, and a large-screen television with kid-sized stadium seating, for viewing parties. The Library loans out children’s books and DVD’s for viewing in staterooms. Teenagers have their own video arcade, Waves, with Sony PlayStation®, Wii, and X Box 360® kiosks. A children’s menu offers dishes for picky eaters and those with allergies. Babysitting services are also offered.


Crystal Cruises offers extensive itineraries in Europe and the Mediterranean, North America, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, the Caribbean, South America, the Pacific Ocean, Asia, Africa, and the Baltic, ranging from six days to the 94+ day World Cruise.


On any given cruise, from one-third to one-half of the guests on board have sailed with Crystal Cruises before, making them part of an exclusive community of sophisticated world travelers. Considered the richest awards and recognition program in the industry, Crystal Society entitles repeat guests to the exclusive Passport magazine, special savings, events, and a rich recognition and awards program on each subsequent sailing. Membership in Crystal Society begins with the very first cruise and members are welcomed back each time with a private reception.

We would be happy to coordinate your Crystal Cruises experience; Our Agency has received certification as a Crystal Cruises Expert Travel Consultant recognized by Crystal Cruises for my unique qualifications and knowledge as a voyage planning professional.


Content courtesy of Crystal Cruises