CRYSTAL CRUISES’ ultra-luxe CRYSTAL SYMPHONY and CRYSTAL SERENITY have been voted the #1 and 2 cruise ships, respectively, in the world (medium size category) by the refined readership of Condé Nast Traveler magazine (http://www.cntraveler.com/cruises/polls/2013/top-100-cruise-ships-in-the-world). With overall scores of 94.5 and 94 for CRYSTAL SYMPHONY and CRYSTAL SERENITY, respectively, the 2013 ratings mark the ships’ highest scores in five years, and are several points ahead of most every ship in the world.
According to the magazine’s website: “Today, there are more competitors than ever for Condé Nast Traveler’s list of the world’s top ships. Happily, more competition means the bar is constantly being raised, which means better restaurants, larger spas, and top-of-the-line staterooms. Particularly hot this year? River cruises, which have seen explosive growth—the 40 river ships here include some of the highest scorers in any category. Whether an old favorite or a new launch, no ship can count itself among the crème de la crème until it gets the nod from you, our readers, the world’s most discriminating travelers—and sailors.”
The 922-guest CRYSTAL SYMPHONY and the 1,070-guest CRYSTAL SERENITY sail on luxury cruises to all seven continents. Voyages of 5-108 days are available in the MEDITERRANEAN, WESTERN EUROPE, BRITISH ISLES, SCANDINAVIA/BALTIC & RUSSIA, NORTH CAPE & ARCTIC CIRCLE, AFRICA, ASIA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, SOUTH PACIFIC, SOUTH AMERICA, ANTARCTICA, NEW ENGLAND/CANADA, PANAMA CANAL, CARIBBEAN, and a sumptuous annual WORLD CRUISE.
Of #1-rated CRYSTAL SYMPHONY, the magazine said, “Along with the slightly larger Serenity, the service and amenities aboard the 461-cabin Crystal Symphony have sufficiently impressed Condé Nast Traveler readers that they have voted Crystal the world’s best large-ship cruise line in a record 17 Readers’ Choice surveys. A multimillion-dollar renovation completed in 2012 gave the Symphony a more contemporary feel. The Symphony and the Serenity have the same lineup of all-inclusive dining venues, including Silk Road (under the direction of celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa) and restaurateur Piero Selvaggio‘s VALENTINO AT PREGO. The Symphony will be spending summer 2013 in Europe; in fall foliage season, it can often be found off the New England and eastern Canadian coasts. Itineraries are now all-inclusive, with complimentary wine and spirits and prepaid gratuities.”
Readers said the following: On board, expect “the best lecturers and personalities of any cruise line.” Rooms have “more than enough hanging and drawer space, and spectacular marble bathrooms“; CRYSTAL PENTHOUSES come with ocean view hot tubs, and some have Swarovski chandeliers. “The true standouts are the restaurants,” which are all complimentary and include SILK ROAD and the SUSHI BAR, a specialty dining room where the sushi is made by NOBU-trained chefs and “is beyond compare.” Year to year, “staff remember your favorite cocktails.” The spas use Elemis skin products, and there are Nordic Walking fitness classes. (http://www.cntraveler.com/cruises/cruise-lines/crystal-cruises/crystal-symphony)
Of #2 rated CRYSTAL SERENITY, the magazine wrote: “The 535-cabin Crystal Serenity underwent an extensive renovation in May 2011, with new bedding and updated decor (tufted headboards and state-of-the-art lighting), which brought it up to par with the Symphony, its slightly smaller sister ship. Both ships have CREATIVE LEARNING INSTITUTES, with course offerings from language classes to digital filmmaking workshops, which help earn the line some of the industry’s highest scores for activities among Condé Nast Traveler readers. Recent additions to both ships is have included all-inclusive gratuities and beverages, “PERFECT CHOICE DINING,” which provides passengers with flexible dining times in the main restaurant, and the “YOU CARE, WE CARE” PROGRAM, in which Crystal covers the expenses of their new voluntourism-focused shore excursions. In addition to world cruises, the Serenity can often be found in the Baltic early in the summer, the Mediterranean in late summer and fall, and the Caribbean and South America in winter. Itineraries are now all-inclusive, with complimentary wine and spirits and prepaid gratuities.” http://www.cntraveler.com/cruises/cruise-lines/crystal-cruises/crystal-serenity
In addition to impressive Food scores, Crystal won the top category honors in the majority of the six voting criteria, including Service, Activities, and Excursions—with Service garnering its highest score, at 98.2 for CRYSTAL SYMPHONY. The Crystal fleet further earned the #1 and 2 rankings for Design among all small, medium, and large-size ships in the “TOP 100 CRUISE SHIPS IN THE WORLD” READERS’ POLL.
“We are so honored to once again be recognized for having the best ships in the mid-size ship category. We feel our ships are of such a perfect size to offer stellar Six-Star service, spacious chic spaces, abundant choices, and overall exquisite quality that is evident to the most discerning travelers,” says CRYSTAL PRESIDENT GREGG MICHEL. “Additionally, this is a huge affirmation of the tremendous investment and refinements we continue to make in our product. From the $100 million Extreme Makeover of our ships to becoming All Inclusive, it’s clear that our attention to detail, product execution, and contemporary design continue to be superb in every way.”
Final tabulations were based on 28,876 responders voting on Service, Design, Cuisine, Itineraries, Activities, Staterooms, and Shore Excursions. The full list appears in the magazine’s February 2013 issue and on its website. Conde Nast Traveler readers also recently voted Crystal #1 in its size category for the magazine’s 2013 GOLD LIST and 2012 U.K. and U.S. READERS CHOICE AWARDS, joining the line’s 2012 win (17th time) as Travel + Leisure readers’ “WORLD’S BEST” CRUISE LINE (LARGE-SHIP).
Until February 28, all-inclusive, value-priced “Book Now” fares start at just $1,470/person.
For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.
–Phillip D. Johnson/Editorial Director