Rarely does a luxury ship come to my local port in Baltimore, Maryland, so when I heard Crystal Symphony was going to be departing from the Port of Baltimore for a 12-day cruise, I couldn’t wait to meet her!
Getting to the Port of Baltimore was surprisingly simple. Located directly off of I-95 and following the well-marked signage, we easily maneuvered into the parking lot of Cruise Maryland where Crystal Symphony was docked. Inside the brightly adorned building, the check-in process was streamlined and the Port of Baltimore staff was helpful and friendly.
After an energetic walk up the multi-tiered gangway, we entered on Deck 6 and could see the stunning atrium area right away. There we met our guide who did a fantastic job touring us around the ship.
Right away, guests are welcomed with beautiful piano music and champagne when arriving on board.
We had a glimpse inside the VIP table room and the Crystal Casino. Filled with numerous slot machines and tables, I could only imagine how exciting it must get. Unfortunately for us, the casino is not allowed to open until one hour after departing.
But when it is open, take your winnings from the casino to the elegant shops just steps away. They are mesmerizing with fashionable clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, and gifts in the windows.
The Galaxy Lounge was impressive with beautiful and comfortable seating surrounding the stage. This showroom provides two performances a night which coincide with dinner seating times, and they feature some very impressive and notable spotlight performers.
Or visit the Starlight Lounge for dancing, live music and drinks.
After a quick elevator ride up to Deck 11, we entered the gorgeous Palm Court lounge. They often have live jazz music and it's the perfect place to enjoy a champagne (or virgin Pina Colada for the kids) during sail away. This is also where they serve high tea. It definitely looked like the perfect spot to enjoy tea and pastries while overlooking a beautiful port or ocean when at sea.
While the adults are enjoying themselves on the ship, the teenage area “Waves” and the younger children’s area “Fantasia” are open with numerous staff and activities to keep them busy.
The Seahorse Pool, also located on this level, is beautiful with lots of room for everyone to swim. The deck space and lounge chairs are very comfortable and plentiful (always a plus for me!)
After stopping by the Trident Bar and Grill, where you can enjoy casual fare in a picturesque, outdoor setting, we couldn’t help but to admire the Ice Cream Bar as well.
Then off to the Lido Café which sets up for lunch with a beautiful buffet. It features a large variety of salads, seafood, meats, cheeses, hot entrees, and desserts - perfect for all ages.
Deck 12 hosts the Crystal Spa, where an acupuncturist, masseuse, and stylists are always ready to help you relax and beautify.
The Fitness Garden is a unique sanctuary to exercise outside while enjoying the view from the top of the ship.
Although for a faster paced workout, the Fitness Center was well-stocked with treadmills, weights and other cardio-equipment.
There is even a tennis court on the top deck of the ship. Good thing it's netted because my serve is sometimes a bit off...
The variety of entertainment on Crystal Cruises is amazing and everything is included except for just a few amenities. For a nominal fee, you can purchase spa services, personal training (although all group fitness classes are complimentary), premium alcoholic drinks and cigars. All sodas, bottled waters, wine, and most cocktails are complimentary and available all the time, anywhere on the ship.
Additionally, every guest is provided with one free hour of Internet per day, available everywhere on the ship. This is a huge plus for those of us who want to stay connected even while on vacation.
During your cruise, one visit to a specialty restaurant is also complimentary per person, although additional specialty dining meals can be purchased for a small fee. Choose Prego for innovative and traditional Italian, or Silk Road and The Sushi Bar featuring Master Chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa’s Japanese cuisine.
If you are looking to host an intimate dinner party onboard, there is a space for that as well!
Still hungry? Grab a bite anytime at the bountiful, delicious buffet in The Bistro.
Besides the casino, shopping and shows, there are numerous choices for late night entertainment after the kids are engaged in an activity or have gone to bed. Stop by the Connoisseur Club for a drink and a cigar, or listen to live piano music in the Avenue Saloon.
Beautiful photographs are always taken on board. Don't miss this opportunity to stop by the Photo Shop to purchase your cruise photo memories as a souvenier.
When everyone is ready to retire for the evening, the staterooms are spacious and exquisitely decorated. One exceptional feature on the Crystal Symphony is that there are no inside cabins. Even if your cabin doesn’t have a verandah, a large picture window brightens up the room. For families who choose to have two cabins to share with the kids, connecting cabins are available on numerous decks.
Take a look at these beautiful cabins. Perfect for the romantic cruiser, spacious enough for a family.
Penthouse Suite with Verandah
Penthouse with Verandah
Deluxe Stateroom with Large Picture Window
Of course, our day in the life of Crystal Symphony wouldn't be complete without a taste of the decadent dining that Crystal Cruises is known for, and our lunch in the Crystal Dining Room did not disappoint. From the elegant service, to the beautifully presented dishes that provided us a sampling from each of their restaurants, it was a true dining experience.
Would I book Crystal Symphony for my family? Absolutely! In a second.
The service is truly exceptional. The cruise itineraries are fantastic as they visit wonderful, even educational, destinations. And best of all, the ship size is not overwhelming. If your kids don't need constant supervised activities or a mega-sized ship, but enjoy delicious dining, seeing amazing shows close up, and want exciting, one-of-a-kind excursions at exotic ports, Crystal Cruises is the perfect choice. There is something to do for everyone, even if it's just gazing at the beautiful blue water while enjoying your luxury cruise vacation.
Hope to see you again soon, Crystal Symphony!
A big thank you to Crystal Cruises and their PR team for the opportunity and hosting our visit.
Don't want to forget where you saw the inside of this beautiful ship? Make sure to save and virtually visit anytime!
My Virtual Vacations Blog
About the Author
Thanks for cruising by! Along with creating this website and blog, I work in an office full-time and as a mom to two energetic teenage boys. With our family's busy work and school schedule, we look forward to traveling during holidays. Although it seems that our family can never agree on anything, we do when it comes to vacations. We typically travel on cruises or stay at luxury hotels. We enjoy upscale dining, beautiful decor, excellent service, and spacious accommodations. However, with a family including two teenage boys, we still need family friendly and comfortable.
Virtually escape and start planning your next luxurious cruise vacation on land or sea with My Virtual Vacations. Contact me for any specific questions or recommendations. And don't forget to keep checking back for the latest blog posts and information. There are always more family vacations in our future!
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About the Photos
Our beautiful photographs are creatively captured by my talented freelance husband/photographer located in Baltimore, MD. Click here to explore more of his work.
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