Stowing away on Crystal Symphony

I don’t often think about hiding in a cupboard but when it came time to depart Crystal Symphony I was wishing there was a bed with my name on it.

No such luck as the ship was so completely booked we couldn’t even see inside one of the  staterooms with their Egyptian cotton sheets, Aveda bath products, flat screen TV and large bathtub.

And I’m not talking penthouse – that’s where they keep the personalised stationery, Riedel glassware, Jacuzzi and binoculars.

The foyer is impressive

Yes, this green wall is still on the boat - top deck.

The Crystal Symphony, fresh from a stunning makeover, was overnighting in Brisbane and moored at Portside Wharf during its Reefs & Rainforest sailing from Sydney to Bali. 

With a guest to crew ratio of 1.64:1, that’s 922 guests to 575 crew, you can easily believe that service is one of the big mantras here.  Throw in luxury and exquisite food and you can easily understand why I thought about adding stow-away to my CV.

Before we were escorted very firmly off the ship (note – this is a ship not a boat) under the disapproving gaze of port officials because we were three minutes past our 10.30 deadline, I enjoyed a tour of the lavish public rooms and dinner in the Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhia inspired Silk Road restaurant.

Our degustation dinner was a sublime blend of classically styled Japanese food with distinct Peruvian and European influences with selection from the than two dozen Nobu’s signature appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts.

It was food like I never expected to find on a ship based on my previous cruise experiences which are best not described here.

Crystal’s all-inclusive offering to includes complimentary fine wines, champagne and premium spirits as well as dining in all restaurants, including specialty venues Prego, and Silk Road & The Sushi Bar by Nobu Matsuhisa.

Crystal has some culinary themed sailings including their Wine & Food Festival which is now in its 17th year. A ‘celebration of the culinary arts’, the festival attracts some of the world’s top chefs, wine experts and mixologists. The latest twist is a new focus on the growing popularity of micro-breweries and a voyage that combines food, wine and golf!

Crystal Cruises has also just received the accolade of being the number one ranked cruise line in the 2013 Condé Nast Traveler Gold List.

All this luxury doesn’t come cheap but there’s a lot included. A 15 night Asian cruise starts at around $8,731.

Crystal Symphony

Bottom line: Save up your pennies for the experience of a lifetime.
Best tip: Pack your runners and find the gym when you board because you won’t be able to resist the food.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a dinner guest of Crystal Cruises

Brisbane city from the breakfast table on the top deck