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spr ing
erhaps you really don’t
to leave it all behind, as
the Mazza family featured on page 42 did. Nor do you
have any desire to travel to the North Pole to spend a
little quality time with polar bears and other creatures
of the frozen tundra. But, perhaps you do want to leave
of it behind
for a little while. In that case, a cruise aboard an elegant liner such as
Crystal Symphony may be just what the captain ordered.
Until booking our trip to Alaska, we’d never taken a cruise before, but
upon reading about the ship’s latest kudos and speaking with Brian and
Judy Robertson of Robertson Travel, we opted to take the plunge. After
Travel + Leisure
magazine had just named Crystal the “World’s Best
Large-Ship Cruise Line” for 2011; it’s an honor that has been bestowed
upon Crystal for 16 years in a row.
Condé Nast Traveler
selected Crystal
as the “Best Cruise Line Mid-Sized 600 to 2,500 Passengers” in 2010,
the 18th year for this particular honor. The 781-ft ship can accommodate
922 passengers (1,011 maximum), so it’s big enough to offer high-quality
service and first-rate entertainment, but it really is small enough that
it remains cozy and intimate. So, let’s call the award-winning Crystal
Symphony a “really small” big ship.
Twenty-Four-Hour Butler
Once underway, for example, you will get to know many of the 566
crew members (the one-crew-per-two-passengers is one of the highest
such ratios in the business). Virtually all the crew make it a special point
to learn the names of their passengers, immediately. There were only 550
of us onboard during our trip to Alaska this past summer, and with so few
passengers and so many crew members, most of us were spoiled rotten
early and often. And we loved it.
There are no inside staterooms on this vessel, which was built
in 1995, retrofitted in 2006 and updated again in 2011. Every
stateroom has, if not a verandah
(and most do), a picture
window to the ocean. Our
penthouse featured a roomy
360 square feet of space
(including a full-sized
verandah), and it
came with a 24-hour
Leaving It All Behind, At Least For A Little While