Crystal Cruise's luxurious 50,000-ton, 922-guest, 6-star Symphony is 1 of the most spacious and luxurious ships at sea, making it perfect for exploration of the lovely Baltic Sea. Here are the 10 best reasons to board the Crystal Symphony on a voyage through the Baltic.
Crystal specializes in coupling peaceful relaxation with unique, life-changing experiences, and they're kicking your vacation up a notch with innovative off-ship excursions like speed sailing -- a heart-racing, high-speed, high-seas adventure where you're not a mere passenger, you're part of the action, chasing the wind and hoisting the sails.
Cuisines of the Sun Festival
During your trip through the Baltic, you'll experience many different cultures and cuisines. Onboard the Symphony, the chefs toil to make sure you taste authentic dishes with fresh local ingredients. Each day the ship cooks up 2,000 pounds of vegetables, 850 pounds of chicken and 500 pounds of beef. The culinary culmination is the Cuisines of the Sun Festival, where guests can peruse the opulent buffet for dishes from Spain, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and Morocco.
The Symphony's smaller size allows it to port within walking distance of picture-perfect Warnemunde, Germany. Here you can taste the trifecta of German fare: sauerkraut, sausage and pilsner. This isn't your average sauerkraut -- in Germany, pork steak is brined and then combined with ham and cheese, creating a creamy dish that tastes perfect with a pint of pilsner. Raise your glass with the locals and give the customary toast, "Proust!"
In between ports of call, your palate won't suffer. Onboard the Symphony, guests can enjoy Asian, Italian and American cuisines among many others. The Crystal dining room is an elegant setting to enjoy meals inspired by ports of call. For something less formal, visit the casual Lido Café. The Symphony even houses Silk Road, a restaurant featuring the famed talent of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. His fusion of Japanese and South American cuisine is found in 19 restaurants in 8 different countries.
A day at sea onboard the Symphony can be a fantastic learning experience. At the Creative Learning Institute, you can take foreign language classes -- pick up some Russian lingo to increase your Baltic experience. From computer to fitness classes, Crystal Cruises offers something for every guest onboard.
In Helsinki, Finland, guests of the Symphony are encouraged to mingle with the locals -- and the best place to do that is the public sauna. In the Finnish culture, the sauna isn't just a place to get clean -- it's a social occasion. Spend your morning exploring the awe-inspiring architecture of this ancient city and then unwind in the steam and restorative water of a Finnish sauna.
The Vintage Room
In the Vintage Room, top wine experts teach you how to pair your meal with the perfect glass of red, white or sparkling. Learn to judge a wine by their formula: 10 percent based on look, 70 percent based on smell and 20 percent based on taste. While a meal and wine pairing costs extra, it certainly is one of the best ways to spend an evening onboard the Symphony.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Walk through 1 of Russia's most cosmopolitan cities. The palaces in St. Petersburg are renowned for being the biggest in the world. Inside the opulent Catherine Palace, the Amber Room is encrusted with 6 tons of gemstones. While visiting, explore the intricate web of over 300 canals and bridges responsible for St. Petersburg's reputation as the Venice of the North. This is a spectacular city, rich in history and opportunity, which is why guests of Crystal Cruises spend 3 days here.
Take a Lesson
In addition to the classes available onboard, the crew of the Symphony also offers lessons for all hobbies and interests. Learn about the process of making Russian vodka -- and how the best should taste. Additionally, guests can improve their swing, or their swing dancing, by taking golf or ballroom dance lessons.
This city was almost entirely destroyed during the Second World War. However, it was painstakingly rebuilt in the original architecture, preserving the Old-World atmosphere and healing its war wounds. When in Gdansk, a day wandering the city streets is perfectly capped by learning how to make pierogies -- stuffed dumplings that are a Polish specialty. The crew of the Symphony will guide you through this historic city and arrange a very authentic cooking lesson.