A tour aboard the Crystal Symphony

Jane Engle

Now we’ve heard everything: a garden with its own cell-phone number, sailing the globe. The “living wall” is just one luxury aboard the Crystal Symphony, whose operator, Crystal Cruises, was just voted the world’s best cruise line by Condé Nast Traveler readers. From marble floors to 12-karat gold-leaf ceilings, the Symphony is a palace at sea.

The price to get aboard? Not a pirate’s ransom, but not a deck hand’s wages either. Crystal generally charges around $300 or more per person per day. But you can take this photo tour, shot when the Symphony recently stopped in Los Angeles, free of charge. Just imagine . . .

1. Palm Court panel art
These flirtatious ladies adorn a panel in the Crystal Symphony’s swank Palm Court lounge, which got a re-do as part of a recent $65 million refurbishment of the vessel.

2. Palm Court room overview

A rock-crystal ceiling fixture overlooks the Palm Court, which sports Calacatta marble flooring alabaster urns and Murano glass table lamps.

3. Palm Court statue

Enjoying a bite beside one of the Palm Court’s statues. The room doubles as a tea lounge and an evening venue for dancing and drinks.

4. Living wall

The 37-foot-long “living wall” wall, covered with exotic tropical plants and fashioned after a world map, is installed in an al fresco dining area of the Trident Grill. It gets regular checkups by a self-described “urban ruralist” in England, who tweaks the irrigation system based on daily reports wired from the wall’s equipment.

5. Silk Road

The sedate, elegant Silk Road and The Sushi Bar is one of several dining venues on the ship.

6. Chef

Tatsuo Takebayashi , an executive chef for Silk Road, mingles with guests aboard the Crystal Symphony.

7. Pastries

Of course, there are pastries aplenty, of every design.

8. Cabin
The ultimate retreat: your cabin. With 461 staterooms and a crew of 545, the Symphony’s ratio of staff to guests is on your side. Most cabins have verandahs. The plushest places? Two penthouses, each nearly 1,000 square feet.

9. Exterior

Looking up at the 12-deck Crystal Symphony.