Sunday, February 18, 2018

Crystal Symphony - Sydney to Tahiti - Day 2 - Sat Feb 17, 2018 (Sydney)

Sydney, Australia
We woke up at 6:30 am feeling quite rested.  First on the agenda was a walk across the Harbor Bridge. It has been humid and in the high 70’s. This morning it was quite pleasant at 72 degrees.  We were hoping for spectacular views, however, the fencing was quite elaborate to block any “jumpers.”  It was also overcast for the first half of the walk. On the other side we stopped at the “Flakey Tart” for a coffee and homemade donut.  It was a nice little bakery with beautiful fresh made baked goods.

Start of our walk across the Harbor Bridge.

A Carnival ship had replaced the Crystal Serenity.

A lot of protection to keep people from jumping.

The Flaky Tart goodies.

View from across the bridge looking back into Old Sydney.

Serenity anchored.
After walking through The Rocks Market, we arrived back at the hotel about 10 am.  Enough time to freshen up, pack last minute items and catch an Uber to the White Bay Cruise Terminal to board the Crystal Symphony.

One of the streets behind the hotel.
Both ships in port, world cruisers switching ships, segmenters joining either ship (people only going on one or more segments like we are), we expected that actually getting onto the Symphony could be a challenge. Crystal had everyone boarding either ship come to the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Then they sorted people out there, got them through customs and onto the ships. Serenity was anchored out in the harbor, so people were checked in, then they were taken out to the ship in either a ferry or tender (we weren’t sure).

Check-in was a breeze. They constantly verified which ship we were going on and made sure that our luggage and us made it to the correct ship. It was amazingly efficient and uneventful (the best possible experience). Once we made it onto the ship, we checked our hand luggage (to be delivered to our room) and we arrived in the dining room for our traditional embarkation lunch.  We have the same entrees on embarkation day on each Crystal cruise (is that called tradition or a rut?).  Bob had the duck quesadilla as an appetizer, Cobb Salad for his entrée.  Julie had a seafood plate appetizer (shrimp, crab and scallops) with Atlantic Salmon as her entrée.  We shared a fresh raspberry sundae for dessert.  Both of us had celebratory champagne with our meals.

Duck quesadilla.

Seafood appetizer.



Our cabin was ready at 3 pm, with all of our luggage delivered.  This started the overwhelming part of the afternoon.  We packed WAY too much stuff.  It’s not like we’re inexperienced cruisers, either.  I’m not sure what got into us, maybe the thought of packing for a 30 day trip.  It was awful.  We finished unpacking at about 5:30 pm.  Sigh.  Luckily the Crystal cabins have adequate storage space and we actually have a couple empty drawers.
Amazing that we were able to get this much stuff to the ship and stowed away.

Cool suspension bridge visible from the ship.
This cruise we had a guarantee cabin.  We ended up on Deck 8, and the jury is out and whether we will like that or not.  Our preferred location (when we don’t have a balcony) is Deck 7.  It is a full deck of cabins and it is the Promenade Deck.  Both Crystal ships have a full teak wrap around deck that is amazing for walking and seeing the sights on both sides of the ship. We love the easy access to the Promenade Deck from those cabins. 

Tonight is the Crystal White Extravaganza, and the Crystal Cove and The Waterside Dining Room were decorated for it.  White decorations with white lights – it looked like it was ready for a wedding.  We each had a Cocktail of the Day developed specially for this evening.  Julie had a White Crystal (Gin, White Crème de Cacao, Malibu Rum, Half & Half, Sambuca and Sugar & Coconut Flaked Rim).  It actually wasn’t as sweet as it sounds.  Bob had a White Lady (Gin, Triple Sec, fresh Lemon Sour).  We enjoyed piano music in the bar prior to going to the Dining Room for dinner.

White Lady on the left and White Crystal on the right.
The Crystal Symphony was in dry dock last fall and has had many updates since we last sailed on her.  The Dining Room has received a face lift and is much more restaurant-like than a typical cruise ship dining room.  Most of the tables are for two, and can be easily combined to accommodate more if needed.  The other major change is to Open Dining.  There is no more “fixed” dining times.  You come for dinner anytime between 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm.  During the dry dock they reduced the number of passengers that the ship can accommodate as well as adding two more dining venues which allows the open dining in the main dining room.  More on the other dining options as we visit each one. By the way, the maitre 'd was Mr. Remy. We first met him way back on our first or second cruise. He was so helpful for us then (we ended up not getting an early dining time due to the ship being so full, he was able to get us a table every night at the early time by placing us at a table of someone that was visiting one of the other restaurants). It was wonderful to see him again.

Dinner was wonderful – Julie had a Salad, Lobster Bisque, Tasmanian Salmon with Shiraz Butter, Red Onion Jam and Barley Artichoke.  It was excellent.  She had a scoop of Triple Caramel Ice Cream for dessert.

Bob had Firecracker Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce, Linguine Pasta Primavera Appetizer, and Grilled Black Angus Filet Steak with Grain Mustard Hollandaise.  He topped it off with Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brulee.

Firecracker shrimp.

After dinner, we wandered around the promenade deck.

Cruise terminal.

We closed the evening with a visit to the Cove for the Crystal White Extravaganza – music and dancing.

We walked 7.3 miles, 17,522 steps.


  1. How is your cabin on 8? We booked a Guarantee for the canal in Dec. 2019, I am a bit hesitant bout it.

  2. We usually book an E1 on the symphony. Partial blockage. We ALWAYS get a cabin on deck 7. Because this is part of the world cruise, we could only get a guarantee and got one on 8 (it's our first experience with deck 8). We loved quick access to the promenade. Deck 8 is just a quick flight down, so that isn't the problem. We do think that the lifeboat obstructions are worse on 8 than on 7. It's blocking the right side of the window. If you sit on the right side of the room you don't see it, but of course, the couch is on the left side and you look right at it. I think that if we were able to pick, we'd continue choosing deck 7.

  3. We were one of the first people to book for the Dec. 2019 cruise, took a big chance and booked a guarantee Oceanview. I joke that we have the cheapest room on one of the nicest ships in the world. Balcony cabins are the norm for us, would never suggest an oceanview for anyone, let alone one going through the canal BUT the rate was so enticing, along with close to 2K in OBC that we thought we would try and hope for the cabin fairy. If we end up with a view of nothing more than a tender, we will spend even more time outside of our cabin. can you believe that images on Crystal's website still have the old cabins, with the televisions above the credence? Hope you have an memorable trip, I will me monitoring from afar.

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