Onsite: Crystal Cruises Refurbishing Crystal Symphony

Crystal Cruises' Symphony liner is setting out an ambitious $23 million, 13-day refurbishment plan, its largest-ever remodeling and first since 2004. The Crystal Symphony, which was in New York on Friday, will dry dock in Norfolk, VA, on Oct. 31, when nearly 1,300 contract workers and staff will work around-the-clock, transforming many of the ship's components to imbue a more contemporary feel on board. Most aggressive will be a complete redesign of the staterooms, which will include new LCD flat-screen TVs, wall treatments, lamps, bed headboards, mirrors and bathroom fixtures, to inject a boutique-hotel feel. Other new additions and refits include: a 53-seat nightclub called Luxe, located adjacent to a reconstituted casino; revamping of the Symphony's Starlight Lounge, highlighted by a central, circular bar, which will give the lounge a more airy appeal; and new hardware in the liner's Computer University at Sea room. Mimi Weisband, Crystal Cruises' vice president of public relations, also told Travel Agent of its focused initiative for next year to ramp up staff training as a way to properly cater to the ship's upscale clientele. Certification of wine stewards and retail staff training highlighted the plan.

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