Crystal Harmony 1997
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Crystal Harmony in Funchal, Madeira.

"Sea Lines" is the magazine of the Ocean Liner Society

In 2003, I wrote an article entitled "Crystal Gazing" about this voyage, which appeared in Issue No.32

Read the full article here >>

Itinerary Show Map & Full Sea Lines Article
= ports at anchor
Saturday
18th October
- Fly to Lisbon, Portugal & embark Crystal Harmony
Sunday-at sea
Monday-Funchal, Madeira
Tuesday-at sea
Wednesday-(Ponta Delgada, Azores)
Thursday-at sea
Friday-at sea
Saturday-at sea
Sunday-at sea
Monday-Bermuda
Tuesday-at sea
Wednesday-at sea
Thursday
30th October
-Fort Lauderdale, USA disembark
& fly to UK overnight

The Japanese hit the western cruising world by storm when they introduced Crystal Harmony in 1990. At 48,621 tons and only 960 passengers, she was one of the most spacious ships afloat. She immediately acquired 5-star plus status - the first to do so with a 2-sitting Dining Room. So Andrew & I, John and Gerry resolved to try her out on an Atlantic crossing via the Azores and Bermuda!

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Crystal Harmony in Madeira Funchal Madeira Atlantic Crossing Atlantic Wake The Captain's Cocktail Party

We flew from the UK to join Crystal Harmony in Lisbon, in the pouring rain, and discovered that she had just come out of re-fit - in a hurry! Work wasn't finished and there were lots of little things wrong or broken in our staterooms. We sailed late and because of the bad weather, arrived even later in Madeira, where it was still raining!

By the time we left Madeira, our stateroom troubles had been sorted out and the weather had eased. However, I was convinced we were travelling in the wrong direction for the Azores and this was confirmed the following day when the Captain announced that because of a "faulty coil", he could only use 3 engines and had decided to make straight for Bermuda. We were all given a $200 credit and the Hotel Manager announced a complimentary "Happy Hour" at 11.30am! Three Tequila Sunrises later and the sun came out and we had forgotten all about the Azores!



Andrew sunning himself during our 6 days at sea en-route from Funchal to Bermuda

After a blustery crossing (albeit quite sunny), our arrival in Bermuda was marred only by being told we would be leaving at 4pm - 2 hours earlier than we thought. So we decided to investigate some of the quieter beaches on the South Shore to perhaps do some snorkelling.
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Gerry Me, John & Andrew Aft Sun Decks Arrival at King's Wharf Bermuda Andrew
(pre-accident)
Both beaches we found were almost deserted and very attractive but the sea was too rough for any snorkelling, so we had to be content with "splashing around". It was at West Whale Bay that Andrew slipped and hurt himself on the rocks, which are more treacherous than they look. He also dropped his camera in the sea, which put an end to that!
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Crystal Harmony at King's Wharf Bermuda Church Bay West Whale Bay
(Andrew's accident)
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
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House on South Shore Sunset Departure Sunset over Bermuda Miami Beach Patrol HQ Art Deco in Miami Beach

One way and another, it was a somewhat disappointing day in Bermuda; and what with the less than perfect start to the cruise, coupled with missing a call at the Azores (where we had never been before), it proved a low-key holiday altogether. We finished our journey in Fort Lauderdale and from our day-room at the Miami Airport Hilton, we visited Miami Beach to see the Art Deco buildings along the front. Even that too was deserted because of the cool weather. Too late in the season I guess. Still, it didn't dampen our interest in Crystal Harmony and we travelled on her again a few years later for our "Real Millennium Cruise"

Finally, some pictures around the ship
Throughout the ship, elegance is the theme - even to the point of being a little austere in places; while there is a lot of marble and the use of expensive materials, the "glitze" is restrained. The Dining Room seats fewer than 500 and has comfortable feel. Service was excellent, as was the menu and presentation. There are even 2 alternative dining venues - Prego (Italian) and Kyoto (Japanese), but both are a bit too high up in the ship to be comfortable in a heavy sea.


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Crystal Dining Room Atrium Vista Lounge Dancers Palm Court

The Atrium boasts a "Tiffany-style" glass ceiling which fools you into thinking you are higher-up in the ship. On the upper level, my favourite spot for mid-morning coffee was the Bistro, while at the lower level, there is a water-feature incorporating a sculpture of 2 Ballroom Dancers. The Vista Lounge on Deck-11 (Forward) is stunning but the adjoining Palm Court is, in my view, one of the most beautiful rooms I have seen on any ship. The Lido Cafe aft is spacious, if a little nondescript, which is also unfortunately true of the main lounges on Deck-6. The Galaxy Show Lounge is a simple, single-story room and the aft cabaret night club, the Club 2100 is also unremarkable. Nonetheless, Crystal Harmony is a lovely ship; spacious and exclusive, with impeccable food and service. Unfortunately, needless to say, she is expensive!


See Detailed Mileage Log for this cruise >>

Cruise Mileage: 3,934 nautical miles
Total Mileage to date: 62,319 n miles

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