Lap of Luxury: Crystal Cruises

- This week on the Lap of Luxury, we visit the Crystal Symphony cruise ship, docked right in New York City. Crystal Cruises has been named the world's best cruise line for 20 years in a row. So what makes their ships so special? Crystal CEO and President Edie Rodriguez says it is simple: the Crystal service delivered day in and day out.

On Crystal, luxury is all about the ultimate in service and amenities. The 780-foot Crystal Symphony is one of just two Crystal ships, both of which are constantly upgraded to be sure they're a cut above the rest. Rodriguez says she believes in investing in her vessels, and Crystal spends about $120 million every two years to refurbish them. [SEE PHOTOS HERE]

The Crystal Symphony boasts two penthouses, each nearly 1,000 square feet. Starting at $15,000 per person for a 7-day cruise from New York to Montreal, Canada, the penthouse can cost as much as $350,000 per person for a 129-day world cruise from South Africa to Italy. Included in the price: 24/7 butlers, a sitting room, dining room, magnificent bathroom, wonderful comforting bed, Etro spa amenities, and a veranda.

Rodriguez says they're a wonderful way to vacation. Venture outside the penthouse and there is a range of exquisite dining options all included in the price of the cruise, from fine Italian at Prego to luxurious Japanese at Silk Road---a venture between Crystal and Nobu Matsuhisa.

Crystal has an exclusive partnership with Nobu at sea, and dinners at Silk Road are complimentary for all guests. For a special occasion, and an extra charge, book an evening in the elegant Vintage Room, where sommeliers serve up some of world's most decadent wines.

For our visit, Crystal Symphony sommelier Christian poured a 2010 Opus One -- a partnership between Robert Mondavi and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. And it was delicious. Recover from a night of fine wining and dining with a day at the Feng Shui designed Crystal Spa & Salon. There's a long list of spa treatments available, from Thai massage to hot stone therapy, even Botox and teeth whitening.

Try a 90-minute bamboo massage for $259 or a Thermage CPT Treatment facial for $2,750. On a beautiful day, relax outside in the Seahorse pool and Jacuzzi.

Inside, there's a movie theater, cigar bar, shopping, and lavish lounge areas with plenty of places to curl up with a book while the world goes by.

Rodriguez says you can truly see the entire world on Crystal. From 5 nights to 129 nights, Crystal visits all seven continents, even Antarctica.

And they're expanding. Crystal recently announced that they're adding three more ships to their fleet, plus yacht cruises, river cruises, and even luxury jets to fly around the world. Rodriguez says it's all part of their plan to endeavor beyond cruises, and be the world's most awarded, prestigious and premier luxury lifestyle brand portfolio.

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