We have sailed with several different lines, but this was our first experience with Crystal. The Symphony is among the smaller ships we have sailed, but you would not know it once on board.
Embarkation was changed from Ft Lauderdale to Miami several months before, and Crystal notified us well in advance. The location in Miami sets opposite of the bigger ships, in a much quieter setting. Embarkation was extremely quick and before we knew it we were on board. Unlike most other lines, you do NOT receive your key cards at check in... They are in your stateroom. We were greeted with a glass of champagne, given an opportunity to drop carry on luggage at a secured station (which was then also delivered to our stateroom), and escorted on a brief tour before heading to the main dining room for lunch (another welcome surprise). By the time lunch was finished we were able to go to our stateroom to pick up our key cards, and find all our luggage there waiting for us.
Speaking of dining... I wish I could rate the food higher than the 5 stars! ALL of the food in the MDR was excellent. With regards to embarkation lunch... Our waitress, Jessica told us to be sure to try the butternut squash ravioli (**only served at embarkation**). It was amazing! Also, on another note... **Do not pass up on the soups!** Crystal has the most delicious offering of soups we have ever come across. Service was outstanding... when the same waitress found out I had missed out on the escargot (due to bring at a specialty restaurant that night)... before I knew it the head waiter came over and asked for my name and stateroom number. (we were not even at her table this time!) The next night I had a special order of escargot! And since we were celebrating my birthday, I was treated to a celebration breakfast, not on the menu, that was offered either in the MDR, or could be served "en suite". It was the most memorable room service ever.
Our cabin was on the starboard side, which was a good location when transiting the canal as we could see the activity in the lock heading the opposite direction. Our cabin steward, Ritika, was efficient, and very unobtrusive. The cabin was your standard veranda layout with some notable exceptions...First being that every cabin has a doorbell, and lighted indicators for "do not disturb" and "make-hoop room". Storage in the cabin was NOT an issue at all. We counted a total of 17 drawers for use in addition to numerous shelves. The closet was lighted with shoe rack. The TV is your typical flat screen, however if you watch a movie you will need to turn off subtitles (unless you do not mind this). The bathroom also offered plenty of shelf storage, and the tub/shower, while short was wide enough to soak if you wished (our plug was not working properly).
We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel the night before. Beautiful location, with a view of the port. Walking distance to Bayside Market. Quick taxi ride to terminal.