Crystal Symphony

Sydney’s White Bay Cruise Terminal

 White Bay Cruise Terminal, Sydney

Sunday evening in Sydney was grey and drizzly – much needed rain we told ourselves as we rolled up to Sydney’s new Cruise Terminal, perched in the backwaters of the harbour on old industrial land.
This terminal has had some bad press! The land wasn’t being used for anything much, a poorly patronised night club on one side but mostly industrial wasteland dominated by the White Bay Power Station. This Power Station no longer functions, was purchased about 14 years ago by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and is supposedly undergoing heritage restoration. The area has potential as another harbour precinct like Darling Harbour… and it may go that way now it is also being used as temporary home for the Exhibition centre.

We were very impressed with the new Terminal. Sydneysiders have expected that cruise ships will dock within easy reach of the city, easy – meaning walking distance – but in many cities visited by today’s cruise vessels these terminals are some way from the city’s sights. White Bay is not within walking distance, but it is a short shuttle or taxi ride away – and hopefully very soon it will be a 15 minute ferry ride away from Circular Quay.
It has a pleasant place to wait (not found at the Overseas Passenger Terminal – OPT), easy parking (impossible at the OPT), it is air-conditioned!! (yes really), has new facilities (as you would expect) and looks and works like a modern purpose-built cruise terminal! Like Darling Harbour which Sydneysiders whinged about for years after it was built, it is likely to become part of Sydney which we will wonder what we did without after a few years.

Penthouse suite on Crystal Symphony

We were on our way to a tour and dinner on the ‘Crystal Symphony’. This vessel holds a special place in my memory as it was my first ship tour – though it has been seriously renovated and updated since then. On Sunday she sailed up to Cairns and on to Darwin before heading into Asian waters.
She is a grand ship with some fabulous facilities and superbly comfortable cabins, which you would expect of a medium sized luxury cruise ship that was rated amongst the best in the 2013 Berlitz Cruise Guide.
‘Crystal Symphony’ is marketed to the over-50s and offers an amazing program of lectures, learning programs (ever wanted to play the piano or learn a language?) a diverse choice of beautifully appointed lounges, self-service laundries (a feature my partner really likes!) an Italian and a Japanese restaurant as alternatives to the Crystal Dining Room and wonderfully spacious deck areas. She will back in Australia in November this year (2014) – contact us if you would like a brochure!

Time to check out the Crystal Serenity

No cruise ships in Sydney Harbour for a couple of days … so I’ve got time to tell you about my visit to the Crystal Serenity on Saturday. Crystal Cruises are known by those who are well-travelled, enjoy all life’s luxuries, want space, choice and a varied and interesting program and are prepared for the price. We were very lucky to have time to explore the ship during her recent overnight stopover in Sydney. And to have sunny days – earlier in the week Sydney had treated some of our cruise visitors to rain or drizzle.
Crystal Serenity features include all cabins as outside and the majority with a private balcony; two outdoor swimming pools – one of which can be covered with a magrodome in inclement weather; a wide teak promenade deck and excellent fitness facilities; a Palm Court lounge; the Stardust Club where cabaret is the entertainment; a computer learning centre and the popular Avenue Saloon, described in the Berlitz guide as a “throwback to gentlemen’s clubs of yesteryear” – and much more.
Crystal Serenity has departed Sydney for this year but if you would like to know more about her itineraries – or that of her sister ship Crystal Symphony – you can contact me – anytime – or by phone 02 9968 1600.