Europe, Asia and America – Best Crystal Cruises in 2016
Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony perennially top reader surveys in prestigious publications as best at sea in the luxury, medium-size category. Two new vessels will debut in 2016: Crystal Esprit, a 62-passenger yacht, and Crystal Mozart – the company’s first venture into river cruising. Here is our pick of Crystal’s best ocean cruises for 2016.
Istanbul – Rome May 1, 2016, Crystal Symphony
The city that straddles Europe and Asia, Istabul is a melting pot of cultures and mecca for history buffs, lovers of architecture, food and fabulous shopping. Temptations abound at the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, while the beauty of The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace mesmerise. Next follows Kusadasi, port for must-see ruins of Ephesus. Greek island favourites Mykonos and Santorini beckon, before cruising the Ionian Sea toward sunny Sorrento. Nip across to Capri, or hire a car to explore Ravello, Amalfi and Positano. Then sail for Rome and marvel at its stupendous heritage. Besides fabulous ports, this is a Wine and Food Festival cruise with presentations from renowned chefs and wine experts.
Berlin – Amsterdam, June 29, 2016, Crystal Symphony
This exceptional itinerary begins with a complimentary three-night pre-cruise package in Berlin, with visits to the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, remnants of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie – once the border between East and West – and observation points of the city’s structural and cultural evolution. Other excursions include visits to the palaces of Potsdam, playground of Prussian kings. Then it’s up to Kristiansand, Norway before crossing to Edinburgh overnight, with a full day to explore this compelling city. In Amsterdam, cycle along its pretty canals or marvel at the magnificent paintings of Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
Vancouver round trip, July 17, 2016, Crystal Serenity
What better port to start your Alaskan adventure than Canada’s gateway city, Vancouver? Day one is spent cruising the Inside Passage, heading for Ketchikan, USA where you can view the Misty Fjords by seaplane before sailing for Juneau – launch pad for a range of adventures – kayaking, flightseeing and dog sledding. Skagway is a colourful frontier town, while once-Russian Sitka captivates with pretty gardens and sightings of bald eagles. In Prince Rupert BC, visit a grizzly bear sanctuary before your ship arrives in lovely Victoria BC, where a visit to Butchart Gardens is essential.
Montreal – New York, October 17, 2016 Crystal Serenity
Nothing equals the spectacle of a North American autumn as seen along Canada and New England’s east coast with its tidy towns, historic lighthouses and fantastic seafood. In Quebec City, clip-clop around the UNESCO-designated old town by horse and buggy. Boston – America’s Cradle of Liberty – is easy walking for sightseers. Walk the Freedom Trail past the Boston Common, Paul Revere’s House and Old North Church, while further afield are tours to Plymouth Rock, Concord, Lexington and Salem. Finally, nothing equals sailing into New York City to see the prickling lights of Manhattan and wave to Lady Liberty.
Singapore – Shanghai, Mar 12, 2016 Crystal Serenity
This itinerary is a perfect sampler of Indochina with overnights in Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In between, visit Koh Samui and Bangkok, Imperial Hue and captivating Hoi An, and see the spectacle of Hong Kong and Shanghai’s harbours and street life.