As Crystal Cruises sails around the globe from Akureyi to Zadar in 2012, the line is upping the originality with 20 new ports-of-call, a dozen new itineraries, more shorter-length cruises, and an almost 50% increase in overnights in dazzling waterfront idylls around the world. Strategic planning has most of 2012’s cruises beginning with a shipboard overnight stay in port, while 86% of the voyages include at least one two-day call.
Together, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will visit 182 ports-of-call in 59 countries on 60 itineraries worldwide.
“Our goal for the year was to enhance the ease and value of traveling with Crystal,” explains President Gregg Michel. “For example, by adding more overnights to the cruises, especially at embarkation, travelers only have to unpack once, yet get even more time to experience a culture, while still having their Crystal home as a luxurious base.”
The mix of overnight destinations includes both large cultural capitals like Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, and New York, and smaller locales with charm appeal, like Bordeaux, Edinburgh, Tahiti, and Sorrento.
New, Overnight-Packed Itineraries
Crystal’s 2012 cruise calendar offers cruises lengths from seven to 19 days, not including the three-month World Cruise. Seven-day voyages are sprinkled throughout the year, with half in the Mediterranean, half in North America. New routes include:
• Jan 4—Panama Canal: Instead of simply sailing through the Canal, Crystal Serenity will stop in Panama, for a maiden call in Panama City.
• Jan 18—World Cruise: A 94-day Australasian immersion, with segment highlights including:
• A maiden call in Newcastle, Australia, after visiting the island of New Caledonia.
• Overnights on both eastern and western Australian coats, in Sydney and Perth, before voyaging to Bali, Java, and Singapore (overnight).
• A wide range of cultural experiences in one, starting in Osaka, Japan (overnight), then sailing to Petropavlovsk, Russia before traversing the Bering Sea to less-ventured calls in Alaska, through Glacier Bay, and back to L.A. along the Pacific Coast.
• Feb/March--Brazil: An uber-regional Brazilian experience with five maiden calls (Buzios, Ilha Grande, Paraty, Sao Paulo/Santos and Itajai) exploring tropical coastline, rain forest and Portuguese-German heritage, and highlighted by an overnight in Rio during Carnival (also a highlight of the prior Feb. 20 voyage from Miami).
• May 21—Europe’s Western Coast: Journey of contemporary and historic contrasts along Spain and France’s northern coasts, hitting unusual ports such as La Coruña (Galicia), Bilbao (Basque), St.-Jean-de-Luz (French Basque region, maiden call), St.-Malo (Brittany), and Honfleur (overnight).
• July—North Cape: Although Crystal usually makes a North Cape voyage annually, 2012’s version sees Norway’s lesser-visited Molde, Åndalsnes and Trondheim added, as well as a maiden call in neighboring Leknes/Lofoten.
• Aug 3—Baltic: An eastern Baltic-focus stopping in Tallinn, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; and Klaipeda, Lithuania (maiden call), with an overnight in Stockholm and double overnights in St. Petersburg.
• Sept 6—Black Sea: Overnight in Odessa, plus stops in Yalta, Ukraine and Sochi, Russia.
• Sept 30—Eastern Canada: Seven-day, intimate French-Canadian/Gulf of St. Lawrence round-trip from Montréal with three maiden calls: Sept-Îles, Magdalen Islands, and France’s Saint-Pierre/Miquelon.
• Oct—U.S./Canada East Coast: Two seven-days between Boston and Montréal (overnight), offering a shorter-than-usual way to visit northeast New England, Halifax, and the Saguenay River area.
• Dec—Australia/New Zealand: Holiday cruise through New Zealand and Australia boasts two nights in Sydney over New Year’s Eve.
• Trans-Ocean Sailings: With six major ocean-crossing sailings during the year, Crystal is reinventing the journey:
• A 16-day N.Y.-London/Dover Trans-Atlantic in May includes a maiden call in Heimaey, Iceland and just three days at sea.
• A 14-day reverse pond crossing overnights in Reykjavik and makes a maiden call in Akureyri, Iceland.
• Two sailings in Nov/Dec that, combined, sail from L.A. to New Zealand and stop in some of the most legendary romantic tropical islands in the Pacific, including Hawaii, Moorea, Papeete, Bora Bora, the Cook Islands, and Fiji.
European cruises also include maiden calls in Bonifacio on the French island of Corsica and Palamos, Spain and numerous ports that Crystal rarely visits such as:
• Riga, Latvia
• Sochi, Russia
• Ravenna, Italy
• Zadar, Croatia
• Argostoli, Kefalonia
• Agadir, Morocco
• Palermo, Sicily
• Bodrum, Turkey
Beginning with its spring Trans-Atlantic voyages (March 19 and May 8 on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, respectively), all Crystal cruises will be all-inclusive, with complimentary fine wines and premium spirits throughout the ship, open bar service in all lounges, and pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff, including at Nobu Matsuhisa’s complimentary Silk Road and other on-board gourmet dining destinations.
Promotional offers, available for a limited time, include Two-for-One fares, bonus savings on select sailings, as well as fare reductions for repeat guests, families and friends traveling together, new-to-Crystal, early payment, and substantial savings for select back-to-back cruises. Fares, starting at $2,755/person, double occupancy, include free airport/ship transfers and round-trip air from two dozen North American hubs (or substantial air credits).
All 2012 itineraries are outlined in Crystal’s 2012 Cruise Guide, as well as seasonal Winter, Europe and an upcoming Fall Collection brochures.