Cruise

Cruises 101

by Sherri Eisenberg

Crystal Cruises

Number of ships: 2
Ship capacity: 940 and 1,100 passengers
Price range: Expensive

The audience: Of all the luxury lines, Crystal is probably the most youthful. Baby-boomer guests often travel with nannies in tow, and the bars and lounges don't empty out until after midnight—a rarity on the blue-haired and blue-blooded lines that all but shut down after dinner.

Strengths: This is a foodie's paradise. The Crystal Serenity has a sushi restaurant that serves up dishes created by Nobu Matsuhisa, and even has off-menu Japanese comfort food like pork katsu. Many cruise lines have poolside ice cream bars, but only Crystal makes its own frozen yogurt—and service is personal enough that the fro-yo guy will remember your name (and favorite flavor) from a previous sailing.

Weaknesses: Cabins are smaller and less decadent than on other high-end lines. Also, the Symphony carries 940 passengers, and the Serenity almost 1,100, so competition can be fierce for the best spa appointments and coveted tables for two at dinner.

Insider tip: All Crystal ships are wireless and cell-phone friendly, even when far out to sea. So if you have to bring work…

Itineraries: The line's two vessels tend to move about the globe—there are few ports you can't visit on a Crystal ship if you're flexible about dates. A standout itinerary is the 12-day sailing from Athens into the Black Sea and on to Ukraine, Romania, and Russia, ending in Istanbul (from $8,800 per person).

Crystal Cruises
Tel: 888 722 0021

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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