Thursday, August 25, 2011

Overnight In Port

We often hear travelers bemoan the fact that there isn't enough time in port cities to experience them properly. Their complaint is that cruise ships sail "too early" meaning there's no time to dine out ashore or enjoy the nightlife. Overnight calls are usually scheduled for embarkation day or the night before debarkation when passengers use the ship as a floating hotel either pre- or post-cruise.

Crystal Cruises is about to satisfy many cruise travelers' wishes by offering more overnights in port on their 2012 cruise calendar. Crystal's cruises lengths range 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. Watch for these new routes in 2012, many of which include overnights:

-- 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 coasts, 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 Coruna (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, Andalsnes 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 Montreal with three maiden calls: Sept-Iles, Magdalen Islands, and France's Saint-Pierre/Miquelon.

-- Oct, U.S./Canada East Coast: Two 7-days between Boston and Montreal (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.
Photo Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

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