When guests embark on the 2017 President’s Cruise this November aboard Crystal Symphony, they’ll be treated to a number of special receptions and occasions hosted by Crystal’s chairman, CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. Most of these will involve champagne, elegant music, perhaps even black-tie attire. But one particular experience set to be hosted by Edie and her husband, Tom, is decidedly less suited to the stylish corridors of the Crystal ship, as travelers trade high-heels for high adventure and trek into the Desert Wadi Rum.
On an exclusive expedition from Aqaba, Jordan, Edie will accompany guests into the storied, wind-swept cliffs that made Lawrence of Arabia famous (both, in life and on the big screen). Where, thousands of years before Lawrence, Nabateans and several other peoples struggled against the harsh, barren land to make their homes in this desert, and leaving relics of their civilizations behind for modern explorers to discover.
During Crystal’s sojourn through the southern Jordan valley commonly called “Valley of the Moon,” guests will venture through the vibrant colors that paint the weathered cliffs crimson and black, through the mountainous wilderness to the camp of a local Bedouin tribe. Most modern residents of Wadi Rum claim a strong Bedouin heritage, and this evening presents a fascinating opportunity to learn about the traditionally nomadic people. Wandering the striking terrain, you’ll come to understand the desert’s aforementioned nickname – and why this landscape has set the stage for several major films – as the moonlight hits the edges of the granite cliffs with dramatic flair.
In stark contrast to Wadi Rum’s harsh terrain and the plight of history’s explorers in the region, Crystal guests need not trek across the 278 square mile desert by foot, but will make their way to the evening’s exclusive event by four-wheel drive. Another difference: the elegant grand piano and magical candlelight ambiance set for the private feast prepared by the welcoming Bedouin tribe. The traditional massive, goat-hair tents and ornate carpets add a certain romance and antiquity to this scene, as guests join Edie and Tom for a toast. Champagne, of course.