In Gallivanting the Globe

First and Foremost: Maiden Calls in 2017

Featured image: Breisach, Germany

What a year 2016 was! With Crystal Serenity’s successful completion of her inaugural historic Northwest Passage voyage, Crystal Mozart’s maiden voyage down the Danube, and the announcement of numerous other “firsts” to come. There are more original thrills waiting on deck for 2017, including the summer launch of Crystal Bach and Crystal Debussy, plus more Crystal maiden ports of call than ever before…74 in all.

Among these new ports in 33 countries, you’ll find some that are world-famous (Paris!), others that are lesser known (Rüdesheim), and some that will challenge your tongue in their pronunciation (we’ll challenge you to say Djúpivogur three times fast once you’ve visited) – all with fascinating Crystal Adventures showcasing their specially unique wonders. Here, in addition to the aforementioned cities, we take a closer look at several of the destinations we can hardly wait to visit for the first time with you in 2017.

Lush tranquility surrounds visitors at Ritsurin Koen Garden in Takamatsu, Japan
Lush tranquility surrounds visitors at Ritsurin Koen Garden in Takamatsu, Japan

Takamatsu, Japan

Why we love it

Cherry blossom viewing by night and admiring the 17th century Ritsurin-koen, one of Japan’s most outstanding gardens, dedicated as a “special place of scenic beauty.” Try Sanuki Udon noodles from Kagawa Prefecture; they’re popular throughout Japan.

Your first Crystal impression

In addition to our first visit to Takamatsu, travel to Beijing, Tokyo, Osaka and more fabulous cities aboard “Accent in China and Japan.” Departure is March 31, 2017 from Incheon, South Korea on a 14-day voyage for the Crystal Wine & Food Festival with special VIP guest Chef Martin Yan.

Isafjordur, Iceland

Why we love it

June nights are bright in the land of the midnight sun. Originally established in the 9th century, this unspoiled natural setting at the tip of northwestern Iceland hosts a variety of birds and indigenous wildlife. A large collection of old timber framed houses includes the oldest in Iceland (1734), home to the local folk museum.

Your first Crystal impression

New England Crossing,” a 12-day crossing on Crystal Symphony from New York City to Reykjavík, calls in Isafjordur. Alternatively, Embark from Iceland’s capital of ReykjavÍk for a 10-day voyage “North Atlantic Isles” that encompasses Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and England.

Hammerfest, Norway

Why we love it

Hammerfest’s story revolves around arctic animals. In summer, reindeer wandering right through the downtown streets welcome you to the world’s northernmost city. A takeaway bonus: Anyone who visits Hammerfest can actually apply to become a lifetime member of their local Royal & Ancient Polar Bear Society.

Your first Crystal impression

Crystal Symphony is your host through fjords with backdrops of forests on “North Cape Discovery,” an 18-day adventure from Oslo to Antwerp departing July 16, 2017.  The legendary land of trolls, Brønnøysund, is another Norwegian maiden call during the cruise.

Nevis Peak towers over the Caribbean landscape on Nevis, near Coconut Grove.
Nevis Peak towers over the Caribbean landscape on Nevis, near Coconut Grove.

Coconut Grove, St. Kitts and Nevis

Why we love it

Alexander Hamilton is currently trending, as fans of the Broadway musical blockbuster can attest. One of America’s founding fathers and first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, whose portrait graces a $10 bill, was actually born in Nevis in 1757. Since then, the tropical locale has gained repute as one of the hidden glamourous getaways of the world’s jet-setting elite travelers.

Your first Crystal impression

Enjoy the exclusive boutique yachting experience over Thanksgiving in 2017 with Crystal Esprit, in the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands. Hamilton’s birthplace is just 10 minutes’ drive from Coconut Grove, one of the two maiden calls on Nevis, a volcanic island separated from St. Kitts by The Narrows.

Itea, Greece

Why we love it

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delphi, ancient center of the classical world, is one of the world’s most fascinating and best preserved archeological sites on earth. Delphi is on the southwestern slope of towering Mount Parnassus overlooking the Gulf of Corinth, just 5 miles from port.

Your first Crystal impression

Aboard Crystal Esprit, cruise from the Ionian Sea to the Adriatic Sea. Sail between Athens and Dubrovnik to visit this gem poised in the midst of turquoise waters on several Crystal Esprit boutique yacht voyages in 2017. In fact, we call on two Greek maiden ports on many itineraries, including the pristine island of Parga.

Breisach, Germany

Why we love it

This charming hamlet’s position halfway between the Rhine River and the Black Forest sets the scene for one picturesque vista after another, if you’re at all compelled to look up from the mouthwatering wine and food that is served there. The old-world feel of the cobbled streets and pitched roofs bely the fact that the 11th century town is also relatively brand new, having been nearly completely destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in meticulous authentic detail to its former medieval glory.

Your first Crystal impression

Crystal Bach’s “Jewels of the Rhine” sailings feature calls to Breisach, as well as number of other quaint villages with deceptively profound historical significance.

Whether you’re planning your own maiden voyage with Crystal or your 100th milestone, we cannot wait to welcome you to these fascinating new destinations next year.

The colorful facades of the buildings in Old Town Palma.
The colorful facades of the buildings in Old Town Palma.

Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands

Why we love it

Known as “La Isla Bonita” by the locals, it’s impossible to choose the prettiest corner of this most verdant of Spain’s seven Canary Islands, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Painted wooden houses in the cobbled streets of the colorful 16th century center adorned by flowery balconies are poised for photo ops.

Your first Crystal impression

Better than back-to-school, take a September roundtrip Lisbon voyage, “Accent on the Atlantic Isles,” which includes another maiden call in the Azores. The 10-day cruise on Crystal Symphony also visits exotic Morocco.

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