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Lavendar Fields Outside Burgas, Bulgaria

Dangerously Delicious Spices, the Legend of Troy and a Crazy Bamboo Dance on 2021 Maiden Calls

We’re back with Part 2 of the fun and fascinating highlights of Crystal Cruises’ 2021 maiden calls featured on nearly 70 global luxury voyages aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. Wherever in the world your curiosities take you, these destinations – and the hundreds of others on the roster – will not disappoint.

Batumi, Georgia’s Europe Square is beautifully eclectic, with special charm at night and in the twilight “Blue Hour.”

Batumi, Georgia

“Weird and wonderful” are found in abundance here. In Batumi’s central Europe Square, you’ll find not only Georgian charms, but also icons found around the world. Palm trees, an astronomical clock, serious monuments and quirky delights are interspersed among colorful architecture that doesn’t follow any rules. In one view along the city’s waterfront, you can capture the Alphabet Tower, illuminated Ferris Wheel and giant metal figures named Ali and Nino that slowly begin to move toward each other once the sun goes down. The natural side of Batumi is another way the city showcases its special character. Georgia offers botanical gardens in almost every city, but the gardens in Batumi celebrate the flora of the world. It is divided by continent in order to give visitors a look at what blooms where, making Batumi again feel like the center of the world.

Kepez, Turkey

This is your gateway to Troy and all the antiquity and mystery that it encompasses. The region (founded in roughly 3000 B.C.) and its famous Trojan War were long considered legend because of the fact that no one could find it. The actual location of Troy was disputed by famed explorers like LeChevalier and Della Valle, until the second half of the 19th century, when American Frank Calvert and German Heinrich Schliemann successfully excavated and documented several ancient cities. Today, Troy has literally thousands of ways for you to make your own discoveries, now that the city has been uncovered. It only took about 4,000 years to find.

Burgas, Bulgaria Sea Garden
Sculptures and other curious art pieces are found amid the natural beauty of Burgas, Bulgaria’s Sea Garden.

Burgas, Bulgaria

When in Burgas, you never know when the desire to delve into nature will strike. The charming city is surrounded by four lakes, and within the city limits are curious parks and reserves for birds and other wildlife like the impressive Sea Garden. This is a place where you’re just as likely to go kayaking or take an impromptu salt plunge as you are to explore some seriously impressive archaeological sites (after all, Bulgaria was founded in 681 A.D.) and imbibe in some seriously great food and drink (Burgas is a hub of cuisine and nightlife). It’s all here, from kayaks to karaoke.

Ambon, Indonesia

Another magnificent island in the Banda archipelago, Ambon will inspire you at first step. Musical and dance traditions are rich here, with Sahu Reka-Reka dance performances popping up on special occasions, often courtesy of local youth groups. The grownups, however, are responsible for the Crazy Bamboo Dance, in which the strongest men in the village participate. The “dance” comprises five to six men wrestling with a “magic” bamboo reed whose movements are under the control of a mystic Shaman. These are just a few of the many fascinating customs on this volcanic isle.

Banda Neira Dutch Fort
A Dutch fort built during the battles over the Spice Island can be explored on Banda Neira.

Banda Neira, Indonesia

One of the most prized characteristics of this Spice Island is also one of the most dangerous. Banda Neira was once the only place on earth one could find the rare spices of mace and nutmeg – the latter of which is highly poisonous. It grows on myristica trees, a mild narcotic that is often found in ecstasy. However, small, safe amounts of nutmeg are also found in some of the world’s most popular dishes, from sweet to savory. You’ll catch the aromatic fragrance of the myristica trees and tropical evergreens as you explore Banda Neira, one of 10 volcanic and forested islands in this enchanting Indonesian archipelago. It’s also worth exploring beneath the water line here, as lush forests of healthy, vibrant corals make it a diver’s paradise.

Come explore the curious cultures and landmarks of the world with Crystal Cruises in 2021, with Book Now Savings up to $4,000 per suite.


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