In Crystal Cruises®, Gallivanting the Globe

Bright Lights, Big Cities: Top 8 Cosmopolitan Destinations for 2017

At some point during your lifetime of travel, have you ever said to yourself, “I’ve really had enough beaches”? Enough tranquility, more than enough sand, and enough panoramic views of crystal blue waters?

No? Us either.

However, it is true that balance and moderation are key to everything in life, including luxury vacations (at least as far as destinations go). As much as we love the expansive sandy shores and cooling waters in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Australia, we equally relish the vibrancy and energy found in the world’s urban jungles.

It’s invigorating to dive into the waves of activity as you explore the streets of a cosmopolitan hub, skyscrapers challenging the laws of physics far above you. Beyond their innate vitality owing to the sheer quantity of sights, sounds and people watching, these larger-than-life cities are often the cultural and historical heart of a region. Many of the beautiful metropolises featured on our 2017 ocean itineraries offer a seamless combination of posh modern industry and centuries of historical significance.

Here are our top 8 big cities to energize your travel plans with Crystal in 2017:

Crystal Serenity in New York City following the epic Northwest Passage journey.
Crystal Serenity in New York City following the epic Northwest Passage journey.

New York City, New York – No explanation is required for featuring the Big Apple at the top of this list. What would a list of “top” big cities be without what is arguably the world’s most famous? The epic 2017 Northwest Passage voyage concludes with an overnight stay in the home of Broadway, Lady Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline, a stark – and fun – contrast to the 30 previous days spent in the Arctic land of ice and polar bears.

*BONUS: Boston, Massachusetts is also featured on the 2017 Northwest Passage itinerary, for those seeking to indulge their curiosity for Americana in one of the country’s most historical cities.

Tokyo, Japan – Fusing the vitality of a modern metropolis with the stately elegance of yesteryear, Tokyo is truly unique. The city exudes a vitality that mimics the glittering towers and internationally acclaimed sites. However, set right alongside those skyscrapers you’ll find houses of wood and paper and other-worldly structures that bear a timeless prestige. Kimono-clad women share the bustling sidewalks with teenagers sporting the latest fashions, and it’s all simply beautiful. Crystal Symphony’s “Accent on China and Japan” sailing spends an overnight in this complex city.

Shanghai - Yuyuan Garden at dusk
Tradition permeates even the most modern bustling downtown districts of Shanghai.

Shanghai, China – It might be hard to believe that what is now the heart of China’s economic resurgence was once a quiet fishing village along the Yangtze River. The bright lights of this big city come from the towering buildings, which are illuminated top to bottom and boast evidence of the many European settlements throughout Shanghai’s history. When strolling along the waterside promenade, you’ll see an endless flotilla of sampans on the edge of the Huangpu River, dividing the new beacon of commerce and culture with the fishing community of old. Explore this contrast during Crystal Symphony’s “Ancient Dynasties” sailing through China, Japan and South Korea.

Paris, France – There are endless ways in which Paris calls to travelers, and has for centuries. The City of Light is another on this list that comprises fascinating contrasts that make it intriguing and irresistible. Paris has long been one of the most international cities in the world, while also touting an unwavering pride of heritage. Skyscrapers in Paris are replaced with 15th and 16th Century structures that are as artful as they are commanding. There is one Parisian tower that seemingly reaches the heavens, though. You’ve probably heard of it… If you’re wondering how an ocean cruise can feature a call to land-locked Paris, look no further than Crystal Symphony’s August “Highlighting the Edinburgh Tattoo” sailing. A fully curated, three-day, luxury post-cruise Extended Land Program will make you fall in love with Paris, again.

Vancouver's water front is packed with activity, top spots for celebrated cuisine, and some of the best views in the Pacific Northwest.
Vancouver’s water front is packed with activity, top spots for celebrated cuisine, and some of the best views in the Pacific Northwest.

Vancouver, British Columbia – You’ll have to keep reminding yourself, as you gaze at the endless blanket of evergreens that cloak the mountains and reflect off of the icy still water, that you’re in one of the western hemisphere’s most culturally rich and industrially savvy metropolises. Indeed, it’s easy to get lost in the natural scenery, as it’s a recurring theme throughout Vancouver, with lush parks and natural preserves sprouting up between high rises with mirrored windows. But don’t miss the fact that Vancouver is a leader in green energy, culinary arts, innovation and investment. The British Columbia gem is an embarkation/debarkation port for most of Crystal Serenity’s 2017 Alaska voyages.

Sydney, Australia – A city as renowned for its thriving nightlife scene, world-class shopping, and foodie-coveted restaurants as it is for its magnificent beaches and coral reefs, Sydney is rich with some of the great joys in life. In every direction of the birthplace of the Australian nation are remarkable sights, from the Harbour Bridge to the famed Opera House. The views from the city are equally breathtaking, as your eye settles on the South Pacific horizon. In January, Crystal Symphony will spend an overnight in Sydney during her “New Zealand Panorama” sailing.

Dubai's exotic proximity to desert and sea create a special mystique to its urban landscape.
Dubai’s exotic proximity to desert and sea create a special mystique to its urban landscape.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Tiny by grand metropolis standards, Dubai’s massive wealth of pearls, gold, petroleum and well, wealth, more than makes up for lack of acreage. The sheikdom blends old world tradition with ultramodern architecture packed with some of the tallest buildings in the world, luxury shopping and high-adrenaline entertainment, day and night. Visit Dubai and several other desert cities next November on Crystal Symphony’s “Indian Ocean Discovery.”

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Perhaps the most colorful city on this list, Buenos Aires will draw you in with its flavor – in cuisine, dancing, and architecture. Sidewalk cafes line the many walkable promenades, while monuments of the noblemen who shaped the city pose as the centerpieces of the squares. An overnight stay in Buenos Aires during Crystal Serenity’s “Tangos and Sambas” segment of the 2017 World Cruise will afford you plenty of time to immerse yourself in the culture, and maybe even learn to Samba.

We look forward to welcoming you on board!

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