In Onboard Pursuits

Setting Sail

Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity

By Don George

Welcome to Crystal Cruises’ new blog!

The goal of this blog is to capture and celebrate the Crystal experience and the Crystal spirit. In the months to come you’ll find here a robust mix of content, from news about the ships and the cruise line, to observations, reflections, and photographs from the cruises themselves, to interviews with passengers, cruise personnel, and upcoming speakers and entertainers, to behind-the-scenes peeks at the meticulous — and sometimes downright mind-boggling — planning and execution that go into creating the Crystal magic.

Don GeorgeI’m exhilarated to be your host. My travels began when I spent a summer in Paris on a work abroad program through Princeton University. After graduation, and a second summer in Paris, I moved to Athens, Greece, for a year, to teach via a fellowship.

It was during this year that I first experienced the joys of water travel. Whenever I had a few free days in Greece, I would go to the port of Piraeus, check the ferry schedules, and leap on the next boat to an island where I could get a ferry back in time to teach my next classes. In those frugal, footloose days, I would unroll a sleeping bag on the deck and fall asleep to the moon, the stars, and the swell of the sea. As the final celebratory culmination of that year’s watery wanderings, I took my first cruise, a week-long sail among the islands of the Aegean with my parents, where I fell in love with the ease and wonder of wending from island to island this way.

For more than three decades, I have been incredibly lucky to make my passion – traveling and writing – my profession: I have been a travel writer and then travel editor for the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle, the founder and editor of’s travel site, Wanderlust, and then the Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet Publications. Now, in addition to creating this blog, I am Editor at Large and book columnist for National Geographic Traveler. Along the way I have written the world’s best-selling book about travel writing, The Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Writing, and have edited nine award-winning literary travel anthologies, including The Kindness of Strangers, By the Seat of My Pants, A Moveable Feast, and Better Than Fiction.

Since that first undergraduate foray to Europe, I have been fortunate to travel to more than 90 countries, by land, by air, and by water. Now, as I excitedly contemplate the view from this digital deck, the sea stretching ahead full of promise and possibility, I realize that this blog is the glorious bloom of a seed that was planted more than 30 years before, on that life-changing Aegean odyssey.

And so, let us break a bottle of virtual Champagne on the hull of this blog — and cast off! I look forward to sailing and celebrating the world with you, figuratively and literally from time to time, and to sharing the revelations and riches of traveling the Crystal way.

(Ship photo courtesy of Paragon Pixels)

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