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Setting sail from Mumbai
We love Mumbai! Formerly known as Bombay, this amazing city is larger than life and packed to bursting with things to see and do. Here people of all religions and nationalities live cheek by jowl, thriving communities from all over the world with the foods, smells, languages and rituals maintained at top volume - here in Mumbai, everything really is turned up to 11! For many people, the seething rush of humanity is too much, and we quite understand why some tell us they will never go back. But we think you could return time and again, and never get to grips with this thriving city. Be prepared to be overwhelmed!
Keep your hands clean, drink plenty of bottled water, be careful about what you eat and you’ll be absolutely fine. Oh, and keep an open mind.
Oman’s capital is low-rise and laid back, a far cry from the towering bling of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Take a stroll along the waterfront Corniche promenade, soak up the sun on one of the excellent beaches, or explore the mosques and forts of the atmospheric old quarter.
Manama is the capital of Bahrain, a nation spread across an archipelago of 33 islands in the Persian Gulf. The city was an important centre for the pearl trade in the early 20th century, though in recent years it’s the oil industry that has powered the economy, embodied by the shimmering array of skyscrapers and shopping malls.
Qatar's capital is a city on the up, with vast sums of money being poured into construction projects for the 2022 World Cup and cultural venues such as the spectacular Museum of Islamic Art. There are also plenty of more traditional attractions, such as the atmospheric souks and the lovely waterfront Corniche promenade.
United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi
The UAE’s gleaming capital gives Dubai a run for its money in terms of extravagant excess, an ever-multiplying forest of skyscrapers looming over the golden sand and brilliant blue waters of the Gulf. Don’t miss the shining white Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the world’s biggest.
Arriving in Dubai
For some Dubai, the most famous of the United Arab Emirates, is the ultimate glamorous holiday destination. Amazing high rise buildings, extensive air-conditioned shopping malls, and extraordinary man-made tourist attractions (such as indoor ski-slopes) abound. Some of the most glitzy and expensive hotels in the world can be found here, so for shopping, sunshine and fun for all the family, this is a great choice. For others, this is a cultural desert as barren as the sands which surround it. But if you search hard you will find the old souk-like centre around Dubai Creek - take a traditional dhow and you will begin to understand the magic of Arabia.
The historic Persian trading centre, the Bastakia Quarter, was a marketplace for pearls and textiles. Even then, this was the home of ‘tax-free', and the area is characterised by Arabian architecture, wind towers, and narrow lanes.
Your home from home
Crystal have repeatedly been voted the World’s Best and Serenity is arguably one of the finest ships at sea.
What we love
Crystal Serenity is Symphony's big sister and, like her, is not a new ship; but you wouldn't know it since she is subject to an ongoing refurbishment programme, with constant innovations such as the Outdoor Fitness Garden, which ensures that the environment is always perfect and the style contemporary. This is, in short, a ship constantly honed to perfection. But ultimately it's all about the unmatchable food and service.
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Luxury with a difference: the resort style - with excellent entertainment and facilities, wide range of dining and highly developed on board programme - distinguishes glamorous Crystal from its competitors in the sector.
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Dubai
So many to choose from! Our current Mundy preference is Al Qasr at the Madinat Jumeirah.
Take a private tour around Mumbai
Get a guide to take you away from the tourist hotspots, exploring instead the many different communities and markets, for a taste of the real Mumbai. We thought the Fishing Slum was a wonderful place.