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Setting sail from Colón
Situated at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, Colón takes its name from Christopher Columbus, known in Spanish as Cristóbal Colón, although it's hard to imagine the famous explorer would find much reason to linger here nowadays. Once a thriving port, the city is now in a state of seemingly terminal decline, its colonial architecture crumbling and the modern city beset by social problems. It's not somewhere you will want to hang around for long, and serves merely as a gateway to the Canal, which will carry you to much nicer places.
The Historical Panama Canal Railway goes from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast – the journey time is about one hour, and the views are amazing.
Cartagena was founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1533, and the beautifully preserved centre is a real highlight of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The walled old town, the Ciudad Amurallada, is a camera-friendly collection of cobbled streets and colourful, colonial-era buildings.
Colombia: Santa Marta
Situated on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Santa Marta is the oldest surviving Spanish colonial city in South America. The modern city lacks some of the charm of nearby Cartagena, but tourism has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, with a number of ambitious regeneration projects and a host of new restaurants and bars.
The tiny Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, located just off the coast of Venezuela, lies outside of the hurricane belt, meaning it enjoys a largely dry climate, and boasts some of the best beaches in the region, if not the world.
Saint Barthélemy: Gustavia
The tiny French Caribbean island of St Barths is renowned as a haunt of the rich and the famous, and you can certainly live well here if you’ve got the means; the petite capital, Gustavia, boasts an array of gourmet restaurants and chic boutiques aimed squarely at the A-list. The beautiful beaches, on the other hand, are free and open to all.
United States: Key West
Colourful and eccentric, the island city of Key West stands apart from the rest of Florida. A strong Caribbean influence reflects the city’s proximity to Cuba and the Bahamas, and it has long been known as a bohemian hangout, a welcoming and open-minded place that Ernest Hemingway once called home.
Arriving in Fort Lauderdale
These days Fort Lauderdale is a sophisticated place awash with upmarket hotels and excellent restaurants. The glorious weather and swathes of golden beach are still a huge draw, but there are also plenty of cultural attractions, such as the Museum of Art and the Museum of Discovery and Science. The city also boasts 300 miles of navigable waterways and canals, meaning there's plenty of space for the resident millionaires to park their yachts, and the cruise port is one of the busiest in the world.
A great way to see Fort Lauderdale is on the hop on hop off water taxi tour – a one day pass gives you unlimited travel and it’s a great way to sightsee as well as to get around.
Your home from home
Crystal have repeatedly been voted the World’s Best cruise line, and Crystal Symphony is certainly a top level classic, not to be missed.
What we love
Crystal Symphony 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.
|Crew||575 International Staff|
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.
|Cruising speed||21 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Stay a little longer in Panama
It’s not in Colón, but if you want to extend your stay we propose Isla Palenque, off the Pacific coast of Panama – tricky to get to, but not to be missed.
Explore the Panamian jungle
Take a canopy tour and swing between great trees, seeing the wildlife as you go. Watch out – it’s not for the faint-hearted!
Overnight in Fort Lauderdale
The Hyatt Regency Pier 66 has been THE hotel of choice for cruise passengers for as long as we can remember.
See more of Florida
Go out into the Florida Everglades and Sawgrass Recreation Park with native flora and fauna and reconstructed Seminole villages.