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Setting sail from Monte Carlo
Renowned for its casino, its Grand Prix and its oligarch-friendly tax policies, Monte Carlo is glamour and hedonism personified, with a price tag to match. Wedged between Italy and France on the Côte d'Azur, this little principality enjoys a lovely setting, the villas and penthouses tumbling down the hillside towards the sweeping blue expanse of the Mediterranean. Most visitors won't feel the need (or be able to afford) to stay more than a day or two, but the Prince's Palace and the Oceanographic Museum are both well worth a visit. Enter the casino at your own risk...
Make sure you’re outside the Prince’s Palace by 11.55 am sharp for the daily Changing of the Guard ceremony; it’s a wonderful spectacle that always draws a crowd.
The rumbustious port of Marseille often gets a bad press, but the city has been transformed in recent years, with a host of new cultural attractions. The vibrant Vieux Port remains at the heart of life in Marseille, however, and is the best place to begin your exploration of the city’s many historic sights.
Port-Vendres is a bustling fishing port on the coast of French Catalonia, close to the Spanish border and a short drive from the picturesque town of Collioure. It’s a great destination for seafood lovers, and the surrounding vineyards produce some excellent wines.
Smaller than Mallorca and mellower than Ibiza, Menorca is rightly feted for its beautiful, unspoilt beaches. The laid back capital, Mahón, is set on the Mediterranean’s largest natural harbour, and Moorish-influenced Ciutadella is home to a charming old town.
Although Ibiza is best known as a hedonistic party island, it’s easy to give the clubbers a swerve and discover the White Isle’s mellower side. The island boasts some spectacularly beautiful coastline, and the fortified Old Town (Dalt Vila) is UNESCO listed.
Much more than just a gateway to the Costa Blanca, Alicante is an attractive and atmospheric city with plenty to recommend it. Founded by the Romans, then ruled by the Arabs for 500 years, the city has a rich history and a lovely old town, along with superb beaches and an excellent modern art museum.
The busy port of Tarragona, situated on the Catalan coast to the south of Barcelona, is a city full of history. This was the base from which the Romans launched their conquest of the Iberian peninsula, and there are plenty of reminders of this period, including an impressive seafront amphitheatre.
Arriving in Barcelona
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Catalonia, is one of our favourite ports of call. From the warren-like medieval streets of the Barri Gòtic to the fantastical modernist architecture of Antoni Gaudí, from the dizzy heights of Mount Tibidabo to the golden sands of Barceloneta, there's never a dull moment in this most beguiling of cities. Take a stroll along the Ramblas, soak up the wonderful art of Picasso and Miró, or watch Lionel Messi work his mesmerising magic at the Camp Nou. Barcelona is truly a city with something for everyone.
For the ultimate boozy lunch head to Can Paixano, also known as La Xampanyeria, where local residents, office workers and the odd adventurous tourist crowd around the bar and tuck into sandwiches washed down with Cava.
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
Where to stay in Monte Carlo
We prefer the Monte-Carlo Bay to the city hotels, lovely sea views and next to the beach.
See Monte Carlo in style
If you like luxury or performance cars, rent one - a Ferrari or a Lamborghini - and drive along the Corniche.
Where to stay in Barcelona
The lovely Hotel Arts on the sea front is perfectly located for a pre- or post-cruise stay, and has great restaurants too.
Take a day trip to the attractive city of Girona, with its fascinating mix of Gothic, Moorish and Modernist architecture, as well as an exceptionally well preserved Jewish Quarter.