Sailing from United Arab Emirates
Setting sail from 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.
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.
Mahé is the largest island in the Seychelles, home to the diminutive capital, Victoria, and 90% of the country’s population. It’s the quintessential tropical paradise, a sun-drenched landscape of granite mountains, lush jungle and heavenly white sand beaches.
Madagascar: Nosy Be
The island of Nosy Be, just off the northeast coast of Madagascar, remains a laid back locale in spite of its popularity as a tourist destination. The beaches are the main attraction for most visitors, along with the colourful chameleons and tiny frogs hiding in the Lokobe wildlife reserve.
Arriving in Port Louis
The lovely island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is striking in the contrasts between its mountainous backdrop and beautiful white sand beaches. The capital Port Louis, on the northwest coast, dates back to 1735 and is a busy administrative centre, packed with office workers during the day.
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.
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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.
Private tours from Dubai
Head out into the desert for the lush valley of Wadi Hatta and Hatta Village, then travel by four wheel drive across the dunes.
Where to stay in Mauritius
We wouldn’t stay in Port Louis itself - go a little way up the coast to the Angsana Balaclava on Turtle Bay.
Explore Port Louis’s markets with a private guide, visit Fort Adelaide, the National Botanical garden and the Sugar Estate and museum.