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Setting sail from 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.
Bahamas: Bimini Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands: Grand Turk
Grand Turk is the capital of the Turks and Caicos, a collection of sleepy and spectacularly beautiful coral islands to the east of the Bahamas. The pristine white sands and turquoise waters are the main attraction, and the extensive barrier reef makes this a popular destination for divers in the know.
The gabled houses of Willemstad lend an undeniably Dutch feel to the capital of little Curaçao, with a splash of Caribbean colour thrown in. The island itself is not your typical lush tropical paradise - the landscape is characterised instead by thorny shrubs and cacti - but there are some fantastic beaches and quaint little villages.
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba: Kralendijk (Bonaire)
The quiet, cactus-covered Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire is internationally renowned for its diving, ringed by spectacular coral reefs that teem with life. The capital, Kralendijk, is home to some pretty colonial architecture, and the island is also known for its flamingos and pink sand beaches.
Jamaica: Ocho Rios
Ocho Rios sits on a lovely stretch of coastline, blessed with classically Caribbean beaches and a lush forested interior. There isn’t a huge amount to do other than relax by the beach, but nearby attractions include Dunn’s River Falls, James Bond Beach and the Mystic Mountain rainforest adventure park.
Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman
Far more than just an offshore tax haven, Grand Cayman boasts the staggeringly beautiful white sands of Seven Mile Beach and some fantastic snorkelling in crystal clear waters. The capital, George Town, is a compact and friendly place, home to some interesting architecture and a suspiciously large number of registered companies.
Arriving in New Orleans
New Orleans is a city with real soul, an exuberant, infectious sort of place where music fills the air every night of the week. Festivals and parades are a regular occurrence, with the highlights including Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. There's also plenty to feast your eyes on, such as the charming historic architecture of the French Quarter and the elegant mansions of the Garden District. Food is another real highlight, with lip-smacking Creole specialties such as gumbo, jambalaya and the legendary po-boy sandwich.
If it’s the music you’re after, go to Frenchmen Street, the "locals' version of Bourbon". Wander into the different venues – there may not even be a cover charge, but if not, don’t forget to tip.
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
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.
Extend your stay in New Orleans
We love the Soniat House, right in the French Quarter.
Recommended tours in New Orleans
Visit one of the Cities of the Dead – the beautiful and extraordinarily ornate cemeteries.