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Setting sail from Miami
Miami is a pulsating modern city, a cultural crossroads where Cuban émigrés rub shoulders with affluent New Yorkers topping up on winter sun, and where you're just as likely to hear Spanish or Caribbean patois being spoken as you are English. Downtown Miami is a destination in its own right, with a host of world class galleries including the fantastic MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), but it's still Miami Beach that draws the biggest crowds. The Art Deco district around South Beach is very much back in vogue, with new restaurants, bars and luxury developments sprouting up all over the place.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Beach on the tip of Key Biscayne is a great place to get away from the crowds and spot some wildlife.
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.
Panama: Panama City
Nicaragua: San Juan del Sur
The beach town of San Juan del Sur is a popular hangout for surfers, and it’s a nice place to spend some time relaxing. If you’re looking for a more immersive cultural experience then it’s worth taking an excursion to the beautiful colonial town of Granada, an hour and half away on the shores of Lake Nicaragua.
Huatulco, on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, was developed for tourism with a low-rise, eco-friendly approach, a far cry from the likes of Cancún or Acapulco. Four of Huatulco’s nine beautiful bays have been designated as ecological reserves, and there are several villages showcasing traditional Mexican crafts.
Mexico: Cabo San Lucas
The sister towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo sit at the tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The towns themselves are mostly given over to luxury hotels and boisterous nightlife, but the surrounding landscape is characterised by arid arroyos, bristly cacti and rocky coastal outcrops.
United States: Los Angeles
Los Angeles is an energetic, creative place with cultural riches to match any world city, home to Hollywood glamour, the iconic beaches of Venice and Santa Monica, and affluent, image-conscious Beverley Hills.
French Polynesia: Nuku Hiva
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas, an island of towering basalt peaks, cliffs and canyons, carpeted with verdant jungle. From the pretty little capital, Taiohae, you can strike out into the unspoilt countryside in search of the island’s many archaeological sites.
French Polynesia: Rangiroa
The Rangiroa atoll is one of the biggest in the world, a ring of over 400 motu (islets) surrounding a vast lagoon. This stunning area is a popular destination for divers and snorkellers, and the waters are home to marine life including sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, hammerhead sharks and manta rays.
French Polynesia: Bora Bora
Bora Bora is the very definition of idyllic, a diminutive Polynesian island dominated by rainforest-clad volcanic peaks, overlooking an electric blue lagoon ringed by coral reefs. The beaches and over-water bungalows are particularly popular with honeymooners, and the clear waters of the lagoon are perfect for snorkelling.
French Polynesia: Mo'orea
Mo’orea is one of the real highlights of the South Pacific, a picture perfect landscape of jagged green mountains and dazzling cobalt bays. The warm waters of the lagoon are perfect for a host of watersports, while the lush island interior can be easily explored by scooter or bicycle.
French Polynesia: Papeete
Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, situated on the northwest coast of Tahiti. The port is not the most magical spot, so we advise venturing forth to luxuriate in the turquoise lagoons, relax on the white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, and explore the rugged mountain peaks.
French Polynesia: Raiatea
Raiatea, the second largest of the Society Islands, played a vital role in the development of Polynesian culture; it was from this island that settlers departed for Hawaii and New Zealand over a millennium ago. The island feels wilder than Tahiti, with steep, jungle-covered mountains, cascading waterfalls and ancient Polynesian temples.
Cook Islands: Rarotonga
Surrounded by kaleidoscopic reefs, white sand beaches and beautifully blue waters, Rarotonga is exactly what most of us picture when we think of the South Pacific. The lagoon is ideally suited to snorkelling and scuba diving, while the island itself is home to ancient sacred sites and pretty coral churches.
Nuku’Alofa, the ‘Abode of Love’, is the capital of Tonga, the last surviving Polynesian monarchy. The city's main attraction is the Royal Palace, an attractive wooden building dating back to 1867, while the island of Tongatapu offers wild beaches, cute villages and intriguing archaeological sites.
Lautoka is Fiji’s second largest city, known as the ‘Sugar City’ due to its important role in the local sugarcane industry. The waterfront area is pleasant enough, but we’d recommend using Lautoka as a jumping off point to visit some of the smaller surrounding islands, or the forests and waterfalls of the interior.
New Zealand: Bay of Islands
The beautiful Bay of Islands is scattered with some 150 undeveloped islands, an idyllic landscape of bright skies, secluded beaches and clear blue waters. The bay was also the site of the first permanent British settlement in New Zealand, and it was here that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the British Crown and the Maori chiefs.
New Zealand: Auckland
Auckland offers a buzzing waterfront and a vibrant arts scene, and provides a fascinating introduction to New Zealand’s proud cultural heritage. The centre is home to excellent shopping and a number of fantastic restaurants, and to the west is the city's oldest wine region.
New Zealand: Tauranga
Tauranga is the largest city on the Bay of Plenty, and is said to be one of the sunniest spots in the whole of New Zealand. There’s a real boom town feel here, with new restaurants, bars and hotels opening all the time, and neighbouring Mount Maunganui is a popular beach destination.
New Zealand: Napier
When Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 the city was rebuilt entirely in the Art Deco style, making this a fascinating architectural time capsule. It’s a lovely, sunny seaside city, and a visit to the surrounding Hawke’s Bay wine region makes for an enjoyable day trip.
New Zealand: Wellington
New Zealand’s cosmopolitan capital is arguably the country’s most likeable city. Hemmed in by forest-clad hills, Wellington is compact and easily walkable, with a lovely waterfront area where you’ll find the must-see Te Papa national museum. The city is also renowned for its strong winds, so make sure you hold on to your hat!
New Zealand: Picton
The pleasant little town of Picton, situated on a sheltered bay at the north eastern tip of the South Island, is the arrival point for ferries arriving from Wellington, and serves as the gateway to the stunning flooded river valleys of the Marlborough Sounds.
New Zealand: Akaroa
The name Akaroa means ‘long harbour’ in Maori, and this sleepy town on the southern side of the Banks Peninsula is situated on a beautiful natural harbour created when a volcanic crater collapsed into the sea. The first Europeans to settle here were French, and the town still has a decidedly Gallic flavour.
New Zealand: Dunedin
Visitors to Dunedin are amazed by the extraordinary Victorian and Edwardian buildings dating back to the gold rush, which bring to mind the city's Scottish roots - not least when the sound of the pipes echoes through the streets.
29 February - 1 March
Tasmania’s capital has been revitalised in recent years with a slew of new museums, restaurant openings and festivals. Hobart’s highlights include the provocative Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), the lively waterfront and a thriving foodie and craft beer scene.
One or our favourite cities in the world, we love pretty much everything about Sydney. Offering outdoor living at its best, the city is known for the excellent beaches but offers so much more, including a thriving and varied food scene inspired by Asian and European flavours.
The wonderfully named Mooloolaba stretches along a beautiful golden beach on Queensland’s idyllic Sunshine Coast, and it’s a popular destination for a weekend escape from Brisbane. The seafront Esplanade is the place to be, lined with cafés, boutiques and upmarket restaurants.
Australia: Hardy Reef (Whitsunday Islands)
Australia: Airlie Beach
The lively town of Airlie Beach is backpacker central, and serves as a transport hub for the many offshore attractions of the east coast. From here you can take a trip out to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, or visit the stunning tropical beaches of the nearby Whitsunday Islands.
Cairns is a buzzing tourist hub, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. A snorkelling trip out to the reef is the most obvious excursion to take here, but other options include riding the Skyrail cableway over the rainforest canopy or swimming in the croc-free saltwater lagoon.
More of a large town than a city, Darwin is less about what’s contained within the city limits and more about the huge expanse of wild landscape that’s outside it. Closer to Jakarta than Sydney, the city really does feel remote in its tropical perch.
Indonesia: Komodo Island
Komodo Island is situated within an area of spectacular natural beauty, home to the famous Komodo dragon. The stunning beaches are tinged with pink thanks to the high concentration of red coral just offshore, and the waters draw intrepid divers from all over the world.
Indonesia: Benoa (Bali)
The beaches, spectacular volcanic scenery and lush green rice terraces lend Bali a natural beauty that seems to dovetail perfectly with the island’s distinct Hindu culture, which adorns the landscape with stunning temples.
Singapore’s heritage as an important trading post means that there is a real cultural mix, with four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Step away from the gleaming towers and you’ll find yourself transported into another world amongst the intoxicating streets of Chinatown and Little India.
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang)
Malaysia’s capital is a hot and humid cultural melting pot, defined by its distinctive Malay, Chinese and Indian communities. The dazzling Petronas Towers are KL’s most recognisable landmark, while at street level you’ll find temples and mosques, elegant colonial buildings and bustling markets.
The Malaysian island of Penang is a fascinating blend of East and West, far more than just a beach destination. Lovely Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to British colonial architecture, crumbling Chinese shophouses and incense-perfumed temples.
As well as a plethora of luxury resorts, Phuket has a charming old town replete with pretty Sino-Portuguese architecture, and acts as a jump-off point for exploring nearby islands and coastline. Koh Phing Pan, better known as James Bond Island, and Ko Phi Phi are breathtakingly beautiful, as are the limestone formations that surround Krabi.
Sri Lanka: Hambantota
Investment has poured into Hambantota since the city was devastated by the 2004 tsunami, and this is now one of South Asia’s biggest ports. Hambantota is a jumping off point for Yala National Park, famous for its leopards, and the less well known Kundala National Park, rich in birdlife including flamingos and storks.
Sri Lanka: Colombo
Colombo may be a little chaotic, but there is plenty to recommend Sri Lanka's colourful capital. Faded colonial architecture and beautiful Buddhist temples hint at the city's considerable history, while the excellent restaurants, lively bars and characterful streets provide the perfect introduction to contemporary Sri Lankan culture.
The port of Kochi, commonly known as Cochin, occupies a strategic location on India’s Malabar Coast, and its history as a trading hub is reflected in the blend of European, Chinese and Arabian influences. It’s also the gateway to the idyllic Kerala Backwaters, which are best appreciated on a houseboat cruise.
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.
Salalah is Oman’s second city, and the capital of the southern Dhofar region. Many visitors are surprised by the pleasant sub-tropical climate, which turns the city into an oasis of lush greenery during the ‘khareef’ (monsoon) season between June and September, and in many ways it’s more reminiscent of Zanzibar than Muscat.
Aqaba is Jordan’s principal beach resort, situated on the Red Sea coast close to the Israeli border. There is not an awful lot here in terms of sights; Aqaba's main attraction is the incredible diving, with crystal clear waters and some of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs.
Most visitors to Larnaca head straight from the airport to one of Cyprus’s many beach resorts, skipping the city altogether, which is a great shame. Highlights include the palm-lined Finikoudes seafront promenade, the ancient church of Agios Lazaros, and Skala, the atmospheric former Turkish quarter.
Greece: Agios Nikolaos
The charming port of Agios Nikolaos, on the north east coast of Crete, offers a beguiling blend of characterful tavernas, lively bars and designer boutiques. The town is centred around little Lake Voulismeni, and nearby attractions include some lovely beaches and the Minoan ruins at Gournia.
Founded by Greek colonists in 734 BC, Siracusa was once the largest city in the ancient world, surpassing even Athens in its splendour. Highlights include the island of Ortigia, where narrow streets are lined by beautiful Baroque architecture, and the impressive ruins at the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis on the Sicilian mainland.
Arriving in Rome (Civitavecchia)
One of the world's great cities, Rome continues to dazzle and delight visitors with a potent mix of architectural marvels, continent-defining history and buzzing nightlife. As the saying goes, the city wasn't built in a day, and if you want to make the most of Rome you'll need to spend at least a couple of nights here. The Colosseum, the Vatican and the Forum are among the big ticket items, with the crowds to match, though in truth you will find history around almost every corner.
The Via Appia - this ancient Roman road is now part of a national park, and closed to car traffic on Sundays. Take a picnic, stroll, and visit the extraordinary catacombs.
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 Miami
Glamorous, hip, or so cool you freeze? Lots of choice… but we really like the Betsy.
See more of Florida
If you have a few days get down to the Florida Keys – magnificent.
Extend your stay in Rome
There are so many great hotels but we particularly love the Campo de’ Fiori, for its great location in the centre of everything.
Beat the queues
Get a private guide to help you jump the queues into the Vatican who can whizz you through the galleries to see the essentials and ensure your best view of the Sistine Chapel.