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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.
France: Le Lavandou
Once just a simple fishing village, Le Lavandou is now a busy resort thanks to its string of 12 sandy beaches known as Les Douze Sables. A fish market is still held here every day, weather permitting, and the marina is a popular spot to park your yacht for the day.
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 Barcelona.
The attractive, oceanfront capital of Corsica was the birthplace of the island’s most famous son, Napoleon Bonaparte. You can find out more about the emperor at his childhood home, the Maison Bonaparte, which is now a museum.
Italy: Florence / Pisa (Livorno)
The faded port town of Livorno serves as a gateway to Tuscany’s star attractions. Wonderful Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, is resplendent with beautiful architecture and unrivalled artistic treasures, while nearby Pisa is of course famous for its precarious Leaning Tower.
Italy: 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. 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 lovely town of Sorrento, draped across rugged cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples, has been charming visitors since the days of the Grand Tour. The Renaissance palaces and many craft shops make Sorrento an attractive destination in its own right, and it’s also a jumping off point for Capri, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast.
Taormina enjoys a truly spectacular setting on Sicily’s east coast, perched on a mountainside looking out towards the smouldering Mount Etna. The medieval streets are pleasant but often crowded in high season, so we’d recommend getting out and exploring the surrounding countryside.
Corfu, known as Kerkyra in Greek, is a beautiful island of verdant hills and rocky coves, and away from the more crowded resorts it remains a sleepy and idyllic place. Don’t miss the picturesque Venetian architecture of Corfu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We never fail to be moved when we see the terracotta roofs and honey-golden walls of Dubrovnik, and a stroll around the perfectly preserved old town is a highlight of any visit to the Dalmatian coast. Make sure you take the time to walk around the walls and soak up the marvellous sea views.
The largest town on Slovenia’s sliver of Adriatic coastline, Koper has an attractive medieval centre and some impressive Venetian architecture. There is also a sizeable Italian community here, reflected in the bilingual road signs, and it's a short drive across the border to the former Habsburg city of Trieste.
Arriving in Venice
Venice is a city like no other, a marble maze of turquoise canals criss-crossed by beautiful bridges, overflowing with palaces, churches and charming little piazzas. No matter how many times you've seen it in photographs, that first glimpse of the Grand Canal will simply take your breath away; it hardly seems credible that such an eye-popping scene could exist outside of a Canaletto painting. Of course Venice is a city that draws big crowds, especially in summer, but don't let this put you off; even the busiest areas are never more than a few steps from a quiet courtyard or a secluded square.
The long, long queues for St Marks might put you off, but just book online in advance for timed entrance and bypass the exhausted tourists.
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, 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||566 International Staff|
Luxury with a difference: the resort style - with excellent entertainment and facilities, wide range of dining and highly developed onboard programme - distinguishes glamorous Crystal from its competitors in the sector.
|Cruising speed||21 knots|
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.
Our favourite hotel in Venice
The Metropole is an old favourite for its quieter location and lovely lagoon views.
See more of the Veneto
If you’ve time, take the train to Padova and visit the Scrovegni Chapel.