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Setting sail from Dubrovnik
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. Formerly known as Ragusa, Dubrovnik is a city with a rich, and occasionally troubled, history; the shelling of the city was one of the most shocking images of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, which makes the painstaking restoration of the old town in the years since all the more remarkable. Make sure you take the time to walk around the walls and soak up the views across the rooftops towards Lokrum island, and the deep sapphire of the Adriatic Sea beyond.
The War Photo museum offers a sobering reminder of the conflicts that convulsed the Balkans in the 1990s. It’s not easy viewing, but it does make you appreciate the extraordinary extent to which Dubrovnik has bounced back.
Kotor sits at the head of a beautiful, fjord-like bay, hemmed in by glowering mountains. The compact, walled old town is Montenegro’s star attraction, a warren of little alleyways and shady squares that is often described as a ‘mini Dubrovnik’.
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.
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.
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago to the north of Sicily. The main port is Lipari Town, a charming little harbour of pastel-coloured houses, fishing boats and enticing restaurants, overlooked by the imposing 13th century citadel.
The captivating island of Capri has much to offer, from the ruins of Roman villas to gorgeous private residences surrounded by flower-filled gardens. You might also want to explore the famous Blue Grotto, with its intense azure interior and ethereal silvery light.
Positano clings improbably to a near vertical hillside, a jumble of pastel-hued buildings cascading down towards the waterfront. This sun-kissed little fishing village has become one of the most visited and most photographed spots on the Amalfi Coast, and it won’t take you long to see why.
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.
Plan ahead to make the most of your time – Rome is an exhausting city to visit so you need to pace yourself. There are plenty of parks, gardens and squares to relax and enjoy time out.
Your home from home
The World’s Best Yacht, Crystal Esprit, offers a completely new Crystal experience, as adventurous or laid back as you please, with just 62 fellow guests.
What we love
We love the translation of everything that is wonderful about Crystal into a completely new environment - a tiny 62 guest yacht that can take you to the most inaccessible, the most exclusive and the most intimate of ports of call for a unique shipboard experience. An affordable way to live the life.
An astonishing 91 International staff
|Style||If you have a taste for the finer things in life, but love the idea of a relaxed and unregimented environment, Crystal Esprit is going to tick all your boxes.|
Total renovation 2015
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Dubrovnik
We love the intimate Villa Orsula, with just eight lovely bedrooms and excellent sea views, but if you want to stay in the Old Town itself, the Pucic Palace is the one to go for.
Day trips from Dubrovnik
Make the short trip across the border into Bosnia-Herzegovina and visit the pretty little town of Mostar, with its famous stone bridge over the river Neretva.
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.