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Setting sail from Brisbane
As Queensland's largest city, Brisbane is often used as a gateway to the excellent (although very popular) beaches of Australia's Gold Coast, which lie south of the city, or the more upmarket Sunshine Coast to the north. The modern city, on the banks of the Brisbane River, has plenty of shopping malls and, with great weather, a fantastic café culture. Amongst the steel and glass skyscrapers are some interesting historic buildings, and with plenty surrounding the city there's enough on offer to make for an interesting short stay.
Stroll through the South Bank Parklands. An inviting stretch along the river with barbecue areas, pockets of rainforest, cafés and bars, and even man-made beaches and tropical swimming pools.
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.
Australia: Port Douglas
Indonesia: Banda Islands
Ambon is one of the Maluku Islands, or the Spice Islands as they were known during colonial times, when nutmeg, cloves and mace grew nowhere else. Ambon was the seat of Dutch power in the islands, but little colonial architecture remains; visit one of the mountain villages instead, or snorkel amongst colourful reefs offshore.
Malaysia: Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu is the gateway to the Malaysian state of Sabah and makes for an excellent base, whether you’re planning on scaling the commanding heights of Mount Kinabalu, exploring the islands and turquoise waters of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, or embarking on a trip into the jungle to encounter Borneo’s fantastic wildlife.
Brunei: Bandar Seri Begawan (Muara)
Muara is the main port of Brunei Darussalam, a tiny Islamic sultanate on the northern coast of Borneo. The sultan’s wealth is legendary, as is his sprawling 300-acre palace, although the capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, is a surprisingly understated and likeable place, with an intriguing mix of Malay, Chinese and indigenous cultures.
Manila is a sprawling, chaotic conglomeration of soaring skyscrapers, faded colonial facades and ramshackle slums, and it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you have the stamina and an inquisitive nature, there is plenty to be enjoyed in the Philippines’ boisterous capital.
28 February - 1 March
Arriving in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a fantastic place to begin or end a cruise, a striking mix of ancient and modern, Chinese and British, and there is a lot more to the city than just skyscrapers and high finance. On Hong Kong Island itself you'll find the bustling financial centre of Central district, the more traditionally Chinese Western district and the shops of Causeway Bay, while on the mainland Kowloon Peninsula the district of Tsim Sha Tsui is where most of Hong Kong's best hotels are located, and the atmospheric markets of Mong Kok are just to the north.
The views from Victoria Peak. Accessible by the Peak Tram, a funicular railway which claims to be one of the oldest cableways in the world, the views across the city are excellent.
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, 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 onboard programme - distinguishes glamorous Crystal from its competitors in the sector.
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Brisbane
Although not super luxury, we like the Spicers Balfour.
Moreton Bay is home to a great diversity of marine life, with stunning beaches and excellent wreck diving, and offers exciting 4x4 adventures.
Our favourite hotel in Hong Kong
The iconic Peninsula Hong Kong is, in our opinion, the city’s finest, and the Harbour View rooms offer picture postcard views of Victoria Harbour.
Explore Hong Kong
There’s more to Hong Kong than just the city, so explore Lantau Island, home to the Po Lin Monastery and its 34 metre high bronze Tian Tan Budda statue.