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Setting sail from Singapore
Singapore is one of the world's richest cities, with a standard of living to match, and in recent years it has moved on from its image as a sterile, overly officious nanny state to become one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in the region. 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.
There’s some serious green space in Singapore and it always feels as if the jungle is just waiting for us to turn our backs for a moment to take over. Seek out the parks and the gardens.
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: 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 low-lying reef-protected atolls of the Maldives, set in the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, are the perfect place to relax and unwind. A great choice for a honeymoon or romantic getaway, the Maldives also appeal to active travellers who love watersports, snorkelling and diving.
Mahé is the largest island in the Seychelles, home to the diminutive capital, Victoria, and 90% of the country’s population. It’s the quintessential tropical paradise, a sun-drenched landscape of granite mountains, lush jungle and heavenly white sand beaches.
Seychelles: Praslin Island
The island of Praslin is home to some of the Seychelles’ top attractions, including the Vallée de Mai, a protected forest where you’ll see the rare coco de mer, a tree that produces the world’s largest seed and palm flower. The grove is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been compared to the Garden of Eden.
Arriving in Mombasa
On Kenya's coast is Mombasa, the city of salt and spice. Lots of history here, not least as this was a strategic trading post for Europeans making for Arabia, India and the Orient, and their counterparts in the other direction. Add to that the influence of the British, the influx of tourists in recent years, and of course the great African tribes, and you have a vibrant and colourful city of contrasts. Mombasa is gateway to some of the extraordinary national parks of East Africa, as well as being an appealing beach destination with some beautiful hotels.
If you have never been to East Africa, take the opportunity to go on safari – it is the most magical experience, and you will be captivated both by the animals (you should see the big five) and the people, particularly the Masai.
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
Our favourite hotel in Singapore
So many wonderful hotels. We like a lot of them, but our choice is the Fullerton.
Leave Singapore in style
If you’ve got time and the dates work, take the Eastern and Oriental Express train to Bangkok.
Where to stay in Mombasa
Beach-lovers will like the Sands at Nomad, though at Mundy we would rather be travelling inland in Kenya than staying on the beach.
Mombasa private tours
If you really can’t take the time to go on safari, at least go for the day to Tsavo East.