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Setting sail from Sydney
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. Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and admire the amazing views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from Mrs Macquarie's Chair, enjoy the cafés and bars in The Rocks district, walk across the top of the Harbour Bridge (or enjoy the easier option of a view from the top of one of the stone towers) or just relax on the beach.
Rather than go to Bondi, take a local ferry from Circular Quay (an attraction in itself) to the relaxed northern beaches for a (slightly) less crowded experience.
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.
Indonesia: Celukan Bawang (Bali)
The sweltering city of Semarang, on the north coast of Java, is an intriguing mish-mash of Chinese, Islamic and Dutch colonial influences. We recommend escaping the heat with a trip up into the mountains to visit a coffee plantation, or joining an excursion to the extraordinary temple complex at Borobudur.
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.
Laid-back Langkawi boasts some of Malaysia’s finest beaches, and it’s a place where the traditional kampung (village) way of life survives in spite of the island’s development as a tourist destination. It’s also a popular spot for snorkelling and scuba diving thanks to the clarity of the surrounding waters.
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.
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.
Thailand: Koh Samui
Attracting everyone from budget backpackers to ostentatious oligarchs, Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular islands. It’s no surprise, given the truly stunning beaches, but the more developed areas such as Chaweng have lost a lot of their charm, so head for the quieter south and west if you can.
Arriving in Bangkok (Laem Chabang)
Thailand's sprawling capital is an assault on the senses, an invigorating blend of tradition and modernity. Soaring skyscrapers, air-conditioned shopping malls and an efficient public transport system combine with shimmering golden temples, ancient palaces, floating markets and at times gridlocked rush hour traffic. Bangkok is also a real culinary treat; perching at a street food stall tucking into a bowl of noodles by the roadside is a great way to take the pulse of the city, and you'll find regional cuisines from all over Thailand. The nightlife here is also legendary, though is perhaps not for the faint-hearted!
Avoid the chaotic traffic by using the Chao Phraya River. A regular boat service has calls at some of the city’s best attractions including the must see Grand Palace.
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 Sydney
So many to choose from, but we love the Park Hyatt – make sure you upgrade to a room with a view.
The Blue Mountains is a beautiful area of hikes, waterfalls and unusual rock formations, and a place to learn about the Aboriginal dreamtime.
Where to stay in Bangkok
The Shangri-La Bangkok sits on the banks of the river, allowing for easy sightseeing by river boat and provides a luxury sanctuary from the bustle of the city whilst maintaining a distinctly Asian feel.
Excursions from Bangkok
Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam, is known for spectacular temples. About 50 miles north of Bangkok it makes a fascinating day tour.