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Setting sail from Cape Town
This magical multicultural city is the perfect jumping off point to explore Southern Africa, but do make sure you linger a few days to enjoy the buzz of a city where Africa meets a European-style cosmopolitan atmosphere, creating a vibrant melting pot of cultures and religions. With flat-topped Table Mountain soaring above the city, beautiful natural landscapes, and gardens within the city, you never feel far from nature here. Enjoy the waterfront, museums and elegant architecture, then take the time to venture further afield - there is so much within easy reach.
Combine time in Cape Town with trips outside the city. We will help you plan ahead to make the most of your visit, so our tip is simply to call us to make the most of it.
South Africa: Mossel Bay
South Africa: Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth is home to some nice beaches and a handful of interesting buildings, but it is perhaps not the most exciting city on the Sunshine Coast. There are plenty of things to see and do in the surrounding area, however, and we highly recommend a day trip to the fantastic Addo Elephant Park.
South Africa: Durban
Durban is a real melting pot; not only does the city feel more authentically African than Cape Town, it’s also home to a large Indian community that lends the city a distinctly Asian flavour. The lovely waterfront promenade was revamped for the 2010 World Cup, and the beach is a popular destination for domestic tourists.
South Africa: Richard's Bay
Mozambique’s laid back capital is an eclectic mix of elegant Portuguese colonial architecture and concrete blocks that hark back to the days of Soviet influence. Maputo also has an excellent selection of restaurants and a lively nightlife scene, as well as some interesting museums and markets.
The Indian Ocean island of Réunion is home to an intoxicating cultural mix of French, African and Asian influences. The lush landscape of spectacular lakes and rugged mountains has been shaped by volcanic activity, and the smouldering Piton de la Fournaise is one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
Mauritius: Port Louis
The lovely island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is striking in the contrasts between its mountainous backdrop and beautiful white sand beaches. The capital Port Louis, on the northwest coast, dates back to 1735 and is a busy administrative centre, packed with office workers during the day.
For travellers by ship, Broome is the gateway to the extraordinary Kimberley region, but that’s not all. It is also the pearling capital of Australia and boasts fantastic white sand beaches and memorable sunsets.
Australia: Fremantle (Perth)
The capital of Western Australia, Perth sits in glorious isolation on the shores of the Indian Ocean, where the Swan River meets the sea. Laid back and relaxed, this must be one of the most easy-going capital cities in the world, with everything within easy reach.
Australia: Bunbury, Albany, Esperance
Culturally sophisticated and fashionably hip, Melbourne combines edgy street art with gold rush era architecture while offering excellent restaurants and top museums. If you have time, check out some of Victoria's other attractions, including the beautiful 12 Apostles and the excellent wines of the Yarra Valley.
Australia: Burnie (Tasmania), Hobart
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.
New Zealand: Stewart Island
Stewart Island is New Zealand’s rarely visited third island. A landscape of lush rainforest and beautiful beaches is home to abundant birdlife, and it’s one of the best places in the country to see kiwis in the wild. You can also have a drink at New Zealand’s southernmost pub in Oban, the only town on the island.
New Zealand: Dunedin
Visitors to Dunedin are amazed by the extraordinary Victorian and Edwardian buildings dating back to the gold rush, which bring to mind the city's Scottish roots - not least when the sound of the pipes echoes through the streets.
New Zealand: Christchurch
A garden city where punts glide down the Avon River, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were still in the UK when arriving into Christchurch, New Zealand’s most English of cities.
New Zealand: Nelson
New Zealand: Wellington
New Zealand’s cosmopolitan capital is arguably the country’s most likeable city. Hemmed in by forest-clad hills, Wellington is compact and easily walkable, with a lovely waterfront area where you’ll find the must-see Te Papa national museum. The city is also renowned for its strong winds, so make sure you hold on to your hat!
New Zealand: Napier
When Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 the city was rebuilt entirely in the Art Deco style, making this a fascinating architectural time capsule. It’s a lovely, sunny seaside city, and a visit to the surrounding Hawke’s Bay wine region makes for an enjoyable day trip.
New Zealand: Gisborne
New Zealand: Tauranga
Tauranga is the largest city on the Bay of Plenty, and is said to be one of the sunniest spots in the whole of New Zealand. There’s a real boom town feel here, with new restaurants, bars and hotels opening all the time, and neighbouring Mount Maunganui is a popular beach destination.
New Zealand: Auckland
Auckland offers a buzzing waterfront and a vibrant arts scene, and provides a fascinating introduction to New Zealand’s proud cultural heritage. The centre is home to excellent shopping and a number of fantastic restaurants, and to the west is the city's oldest wine region.
New Zealand: Bay of Islands
The beautiful Bay of Islands is scattered with some 150 undeveloped islands, an idyllic landscape of bright skies, secluded beaches and clear blue waters. The bay was also the site of the first permanent British settlement in New Zealand, and it was here that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the British Crown and the Maori chiefs.
Lautoka is Fiji’s second largest city, known as the ‘Sugar City’ due to its important role in the local sugarcane industry. The waterfront area is pleasant enough, but we’d recommend using Lautoka as a jumping off point to visit some of the smaller surrounding islands, or the forests and waterfalls of the interior.
Nuku’Alofa, the ‘Abode of Love’, is the capital of Tonga, the last surviving Polynesian monarchy. The city's main attraction is the Royal Palace, an attractive wooden building dating back to 1867, while the island of Tongatapu offers wild beaches, cute villages and intriguing archaeological sites.
The tiny Pacific island of Niue is the world’s smallest independent country, and sits in the centre of the triangle formed by Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. Niue is surrounded by an almost unbroken coral reef, so it’s a great spot for snorkelling and diving, and it’s also a whale and dolphin watching hotspot.
Cook Islands: Rarotonga
Surrounded by kaleidoscopic reefs, white sand beaches and beautifully blue waters, Rarotonga is exactly what most of us picture when we think of the South Pacific. The lagoon is ideally suited to snorkelling and scuba diving, while the island itself is home to ancient sacred sites and pretty coral churches.
Cook Islands: Aitutaki
The sleepy island of Aitutaki is big on natural beauty, thanks to its stunning reef-enclosed lagoon. It’s also a deeply spiritual place: in the village of Arutanga you’ll find the oldest church in the Cook Islands, dating back to 1829, and services here are a spellbinding spectacle, with hymns featuring unaccompanied four-part harmonies.
French Polynesia: Bora Bora
Bora Bora is the very definition of idyllic, a diminutive Polynesian island dominated by rainforest-clad volcanic peaks, overlooking an electric blue lagoon ringed by coral reefs. The beaches and over-water bungalows are particularly popular with honeymooners, and the clear waters of the lagoon are perfect for snorkelling.
French Polynesia: Mo'orea
Mo’orea is one of the real highlights of the South Pacific, a picture perfect landscape of jagged green mountains and dazzling cobalt bays. The warm waters of the lagoon are perfect for a host of watersports, while the lush island interior can be easily explored by scooter or bicycle.
French Polynesia: Papeete
Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, situated on the northwest coast of Tahiti. The port is not the most magical spot, so we advise venturing forth to luxuriate in the turquoise lagoons, relax on the white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, and explore the rugged mountain peaks.
French Polynesia: Rangiroa
The Rangiroa atoll is one of the biggest in the world, a ring of over 400 motu (islets) surrounding a vast lagoon. This stunning area is a popular destination for divers and snorkellers, and the waters are home to marine life including sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, hammerhead sharks and manta rays.
French Polynesia: Fakarava (Tuamotu Islands)
The Fakarava atoll surrounds a deep lagoon in the west of the Tuamotu island group, scarcely populated and home to a host of rare wildlife. The entire atoll has been declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and the shallow coastal waters make for excellent snorkelling.
French Polynesia: Nuku Hiva
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas, an island of towering basalt peaks, cliffs and canyons, carpeted with verdant jungle. From the pretty little capital, Taiohae, you can strike out into the unspoilt countryside in search of the island’s many archaeological sites.
Pitcairn Islands: Pitcairn Island
The remote South Pacific island of Pitcairn was settled by a party of British sailors and Tahitians following the famous mutiny on the HMS Bounty in 1789, and their descendants still live on the island. The tiny capital, Adamstown, has a population of around 50 people.
Chile: Hanga Roa (Easter Island)
The enigmatic moai statues of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) remain one of the world’s most intriguing archaeological mysteries. Descendants of the Polynesian settlers who carved them still live here, though these days the island belongs to Chile, despite being separated from the mainland by over 2,000 miles of Pacific Ocean.
Chile: Isla Robinson Crusoe
Characterful, colourful and a little chaotic, the port city of Valparaíso is scattered across 45 vertiginous hills. Thanks to this difficult topography the city streets are punctuated by steep staircases and funicular elevators, and energetic explorers will be rewarded with wonderful views of the pastel hued buildings that hug the slopes.
The busy port of Coquimbo is the gateway to the charming colonial city of La Serena, one of the oldest in Chile, where you’ll find attractive architecture and a fine stretch of beach. Other nearby sights include the fertile Elqui and Limarí Valleys, home to excellent wineries and ancient petroglyphs.
Situated in the far north of Chile, the golden sands of Iquique attract both sunseekers and thrillseekers; surfing and paragliding are particularly popular here thanks to the clear skies and the wind coming in off the Pacific. The city is also home to some charming old mansions, remnants of a 19th century nitrate mining boom.
Peru: San Martin
Peru: Lima (Callao)
Peru’s underrated capital enjoys a fine setting on the Pacific coast, and the handsome colonial-era buildings surrounding the Plaza de Armas give clues to Lima’s distinguished history; for three centuries this was the capital of the Spanish Americas, when the city grew rich on the back of plundered Inca gold.
Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city and most important commercial centre, and acts as the gateway to the Pacific coast and the wildlife haven of the Galapagos Islands. It’s a busy, buzzing sort of place, centred around the pleasant riverfront Malecón promenade.
Situated at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, Colón is not somewhere you will want to hang around for long, and serves merely as a gateway to the Canal, which will carry you to much nicer places.
Cartagena was founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1533, and the beautifully preserved centre is a real highlight of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The walled old town, the Ciudad Amurallada, is a camera-friendly collection of cobbled streets and colourful, colonial-era buildings.
Colombia: Santa Marta
Situated on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Santa Marta is the oldest surviving Spanish colonial city in South America. The modern city lacks some of the charm of nearby Cartagena, but tourism has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, with a number of ambitious regeneration projects and a host of new restaurants and bars.
The tiny Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, located just off the coast of Venezuela, lies outside of the hurricane belt, meaning it enjoys a largely dry climate, and boasts some of the best beaches in the region, if not the world.
Saint Barthélemy: Gustavia
The tiny French Caribbean island of St Barths is renowned as a haunt of the rich and the famous, and you can certainly live well here if you’ve got the means; the petite capital, Gustavia, boasts an array of gourmet restaurants and chic boutiques aimed squarely at the A-list. The beautiful beaches, on the other hand, are free and open to all.
United States: Key West
Colourful and eccentric, the island city of Key West stands apart from the rest of Florida. A strong Caribbean influence reflects the city’s proximity to Cuba and the Bahamas, and it has long been known as a bohemian hangout, a welcoming and open-minded place that Ernest Hemingway once called home.
Arriving in Miami
Miami is a pulsating modern city, a cultural crossroads where Cuban émigrés rub shoulders with affluent New Yorkers topping up on winter sun, and where you're just as likely to hear Spanish or Caribbean patois being spoken as you are English. Downtown Miami is a destination in its own right, with a host of world class galleries including the fantastic MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), but it's still Miami Beach that draws the biggest crowds. The Art Deco district around South Beach is very much back in vogue, with new restaurants, bars and luxury developments sprouting up all over the place.
People watching in South Beach – glamorous gay guys on skates with miniature dogs in slings…
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, with constant innovations such as the Outdoor Fitness Garden, 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||575 International Staff|
Luxury with a difference: the resort style - with excellent entertainment and facilities, wide range of dining and highly developed on board programme - distinguishes glamorous Crystal from its competitors in the sector.
|Cruising speed||21 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Cape Town
There are some great hotels to choose from, but at Mundy we especially like the Cape Grace on the waterfront.
Extend your stay in South Africa
Take a wine tour to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek for tastings, beautiful countryside and great food.
Where to stay in Miami
Glamorous, hip, or so cool you freeze? Lots of choice… but we really like the Betsy.
See more of Florida
If you have a few days get down to the Florida Keys – magnificent.