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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.
The Harbour Bridge is our favourite site in the city, whether you do the Bridge Climb Experience or tour the Pylon Lookout. It's best viewed late afternoon from the east side of Circular Quay.
Australia: Hamilton Island (Whitsundays)
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.
Cooktown is a small place with a big history, named after Captain James Cook, who beached his ship the ‘Endeavour’ here in 1770 after it was damaged on a nearby reef. It’s a remote and sleepy town, and the seafront statue of Captain Cook is the main sight worth seeing.
Papua New Guinea: Alotau
Alotau is the capital of Milne Bay province, on the remote eastern tip of mainland Papua New Guinea. Milne Bay was the scene of heavy fighting during the Second World War, and today you can dive amongst the wreckage left behind. Alotau also serves as a base for visiting the nearby islands, including the fascinating Trobriand archipelago.
Papua New Guinea: Trobriand Islands
Solomon Islands: Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Papua New Guinea: Rabaul
The little island of Boracay is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, including the aptly named White Beach. If sunbathing doesn’t appeal then there are plenty of more active pursuits on offer, including diving, kiteboarding and windsurfing, or you can take a trip out on the water on one of the pretty ‘paraw’ boats.
Philippines: Romblon Island
Arriving in Manila
Manila is a sprawling 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, including the world's oldest Chinatown, the historic walled city of Intramuros and the shopping malls of Makati. Grab some respite in Rizal Park, or explore the remarkable Chinese Cemetery, where Manila's wealthiest Chinese citizens are laid to rest in lavish mausoleums, complete with chandeliers, kitchens and air-conditioning!
Cool and laid back is the style here. Don’t lose face by losing your temper, and don’t fret about delays – arriving on time isn’t polite anyway.
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, 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.
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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.
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 Manila
If you’re a fan of classic colonial hotels, the Manila Hotel is one for you.
Excursions from Manila
Visit the nearby heritage town of Taal and step back in history.