Ultra-luxury cruise specialists Crystal Cruises have just announced plans to extensively expand their 2014 Asia season with a massive choice of voyages and a number of itinerary firsts, too.
Significantly, the line has committed both ships in its fleet – Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony – to the region in winter, spring and autumn and between them, the luxury vessels will complete 34 voyages throughout the 2014 season, ranging from between five and 29 nights. The announcement marks the line’s continuing expansion in a region in which it offered just four voyages in 2012.
So where can you go? Well, between them, the itineraries visit the countries of China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Brunei, but there are some new itineraries and destinations too. For the first time, the line will offer cruises which begin and/or end in Bangkok and also a two-week Singapore round-trip.
The new season see the line visiting Malacca in Malaysia and Lombok, Makassar/Ujung Pandang and Surabaya in Indonesia for the first time. There are also stops at destinations which have not been visited for several years by Crystal, including Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei; Jakarta and Komodo Island, Indonesia; Kula Lumpur, Malaysia; and Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan. Staying on the subject of Japan, two of the new cruises will explore more of the country on itineraries featuring destinations last visited by the line five years ago.
The new 2014 season will see a number of special cruise options, including a Bangkok round-trip, where passengers will celebrate the New Year in Hong Kong, with the option of extending their holiday with a Bali voyage which takes place beforehand. Realising that cruises are a great way to see some of the world’s most iconic cities but that passengers welcome a little more time to see them, Crystal will be introducing more overnight stays and port time in such destinations as Hong Kong, Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City. And for those on a slightly tighter budget who nevertheless want to get a taste for the exotic East, Crystal will also be offering shorter Asia cruises of five days in 2014.
By Simon Brotherton