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Crystal Cruises: An Air Of Elegance, Presence Of Beauty, Spirit Of Adventure, And A Feeling Of Tranquility!

On a Crystal cruise it is not difficult to find what you seek. In fact, your search for a place beyond ordinary is over. "Splendidly Uncommon"! Ablaze with intoxicating color and high style, Crystal Cruises' Harmony, Symphony and Serenity are ships of superlatives that capture the aura of extravagant parties, big, snazzy cars and high tea in the Palm Court while Porter, Gershwin, Mozart and Bach float on the air.

The Experience:

Six-star elegance and style personified! Accommodations include ocean-view staterooms and suites, which many are with private verandahs (Crystal Harmony offers a small number of inside staterooms as well). Full 360-degree teak promenade deck, In-stateroom Internet access, and Butler Service in categories (PH, PS and CP). Choice of classic, main, or late seating in the Crystal Dining Room. Several alternatives to dining venues, 24-hour room service, and wine cellar with over 20,000 bottles (200 vintages and a special Reserve Wine List).

Nights are full of life! Award-winning production shows and a host of other evening performances await where the spotlight shines on Tony® award-winners, Julliard grads, Broadway and West End performers as well as the Crystal Ensemble of singers and Dancers. Showrooms were custom-designed to offer perfect views from each seat and offer superior sound and lighting systems. Costumes are hand made and staging is skillfully crafted to bring every vibrant moment to life. Each cruise also has a variety of cabaret-style entertainment including vocalists, comedians, ventriloquists, instrumentalists and classical artists (you may find yourself serenaded with classical melodies during afternoon tea or whispering special requests to the trio which strolls through the Crystal Dining Room in the evening).

The Crystal Spa is the first at sea to use the principles of Feng Shui. Your journey begins with cultural therapies from around the world all enjoyed amid beautiful Asian artifacts in a restoring, peaceful atmosphere.

Crystal Cruises excels with there quite remarkable Creative Learning Institute and Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program. You can enjoy classes and workshops in the fields of Arts & Entertainment, Business & Technology, Lifestyle, Wellness, Wine & Food, attend courses as diverse as successful grand-parenting and menu planning, experience lectures on the latest advances in medicine and alternative medicine; take piano classes from Yamaha or language lessons with Berlitz. There's a Computer University at sea, fitness centre, golf driving ranges and putting greens (PGA golf instructors are on select sailing's), large lap pools, full size paddle tennis courts, and escorted and private Crystal Adventures (shore excursions).

All Crystal Cruises ships feature the Caesars Palace at Sea® Casino, which is run by the world famous Las Vegas operation (the expert on board staff is employed by Caesars Palace). The facility houses blackjack tables, as well as mini-baccarat, craps, roulette and more than 85 slot machines.

Accommodations:

It is in your private quarters where Crystal has lavished special attention. All the essentials and an abundance of extravagances turn every accommodation style into a decidedly personal retreat. Soft lighting, Aveda bath products and 100% Egyptian cotton bath towels in your marble bathroom. Scandinavian down duvets, 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and feather and down king-size pillows on your bed. Ship to shore phones and personal voice mail.

In every stateroom a plush Frette bathrobe awaits a cool evening or barefoot breakfast on your private verandah. Penthouse accommodation delivers the highest level of comfort and can range from 360 to 1345 square feet dependent upon the ship you select. Some are equipped with personal gyms, quite a number offer a separate living room, dining area and bedroom, master bath with a jacuzzi, complimentary beverage bars, flat-screen TV's, CD players, and DVD players.

All, of course, have private verandahs with the services of a butler. Planning to entertain a few friends at a small party? He'll arrange it beautifully. Prefer the appetizers, entrées, or desserts from a variety of select specialty restaurants? He'll bring them to you, along with the movie you want from the library.

Dining:

The restaurants on board Crystal Cruises' ships are indeed worth mentioning. All the ships offer: two seatings in the main restaurant (Crystal Dining Room), where international and regionally inspired dishes are prepared in the time-honored European tradition, and are unveiled (including "Lighter Fare" choices such as low carb, low sodium, low cholesterol and vegetarian). All ships have an excellent selection of alternative dining venues. Prego, for example, which features traditional Italian specialties plus the signature fare of Piero Selvaggio of Valentino Restaurant fame (Valentino is considered by culinary critics to be the best Italian Restaurant outside of Italy)is on all ships.

Crystal Harmony's Kyoto features inventive Japanese cuisine, while on Crystal Symphony, the Jade Garden is a culinary crossroads of Asia with menus inspired by exotic traditions and ingredients of the Orient and specialty dishes from Wolfgang Puck's famed Chinois restaurant. On Crystal Serenity, the eclectic cuisine of Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa(right, that Nobu) is highlighted in two restaurants, Silk Road and The Sushi Bar. In Crystal Symphony's and Crystal Serenity's Vintage Room, custom meals are paired with wine selections such as limited bottling of California's Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle, dream vintages of great Bordeaux or masterpieces from the fleetwide Reserve Wine List which reveals 20 rare wines.

Consider a Crystal Wine & Food Festival sailing where guest chefs supervise the preparation of a special five-course dinner to be matched with wine pairings selected by a participating wine expert. Each chef presents cooking techniques, offers tips and shares their favorite recipes at special demonstrations.

Afternoon tea presents a selection of savories and sweets served in the sunlit charm of the Palm Court, for lovers of fresh scones, clotted cream and finger sandwiches. An English Colonial Tea offers a British tradition and for a special treat, join the Mozart Tea, a visit to 18th century Vienna where you're greeted by staff in velvets and brocades offering the finest cakes and most delicious pastries that Austria has ever created.

Crystal Society:

Once guests complete their first Crystal cruise, they'll be automatically enrolled in the Crystal Society. Guests will be entitled to special savings, events and amenities every time they sail with Crystal Cruises. With every cruise guests take, the rewards become more impressive (stateroom upgrades, credit toward air travel, on board spending credits and much more).

Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program:

Popular Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program is offered on every cruise and, depending on the sailing, features a range of noted destination, cultural, historical and artistic speakers. In addition, all guests can expand horizons with the Crystal Cruises Creative Learning Institute®, an innovative series of interactive classes created to enhance guests' quality of life in the areas of Arts & Entertainment, Business & Technology (including our popular Computer University@Sea), Lifestyle, Wellness and Wine & Food. ACBL experts offer instruction in most levels of Bridge, professional ballroom dancers share their tips on improving dance steps and on most sailings a qualified PGA pro leads a series of golf classes.

Computer University@Sea Program:

Popular Computer University@Sea® program is offered on all cruises. CU@Sea provides e-mail services, Internet access, group and individual instruction on use of a PC and extensive complimentary enrichment course offerings. Each ship has at least 25 state-of-the-art PC workstations. Complimentary lectures or classes are offered on each cruise. Details of these are listed in the daily newsletter Reflections. There is a nominal set-up fee when guests begin to use any CU@Sea services involving off-ship communication.

Extended Land Programs:

Either at the beginning or at the end of each cruise, guests can take two to six-night trips to some of the most remarkable cities and inland destinations. Local travel experts who deliver the highest level of service have created these programs.

Hotel Programs:

Many of Crystal's selected hotels are recognized by noted publications such as Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure as some of the finest hotels in the world.

Crystal "Classic" Hotel Program Includes:

Luxurious Hotel Accommodation, Meet & Assist arrangements at the airport, Group transfer by motor coach between airport and hotel, or hotel and airport, Specially designed sightseeing transfer by motor coach between hotel and ship or, vice versa, Hotel tax and porterage, Hospitality Desk offering local advice and optional sightseeing opportunities.

Crystal "Classic-Plus" Hotel Program Include:

Upgraded Hotel Accommodation, Breakfast daily, Personal Meet & Assist arrangements at, the airport, Private car transfer between airport and hotel, or hotel and airport, Specially designed sightseeing transfer by motor coach between hotel and ship or vice versa, Hotel tax and porterage, Hospitality Desk offering local advice and optional sightseeing opportunities.

Junior Activities Program:

Crystal Cruises' commitment to excellence and quality of experience does not end with grown-up cruisers. Kids have a variety of great activities to choose from on every Crystal cruise! Offered are children's playroom and babysitting services on all cruises. During holiday cruises and selected sailing's, additional children's activities are offered under the supervision of experienced Junior Activities Directors. Junior Activities Programme is Three-Tiered: 3-7 year olds, 8-12 year olds, 13-17 year olds, Children under six months are not permitted on board without a signed waiver by parent(s).

Activities: age and the number of children on board determine Activities. On those sailings with Junior Activities Directors, a detailed schedule of events is created at the beginning of each cruise. Once on board, you'll receive Surf Runner, or Teen Scene, the teenagers guide to special activities, our daily newsletter for kids with details for the following day's schedule and other pertinent information.

Facilities: Fantasia, children's playroom, offers tables and chairs for arts and crafts, popular Sony PlayStation® game titles, a large screen television set and board games. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity also feature a teenager's video arcade, Waves. The Library offers children's books and children's videos or DVDs for enjoyment in staterooms.

Crystal's Fleet: Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony, and Crystal Serenity.

During some point you might catch a certain sight or have a distinct feeling that causes you to suddenly realize - I am someplace special. It might be a sense of your own elegance as you enter the Crystal Dining Room, or perhaps the feeling of serenity that envelopes you as you sink slowly into the Cleopatra Tub in The Crystal Spa. Or perchance it will be recognition that you are part of an exclusive group who travels the world in style, searching for its very best experiences.

The adventure of grand theatres, quiet corners, sophisticated lounges, lavish shows, and delectable cuisine has earned Crystal Cruises the "World's Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" award. Awards come from Condé Nast Traveler magazine and Travel + Leisure a record eight years in a row from 1996 and beyond (the only cruise line to be so honored). And no wonder! Gracious comforts and small pleasures come in large quantities, including the smiles accompanying the smallest gesture from staff imbued with the finest traditions of European service.
About the Author

About the author: William Lezubski (Accredited Cruise Counsellor (ACC), and Certified Travel Counsellor(CTC) - William is the owner and author of "Discount Caribbean Vacations Web Site" available at www.discount-caribbean-vacations.com A great source for Discounted Caribbean Cruises!

William Lezubski