|Crystal Serenity, Norway|
Luxury travelers looking for more than the usual ports of call will be happy to set sail on either the Crystal Serenity or the Crystal Symphony, both offering top-notch dining and private butler service. Seven new European ports promise to take cruisers off-the-beaten-path with exotic destinations in Lithuania, Norway, France, Iceland, and Spain. What’s so unique about these new ports, you ask? From the volcanic landscape of Heimaey, Iceland to staggering limestone cliffs in France, the view is enough to set these cities apart.
Here’s the low-down on what we love about the added destinations:
Klaipeda, Lithuania –Dating back to 1252, Klaipeda has an abundance of history to offer, as well as metropolitan architecture and the Curonian Spit right outside. For a sobering encounter, set out on a Crystal Adventure to a former secret Soviet nuclear missile base built in the 1960’s.
Tip: For a more intimate adventure, book a Private Excursion, available for select Crystal Adventures shore excursions. Crystal Cruises will even provide a personal English-speaking guide and private vehicle – just make sure to book in advance!
Heimaey, Iceland – Nearly destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1973, this port has a unique landscape and rich history. What makes it really special, is that more puffins inhabit this rebuilt island than people. Eight million puffins call Heimaey home each year.
Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France – This port is fit for royalty – no, really – Louis XIV married Spain’s Marie Therese here in 1660. Cobblestone streets and colorful buildings adorn this charming fishing port on the Basque coast. Ernest Hemingway loved it here so much; he used it for his novel, The Sun Also Rises. A personal guide will tell you all about it on the Hemingway’s Pamplona excursion.
Leknes, Norway – Outdoor-enthusiasts will adore this port, a UNESCO site set amidst mountains and cliffs, perfect for hiking and climbing. If you’re more for the thirst-quenching adventures, Crystal will take you to the world’s only permanent ice bar where you can sip cocktails and admire surrounding ice sculptures.
Bonifacio, Corsica – Adventurer’s will delight in the jagged limestone cliffs of this Corsican town. Climb up to the village of Haute Ville for views of gothic architecture and houses that seem dangerously close to falling into the sea, or journey to the history-packed town of Sartene on a Crystal Adventure, where castle ruins and stories of pirate attacks will transport you to medieval times.
Palamos, Spain – A stop at this Costa Brava fishing village is the perfect time to try some local seafood and take a dip in the clear water. We hear you can even take an excursion to Salvador Dali’s home in the nearby town of Pubol.
Akureyri, Iceland – Botanical gardens and snow-capped mountains co-exist in this culturally rich city. This port offers awe-inspiring excursions including a visit to the “Waterfall of the Gods.” Those looking for more adventure can hop on a four-wheel-drive vehicle for a bumpy ride toward canyon views and waterfalls.
For ultimate luxury en-route to these exotic locations, we recommend the Crystal Penthouse – complete with separate living and dining areas, private work-out studio, and master bath with ocean view.
For more information on these ports, visit www.crystalcruises.com.