A fleet of just-christened ships, a new wave of savvy itineraries, and a choice of nine different pillows at sea? This is not your grandma’s cruise.
Courtesy Crystal Cruises
Travel agents love to steer young families toward Crystal for its balance of luxury and child-friendly features, like kid-approved food, scavenger hunts, and PlayStations—all part of the company’s $25 million renovation of the 922-guest Crystal Symphony. (According to its fans, Crystal is large enough to deliver the feel of a big ship without being overwhelming.) On May 12 Crystal Symphony sails from Dubai to Athens for “Arabian Treasures.” Crystal’s president, Gregg Michel, will be aboard for the company’s 20th anniversary, and as part of the celebration guests can attend a two-night pre-cruise program in Dubai that includes a welcome dinner at an authentic Bedouin camp. On board, the prez will host several parties and lead the “President’s Excursion” in Egypt, taking passengers from Safaga to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. Special guest chef John Hanny, a former White House food and wine consultant, will oversee the execution of a few presidential-themed dinners, serving favorites from several administrations. Each of the Crystal Symphony’s 19 Penthouse Suites has undergone a complete redesign. So, too, has its lido deck and the Italian restaurant Prego. “Arabian Treasures” departs Dubai May 12 and spends 14 days visiting Muscat, Aqaba, and Cairo before arriving in Athens. Penthouse Suites start from $20,120, including free airfare and $1,000 onboard spending credit; crystalcruises.com.