Wednesday, 19 February 2014

New Asian Adventures For Crystal

Those looking for the truly exotic shore excursions, would be well advised to pay attention to the latest range of possibilities from Crystal Cruises, who have just announced a new series of Crystal Adventures for their Asian voyages this year.

From drinks with former headhunters in Brunei to a monk induction ceremony in Myanmar, the ultra-luxury line has crafted an exciting schedule of excursions in this wonderful part of the world. Monasteries, rainforests, royal residences and tuk-tuks are among the 40 new shoreside outings showcasing both off-the-beaten-path port calls and major urban centres in Malaysia, Brunei, Myanmar, Indonesia, Japan and India. 

Both Crystal Symphony and the recently-redesigned Crystal Serenity will be sailing 14 voyages in the region – twice as many as 2013 – this spring, with Symphony returning in late autumn. In all, Crystal is offering nearly 200 Adventures throughout Asia, with options to book them with Private Car and Driver in most ports.
 
Excursion highlights include:
  • Bandar Seri Begawan: Be astounded by Brunei’s varied lifestyles, from the Sultan’s Palace - the world’s largest residential palace (above) - to more traditional homes, such as that of an over-water village and a longhouse, where former headhunting Ibans will welcome you with drinks, music and dance.
  • Yangon: Witness the Novitiation Ceremony that inducts 1,000 male “Novices” into Buddhist monk-hood at the Kalaywa Monastery.
  • Kota Kinabalu: Trek the rainforest of Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kinabalu National Park; crab fish from a thatch-roofed raft while cruising through mangroves; or learn island traditions such as making robes from tree bark or a Malay bread called roti canai. 
  • Lombok: At Bali’s less-visited sister island, learn about the local craftsmanship of ikat dyed fabrics and pearl production or visit a traditional Sasak village, where men still sleep outside their thatched houses to protect their daughters from being kidnapped into marriage. 
  • Makassar: Travel to a 17th-century king’s traditional adat house for food and dance from local villagers, visit the Dutch East India Company’s Fort Rotterdam or sightsee via pedicab. 
  • Andaman Islands: Tuk-tuk to Britain’s former jail for Indian revolutionaries or learn about local agricultural arts at a spice farm and rubber plantation. 
  • Penang: Stroll the 130-year-old Waterfall Gardens, then enjoy a cocktail at the prestigious Eastern & Oriental Hotel, the precursor to Singapore’s famed Raffles Hotel. 
  • Tokyo: Participate in eastern Asian shodo handwriting and a traditional sado tea ceremony at a Japanese garden or tour sites of more recent history, such as Nissan’s Global HQ and the Cup Noodles Museum.
 
In addition to the day trips, two new multi-night Overland Adventures are offered from Shanghai and Chan May, visiting Xi-an and Beijing on the first and Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City on the latter.
 
In 2014, five- to 15-night all-inclusive voyages are available to/from Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu, Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagasaki and Shanghai starting from £1,836 per person, cruise only, if booked by February 28.  
More info: call 020 7399 7601 or visit www.crystalcruises.co.uk.

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at www.worldofcruising.co.uk. To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.