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Travel Blog

Latest Luxury travel articles

A look at the Aurora Spa coming to Crystal Cruises' two ships this summer.

The ultimate destination for wellness at sea

June 16, 2023

One of the first things I always did when cruising on a Crystal ship was to book massages and facials. The ships’ spas were so popular that treatments often sold out well before embarkation day.

So it comes as welcome news that Crystal Cruises, which is returning to the high seas this summer after bankruptcy proceedings, will be launching a new conceptual spa aptly named Aurora — inspired by the Roman goddess of the same name.

The Plaka, the most desired area of Athens, shows off its neoclassical side at sunset on the north slope of the Acropolis.

Silversea unveils scintillating Grand Voyages for 2024-2025

October 17, 2022

Fans of Silversea Cruises can look forward to a series of epic Grand Voyages that include three drooly-worthy expedition voyages. 

Take if from one who has sailed on several lengthy Silversea journeys — there’s nothing like it. We’re talking a voyage in the lap of luxury with butler service, fine food, crew members who can’t say no (even with no tipping expected) and lots of free stuff (including Wi-Fi).

"With the global restart of cruise travel, we saw — and continue to see — a strong demand for extended voyages among our guests," said Barbara Muckermann, chief commercial officer of Silversea. "People are prioritizing travel like never before, with a sense of urgency that is unprecedented. Our Grand Voyages tap into a growing interest among luxury travelers for more immersive travel experiences that take them closer to the authentic beauty of the world.

Crystal Symphony in Hong Kong. Crystal has temporarily halted sailings.

Crystal Cruises closes down Miami headquarters

January 22, 2022

Crystal Cruises, the ocean, river and high-end expedition cruise line, announced it wuld cease sailings on a temporary basis following the bankruptcy of Malaysia-based parent company Genting Group.  However, as of yesterday, Feb. 8, the cruise line let most of its on land and ship staffs go.  Crystal's Miami Headquarters are shut down while its two ocean liners, Symphony and Serenity sit under arrest in the Bahamas.

Coupled with a global pandemic that is still wreaking havoc on the financial health of the travel and cruise sectors, the money woes at Genting Group became unsustainable, leading to the shocking closure. Genting appears to have overplayed its hand, with its fingers in many pots from ship building to jet planes and cruises.

Naturally all cruises on  Crystal Symphony and Serenity and expedition ship Crystal Endeavor are cancelled, most likely forever. It  has also  suspended operation of its river ships.  Crystal's European river cruise fleet has not been operating — the European river cruise season typically begins in March.

Passengers on its ocean ships were asked to disembark and were ticketed to be flown home from Miami, Aruba, and Ushuaia, Argentina.‚Äč The company says passengers will receive full cruise fare refunds.

The waterfront of Stein an der Donau (Stein on the Danube), near Krems in the Wachau Valley of Austria.

Crystal Ravel & Crystal Debussy resume European river cruises

August 29, 2021

Today luxury river cruise line Crystal River Cruises marked the resumption of European river cruise operations and its return to Europe’s rivers as Crystal Ravel sailed from Vilshofen on a seven-night Danube itinerary featuring calls in Germany, Austria and Hungary, shipboard overnights in Vienna and Budapest, and cruising of the UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley. In Vilshofen, the officers and crew welcomed guests back to Crystal Ravel after a nearly 18-month pause in operations. 

On Aug. 30, sister ship Crystal Debussy is set to cruise from Basel on a seven-night Rhine itinerary with calls in Switzerland, France, Germany and Netherlands and overnight calls in Koblenz and Amsterdam.

“After months of planning and preparation we are excited to welcome our guests back on board to experience the attentive service and personalized care of our devoted staff on cruises to the best-loved destinations of Europe’s scenic rivers and waterways,” said Walter Littlejohn, Crystal River Cruises’ senior vice president and managing director.

Crystal intends to raise the river cruise experience with luxurious and creative public spaces like the Palm Court (digital rendering).
Courtesy of Crystal CruisesThe Palm Court lounge on Crystal Ravel. 

The ships’ staff have been prepping the vessels, refreshing their training, and implementing new Crystal Clean+ procedures that address the unique challenges of COVID-19 with stringent health protocols in place to provide guests a safe and enjoyable experience. Crystal River Cruises requires all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated as part of Crystal Clean+, which due to the mandatory vaccination requirement, allows guests to explore ashore independently.

The line’s spacious all-suite river ships allow for ample social distancing, accommodating just half as many guests as similarly sized vessels and offering a la carte restaurants, open-seating dining and an abundance of tables for two.  

Pigs don't fly but they do swim in the Exuma district of the Bahamas.

Crystal Endeavor heads to Caribbean for inaugural season

August 17, 2021

Crystal Expedition Cruises has announced its newest ship, Crystal Endeavor, will feature a new itinerary in the Caribbean this October and November as part of its inaugural season.

The luxurious yacht will sail from Miami on Oct. 25 on a nine-night itinerary called "Expedition Yachting: Caribbean Mystique," visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Great Exuma, Man of War Bay and Inagua Island in the Bahamas; White Bay and Great Harbor on Jost Van Dyke; Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands; Gustavia, St. Barts; and Saba, Netherlands before returning to Puerto Rico.

It began its first season in Iceland, circumnavigating the island. It will begin sailing the Norwegian fjords this September before sailing on an itinerary from London to Lisbon, Portugal, at the end of September.

Silver Muse, the high-end ship from Silversea, offers sailings to Alaska during the summer months.

Silversea resumes ultra-luxury cruising

June 19, 2021

Silversea Cruises, the world’s premier ultra-luxury cruise line, on Friday marked its return to global operations with the maiden voyage of its new flagship, Silver Moon, from Athens (Piraeus). The launch of Silver Moon also represents the unveiling of S.A.L.T., the cruise line’s new culinary program.

The inaugural sailing of Silversea’s new expeditionary vessel, Silver Origin, departs from San Cristobal in the Galapagos today. Silversea’s first destination-specific ship will sail with all-new itineraries in the archipelago.

Silversea said its return to service under safe, healthy conditions, its fleet expansion and enhanced cultural offerings reflect the company’s commitment to international market growth, while meeting rising consumer demand for ultra-luxury travel, following a year-long travel pause.

Oceania's Marina in port.

Oceania to resume cruise sailings in August 2021

April 29, 2021

Oceania Cruises, the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, announced today that it will resume cruise operations with the 1,250-guest Marina (one of our favorite ships) in August, beginning with sailings to Scandinavia and Western Europe. Marina will resume its originally published voyage schedule starting Aug. 29 in Copenhagen.

“The entire Oceania Cruises team is excited to now shift our focus to safely restarting operations and ultimately welcoming back our guests to begin exploring the world once again,” Bob Binder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Oceania Cruises, said in a statement.

Phased restart dates for the balance of the Oceania Cruises fleet will be forthcoming and itineraries will be evaluated for port availability and adjusted as needed closer to the sailing dates.

The opulent Regent Suite on Seven Seas Splendor features the world's most expensive bed.

Sleep in a $200,000 bed on Regent's upcoming Seven Seas Splendor

November 4, 2019

Looking for the sleep of a lifetime? If you can afford to shell out $11,000 per passenger per night, I've got just the bed for you. It's called the Vividus, and it's coming to Regent Seven Seas' new luxury ship Splendor when it debuts in February 2020.

The handcrafted bed from Hästens retails for $200,000 and is filled with horsetail hair, cushioning flax, slow-growing pine, superior wool and long-fiber cotton. It's said to help your muscles naturally relax into a deep, undisturbed sleep that offers a floating sensation.

Of course, a bed that pricey must be covered with equally decadent bed linens. And it is. The linens are  made from batiste makò cotton and 100 percent virgin white down from Alaskan geese that keeps bodies at the correct temperature.

Silver Cloud passes under London's Tower Bridge at dusk.

Silversea to launch two expedition world cruises in 2021

January 31, 2019

Innovative cruise line Silversea Cruises is once again raising the nautical bar by launching a pair of Expedition World Cruises in 2021. The luxury line describes each sailing as “an uncharted world tour where passengers can immerse themselves in the most exciting experiences on the planet.”

The first one will be a 167-day voyage on Silver Cloud from Ushuaia, Argentina, on Jan. 30, 2021, that will stop at 107 destinations in 30 countries. It will include six new ports for the line that include Naxos, Folegandros and Nafpaktos, Greece; Ksamil, Albania; Bejaïa, Algeria, and Fort William, Scotland. And if you got a few million bucks hanging around, it’s offering accommodations in the two-bedroom Owner’s Suite for just short of a million dollars.

The second global odyssey takes place on Silver Whisper, which will sail from Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 7, 2021, and cover 34 countries until its final destination in New York on June 6, 2021. Naturally, you could can book part of the voyage if you don't have six months to kill.

Mareel's redesigned hydro-pool on the newly refurbished Queen Elizabeth.

Cunard launches luxurious new spa concept

December 5, 2018

There's nothing like spoiling yourself during a cruise with massages, facials and other special treatments. Just about every ship worth its sea salt now boasts a spa offering head to toe services and more. 

So to up the ante, Cunard Line has developed a new, luxurious spa called Mareel Wellness & Beauty. It will debut at the end of December on the newly redone Queen Elizabeth and then on Queen Victoria followed by Queen Mary 2 in November 2020.

Save up to $2,000 per suite on 2018-19 voyages aboard the lavishly redesigned Crystal Serenity (in Venice, above) or Crystal Symphony.

Black Friday cruise sales on Crystal Cruises

November 21, 2018

Tempted by a luxury cruise but think you can't afford it? Check out Crystal Cruises’s Black Friday sale specials. 

Swank de la swanky Crystal, the top purveyor of high-end experiences on riverboats, ships and even air, is carving out exceptional deals to book after the turkey and trimmings are all gone. And remember, Crystal is all-inclusive, so all fares include tips, wine, spirits and other potables, fine food, seamless service, activities galore and even butlers to enhance the experience.

Silver Muse, the high-end ship from Silversea, offers sailings to Alaska during the summer months.

Royal Caribbean takes over Silversea

June 14, 2018

The cruise industry woke up to some pretty big news today. It was a shocker for many. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has agreed to buy a 66.7 percent stake in Silversea Cruises, the tony independent cruise line that operates intimate luxury and expedition ships designed for discerning travelers.

While the news surprised many, some industry insiders were anticipating this would happen. The family owned and operated Silversea was ripe for a takeover, especially with two new ship builds on the horizon.

For Royal Caribbean, Silversea adds a crown jewel in the luxury market, going up against Norwegian Cruise Line's Regent Seven Seas and the smaller Seabourn, owned by Carnival Corp.