For its 2013 Mediterranean cruise season, ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises is making first-time-ever visits to Canakkale, Turkey; La Spezia, Italy; and Castellon de la Plana, Spain.
The maiden calls offer new exploration of historic and off-the-beaten path areas from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the west, including the Dardanelles/Adriatic, Italian Riviera, and Costa del Azahar. The 7- to 13-day itineraries surrounding the new destinations also offer cultural capital overnights and extra port intensiveness.
Highlights of, and cruises featuring, the inaugural ports include :
CANAKKALE: A popular vacation getaway for local Turks, the harbor city also offers easy access to the archaeological site of Troy and Gallipoli’s historic battlefield and monuments.
May 9, Crystal Serenity—9 days: Rome, Sorrento (overnight), and Sicily/Taormina, Italy; Santorini, Greece; Kusadasi, Çanakkale, and Istanbul (overnight), Turkey
July 25, Crystal Symphony – 9 days: Istanbul (overnight), Çanakkale, and Kusadasi, Turkey; Valletta, Malta; Sicily/Taormina, Sorrento (overnight), and Rome, Italy
LA SPEZIA: Balcony-lined streets and a palm-lined promenade usher travelers into Italy’s Liguria region, offering a point of departure for walking uber-picturesque Cinque Terre, or a less-touristed day of sampling fine museums or delicious local cheese stalls in the town’s outdoor market.
Sept. 28, Crystal Serenity—7 days: Monte Carlo (overnight), Monaco; Genoa and La Spezia, Italy; St. Tropez and Marseille, France; Barcelona (overnight), Spain
CASTELLON DE LA PLANA: Dating back to 1251, this Valencian town is the capital of one of Spain’s most mountainous provinces, offering a range of rural tourism, a Gothic and Renaissance-architecture “old quarter,” and fragrant orange trees blossoming in the Fall.
Nov. 2, Crystal Serenity—13 days: Rome, Florence, and Porto Venere, Italy; Monte Carlo (overnight), Monaco; Palamos, Barcelona (overnight), Castellon de la Plana, and Cartagena, Spain; Gibraltar, UK; Cadiz/Seville, Spain; Lisbon (overnight), Portugal
“New adventures are part of Crystal’s signature travel experience, even in such a popular cruising area as the Mediterranean,” says Jack Anderson, senior vice president sales and marketing. “After sailing for more than two decades, we’re thrilled to still be finding novel destinations for our guests to discover, and combine them with much beloved locales to which they also love returning, time and time again.” All-inclusive “Book Now” fares for the series start from $3,110/person, with up to $1500/person in savings if booked by December 28.