This story originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Elite Traveler.
If you have never been on a cruise, now is the time to go. Companies have listened to what passengers want and have thrown conventional cruising out the window. Gone are the days of reserved tables with uninspired cuisine, the famous baked Alaska for dessert and staid entertainment. Michelin-starred chefs, award-winning mixologists, Grammy-winning producers and the world’s best designers are coming aboard to create ships that are so incredible, you might not want to head to shore. And the suites, featuring crystal chandeliers, king-size cashmere mattresses, expansive terraces and butler service, certainly rival those on land. To explore the world at a gentle pace, there’s simply no easier way than aboard a cruise. We’ve even selected the best itineraries for each ship, allowing you to explore places as far-flung as Tokyo, Santiago, St Petersburg, Rome and Tahiti. All aboard!
Crystal Penthouse with Verandah
Crystal Serenity already enjoys the spotlight as one of the world’s most awarded cruise ships, but now she is poised to win even greater acclaim after a planned multimillion-dollar transformation this November. The expanded suites will welcome fewer guests, just 980, and offer in-suite technology such as interactive HDTV with Bose surround sound, and its exciting new dining venues will include Umi Uma by legendary chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Gastronomy is one of the cruise line’s hallmarks, and a highlight of Crystal Serenity is The Vintage Room, where rare wines are paired with the menus of world-renowned chefs in the Ultimate Vintage Room Dinner (around $1,000 per person). For cultural enrichment, spend the voyage taking in a lecture, practicing tai chi and making the most of the expert-led art instruction. And for relaxation, head to the Crystal Spa, designed according to feng shui principles.
We recommend staying in the plush Crystal Penthouse with Verandah. This beautifully decorated suite is reminiscent of a Manhattan penthouse, reflecting its New York inspiration through classic yet contemporary furnishings, a color scheme of warm neutral tones with pops of red and lime-green, Italian marble, Swarovski crystal, cutwork screens and nature-inspired artwork. The elegant dining area boasts ocean views, and the master bath features a Duravit spa flotation tub. While staying in this enviable space, you’ll receive exclusive invitations to sip cocktails in the captain’s quarters and dine at an officer’s table.
Be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime around-the-world expedition by joining the 2019 Full World Cruise: Grand Continental Odysseys. Embarking from Los Angeles in January, this extraordinary 85-day journey will take in the most captivating islands and coastal destinations in the Pacific, Australia, Africa and Europe — among them the capital of Samoa, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, Madagascar and the remote South Atlantic island St Helena — before you bid farewell in glamorous Monte Carlo. Or, if that’s too long for you, you can join the epic journey for one of four segments.
Butler service, in-suite afternoon tea, pre-dinner cocktails and canapés, bottle of Cristal champagne upon arrival, dining at an officer’s table, invitation to captain’s quarters cocktail party, private bridge tour with the captain, two private car transfers.
Size: 1,345 sq ft
Rate: $174,700 per person based on double occupancy for 84 nights