As a newbie to Crystal I was excited to experience my first luxury cruise. I had been looking at Crystal, Regent and Seabourn. I ultimately decided on Crystal due to the sail date, wonderful itinerary and the very reasonable cruise fare. I booked in September for the May 21 voyage on the Symphony called European Discoveries. This would also be the annual President's Cruise so the expectation of special events and programs was also an enticement.
-Great itinerary and the ports were all terrific.
7117 was a Deluxe station with window. It had a great location on the ship near the aft doors. Lots of storage space, 15 drawers and a roomy closet. Murano glass side lamps and mirror sconces were very elegant. Loved the lavendar, cream and gold colors in the room.
We did not spend anytime in Southampton except boarding the ship. It was very easy to get to by private car from London Heathrow (about 90 minutes) and also the Red Jet Ferry from Isle of Wight. Crystal provides a free shuttle service to one of the shopping areas near John Lewis. We boarded in the late afternoon so did not take advantage of this. The City Cruise terminal was spacious and they had free copies of magazines to take on board.
We docked in La Coruna, not Vigo but the former is not available on the pull down menu on CC. We took the train independently to Santiago de Compostela. We attended mass at the cathedral, had lunch at Dos Reis at the Parador (which is beautiful)and did some window shopping. The town is very historic and it would have been even better if we could have seen the swinging of the Botafumeiro which did happend later that night. Rats! We took the 3:25 pm train back to La Coruna and were back on board Symphony by 4:20 pm. The ship sailed at 5:00 pm so we were very happy our trains were on time.
This was a great port! We were fortunate to visit during a holiday. Stores were open and they had a very cute parade with model boats and children dressed as sailors marching through town. The art galleries and other shopping venues were amazing. We actually spent the night off the ship (pre-arranged) and took the bus to Deauville where we walked around for about 2 1/2 hours and then took the train to Bayeux to see the Tapestry and take an independent D-Day tour booked with Overlord. We were able to see much more having two days in Normandy. The D-Day tour was excellent and the Norman countryside was beautiful. Hopefully we will be going back soon. This port was a 5+.
The ship overnighted here but we pre-arranged to disembark the first afternoon in port. In the morning we left the ship to do some shopping and walk around the city. Hamburg is a great mixture of old and new and quite vibrant. Apparently they have the highest GDP in Germany which was evident by some of the high end shopping. We checked into the Fairmont hotel without our luggage. We had lunch nearby and then went to the model train museum which was not very well organized but still interesting. We took the Crystal shuttle back to the ship, collected our bags and took a taxi to the Fairmont. The hotel was exceptional and had a great Asian restaurant. The next day we took the hop on hop off bus and toured the northern part of Hamburg which is very beautiful. Saw the outside of Jil Sander's home and Michael Sticht's. My only regret is we did not have any time to take the boat across the Alster Lake. We enjoyed the excellent shopping in Hamburg and will definitely return.