Crystal's "Experiences of Discovery" Adds Onshore Component to Theme Cruises

July 3, 2008
Crystal Cruises will launch a new Experiences of Discovery initiative in 2009, which will tie in with a growing luxury cruise trend of blending "edu-tainment" with unique onshore experiences.

The 25 Experiences of Discovery theme cruises scheduled for 2009 will focus on topics related to global events and the arts. The program's goal is to allow passengers to explore a topic of interest in great depth. "Fashion and Style" cruises in Asia and Europe will feature onboard fashion shows, films, seminars, and shopping and design excursions. Two "Ancient Civilizations" cruises in the Middle East will use lectures and excursions to teach passengers about the history and culture of the Holy Land.

Other new themes include Tennis (focused around Wimbledon), Emerging Artists, Photography and Chance & Fortune. Crystal will also add 11 of its already popular theme cruises -- such as the Wine and Food Festival and the Mind, Body and Spirit cruise -- to the Experiences of Discovery roster.

Both of Crystal's ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, will host theme cruises next year.

Crystal's Experiences of Discovery follows on the heels of Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Circles of Interest program, which is the industry trendsetter in combining onboard enrichment opportunities (lectures, workshops, etc.) with unique excursions ashore. The small-group programming lets passengers explore a destination through the lens of a particular subject.

In other cases, traditional-minded luxury lines like Silversea and Seabourn offer concierge services that can bring travelers to unique off-the-ship experiences, but they have not yet coordinated onboard programming on a regular basis.

--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor