Popular Crystal Cruise Articles
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As you lie on a massage table, legs tucked into a soft sheet, hot stones soothing the tired muscles of your back and arms, you will most certainly not be thinking about cruise ship spa ratings. And while you relax on a heated tile lounger or in a steamy sauna, eyes drooping, thoughts of work and bills scurrying far away, you're probably not wondering about your cruise line's philosophy on its spa product. But when you sit down at your computer to research your next cruise vacation, you might very well want to know where to find the best spas at sea -- and we'll be there to help.
If you long for the open ocean but bristle at the thought of all-night discos, thousand-seat dining rooms or congested Caribbean ports-turned-duty-free-shopping-malls, know this: You can enjoy a cozier atmosphere, personalized setting and service, and destination-driven itineraries on a cruise. Not all cruise ships are vast, floating resorts. A burgeoning industry niche revolves around small vessels -- a wide-ranging group that includes yachts, rugged expedition ships, riverboats and classic sailing schooners -- where passenger counts top out at closer to 300, rather than 3,000. Before we launch into our picks for the best small ship cruises, let's answer one question: How do we define "small"? For this story, we're going to stick with vessels that accommodate fewer than 500 passengers, spanning the market from rugged expedition ships to super-luxury yachts.
Even with accommodations, meals and entertainment wrapped up in its fares, cruising can still be pricy if you're taking the entire family on an oceangoing getaway. Just when you thought that bringing the brood would break the bank, we've come up with a list of lines that let kids sail free. If the idea of free cruises for kids gets your heart racing with excitement, be aware of a few caveats: With most lines, free kids fares are only available as limited-time promotions, require applicable taxes and fees to be paid for each passenger and necessitate sharing a cabin with the junior travelers as the third and/or fourth passengers in the room. (Contact a travel agent or your cruise line for specific information before booking any cruise.)
As cruise ships become larger and lines compete to offer the most innovative onboard amenities, cruise ship sun decks are undergoing revolutionary changes. Cruise lines are designing pool areas that mirror land resorts, the best of which have always offered fabulous recreation and sunning areas. Modern, multi-pool complexes -- including innovative new rides, waterslides and movie screens rising several decks -- are standard features on new and updated cruise ships. Here are a few of the hottest trends:
When ships relocate to new cruising regions, the cruise lines sell these one-way routes (usually at a discount), rather than sail the ships without passengers. These voyages, often featuring lots of sea days, are known as repositioning cruises. Read on for a few of our favorites this spring and fall.
No doubt about it: The cruise industry is in the middle of an epic building spree. And the luxury market is one of the fastest-growing areas. If you're like us, you can't wait to see what these new luxe options will look like. Check out our chart below to see which new luxury ships are hitting the waves next. But if you're more of an expedition fan, we've got those covered too: New Expedition and Adventure Cruise Ships, as well as the mainstream lines: New Luxury Cruise Ships on Order.
It's hard not to revert to hyperbole with Alaska. Here lie more than enough towering snow-capped mountains, breathtaking calving glaciers, extraordinary wild animals and quirky (if overtrafficked) frontier towns to wow hundreds of thousands of cruisers annually. With more than two dozen mainstream ships plying Alaska's island-filled southeast region from May to September, passengers certainly have options. This chart features a representative from every major line in the mainstream and luxury markets, from the intimate and upscale Silver Shadow to new mega-ships like Norwegian Bliss. (For those who'd prefer to cruise with no more than 100 passengers, see our rundown of small-ship cruise lines in Alaska.) Each of the 12 ships, which were hand-picked based on their popularity among all cruise options in Alaska, caters to a different type of traveler. Families on a budget might find the most "bang for their buck" onboard Carnival Legend, while couples looking to splurge can pamper themselves with Crystal Symphony's lavish suites and all-inclusive fine dining. Familiarize yourself with the biggest contenders' itineraries, exclusive regional offerings and more to determine which is the best Alaska cruise option for you. Note: Click on a ship name to get more info and read hundreds of cruise reviews.
If you're considering a sailing on either Crystal Cruises or Seabourn, you're in luck! Both lines are known for exemplary service and sail interesting itineraries throughout the world. You will definitely feel pampered, no matter which line you select. Celebrity chefs work their magic on ships across both fleets, and both have fabulous sun decks where you can splash in the pool or sip an umbrella drink while watching the world from your perch in the hot tub. Both lines also offer some excellent evening entertainment. The ways in which these cruise lines differ are more subtle, but these differences might be enough to sway you to book with one or the other. Let's take a closer look at Crystal vs. Seabourn.
When it comes to making the tough choice between Crystal or Silversea, a lot of cruisers in the know give this advice: Leave it up to the destination. That's because both lines offer a truly top-notch product, so sometimes it comes down to which line is sailing where you want to go and when. Both cruise lines share high standards when it comes to service and attention to detail. The lines each offer all-inclusive fares that include elements such as gratuities and nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages, and they both sail to some of the world's most beautiful regions, including Antarctica, Australia/New Zealand and Africa. Differences are nuanced, though the biggest differentiator is the size of the ships operated by each line. Which elements of the luxury cruise experience are most important to you and how does Silversea stack up vs. Crystal Cruises? Let's find out.
If you're deciding between a cruise aboard Oceania Cruises or a Crystal Cruises sailing -- both high-end lines with large-for-luxury ships -- you really can't go wrong. However, which line is best will hinge on your personal preferences. If you prefer newer ships, Oceania's newest O-class ships, Marina and Riviera, are in the lead. If you prefer more personalized service, a slightly more formal experience (think fellow passengers dressing for dinner -- even when it's not required by the dress code) and top-notch nightly entertainment, you can't go wrong with Crystal. Let's delve into all the things that make both of these lines special, so you can make a solid comparison between Oceania Cruises and Crystal Cruises and choose the best luxury cruise line for you and your travel companions.
Cruise ship spas have changed dramatically since the days when massages were offered in converted laundry rooms. Today they're multimillion-dollar industries, offering an array of exotic treatments to ease just about any ill or simply pamper you into relaxed bliss.
Set at the southernmost tip of the African continent, South Africa teems with travelers' temptations: safaris, wine country, beaches, tribal culture and multicultural cities. The biggest dilemma for any visitor here is not in wanting for choice, but in making the tough decisions on just what to