With 2011 marking the 20th anniversary of Slovenia’s foundation as an independent nation, Crystal Cruises is making a maiden call there this fall. As part of its Nov. 16 Italian Splendor sailing, the Crystal Serenity will visit medieval Koper, Slovenia’s largest coastal town. Six new shore excursions—spread throughout the tiny Italo-Slavic nation—provide passengers with an in-depth exploration of the area’s history and culture.
“Slovenia is a largely undiscovered European gem that has suddenly become trendy in the travelsphere,” says Thomas Mazloum, senior v.p. of operations, Crystal Cruises. “Offering travelers new, intimate global experiences, delivered in our signature luxury style, are at the heart of Crystal’s six-star ethos.”
Guests can explore Koper, full of historical charm from centuries of Venetian rule, or join a Crystal Adventure to Ljubljana, the country’s picturesque capital. There’s also Bled & Miramare castles; Piran, a quaint, Mediterranean-style coastal town or Portoroz, a modern, beachside resort hub for sunbathing, swimming, and thermal spas.
Besides Koper, the 11-day Thanksgiving sailing visits Venice (embarkation overnight), Dubrovnik, Sicily/Catania, Naples, and Civitavecchia/Rome, Livorno/Florence and Barcelona (debarkation overnight). Fall sale fares start at $4,970 pp dbl and include free air from 24 North American gateways (or air credit), $1,000 pp As You Wish shipboard credit and additional savings, credits and perks for those traveling with someone new to Crystal (Bonus Share the Experience program).
And come 2012, Slovenia won’t be the only new port Crystal Cruises passengers can experience. In fact, Crystal Cruises just announced that as it sails around the globe from Akureyi to Zadar in 2012, the cruise line is adding 20 new ports-of-call, a dozen new itineraries, more shorter-length cruises, and an almost 50 percent increase in overnights in waterfront idylls around the world. Together, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will visit 182 ports-of-call in 59 countries on 60 itineraries worldwide.
“Our goal for the year was to enhance the ease and value of traveling with Crystal,” explains president Gregg Michel. “For example, by adding more overnights to the cruises, especially at embarkation, travelers only have to unpack once, yet get even more time to experience a culture, while still having their Crystal home as a luxurious base.”
The mix of overnight destinations includes both large cultural capitals like Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, and New York, and smaller locales with charm appeal, like Bordeaux, Edinburgh, Tahiti, and Sorrento. New routes include a maiden call in Panama City on Crystal Serenity’s Panama Canal itinerary (departs Jan. 4); five maiden calls on the line’s February and March Brazil itineraries, includes Buzios, Ilja, Grande, Partay and Sao Paulo; and a maiden call to St. Jean de Luz (French Basque region) on the May 21 Europe’s Western Coast journey, among others.
Meanwhile, beginning with its spring Trans-Atlantic voyages (March 19 and May 8 on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, respectively), all Crystal cruises will be all-inclusive, with complimentary fine wines and premium spirits throughout the ship, open bar service in all lounges, and pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff, including at Nobu Matsuhisa’s complimentary Silk Road and other onboard gourmet dining destinations.
For more information, call (800) 446-6620 or visit crystalcruises.com.