From Olympic Bobsledding to British Isles Golfing, Active Enrichment Distinguishes 80 New Crystal Adventures in the Baltic and Northern Europe This Summer

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ — Bobsledding the Olympic track in Lillehammer. Hiking one of Geirangerfjord’s spectacular waterfalls. High-speed sailing in the Finnish archipelago. Teeing off on championship golf courses in Dublin or Edinburgh. With an emphasis on active enrichment, Crystal Cruises is debuting 80 brand new Crystal Adventures on 11 varied cruises throughout the Baltic and Northern Europe this summer. Savvy travelers seeking unusual and authentic experiences may choose from 333 shore tours ranging from a two-day excursion to Moscow to an afternoon drink at Stockholm’s unique Ice Bar.

For its May-through-August Baltic and Northern European season aboard the ultra-luxurious Crystal Serenity, Crystal Cruises is offering more than 30% additional Crystal Adventures in 2006 than in 2005. Further, the luxury line has been raising its own bar by introducing approximately 45% more new tours than it presented in 2005.

Why are there so many new choices in 2006 for a line that has been traversing the Baltic and Northern Europe for many years? One reason is that Crystal is visiting more destinations in the region than last year. Destination-rich itineraries of 7 to 14 days include voyages through Scandinavia and Russia, British Isles, a North Cape journey crossing the Arctic Circle, and assorted other destinations in Northern Europe. Maiden calls in Riga, Latvia; Spitsbergen, Norway; Ayr & Troon, Scotland; La Rochelle, France; and Gijon, Spain are sprinkled through the season. Crystal is also repeating visits to seldom-visited ports on its itineraries, such as Hamburg, Germany and Zeebrugge, Belgium.

“Besides our added port content, another reason for our shoreside expansion is that our tour operators get it,” explains John Stoll, Crystal’s director of land programs. “We’ve been actively challenging them for the past few years to broaden the scope of the experiences we can offer ashore. Today it’s a collaboration and partnership at its most creative. The results are more boutique tours designed to capture the imagination of the modern and contemporary Crystal guest who seeks more authentic adventures and luxurious one-of-a-kind experiences that are personally enriching.”

New Crystal Adventures include:

* A once-in-a-lifetime experience on the original Olympic Bobsled and Luge
track used in the 1994 games at Lillehammer (from Oslo);

* A jet-set speed boat adventure through the Finnish archipelago
(from Helsinki);

* A ten-mile biking adventure on picturesque Isle de Re (from La

* An exclusive tour of the privately owned Blair Estate, reputed to be the
oldest continually inhabited mansion house in Scotland which has not
been rebuilt (from Ayr & Troon); and,

* A private cooking class with Alejandro Garcia Urrutia, one of Spain’s
best-known chefs (from Gijon).

Crystal’s commitment to offering guests extensive choices is evidenced by its broad collection of new tours in established ports of call. In St. Petersburg alone, eight of the 32 tours offered are brand new, and all take advantage of Crystal Serenity’s three-day, two-night stay in Russia’s cultural capital. Highlights include:

* A new two-day excursion to The Hermitage allows for a more in-depth
exploration of the treasured collections at one of the world’s most
important museums;

* A Russian Ballet performance at the Mariinsky Theatre, home of the Kirov
Dance Troupe;

* A performance of Russian spiritual songs by the famed Alexander Nevsky
Lavra choir on a visit to the Alexander Nevsky Monestary debuts this
year, as does a gala dinner at the majestic Grand Duke Vladimir’s
Palace; and,

* Overnight excursions to Moscow include the rare opportunities to fly a
MiG fighter jet or explore the KGB Museum.

“The Baltic’s depth of beauty and the richness of each individual port make this an ideal repeat destination,” adds Stoll. “The choices in each destination are staggering — whether one is seeking cultural enrichment or more active pursuits.”

From adventure and art to cultural enrichment and pop culture, the variety of Crystal Adventures promises to pique the interests of all Crystal guests:

Active Adventure

* Flightseeing excursions offer new perspectives of Stockholm, Hamburg,
Dublin and Oslo;

* A hot air balloon journey showcases the idyllic Irish countryside
(from Dublin);

* New horseback riding adventures along the scenic trails of Dryhaven
forest (from Copenhagen); and,

* New golfing excursions at the Montgomerie at Carlton House in Dublin,
and the St. Mellion Golf & Country Club in Plymouth.

Art & Culture

* An organ recital at the 11th-century Dome Cathedral, the largest place
of worship in the Baltics housing one of the largest organs in all of
Europe (from Riga);

* The masterful collections of the Van Gogh Museum and Rembrant House are
showcased on a new tour (from Amsterdam), as are the treasured works of
Author Astrid Lindgren at the Junibacken Museum (from Stockholm);

* Visit to the centuries-old former residence of Sir Francis Drake
(from Plymouth).

Jewish Points of Interest

* A new tour in Amsterdam follows the city’s Jewish History path, visiting
the hiding place of Anne Frank, and includes a guided visit to the
Jewish Historical Museum; and,

* One of Copenhagen’s latest attractions, the Danish Jewish Museum,
showcases 400 years of Jewish presence in Denmark.

The Popular — Spirits & Wine

* A pub crawl in Dublin, a beer tasting seminar in Zeebruge, gin tasting
at the Plymouth Gin Distillery, and a visit to the famed Carlsberg
Brewery in Copenhagen provide a ‘taste’ of local flavor; and,

* Three new journeys to the renowned chateaus of Bordeaux offer wine
enthusiasts the chance to sample first growths and explore the pastoral

Cruises depart from London, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. Depending on itinerary selected, per person, double occupancy fares begin at $3,395. Pre- and post-cruise hotel stays are available at The Renaissance Chancery Court and The Berkeley Hotel, both in London; the Copenhagen Marriott; and The Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Guests also have the opportunity to experience the spectacular scenery of Europe aboard the Orient Express pre- and post-cruise depending on itinerary.

The Crystal Difference

The 1,080-guest, 68,000-ton Crystal Serenity is among the most spacious and luxurious vessels cruising in the luxury market. Its unique size allows for smooth sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, generous amenities and elegant accommodations.

For the past ten consecutive years, Crystal Cruises has been voted “World’s Best Large-Ship Cruise Line” by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines — the only cruise line, resort or hotel to have achieved such distinction.

For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line’s website at

Related Articles