HONG KONG Crystal Serenity – one of two mid-size ships belonging to the Crystal Cruises luxury cruise line – wrapped up a US$65 million makeover that has included the major public and networking spaces of the Palm Court lounge, Galaxy Lounge, Luxe Bar, Hollywood Theatre and Avenue Saloon.
Gregg Michel, Crystal Cruises president, said: "The ultimate result is all our guests' favourite gathering places now feel even more welcoming, while also offering the stylish sophistication and comfortable elegance luxury travellers look for in a vacation setting."
According to Mimi Weisband, vice-president, Crystal Cruises, the meetings and incentive business has been on the upswing these past two years, especially with the introduction of more condensed itineraries. The company is now offering shorter cruises on Crystal Symphony and it's sister vessel Crystal Serenity, under the five-day Getaway category. For those with a bit more time cruises of up to 10-day are available and most feature weekend departures.
Among the variety of new activities for groups to consider doing ashore this year, which are exclusive to Crystal, is a private tour of the normally-closed-to-the-public Contini Bonacossi Collection, Florence's Uffizi Gallery, hands-on cooking lessons with local Michelin-star chefs in Sorrento and Taormina and homemade lunch with Madeiran winemakers in Portugal.
On board, there's never a dull moment as well, with experiences such as the Vintage Room dinners, overseen by celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa and the Napa winemakers of Screaming Eagle and Chateau Montelena fame – Heidi and Bo Barret; big band and ballroom dance lessons with enough dance instructors to attend to everyone; movie-making workshops, supervised by the USC School of Cinematic Arts, using iPads and photography classes by well known landscape and sports photographers Colin Prior and Neil Leifer.
For more details, visit www.crystalcruises.com
Margie T Logarta