Crystal’s new luxury cruises to and from Dublin, plus eight calls to the Emerald Isle in 2014, will keep the fun and frivolity of St Patrick’s Day going well past the holiday. Crystal Symphony will visit Gaelic grounds during two seven-day British Isles voyages, the first departing from London on August 17, and the second ending there after an August 24 sailing. Crystal Serenity also visits Ireland during a 14-day Trans-Atlantic voyage that departs September 5 and ends in America’s most Irish city, Boston.
A total of six ports, including two maiden calls, are planned for the land of leprechauns:
- Waterford — With Georgian architecture as beautiful as the town’s famous crystal, Ireland’s oldest and windiest city is surrounded by craggy beaches, fishing villages, and walking trails throughout the county.
- Dublin – Ireland’s literary and political capital, this relaxed metropolis combines the classic pubs and stone townhouses of yesteryear with modern architecture and acceptance.
- Galway (maiden call) – Considered the “most Irish” of all cities, here, one is surrounded by Gaelic language, traditions, and glee while strolling medieval streets, scenic shorelines, and historic squares.
- Cork/Ringaskiddy – Gothic castles, the home of Irish whiskey, and the Blarney Stone can all be found in County Cork.
- Londonderry (maiden call) – “Derry,” as locals call it, is the only remaining walled city in the UK with its historic walls still intact.
- Belfast – Gentrified quaysides, hip hotels, and huge urban renewal have transformed this former battleground city into an enticing place of Irish pride for visitors.
Crystal Adventures will take guests by coach, foot, helicopter, horseback, and boat over, past, and into such sites as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Giant’s Causeway, Jameson’s Distillery, and Lough Erne Resort, home of 2013’s G8 Summit, where guests can stay overnight during a new Belfast to Londonderry Overland Adventure.
In addition to the Irish calls, August 17’s itinerary provides an ideal overview of the entire United Kingdom, with visits to Wales (Holyhead), England (Liverpool), Scotland (Greenock and a maiden call in Oban), and the remote Channel Islands (Guernsey/St. Peter Port). “Explorer Combination” savings also make this voyage attractive to combine either with August 24’s sailing, for a 14-day cruise round-trip from London, or with prior segments from Stockholm or St. Petersburg, for an added taste of the Baltic and Scandinavia. All-inclusive fares for the Irish cruises start at $3,405/person if booked by April 30.