Crystal Cruises is planning a magical winter wonderland holiday with a new Antarctica Christmas/New Year’s cruise. In addition to three days sailing Antarctic waters, the December 21, 2013 Buenos Aires-Valparaíso voyage aboard the award-winning Crystal Symphony sails through Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Falkland Islands, Drake Passage, Cape Horn, and the Chilean Fjords, with multiple excursions to the Antarctic continent. Generous booking savings are available until August 30 for the unique voyage — the only one of its kind for 2013 and 2014.
Crystal is one of the few cruise lines permitted to sail to Antarctica, due to the strict environmental regulations, for which Crystal has incurred extra cost and planning efforts.
“We are always very environmentally conscious of the destinations we visit,” says Anita Hodson, Crystal’s director of nautical and port operations. “We’re thrilled to be able to meet the new standards required to bring guests to this spectacular region this year.
Guests can fly, hike, and zodiac over and on the icy continent, viewing Air Force homes, penguin breeding grounds, and the gorgeous glacial scenery of King George and Ardley Islands. Extremely-limited Crystal Adventures also explore more of Antarctica, taste local specialties, and overnight at the Chilean Eduardo Frei Antarctic Base (INACH).
The 18-day cruise is filled with opportunities to explore nature in all ports, from seeing volcanos, waterfalls, humpback whales, and marine elephants to kayaking the Strait of Magellan and visiting working farms in the Falklands and Patagonia – as well as to explore wine, cuisine, and culture in major South American cities. Onboard speakers include an Antarctic expedition book author, climate change researcher, shark conservationist, and CBS News correspondent.
The itinerary visits Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Puerto Madryn, Port Stanley, Ushuaia (overnight), Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt, and Valparaíso. As guests’ warm and cozy home for the holidays, Crystal Symphony will be luxuriously decorated throughout, offering abundant space to celebrate with gourmet Christmas feasts, a champagne New Year’s gala, religious services, junior cruiser events (including Santa), and more.
Similarly decked-out and celebratory Crystal Serenity will spend the holidays cruising the tropics, with a round-trip Miami voyage also departing December 21, and calling in Turks & Caicos; Curaçao; Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; Roatan Island, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Key West, Florida.
All-inclusive cruise fares begin at $9,740/person for South America and $7,430/person for the Caribbean and include $600 and $800 per person in savings, respectively, if booked by August 30.
The renowned Crystal Experience has been voted “World’s Best” by readers of Condé Nast Traveler for 19 years and Travel + Leisure for 17 years, more than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history.