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Looking into Crystal’s Bali 2014-2015 season

Visiting Bali by sea on a luxurious Crystal cruise
Visiting Bali by sea on a luxurious Crystal cruise
Richard Pietschmann

Whenever we run into crew members from Bali they always tell us that while they enjoy exploring the world it only goes to prove (to them) that their native country is the most beautiful in the world. Having been there I couldn’t agree more. And apparently neither could Crystal Cruises who is featuring its Bali journeys for fall 2014 and winter 2015 as a destination both on land and at sea. It's the ideal way to visit paradise, aboard an equally eden-like luxurious ship with fabulous food, seamless service, penthouse deck butlers to cater to all whims, a top notch spa and fitness center, large pool, Jacuzzis, amenities galore all an all-inclusive fare that covers all drinks, alternative dining venues and tips. Can you say "nirvana'?

Young performers in Bali
Photo by Putu Sayoga/Getty Images

Passengers on board Crystal Symphony’s Bali cruises will be treated to performances of of native dancers (which is always an amazing show), an Emmy award-winning Bali anthropologist/filmmaker, and arguably the island’s most renowned traditional chef. Each of the cruises that sail November 24, December 7, January 5, 2015, and January 17, 2015 offer new 12- to 14-day itineraries that call in several other Indonesian ports while sailing between Bali and Singapore, and boasts visits to Australia and Southeast Asia, depending on the cruise. Limited time “Book Now” fares offer $800 in air credit, and up to $2100 in savings, on the voyages.

Enlightening entertainment includes

  • Chef Heinz von Holzen--Local chef and author behind the island’s only authentic Balinese cuisine restaurant, bringing aboard his latest modern-meets-traditional recipes to share via hands-on cooking classes, demonstrations, a guest chef dinner for all, and a limited-availability Vintage Room dinner featuring multiple courses of the secret dishes, each perfectly paired with rare wines. (Jan 5 sailing only)
  • Dr. Lawrence Blair—Bali resident and anthropological expert, sharing personal tales from his Emmy Award-winning PBS series and book Ring of Fire, which explores the region’s volcanic eruptions, gypsy pirates, man-eating animals (and people), and Blair’s own homesteading in a Balinese village. (all voyages).
  • Local Kecak dancers—An ancient tradition, featuring a group of approximately 100 men clad in checked waist-cloths depicting the epic Hindu battle of Ramayana via native dance, chanting, and music. (all voyages).

On shore diversions:

Those going ashore (highly recommend you do) can hop on an elephant ride through the forest, step inside temples once reserved only for the rajas, learn how traditional batik and other crafts are made, visit local villages and residences, taste and make even more traditional dishes, view volcano vistas and rice paddies, and experience other ancient stories through music, such as a Barong dance.

“From more time to explore the island itself to bringing the Island of the Gods’ top experts in culture, cuisine, and art on board, each cruise offers a rare immersive experience from ship to shore,” says Crystal president Edie Rodriguez. “Travelers can really embrace the genuinely warm and welcoming Balinese spirit that, although exotic, also so closely reflects Crystal’s own culture.”

Other Indonesian calls include Komodo Island (for the famed pre-historic Komodo dragons), Semarang (for UNESCO’s magnificent world heritage site, Borobudur), Jakarta, Surabaya and a maiden visit to Belawan. Depending on the sailing, other destinations include Malacca City, Penang, Kuala Lumpur/Port Kelang and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Sydney, Darwin, Brisbane, Hamilton Island/Whitsunday Island and Cairns, Australia.; and sailing through the Great Barrier Reef, Java Sea and Indonesian Archipelago.

“Book Now” deadline is the end of June 2014 with all-inclusive cruise fares for the Bali sailings start at $3,110 per person, with special perks and offers available for solo cruisers, families sailing with kids under 17, plus air credits of up to$800 per person. Shorter “Getaway” segments are also available on the 2014 sailings, for those with less time.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

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