Sometimes, reliving memories of a really special cruise is almost as fun as taking it. When Thomas Cook Magazine asked Cruise Critic editor in chief Carolyn Spencer Brown about her favorite exotic cruise, she didn’t have to search back too far to find one:
“Burma, Bombay, Cochin and Dubai were key ports on my best-ever far-flung cruise. The 17-night trip on Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony, which we took last year, and which started from Singapore, featured a rather unprecedented three full days in Burma (more accurately known these days as Myanmar), which was definitely the exotic highlight. It’s tropical and steamy, beautiful and poor, very poor, but with shrines and historic sites that are simply incredible to visit. Cruise ships visit rarely in Burma; one fantastic memory was of our first venture into Yangon, about an hour’s drive from our ship. Treated as VIPs, uniformed officers stood at major intersections to make sure our buses were permitted to pass through, red lights or not! People stood on the side of the road and waved and smiled.
“Other ports that intrigued enough to make a longer return visit include India’s Cochin (we want to sample a backwaters cruise in its chain of lakes and rivers in Kerala), Bombay, with its English-inspired monuments, and Dubai, for the admittedly indulgent chance to shop and shop and shop.
“Because the itinerary was so exotic, our days in port were understandably intense – we didn’t want to miss anything if we could help it. So what also contributed to making our Symphony cruise a great one is that there were plenty of sea days mixed in, so we could rest up, recharge and relax between port calls. Crystal has a fantastic enrichment program (from current affairs lectures to port-related talks to foreign languages and arts and crafts workshops). There were wine tastings and cooking lessons and health-oriented speeches. Or you could just kick-back, enjoy the best service and cuisine at sea – and watch the sea go by. The balance was perfection….”