Next Up, On Crystal Symphony With The President & Exploring Greenland With Silversea

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Next Up, On Crystal Symphony With The President & Exploring Greenland With Silversea

It's beautiful in the Baltic Sea region. Just a few days ago, newspapers in Stockholm proclaimed that summer had finally arrived. That's a bit late, and of course, summer will be short-lived way up here in the high north.

As I write these words, however, the sun casts its golden glimmer on the glittering body of water that separates Denmark and Sweden. From the 12th-floor Executive Lounge of the Copenhagen Airport Hilton, I can see the bridge that unites these two countries. I won't be up here long, though. It's too beautiful outside to sit indoors. If you're cruising in this region right now, count yourself lucky. 

Speaking of cruising from Copenhagen, next Sunday, I'll be departing the Danish capital on Crystal Symphony, along with top-producing travel agents and Crystal Cruises' President & CEO Edie Rodriguez. We're on a seven-day Gala cruise roundtrip Copenhagen. The event is designed to recognize and celebrate Crystal's top achievers, cruise sellers who have put a lot of people on Crystal's two ships. I'm there to cover the event for Avid Cruiser and Cruise Week, a trade publication.

There has never been a more exciting time in the history of Crystal Cruises to be sailing with the president. I plan to bend her ear to learn as much as possible about what may just be the most ambitious expansion ever in the luxury travel segment. Just a few weeks ago, Crystal announced three new 1,000-guest ocean ships (with 48 private "homes"), two new river cruisers, a new luxury yacht, a submarine and a jet, plus more I am sure. I know that Edie can't reveal too much for competitive reasons, but I plan to learn as much as I can while on board with her for seven days. Maybe I can slip some Aquavit into her tea to get her talking.

I'll be handling Avid Cruser's "Live Voyage Report" differently on the upcoming voyage — and future ones as well. My plan is to post a few "postcards" each day, featuring photographs that tell the story of our best experiences of the day on Crystal Symphony. If you want to follow along, hit me up on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Following the cruise, I'll post daily voyage reports to give you a feel for what it is like to experience the Baltic on Crystal.

What are some of the things we'll experience? Crystal Symphony will take us to Warnemunde (where excursions to Berlin are offered if we so choose). We'll call on Helsinki and St. Petersburg, where we'll overnight on board.

My goal, however, is to focus quite a bit on the ship experience itself — and to coax as many details as possible out of Edie about Crystal's expansion plans.

Just a few days after I return to Copenhagen, I trundle my baggage aboard Air Greenland. Fewer than five hours taking a seat on the plane, I'll land in Kangerlussuaq for a quick transfer to Silver Explorer. I'm excited to be visiting Greenland for the third time. Details about my Greenland voyage can be found here.

In the meantime, Aaron Saunders has written a piece about Silver Explorer, which celebrates seven years in operation for Silversea Cruises/Expeditions. Be sure to see Silver Explorer: Luxury Expedition Cruising Pioneer.

You may also want to check out our sister site River Cruise Advisor, where this week we're discussing All-Inclusive River Cruises: Are You Getting Your Money's Worth? Plus, Uniworld & Scenic Compared, and Low Water Woes.

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Silver Explorer: Luxury Expedition Cruising Pioneer

The Luxury Expedition Cruise. It’s quickly becoming the river cruising of the deep-ocean cruising world. Much like “glamping” redefined the idea of “camping, " luxury expedition cruises still offer all the adventure and knowledge of their predecessors, but they do it in much better surroundings. Aside from Hamburg-based Hapag-Lloyd Cruises – which traditionally catered to a primarily German-speaking clientele – …

Read more.

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The Arctic vs. Antarctica: Which One Should You See First?

One thing that surprised me when I ventured up to Arctic Svalbard with Silversea Expeditions last month: the number of comparisons between the Arctic and that other famous polar destination, Antarctica. Guests who had never been to Antarctica were curious as to how the two compared. Guests who had previously been to the famous White Continent outlined the differences. And …

Read more.

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Hello. Is Anyone There? 

Mr. Hagen, I am a 75-year-old retired school teacher who just returned from a horrible experience on the Elegant Elbe Viking river cruise ... 

Thus began a comment on River Cruise Advisor intended for Viking Chairman Tor Hagen. What happened next surprised me. Viking responded. Follow the comments here and join in on the conversation.  — Ralph Grizzle

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Recapping Our Arctic Adventure Aboard Silversea's Silver Explorer

Expedition to the Far and Lonely North “As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.” - Ernest Hemingway It was nearly at the end of my expedition to Arctic Svalbard aboard Silversea Expeditions’ Silver Explorer when I realized that there were two different mindsets of my fellow guests about the Arctic. While everyone enjoyed it, I’d estimate that …

Read more.

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Join Me On A Silversea Voyage To Greenland On Silver Explorer

Wanna meet up? Why not Greenland? I'm headed there August 27, 2015, for a seven-day expedition on Silver Explorer. This is the perfect trip to couple with a longer Baltic itinerary roundtrip Copenhagen. That's because flying from the Danish capital is the easiest way to get to and from Greenland.

Of course, you'll need to check with your favorite cruise seller to see if there is still space remaining on Silversea Expeditions Voyage 7519. Then do a little research for Baltic cruises to marry with the expedition. No need to worry about packing winter gear for Greenland: Silversea gives you a complimentary Silversea-branded parka that will keep you warm out among the icebergs, and there will be plenty of those.

If you can't make it, then at least follow along here on Avid Cruiser as I file daily reports from our voyage.

The Silversea expedition will mark my third trip to Greenland, and I hope it's not my last. Anything but green (80 percent of Greenland is covered in ice), the world's largest island is part of the North American continent, but it is connected to Europe. An autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland is a fascinating place, and there's no better way to experience than on a Silversea expedition.

Here's what Silversea is promising on this voyage:

Read more and check out some gorgeous photos of Greenland.

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Six Tips To Extract More Joy From Your Cruise

In this free special report, I’ve put together a half dozen actionable items that can make the difference between cruise vacations that are memorable and others that fail to measure up to all you had hoped they would be. I’ve cruised on hundreds of ships, as a solo traveler and with family and friends.  — Ralph Grizzle, The Avid Cruiser

Click to download the report.

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Complete this thought: My best packing tip for cruises is ... click here to answer.

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