Highlights from my Holiday Cruise with Crystal Cruises

I recently returned from my first ever cruise with Crystal Cruises where I celebrated Christmas on board and rang in the New Year off Copacabana Beach in Rio. It was one of the most incredible experiences in my travels – especially since I got to share the cruise with my mom!

Here are some of the highlights from my Holiday Cruise with Crystal Cruises!

Christmas onboard Crystal Symphony

Celebrating the Holidays On Board

Without a doubt, one of the most memorable experiences on board Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony was getting to spend Christmas at sea.

The entire celebration was filled with holiday cheer and delicious food. I’ve never seen a Christmas spread so extravagant! Ice sculptures and giant gingerbread houses decorated the ship and we filled our bellies with a holiday feast.

Read more about Christmas at sea on the Crystal Cruises Blog!

Silk Road onboard Crystal Symphony

Speaking of Food…

The best thing about my cruise on Crystal Cruises was the food. I still dream about it. There are two specialty restaurants on board Crystal Symphony: The Silk Road and Prego. We ate at The Silk Road four times during our cruise! Imagine all you can eat Nobu sushi and asian food. It was heaven!

In the dining room, the dinner menu changes EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I have no idea how they manage to reimagine a two page menu with options like slow-cooked, shiraz-braised, oxtail ragout and gnocchi in a burnt sage butter sauce every night. Even the casual dining options, like breakfast in the Lido Café and lunch at Trident Grill, were delicious.

I would literally recommend Crystal Cruises for the food alone. But, of course, the cruise gets even better.

The Blonde Abroad on Crystal Cruises

Destinations We Traveled To

Since our cruise was a “Brazilian Holiday Cruise” we spent our 15-days on board and exploring various destinations along our route from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

Colorful Buildings in San Juan

San Juan, Puerto Rico

We boarded our cruise in San Juan but spent a few days prior exploring the beauty of Puerto Rico. My mom and I both fell in love with the colorful buildings of Old San Juan.

Diving in Scarborough

Scarborough, Trinidad & Tobago

My mom and I spent our day in Scarborough on individual adventures. I went scuba diving and got to get up close in personal with all kinds of sea life including 3 sea turtles!

Beach Park in Fortaleza

Fortaleza, Brazil

Based on multiple recommendations I received on Instagram, my mom and I decided to go to Latin America’s largest waterpark, Beach Park, in Fortaleza!

Olinda Brazil

Recife, Brazil

We decided to take a ten minute drive from Recife and spend our morning in the town of Olinda. The small town is famous for their Carnival celebration and is lined with beautiful buildings.

Food in Salvador da Bahia

Salvador da Bahia

One of our favorite port days was in Salvador! We explored the Historic Center (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and spent the rest of our day sampling local food and soaking up the sun on Barra Beach.

Mom and Daughter in Rio

Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Along with getting to ring in the New Year off the coast of Copacabana Beach, we spent a day in Rio. Even with cloudy weather, we made the most of our day and visited Christ the Redeemer and the Botanical Gardens.

Mom and Daughter in Rio

Buzios, Brazil

My favorite destination of our Brazilian Holiday Cruise was Buzios. We spent the first day of 2016 on Brava Beach where we enjoyed a delicious lunch of local fish, organic vegetables, fresh oysters and a bottle of rosé.

Mom and Daughter on Crystal Cruises

Getting to Travel with My Mom

And last, but definitely not least, I couldn’t have picked a better trip to bring my mom on for her first ever trip outside of the U.S.. The cruise offered a luxurious travel experience where we could spend quality time together both on and off the ship.

I can’t actually say I had ever had 15 days of alone time with my mom!

As you can see, I had the most incredible trip aboard Crystal Cruises’ Brazilian Holiday Cruise!

If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury cruise experience, I can confidently say there’s nothing that compares to Crystal Cruises. If you have any questions about my experience on board, please comment below and I’ll be sure to answer!

Special thanks to Crystal Cruises for hosting me and my mom as their guest. As always, the content & opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

READ NEXT: Aboard Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony


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Kiersten Rich
Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.