This July, guests aboard Crystal Cruises’ award-winning Crystal Serenity will be treated to one of Italy’s most popular Venetian traditions. The ultra-luxury line is introducing a new cruise for 2010 that sails into Venice just in time for the annual Redentore Festival, a spectacle of brightly colored boats, gondola races, costumes and traditional feasts culminating with a magnificent fireworks display. The 12-day Mediterranean/Adriatic voyage, departing from Athens on July 7, marks Crystal Cruises’ first ever itinerary with two shipboard overnights in Venice.
Dating back to the 16th century, the Redentore Festival commemorates the church of the same name, built on the island of Giudecca to mark the end of a plague that had stricken the city. Each year on the third Saturday in July, Venetians gather in San Marco Basin to celebrate, where they remain until late-night fireworks are set off in the bay of San Marco.
On board, guests can celebrate with an al fresco champagne reception, local entertainment, Venetian dinner and view of the fireworks from the spacious open deck.
“Venice is one of the most magical cities in the world; to be there during this festival adds yet another layer to the authentic experience that our guests seek and expect with a Crystal vacation,” says Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president, hotel operations. “We’re thrilled to be a part of the celebration and to offer our guests more time to immerse themselves in the culture.”
In addition to dozens of shoreside activities offered in the seven ports included in the itinerary, guests can maximize their stay in Venice with extravagant experiences like exclusive cooking lessons and lunch with Countess Lelia Passi or a bird’s eye view of Padua from a hot air balloon.
The voyage visits Athens, Santorini, Crete and Patmos, Greece; Kusadasi, Turkey; Kotor, Montenegro; Split, Croatia; and Venice, Italy. Two-for one cruise fares start at $6,465 per person, double occupancy. Complimentary air transportation from more than 20 North American gateways, including Business Class air for Penthouse guests, plus a $1,000 per person ‘All Inclusive – As You Wish’ shipboard credit are included.