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Crystal Endeavor review: Our first look on board

Trip Reports
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As a Crystal Cruises aficionado for over 30 years, I was very excited to have an early opportunity to inspect their newest ship, Crystal Endeavor, in Greenwich.

Originally scheduled to launch in June 2020, and then inevitably delayed, the ship was finally named in Germany (where she was built) in late June 2021, when Covid regulations prevented our attendance. A short inaugural season in Iceland followed, after which she began her long journey southwards.

After visiting us here in the UK, she will continue on a scheduled cruise to France and Spain, crossing the Atlantic from Lisbon to Miami, and completing a Caribbean itinerary from Miami to San Juan before finally arriving in Ushuaia to start her Antarctica programme on 18th November.

Crystal Endeavor in Iceland

Sitting in the Thames with a great view of the Cutty Sark and Old Royal Naval College, Endeavor looked supremely sleek and elegant, not to mention rather more imposing than expected. Is she a large yacht or a small ship? Well, she is so small she only carries 200 passengers, but so large she has more space per passenger than any other cruise vessel. So small she can operate expedition voyages calling at tiny harbours and bays, but large enough to ride heavy seas on her journey from Reykjavik in great comfort. So small she offers great intimacy and personal service, but large enough to delight her passengers with a whole range of lounges and dining options.

In terms of décor, she reminds us more of Crystal's elegant river fleet than the ocean vessels, with a background palette of delicate creams, greys and blues, highlighted with jewel tones of emerald, sapphire and aquamarine in Waterside, the main restaurant. The other, numerous, dining options include Crystal ocean signatures, such as Umi Uma, the Asian restaurant and sushi bar, Italian specialist Prego, and the much loved Vintage Room.

Crystal Endeavor - Waterside restaurant

For daytime grazing, fans of the Bistro will love its Endeavor incarnation, whilst the light-flooded solarium is perfect for the more casual Marketplace breakfast and lunch options. As we have come to expect from Crystal, the dining emphasis is on great quality and exquisite presentation with lots of wows both for look and taste.

Some expedition ships focus on cosy enclosed spaces, and whilst these exist on Crystal Endeavor - the inviting Library and intimate Connoisseur Club spring to mind - what is most striking is the light-filled public rooms: the floor-to-ceiling windows in the Palm Court, and the double height conservatory style Solarium, which enable you to sit in the warm whilst enjoying the stunning views of your wilderness cruise, with easy access to extensive deck space for closer inspection of the stunning scenery and wildlife.

Crystal Endeavor - Solarium

Rather than a lecture theatre, Endeavor has the relaxed Crystal Cove, which gives great sightlines and huge screens for more formal lectures, as well as doubling up as a great venue for evening entertainment, whilst up in the Palm Court each evening before dinner the expedition team welcome everyone for drinks, a recap of the day, and a rundown of the plans for tomorrow.

The spacious suites, starting at a generous 304 square feet, are welcoming, comfortable and well designed, with lots of bathroom space including a sit-down shower and double sink, a walk-in wardrobe and a generous sitting area leading out onto an extensive verandah. Caudalie toiletries are a stylish addition. Crystal's famed butlers look after every guest, and their smiling presence was very visible even during our short stay on board.

Crystal Endeavor - Deluxe Suite

Well designed mudrooms down on deck 3 will enable speedy disembarkation in Zodiacs to go and explore, and other tools for exploration will include helicopters and submersibles, neither of which are yet on board.

Because there are so many luxury expedition ships coming into service at present, here at Mundy Adventures we are working hard to differentiate the various products to ensure that our clients pick the right vessel for them. It is clear that in Crystal Endeavor we have a small and elegant luxury cruise ship, enhanced by its ability to travel further off the beaten track, into the polar regions and further afield. The whole travel experience is upgraded with a variety of expedition features, and a large expedition team - the ratio of expedition team members to guests is an amazing one to eight, higher than any other expedition ship we are aware of.

Crystal Endeavor - Mudroom

Having said all that, this is without question a true Crystal cruise ship, with all the Crystal features we have come to know and love, bringing you the best of both worlds when you choose Crystal Endeavor for your expedition cruise.

Edwina Lonsdale
Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and, together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Adventures.

More about Edwina

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