In recent years, the enthusiasm for expedition-style cruising has increased exponentially. No more so is this the case than in the luxury sector, with nearly every operator boasting a ship purpose-built for adventure in the world’s most remote destinations.
Crystal Cruises first announced its intention to build a luxury expedition ship back in 2016, with a maiden season set to begin four years later in 2020. But, of course, nothing in the pandemic world is ever simple, so guests had to wait longer than expected to finally get a chance to sail aboard Crystal Endeavor, with the vessel finally entering into service in July 2021.
Since then, Crystal Endeavour has cruised Iceland and Northern Europe before arriving in the British Isles in late September. With the ship staying overnight in London, our Voyage Consultant Jess and I headed to Greenwich to look around.
Following the necessary COVID tests at the O2, we jumped on a shuttle bus and arrived at the Cutty Sark after a short journey through the city’s midmorning traffic. It was here we got our first glimpse of Crystal Endeavor.
Perhaps it was a trick of perspective, but she was larger than we expected. Boasting a pristine white hull Crystal’s trademark turquoise flashes, the ship instantly stood out against a backdrop of industrial buildings, office blocks, and the grey autumnal sky.
Public Areas & Highlights
We entered via the mudroom and up the stairs to one of the principal public areas on Crystal Endeavor, Crystal Cove. The multipurpose lounge (which provides ample seating, a bar, a stage and three impressive screens) is a fixture on Crystal Cruises’ ships, so anyone who has cruised with Crystal before will instantly feel right at home.
Next up was the Bistro on Deck 5, which is open during breakfast and lunchtimes, or for teas, coffees, and pastries throughout the day. With floor-to-ceiling windows, this light, airy space is European in style and sure to provide a fantastic vantage point across the passing landscapes.
Deck 5 also hosts one of Crystal Endeavor’s most eye-catching spaces, the Solarium. Providing 360-views via huge glass windows, the two-tiered space boasts a covered pool, seating, and a jacuzzi. On a miserable September morning, I could only imagine the views should the ship be exploring somewhere slightly more exotic than Greenwich.
We also took a look around three of the alternative dining options – Umi Uma, Prego and The Vintage Room. Umi Uma is a specialist sushi restaurant that combines Japanese and Peruvian treats, while Prego provides an authentic Italian dining experience. Finally, the Vintage Room is the most exclusive venue onboard, where you can enjoy a private dining experience with dishes accompanied by some of the world’s rarest wines.
Despite only being onboard for a few hours, we were lucky enough to be treated to four-course lunch at the ship’s main restaurant, The Waterside.
The culinary team on Crystal Endeavor is led by Chef Adam Jenkins, the man behind the mouthwatering creations on Crystal Esprit. As you can see, the menu boasted a varied selection of dishes (I chose the meat course, but I am assured the fish was just as good). The service in the restaurant was exceptional, as was the quality of cuisine, which easily ranks alongside some of the best ship food I have tasted.
Next, we had a look around two of the ship’s accommodation categories. First up was the Deluxe Stateroom, which features a private Veranda, a sitting area and a luxurious bathroom complete with Caudalie amenities.
We also were granted access to the ship’s Owner’s Suite, which is simply breathtaking. Similar to an apartment that you might find in one of the world’s most luxurious boutique hotels, Crystal Cruises have pulled out all the stops here, particular where the stunning bathroom is concerned.
When it comes to the launch of new ships, I have one major gripe: Artist renderings. No matter how talented the design team is, you never really get an idea of what it feels like onboard – this was certainly the case with Crystal Endeavor.
When we first started marketing the vessel to our clients, my first thoughts were that the interiors were clinical and slightly cold. These initial misgivings were disapproved within minutes; Crystal Endeavor is warm, inviting and has a homely onboard environment that will offer untold comforts, even when exploring the most frozen of wildernesses.
There’s ample space onboard, and even at full capacity, I couldn’t imagine the public areas feeling cramped or too busy. Even so, the ship’s thoughtful design means there is always a hidden gem or retreat to enjoy, such as the Connoisseur Club or the beautiful library.
If you’re in the market for an expedition cruise – particularly a luxury one – then Crystal Endeavor deserves your attention. It represents the best of both worlds; the upscale luxuries of Crystal Cruises’ ocean and river-going ships and the adventure-ready apparatus of a more rugged expedition ship (Crystal Endeavor carries a fleet of Zodiacs, a submarine and even has a heliport!)
Having left London, Crystal Endeavour will now spend the next few weeks travelling south along the coasts of France and Spain bound for Lisbon. Following a cruise in the Caribbean, the ship will arrive in Argentina and begin its winter season in the Antarctic. In 2022, Crystal Endeavor will explore Africa, the Arctic (including Greenland) and the Americas before returning to Antarctica.
5 Reasons To Book
- With 200 crew and no more than 200 guests onboard at any one time, Crystal Endeavor’s guest-to-crew ratio is one of the best at sea.
- An expert Expedition Team leads every Crystal Endeavor voyage. To ensure you get the most out of your experience, they’ll be on-hand every step of the way and add a different dimension to your time both onboard and ashore.
- Few expedition vessels can match Crystal Endeavor in the range of dining experiences and public spaces offered onboard.
- The itineraries are exceptional! Not only will Crystal Endeavour visit expedition classics like the polar regions, but it will also offer voyages to the Russian Far East, Australasia and the more remote islands of Japan such as Iriomote and Ishigaki.
- Crystal Endeavor is the only luxury expedition ship with a casino.
Find out more
If you would like to speak to Jess or me regarding our experience on Crystal Endeavor, please call us on 0800 008 6677. Alternatively,