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Cruising through Africa
by Ian Macintyre  |  Ambassador Clients Since 1999
President Obama's recent visit to Ghana on Africa's west coast reminds one just how wonderfully well Crystal Cruise guests have been able to visit almost all of the African continent's sea ports. Crystal cruisers with an anthropological curiosity would be delighted with the opportunities which abound. It has always been a personal ambition to "feel the culture" of any destinations visited. The immense cultural diversity of the eastern and western coastal ports and nation states, such as Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt in the north to South Africa and to Banjul, Gambia, is truly amazing.

Meeting the Masai Mara tribesmen complemented tours to the wildlife National Parks of Kenya. The Masai Mara have retained many of their traditional practices, rather than adopting modern ways. They are an elite tribe with many members seven feet tall. Quay side displays in Mombasa port leave a deep impression of the Masai Mara talents. Whilst on the western coast, rare opportunities to witness Voodoo ceremonies, or visit a Fetish Market are highly memorable. It is also possible to absorb incredible insights into Zulu Land lifestyles. A visit is easily accessed from the port of Durban. To listen to the beat of the African drum within an indigenous neighborhood enriches the experiences and understanding of the cultures of the many separate African countries.

So many glossy brochures exhibit wonderful color photography. However the Spice Islands around Zanzibar and the ports of Mozambique, encourage travelers to experience the fragrances and spices which are so foreign to my native Australia. The exquisite beauty of tropical Bom Bom Island, situated almost on the equator of West Coast Africa contrasts very strongly with the scale of homelessness, unemployment and indigenous migration towards cities such as Cape Town.

Nevertheless Cape Town in South Africa is in close proximity to some of the world's most prolific fishing grounds, mining enterprises, tourism to game parks and vehicle manufacturing. The eastern slopes of Table Mountain are home to the Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens, a magnificent collection of indigenous plants and trees. A personal interest in dendrology has also been well satisfied. Exotic trees from all parts of the world contribute towards some twenty acres of various species planted around my Australian home. To dine beside Nelson Mandela's portrait in the "Cape Town Club", is a unique experience. Nearby Cape Town, are the Cape Dutch homesteads of the second oldest town in South Africa, Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch is a wine growing region set amidst a backdrop of striking mountain scenery. Cape Town has one of the most scenic sail away ports in the world with the regal background of Table Mountain, visible from the ocean for miles.

Crystal Cruise itineraries provide the interested traveler with excellent destination lectures en-route to each of the ports visited. Repeat videos are provided to the staterooms indicating the conditions visitors are likely to encounter ashore. In a similar manner cultural displays and concerts are provided for those passengers who choose to stay on board.

Overnight visits are managed by the shore excursion staff. Exotic locations, such as the Valley of the Kings and Queens, situated beside the Nile River at Luxor in Egypt, allow tourists and students to view inland marvels. The sense of wonder when enveloped by whole cultures of the hieroglyphics, burial practices and artifacts, within the land of the ancient Pharaohs as they were around five thousand years ago, is really astounding.

Ambassador Tours along with Crystal Cruises have been able to coordinate sea visits to most regions of the world. As one cruises the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Oceans, the Mediterranean Sea and much of the European cultures, along its borders, the experiences have been amazing and enriching.

Crystal Cruises provides first class accommodation, superior entertainment and excellent meals. The ship's cuisine is of a very high international standard and often contains menu items which reflect the cuisine of the ports visited. One has great confidence in personal safety within ideal security, exceptional cleanliness and hygienic standards. Crystal carries a highly competent medical staff, who are able to perform many procedures that are available on shore.

It is always a pleasure to meet so many like minded guests participating in organized shipboard activities. To meet fellow travelers at an informal breakfast club, at the upstairs lido deck aft on the ship, or to take part as a member of a trivia team which meets at midday during sea days can be very rewarding. During sea days much brain food is offered to Crystal guests. Just to name a few options, tuition is available in computers, golf, dancing, gymnastics, languages, music and bridge.

Ambassador Tours has been successfully established for more than two generations. They have an incredible depth of experience and knowledge and don't make mistakes. Their rates are competitive; their skills are equally transferred to land, air or sea bookings. I have been very privileged and fortunate to have cruised many times to Africa, a fascinating continent.

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