By Mary Forgione
Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
10:30 AM EST, January 25, 2013
Crystal Cruises, the small-ship luxury line that receives high marks from travelers, will offer one-of-a-kind shore excursions on its Mediterranean sailings this spring. Boutique Adventures, as Crystal calls them, take passengers behind the scenes at museums, castles, jewelry workshops, chefs' private kitchens and other venues.
The idea is to create intimate experiences that go deeper into local culture and provide a singular experience for passengers, according to a statement from the cruise line.
Choices include a private opera performance at the tiny Vetriano Theater near Florence, Italy; an art tour at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence to areas not open to the public; jewelry making at a designer's workshop in Rome; cooking lessons with Michelin-ranked chefs in Sorrento; and dinner and a concert at a Sicilian castle in Taormina.
The new shore excursions, available on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity sailings, can serve groups of one to no more than 15 guests and are sold on a first come, first served basis. Prices run from $223 a person to more than $1,000 per person depending on the activity.
The cruise line also rolled out other new shore-side options this year. Passengers may choose to go their own way with a private car and driver or sign up for private excursions for two. Crystal continues to offer free "You Care, We Care" outings that allow passengers to spend time volunteering for a worthy cause while in port.
Info: Crystal Cruises, (888) 799-4625, or call a travel agent
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