Today’s cruise lines offer a wide range of enrichment programmes to
sate the mind, body and spirit of their passengers. Depending on the cruise
line, vacationers can attend drama workshops, study languages or discover
cultural wonders.

Guest lecturers include noted astronomers who shed light on the galaxies,
celebrated authors who discuss their best-selling books, diplomats, politicians
and professors who help bring foreign peoples and cultures to life, as well as
scientists, naturalists and explorers who are experts on destinations, flora
and species.

CREATIVE LEARNING

For passengers who want to learn to play the piano, improve their palate or
become a great designer, the Crystal Cruises Creative Learning Institute (CLI)
is designed to bring out their hidden talents and skills with instruction at
sea. The Institute expands on Crystal’s commitment to on-board enrichment
by extending new opportunities for personal growth.

The Passport to Music programme, presented by Yamaha, was the CLI’s
first programme, which debuted three yars ago. Designed to elaborate on the
already acclaimed Crystal Visions Enrichment Program, CLI is today regarded as
a benchmark of excellence in the industry.

“One of the most interesting aspects of travel is the enrichment
experience,” says Crystal’s vice president of entertainment, Bret
Bullock. “A world cruise is considered the grandest of voyages for many
reasons; not only is it about exploring new lands, it’s also an
opportunity to truly immerse oneself in a personal area of interest. Our new
enrichment offerings provide guests with stimulating activities that allow
their creative expression to flourish.”

New classes set for the line’s 12th annual world cruise on Crystal
Serenity
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  • Collegiate Course in Computers. In an industry first, guests on the
    full world cruise can earn three transferable college credits, while those
    participating in one or more of the seven world cruise segments can earn
    continuing education units. Taught by a college professor, classes including
    Components of the System Unit, Computer Storage Devices, Database Management,
    and Privacy and Ethics are an expansion of the line’s revolutionary
    Computer University@ Sea, which debuted in 1997. While guests can take the
    courses free of charge, those who wish to receive credits will be required to
    pay a fee.
  • Memoir Writing with journalist Joe Kita. Acting as a personal coach,
    Kita will teach an enrichment writing course to fulfil the dreams of those who
    want to capture in words their experiences, life lessons and advice. Guests
    will not only leave their world cruise with memories, but they will also have a
    lasting souvenir. A journalist for 25 years, Kita also taught writing at Lehigh
    University in Bethlehem, US.
  • Yamaha Master Class. Guests with previous musical experience can
    attend master classes in composition, arranging, improvisation, chord studies
    and playing by ear. An ongoing independent study class allows each student to
    progress at his or her own pace with personal assistance from the Yamaha
    Passport to Music instructor, and guests are invited to perform before fellow
    travellers during formal recitals.
  • Repertory Theatre at Sea Acting Workshops. Crystal’s Repertory
    Theatre at Sea actors will lead progressive, interactive
    workshops on the basics of acting and stage movement, line
    memorisation and improvisation, culminating in a theatrical
    performance for their fellow guests.
  • 2007 Odyssey Art Masterpiece Programme. These art classes use the
    ports as inspiration for guests to create a different masterpiece for each
    segment of the course. New in 2007 will be mosaic workshops, mask-making
    classes (perfect for the ship’s call in Rio during Carnival) and a
    jewellery-making segment using semi-precious stones and other materials
    indigenous to the ports. Classes in stone sculpting, painting and scrapbooks
    are also part of the curriculum.

Travelling from Miami, Florida to Southampton, England,
Serenity’s Treasures of Sun and Sea World Cruise will offer guests
the chance to explore new lands, with 45 ports of call in 27 countries. Offered
in seven segments with departures from Valparaiso in Chile, Buenos Aires in
Argentina, Cape Town in South Africa, Dubai in UAE, Istanbul in Turkey, and
Civitavecchia (for Rome) in Italy, the 2007 World Cruise also includes three
intriguing maiden calls in Coquimbo in Chile, Maputo in Mozambique and Gabes in
Tunisia.

BRAIN-BOOSTING STIMULATION

As one of the cornerstones of the Arts & Entertainment pillar, the
Passport to Music programme is often a guest’s first introduction to CLI.
The curriculum embraces the positive dynamics of learning music in a group
environment with ensemble instruction and interactive activities such as Name
that Tune.

Scientific studies underwritten by the American Music Conference and
other organisations support the benefits of group learning and show advancements
in everything from cognitive development and hand-eye coordination in children,
to improvements in loneliness, depression and the brain chemistry of
Alzheimer’s patients.

“Scientific studies underwritten by the American Music Conference support the benefits of group learning and show advancements in cognitive development.”

Usually, however, it is for other reasons that guests participate in
Passport to Music. Sometimes it is to brush up on skills or to get an
introduction to the keyboard. And always, it is just for the fun of it.

Debbie Skinner, Yamaha’s coordinator for Passport to Music, explains
the classes are almost equally split between guests who have never played
before and those who have previous experience. She has too many memorable
success stories to recount them all, but two stand out as particularly special.
“One guest was an 81-year-old man who wanted to learn so he could play with his
grandson, and he did,” recalls Skinner.

“Another guest who played the organ quite well years ago had suffered a
stroke and came very hesitantly to class. She kept repeating, ‘I can do it’,
and during the last class she just started playing. She later came to me and
said, ‘You’ve changed my life’.”

Passport to Music has been so well received that Crystal is now in the
process of developing Intermediate and Advanced Master classes, tailored to
both returning guests as well as those with previous musical experience.
“It’s important that we stay in tune with their learning capabilities,”
adds Skinner.

New courses will focus on composition, arranging, improvisation, chord
studies and playing by ear. An ongoing independent study class will allow each
student to progress at his or her own pace with personal assistance from the
Yamaha Passport to Music instructor. Skinner notes that not only is Passport to
Music popular among guests, it has also created a buzz among music teachers
nationwide.

While CLI’s Arts & Entertainment is headlined by Passport to
Music, other topics are equally engaging. The Masterpiece Art Program debuted
on Crystal’s 2006 World Cruise, with the first-ever stone sculpting
classes offered at sea. Now a standard offering on longer itineraries and
cruises with more days at sea, the Masterpiece Program features classes such
as:

  • Sensational Scrapbooking, which offers guests a chance to create not just
    photos in an album, but a coffee table-style book showcasing their itinerary
    highlights
  • Designer Decoupage, where guests design a Chanel-type handbag or treasure
    box with artifacts and memorabilia they have collected during their cruise
  • Wonderful Watercolor, which provides an in-depth instruction on colour and
    technique that culminates with guests producing a framed painting

REPERTORY THEATRE AT SEA

Longer itineraries at Crystal also showcase new acting workshops. Actors
from the Repertory Theatre at Sea lead progressive, interactive classes on the
basics of acting, stage movement, line memorisation and improvisation. “The
improvisation element of our acting workshops has really engaged the guests
– they just have so much fun,” says Bullock.

Not content to rest on their laurels, Bullock and his land-based team,
together with cruise directors and on-board entertainment staff, regularly
discuss ideas to evolve CLI.

Certainly the group stays abreast of entertainment and lifestyle trends, but
the real creativity comes directly from guests. This summer, CLI expanded the
Junior Activities Program with a brand new Xbox® Xtreme Tournament. Ten new
Xbox 360s™ were delivered to each ship to provide topical and engaging
entertainment for teens.

Crystal Cruises has long had a strong commitment to on-board enrichment. “If
just one life is changed or if one experience is enhanced,” says Bullock, “then
we have met our goal of offering the most memorable of vacations.”