Last updated: 02:15 PM ET, Mon December 21 2015

Crystal Christens New Luxury Yacht, Crystal Esprit

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Crystal Cruises | Theresa Norton | December 21, 2015

Crystal Christens New Luxury Yacht, Crystal Esprit

PHOTO: The Crystal christening party, from left, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Capt. Nenad Willheim, Lady Gaenor Anne Meakes, Edie Rodriguez, Thomas Mazloum and Colin Au. (Photos courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

Crystal Cruises christened the Crystal Esprit, its new 62-guest luxury yacht and the first milestone in an unprecedented expansion program, in a dockside ceremony at Eden Island Marina in Mahé, Victoria, Seychelles.

“Since joining Crystal just over two years ago, a personal goal of mine has been to see Crystal realize the next step in continuing to pioneer luxury travel and hospitality, and today I am seeing that dream fulfilled,” CEO Edie Rodriguez said.

The vessel was christened by Lady Gaenor Anne Meakes, the Australian fiancée of Mark Richards, chief executive of Grand Banks yachts and an eight-time champion skipper of the 628-mile Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race.

In the traditional ceremony, Meakes released the bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2004, which thudded against the hull before bouncing back and smashing satisfyingly against it.

The festive atmosphere wasn’t dampened by rain showers, which held off long enough for the christening ceremony. However, the continuing rain did postpone a planned fireworks display.

A highlight of the ceremony was the arrival of COO Thomas Mazloum, who arrived in the Esprit’s two-passenger submarine and hopped out of the glass-domed submersible, an entrance that Rodriguez quipped was worthy of James Bond.

PHOTO: COO Thomas Mazloum arrives at the dockside christening in the Crystal Esprit’s two-passenger submarine.

Attending the ceremony were local dignitaries, travel agents and executives from the line’s new parent company, Genting Hong Kong, including GHK Chairman and CEO Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay.

Built in 1991, the yacht underwent a major renovation before joining the Crystal fleet. It is spending its maiden season in the Seychelles and will move to Europe in March to cruise along the Adriatic Coast through October 2016. Seven- and 14-night itineraries are offered at fares starting at $3,920 per person. The seven-night Seychelles vacations include a two-night pre-cruise stay in Dubai. Published fares start at $4,960.

In addition to the mini submarine, the Crystal Esprit carries two 10-passenger Zodiac motorized rafts for excursions, a 12-passenger Wider 32-foot super yacht tender, and watersports equipment such as personal watercraft, water skis, wake boards, kayaks, fishing, and snorkel gear.

The Crystal Esprit is the first step in Crystal’s major expansion plans.  The line is poised to launch Crystal River Cruises in 2016 and 2017, with five luxury river yachts — more than double the originally planned number — in Europe on the Rhine, Seine, Danube, Main, Garonne, and Dordogne rivers. Crystal Luxury Air will take off with an all-first-class outfitted Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking guests on multi-week journeys to destinations not typically served non-stop by major airlines.

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