Crystal Cruises Brings High Seas Luxury to Cruising Altitude
Photos courtesy of Crystal Cruises
Luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises is known for being a top-of-the-line cruise brand, but many people aren't aware of the fact that they operate a rather eclectic collection of private planes. This flying fleet compliments their line of ships to offer luxury unimaginable or unattainable to most.
For most of us, flying to a port city is just part of the cruise vacation, but in 2017, Crystal Cruises will make the journey an integral and elegant part of the vacation. That’s when the company will take delivery of two very large new planes — a Boeing 777-200 and a Boeing 787-800. The company has released some details of the forthcoming 777. While most 777s of this size seat nearly 300 passengers, the custom Crystal Exclusive Class seats fully recline to 84 lie-flat beds, measuring 73.5 inches long, for maximum personal space and ergonomic comfort, while the expansive social lounge with stand-up bar, two divans and four dining tables with dedicated seating for six guests fosters friendly camaraderie among luxury travelers. Cuisine will be prepared by a dedicated executive chef in two state-of-the-art galleys and paired with an elegant premium wine list. The 787 Dreamliner will only hold 52 passengers.
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Guests will also enjoy creature comforts and conveniences including Bose noise-canceling headphones, Apple iPads, complimentary global Wi-Fi, 24-inch interactive TVs with on-demand programming and music library, individual USB ports and power outlets, and a live cockpit-to-ground listening channel. Custom blankets, lumbar and pillows, plush duvets and mattress toppers – as well as spacious lavatories appointed with ETRO amenities – offer more than the comforts of home during the global journeys.
Their new 777 will be one of the largest private jets that isn't owned by a head of state. It is expected to enter service in the Fall of 2017. The 787, while smaller, is spacious in its own right and is one of the most comfortable planes on which to fly, because of its ability to simulate a lower cabin altitude, which reduces jet lag. The 777 will cover 14 and 28 day itineraries, taking passengers around the world, likely connected to at least one Crystal Cruises itinerary. We would expect the 787 to have the same amenities once it enters service.
We do know the 777 was formerly used in service by French president Nicolas Sarkozy. The 787, while brand new, was built several years ago but never flown by an airline. It was rejected by its original purchaser for being overweight. This aircraft and a handful of other early-build 787s are known as the “terrible teens” for their line build numbers. These planes required extensive post-production modifications before being delivered to customers.
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Crystal’s “Luxury Air” brand also flies a Bombardier Global Express private jet, which holds up to twelve passengers and has a range of 6,000 nautical miles. It entered service on May 1st of this year.
This is not the first time a cruise line has operated its own “airline.” Carnival Cruises had its own self-branded 25-plane fleet based at Fort Lauderdale and Miami International Airport in Florida, which operated as Carnival Airlines from 1989 to 1998. Luxury resort brand Four Seasons also has its own Boeing 757 private luxury jet. It ferries the fortunate between their chain of resorts in exotic locations around the world.
More by Paul Thompson
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