Crystal Cruises Undergoing Unprecedented Luxury Brand Expansion
'Crystal Exclusive Class' rendering courtesy of Crystal Cruises
What a way to celebrate a silver anniversary. Twenty-five years after Crystal Cruises launched its first three ships, the much-lauded company declared in a news release that it is engaged in, “the most significant brand expansion in the history of luxury travel and hospitality.”
Announced simultaneously aboard the line’s annual President’s Cruise on Crystal Serenity and Chairman’s Cruise on Crystal Symphony respectively, Crystal’s president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez and Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay each explained the company’s plans.
New ships will be introduced over the next three years, termed by Crystal as “effectively establishing three brand new classes of cruising,” and Crystal’s own Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft will be unveiled.
Addressing guests on the Symphony, Tan Sri Lim emphasized that this investment by new parent company Genting Hong Kong is intended to maintain Crystal’s award-winning standing while also writing a new chapter in the Crystal Cruise story. The Chairman stated, “Our intent is to make Crystal Cruises the core of what will become the world’s premier luxury hospitality and lifestyle brand portfolio, not only for the immediate future but for years to come.”
Crystal Yacht Cruises
The delivery of Crystal Esprit in Nov. 2015 and the maiden voyage the next month on Dec. 23 marks the debut of the new all-inclusive Crystal Yacht Cruises program, as well as the first expansion of the fleet. Seven-day, regional, warm-water itineraries will be the norm for this cruise type, with, as Crystal says, “thrilling experiences on water and ashore.”
Genting Hong Kong will be delivering the 62-guest, 3,300-tonnage all-suite yacht, which will have an intimate, posh boutique vibe. She will contain what Crystal calls “some decidedly extreme features,” which includes a two-passenger submarine, four 10-passenger zodiacs for excursions and a 12-passenger Wider 32-foot super yacht tender for boating adventures. Guests will also have access to water skis, wake boards, kayaks, jet skis, fishing, scuba and snorkel equipment.
The maiden voyage will explore the Seychelles Islands, followed by an inclusive, post-cruise New Year’s Eve celebration at the Taj Dubai Hotel. Effective immediately for Crystal Society members (the line’s repeat guest loyalty program), 2015 through early 2018 Crystal Yacht Cruises itineraries are exclusively available for booking through August 31, 2015. In that span of time, Crystal Esprit will call at numerous destinations in the Seychelles Islands, Dubai and Adriatic Coast. All-inclusive “Book Now” yacht fares start at $2,690 per person for a four-day, round trip Mahé, Victoria, Seychelles itinerary in 2017.
Crystal River Cruises
Crystal River Cruises is set to debut in the spring of 2017. Set to be all-inclusive with what Crystal calls “expertly curated itineraries,” the service will be six-star, the dining world-class, and the shore-side adventures enlightening. Suites and public rooms alike will be strikingly luxurious.
Crystal Luxury Air
The official rollout of Crystal’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner — the start of Crystal Luxury Air — is slated for 2017 as well. A first in the luxury travel industry, the aircraft will fly on round-the-world trips, accommodating 60 guests in a space that typically seats 300. The twin-aisle Dreamliner will cradle fliers in fully reclining business class seats, while traversing a 28-day itinerary, visiting between 10 and 12 of what Crystal calls “remote and/or sought-after locales” where major airlines do not fly to nonstop.
Accommodations will be at the world’s finest hotels, and cuisine will be destination-inspired, prepared by celebrity chefs. World-class cultural entertainment will also be part of the ambiance.
Ocean Vessels: “Crystal Exclusive Class”
Late 2018 will see the first delivery of what will be three new “Crystal Exclusive Class” cruise ships. Genting Hong Kong signed a letter of intent with the prestigious Lloyd Werft shipbuilders in Germany to build the trio of polar ice class vessels.
“Our vision and revolutionary plans for Crystal’s ocean vessels requires us to partner with a premium shipyard that has the expertise and resources to deliver the ‘Crystal Exclusive Class’,” said Tan Sri Lim. “Lloyd Werft is synonymous with successful world-class new builds and luxury mega yachts, including Luna, the second largest expedition private yacht in the world, measuring at 337 feet long.”
These new vessels will make Crystal the first cruise line to provide the features and amenities of a luxury ship or private yacht on an expedition-capable ship. The all-suite, all balcony ship will hold 1,000 guests, similar to Crystal Symphony (922) and Crystal Serenity (1,070), and weigh more than 100,000 gross tons.
And passengers will have plenty of space to make themselves comfortable. Crystal has also set a minimum 400 square feet for all guestroom suites, and a ceiling height of eight feet.
“With an impressive 100 tons of space per guest, the average space ratio for luxury cruise ships being 60 tons per person, our new ships’ guest-to-space ratios will be vast in comparison to past, current and under-construction luxury ships, reaching all corners of the world safely, smoothly and in the utmost style and comfort,” said Rodriguez.
For the first time on a Crystal ship, guests can call this class of vessel “home” in the accommodations section known as Crystal Residences. Located on the top deck of the new ships will be 48 unique homes, offering their own private restaurant, reception and facilities, and 9-foot ceilings, equal to most apartments on land and much higher than the majority of residences on other cruise ships and yachts. This type of accommodation will start at 600 square feet of interior living area and will go to more than 4,000 square feet, the largest on the high seas.
The 1,000 crew members aboard means that there is a one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio, something “unheard of” on a cruise ship, Crystal said.
And to cap off the luxuriousness of this vessel class, Michelin-starred and celebrity chefs providing the cuisine, and guests will have at their disposal yacht-like amenities including submarines, helicopters and zodiacs.
In her announcement on the Serenity, Rodriguez expressed enthusiasm about Crystal’s expansion, and said, “We continue to think bigger, aiming to create unparalleled luxury experiences and adventures for our loyal and new guests, who — like Crystal — continue to seek broader horizons and new perspectives on the world.” She added, “We are ecstatic to continue pioneering new areas of luxury travel. Crystal’s newly expanded fleet will truly be travelers’ passport to virtually the entire world.”
These ambitious plans fulfill Rodriguez’s expanding vision for the company since becoming president and CEO in 2013. “It has been a personal mission of mine since joining Crystal to see this incredible company reach new potential — and thus, new luxury travelers — as we continue to deliver unparalleled guest experiences and superior standards of excellence,” she said.
For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com
More by Michael Isenbek
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