PHOTO: Rendering of Crystal River Cruises' Crystal Mozart. (photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises)
Crystal River Cruises postponed the inaugural itineraries of its Crystal Bach from June 29 to Aug. 12 and Crystal Mahler from Aug. 13 to Sept. 30.
“The reality is that these are the first in a new class of vessel, and we want the deliverable to be flawless,” said Crystal President Edie Rodriguez. “So if it means a few more weeks to ensure the first of what will be six new class of vessels for us of us, we’re going to do the right thing.”
In all, Rodriguez said just over 600 guests were impacted by the delays. Those guests, along with their agents, have been compensated.
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Guests will receive full refunds, while agent commission is protected on the original booking regardless of whether the client was paid in full, said Walter Littlejohn, Crystal River Cruises vice president and managing.
“All of the agents who have bookings are all invited on pre-inaugural cruises of any of the four new ships – Crystal Bach, Crystal Mahler Crystal Debussy or Crystal Ravel,” he said. “In addition, guests are getting a free 2017 Crystal ocean, river or yacht cruise. If they select a river cruise, they will receive an additional $1,500 per person future cruise credit to use on a 2018 or 2019 Crystal Experience.”
Rodriguez said the ship delays are simply a matter of fine-tuning vessels equipped with myriad ultra-luxury components, including four dining venues featuring farm-to-table, à la minute cuisine, all-suite accommodations, butler service and 24-hour room service.
“There are lot of firsts on these vessels, and it’s taking longer to accomplish than was originally estimated,” Rodriguez said. “All of these accouterments require appropriate building details so that you can deliver luxury service – from the way the galley is formulated to the way the butler stations are [configured.]”
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Rodriguez stated, “jealous competitors are trying to spin the delays into a story. We came to our agents first, and we didn’t feel we needed to issue a press release on this. Obviously, they’re pretty desperate, and they must have so much open space that they have resorted to these unprofessional tactics.”
In the end, Rodriquez said that what’s important is that agents and their clients are satisfied with the way in which Crystal has handled the delays.
“Our compensation was more than generous,” she said. “I’m positive that in this industry these are not the first newbuilds to be delayed and I’m positive they will not be the last.”