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Rendering courtesy of Crystal Cruises
Following in the footsteps of Apple and Tesla, Crystal Cruises is set to open an iconic "Crystal Experience" showroom that will feature its luxury travel portfolio in Miami's historic Shrine Building. The art deco Biscayne Boulevard location will debut in spring 2017 with a mockup of the forthcoming Crystal Residences, a cafe and restaurant, and more.
Said by the company to launch as "the first land-based member of the Crystal portfolio," the showcase will coincide with the luxury line's Crystal Yacht Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Luxury Air, Crystal AirCruises, Crystal Exclusive Class and Crystal Residences expansion. The facility will even be located conveniently adjacent to Crystal's Miami branch office.
"The new Crystal showcase building will personify the grand scale of Crystal's future as it offers the opportunity for travelers to preview the 'World's Best' before they even step foot onto a ship, yacht, plane or residence," said Crystal President and CEO, Edie Rodriguez. "Not only will visitors be able to see the elegance and luxury of a Crystal vacation, but they'll also experience the personal attention to detail and unmatched service that sets us apart from all the others."
READ MORE: Crystal Cruises Reveals New Product Timeline and World Cruise
The two-level preview center will welcome passersby with some of the building's existing architectural features such as high ceilings and large balconies, repurposed to look like ship's balconies, as well as new interactive exhibits and display rooms. The main ground floor feature will be a showroom of the private Crystal Residences set to launch onboard the new Exclusive-class ocean ships beginning in fall 2019. There will also be consultants throughout and conference rooms on the second floor to learn more about the company's overall products.
Also on the first floor will be the Bistro Lounge, reminiscent of the Bistro Cafe found on the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, for enjoying espressos, and a specialty restaurant, which will feature the line's attentive service and fine dining. Menu items will treat patrons to a taste of what is offered onboard, and there will be a sea-alluding waterfall surrounding an outdoor dining courtyard. No indication of pricing is available yet.
Upstairs will be a 180-degree cinema experience revealing more of the Crystal experience, as well as destination murals and living walls like those found at sea. Other displays include a Crystal AirCruises exhibit and a suspended submarine indicating the experience to be had onboard Crystal Yacht Cruises' Crystal Esprit now and forthcoming Crystal Endeavor in August 2018.
READ MORE: Crystal Cruises Is Bringing The SS United States Back Into Service
The design will be overseen by architect Richard Heisenbottle of South Florida's R.J. Heisenbottle Architects, P.A., who says, "the design of this building is particularly noteworthy because its ornamentation, use of coral rock, veneer and inclusion of sculpted Seminole Indians are architectural characteristics specific to South Florida. We will preserve the original quality and character of the building and add new features that mirror Crystal's ultimate luxury brand experience."
In much the same way that Apple stores and Tesla showrooms present their products to customers that may otherwise not be familiar with their wares, the new "Crystal Experience" will share its portfolio with a much broader audience. The approach is similar, albeit on a smaller scale, to how the Carnival Corporation has begun offering virtual reality cruise previews using Samsung Gear VR in over a hundred AT&T stores across the nation.
The dedicated showroom concept is actually a marvelous idea which could help the industry as a whole get the word out to many more cruise newcomers. Here's hoping it catches on with other lines. Once the showroom opens in spring 2017, the experience will be open daily into the evenings.
Jason Leppert - Senior Writer, Cruises and Cruise Travel - is a San Diego-based cruising expert with more than 100 sailings...
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