Over the past 25 years, Crystal Cruises has become a well-known luxury line with their two ships, the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. They’ve continued to refurbish their ships on a regular basis, from the addition of new dining venues and upgrades to more unique guest experiences. But the question has often come up, “Why doesn’t Crystal Cruises add new ships?” Now major expansion is underway. So what’s planned and how has this come about?
More Behind the Expansion
Earlier in May, Crystal Cruises was purchased by Genting Hong Kong, a gaming and leisure travel mega-corporation. Plans have been announced for Crystal to expand beyond its luxury cruise niche into a giant luxury complete brand. New ships, including expanding into the river cruise industry, are one part of the growth. Crystal Cruises is also adding a new yacht product, Crystal Esprit, and the company is buying a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that will be used for month-long, round-the-world tours for 60 guests.
The expansive growth lets guests truly explore the world by water, land and sky.
Crystal’s Exclusive Class Cruise Ships
There are three new Exclusive Class cruise ships coming, with the first to be delivered late 2018. The other two ships will follow, with delivery in 2019 and 2020, or in 2020 and 2021. (Genting Hong Kong has already signed a letter of intent with Lloyd Werft shipyard in Germany.) These will be polar-class constructed ships, which will allow these vessels to operate all over the world. They will be able to provide expedition experiences in the Antarctic and Artic waters, with Zodiacs facilitating landings there, as well as in other regions, including Asia.
These all-suite, all-balcony ships will accommodate 1,000 guests, with accommodations starting at a minimum of 400 square feet for all guestroom suites. Also at 100,000 gross registered tons, they will be larger than Crystal Cruises’ existing ships, the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. And with a crew of 1,000 on board, these new Exclusive Class ships will provide a one-to-one guest ratio. (This is the highest guest ratio in the industry.)
Celebrity chefs, along with Michelin starred chefs, will be featured in the dining venues. Guests will also have yacht-like amenities available, including Zodiacs, helicopters and submarines.
Another unique feature? Crystal is introducing their Crystal Residences. These 48 residence accommodations featuring high ceilings will be located on the top deck of each ship, complete with their own private restaurant, facilities and reception area. The largest Crystal Residence will have more than 4,000 square feet of living space.
Crystal Esprit Debuts December 23, 2015
The debut of Crystal Yacht Cruises occurs this December with their Crystal Esprit, and this is a completely new venture into the yachting market. The Crystal Esprit is currently being completely refurbished (the yacht was already owned by Genting.) This 3,300-ton, luxury, all-suite, boutique-style ambiance yacht accommodating 62 guests will offer seven-day itineraries.
Some unique features for guests to enjoy include four 10-passenger Zodiacs for excursions, along with a two-passenger submarine. Also there is a 12-passenger Wider, a super yacht tender that guests can use for boating adventures.
As far as itineraries, Crystal Esprit will be calling on several destinations within the Adriatic Coast, Dubai and the Seychelles. Her maiden voyage starting on December 23 this year will let guests explore the Seychelles Islands. It will be followed by a special post-cruise New Year’s Eve celebration at the Taj Dubai Hotel.
Crystal’s River Cruises
Crystal has mentioned its entrance into the river cruise industry will occur in March 2017, with the launch of two ships. “Breaking the mold on river cruising,” is the way Edie Rodriguez, President and CEO of Crystal Cruises, has described it. Each ship will feature 70 cabins with 250-square-foot suites, and will accommodate 140 guests based on double occupancy. Walk-in closets, American king-size beds and double vanities are just some of the features. There will also be two 500-square-foot penthouses. Spacious areas for guests to enjoy include the Palm Court, spa and fitness center along with a dance floor and glass-domed roof. More details will be coming.
About Crystal’s Luxury Air
Crystal is purchasing a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Set to debut in 2017, this will be a first in the luxury travel arena. Providing a luxury tour program, it will accommodate only 60 guests in a cabin that would normally accommodate 300 guests, and fly them on 28-day, round-the-world tours.
Tally Up the Expansions
With the new Crystal Esprit providing yacht cruises, along with new Exclusive Class ships, river ships and a luxury aircraft, Crystal is focused on becoming a luxury lifestyle brand with a complete portfolio. Crystal’s expansion is enabling guests to share and explore the world by whatever medium they choose, unlike any other luxury travel company today. These new options for groups are paving the way for higher standards in luxury travel.