Exactly 25 years after Crystal Cruises set its course as a leader in luxury cruising with the launch of the first of three ships, the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line is charting a new, much more vast, route. Crystal’s president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez and Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay announced Crystal’s plans for the most significant brand expansion in the history of luxury travel and hospitality. Over the next three years, Crystal Cruises will introduce new ships – effectively establishing three brand new classes of cruising – as well as its own Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
In their special address to guests aboard the line’s annual President’s Cruise on Crystal Serenity and Chairman’s Cruise on Crystal Symphony respectively, Rodriguez and Tan Sri Lim made clear of new parent company, Genting Hong Kong’s investment in maintaining Crystal’s award-winning reputation and writing a new chapter in the continuing story of Crystal Cruises. 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.”
In her announcement on Crystal Serenity, Rodriguez shared her enthusiasm about the expansion of Crystal Cruises, saying, “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.”
Crystal Yacht Cruises – December 23, 2015
Late this year, Crystal Esprit will embark on its maiden voyage as the first expansion of the Crystal Cruises fleet. The vessel is an extravagantly appointed yacht, delivered to Crystal Cruises by Genting Hong Kong (GHK), and extensively redesigned to reflect the stylish elegance for which Crystal is renowned. The 62-guest, 3,000-tonnage yacht will offer intimate, exclusive, and immersive experiences with a boutique ambiance. The all-suite yacht will feature posh, high-end finishes and modern technology, and is outfitted with some decidedly extreme features, like a two-passenger submarine, four 10-passenger zodiacs for special excursions and a 12-passenger Wider 32-foot super yacht tender for special boating adventures. Additionally, at their guests’ fingertips are water skis, wake boards, kayaks, jet skis, fishing, scuba, and snorkel equipment.
Set for delivery in November 2015, Crystal Esprit marks the debut of the new all-inclusive Crystal Yacht Cruises program, which will sail regional, warm-water itineraries of seven days and offer thrilling experiences on water and ashore. The first voyage sails December 23, 2015, exploring 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. (All-inclusive “Book Now” yacht fares start at just $2,690 per person for a four-day, roundtrip Mahé, Victoria, Seychelles itinerary in 2017.)
The Crystal Esprit features a variety of watersports equipment that can be used directly from the marina deck aft. Snorkel or swim in the inviting waters of the Adriatic or Seychelles; water ski and jet ski, or paddle a kayak in the early morning quiet. The Esprit’s activity director will help you plan your day on the water or ashore, with a variety of excursions or suggestions for personal discovery.
The hallmarks of the Crystal Cruises brand – service, space, quality and choices – will continue to thrive on a yacht that offers the best of all inclusive. Butlers for every room, six-star service and food, unique Crystal Adventures designed for a more intimate, exclusive feeling translating the World’s Best Ocean Cruising to the World’s Best Yacht Experience. Crystal Esprit will redefine Luxury Adventure in some of the most beautiful cruising areas in the world.
One of the appeals of the Crystal Yachting Lifestyle is the unregimented environment, leaving you free to set your own pace, which is the ultimate luxury in itself. You can opt to explore on your own, join an active or cultural excursion with fellow guests, or simply relax on the deck while admiring the views.
This sleek and sophisticated yacht is characterized by Crystal’s unique understanding of luxury and is designed to deliver an exceptional customer experience. The overall atmosphere is classic elegance mixed with modern comfort. Suites feature a refined color palette of bright neutrals that are complemented by a series of soft grays and warm taupes. Natural materials, traditional patterns and subtle navigational cues offer a refined nod to nautical traditions. The textures of rich woods, lavish marbles and natural fabrics combine to create a welcoming environment where guests feel at home. Each suite is is further enriched by thoughtful appointments that accentuates the yacht’s unique interior design while providing superior guest comfort. Every detail has been accounted for – a variety of integrated cabinetry accommodate longer stays; architectural and task lighting can be adjusted on preference; an custom designed bathroom featuring high-end finishes and modern technology enhance guest comfort; and a tranquil master bedroom and lounge area help travelers unwind. (For more detailed information on cabins, amenities, etc., click here.)
For 2016 and 2017, and early 2018, Crystal Esprit routes for the Seychelles Islands, Dubai and Adriatic Coast include:
- Seychelles Islands – Mahé, Victoria; St. Anne Island, La Passe, la Digue; Baie Ste. Anne, Praslin; Laraie Bay, Curieuse Island; Anse Saint Jose, Curieuse Island; Cousin Island; Aride; Big Sister Island; and Desroches Island)
- Dubai – Khasab and Muscat, Oman; Doha, Qatar; Sir Bani Yas Island and Abu Dhabi, UAB)
- Venice, Italy/Dubrovnik, Croatia – Rovinj, Sibenik, Trogir, Vis, Hvar, and Korcula, Croatia
- Dubrovnik, Croatia/Venice, Italy – Kotor, Montenegro; Split, Zadar, and Opatija, Croatia; and Piran, Slovenia
- Dubrovnik, Croatia/ Athens, Greece – Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Parga, Itea, Hydra, and Navplion, Greece)
Crystal River Cruises – 2017
The spring of 2017 brings more growth with Crystal River Cruises. Featuring expertly curated itineraries, Crystal River Cruises will offer the hallmarks of the all-inclusive Crystal experience – six-star service, world-class dining, and enriching shore-side adventures. Spacious suites with exquisitely designed interiors and elegant public rooms will punctuate Crystal’s entry into worldwide river cruising.
Crystal Luxury Air – 2017
Also in 2017, Crystal’s brand of Six-Star luxury will soar to new heights with the launch of Crystal Luxury Air, becoming the first in the luxury travel industry to offer extravagant around-the-world trips on the world’s most advanced twin-aisle Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The plush aircraft, which typically seats 300, will fly 60 guests in fully reclining business class seats to coveted destinations to which major airlines do not offer nonstop service. Each approximately 28-day itinerary will visit 10-12 remote and/or sought-after locales, with accommodations at some of the world’s finest hotels and resorts; cuisine prepared by celebrity chefs inspired by the destination; and world-class cultural entertainment.
Ocean Vessels: “Crystal Exclusive Class” – Late 2018
Certainly not resting on any laurels, Crystal returns its focus to the seas, with three new “Crystal Exclusive Class,” cruise ships with the first expected for delivery in late 2018. Genting Hong Kong has signed a letter of intent with Lloyd Werft in Germany to build the polar ice class vessels. Lloyd Werft is widely recognized in the shipping industry for its excellent reputation and success with world-class new builds, building and lengthening six Norwegian Cruise Line vessels, including the Pride of America, the only ocean cruise ship flying the American Flag, sailing year round in Hawaii.
“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.”
With the introduction of these new vessels, Crystal will be the first-ever cruise line to deliver expedition-capable ships with all the signature features and amenities of a luxury ship or private yacht. The all-suite, all balcony ship will accommodate 1,000 guests, similar to the capacity on Crystal Symphony (922) and Crystal Serenity (1,070), and weigh more than 100,000 gross tons.
“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 rations 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.
Additionally, for the first time ever, guests will have the opportunity to call a Crystal ship “home,” with innovative Crystal Residences. Situated on the top deck of the new ships will be 48 unique homes, boasting their own private restaurant, reception and facilities, and much higher ceilings (9 feet) than residences on any other cruise ships or yachts; and equal to most land apartments. Residences will start at 600 square feet and go to more than 4,000 square feet of interior living area, which will be the largest on the high seas.
Other revolutionary features being introduced on Crystal’s new vessels includes a whopping 400 square feet minimum for the suites – nearly doubling the size on other luxury vessels; increased ceiling heights by one foot to 8 feet in all suites and decks; raising the bar on personal attention and service with 1,000 crew members on the ships to provide an unheard of one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio; an abundance of mouthwatering options centered on the art and expertise of Michelin-starred and celebrity chefs; and intrepid yacht-like amenities including submarines, helicopters and zodiacs.
The plans fulfill Rodriguez’s growing vision for the company since taking the helm in 2013, while also solidifying Crystal’s unrivaled reputation for innovating new facets of luxury travel.
“It has been a personal mission of mine since joining Crystal to see that this incredible company reach new potential – and thus, new luxury travelers from all over the world – as we continue to deliver unparalleled guest experiences and superior standards of excellence,” said Rodriguez.
Crystal Cruises is the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line, having earned more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history. Crystal Cruises has won “World’s Best Cruise Ship” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards for 21 years; voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure readers for 20-consecutive years; the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by Virtuoso; and both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity were rated as two of the “Top 5 mid-size ships” by the 2015 Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships.