Luxury Yacht Launches Crystal Cruises’ Next Chapter
New Ultra-Luxury Yacht Will Offer Extensive Roster Of Combinable Mediterranean Itineraries In Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Slovenia And Cyprus
Crystal Cruises, the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line, officially welcomed Crystal Esprit to its fleet of ultra-luxury vessels Sunday, as the sleek yacht was christened in an elegant ceremony held at Eden Island Marina in Mahe, Victoria, Seychelles. Crystal’s president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez, welcomed a distinguished audience of local dignitaries, yacht guests, travel partners and professionals and executives from the line’s new parent company, Genting Hong Kong (GHK), for a day of celebration, as Crystal Esprit marks the beginning of one of the most significant brand expansions in luxury travel and hospitality history.
On hand to christen Crystal Esprit was the yacht’s godmother, Lady Gaenor Anne Meakes, fiancee of Mark Richards, one of the world’s most awarded and recognized yachtsmen. Richards serves as chief executive of Grand Banks Yachts, based in Australia, and is an eight-time champion skipper of the 628-mile Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race. Lady Meakes christened the yacht with the traditional breaking of Champagne against the hull – specifically a bottle of Louis Roederer, Cristal Brut, 2004. The evening culminated with an elaborate fireworks display at sea.
“To say today is a special day is an understatement,” said Rodriguez. “Since joining Crystal just over two years ago, a personal goal of mine has been to see Crystal realize the next step in continuing to pioneer luxury travel and hospitality; and today I am seeing that dream fulfilled.” She went on to personally thank GHK Chairman and CEO, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, for his and his company’s support of her vision for Crystal’s future.
Just months after its idyllic maiden voyage through the Seychelles, Crystal Yacht Cruises’ Crystal Esprit will spend the spring, summer and fall of 2016 cruising some of the Adriatic Coast’s most coveted locales. Each of the seven-day voyages aboard the 62-guest yacht can be combined with the following one to create expanded vacations without repeating ports. From the end of March through October of 2016, more than 30 itineraries will cruise to destinations, many of which are only accessible by smaller vessels, captivating guests with the destination’s beauty, charm and historical significance.
“Crystal Esprit’s Mediterranean and Adriatic Coast voyages reflect the yacht itself – sailing in a region that has long been beloved by Crystal guests and travelers the world over, but also exploring destinations in an entirely new way,” says Rodriguez. “These itineraries perfectly blend some of Western Europe’s most famously bustling cities with other, more remote and quaint spots.”
With a focus on intimate access and active experiences, the sailings will offer new perspectives on currently favored destinations visited by the line’s ocean-going ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. All of the itineraries have been carefully crafted to heavily explore several destinations within one or two countries, allowing guests a more immersive cultural experience. Some of the yacht’s Mediterranean locales include:
Piran, Slovenia – Set at the very tip of the Slovenian peninsula, which is the heart of what is affectionately known as the world’s outdoor playground, but also boasting a beautifully-preserved historic Old Town. Here, Crystal guests can enjoy the bounty of natural adventures and meandering walkways between seafood restaurants.
Kotor, Montenegro – A tradition-rich town that blends imposing walled fortresses with welcoming piazzas. Set at the base of a dramatically sloped mountain, Kotor is loved by history buffs and travelers with a taste for striking architecture and rich cuisine. The spectacular Kotor Fjord that surrounds the destination is, in itself, a “must see” for travelers.
Limassol, Cyprus – Truly a playground for virtually every type of traveler, with its storied past (look for Byzantine castles, Venetian walls and conflicting Greek and Turkish influences); outdoor escapes (with rugged landscapes that beckon hikers and explorers and waters that scuba divers find irresistible); and a vast menu of foods that reflect the many cultural influences on the island.
Kaş, Turkey – Where divers will find more than exotic sea life, but also centuries-old shipwrecks to explore in the famously inviting waters. Besides the plethora of outdoor adventures for which Kaş is ideal, the town is also populated with ancient walls, theaters and rock tombs that help tell its fabled history.
Crystal Esprit will offer guests an array of culinary choices at any time of day or night, from small bites and midnight snacks, to casual lunches al fresco and chic, multi-course dinners. “Local” versions of favorite Crystal dishes will also be served, using the freshest ingredients available in each destination and reflecting the local flavors. The onboard eateries include:
The Yacht Club Restaurant will serve a selection of Crystal’s modern and classic specialties, with made-to-order omelets, waffles and pancakes and a health bar with fresh fruit and vegetable juices for breakfast; lunch options including made-to-order pastas and risottos, seafood and meat antipasti, and a raw and salad bar, plus an à la carte menu offering local dishes; dinner menus include a Modern Tasting menu and a Classic menu including local inspired dishes using the freshest ingredients found at the local markets, all served in a bright and immaculate setting with expansive windows and sea breezes;
The Terrace and Patio Café will offer freshly prepared and where possible, regionally inspired, presentations of small plates, creative salads, gourmet charcuterie, cheeses and pastries; serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Sunset Bar & Grill menu will feature burgers, wraps and locally inspired “global street food,” served tapas style and reflecting the destinations visited;
The Pantry will serve as the 24-hour “go-to” spot for freshly baked light snacks and pastries, coffee and a self-service wine bar;
Crystal Esprit Guest Suites also allow travelers to indulge in the plush privacy of their own staterooms, with available 24-hour stateroom dining.
The extravagantly appointed yacht will also be outfitted for adventure, and is set to call in ports never before visited by Crystal’s acclaimed ocean vessels, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, which affords great opportunity for the line’s savvy globetrotting guests to gain new travel perspectives while enjoying the same standard of luxury service for which Crystal is lauded. This includes adventures on the beaches, mountains, waters and skies of each locale, expertly designed with yacht travelers in mind.
On itineraries throughout the Indian Ocean/Seychelles, Mediterranean/Adriatic Coast, Holy Land and Middle East/Persian Gulf, Crystal Esprit will feature shore-side options to suit virtually any interest, with an emphasis on doing more. Among the options are:
Deep-Sea Fishing off the coast of Desroches, Seychelles, for the chance to make an exotic catch of Barracuda, Wahoo, Dogtooth and Yellowfin tuna and Giant and Bluefin Trevally;
One-Tank Scuba Dive in St. Anne Island, Seychelles, geared toward certified divers, who can immerse themselves in the underwater world of shipwrecks, giant rock formations and spectacular sea life;
Rafting Down the Krupa and Zrmanja Rivers in Zadar, Croatia, two of the most beautiful waterways in Europe, then picnicking in Muskovac;
Quad Adventures On The Rugged Trails of Cyprus, taking adventurers to secluded spots most visitors don’t even know exist, with views of waterfalls and swimming at the Baths of Adonis; and
Trek to Delphi at Mount Parnassus in Itea, Greece, the imposing and sacred site once thought to be the center of the earth.
Every Crystal Esprit itinerary will also offer at least one complimentary excursion in every port, including hiking and rafting the Acheron River in Parga, Greece; ziplining through the dense forest in Ephelia (from Mahé, Seychelles); and exploring the medieval city of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia (from Piran). “In-transit” excursions allow guests combining itineraries to fully maximize their time in embarkation/disembarkation ports between voyages.
To celebrate the inauguration of Crystal Esprit, Crystal will be offering two inclusive land programs for guest who would like to extend their vacation and even ring in the New Year with Crystal. These programs include:
Seychelles’ Inclusive Dubai Program, a 2-night, pre-cruise experience inclusive with every Seychelles voyage, giving guests the opportunity to explore the wonders of Dubai, from haute couture shopping malls and traditional gold souks to desert safaris, world-class golf and complimentary entrance to the Wild Wadi Water Park.
New Year’s Eve Dubai Extravaganza, 3 or 4- night program offered to guests who sail on one of the first two Crystal Esprit sailings, includes an uninterrupted view of the spectacular Burj Khalifa New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, where the world’s tallest building lights up in a dazzling presentation of light and pyrotechnics. Offered 3-nights post-cruise on the yacht’s December 23, 2015 maiden voyage, and 4-nights pre-cruise on the inaugural 2016 voyage.
While Crystal Esprit’s itineraries along the Adriatic Coast and throughout the world will venture to new sites, what will remain is Crystal’s commitment to a superior standard of luxury for its globetrotting guests. Besides the vessel’s all-suite design that boasts a distinct atmosphere of sailing aboard one’s own private yacht, Crystal Esprit will be well appointed with elegant amenities; high-end finishes, modern technology and outfitted for adventure. This includes a two-passenger submarine, two 10-passenger zodiacs for special excursions and a 12-passenger Wider 32-foot super yacht tender for special boating adventures. Additionally, at the guests’ fingertips are water skis, wake boards, kayaks, jet skis, fishing, and snorkel equipment.
The yacht’s complete selection of itineraries through the beginning of 2018 are available for viewing at www.crystalyachtcruises.com.
And this is just the beginning. Crystal is poised to launch Crystal River Cruises in 2016 and 2017, with five luxury river yachts – more than double the originally planned number – gracing the waterways of Europe include the Rhine, Seine, Danube, Main, Garonne, and Dordogne Rivers. Crystal Luxury Air will take off with all-first-class outfitted Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking guests on multi-week journeys to far-off destinations not typically served non-stop by major airlines.
Crystal Cruises is the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line, having earned more “World’s Best” accolades than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history. Crystal Cruises has won “World’s Best Cruise Ship” in Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards for 22 years; been voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 consecutive years; and the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by Virtuoso for two-consecutive years (2014 & 2015). For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.