Crystal Cruises is well known as the world’s premier luxury cruise company, but soon it’s going to be a lot more than that. Following a change of ownership in 2015, Crystal has unveiled ambitious expansion plans that will transform it from a cruise company into the world’s leading luxury travel brand. These plans include a new sea-going yacht, a new ultra-luxury class of ship, the introduction of river cruises, and even its own airline and on-ship residential ownership scheme.
“Crystal is already established as one of the top luxury travel brands for cruises,” says Helen Beck, the company’s vice president, international sales and marketing. “The essence of Crystal is all about service and attention to detail. Now we’re taking that into new territory.”
According to the company’s international sales director, Marnie Tarsinos, Hong Kong travellers are particularly appreciative of its particular brand of luxury: the city is one of Crystal’s biggest overseas markets, where it is exclusively represented by Miramar Travel. “The Crystal experience very much resonates with the Hong Kong luxury consumer,” she says.
The first to arrive of Crystal’s new ships is its first yacht, the 62-guest, 3,000-tonne Crystal Esprit. With everything from extensive watersports equipment to its own zodiacs and even its own submarine, it cruises around the Seychelles, the Middle East, the Adriatic and other regions.
Joining it in the Crystal fleet from this summer will be the newly acquired Crystal Mozart, marking the debut of the company’s Crystal River Cruises service. It will be joined next year by four newly built ships to offer ultra-luxury, all-suite river cruises with butler service throughout, initially along landmark European rivers such as the Rhine, the Danube and the Seine.
Three further newbuilds, the first due in late 2019, will provide the fleet for Crystal Exclusive Class, an even more spacious, even more luxurious class of cruise. And guests will have the chance to buy their very own condo on a cruise ship with Crystal Residences, offering up to 48 private apartments of between 600 and 10,000 square feet; owners can choose to join entire cruises, or parts of them, or just drop in when the ship is in port.
Finally, Crystal is set to take to the skies with the game-changing Crystal Luxury Air, offering a whole new breed of air cruises. With its own Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, kitted out for just 88 and 52 guests respectively, the highly exclusive service, featuring themed itineraries, butler service and zero weight restrictions, will be launched in September 2017.