Crystal Cruises continues to up the ante. Not content with operating the world’s most awarded cruise line, with an unparalleled reputation for luxury, service and attention to detail, the company is pressing ahead with a range of cruising innovations, from a new megayacht to air cruises on its own aircraft to a flotilla of new boats plying European waterways.
Its much-loved cruise liner the Crystal Symphony, which will get a design upgrade soon, visited Hong Kong in March on its final Asian voyage this year before heading to Europe for the summer. Its sister ship the Crystal Serenity, meanwhile, was about to head to Alaska for its final journey through the Northwest Passage. Furthermore, “the Symphony and the Serenity will actually meet in Sydney next year,” says Marnie Tarsinos, Crystal Cruises’ director, international sales, “so guests have a number of potential routes they can bolt together.”
In 2016 the company introduced its Crystal River Cruises service with the acquisition of the Crystal Mozart, and so popular has it proved that it will be joined later this year by the Crystal Bach and the Crystal Mahler, to be followed by the Crystal Ravel and the Crystal Debussy. The cruises cover great European waterways such as the Danube, Rhine and Main rivers, and include full butler service and ultra-luxurious decks where guests can take in the views. “You spend most of your time on deck, not in your stateroom – especially the top deck, which feels just as comfortable as on a bigger boat like the Symphony,” says Tarsinos.
Crystal will also take to the air from September 17. Crystal AirCruises will offer a range of itineraries on board a Boeing 777 refitted with just 88 flat-bed seats; among the most popular so far are a 28-day jaunt staying in Peninsula hotels in cities around the globe; and a 14-day Savoring the Winelands tour of the world’s leading wine regions. Meanwhile, says Tarsinos, “a lot of guests are customising their excursions” using the Crystal Luxury Air service, with its private 12-guest Bombardier jet.
Finally, so successful has the Crystal Esprit yacht been that it will be joined in 2019 by the new 183-metre polar-class megayacht the Crystal Endeavor. “We’re aiming to provide passengers with a more expedition-driven experience,” says Tarsinos, “with an army of on-board scientists and experts, plus facilities including a water-sports platform, a helicopter landing pad and multiple submersibles. The Crystal Endeavor will take up to about 200 guests to the Arctic and Antarctica in an ultra-luxury environment, with all accommodation equivalent to penthouse standard.