Crystal revises newbuild schedule again, plans 'massive' refits for Symphony, Serenity

Crystal Endeavor - first of three newbuilds in rebranded Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises Crystal Endeavor - first of three newbuilds in rebranded Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises

Crystal Yacht Cruises is being rebranded as Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises and will deliver ships in 2019, 2020 and 2021, while Crystal Cruises' first large Exclusive-class ship was put back another year, to 2022. The line also plans 'massive enhancements' for Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity in the next two years to offer full open-seating dining on both ships and more suites.

Crystal said the rebranding of the yacht fleet springs from Crystal Serenity’s successful Northwest Passage cruise in August, the demand for luxury adventure travel and research over the past three years that showed nearly 70% of current Crystal customers have a strong interest in expedition cruising. Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises encompasses three newbuild mega-yachts, including the previously announced Crystal Endeavor.

Crystal is scheduled to take delivery of Crystal Endeavor in mid-2019, with the additional two expedition vessels debuting in 2020 and 2021.

Citing the continued popularity of Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity and awards including 'World’s Best' recognition from the readers of Condé Nast Traveler for a record 23rd year, Crystal has decided to heavily invest in massive enhancements to both ships in 2017 and 2018. These would be similar to past refurbishments, such as the $52m put into Crystal Serenity in 2013 and the $20m into Crystal Symphony in 2014. The most notable changes include full open-seating dining on both ships and more suites.

'Not only do our ocean cruise ships continue to earn the highest guest satisfaction feedback, they do so in record-breaking margins,' Crystal president and ceo Edie Rodriguez said. 'This enthusiasm only validates our commitment to continuing to invest in the most innovative itineraries and on-board spaces and amenities, as those are the features that are resonating with our discerning guests.'

In another delay for the debut of the first Crystal Exclusive-class newbuild, which includes Crystal Residences, that large ship is now set for the first quarter of 2022. As recently as September, Seatrade Cruise News reported the Exclusive-class newbuild was moved back to 2021, from 2019.

As for the river fleet, no changes there. In summer 2017 Crystal will introduce Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler, while Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel will follow in 2018, with two additional newbuilds to follow. The first four vessels will sail along the Danube, Rhine and Main rivers.

'Every step of the way, we are listening to the feedback of our loyal guests and expert travelers,' Rodriguez said. 'As we surveyed travelers on our ocean ships, the enthusiasm for potential Crystal river experiences was overwhelming, which led us to focus a great deal of our initial expansion in that realm.'

On the heels of announcing the maiden journey of Crystal AirCruises Boeing 777 with The Peninsula Hotels, which opens for booking Nov. 1, Crystal will also release on that day a selection of its 15- to 29-day all-inclusive journeys for 2017 and 2018.

In all, Crystal will introduce at least one new brand experience per year through 2022.

To recap, in 2017, Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler enter service, Crystal AirCruises takes flight, Crystal Symphony will be enhanced and Crystal Luxury Air debuts its second Global Express Jet.

In 2018, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel launch, while Crystal Serenity undergoes enhancements.

2019 sees the introduction of Crystal Endeavor, with sister mega-yachts in 2020 and in 2021. And the Crystal Exclusive-class ship with Crystal Residences follows in 2022.


Posted 31 October 2016

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review