Seatrade Cruise News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Veteran captains return to Crystal Cruises

From left, captains Birger Vorland, Nenad Willheim, Tonci Hladilo and Vincent Taillard
Crystal Cruises, now part of the A&K Travel Group, appointed veteran captains to usher in Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony's return to operations.

'We’ve been hard at work recruiting some of the industry’s finest captains to restore this iconic brand,' said Roberto Fazi, SVP marine operations. 'Working together, they are committed to restoring Crystal to its position as one of the most award-winning brands in the industry.'

Birger J. Vorland

With an extensive maritime career that began at 19, Capt. Vorland will return to the Crystal helm. He joined the brand in 2003 and commanded Crystal Serenity on voyages covering most of the world, including Northwest Passage expeditions in 2016 and 2017. 

'I am looking forward to rebuilding the staff and crew that achieved so many firsts,' Vorland said. 'The Crystal ships set the standard for luxury and service, and I can’t wait to welcome our guests back.'

Nenad Willheim

Born in a Croatian town with a long maritime tradition, Capt. Willheim started sailing as a deck cadet on a general cargo vessel while pursuing his education at the Faculty of Maritime Studies. After several positions within the industry, he joined Crystal Serenity as first officer in 2006, later working his way up to vice captain in 2011 and, in 2016, captain of Crystal Esprit (the ship is now sailing for Lindblad Expeditions as National Geographic Islander II). 

Tonci Hladilo

With a master mariner license, Capt. Hladilo joined his first passenger ship in 2002, eventually serving as chief officer while earning a diploma in nautical management from the University of Dubrovnik. In 2006 he joined Crystal Cruises as first officer, sailing on Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Esprit as navigation officer, chief officer and vice captain. In 2017 he was promoted to the captain of Crystal Esprit.

Vincent Taillard

After graduating from the Merchant Marine Academy in Marseille in 2003, deck and engine-dual-purpose-licensed Capt. Taillard began his career aboard various vessels and private yachts. He earned his master unlimited class one license in 2007, becoming captain in 2008.  He is an ice pilot and ice navigation-certified captain and has commanded numerous cruise and expedition ships on all seven seas.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.