The news this week that the Genting Group has purchased Crystal Cruises seems set to spark an extraordinary battle for supremacy in the luxury cruise market, with those who love white-gloved, five-star journeys the ultimate winners.
Crystal is well know for its service and won Cruise Passenger magazine’s luxury line award last year, beating Seabourn, the Carnival Cruise Lines brand.
The promise of a third ship funded with Genting cash will add to the already growing global luxury fleet: Seabourn is already building another vessel and Regent Seven Seas has one almost ready for launch with the world’s most expensive suite on it.
Crystal President and COO Edie Rodriguez told Cruise Passenger from Melbourne, where she is accompanying passengers aboard the Serenity to Adelaide: “I have always wanted seven ships for seven oceans. So if you do the maths, there are four Crystal ships to come.”
This means there will be more luxury cabins on the water than ever.And because Genting operates from Hong Kong and SE Asia, the hope is they will be within range of Australian cruisers.
The Genting Group, which makes its money from casinos, has catapulted from local SE Asia line Star Cruises to the purchase of Norwegian Cruise Lines, with 11 ships, and Regent Seven Seas with four and now Crystal with two ships.
Genting is controlled by savvy businessman, Lim Kok Thay, the new king of cruise luxury who runs a diversified Genting conglomerate spanning Asia, Europe and the US, is now the third biggest cruise player in the world.
Not only does Genting now own the awarding winning Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, it also owns Mariner, Navigator and Voyager and a fourth to be added to its fleet next year.
Crystal and Regent Seven Seas’ dedication to luxury is second to none. And the high percentage of repeat business of American, European and Australian passengers who choose to cruise, again and again, with the two top brands is testimony to strength of its silver-plated service.
KT Lim was just 17, when his late father Lim Goh Tong, founder of Genting, clinched his first casino licence in Malaysia.
His visionary foresight saw the birth of Star Cruises and the Genting Hong Kong to become the third largest cruise line in the world after Carnival and Royal Caribbean. And he has further plans to grow the luxury cruise brands by building a new Crystal ship.
“Crystal Cruises offers the epitome of luxury cruising and the service standard which all other cruise lines aspire to,” said Mr Lim when the company bought Crystal this week.
“The current management team and crew will continue to lead Crystal Cruises. Genting will provide financial resources and proven expertise in innovative ship design to build a new ship that will set the highest standard in luxury cruise ships that together with Crystal’s six-star legendary service will reinforce Crystal’s reputation as the world’s leading luxury cruise line for decades to come.”