Crystal Esprit with its two-person submarine.
Crystal Esprit with its two-person submarine.

Crystal Cruises a leader in luxury travel

Genting Hong Kong is making some major changes to the Crystal Cruises fleet, which could see it become the absolute leader of the luxury travel market.

Along with what will be “the most spacious” ocean-bound ships with all-suite accommodations that are almost twice the size of those on other luxury ships, the company will be adding river ships, a yacht and even an airplane to its already popular two-ship line. Its new ships will have a one-to-one crew to passenger ratio – never before achieved in the cruising arena.

Crystal Cruises President and CEO Edie Rodriguez told USA Today the company has signed a letter of intent with Germany’s Lloyd Werft shipyard.

The first of its creations – Crystal Esprit – will enter the market in December this year. The 62-passenger ship will carry a 32-passenger yacht tender, four 10-passenger Zodiacs and even a two-person submarine – which Rodriguez said would allow for such innovative offerings as underwater weddings. This part of the venture will be named Crystal Yacht Cruises.

Members of the line’s Crystal Society program will be able to book their spot on Crystal Esprit from today. Its first voyage will visit the Seychelles Islands, departing December 23, 2015, starting at $2690 per person for four nights.

Its two river-cruise vessels are set to arrive in the spring of 2017. The brand extension they will be part of will be called Crystal River Cruises.

Taking to the air, Crystal also plans to acquire a Boeing 787 that will hold 60 passengers, who will surely enjoy the opportunity to utilise the fully reclining seats. Crystal Luxury Air – to be launched in 2017 – will offer extravagant 28-day around-the-world trips, taking guests to some of the world’s finest hotels and resorts.

“We really came up with a global strategy to become the world’s premier luxury, hospitality and lifestyle brand portfolio,” Rodriguez says. “There is power in [the Crystal] brand.”

“It will make everything else that exists pale in comparison,” she says. “It will be just extraordinary … innovative offerings not found on luxury cruise ships today.”

This is a huge step for a brand, whose latest vessel came in 2003 – and Rodriguez says this won’t be the end of the changes.