First there was the robotic barman aboard the Quantum of the Seas.
Now there is the remote gardener on Crystal Cruises.
Fresh from a US$20 million dry dock facelift, Symphony has equipped its 48 staterooms with hypoallergenic, chemical-and-odour-free environment under its “pure’’ option.
“There’s a long list from pillows to ventilation available under pure – and we are also using Australian tea-tree oil,’’ she said.
The ship’s lobby, bar, outdoor fitness garden, spa, casino and indoor gymnasium have all been redesigned and upgraded.
Crystal has adopted new “tastes’’ concept for its ships which boasts four “living walls’’ of herbs, vegetables, plants and olive trees.
But the real surprise is where the gardener is: the plants and trees are looked after from London, where computers check the temperature and turn on the sprinklers when needed.
“This will create an alfresco venue where the food and ambience are incredible,’’ said Crystal president and chief operating officer Mrs Edie Rodriguez.
A global menu has been created by acclaimed chef Azmin Ghahreman from Sapphire Restaurant in California’s Laguna Beach.
“Our guests are the top two per cent of the world,’’ Mrs Rogriquez said. And it is the women in the family who makes the decision to cruise on Crystal lines.
“You are looking at her,’’ she said pointing to herself, a 53-year-old top executive with more than 30 years experience in cruise and travel.
If anyone was in any doubt about the pulling power of the multi-award winning luxury line, Crystal Cruises sold out in three days its adventure cruise to the Northwest Passage, and now has 683 guests on the waiting list.
The 32-day cruise on the 1070-passenger, luxury Crystal Serenity will leave Anchorage in Alaska on 16 August 2016 visiting the Arctic, Baffin Island Fjords, Greenland before ending in New York on September 17.
In preparation for its 25th anniversary celebrations next year, the cruise line has invested US$140m over the past few years to upgrade its two ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. And there is a possibility that the line may either build a new ship or acquire another next year to mark its 25 years on the ocean.
Australia is an important market for Crystal.
“Outside the US, passengers from the UK is number one, followed by Australia and Japan in number two position.’’
Crystal Cruises is owned by Nippon Yuen Kaisha (NYK), a shipping company based in Tokyo which operates 900 ships across the globe.