Luxury line Crystal Cruises is returning in bullish form with a planned order for four new ships and an extension into expedition.

With just days to go before Crystal Serenity’s preview voyage, Manfredi Lefebvre, Executive Chairman of A&K Travel Group, says the brand is working with their advisors, lenders and export credit agents to sign a memorandum of agreement with two European shipbuilders.

The order will be for two classic ships and two expedition vessels. 

What are the plans?

During a presentation, Lefebvre stated: “We have ambitious growth plans for Crystal Cruises and are proud of what we have accomplished with the relaunch of Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony in just under a year following the purchase of the brand.

“We are now thrilled to formally announce that we will be growing our fleet and continue to offer the most exceptional cruising experiences in the industry.”  

The news comes on the eve of Crystal Serenity‘s inaugural voyage departing from Marseille following an extensive refurbishment. Crystal Serenity’s sister ship Crystal Symphony will depart from Athens on Sept. 1, for its inaugural sailing. 

Deb Fox, Managing Director for Tour Operations (outbound) who leads the Australia team, told Cruise Passenger: “We’re thrilled to have Crystal sailing again. With the recent announcements of the four new ships, from my first hand experience Crystal is exceptional now and will continue to be into the future.” 

The Backstory of Crystal Cruises

Last year the line, owned by an Asian luxury cruise operator, was in insolvency and on the market.

It had two luxury but older-style ocean ships, a brand-new expedition vessel, and four luxury river ships.

Silversea eventually bought the expedition vessel. While, a hotel operator now owns the river ships.

A&K bought the two remaining vessels, which were once the most awarded brand on the water.

The luxury small-ship segment is booming. It is believed Crystal will be able to finance the new builds. The two classic ocean ships will have around 660 passengers and two expedition vessels 220.

Expedition ship construction is planned to start end of this year. After that, the first classic ship starts in the second quarter of 2024.

The reimagined original ships have larger, updated suites, new wellness offerings, spectacular entertainment and complimentary world-class dining. UMI UMA, the only dining experience by Michelin-Star Chef Master Chef Nobuyuki (Nobu) at sea, is back.

You can read our first review by Sue Bryant here.

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