Sunday, July 19, 2015

Crystal Cruises Announces Three Ships (including Residences), River Cruises, a Yacht and Boeing 787 Journeys

Crystal Cruises' new owners have announced some pretty exciting and extraordinary plans!  And, to be sure, it sounds like they have a lot of money and are attempting to fill the wishlist of yacht charterers, owners of The World cruise ship and wealthy retirees, luxury cruisers and expedition lovers all while also maintaining the traditional Crystal guest.

It is a very complicated scenario that will require much more than a wealthy owner, and it is going to be wild ride, but let's see where it takes us!

Crystal Cruises's new 100,000+ ton, 1,000 guest luxury cruise ship.
The first of three is expected to be delivered Late 2018
The first part of Crystal's announcement are three (3) 100,000+ gross ton ships that will carry 1,000 guests with 1,000 cruise in an all-suite configuration (standard suites being a very large 400 square feet) with a few extra amenities including eight foot high ceilings and polar-classed hulls (so visits to the Antarctic and Arctic are possible).

The top deck will be reserved for 60 Residences (ranging from 600 to 4,000 square feet)...with,of course, their own private restaurant.  For me this is a far more exciting luxury proposition than, say, Regent Seven Seas' concept of dedicating a relatively huge amount of space for a few luxury suites in the traditional cruise market as its way to claim bragging rights to an otherwise relatively ordinary higher end cruise product.  (For perspective, the Crystal ships will have 1,000 guests spread throughout 100,000 tons of space while Regent Seven Seas Explorer will have 750 guests "crammed" into 54,000 ton of space...or 25% less per guest.)

But before you get too excited, you will have to wait until late 2018 for the first ship to be delivered which means it will probably be late 2019 - over fours years from now - at the earliest that all three ships are sailing the seas.

Crystal Cruises' Crystal Esprit 62 Passenger Yacht
with two person submarine and zodiacs
The second part is Crystal's entry into the sort of yacht charter market in November 2015 through the transfer of a yacht already owned by Gentling HK.  The Crystal Esprit is a 3,300 ton yacht that carries 62 guests and will include some interesting features such as a two man submarine, four ten person zodiacs and a Wider tender as well as kayaking, scuba, snorkeling, water skiing, wake boarding and fishing equipment.


For size perspective, this yacht is 50% larger than SeaDream Yacht Club's two yachts and will carry 40% less guests.  I do not know the pricing yet, so I am not sure how to compare the two...if comparing more than size is even appropriate.)


Crystal Esprit - The Patio restaurant

 The interesting thing here, for me at least, is that Genting just purchased a yacht building company and has a very significant interest in the submarine company (U-Boat Worx) that is supplying the vessel and Wider Yachts that is supplying the tender.  With a floundering superyacht market  Genting is leveraging its positions in the yacht and submersible market to possibly offload some inventory (as it the yacht will be operational later this year) while boosting Crystal's overall position in the luxury travel market by giving it something fresh while everyone waits for three and one half years for the first of its new ships to arrive.
Crystal Espirt - The Cove lounge
The yacht bookings are going to range in length from as short as 4 days, but will generally be 7 day cruises booked in the typical cruise ship fashion.  Itineraries for 2015-2017 include:
  • Seychelles Islands – Mahé, Victoria; St. Anne Island, La Passe, la Digue; Baie Ste. Anne, Praslin; Laraie Bay, Curieuse Island; Anse Saint Jose, Curieuse Island; Cousin Island; Aride; Big Sister Island; and Desroches Island) ·
  • Dubai  - Khasab and Muscat, Oman; Doha, Qatar; Sir Bani Yas Island and Abu Dhabi, UAB) ·
  • Venice, Italy/Dubrovnik, Croatia - Rovinj, Sibenik, Trogir, Vis, Hvar, and Korcula, Croatia ·
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia/Venice, Italy - Kotor, Montenegro; Split, Zadar, and Opatija, Croatia; and Piran, Slovenia ·
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia/ Athens, Greece - Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Parga, Itea, Hydra, and Navplion, Greece) 
Crystal Esprit - Yacht Club Restaurant
The third part of Crystal Cruises' plan is to enter into the already crowded river cruise market in Spring 2017.  Crystal has released very little information about their new ships other than they will be all-suite.  While I am confident Crystal will provide a great product, I am concerned that there will be even more over-saturation of the rivers caused in great part by Viking River Cruises (whose ships definitely cannot compare to what Crystal Cruises will offer.)


The final part is Crystal (dare I say Cruises) - actually is it named Crystal Luxury Air - chartering a 60 passenger all business-class 787 offering four approximately 28 day itineraries with stays in 10 to 12 locations (a combination of remote and highly desired) staying at luxury resorts and hotels with cuisine and events appropriate for each destination.  I know the person who is in charge of this product and I have no doubt that it will provide an extraordinary experience for those looking for an extended journey without stepping foot on a ship.

Interested in a Crystal Cruise? Call me:

United States:       (877) 2GO-LUXURY
United Kingdom: 020 8133 3450
Australia:              (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 732 578 8585


Or email me at eric@goldringtravel.com