Crystal Cruises redeploys new river vessels away from France

The new river cruise arm of Crystal Cruises is delaying plans to deploy two new vessels on rivers in France.

Instead Crystal River Cruises is to increase its presence on the Danube, Main and Rhine, deploying four of its planned new build ‘river yachts’ in the region in 2017 and 2018.

The shift in focus means redesigning and enlarging the company’s two Paris-class river vessels – Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel – as Rhine-class boats, and redeploying them east in 2018.

Previously, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel were to travel along the Seine, Rhone and Dordogne rivers in France from June and August 2017 respectively.

No mention was made of recent terrorist incidents in France and the extension of the country’s state of emergency for six months following the deadly truck attack in Nice earlier in July.

The luxury line, which draws a large proportion of passengers from the US, said the change away from France was based on passenger feedback “lauding the itineraries planned in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Amsterdam and Holland”.

As a result, “the company has elected to delay its entrance into the French river cruise market, choosing instead to prioritise its offerings in the German/Austrian region in order to meet travellers’ demand for those experiences”.

Chief executive and president Edie Rodriguez said: “Unlike an ocean-going ship that can accommodate a change in itinerary with short notice, a river ship operates within more confined parameters and is unable to re-route easily.

“We are listening carefully to what travellers are telling us and have concluded that the best way to anticipate, meet and surpass their expectations is by making this move earlier rather than later.”

The line is offering a series of compensation packages to people who have booked 2017 voyages on Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel including on board credits and future cruise credits worth up to $1,000.

No details were given of how many bookings the line has received for the sailings in France.

The new design places the vessels as part of the line’s 106-passenger Rhine-class series currently comprising Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler, which are due to enter service June 18 and August 29, 2017 respectively.

Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel are now due for maiden voyages in April 2018 and May 2018 respectively with detailed itineraries to be announced shortly, the company said.

They will be increased in size from 110 metres to 135 metres, the maximum size permissible on the Rhine, Main and Danube. The increased length allows for the addition of a swimming pool with a sliding glass roof and more large suites.

The move follows the recent launch of the line’s first luxury river cruiser, Crystal Mozart.

 

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Norwegian Getaway embarks on Olympic charter

The Norwegian Getaway departed Miami on July 24 on the first leg of its 40-day charter for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Details of the charter were provided for the first time by Landry & Kling, the Miami specialist in meetings at sea and incentive cruises, which brokered the deal.

Landry & Kling said the charter was first discussed in 2007 and is the largest in its 34-year history. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The 4,000-passenger Getaway will take the better part of 10 days to get to Brazil before taking up residence at Pier Maua in Rio from Aug. 4 to 22. Chartered by the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, it will provide supplemental housing for corporate sponsors and Olympic committees.

The Getaway’s departure leaves Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Sky to hold down Norwegian’s Caribbean cruise business from Miami in August.

Firm co-founder Joyce Landry is blogging from the ship during the charter.

Hull art revealed for China-bound Norwegian Joy


Norwegian Joy’s Hull Artwork by Tan Ping

The 4,200-passenger Norwegian Joy, a new ship bound for China next year, will feature a large red phoenix on its hull, the latest in a series of hull paintings for Norwegian ships.

Chinese artist Tan Ping is responsible for the design, which will also include waves and other stylized nautical motifs.

“The Phoenix symbolizes beauty and good luck in Chinese culture, and Norwegian Joy will bridge across the West and the East and bring Chinese people’s best wish to the world and everyone in her path,” said Tan Ping, a painter, print maker and educator.

Joy, the first Norwegian ship to be custom-built for the Chinese market, is scheduled to begin sailing from Beijing and Shanghai next summer.