AD Associates Signs on for Crystal Diamond Class Newbuilds

Crystal Diamond Class

AD Associates has announced their involvement with Crystal Cruises’ new Diamond-class ships.

The Crystal Diamond represents the first ocean-going, newbuild vessel for Crystal Cruises since 2003 and is scheduled to join the luxury fleet in 2022.

The luxury ships will measure approximately 67,000 gross tons and accommodate around 800 guests, with luxury design elements and exceptional amenities in line with Crystal Cruises’ fleet.

A long-standing relationship with Crystal Cruises’ stretching across both newbuilds and refurbishments, positioned London based AD perfectly to lead the initial planning, feasibility studies and concept design, the company said, while also working closely with Crystal Cruises, Genting Hong Kong and MV Werften.

Chris Finch, CEO at AD, said: “As always, we are committed to ensuring we provide unparalleled service to our clients and we are honoured to have been selected to design again for Crystal Cruises.”

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SS United States Conservancy Reaches Deal to Explore Redevelopment of Famed Ocean Liner

SS United States

Photo: Brian W. Schaller

The SS United States Conservancy has entered into an agreement with commercial real estate development firm RXR Realty to explore options for the revitalization of the historic SS United States. 

According to the Conservancy, over the next several months RXR Realty will be working to determine the viability of the SS United States’ redevelopment and will explore a range of potential locations for the historic vessel. In connection with its work, RXR will also be paying a substantial portion of the ship’s carrying costs and making other investments during this option period, including assembling a team to assess the vessel’s interior spaces and explore concepts for the ship’s revitalization. 

The SS United States, aka “America’s Flagship”, has faced an uncertain future in recent years. In 2015, the SS United States Conservancy, which owns the transatlantic liner, was nearly forced to the scrapping of the ship due to mounting costs, only to be saved by an outpouring of public support that helped the Conservancy raise an additional $600,000 to save the ship. The following year, Los Angeles-based Crystal Cruises reached an agreement to purchase the iconic 1950’s era vessel with the goal of converting it into a modern, luxury cruise ship in compliance with all modern safety, environmental, and technical standards. But ultimately that deal too fell through after a technical feasibility study determined that the plan was a little too far fetched. Crystal instead ended up donating $350,000 to the Conservancy to help with ongoing costs.

Now, RXR Realty will go through its own due diligence process, but both sides are hopeful that a plan can be reached to redevelop the ship. 

“The SS United States is one of America’s great vessels and an icon of American engineering and design,” RXR Realty says. “Given our history of repurposing and updating some of this country’s most historic structures, we are now working with the SS United States Conservancy to explore what options might exist for the ship, going forward. We are currently at the very beginning of this process – a process that will require substantial work on all sides. At the end of this period, we will have a better sense as to whether we have a viable plan and, if so, the specifics of that plan and in which waterfront community it might be actualized.“

The SS United States has been laid up at a dock in Philadelphia since 1996.

MSC To Be Third Biggest Luxury Player

2027 Luxury Market Breakdown

With MSC Cruises entering the luxury market with dedicated 1,000-guest ships, the family-owned company will be the third biggest luxury operator by 2027, according to Cruise Industry News estimates.

Viking Ocean will control most of the market pie, with 18 ships and an estimated market share of 35.7 per cent based on passenger capacity.

Silversea, with an aggressive newbuilding program and a new owner in Royal Caribbean Cruises, will be the second largest luxury line, with 12 ships and 13 per cent of the market come 2027, based on the existing cruise ship orderbook.

MSC Funnel

MSC Cruises is next, as the Italian brand will have four 64,000-ton luxury ships, 4,000 berths and just under 10 per cent of the luxury market, not including the company’s Yacht Club berths on its quickly-expanding fleet of megaships.

Crystal and Seabourn round out the top five, as both are expanding into the expedition market with new ships and Crystal has also committed to a new class of larger ocean-going vessels.