Crystal Cruises to renovate Serenity and Symphony again

The Crystal Symphony in Hong Kong.

Crystal Cruises said it will make major improvements to its two oceangoing vessels, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony.

In 2017 and 2018, the Serenity and Symphony will receive “massive enhancements” similar to the $52 million makeover Serenity got in 2013 and the $20 million redesign of Symphony in 2014, Crystal said.

One feature will be to reconfigure dining so that full open seating is available. A criticism of Crystal is that it doesn’t have dining capacity to accommodate all of its guests in one seating. Crystal also said there will be more suites.

The luxury line has announced plans to build three new-generation “Exclusive” class ships with high space ratios and residences on the top deck. The first of those was initially to be delivered in 2018, but that had been pushed back first to 2019, then to 2021 and now is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.

Crystal also pushed back the delivery date of the 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor expedition ship from 2018 to 2019, but said that it plans to build two additional such ships for 2020 and 2021. In addition, it has rebranded Crystal Yacht Cruises as Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises.

In the air, Crystal said it plans to add a second Global Express Jet to its Crystal Luxury Air fleet in 2017 due to the “popularity of the existing charter options, and travel partners and guests’ wishing to customize their vacation experiences with all things Crystal.”

On land, Crystal plans a marketing branch office in Sydney to open in 2017. An office in Amsterdam to support the operations of its river cruise fleet will officially open Nov.21, and a display center in Miami’s Boulevard Shops near downtown will open in spring 2017.

Advertisements

World’s most dangerous cruise? 1,070-Passenger Ship To Enter Northwest Passage

Crystal-Cruise-Ship

The 1,070 passenger (plus 655 crew) ship Crystal Serenity.

by Ethan Lou (Reuters) The first commercial cruise ship to sail through Canada’s Northwest Passage was set to depart on Tuesday, part of a growing Arctic tourism industry spurred by rising temperatures and receding ice.

The ship Crystal Serenity was to depart from Anchorage, Alaska, and cut through frigid northern waters before reaching New York in one month, according to a schedule from its American operator, Crystal Cruises.

The route was first navigated more than a century ago by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, but has been ice-free only in recent years. The journey raises questions about further human degradation of a region disproportionably affected by climate change, where temperatures are rising twice as quickly as the world average.

The World Wildlife Foundation recognizes that Crystal Cruises has been planning this voyage for years and tried to minimize its environmental impact, but the area lacks the infrastructure to deal with potential accidents, said Andrew Dumbrille, a foundation specialist in sustainable shipping.

Crystal Serenity likely will not cause problems, but more cruises will follow, said Michael Byers, a professor at the University of British Columbia who studies Arctic sovereignty and the environment.

Byers said ships, which can traverse the waters only because of melting ice, have large carbon footprints, and an accident would be devastating for the fragile Arctic.

“They take advantage of climate change, and they cause even more climate change,” Byers said. “That is an enormous problem and also a terrible irony.”

Crystal Cruises did not respond to requests for comment.

The cruise was priced at a minimum of $19,755 per passenger, which is more than $600 per day higher than last year’s average daily cruise price of $168.43, according to the industry analytics firm Cruise Market Watch.

Crystal Cruises has said the trip is sold out and that it is planning another cruise in 2017.

The Arctic has been warming quickly because a thaw of white ice and snow exposes darker ground and water below that absorb more of the sun’s heat.

Tourism has grown in some polar areas. The number of nights spent by visitors to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard north of Norway rose to 107,000 in 2013 from 24,000 in 1993.

While Canada claims sovereignty over the Northwest Passage that flows through parts of the country, the United States and the European Union have disputed that, calling the waters an international strait.

Crystal Cruises to open Miami office

Crystal Cruises, newly acquired by Genting Hong Kong, said it will open a branch office in Miami on June 1.

The headquarters for the cruise line will remain in Los Angeles. The Miami office will bolster Crystal’s presence on the East Coast, said CEO Edie Rodriguez. It will also help Crystal source experienced cruise talent, create partnerships and foster existing business relationships in the region, she said.

Crystal said the Miami branch office, located at 1501 Biscayne Blvd. in the Omni Building, will be home to newly created management positions at Crystal while serving as a secondary location for Los Angeles-based executives to conduct business as needed.

It will also feature a reservations call center, which will begin to accept bookings in summer 2015, and provide support on both coasts for Crystal to serve the domestic and international markets.