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.

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Crystal replaces Turkey port calls on two cruises

Crystal Cruise
Crystal Cruises said it would substitute Greek ports for Turkish ones on two upcoming cruises “in response to ongoing security concerns for travel within Istanbul.”

Revised itineraries for the Crystal Symphony’s April 24 and May 1 voyages will drop calls at Istanbul and Kusadasi.

The April 24 voyage will substitute Souda Bay/Chania (Crete), Hydra, and overnights in Nafplio and Athens/Piraeus, while the May 1 cruise will include Patmos, Rhodes and an overnight in Athens/Piraeus.

Crystal also said that pre-reserved Crystal Adventures in Turkey will automatically be canceled, while the line is in the process of developing new shore excursions.

On Jan. 12, a suicide bomb killed 10 people in Istanbul, mostly German tourists. Before that incident occurred, Disney removed Greece and Turkey calls from a summer 2016 cruise. Last summer, after an attack on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Celebrity and Costa canceled calls in Turkey.

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.