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 Cruises parent agrees to buy German shipyard

The parent company of Crystal Cruises has agreed to acquire leading shipyard Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Global cruise and resort company Genting Hong Kong is to pay €17.5 million for 70% of a new shipbuilding business and a 50% ownership of the shipyard’s land.

The company will complete the acquisition of Lloyd Werft subject to the fulfilment of certain final purchase conditions.

The move follows plans for massive expansion of Crystal Cruises with the introduction of Crystal Yacht Cruises in December, Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Luxury Air in 2017 and new cruise ships from late 2018.

Genting Hong Kong signed a letter of intent earlier this year with Lloyd Werft to build Crystal’s ‘Exclusive Class’ polar-class cruise ships.

Lloyd Werft will also build luxury river yachts to sail to destinations in France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria.

Genting Hong Kong chairman and chief executive, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, said: “Lloyd Werft has built and lengthened six of the ships owned by an affiliate of the company and has the expertise to build a series of world class cruise ships for the company, which will include the ‘Exclusive Class’ vessels for Crystal Cruises.

“Ownership in Lloyd Werft will enable Genting Hong Kong to leverage on the shipyard’s technical expertise and their well-established and long track record in the shipbuilding industry.”

Crystal president and chief executive, Edie Rodriguez, said: “With such great anticipation for Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Exclusive Class ocean vessels, we are incredibly excited about Genting’s groundbreaking investment in the Lloyd Werft shipyard that will contribute mightily to Crystal Cruises’ expansion.”

Crystal Cruises announces massive expansion plan


Crystal Cruise’s Dreamliner

By Hollie-Rae Merrick

Crystal Cruises has announced a massive expansion plan which includes three new ocean ships and the line’s entry into yachting and the growing river cruise market.

The luxury line, which currently operates just two ships, today announced that over the next three years it would introduce new ships, a yacht and a plane.

Crystal chief executive and president Edie Rodriguez has signed a letter of intent with a German shipyard to build three all-suite vessels.

Rodriguez said: “We continue to think bigger, aiming to create unparalleled luxury experiences and adventures for our loyal and new guests, who – like Crystal – continue to seek broader horizons and new perspectives on the world.”

“We are ecstatic to continue pioneering new areas of luxury travel. Crystal’s newly expanded fleet will truly be travellers’ passport to virtually the entire world.”

Crystal chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said: “Our intent is to make Crystal Cruises the core of what will become the world’s premier luxury hospitality and lifestyle brand portfolio, not only for the immediate future but for years to come.”

The ships will carry rubber zodiac boats for expedition style cruising and the three builds will also be designed with polar ice-rated hulls to allow them to travel in the Arctic and Antarctica.

The first all-suite, all balcony ocean ship, which is being built at the Lloyd Werft shipyard, is expected for completion in late 2018 and will accommodate 1,000 guests.

Tan Sri Lim added: “Our vision and revolutionary plans for Crystal’s ocean vessels requires us to partner with a premium shipyard that has the expertise and resources to deliver the ‘Crystal Exclusive Class’.

“Lloyd Werft is synonymous with successful world-class new builds and luxury mega yachts, including Luna, the second largest expedition private yacht in the world, measuring at 337 feet long.”

Each ship will have 48 residences on board and travellers will be able to buy the residences as a second home. Those guests will have access to an exclusive restaurant and reception, as well as other facilities which are yet to be announced.

The line will also enter the river cruise sector in 2017 with two custom-built ships. The ships will operate under the new brand Crystal River Cruises.

In addition, Crystal will also gain a new 62-passenger yacht this December. The yacht, called Crystal Esprit, will have a 32-foot long boat for zodiacs, jet skis, kayaks and a two-person submarine. This brand will be called Crystal Yacht Cruises and Rodriguez hopes to add more yachts to the fleet eventually.

The yacht will sail around the Seychelles, Dubai and the Adriatic Coast between 2016 and early 2018, visiting the likes of Croatia, Venice, Montenegro and Greece.

The expansion of Crystal, which comes four months after Genting Hong Kong purchased Crystal from Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, also includes the plan to acquire a 60-passenger Boeing 787 under the new Crystal Luxury Air banner.