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.

Genting Completes Acquisition of Crystal; Announces Promotions

Genting Hong Kong (GHK) today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Crystal Cruises from Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), for a total transaction of US$550 million. GHK also announced a new Chairman of Crystal and promotions for Crystal’s current senior management team.

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, executive chairman of the Genting Group and the former chairman of Norwegian Cruise Line, assumes the position of chairman of Crystal, replacing Nobuyoshi Kuzuya who will return to NYK in a key executive position. Edie Rodriguez, a 34-year travel industry veteran who was previously president and COO will be promoted to president and CEO. Thomas Mazloum, a 20-plus year veteran of Crystal’s management team who was previously executive vice-president will be promoted to COO.

Established in 1993, GHK is part of the Genting Group, a global hospitality and leisure company with business in over 20 countries, including the United States in New York, Florida and Nevada. GHK wholly owns Star Cruises and is a major shareholder of Norwegian Cruise Line. GHK is a public company primarily listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and secondarily on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

Crystal launched service with the Crystal Harmony in 1990, with sister ships Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity joining the fleet in 1995 and 2003, respectively. Since the Harmony’s sale in 2005, the line has operated global itineraries with the two remaining ships.

Genting to buy Crystal Cruises and finance new ship

Crystal Serenity

Genting Hong Kong has agreed to acquire Crystal Cruises from NYK Line for $550 million in cash, and the buyer said that a third ship is in the works for the two-ship line.

Crystal’s previous newbuild was the Crystal Serenity, delivered in 2003.

Genting’s CEO, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, said that Crystal’s current management and crew will remain.

“Genting will provide financial resources and proven expertise in innovative ship design to build a new ship that will set the highest standard in luxury cruise ships,” said Star Cruises’ CEO.

Genting is the parent of Star Cruises, the largest cruise line in Asia. It also owns a piece of Norwegian Cruise Line. The Crystal acquisition is due to close in the second quarter.

Crystal President Edie Rodriguez said, “After 25 successful years with NYK, we are excited to have Genting Hong Kong as the new owner of Crystal Cruises. The proposed expansion of our fleet will present our loyal Crystal Society members and new luxury cruise guests with more itinerary options, accommodation choices and exceptional vacation experiences.”

Japanese shipping company NYK Line has owned Crystal since the brand was created in 1988. Crystal operates the 922‐passenger Crystal Symphony (launched in 1995) and the 1,070‐passenger Crystal Serenity (launched in 2003).