OVER THE PAST DECADE, Crystal Cruises soared to the top echelons of ocean cruising with its two fine ships, the Crystal Symphony and the Crystal Serenity, two of the largest vessels in this rarefied class, each carrying about a thousand passengers. Crystal has been able to offer more options in entertainment, enrichment and activities than its top-of-the-line competitors while maintaining superb service with extremely high passenger-to-staff and passenger-to-space ratios. Crystal passengers have come to expect gratuities to be covered and fine wines, premium spirits, Champagne and specialty coffees to be complimentary. The cruise line recently added free internet and WiFi connections, too. Along the way, Crystal became the leader in providing multigenerational family cruises for well-to-do travelers.
What more could Crystal Cruises do, one began to wonder. Then, in 2015, under new ownership, Crystal did do more, much more, creating its own fleet of luxurious river ships in Europe, adding an upscale expedition yacht and even taking to the air.
Crystal River Cruises came on the scene in 2016 with the launch of the Crystal Mozart, at 160 passengers the largest and widest cruise ship plying the Danube. The launch of the Crystal Bach, Crystal Mahler, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel quickly followed. This fleet of five brought high-luxury ships rather than another round of riverboats to the Danube, Rhine and Main rivers, offering all passengers balconies, butlers and suites. In 2019 the Crystal Ravel will be the only vessel making seven-night Danube cruises from Vienna to ports in Austria, Hungary and Slovakia.
While extending its luxury ocean cruise experience to river cruising, Crystal simultaneously entered the expedition sailing market with the launch of the Crystal Esprit, a 62-passenger, all-suite, all-butler yacht designed for the adventurous upscale traveler. In 2019 the Crystal Esprit will explore the Côte d’Azur (with VIP access to the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix); the seaside gems of Italy; the offshore isles of Greece; and, with its Arabian Nights Collection, Egypt, Oman, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises will add its second ship, the 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor, in 2020, with bookings already open for explorations of the Russian Far East, Tasmania and Antarctica.
After posting its impeccable cruising credentials on ocean, river and expedition sailing, was there any place left for Crystal to venture? Turns out the sky was the limit, literally. Crystal created two more new lines: Crystal Luxury Air, to offer on-demand charter flights worldwide for up to 12 guests on its redesigned Bombardier Global Express Jet XRS, and the other, Crystal AirCruises, operating the largest private charter luxury tour jet in the industry, the 88-passenger Boeing 777-200LR Crystal Skye.
Bring out the fine crystal, wherever you’re bound.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.