Crystal Cruises: The Elegant Choice

by Margaret Backenheimer and J.D. Brown

Nov 1, 2018
Cruising

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.

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