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.