Well, Crystal Cruises has finally delivered details of it’s first, new purpose built cruise ship since the Crystal Serenity back in 2003. And what details they are, too.
However, what is also interesting is the extent to which the project has been scaled down since the tenure of Edie Rodriguez at the helm of the ultra luxury cruise line.
She originally outlined a series of breathtaking, 100,000 ton siblings, each one with an ice strengthened hull and an entire upper deck of exclusive, condo style apartments available for purchase. Under any circumstances, these would have been the most impressive ultra luxury siblings ever to have been built.
Post Rodriguez, the scale of the new trio-now defined as the Diamond Class- has been pared back to 67,000 tons each, with a maximum capacity of just 800 guests. There is no more talk of any bespoke apartments available for purchase. To be built by Crystal’s own, in house shipyard of MV Werften in Germany, the trio is now slated for delivery over a six year time frame, with the first expected to debut in 2022. With a passenger space ratio of 83.75, these ships will offer a level of space unparalleled in luxury cruising.
To see how they stack up against other, contemporary ultra luxury ships, check out the table below;
Silver Muse. Silversea Cruises. 40,700 tons. 596 guests. Passenger space ratio of 68.28
Seabourn Ovation. Seabourn Cruises. 40,350 tons. 604 guests. Passenger space ratio of 67.1
Seven Seas Explorer. Regent Seven Seas Cruises. 55.234 tons. 738 guests. Passenger space ratio of 68.3
Europa 2. Hapag Lloyd Cruises. 40,000 tons. 516 guests. Passenger space ration of 77.5
So, seen purely from the standpoint of on board personal space, the Diamond Class ships are set to become the new benchmark of ultra luxury cruising. But, what else will Crystal’s upscale, pampered clientele be getting, other than space bragging rights?
For sure,while general interior arrangements have been settled according to the company, these are not yet public knowledge. We have to go with these first, tantalising renditions on general display to try and play detective here.
Images released by Crystal reveal a class of ship with a brace of large, upper deck pools, separated by a deck house. The single funnel is located aft of these, and it bears more than a passing resemblance to the new funnel design on Regent’s recent Seven Seas Explorer.
A series of terraced decks descend right aft, timeless acknowledgement and welcome continuation of the areas so popular over the years on both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. A large, terraced deck on the lowest aft deck could either contain a third pool, or serve as part of an outdoor dining area.
Lifeboats are nested above the lower hull, just as they are on the Crystal Serenity, and there is a smaller promenade deck in evidence. This marks a first, distinct link with either of the current duo. Worthy of note is the absence of an enclosed, upper deck area with a sliding glass roof. I suspect many regular Crystal acolytes might miss this.
On the other hand, the always popular Palm Court makes a welcome reappearance in it’s usual, forward facing upper deck location.
Of course, ideas can change and morph into something entirely different from the process of renderings, through to actual physical realisation. As of right now, there stands some four years between the two.
It’s going to be quite instructive to see how this first ever, dedicated class of sister ships for Crystal evolves over time and tide. Though they are to be constructed on what is essentially the same platform, expect each of these Diamond Class ships (Crystal Diamond, Crystal Ruby and Crystal Sapphire, anyone?) in turn to offer some wonderful new, cosy twerks and hallmarks of their own as the debut on the cruising circuit.
Interesting times, for sure. As ever, stay tuned.