Tag Archives: crystal symphony

CRYSTAL’S NEW DIAMONDS, AND HOW THEY STACK UP TO THE COMPETITION

CDPROF
Broadside view of the first of the new Crystal Diamond class vessels. Image copyright is that of Crystal Cruises

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.

CRYSTAL SYMPHONY AND SERENITY TO GET NEW PENTHOUSE SUITES, DINING OPTIONS

CRYSTAL SERENITY
Crystal Serenity; sailing into a new era of excellence. Photo credit: http://www.cruisemapper.com

As part of a massive refurbishment project that will also include several new dining options, both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will be dry docked to allow for considerable enhancements to their current passenger accommodation.

Some existing rooms will be replaced with an entirely new class of room, designated as Seabreeze Penthouse suites. They will be pretty much the same size as the current penthouse suites aboard both ships, but will come with an entirely new design.

Approximately forty to fifty suites will be added to each ship and, as well as featuring new touches, some will offer use of the first ever washer/dryers ever seen in rooms of this size, the new, expanded suites will also have the effect of lowering the current guest capacity on each ship, thereby increasing the already generous on board space ratio.

In the case of Crystal Symphony, the count on board will revert from a current 922 down to 848. For Crystal Serenity, the figures go from the current 1070 guest down to a svelte 980- just over half of the 1800 routinely carried on the similar sized former Cunard flagship, QE2.

In addition, Crystal will introduce unlimited, free internet across both ships, 24/, for the duration of each cruise.

In stealing an edge on the competition, Crystal will enhance and revitalise the dining options available aboard both ships with a whole range of new eateries. These will include:

The Crystal Dining Room on both ships will be rebranded as the Waterside Restaurant, offering open seating dining and featuring a range of classic dishes and modern, contemporary favourites.

Tastes will morph into Silk, a venue that offers casual breakfasts, lunches, and family styled dinners that will showcase many Chinese style favourites.

The Lido on both ships will be restyled and reorganised as The Marketplace, offering buffet style tapas and ceviche during the day, along with other casual fare. At night, one part of the venue will become a Brazilian styled steak house- a churascaria- where succulent cuts of meat will be served up on skewers.

Silk Road will go on both ships, but will be replaced by a new Nobu venue entitled Umi Uma. In a nice nod to Crystal’s twenty seven years’ heritage, the phrase actually translates to ‘Seahorse’, the company logo. Suite guests will be entitled to unlimited dining in here, with other guests being offered one free dinner per voyage.

Popular Crystal stalwart, Prego, will remain and, once again, suite guests will be able to avail themselves of unlimited dining here. The Vintage Room will also remain, but with a modified menu that will also feature a ‘lunch and lecture’ programme on sea days, featuring fewer courses than the evening menu, and all paired with appropriate wines and beers.

With both the Crystal siblings going to open seating for dinner, entertainment options throughout will be redefined to enhance the roster of evening choices, under the supervision of former Norwegian and Costa entertainment guru, Keith Cox.

Overall, this programme of retrenchment and refinement to both of these fabled ships must be regarded as the most comprehensive in their history, and something of a leap of faith for Crystal Cruises itself. With expanded dining, accommodation and entertainment options, plus free internet and a higher guest/crew space ration than ever, these ships- like fine wine and good music- just seem to get better with age.

A GREAT EIGHT FOR CRYSTAL CRUISES

CRYSTAL MOZART
The tastefully re-imagined Crystal Mozart will spearhead the company’s river borne invasion of Europe in 2016

In a deal announced just minutes ago, Crystal Cruises confirmed plans for no less than eight new builds, to be delivered via the German shipyards it has acquired over the last few months.

The announcement was made by Crystal CEO, Edie Rodriguez, to a select media group during a visit to Wismar-one of the German yards in question.

Highlight of the announcement was an enhanced order for six new river cruisers- two more than the quartet envisaged previously.

Germany will also deliver the expansive, 25,000 ton Crystal Endeavour mega yacht, as well as the first of a bruited trio of 100,000 ton, polar ice strengthened cruise ships. Thus far designated simply as Exclusive class ships, no formal name for this first new, ocean going ship has yet been formally announced.

All of this comes against the backdrop of the line preparing to launch it’s inaugural river sailings with the radically enhanced and refurbished Crystal Mozart, a vessel known for its sybaritic standards of luxury, and also the upcoming survey of the long moribund SS United States in Philadelphia. The aim is to return the legendary liner to service as an 800 guest, all suite cruise ship, subject to a truck to keel series of inspections.

Meanwhile, the long standing flag bearer, Crystal Symphony is beginning her European cruise season, while her sibling Crystal Serenity is embarking on her first dedicated Alaska season for several years; a role she will repeat again in 2017.

Add to this the recently created Crystal Air luxury air fleet, and you have an operation that has triggered the most expansive and exciting expansion that I can ever recall in the field of luxury travel. And, while all of these developments are dramatic enough in themselves, I’m particularly excited to see the new class of ocean going cruise ships as they come to fruition.

Obviously, so much more is to follow. As ever, stay tuned.