Crystal Cruises' parent company, Genting Hong Kong, entered into an agreement to acquire the shipyard in September, investing EUR 17.5 million for 70% of the new shipbuilding business and a 50% ownership of the shipyard's land.
The decision to double the number of river cruise vessel newbuilds comes just months after Crystal Cruises unveiled its intention to embark on what it calls the "most significant brand expansion in the luxury travel and hospitality history" with the addition of Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Cruises, Crystal Exclusive Class ocean vessels and Crystal Luxury Air.
President and CEO Edie Rodriguez reported today that in addition to adding two more river vessels at the Bremerhaven shipyard, responding to strong demand from travelers and agents for an earlier Crystal river experience, Crystal has also completed the purchase of the German built MS Mozart, the largest river cruise vessel in Europe.
Following an extensive drydocking to create the upscale Crystal experience on board, the revamped vessel will be renamed Crystal Mozart and start Danube River cruises in July next year.
"In response to travelers and travel agents' enthusiasm for Crystal River Cruises, and through Crystal's innovation, we are upping the ante once again, bringing 'true luxury' to the river cruise sector with the largest guest suites and public spaces, the highest crew-to-guest-ratio and Crystal's award-winning service," said Mr. Rodriguez. "Once the transformation of Crystal Mozart is completed, it will truly be the crown jewel of the European rivers."
Crystal Mozart is designed to fit into the wider locks of the Danube River from Passau in Germany to Budapest in Hungary, and holds the record of being the largest river cruise vessel on European rivers, measuring 75.1 feet wide (22.9 meters), which is double the width of an average industry river boat. The 160-guest capacity Crystal Mozart has window suites of 203 square feet, deluxe suites of 215 square feet, a penthouse suite of 322 square feet and two, two-bedroom Crystal Suites of 860 square feet, the largest suite on any river vessels. Due to its impressive width and size, the vessel's unique features will remain, such as the public area that spans a single level and yacht-like amenities including multiple dining rooms, a wraparound promenade, a luxurious spa and fitness center, an indoor pool, beauty salon, and library.
The four new all-suite luxury river yachts will debut in June and August 2017, boasting suites of 220 square feet, deluxe suites of 250 square feet, a penthouse suite of 500 square feet and a two-bedroom Crystal Suite of 750 square feet.
The new vessels will feature a Palm Court with dance floor and glass domed roof, a library, fitness center, spa, and sporting equipment such as electric assisted bicycles, kayaks, and jet skis.
Designed with the maximum size to fit into the locks of rivers and under bridges, two of the Crystal River Yachts will cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers with 110 guests. The other two will each have an 84-guest capacity, one will be cruising the Seine River and the other the Garonne and Dordogne rivers as well as navigating through the Gironde Estuary.
Itineraries, fares and bookings for the four new vessels will be available on November 30, 2015 (Cyber Monday).