JULY 20, 2015 — When Genting Hong Kong (GHK) acquired Crystal Cruises back in March (see earlier story), Genting HK Chairman and CEO Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said that Genting would "provide financial resources and proven expertise in innovative ship design to build a new ship that will set the highest standard in luxury cruise ships."
Yesterday, he more than delivered on that promise, revealing that over the next three years the luxury cruise specialist will get into new areas of cruise travel and will add not only three new ocean ships but will get into the cruise yacht and river cruise segments and create a new type of luxury travel with its own Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
"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," said Tan Sri Lim.
The expansion will get under way December 23 this year when Crystal Esprit will embark on its maiden voyage as the first vessel for Crystal Yacht Cruises.
The vessel is an extravagantly appointed yacht, delivered to Crystal Cruises by Genting Hong Kong (GHK), and extensively redesigned to reflect the stylish elegance for which Crystal is renowned. The 62-guest, all suite, 3,000-tonnage yacht will offer what are described as "intimate, exclusive, and immersive experiences with a boutique ambiance." It will carry all kinds of toys, including a two-passenger submarine, four 10-passenger zodiacs for special excursions and a 12-passenger Wider 32-foot super yacht tender for special boating adventures. Also at guests' fingertips will be water skis, wake boards, kayaks, jet skis, fishing, scuba, and snorkel equipment.Set for delivery in November 2015, Crystal Esprit marks the debut of the new all-inclusive Crystal Yacht Cruises program, which will sail regional, warm-water itineraries of seven days
From 2017, Crystal will enter two further market segment with Crystal River Cruises offering "six-star service, world-class dining, and enriching shore-side adventures" and Crystal Luxury Air offering around-the-world trips on a twin-aisle Boeing 787 Dreamliner that instead being configured with the typical 300 seats, will fly 60 guests in fully reclining business class seats to destinations to which major airlines do not offer nonstop service.
Each approximately 28-day itinerary will visit 10-12 remote and/or sought-after locales, with accommodations at some of the world's finest hotels and resorts; cuisine prepared by celebrity chefs and world-class cultural entertainment.
Crystal expansion of its ocean cruise fleet will start with the delivery in late 2018 of three new "Crystal Exclusive Class," polar ice class cruise ships with the first expected for delivery in late 2018.
Genting Hong Kong has signed a letter of intent for the ships with German shipbuilder Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven AG, which will build the river cruise vessels.
With the introduction of these new vessels, Crystal will be the first-ever cruise line to deliver expedition-capable ships with all the features and amenities of a luxury ship or private yacht. The 100,000 gt all-suite, all balcony ships will accommodate 1,000 guests. They will also carry 1,000 crew members on the ships to provide an unheard of one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio and amenities that will include submarines, helicopters and zodiacs.
As if to leave no box unchecked, Crystal will also use the new ship to enter the residences at sea business. On the top deck of the new ships will be 48 Crystal Residences, with their own private restaurant, reception and facilities, and much higher ceilings (9 feet) than residences on any other cruise ships or yachts; and equal to most land apartments.
Residences will start at 600 square feet and go to more than 4,000 square feet of interior living area, which will be the largest on the high seas.
Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven AG said today that it "is very proud to be the designated partner for Crystal Cruises to deliver the three new outstanding Exclusive Crystal Class ocean cruise vessels and the exquisite new class of river vessels for the new brand Crystal River Cruises."
The shipbuilder said it will bring in its experience in building and converting luxury cruise vessels and private mega yachts in a very close partnership with Crystal Cruises.