Heritage cruise company Crystal Cruises has announced a significant expansion to their operation in the form of four new ships.
Two expedition cruise ships and two classic ships are due by 2029, hopefully earlier, Christina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group said.
“Our aim is to have four new builds by the end of 2029. We are working closely with our marine team, dividing ourselves between the refurbishments and the new builds,” she said.
“We aim at starting construction of one expedition ship and one classic ship by Q2 next year. The expedition ships will have approximately 220 passengers while the classic ships will have approximately 650 passengers so we are keeping it small.”
Levis spoke during a seven-day test launch of new Crystal cruise ship Crystal Serenity. Serenity is the first of the Crystal ships to relaunch following the brand’s new merger with luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent. Another ship, Symphony, is also a part of the relaunching of Crystal into the cruise market.
Crystal folded in 2022 after more than 30 years as one of the leading luxury cruise companies on the market. But the company was recently purchased and saved by the A&K Travel Group, together with founder of Silversea Cruises Mandredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio.
Crystal Cruises was founded in 1988 and became lauded for its high quality food and beverage offering in particular, as well as its generous ratio of staff to passengers, which sees almost one staff member to every passenger on board.
Crystal Serenity is the first ship to relaunch the brand, with sailings starting this month. It has been refurbished at a cost of $150 million and now features bigger rooms than most cruise ships of its size. Originally built for over 1,300 passengers, there is now space for just over 700 on board, reducing capacity by 30% to allow for more public spaces, restaurants and expanded cabins.
An Ibiza house DJ was on board for the launch party for the travel industry, setting a precedent for how Crystal hopes to encourage younger travellers on board. Crystal aims to follow broader cruise trends by having its boats dock longer in port to allow travellers to “get under the skin” of destinations, one marketing manager on board the ship said.
The offering on the refurbished Serenity ship competes with the most high-end liners: there are newly designed public spaces and restaurants, and the most basic single occupancy suites have decent sea views, and a modest lounge area for relaxing.
Find out more about Crystal Cruises online