Crystal River Cruises: Beyond 5 Stars

Crystal River Cruises launched in 2016 with a shot over any competitor’s bow, labeling their voyages an audacious six stars of luxury, according to the 2020 European River Cruise Market Report by Cruise Industry News.

The line’s five ships are all-balcony, all-suite – all with private butler service – and every category of accommodation is completely above the waterline. Crystal touts spacious suites with walk-in closets, farm-to-table dining, 24-hour in-suite dining, unlimited WiFi and more. Room amenities are by avant-garde Italian fashion house Etro.

An all-inclusive product, the voyages include wines, champagnes, premium spirits, and coffees. They also offer more than 200 complimentary shore excursions.

“Crystal River Cruises offers discerning travellers a standard of luxury not seen before on Europe’s rivers. This is evidenced in grand features and small, luxurious details throughout our ships, and underscored by the exceptionally personalized service guests receive from staff and crew,” said Managing Director Walter Littlejohn. “Every guest’s individual wishes and preferences are catered to with warm, genuine care.”

Crystal’s parent company, Genting Hong Kong, plans to pull the hulking, 22.85 meter-wide, 154-passenger Crystal Mozart from service in 2020 for yet-unannounced sailings elsewhere. No plan to replace the 1987-built ship has been announced.

That leaves the line with four, identical, custom-built ships less than three years old. The Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler, and Crystal Ravel carry 106 passengers each, with 1.6 passengers to each crew member. Each ship has a swimming pool, fitness center, and complimentary yoga classes.

The ships were designed and constructed specifically for Crystal at Genting-owned MV Werften in Wismar, Germany.

They feature Crystal’s signature design and décor, with emphasis on elegant public spaces and highly functional guest suites.

The line currently operates on the Rhine, Main, Danube, and Moselle rivers.

“We always listen to our guests, so plans to expand to other rivers and destinations will be based on their feedback and our operational capacity,” said Littlejohn.

While Crystal’s U.S. operations are run out of offices in Los Angeles and Miami, its riverboat program is run by an operations office in the Netherlands.

Most passengers are sourced from the United States, followed by the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Asia Pacific. The line reports 58 percent of Crystal River guests are new to Crystal.

“The average age is also slightly younger than that of our ocean guests, as more younger, affluent professionals are able to stay connected as they travel the world,” Littlejohn said.

The line reports strong bookings for the remainder of 2019 voyages and 2020 itineraries, he added.

“We’re currently operating at extremely high occupancies and so expect to welcome close to 15,000 guests aboard in 2020.”

About the 2020 European Cruise River Market Report 

The new European Cruise Market Report provides a comprehensive look at the river cruise business with capacity metrics by river and brand, company profiles and much more. 100+ pages of insights. Learn more. 

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