“Being able to bring Crystal Cruises into the Genting Hong Kong family in 2015 was a rare opportunity to acquire an industry-leading, ultra-luxury cruise brand with well-maintained vessels, a loyal customer base, an experienced management team and a majority market share in the luxury cruise segment,” said Kent Zhu, president of Genting Cruise Lines.
The timing was good for both parties in 2015. Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha of Japan (NYK) had been shopping Crystal, wanting out of the cruise business, while Genting was looking to put the hammer down on an aggressive cruise expansion. Under the terms of the deal, Genting paid $550 million in cash for Crystal, without assuming debt, valuing the Serenity and Symphony at $276,000 per berth.
“The acquisition of Crystal helped with the growing global demand in the luxury cruise market. Our intent was to make Crystal the core of what we intended to be the world’s premier luxury hospitality and lifestyle brand portfolio, not only for the immediate future but for years to come,” Zhu said.
It also completed the top of the product pyramid at Genting. Star Cruises as the company’s mainstream brand, Dream Cruises for the premium market and Crystal at the top of the luxury world.
Since acquiring Crystal, Genting has been nothing but busy.
The two ocean-going ships, the Serenity and Symphony, have seen comprehensive refurbishments.
The Esprit, a 62-passenger yacht, was transferred to the Crystal brand to offer a high-end product against a backdrop of exotic deployments such as the Seychelles and Adriatic.
The company entered the European riverboat market with the acquisition of one ship and built four new six-star vessels.
There have also been jets, with Crystal offering not only private air transport to its ships but long vacation opportunities on a private plane hopping from country to country.
New ships are next. The expedition market awaits Crystal for the 200-guest Endeavor, debuting in 2021, and set to be followed by a series of sister ships. The brand also committed to building new luxury ocean-going ships, the Crystal Diamond class, set to debut in a few years.
“For Crystal, our goal was to keep thinking bigger, aiming to create unparalleled luxury experiences,” Zhu said. “Our vision was to continue pioneering new areas of luxury travel
“An important part of the expansion was creating the Crystal River Cruises brand by adding river vessels to the brand portfolio to attract a younger guest profile.
“Ultimately we wanted Crystal to become the first and only hospitality brand to offer luxurious explorations and adventures for ocean, expedition, river, yacht and air.”