Crystal Offering ‘Unique Brand’ in Luxury Market

Crystal Serenity

“Crystal is truly unique in the market, epitomizing the unparalleled sophistication we offer with award-winning service, exquisite culinary experiences and remarkable innovative entertainment. But what truly sets us apart is how we are rethinking, repositioning and elevating the brand to make it a lifestyle brand at sea,” said Jacqueline Barney, senior vice president of marketing.

“It is the ship experience combined with destination immersion. It is our new, large and lavish accommodations, the service and the sense of the Crystal family. When we say ‘family,’ it is a concept other lines cannot replicate. Many guests come back to see their friends, the crew, and together they form the Crystal family. Many guests have traveled with us for up to 30 years; it is an ambiance I do not see anywhere else.”

Part of the Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) group, Crystal now has the opportunity to leverage years of experience providing luxury vacations, private tours and small group adventures all over the globe.

“We are working at the group level, creating products, itineraries, shore excursions, pre- and post-experiences and special access to destinations that others might not have,” Barney said.

“For 2025, we will be fully integrated with A&K so that our meticulously planned itineraries will offer the most unique destination experiences.”

Crystal has also previously revealed plans to build more classic ships and expedition ships.

“The announcement was made before the inaugural voyages last year,” she added, “and we expect to have more ships by 2029.

“During Covid, I think consumers changed habits, their buying habits and traveling preferences,” Barney continued. “They want more space, personal space, and also a more intimate feeling at the same time.”

So, after the brand and the two ships were acquired, both ships went through an extensive redesign, reconstruction and refurbishment, including the gutting of the entire eighth and ninth decks where smaller staterooms were doubled or tripled up to create new suites, according to Barney, who said other accommodations were converted into solo staterooms.

Thus, the guest capacity of both ships was dramatically reduced, from around 960 to 606 for the Crystal Symphony and from around 1,000 to 740 for the Crystal Serenity.

Meanwhile the crew to guest ratio is nearly one-to-one.

The future is based on the brand work that was done at the beginning of the new company in 2022, Barney noted: “How we want to position the brand and how we want the market to perceive the brand, relates to how we see the brand evolving and growing over time.

“We have changed the product to deliver a more intimate experience by reducing the guest capacity and increasing the guest to space ratio, bringing back the hallmark pillars that are led by service, dining and entertainment, and we are working with A&K to deliver the most remarkable experiences.”

Looking forward, Barney said: “We are not Crystal Cruises anymore, we are Crystal, we are a lifestyle brand, and we are an experience where likeminded individuals come together and create memories and experiences.

“I see us growing to a much larger fleet, operating sustainably and going to unique places, offering incredible experiences, and truly standing out as a brand in our own category in the industry.”

Excerpt from the Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine Spring 2024

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