Crystal Cruises is not just a sea-going luxury line anymore. The award-winning cruise line extends its brand of service to river voyages and to air travel. When the Crystal Mozart sailed from Vienna for a roundtrip voyage July 13 on the Danube, the ship inaugurated Crystal’s foray into the field of river cruising. The redesigned ship with a 158-person capacity will ply rivers in Austria, Germany, Slovakia, and Hungary.
For those wanting a voyage on a smaller, even more personal ship, there’s the Crystal Esprit, a 62-passenger yacht that debuted in December. The ship carries a three-person submersible for those who crave underwater views without getting wet.
Upmarket cruisers can also now do away with tedious commercial air flights and instead reach their embarkation ports by flying Crystal Luxury, a Bombardier Global Express XRS aircraft. In 2017, guests can replace a slow ship voyage with a faster air itinerary by booking Crystal AirCruises. Employing a redesigned Boeing 777-200LR to carry 88-guests in flat-bed first class seats, the plane will fly 14 and 28-day around-the-world itineraries.
Who knew luxury travelers needed more? “Crystal’s passengers want to do more of their vacations in Crystal style. We appeal to that well-travelled, sophisticated traveler,” Edie Rodriguez, CEO of Crystal Cruises, told Physician’s Money Digest.
One difference between Crystal and luxury competitor Regent is captured in the terms “all inclusive” versus Crystal’s new motto “All Exclusive.” Regent Seven Seas Cruises promotes prices that include free, unlimited shore excursions; free specialty restaurants; free wine, spirits and other beverages; free pre-paid gratuities, and free WiFi – and beginning in spring 2017, free business class air on all intercontinental flights.
Crystal fees include some of these items, depending on the sailing, but not the shore tours.
“The biggest difference between Crystal and Regent is that Crystal is not all-inclusive with shore excursions. That’s because our guests want the freedom to do what they want when they want to,” Rodriguez explained. “Sometimes they want to go by private car and sometimes on a bus shore tour. We cater to our passengers’ desires. For instance, if you are a jogger and you want to jog through the destination but you don’t want to get up early because this is your vacation, we have late-riser jogging tours.”
For those who want such pampering and personalized options for a longer period of time, Crystal will launch three Crystal Exclusive ships in 2018. Each will come with residences you can purchase and a private restaurant. Just consider your spacious cabin like another of your vacation homes – only this one can float you to many destinations.