After a long period of ‘will they, won’t they’, Crystal Cruises has finally let it be known that the line will be making a ‘big announcement’ this coming Monday.
While details beyond that are non existent, almost anyone with a positive IQ count will expect this to be the announcement of a new build, a necessary step in the face or recent new builds for rival lines. Crystal also needs a third vessel simply to boost its global deployment reach.
Fuelling this speculation is the public knowledge that new Crystal CEO, Edie Rodriguez, has been actively campaigning NYK, the Japanese parent company of Crystal Cruises, for the funds for a new ship ever since she took over the reins in Los Angeles.
Some will remember that rumours of an announcement for last December were teased out in various outlets. Wisely, it seems that the line has decided to wait for January, presumably in order to get it’s banner 25th anniversary celebrations off to the most momentous start possible.
So, what kind of ship can we expect? I think that whatever emerges will not be too distinctly different to the current, multi award winning pair of Crystal show stoppers, the 1995 built, 50,000 ton, 1,000 guest Crystal Symphony and her sibling, the 2003 built, 68,000 ton, 1200 guest Crystal Serenity.
I expect the new ship might, perhaps, encompass one other extra dining venue, but the truth is that this original format, emphasized on the two current, heavily refurbished ships, has been so successful that all it really need is some fine tuning on the edges.
The two previous ships were built in Finland and St. Nazaire respectively, and I think it quite likely that the new order will also go to STX.
Size wise, I don’t think that the new ship will be any bigger than Crystal Serenity. The line found a unique ‘sweet size’ with those two ships; small enough to offer intimate, excellent service in plush, elegant surroundings, while also being large enough to offer an extensive entertainment handle, as well as being seaworthy enough to cross any ocean in the world in great style and comfort.
Crystal clearly had to act; with new builds from rivals such as Regent and Seabourn, plus continuing talk of new orders from Oceania and Silversea, Crystal is also facing new competition from the nascent Viking Cruises, itself due to start sailing this year.
Whatever is coming down the line on Monday, it will surely constitute one of the most eagerly anticipated new build announcements for two decades, and the air of excitement is already quite palpable.
As always, stay tuned for more right here.