In what has finally come as something of an astonishing triple flourish, Crystal Cruises has placed a firm order for not one, but three new builds.
Details are relatively sparse thus far, but the trio of vessels- bruited as almost identical sisters- will be of around 100,000 tons each, half as large again as the 68,000 ton current flagship, Crystal Serenity. They will boast the highest space ratio of any vessels afloat, and a crew of 1,000 to serve the same number of guests-a stunning, 1:1 ratio. The all outside staterooms will begin at an industry busting 400 square feet each.
These new ships will also boast specially strengthened hulls, allowing them to access remote regions such as Antarctica.
This is stunning in its own right, but that is far from all Crystal is going to do. From the end of this year, there will be a new, boutique brand, headed up in the first instance by a sixty-two guest yacht, that will sail on more intimate, port intensive venues.
And there will also be a river cruise brand. Crystal is planning to go head to head with upscale operators such as Tauck and Viking River. Details are scant as yet but, as a statement of intent, this is hugely ambitious in and of itself.
Lastly, the line will initiate deluxe air cruises with a specially customised Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Fitted with just sixty fully lie flat beds, this extraordinary plane will offer twenty eight night de luxe, globe spanning itineraries, tied in with stays at some of the most exclusive hotels in the world.
Exciting, elegant and ambitious, this mass expansion- both in hardware and range of products- launches the Crystal brand onto a whole new trajectory.
As ever, stay tuned for updates.