Crystal surges forward

Crystal Cruises’ CEO Edie Rodriguez lathered praise on the company’s newly-opened Sydney office during a visit down under last month, linking the Australian operation to the line’s recent expansion.

During a ship tour and lunch on board Crystal Symphony, Rodriguez told media it had been a strategic decision to open the local office.

“Australia is such a big important market for us,” she explained.

Heading up the local office is Karen Christensen, who told travelBulletin that although it was still early days, the office was receiving regular bookings every day.

Christensen is currently overseeing 11 staff, but she assured long-term expansion plans were in place, with the office built to house 25 staff.

Crystal Cruises’ development plans spread well beyond Australia, with the company amidst a massive growth stage that began when it was acquired by Genting Hong Kong in May 2015. The company has since launched Crystal Yacht Cruises (December 2015), Crystal Luxury Air (April 2016) and Crystal River Cruises (July 2016), with a new Crystal AirCruises venture to debut this year and Crystal Exclusive Class Ocean Cruises planned for 2019.

 

Rodriguez said a planned new-build ocean ship to be delivered in 2022 would be “game changing on many fronts”.

“One of the things that will make her extraordinarily exceptional is that she will have residences at sea — one floor of private apartments — and this will actually be the first time that residences at sea will happen concurrently with regularly scheduled cruise departures,” Rodriguez said.

The new ship would offer a very different experience to what she referred to as “that other vessel floating out there” that offered residences.

Crystal’s ship would offer a daily cruise program and be designed so residents only had to meet guests if they wanted to. The residents would also buy understanding they would have no say in where the ship sailed.

The residences will open for booking in December, but there was already a wait list of “over 250 very active, interested people”, Rodriguez said.

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