Crystal Cruises scales back its ships

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Crystal Cruises will downsize its new generation of ocean-going ships to accommodate fewer passengers, newly installed CEO Thomas Wolber said.

The line has also abandoned plans to build 48 super-luxury private apartments on the top deck of each of its three new ships.

Instead of building its new ocean-going vessels at 100,000 gross tons with a capacity of 1,000 passengers, they will now be in the 60,000 to 65,000 ton range with a maximum of 800 passengers.

The building of smaller ships with fewer passengers will allow the line to reinforce what the brand is known for – impeccable service.

“The delivery of the service is what Crystal is known for,’’ Mr Wolber said. “To be able to continue that, I think we need to take a step back and focus on the size of the ship.”

Crystal’s original plans under its previous CEO Edie Rodriquez to build 48 super-luxury private apartments on the top deck of its new ocean-going vessels “will not materialise,’’ he added.

The first of the three new ocean vessels is scheduled to be launched in 2022.

Shortly after Crystal was bought by Genting Hong Kong, an Asian cruise and hospitality group for US$550 million three years ago, it rapidly unveiled new plans to expand into river cruising, luxury yacht cruising and air charters.

Mr Wolber said that his priority in 2018 is to stabilise Crystal and focus on ocean cruising.

“ I think this year we need to put our eyes back on what made us Crystal in the first place and that’s the ocean product,’’ he told Travel Weekly.

“It’s easy to take your eyes off the ball and focus on all these little new things that we’re rolling out and you start diverting your attention a little from what is your core product and what really is the bread and butter of the business.’’

He also said that Crystal will focus on renewing ties with travel agents.

“Crystal, as many luxury brands, is highly dependent on the travel trade. And again, with the disruption, the rollout of so many new things, we need to focus again on our travel trade partners as well and listen to them and their concerns,’’ he said.

Crystal’s first luxury expedition ship, the Crystal Endeavour, is due to be launched in 2020.

Mr Wolber said Crystal Endeavour will be the most spacious expedition ship which will appeal to the Chinese market.

“What we’re getting through Hong Kong and Singapore is that there is a huge interest, particularly in the Arctic and Antarctic regions from the Chinese point of view,’’ he said.