From the sea to the air, Crystal Cruises is doing it all


By AGENCY

The Crystal Cruise on the wide ocean. Photo: AFP

In what’s being billed as an industry first, Crystal Cruises has announced an unprecedented expansion plan that includes the launch of luxury ocean, yacht, river cruises – and air travel.

In fact, when you factor in ports of call, it could be said that the luxury cruise liner will cover all the main bases – travel by land, air, and sea – when it launches Crystal Luxury Air.

Set to take off in 2017, the 787 Dreamliner will be reconfigured to seat 60 travellers instead of 300, who will fly on fully reclining business seats for around-the-world trips.

Twenty-eight-day itineraries will include stops to about a dozen destinations“...to which major airlines do not offer nonstop service” as well as stays at luxury hotels, restaurants and world-class entertainment.

The concept is not far off from a Four Seasons-branded program that launched earlier this year, offering all-inclusive, around-the-world trips aboard private luxury jets.

Meanwhile, end of this year the company will also launch Crystal Esprit, a 62-guest, 3,000-tonnage vessel designed to offer a“boutique”ambiance, the first of the company’s Yacht Cruises program that will set sail in the Seychelles Islands, Dubai and Adriatic Coast.

Crystal Cruise.
The Crystal Cruises on the wide ocean. Photo: AFP

Activities aboard the yacht cruises include two-passenger submarines, zodiacs, water skis, wakeboards, kayaks, jet skis, fishing, scuba and snorkel equipment.

After making its foray into air travel, and trying to carve a new niche market in boutique yacht cruises, Crystal will also raise anchor on three newly commissioned ships in 2018, configured to offer a luxurious, at-sea experience that takes cruising up a notch.

That means increasing the average space ratio from 60 tonnes per person on a typical luxury cruise ship to 100 tonnes of space.

The new Crystal Exclusive Class will also feature Crystal Residences, 48 homes built on the top deck that will offer affluent cruisers their own little community, with a private restaurant, reception and facilities. And at 600 to 4,000sqft (56-372sqm), the residences are billed as the largest on the high seas.

The announcement from Crystal Cruises beats Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson to the punch, as the flashy British baron of travel announced plans to add ocean liners to his portfolio of airplanes and hotels.

Virgin Cruises is slated to launch in 2020 from Miami. – AFP Relaxnews

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