As Luxury Market Heats Up, Crystal Cruises Ahead


Planning a cruise vacation on an upscale, luxury cruise line takes a bit different planning strategy.   Luxury ships from a number of cruise lines visit unique destinations around the world, pampering their guests every step of the way. Knowing that is the easy part.  When and where to sail  is another matter, complicated by an increasing field of luxury lines to choose from.  Getting ahead of the game, Crystal Cruises recently released their 2017 roster of global itineraries, a full two years in advance.

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“We are thrilled to be the first of the luxury cruise lines to unveil a comprehensive 2016/17 two-year planning Atlas along with the corresponding information on our website, and launching full reservations for 2017,” said Nitsa Lewis, Crystal Cruises vice president of marketing in a press release.

Crystal Serenity - 423Risky Or Smart?
The bold move by Crystal to release itineraries, enable booking and print a 236 page brochure detailing the offering, two years in advance, is unique.  Worldwide political and economic events could change the climate that enables those itineraries.  Places not accessible now, might be later. Still, the focus in luxury travel is on destinations and rates high with upscale travelers.

“We continue to offer intrepid luxury travelers new ways to explore and experience the world, whether with a new destination or simply a new perspective on a favorite one,” says Edie Rodriguez, Crystal’s president and COO.

Crystal Serenity - 076Increasing Competition
The two ships of Crystal Cruises have some interesting competition coming up.  Among the highlights that have luxury cruise line operators on guard:

  • Super-focused Seabourn has three newer ships sailing around the world and another one being built. We saw first hand how very good Seabourn is at taking care of the luxury traveler on the Seabourn Food & Wine Cruise recently.
  • Viking River Cruises branches out to offer their culturally curious travelers a unique choice when Viking Oceans debuts in May with new Viking Star, already sold out for the first season and two more ships on the way.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line recently paid $3 billion to buy Prestige Cruises, operator of luxury lines Oceania and Regent Seven Seas.

Considering all of the above, Crystal Cruises move to release 2017 programming early is brilliant, logical and appropriate, putting them in the best possible position for the future.  Interestingly, this 2017 roster comes on the heels of a a 2016 season which has not even sailed yet but boasts a history-making transit of the fabled Northwest Passage, plus a 102-day World Cruise circling the Pacific Rim and more maiden calls than ever before.

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Crystal Cruises Ahead
2017 promises another year of firsts, anticipated returns, remote locales and other highlights on all seven continents, including:

  • Big Numbers–  57 voyages to 268 ports in 84 countries, with more than 150 overnights – the most ever offered in a single year
  • More New Places– 32 Maiden calls to intriguing places like Maroantsetra, Madagascar; Iquique, Chile; and Djúpivogur, Iceland; along with lesser known gems such as Calvi, Corsica; Sète, France; and Santa Margherita, Italy.
  • Unique, First-Ever VoyagesNew Guinea, and maiden calls in Vanuatu and New Caledonia, all featured on a January segment of the 99-day Grand Pacific Explorer Grand Cruise
  • Revisiting Favorites– A return to the Middle East and Holy Land, with Crystal Symphony among the very first luxury ships to visit Doha, Qatar, on a November itinerary that includes a call in Abu Dhabi, allowing for visits to the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest in the UAE, as well as the new Louvre museum, set to open in 2015, and the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim, scheduled for completion in 2017
  • Around The World In 94 Days- A 94-day Southern Celebración World Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity, circumnavigating South America and offering exotic adventure in the Galapagos, Antarctica, the Amazon, Machu Picchu, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and more
  • New Land Option– A new 2-night inclusive overland program in Paris on two summer sailings in August
  • European Options Include More Overnights-  In 2017, Crystal Cruises will offer more Mediterranean cruises and variety than ever before, with new itineraries beginning or ending in Portsmouth, England and Valletta, Malta and multiples overnights on virtually every voyage
  • Close To Home– Caribbean journeys that begin or end in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Unique Holiday Cruise- Crystal’s first-ever South Africa Holiday Cruise round-trip from Cape Town, highlighted by exceptional opportunities for safari adventures.
  • Visiting Global Events– Itineraries designed around global events, like visiting Stockholm during Sweden’s festive Midsummer celebration, Muscat on the Sultan’s birthday (Oman’s Independence Day) and Edinburgh for the Military Tattoo

Crystal Serenity - 107Choosing which Crystal Cruise itinerary to sail takes some time and thought.  Still, the ultra luxury line is encouraging early booking with “Book Now” cruise fares for 2016 and 2017 start at $2,200 per person, though March 2, 2015.

The 2016/2017 Worldwide Cruise Atlas can be viewed and ordered at www.crystalcruises.com, or requested from any Crystal travel agent.