In one of the most significant brand expansion in the history of luxury travel and hospitality, Crystal Cruises will not only introduce new ships to its fleet effectively establishing three brand new classes of cruising, but also induct two commercial airliners to launch Crystal Luxury Air in 2017.
Over the next two years we will learn a lot about the important role than air connectivity plays in supporting the cruise industry thanks to the location of some of our events. However, we are now seeing cruise operators take to the air, replacing their ships with luxurious airliners as they diversify into new markets.
Exactly 25 years after Crystal Cruises set its course as a leader in luxury cruising with the launch of the first of three ships, the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line is charting a new, much more vast, route. In one of the most significant brand expansion in the history of luxury travel and hospitality, Crystal Cruises will not only introduce new ships to its fleet effectively establishing three brand new classes of cruising, but also induct two commercial airliners to launch Crystal Luxury Air in 2017.
As part of Crystal’s brand of Six-Star luxury, Crystal Luxury Air will set a new first in the luxury travel industry by offering extravagant around-the-world trips. Each approximately 28-day itinerary will visit 10-12 remote and/or sought-after locales, with accommodation at some of the world’s finest hotels and resorts; cuisine prepared by celebrity chefs inspired by the destination; and world-class cultural entertainment.
These were originally due to be flown using a single Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with the modern generation jet configured with just 52 fully reclining First Class seats rather than the around 220-seat arrangements of commercial airline operators.
Now, Crystal Cruises has confirmed that it will actually introduce a second airliner into its fleet for its 2017 launch with the purchase of a Boeing Business Jet 777-200LR. The twin-aisle 777-200LR BBJ will be redesigned to accommodate just 88 guests with flat-bed First Class seats; a lounge and bar; and will offer 14- and 28-day around-the-world and international itineraries, including coveted destinations to which major airlines do not offer non-stop service.
“Our mission is to make Crystal the core of what will become the world’s premier luxury hospitality and lifestyle brand collection, not only for the immediate future, but for years to come,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman, Crystal Cruises. “The acquisition of our second luxury aircraft is another profound step toward establishing our goal.”
In addition to doubling the initial air projections with the expanded aircraft fleet, Crystal Cruises has started working with the Registry of Aruba to secure its own independent Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) so it can control its own aircraft fleet and not rely on third party providers. This will also enable the company to provide the aircraft for charters when they are not committed to their flying programmes.
“We continue to think bigger, aiming to create unparalleled luxury experiences and adventures for our loyal and new guests, who – like Crystal – continue to seek broader horizons and new perspectives on the world,” said Edie Rodriguez, President and Chief Executive Officer, Crystal Cruises.
“Following our expansion announcement, travellers and travel agents expressed a strong interest in all-inclusive luxury air travel with a wider range of itineraries. Based on this enthusiastic feedback, we are growing our fleet to meet the demand from our guests and travel partners in luxury air options,” she added.