If the waiting list to purchase a unit on The World – Residences at Sea is too long for your liking, or the fact there are only the 160 owners, a new option is available. You can purchase a suite on the Crystal Exclusive class vessel, which is yet to be built.
Recently Crystal Cruises made an unprecedented announcement about its future with additional details. Crystal Cruises was purchased in May by the Genting Group of Hong Kong, one of the most successful leisure and hospitality holding companies in the world. The announcement outlines Crystal’s expansion in four different areas which includes the creation of three new Crystal Exclusive class vessels, a Crystal Luxury air division, a Crystal Yacht Cruises division and a Crystal River Cruises division.
Crystal Cruises is 25 years old and has an established reputation as the gold standard for luxury cruise travel. Each of the four new niches will bring that standard into a new market. Cruise lines announcing new builds is not uncommon, but this one has a twist or two. The Exclusive class will be all suites and the top deck will be exclusive which, while not common, is not unheard of. The big twist is that the top deck suites are classified as residences. Crystal Residences will have 48 suites available for purchase ranging from 600 to 4,000 square feet with a private dining room, lounge, and other special features. The concept of ocean going condos is not new, however, the only one that has launched is “The World – Residences at Sea”.
One concern with condo cruises is that the ship often sails nearly empty and you always see the same people whereas on Crystal, the Residence is just a portion of the people on board. The ships are being built by a ship builder know for luxury mega yachts. While the size of cruise ships and the number of passengers they will hold is constantly climbing, the Exclusive class is being designed for only 1,000 guests. The passenger/space ratio is the best way to tell how crowded you will be on board a ship. Most mass market cruise lines have a ratio of about .35, some ships are known to be spacious with a ratio as high as .50. A few luxury vessels reach .70, however this new class will be 1.00, about three times more space than your average cruise ship. These ships will also be the largest to be classified as expeditionary. They will have hulls rated for travel to the Arctic and Antarctica.
The Crystal Yacht cruise will be operational before the end of the year. When Genting purchased Crystal, the Megastar Taurus from Star Cruises (also a Genting company), the 279 foot luxury cruise was in dry dock for a major overhaul and upgrades. She will become the 62-passenger Crystal Esprit complete with its own watercraft including zodiacs and a submarine. Star Cruise’s The Taipan, a sister ship to the Megastar Taurus, may become the second yacht for Crystal.
Some details on the luxury air and river cruises have also been announced, however, additional information is expected soon.
Some inside explanations can be found on Forbes.