Seasoned cruise and luxury hospitality industry executive Karl Muhlberger has been named as the new Chief Operating Officer or Crystal.
Based at Crystal’s HQ in Miami, Muhlberger will report directly to president and CEO Tom Wolber, and will oversee facets of Crystal’s expanding fleet including hotel services, entertainment, food and beverage operations, reservations and guest relations for the line’s existing experiences and those in development.
“I am delighted to welcome Karl to the Crystal Family at a particularly exciting time for our company, as his esteemed career in luxury travel and expertise in launching new ships and programs for global travellers will be great assets to our teams ashore and on board as we navigate new waters,” Wolber said. “His beginnings in the culinary industry helped create a spirit of welcoming hospitality, which is integral to our guests’ experience, while his experience spearheading company and fleet expansions brings important perspective to Crystal’s position in the market.”
Muhlberger began his career at age 15 as a culinary apprentice in Salzburg and went on to become the first – and youngest – Austrian chef to receive a Michelin Star and 17 points from the famed Gault & Millau, at age 23. He also held prominent chef positions at other Michelin and Gault & Millau-rated restaurants, including the five-Star Relais & Château Hotel in Belgium and Austria.
From this foundation, he led the culinary departments for Cunard and Seabourn Cruise Line and held executive chef positions aboard Seabourn Cruise and Silversea Cruises.
Most recently at Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), first as vice president of food and beverage operations, then as vice president of hotel operations for the company’s 17 vessels, he was instrumental in the line’s global expansion into new markets and developing guest experiences and played an integral role in all of the company’s new builds in the US and Chinese markets, as well as in the development of NCL’s two private islands.
“Crystal represents the pinnacle of luxury in the cruise industry and to join a company so dedicated to this exceptional standard is an honour,” Muhlberger said.