Crystal downsizes capacity to upsize comfort

Stateroom numbers shaved as Large Suites soar

The makeover of Crystal by A&K Travel Group has placed increased focus on the luxury of space at sea, with the reborn cruise line proud to boast it now offers an industry-leading space-to-guest ratio in social areas on its two ships.

Aboard Crystal Serenity, and following the recent upgrade at the Fincantieri shipyard in Trieste, the number of large Suites (approximately 47 square metres in size) has jumped from 35 to a whopping 151. That is more than a four-fold increase. While the even larger Penthouses (approx 70 square metres) have risen from four to 10.

The increase in premium accommodations was achieved by dramatically trimming staterooms on Serenity, from 372 under the former owner to just 102, and required two levels of the ship to be almost taken back to its ‘skin and bones’ and either two or three rooms consolidated to one new suite.

Total capacity aboard Crystal Serenity has been chopped from 980 to 741 guests.

The Lounge on Crystal Serenity, which replaces the former Casino

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Similarly, the same process is taking place with Crystal Symphony, on which there will be 10 more Penthouses and 101 more Large Suites, as the stateroom numbers dwindle from 347 to just 95. Symphony‘s total guest capacity was 848 and is being wound back to just 606, which will make it the number one guest-crew ratio in the industry, says Tony Archbold, Vice President Sales, APAC for Crystal. Crystal Serenity will be number two, Archbold said, based on independently researched figures.

“Crystal is offering guests the utmost in comfort, quality and choice,” said Brandon Townsley, Vice President of Sales & Trade Partnerships.

Speaking to trade partners on the recent shakedown cruise of Crystal Serenity in Europe, Townsley said at 65,000 gross tonnes, the remodeled ship is a “good-sized ship”.

The ship now includes a spacious new spa and wellness venue complete with a relaxation lounge, sauna and steam rooms and a saloon, designated spaces for children and teens, a large gym decked out with Technogym equipment, a new lounge in place of the former casino, and revamped signature restaurants – Umi Uma (by Nobu Matsuhisa) and Osteria d’Ovidio, which replaces Prego and is focused on regional Italian cuisine.

The Aussie contingent on the preview sailing of Crystal Serenity - from left: David Brandon, Savenio; Debra Fox and Michelle Mickan, A&K Travel Group; Tracey Bremner, Clean Cruising; Melinda Gregor, Gregor & Lewis Bespoke Travel; Martine Hero, Clean Cruising; Tony Archbold, Crystal, with Robyn and Murray Sinfield, Home Travel Company.

“It’s not a small ship, but the guest capacity on board is 740 so there’s a lot of space and amenities to enjoy onboard.”

“We have large ship amenities with an intimate, small ship feel,” he said, including a teak wraparound promenade deck which is becoming increasingly uncommon on new builds.

Debra Fox, Managing Director, A&K Australasia and Executive Vice President, Trade Sales APAC for A&K & Crystal says she was startled by the size of the accommodations onboard.

A private quiet area within the Aurora spa & wellness facility

“I had very limited expectations going in,” Fox told LATTE of Crystal Serenity. “I was coming in with an open and clean slate, so I wanted to use that to my benefit as you only get that once.”

“The dining and the entertainment options for a ship this size are incredible. It feels like they are ‘real’ restaurants rather than at sea,” Fox added.

“I love the suites — the layout, the practicality and you instantly feel relaxed. I love the big balconies and the space is next level,” she says. “What surprises me is how much space there is for the guest and that you never feel crowded or queued. It’s the luxury of space.”

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