Submarines & Underwater Weddings: Cruising For The Mega-Rich
Crystal Cruises is to launch a fleet of ships equipped with a two-passenger submarine as part of a full-scale expansion into expedition, river and yacht cruising.
The new owner of the luxury cruise line, Hong Kong-based global hospitality giant Genting (GHK), also plans to launch its own Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, paving the way for it to offer exclusive tours on dry land.
The announcements were made in Los Angeles by president and CEO Edie Rodriguez and chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok.
The expansion will begin at the end of this year, when Crystal Esprit, an extravagantly appointed yacht, embarks on its maiden voyage to the Seychelles on December 23. The all-suite, 62-passenger vessel, part of the all-inclusive Crystal Yacht Cruises fleet, will be furnished with a submarine, four 10-passenger Zodiacs and a super-yacht tender, as well as the requisite luxury 'toys' – wakeboards, kayaks, jet skis and scuba equipment among them.
Rodriguez told USA Today that the subs could be used for underwater weddings.
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Crystal Esprit will initially sail in the Seychelles, the UAE and Oman and the Adriatic (Slovenia, Croatia and Venice).
In 2017, the company will make its bid for a slice of the lucrative river cruising market, with the launch of Crystal River Cruises in time for the spring season. It has also signed a contract for three Polar ice-class ships.
The line says the river-cruising arm will offer all the hallmark Crystal experiences – "6-star service, world-class dining, spacious suites and enriching shore excursions".
Crystal Luxury Air will launch in 2017, flying 60 guests in fully reclining business-class seats to sought-after destinations – many of them not offered by major airlines.
"Each 28-day itinerary will visit between 10 and 12 remote and/or sought-after locales, with accommodations at some of the world’s finest hotels and resorts; cuisine prepared by celebrity chefs and world-class cultural entertainment," a spokesperson said.
In late 2018, focus will return to the sea with the new Crystal Exclusive Class of ocean-going vessel. GHK has signed a letter of intent with Lloyd Werft in Germany to build polar ice-class ships.
"Crystal will be the first-ever cruise line to deliver expedition-capable ships with all the signature features and amenities of a luxury ship or private yacht," a spokesperson said.
The all-suite, all-balcony ship will accommodate 1,000 guests, similar to the capacity on Crystal Symphony (922 passengers) and Crystal Serenity (1,070 passengers), and weigh more than 100,000 tons.
Situated on the top deck of the new ships will be 48 Residences, featuring their own private restaurant, reception and facilities, and much higher ceilings (2.7 metres) than residences on any other cruise vessel or yacht. Living space will range from 56 to 372 square metres.
Guest suites, meanwhile, will be a generous 37 square metres with increased ceiling heights (2.4 metres) and a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:1. Amenities include submarines, helicopters and Zodiacs.
This year, the line announced a third ship in the Crystal fleet following the $550 million takeover by GHK, which owns Asian line Star Cruises and is a major shareholder of Norwegian Cruise Line.
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This article was written by Teresa Machan from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.