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Crystal Yacht Cruises launches with Crystal Esprit


Crystal-Esprit-on-the-waterCrystal Cruises has launched its new Crystal Yacht Cruises brand with their first luxury cruise yacht Crystal Esprit, in a christening ceremony in the Seychelles at Eden Island Marina in Mahe, Victoria.
Crystal Esprit is the line’s first addition to a two-ship fleet, and she is the first step in what is expected to be a shift in Crystal brand image from a luxury cruise line to a more general range of luxury travel experiences. The brand is also planning an expansion with the launch of the Crystal River Cruises in 2016 and 2017.
Crystal Esprit was built in 1991 and was previously used by the Star Cruises subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong: it has been extensively refurnished for Crystal Yacht Cruises and has its own two-passenger submarine for guests to use.
Based in the Adriatic from spring to autumn 2016, it also has two Zodiac boats for expedition-style excursions, a 12-passenger Wider super yacht tender and watersports equipment including kayaks, water skis, wake boards, snorkels and fishing tackle.
Crystal CEO Edie Rodriguez said last month that Crystal was pleased so far with bookings for the ship. “We have closed many full-ship charters. We are sold out on many sailings,” she said.
“Our clientele when it comes to Crystal are 60 to 80 [years old],” said Rachel Zeitchik, an agent specializing in FIT travel at Alice Travel, Fairfield, N.J. “They’re retirees. If they’re going that far, it’s going to be the long, exotic itineraries.”
The 31-suite Esprit begins operations with a series of predominantly nine-day itineraries in the Seychelles islands off the eastern coast of Africa. After a transition cruise from the Seychelles in April, the Esprit will make its summer home mainly in the Adriatic on a series of seven-night sailings between Venice and Dubrovnik, Croatia, that can also be combined into 14-night itineraries.
The ship’s summer itineraries in the Mediterranean are the ones which garnered the most attention, with clients tending to combine seven-day cruises with other land vacation options.
“The length of the cruise is perfect to anchor the itinerary, and then from there they jump off to go east or go west into Europe,” said Leslie Fambrini, owner of Personalized Travel Consultants in Los Altos. “The fact that it is seven days is enticing people to be creative.”
Crystal’s president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez, said: “Since joining Crystal just over two years ago, a personal goal of mine has been to see Crystal realise the next step in continuing to pioneer luxury travel and hospitality; and today I am seeing that dream fulfilled.”