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What:Crystal Cruises president Edie Rodriguez revealed that the line’s foray into river cruising will debut in March 2017 with two yacht-style vessels in Europe. The announcement came at this month’s Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas.
Why It Matters:Big players continue to shake up the river cruise industry, with Disney’s partnership with AmaWaterways earlier this year and Crystal’s recent entrance into the market — much to the delight of river cruise veterans ready for something new. Crystal’s 140-passenger river vessels will have greater space-to-guest ratio than its competitors. Passengers will also be able to choose excursions from Active Exploration Adventures, a shoreside program featuring rides on Segways and electric or manual bikes.
Apportioned daytime sailing will allow for passengers to experience evening entertainment and dining at Michelin-starred restaurants. Crystal also plans on sailing less traditional routes to avoid congestion. Agents can book sailings for clients starting Dec. 1.
Fast Facts:- The yacht-style river cruise ships will be built by German shipyard Lloyd Werft.
- Each ship will contain 70 suites measuring 250 square feet, equipped with wardrobes, American king-size beds and double-vanity bathrooms. There will also be two 500-square-foot Penthouse Suites.
- Public areas will include a fitness center and spa, as well as a Palm Court with a dance floor and a glass-domed roof.
- Destinations on the sailing itinerary will include Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania.
- As part of Active Exploration Adventures, an excursion will be complimentary for passengers.
- Guests have the option of adding a private yachting experience to their itinerary at an added cost.
What They Are Saying:“We continue to listen to what our guests and the luxury traveler want, and river cruises are what they’ve been telling us they want for some time — it’s a natural extension of the exceptional ocean cruise Crystal has offered for the past 25 years,” said Rodriguez. “But more importantly, they want to experience river cruises on a luxury Crystal vessel, and their desires will be fulfilled on our luxury Crystal river yachts.”
“The beauty of river cruising is not only that travelers enjoy close-up access to more fascinating inland locales, but also that the rivers themselves are coveted destinations that shouldn’t be overlooked,” Rodriguez added. “Our guests will have the opportunity to revel in the unique environment that sets river cruising apart from other travel experiences.”