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During the 2017 Crystal Sales Gala’s opening address on March 22, Edie Rodriguez, CEO and president of Crystal Cruises, put rumors to rest regarding its delayed ships. Agents present at the gala responded positively, commending Crystal’s management of the situation.
Just a couple days prior, word had begun to spread that sailings on newbuilds Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler had been delayed. Bach and Mahler cruises were initially slated to launch on June 18 and Aug. 29, respectively. Six sailings — four on Bach and two on Mahler — have been cancelled.
Bach will now sail its inaugural voyage on Aug. 13, while Mahler’s maiden voyage will take place on Sept. 30. Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel will follow in 2018 and will sail the Rhine and Danube rivers.
Rodriguez emphasized that the decision was based on ensuring the quality of the luxury all-suite river cruise vessels to an audience of Crystal’s top travel partners, including agents. Also, in addition to informing trade partners first, followed by guests, Crystal was more than generous in protecting the commissions of its travel trade partners, said Rodriguez.
Clients affected by the cancellations received a full refund for the sailing and compensation for any airfare fees due to changes or cancellations, as well as a complimentary voyage on any 2017 Crystal ocean or river sailing. If the free cruise takes place on a river vessel in 2017, the guest will also earn a $1,500 future cruise credit on any 2018 or 2019 voyage.
Meanwhile, travel partners will still receive their full original commission, even if their client rebooks and chooses a sailing with a lower commission. They will also receive a free river cruise on a pre-inaugural sailing, along with a guest, onboard Bach, Mahler, Debussy or Ravel.
Rodriguez stated that agents reacted favorably to how Crystal reached out and offered compensation for the delayed ships and cancelled sailings.
“Our trade partners had told us, ‘Whatever is going on, please tell us first’ — not even regarding the deliverable date, just business in general,” Rodriguez said. “So, we listened, and we let them know first. And most importantly, we went to the trade partners it affected. We didn’t want them to read about it in the paper. And they were so gracious and accepting.”