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Just a day before officially taking over as president and COO of Crystal Cruises, Edie Bornstein met in New York with the press onboard Crystal Symphony, which was sailing on a fall foliage cruise.
“How long have you been with the Crystal family?” Bornstein asked individual members of the onboard crew, adding, “Thank you for all you do.”
Bornstein is a 30-year veteran in the industry and a strong agent advocate as well as a savvy technology person. She comes to Crystal from Azamara Cruises, where she was senior vice president of marketing and sales. Prior to that, she was vice president of business development and strategic partnerships for Carnival Cruise Lines and also served as a senior officer at Cunard and Seabourn Cruise Lines, where she developed strategic plans and led partnerships with several respected luxury brands. This attention to partnerships is the one aspect of the future of Crystal she is willing to discuss with the press at this time.
“I think just about any brand would be delighted to partner with Crystal,” she said. “From a branding perspective, the world is our oyster. Stay tuned.”
Prior to her in-house positions with the cruise lines, Bornstein was vice president of cruise and specialty sales, marketing and customer support for Amadeus Global Distribution System. In this position, she was instrumental in the implementation of automation solutions for the cruise industry and numerous other projects, and her breadth of experience should prove very useful to the cruise line.
The announcement of Bornstein’s position has reversed the recent trend among cruise companies to place financial experts at the head of their lines. Agents and industry executives have been lavish in their praise for Bornstein, who has been flooded by emails and phone calls expressing their congratulations on her new position.
Bornstein replaces Gregg Michel, who resigned after a long tenure at Crystal, where he arrived as senior vice president, finance and administration in 1988, going on to become president and COO in 2001.
“The Crystal family greatly appreciate the efforts and accomplishments of Gregg Michel during his presidency, his service on our board of directors and his contributions as a founding member of the management team,” said Nobuyoshi Kuzuya, Crystal chairman and CEO. “During his tenure, Crystal Cruises has maintained an enviable reputation in the luxury market, offering an unparalleled cruise experience. Besides his contributions to our own company, he has been a great champion of environmental efforts that have supported the cruise industry.”
Michel has not given any indication of his plans for the future.
Meanwhile, Crystal has been voted best cruise line for midsize ships for a record 20th year by Conde Nast Traveler readers. Crystal outranked its luxury peers in almost all the voting categories, including itineraries, excursions, service, food, activities/facilities and design.
“To earn this award once is an incredible achievement. To be recognized by discerning travelers for an unprecedented 20 years is astounding,” said Bornstein. “While I have long admired Crystal from afar, it was only when I recently sailed that I fully grasped why this experience receives such consistent accolades.”
Crystal’s two ships are also being polished to a newbuild level. A recent $15 million extreme makeover of Crystal Symphony’s Avenue Saloon, Palm Court, Galaxy Lounge, Hollywood Theatre, Bridge Lounge, passenger boarding area and Fantasia and Waves junior cruisers facilities is being followed by a $17 million extreme makeover of Crystal Serenity this month.