Crystal’s Plans Change for New Ocean Vessels

The Crystal Serenity's passenger capacity will be reduced from 1,070 to 980 in the Autumn

In what is perhaps the biggest decision by Crystal Cruises CEO Thomas Wolber since he moved to the position from Disney Cruise Line last fall, Crystal will downsize its next generation of oceangoing ships.

The size of the three newbuilds had been announced in 2015 as 100,000 gross tons, with a passenger capacity of 1,000 at double occupancy. They will now be in the 60,000- to 65,000-ton range with a maximum passenger count of 800.

In an interview in Crystal’s office here, Thomas said he thought the announced size was “slightly aggressive,” in terms of luxury service.

“The delivery of the service is what Crystal is known for,” he said. “To be able to continue that, I think we need to take a step back and focus on the size of the ship.”

Thomas also said the previously announced plan to carve out 48 private apartments on the top deck of each ship “will not materialise.”

He said the first of the three new ocean vessels is still scheduled for delivery in 2022.

Thomas also said he would like to use 2018 to renew Crystal’s ties with the travel agent community.

“Crystal, as many luxury brands, is highly dependent on the travel trade. And, again, with the disruption, the rollout of so many new things, we need to focus again on our travel trade partners as well and listen to them and their concerns.”

The refocus on the ocean experience started with the September refurbishment of the Crystal Symphony. The ship’s capacity was cut to 848 and some cabins were enlarged, while extra room was used to allow for open dining.