Following the launch of its first river vessel, the Crystal Mozart, Crystal River Cruises announced today that it will increase its presence in the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers, deploying four of its planned newbuilds in the region over the next two years (2017 and 2018).
Crystal said that based on guest feedback “lauding" the itineraries planned in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Amsterdam and Holland, it has elected to delay its entrance into the French river cruise market, choosing instead to prioritize its offerings in the German/Austrian region in order to meet travelers’ demand for those experiences. The shift in focus means redesigning and enlarging the two so-called Paris-Class vessels, the Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel, as Rhine-Class, and redeploying them east in 2018.
Previously, the Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel were to travel along the Seine, Rhone and Dordogne Rivers in France beginning in June and August, 2017 respectively.
“Unlike an ocean-going ship that can accommodate a change in itinerary with short notice, a river ship operates within more confined parameters and is unable to reroute easily," said Crystal’s CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. “We are listening carefully to what travelers are telling us and have concluded that the best way to anticipate, meet and surpass their expectations is by making this move earlier than later."
The cruise line also said it is going to great lengths to protect guests who have already booked 2017 voyages on Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel, offering a variety of incentives to rebook.
Meanwhile, the redesign and subsequent redeployment of the Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel translates to more options, space and onboard amenities for travelers, according to Crystal, as the they will be increased in size from 110 meters to 135 meters, the maximum size permissible on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. The increased length allows for the addition of a swimming pool with a sliding glass roof and more larger suites, which range in size up to 759 square feet.
The new design places the ships as part of the line’s 106-guest Rhine-class series currently comprising the Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler, which are due to enter service June 18 and August 29, 2017, respectively. The Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel will be set for maiden voyages in April, 2018 and May, 2018 respectively with detailed itineraries to be announced shortly.
All four luxury river vessels will offer such amenities as butler service for every suite, plush king-sized beds that face toward the Panoramic Balcony-Windows, walk-in closets, dual vanity in the bathrooms, ETRO robes and slippers, wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs, and Nespresso machines. Additional features include multiple eateries: the Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro cafés and the Vintage Room; Cove Bar and Palm Court.