All of the former Crystal Cruises’ ships have now found new homes. The original cruise line is no more, but those who love the ships can still sail aboard favorite river, ocean, expedition and yacht vessels with their new lines.
In some cases, their new owners even managed to bring back their original crew so your next cruise… will feel like coming home.
Ocean Ships – Re-launching Summer, 2023
The original and legendary former Crystal ocean ships sail again beginning in the summer of 2023. Both the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity were bought by the A & K Travel Group, which also owns Abercrombie & Kent luxury tour company.
It also bought the name of the former line, so you’ll be able to sail on a Crystal Cruise again – on the oceans, at least.
Crystal Serenity re-launches at the end of July, 2023, following a refit that includes updated and larger suites with artisanal finishes, resulting in fewer guests than before, refreshed specialty dining venues, pickleball and a completely new spa. Her renowned service, butlers, and top staff-to-guest ratios remain the same.
(Image: Lynn Elmhirst)
Following her July 31st debut cruise from Marseille, Crystal Serenity will spend the rest of the summer in the Mediterranean before repositioning to North America in September for Canadian and Caribbean sailings for the remainder of 2023. The ship will also host the new Crystal Cruises’ 2024 World Cruise.
Crystal Symphony is scheduled to resume sailing September 1, 2023 from Athens.
River Ships – Re-launched Beginning Spring 2023
The five Crystal river ships were the last ones to find a new home, but they have already begun sailing again.
A new cruise line, Riverside Luxury Cruises, launched by a well-established German hospitality company, bought all five of these jewel-box river ships, and even located and hired back many of their former crew members to set them sailing again on the rivers of Europe.
The 154-guest Mozart (pictured here and top) started sailing on the Danube in the spring of 2023 in the style to which its previous guests have become accustomed, with a suite to crew ratio of 1:1.
And the 106-guest Ravel debuts on France’s Rhone late summer 2023 – an all-new river for these former Crystal river ships, so it’s a completely new experience even for fans who sailed on all of them before.
The three remaining ships: Bach, Mahler, and Debussy, will resume sailing in the coming seasons on itineraries that have yet to be revealed.
And although the new parent company is German, like other Europe-based cruise lines, they opened North American offices to serve U.S. and Canadian river cruise travelers through their travel agents.
Expedition Ship – Sailing
The brand-new Crystal Endeavor was quickly snapped up by Silversea, which removed the ship’s sub and helicopter expedition capabilities, adding suites and public spaces, before re-christening the ultra-luxury expedition ship the Silver Endeavour in Antarctica in late 2022.
Building on the extended polar season announced for Silver Endeavour for 2023/2024, Silversea Cruises recently unveiled 27 new voyages for the vessel, calling in more than 125 remote destinations between summer 2024 and winter 2024/2025. With sailings ranging from six to 21 days, the new sailings include voyages to the British Isles and Iceland, the Arctic, and Antarctica.
Yacht – Sailing
Crystal Esprit, the 48-guest yacht, was bought by Lindblad Expeditions and renamed National Geographic Islander II.
Lindblad refitted its newest ship and dedicated it to Galapagos Islands itineraries year round, where it began sailing in late summer 2022. The all-suite, luxury small ship has a 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio and 5 expedition staff on board.
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By: Lynn Elmhirst, cruise/ travel journalist and expert.
Images courtesy of their respective cruise lines unless otherwise indicated.
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