CruiseWith former sales veterans back at the helm, the cruise line will be reborn next summer in the Mediterranean waters.

Crystal Cruises gears up to sparkle again in 2023

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Abercrombie & Kent Travel Group had earlier acquired the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.
Abercrombie & Kent Travel Group had earlier acquired the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. Photo Credit: Adobe/aapsky

The new Crystal Cruises expects to launch its inaugural season in the summer of 2023, likely in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, said Jack Anderson, president of the rebooted cruise line.

Anderson stopped short of specifics and said he and his team are still working on itineraries and renovation plans.

However, he said the line's two ships will be undergoing renovations in Trieste, Italy, and beginning in the Med and Northern Europe would "just seem fairly logical."

"We're not being intentionally vague. We want to make sure that when we do give dates that they're firm and they can be depended on," he said.

Looking to later in 2023 and 2024, Anderson said destinations like the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Canada-New England, Alaska, the Panama Canal and Asia have the highest demand for past and prospective luxury cruisers. "Over time, I think you can see the two ships sort of weave their way around the world and incorporate those destinations," he said.

The Crystal Symphony, built in 1995, and Crystal Serenity, built in 2003, will both undergo major renovations that will include modernizing the public spaces and staterooms, including combining staterooms into larger suites and reducing capacity. In some cases, three suites will be combined into two suites, and in others, two suites will be combined into one.

This is the first hint of what the cruise line's operations will look like since Abercrombie & Kent Travel Group announced its purchase of the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. Crystal Cruises has also became a member of CLIA.

Veterans called back into action

The rebooted Crystal Cruises has hired a trio of former sales team members, as it plans a campaign to reengage travel advisors.

The line has hired Monique Ross to be director of strategic and national accounts. She will manage relationships with consortia partners in her new position.

Ross, who is from the Tampa Bay area, worked for Crystal Cruises for five years, most recently as director of host accounts. She held that position until Crystal folded last February. Seabourn hired her in June.

Paul Girouard, a 27-year Crystal veteran, will join the line as regional sales director for the eastern half of the U.S. He left Crystal in April of 2020 and was most recently North America's senior director of sales at Atlas Ocean Voyages.

Melissa Nightingale, who spent 10 years with Crystal, will operate as regional sales director for the western half of the country out of the San Francisco Bay area.

The line has also hired Jeff Herzfeld as director of reservations, sales support and guest relations to oversee the call center at Crystal Cruises' headquarters in South Florida. Herzfeld will also be responsible for overseeing the guest relations team. Herzfeld previously oversaw guest services at Virgin Voyages and MSC Cruises, including reservations, groups and customer service.

"Our goal is to build a sales team made up of trusted professionals who understand Crystal's brand ethos," said Jack Anderson, president of Crystal Cruises and a veteran of the brand.

Source: Travel Weekly

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