We talk to Helen Beck, VP international sales & marketing, Crystal Cruises, about ship upgrades, world-class cuisine and the true definition of luxury

We are very excited about the Evolution of Luxury upgrades which took place on Crystal Symphony last year and which we roll out on Crystal Serenity in November this year. We listened to the views of our key stakeholders and guests and the main feedback was requests for additional suites, for us to implement an open seating dining concept and to upgrade our WiFi offering. In order to accommodate the 40 new Seabreeze Suites, we reduced our capacity, and we’ll do the same on Serenity later this year. The new accommodation boasts the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites, while Seabreeze Penthouses are paired by shared entryways. Upon completion of Crystal Symphony’s dry dock, all guests now enjoy unlimited complimentary WiFi.

Our world-class culinary experience also enjoyed an evolution, with a new open seating concept, allowing guests to dine at their leisure.While the design and menu of global selections have evolved, the classic elegance, Michelin-level cuisine and superlative service remain.Waterside has emerged in place of the former Crystal Dining Room, reflecting the chic decor and sophisticated ambiance found in the restaurants aboard Crystal River Cruises. Moving into the former Lido Cafe space are Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. both featuring an open kitchen concept with dishes to order. Marketplace continues to serve buffet-style breakfast and lunch options, and converts into Churrascaria, a casual dinner venue serving Brazilian­ inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled meats presented by “gauchos” on sword-like skewers. Silk Kitchen & Bar offers full-service modern Chinese-inspired fare with family­ style plates ideal for sharing. Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the speciality dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, have been rebranded as Umi Uma & Sushi Bar. The venue serves the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and remains the only Nobu restaurant at sea.

Our new river ships accommodate just 106 guests served by a crew of 68, giving us the highest crew-to-guest ratio of any European river company. All of our suites are above the water line with panoramic balcony windows and feature a king-sized bed, with most suites also enjoying a walk-in closet and double sink vanities. As with our Ocean ships, we offer open dining for our guests, with ourWaterside restaurant menu featuring a range of international and regional dishes from wherever we are sailing.We have spacious, luxurious motor coaches which we use for our complimentary airport transfers as well as for the Crystal Complimentary Adventures.

We cut the first piece of steel for Crystal Endeavor earlier this year. Set to debut in 2020, Crystal Endeavor will be the largest, most spacious purpose-built Polar Class ship, featuring Crystal’s celebrated service and hospitality, all-suite, butler-serviced accommodations, and unmatched choices in the world’s most remote destinations.

There are many factors contributing to the success of Crystal Esprit, including the elegant yet casual on-board atmosphere, the high crew-to-guest ratio, our amazing Michelin-inspired cuisine, the availability of water toys from our high-tech marina or the choice of complimentary shore excursions.

Our guests are loving their time on board Esprit. whether it is sailing with us in the Adriatic or theWest Indies.

In 2019, we are very proud to offer 65 worldwide ocean voyages. Crystal Serenity starts the year off with a world cruise from Hawaii and Australia to the wilds of Africa before finishing in Monte Carlo, followed by an expanded Mediterranean and Northern Europe season. Crystal Symphony explores the east coast of South America, visiting destinations such as Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires before sailing via New Zealand and Australia to Asia. We are introducing some new Far East routes as well as a fascinating itinerary exploring Japan, then on to Petropavlovsk and crossing the International Dateline en route to Alaska.

Crystal River Cruises continues to offer the best in European river cruising, with a variety of7, 10, 11, 14 and 16-night itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube. We are delighted to introduce a brand-new 10-day ‘Enchanting Moselle’ itinerary aboard Crystal Bach, which features five new ports of call along one of the most breathtaking stretches of river in Europe.

Luxury has a multitude of meanings, but the delivery boils down to a handful of key attributes – listening, learning and anticipating. I love hearing guests relate how their bartender only served them once, and the next time they visited his bar he was already preparing their drink, or how the Trident Grill waiter remembers their favourite ice cream flavour from when they last sailed. Of course, if guests have sailed with us before, then we already have what we need to ensure that their suite is set up with their preferred beverages and snacks, and their butler will likely have already booked their table in one of our speciality restaurants at their preferred dining time. What luxury means to each of us is definitely individual, and I am proud to say that Crystal has redefined the way the world views luxury travel.