Crystal River Cruises has announced the decision to delay the deployment of two of its new river vessels in France. The river arm of Crystal Cruises had previously revealed that two purpose built river ships Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel would be ready to set sail along the Seine, Rhone and Dordogne river in France from June and August 2017 respectively. Now however the cruise line has taken the decision “to prioritize its offerings in the German/Austrian region in order to meet travellers’ demand.”
The change in deployment plans means that two of Crystal River Cruises’ planned European river vessels will require a redesign delaying their launch for a year. The itinerary changes mean that the vessels will be enlarged from ‘Paris Class’ ships to ‘Rhine Class’ ships They will be increased in size from 110 metres to 135 metres, the maximum size permissible on the Rhine, Main and Danube. The increased length affords both ships with more to include a swimming pool with a sliding glass roof as well as larger passenger accommodation with suites ranging up to 759 square feet. Crystal Ravel and Crystal Debussy will now accommodate the same number of passengers (106) as the cruise lines other new upcoming river vessels, Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler.
In order to complete the redesign, the launch dates of the vessels has been moved back a year. Crystal Debussy is now expected to enter service in April 2018, while sister ship Crystal Ravel will launch in May 2018. Detailed announcements of itineraries are expected soon. The luxury line, which draws a large proportion of passengers from the US, said the change away from France was based on passenger feedback “lauding the itineraries planned in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Amsterdam and Holland”.
As a result, “the company has elected to delay its entrance into the French river cruise market, choosing instead to prioritise its offerings in the German/Austrian region in order to meet travellers’ demand for those experiences”.
Chief Executive and President Edie Rodriguez said: “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 re-route easily.
“We are listening carefully to what travellers are telling us and have concluded that the best way to anticipate, meet and surpass their expectations is by making this move earlier rather than later.”
The line is offering a series of compensation packages to people who have booked 2017 voyages on Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel including on board credits and future cruise credits worth up to $1,000.
Passengers who have already booked 2017 trips on Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel are being given a few options:
Crystal Debussy passengers can choose one of the following: a voyage on the already-sailing Crystal Mozart voyage and $750 shipboard credit per person, plus $500 per person future cruise credit; a Crystal Bach voyage and $500 future cruise credit per person; a 2017 Crystal Esprit voyage (seven-night), plus $750 per person shipboard credit and $500 per person future cruise credit; a veranda room for a 2017 Crystal Symphony European voyage (up to 14 days) and $500 per person future cruise credit; or $1,000 per person future cruise credit to apply toward any other 2017 Crystal Experience (booked at prevailing rates).
Passengers booked on Crystal Ravel can choose from one of the following:
Crystal Mozart voyage and $500 per person future cruise credit; a 2017 Crystal Esprit voyage (seven-night), $750 per person shipboard credit, plus $500 per person future cruise credit; a veranda room for a 2017 Crystal Symphony European cruise (up to 10 days) and $500 per person future cruise credit; or $1,000 per person future cruise credit to apply toward any other 2017 Crystal Experience (booked at prevailing rates).
Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler are still expected to launch next year, on June 18 and August 29, 2017, respectively. Crystal Bach itineraries are on the Rhine and Main rivers, running between Amsterdam and Frankfurt, and Basel and Frankfurt. Crystal Mahler is sailing on the Danube, Main and Rhine, on 16-day sailings between Amsterdam and Budapest.