On lo­ca­tion aboard Crys­tal Bach

Cruise Weekly - - NEWS -

To­day’s is­sue of CW is com­ing to you cour­tesy of Crys­tal Cruises, aboard the Crys­tal Bach cur­rently cruis­ing Ger­many’s Rhine River. CRYS­TAL Cruises has pulled out all stops to cre­ate its new river ships, with our voy­age aboard Crys­tal Bach this week tak­ing us from Mainz to Basel and then back to Frank­furt.

The Rhine itin­er­ary sees us stop in Speyer, Kehl and Breisach be­fore an ex­tended stay in Basel, where the ship will dock for two nights to al­low for ex­plo­ration of the Black For­est & Switzer­land.

CRYS­TAL Cruises cre­ated its new European river cruise prod­uct as a re­sult of feed­back from mem­bers of its Crys­tal So­ci­ety loy­alty pro­gram want­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence river cruis­ing af­ter en­joy­ing the com­pany’s ocean ships - so it has been some­what of a sur­prise to see how many pax so far have been “new to Crys­tal,” ac­cord­ing to Wal­ter Lit­tle­john, md of Crys­tal River Cruises. Lit­tle­john is cruis­ing aboard

Crys­tal Bach on Ger­many’s Rhine River this week, and told CW about half of the line’s book­ings are from cus­tomers who haven’t cruised on Crys­tal’s ocean ves­sels - in­di­cat­ing the po­ten­tial to cross­sell from river into ocean as they are in­tro­duced to the brand.

Crys­tal has been de­ter­mined to em­u­late the lux­ury as­pects of its ocean prod­uct with the European river op­er­a­tion.

“We don’t want to just ‘Crys­tallise’ ex­ist­ing river cruise of­fer­ings - we are build­ing a new prod­uct from the ground up,” Lit­tle­john said.

“We don’t want to use the lim­i­ta­tions im­posed by op­er­at­ing a river ship to im­pede the ex­pe­ri­ence in any way,” he added.

Crys­tal Bach ( pic­tured), which de­buted in Aug 2017, is the same size as European river cruise ships op­er­ated by other brands, but car­ries sig­nif­i­cantly fewer pas­sen­gers and many more staff than its com­pe­ti­tion.

The ves­sel car­ries 106 guests in 53 cab­ins, served by 68 staff in­clud­ing but­lers for ev­ery suite.

Pas­sen­ger ac­com is spread across two decks - in Lit­tle­john’s words “we don’t have any swan­view cab­ins” - and ev­ery suite has a panoramic win­dow which opens to pro­vide an in­door-out­door river ex­pe­ri­ence.

There has also been a ma­jor in­vest­ment be­hind the scenes, with the new Crys­tal ships util­is­ing diesel-elec­tric propul­sion sys­tems mean­ing there is min­i­mal en­gine noise.

The gal­ley is five times the size of kitchen fa­cil­i­ties on com­peti­tor ves­sels, mean­ing Crys­tal can of­fer a full a la carte din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with all items cooked on de­mand.

Twenty-four hour room ser­vice is in­cluded, while the ves­sel also features a heated in­door pool with a “swim jet” - and a gym­na­sium and fit­ness in­struc­tor.

Cur­rently the ships carry their own speed­boats, used for some ex­cur­sions, but in 2018 these will be re­lo­cated to spe­cific lo­ca­tions on the river ready for de­ploy­ment by any of the vis­it­ing ves­sels.

One of the key rea­sons for the change is that cur­rently the speed­boats im­pede the view from the rear of the ship, and with six in to­tal across the fleet they can pro­vide su­pe­rior op­tions in all of the suit­able lo­ca­tions.

Lit­tle­john said an­other dis­tin­guish­ing fea­ture of Crys­tal was the length of its sea­son on the rivers of Europe, with the last cruise fin­ish­ing around 03 Jan.

Crys­tal cur­rently op­er­ates three river ships in Europe, with a fur­ther two to launch in 2018.

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