|Crystal Cruises’ Symphony (pictured) hosted the line’s Annual Sales Achievement Awards Gala last month while the Serenity was getting a $25 million makeover.|
Along with the industry’s top-selling cruise professionals, Luxury Travel Advisor set sail May 9 aboard Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony as part of the line’s 21st Annual Sales Achievement Awards Gala. The ship sailed from San Francisco up to Alaska following the Treasures of Tlingit itinerary.
As was expected of Crystal, the event was elegant, informative and flawless (naturally!). According to Jim Taylor, vice chairman of the Harrison Group, luxury travelers’ wallets are now open and they are ready to spend. Vacation travel is up 14 percent from 2009 in the affluent market (the top 10 percent of U.S. households), according to the 2011 Survey of Affluence and Wealth, a study that the Harrison Group conducts in conjunction with American Express. In fact, 35 percent of the market is looking forward to spending more money this year, and there is a 9 percent increase in travel spending in 2011 overall.
On targeting potential VIP cruise clients, the survey showed that 44 percent have been on a cruise, 20 percent have not been on a cruise and want to, 22 percent have not been on a cruise and have no intention to do so, and 14 percent have cruised but will not again. Translation: 64 percent of the luxury market is a future cruiser and Crystal Cruises is working hard to position itself to be the No.1 choice of this market.
So what is in store for the ultra-luxe line? Crystal is rolling out a brand-new referral program that is sure to further line your pockets.
Known as Crystal Referral Rewards, every Crystal Society member will receive three certificates to offer to new-to-Crystal guests. Upon sailing, the new-to-Crystal guests will receive $250 per person, while the Crystal Society member who referred them will receive $1,000 per person (in cash!). The certificates are good for a maximum of two people for all sailings through the end of April 2012.
Also on tap: Crystal Cruises will have a total of 60 overnights in 2011 and 109 in 2012. There will be 35 turnaround ports this year, with 63 in 2012; 16 embarkation overnights in 2011, with 28 in 2012; and 19 disembarkation nights in 2011, with 35 in 2012.
Luxe Lift: While on site, we had heard that Crystal Serenity was in dry dock in Hamburg, Germany, undergoing a $25 million redesign of its Penthouses and Penthouse Suites, retail areas, shops, pool area and more. We got a glimpse of it from some renderings and we could not be more excited (think W Hotel’s sexy-chic vibe with chocolate browns, creams and pale blues).
According to Crystal Cruises’ President Gregg Michel, 60 percent of Crystal’s guests selected the company based on reputation alone, and these new offerings were designed in the spirit of maintaining such a high standard.
Sneak Peek: Crystal will offer a 74-night roundtrip Miami cruise that sails fully around South America. There will also be an Australasia itinerary from Auckland, New Zealand, to Los Angeles.