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4 hours ago, Whipsnade said:

Don’t even think it, Tillie. Every airport has wheelchairs and Symphony bell boys will happily wheel you from ship to shore in every port. We did it today in Singapore. Gets easier as you get older as long as you accept it. 

 

Thanks for your thoughts, Whipsnade. "As long as you accept it" is the key. I've been too independent for too long, lived alone for 55 years this month, to be that dependent on others, at least not until maybe I have to move to "the home"! 

 

Patty

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Re new ships - typical Crystal (that we LOVE) but never in  our lifetime, which is getting shorter! We'll never see the new ships but would be happy to sail on the "old ships"!

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It was tough for us to ask for wheelchairs. Still reluctant. But it adds a lot to our lives and find folks everywhere more than willing  to help. 
No “home” for us. We find ship best place for us. Spending about 100 days a year now on ships and planning to increase that to 120 next year. Actually cheaper than a good “home”. 

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14 hours ago, skybluewaters said:

 

I, too, love the old Crystal ships, but can Crystal survive without new ships?

 

Given the extended time it takes from conception to delivery of a new ship, I think Crystal's best hope is to purchase existing luxury ships from another cruise line...or merge with Seabourn.

 

Carnival, which owns Seabourn, has immense debt and has already sold off one of Seabourn's ships.  Perhaps it would be in both Crystal's and Carnival's best interests for A&K to acquire Seabourn.

 

 

I'm not sure Seabourn's ships would be a good fit with Crystal as most are too small. Only 2 are 600 passengers and those two are now 6 and 8 years old. Crystal would not be Crystal unless they have ships at least 600 passengers. 

 

Patty

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1 hour ago, Texas Tillie said:

Crystal would not be Crystal unless they have ships at least 600 passengers. 


There’s capacity - and then there’s actual number of guests….

 

Sure 600 would be nice but Crystal is Crystal with significantly lower guest numbers than 600 

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2 hours ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

I'm not sure Seabourn's ships would be a good fit with Crystal as most are too small. Only 2 are 600 passengers and those two are now 6 and 8 years old. Crystal would not be Crystal unless they have ships at least 600 passengers. 

 

Patty

Yes but they have two new modern Expedition ships and who knows what Carnival will do with the small ships which are $$$ to operate (Odyssey is the first to go)

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:


There’s capacity - and then there’s actual number of guests….

 

Sure 600 would be nice but Crystal is Crystal with significantly lower guest numbers than 600 

 My point was with a much lower capacity, Crystal would not be able to offer the same level of entertainment or enrichment and the ships would not have the same number of venues that offer the variety Crystal cruisers expect. This has nothing to do with the passenger load from cruise to cruise. And, no, I'm not under the illusion that if the passenger load doesn't average around 75% capacity down the line, Crystal's long term viability might be in question.

 

Patty

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Another interesting topic but given that Crystal announced that it is their intent to build two types of ships (hopefully two of each) makes no sense to buy existing ships.  


So it's nice the someone offered the opinion that given lead times they should buy existing ships but I hope that will not be the case. I would rather it take longer but that Crystal can come out with ships built with current technology and planned from the start to be ones that have the Crystal look and feel.  

 

In the meantime, we are very happy to sail on both Symphony and Serenity and that is our plan until we have new ships to look forward to. And remember, it's not all ocean vessels but it was mentioned two of the four they hope to build would be expedition.  

 

Keith

 

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  • 2 months later...

@Noggins -- Not bumping this thread, but over here we can continue the discussion of the details disclosed on the new ships from the Las Palmas to Miami thread, without further hijacking that thread. 🙂  (Hijacking threads is my subconscious obsession, I fear.)

 

Vince

 

 

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5 minutes ago, BWIVince said:

@Noggins -- Not bumping this thread, but over here we can continue the discussion of the details disclosed on the new ships from the Las Palmas to Miami thread, without further hijacking that thread. 🙂  (Hijacking threads is my subconscious obsession, I fear.)

 

Vince

 

 

Hey, well done - just what I had in mind! Thanks Vince.

 

What it had me thinking is just what is the essence of Crystal? Clearly the occupants of the non veranda rooms have always been a significant proportion of the guest make-up (someone - probably Vince - will know just what proportion!). I don't believe I've ever read anyone comment that Crystal would be so much finer without the peasant class from the ship's bowels (otherwise known as deck 7). Which must mean that amongst us all, we the guests, that mix of people from different backgrounds, different economic situations all appreciate that which Crystal offers and represents and we meld well together (by and large).

Strip away that significant layer of Crystal's guests means replacing them with different people. Well now, just pop over to the Explora Journey board and see just what level of discussion / dismay / puzzlement  there is about EJ's attempt to find the new clientele essential to their future existence. It's enough to strike fear in the heart of anyone who has loved Crystal!

 

But I'm not a Luddite (sorry if you have to look that up) and recognise life moves on, the future is not all bad, change can be good etc etc. But let's just hope 'they' find a new recipe for the 'special sauce' that is what has made Crystal special and the best. And if they do let's hope no-one gets left behind from experiencing the new ship(s) - if they want to.

 

Adrian 

 

 

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I really doubt new Crystal will abandon Deck 7 and some smaller cabins in new ships. There are quite a lot of folks, especially singles who lust after these accommodations. If I became single in my dotage I might try one myself. Why in the world would I need a Sapphire if I were ninety and alone? Certainly I would want all the things Crystal offers (and am happy to pay for) forever. Methinks D’vidio and Kent are quite savvy enough to know this.
I sure hope they don’t go the Explora route and try to build ships that they think  appeals to 40 and 50 somethings. Those folks are not the market Explora thinks. Their model is doomed to failure for a variety of reasons. There is still a HUGE market (and growing) in 6o, 70,80 and 90 year olds who have the money and time for a Crystal product. 

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29 minutes ago, Noggins said:

Hey, well done - just what I had in mind! Thanks Vince.

 

What it had me thinking is just what is the essence of Crystal? Clearly the occupants of the non veranda rooms have always been a significant proportion of the guest make-up (someone - probably Vince - will know just what proportion!). I don't believe I've ever read anyone comment that Crystal would be so much finer without the peasant class from the ship's bowels (otherwise known as deck 7). Which must mean that amongst us all, we the guests, that mix of people from different backgrounds, different economic situations all appreciate that which Crystal offers and represents and we meld well together (by and large).

Strip away that significant layer of Crystal's guests means replacing them with different people. Well now, just pop over to the Explora Journey board and see just what level of discussion / dismay / puzzlement  there is about EJ's attempt to find the new clientele essential to their future existence. It's enough to strike fear in the heart of anyone who has loved Crystal!

 

But I'm not a Luddite (sorry if you have to look that up) and recognise life moves on, the future is not all bad, change can be good etc etc. But let's just hope 'they' find a new recipe for the 'special sauce' that is what has made Crystal special and the best. And if they do let's hope no-one gets left behind from experiencing the new ship(s) - if they want to.

 

Adrian 

 

 

 

I appreciate you posting that, because I've never really looked at it that way.  I think all of Crystals owners have been relatively sensitive to this factor, and that's the reason none of the ocean ships (even A&K's new builds, if they follow the announced plan) have evolved more than one step...  (Inside > Lifeboat Obstructed > Outside Window > and now Veranda).  I think the prior owners have all been trying to fix the problem (more on that in a sec), but do it in a way that alienates as few of the customer base as possible in the process.

 

At its root though, is a very serious problem.  Crystal's original sin (to the extent it has one) is that NYK changed the concept for Crystal from upper-premium to luxury way too late to change the general arrangement of the ship.   They were able to make a lot of product changes to accommodate the new concept, but there are certain things you can't just change without adding months to construction and tens of millions of dollars in cost.  With Harmony well underway, they were still stuck with things like two-seating dining and a stateroom mix (and stateroom dimensions) of an upper-premium ship.

 

While that creates a marketing challenge on the front end (you'll love stepping into the tub to open the bathroom door -- helps you get your steps in for the day!), it also creates a revenue challenge on the back end.  There's only so much you can get for an indoor room, or a lifeboat-obstructed room, or ANY room that's significantly smaller than your competitors.  This has always hindered Crystal's potential to be profitable, and something the subsequent management teams have tried to chip away at.  

 

When Symphony was designed, Crystal's concept was pretty well locked in as "the amenities of an upper-premium ship with the soft product of a luxury line" -- trying to put the best spin on what they had to work with.  Seeing as how they needed Harmony for the foreseeable future, and they needed a similar ship and not a contrasting one, they tried to keep the stateroom dimensions similar and fix the big problems -- but also raise the average per diems by eliminating the lowest per diem rooms and better match the maturing luxury segment.  They went through a similar exercise with Serenity -- the tonnage was a big enough jump to add a few square feet to each stateroom, but not enough to dramatically change the design (which still was supposed to compliment the other two, at least when designed).  They tried to again chip away at the revenue gap by adjusting the mix and eliminate the lowest per diem rooms (higher ratio of suites, which were easier to sell, and no "distressed" rooms).  This also doesn't happen in a vacuum -- demand for suites and veranda rooms is soaring during this time, and luxury passengers who are looking for lower end rooms isn't growing as quickly.

 

To me, at least on preliminary info, it feels like A&K is following the same formula as all the management teams before them.  (IIRC, Genting was looking at the same 1 category jump, with a tweak to the mix, but we didn't much much more detail about the minimum staterooms than that.)

 

I don't know of that change is big enough to dramatically change the feel of the customer base...  I think history would say no, and they seem to be as sensitive to dramatic shifts and the challenge that creates as any of the other items, but that's just how I read it when I look at it through this lens.  

 

(Sorry it took so much typing to get there, but I feel like it needed all that perspective to show it's kind of a status quo evolution for Crystal.)

 

Vince

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I am not sure how this is going to play out but until we know all the details something to think about.

 

New Crystal has kept so much of old Crystal while trying to layer on top of this new enhancements.  And they have shown they do listen and have made adjustments along the way.


Even with Osteria and Waterside the brought back some items that people enjoyed in Prego and while some of the items aren't served each night other than what they added to Osteria some are available on occasion in Waterside.

 

They did away with the casino on each ship only to bring back a casino.  It might be smaller but they listened.

 

They first implied no promenade deck or at least didn't convey that there would be one. They had me take a poll and the results were overwhelmingly in support of one. While not a full wrap-around this one should still be great. (NOTE: There are times we don't go full around due to high winds at the bow or the smell of cigarettes).  


The good news is they had a real good feel of what customers desire as they have been doing the design of the vessel and they also have a good feel for this from a sales/marketing perspective too.

 

So with absolutely no inside information I would not rule out a new ship that has rooms without verandahs to offer pricing.

 

As to overall pricing my experience not only with Crystal but on other cruise lines was newer ships have higher pricing than older ships. When old Crystal had three ships the lower of the cruise fares was on Harmony, somewhat higher on Symphony, with Serenity having the highest of the fares across the three ships.

 

Newness of the ships was a factor as was size of the guest rooms, location (eg., those interior rooms on Harmony) and rooms whose views were blocked such as by lifeboats.

 

And then we all know that putting pricing aside that guests had and have their favorite ships and in a lot of ways the crew does too.

 

I remember when Serenity came out some were very critical of it. I remember comments about the color scheme, size and even comments about the service.

 

For me when people ask what is your favorite ship or cruise my reaction is usually the one we're on this minute.

 

So happy that we are discussing Crystal whether new or old because it was not long ago when some said it wasn't coming back and then when it was announced that the vessels would be bought that new Crystal would not be anywhere's like old Crystal.

 

It's fun to speculate but best to see what happens, first when the design is released and at some point when the itineraries and cruise fares are released. I would not panic when both happen and yes the first year or at least first few voyages may have a high per diem. That happens often. Yes, supply versus demand.

 

Finally, new Crystal has gone out of their way IMHO to make the existing customer base happy while also attracting new guests to the fold.  Again, think of the changes they announced since the ships began sailing and things like the Crystal Society Program. For the latter they didn't make major changes.  

 

Keith

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7 hours ago, BWIVince said:

 

I appreciate you posting that, because I've never really looked at it that way.  I think all of Crystals owners have been relatively sensitive to this factor, and that's the reason none of the ocean ships (even A&K's new builds, if they follow the announced plan) have evolved more than one step...  (Inside > Lifeboat Obstructed > Outside Window > and now Veranda).  I think the prior owners have all been trying to fix the problem (more on that in a sec), but do it in a way that alienates as few of the customer base as possible in the process.

 

At its root though, is a very serious problem.  Crystal's original sin (to the extent it has one) is that NYK changed the concept for Crystal from upper-premium to luxury way too late to change the general arrangement of the ship.   They were able to make a lot of product changes to accommodate the new concept, but there are certain things you can't just change without adding months to construction and tens of millions of dollars in cost.  With Harmony well underway, they were still stuck with things like two-seating dining and a stateroom mix (and stateroom dimensions) of an upper-premium ship.

 

While that creates a marketing challenge on the front end (you'll love stepping into the tub to open the bathroom door -- helps you get your steps in for the day!), it also creates a revenue challenge on the back end.  There's only so much you can get for an indoor room, or a lifeboat-obstructed room, or ANY room that's significantly smaller than your competitors.  This has always hindered Crystal's potential to be profitable, and something the subsequent management teams have tried to chip away at.  

 

When Symphony was designed, Crystal's concept was pretty well locked in as "the amenities of an upper-premium ship with the soft product of a luxury line" -- trying to put the best spin on what they had to work with.  Seeing as how they needed Harmony for the foreseeable future, and they needed a similar ship and not a contrasting one, they tried to keep the stateroom dimensions similar and fix the big problems -- but also raise the average per diems by eliminating the lowest per diem rooms and better match the maturing luxury segment.  They went through a similar exercise with Serenity -- the tonnage was a big enough jump to add a few square feet to each stateroom, but not enough to dramatically change the design (which still was supposed to compliment the other two, at least when designed).  They tried to again chip away at the revenue gap by adjusting the mix and eliminate the lowest per diem rooms (higher ratio of suites, which were easier to sell, and no "distressed" rooms).  This also doesn't happen in a vacuum -- demand for suites and veranda rooms is soaring during this time, and luxury passengers who are looking for lower end rooms isn't growing as quickly.

 

To me, at least on preliminary info, it feels like A&K is following the same formula as all the management teams before them.  (IIRC, Genting was looking at the same 1 category jump, with a tweak to the mix, but we didn't much much more detail about the minimum staterooms than that.)

 

I don't know of that change is big enough to dramatically change the feel of the customer base...  I think history would say no, and they seem to be as sensitive to dramatic shifts and the challenge that creates as any of the other items, but that's just how I read it when I look at it through this lens.  

 

(Sorry it took so much typing to get there, but I feel like it needed all that perspective to show it's kind of a status quo evolution for Crystal.)

 

Vince

So much more historical context than I could ever muster - and more erudite too, come to that. Thanks for your thoughts, Vince.

But it's always fun to speculate and try to put yourself in the shoes of the decision makers.

Personally I struggle to get over the fact that A&K pre Crystal was not marketing to the 'ocean view ' market. They were firmly focused on the deep pocketed 'sapphire suite and above' market.

What we have seen so far is how adroit they can be with making work their initial purchase. What we will soon be seeing is what they actually aspire to. Having experienced EJ I felt that their amazing hardware (or something  like it) would definitely work for Crystal. But there weren't any ocean view rooms....

TWT

(Special abbreviation, just for the Crystal board - we could become known as the TWT's - Time Will Tell....)

 

Adrian 

 

 

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With regard to affordability going forwards, the number of berths to be filled in the luxury cruising sector seems to be increasing rapidly. Explora's entry, with a new ship each year, the increased vessel count on other lines and the retirement of old ships with newer larger ones all lead to a greatly increased supply. Will this put a brake on per diems, result in greater discounting, etc and kenner net pricing? By way of example, initially Explora stated they would never discount but that didn't last long at all. Their loadings are generally pretty poor and they seem to be bumping up numbers with loads of comped  TAs and influencers. And that's with just the one ship !! Fingers crossed that prices will adjust...TWT(🤩).

 

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Explora is a flash in the pan. They can’t fill one ship with even discounted paying passengers. How are they going to fill six? Not that many TAs and influencers in the world. Now that baby boomers with fat 401s are retiring there is plenty of money be spent by new seniors. The only real luxury ships are A&K Crystal. If they stuck to that they will have this end if the market all to themselves. 

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22 minutes ago, Whipsnade said:

 The only real luxury ships are A&K Crystal. If they stuck to that they will have this end if the market all to themselves. 

The statement was made that Crystal/AK wanted to be positioned two levels above the rest.  Bold statement but indicates their commitment.

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32 minutes ago, TRIPACIAN said:

The Symphony is qualified to be in the US and is scheduled to be in the US in 2026.  This was discussed in our Q & A session.

 

Great news…thanks

 

Nancy

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4 hours ago, TRIPACIAN said:

The statement was made that Crystal/AK wanted to be positioned two levels above the rest.  Bold statement but indicates their commitment.

Now that is quite an aspiration. And it necessitates some pretty high per diems. Deck 7 personnel need to hope that there are some racy introductory fares. Hoping that market saturation will force fares down, Colin, is good to a point - but not to the point where lines start to go under. And we don't want anything resembling that again!

And to Whipsnade's point, there is nothing too much wrong with the Explora Journey product and I would not be too quick to write them off. I'm sure it takes a while a carve out a slice of the market - especially if you are also trying to create a new market. Crystal will be having to do something very similar by the sound of it.

 

TWT

 

Adrian

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Interesting contributions in this thread. Being an economist, I am price sensitive and I do not find that any company has such a level of perfection that I would pay any price to sail with them. There are limits to how much champagne and wine I can drink. And the food on the ships even though, it might be very good it cannot really compete with the one prepared at restaurants on land. Cruising is an option for me, not the only activity which I enjoy doing, even thought I cruise at least four times per year. But I can drink better champagne and wines and access excellent restaurants on land, so I do not need to cruise for that. I cruise because I like to navigate and to get to different destinations in a comfortable way. I cruise on Crystal ships on deck seven because that is the per diem I am willing to pay. Of course it would be lovely for me to cruise in the penthouse suite or whatever the most expensive suite is called, but that perdiem I am not willing to pay. 
 

Ivi
 

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I have traveled on deck 7 a couple of times - many of the occupants on 7 were entertainers and lecturers.   Wonder if they will get balcony cabins or will they still keep special cabins (not available to public) for them.. 

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