The luxury cruise brand Crystal Cruises, part of Genting Hong Kong group, decided to retain its existing two vessels. Los Angeles based Crystal plans a growth programme, expected to transform it to a lifestyle company, according to company officials.

Crystal invested so much in upgrades of its Crystal Symphony, built in 1995, and the 2003 Crystal Serenity that selling both ships was not an option, according to Claudius Dockekal, vp deployment. On Monday, August 17, he said onboard Crystal Symphony that the introduction of Crystal series of 100,000 GT newbuildings that would accommodate 1,000 passengers each, would create an upper echelon for Crystal's ocean operation.

The new vessels, built in Germany at Lloyd Werft, will have larger staterooms than those on the existing ships and will offer one crew member for each guest, according to Paul M. Garcia, PR director at Crystal Cruises. He also said that the all suite accommodation would feature higher ceilings (8.2 feet), to add to the luxury and spaciousness feeling.

Crystal's expansion in river cruising (building currently two river yachts), comes after a huge growth in the demand for cruising in the inland waterways of Western Europe, Dockekal said. The ability of port facilities to accommodate an increasing number of river ships is a major concern. Cruise operators rush the ships from one port to another, but this is not to be Crystal's approach: its yachts will offer extended periods in call ports to allow travelers to immerse themselves with destinations.

Celebrity Esprit (former MegaStar Taurus), will be converted into a 62-guest yacht in order to launch Crystal Yacht Cruises. The Esprit will be also operated on the charter cruise market as groups of well-off vacationers could charter it for private use.

Crystal will also introduce a passenger jet Boeing Dreamliner, which will be operated on around-the-world trips. The itineraries will be designed so that a visit to a destination to coincide with a major event. The plane will be managed by a third party and marketed by the company itself under Crystal brand.

Crystal's new ocean ships will also feature up to 48 private residences. The actual number will depend on the demand, which also decides the size of the apartments that will be built. This section, together with a restaurant and other facilities, will occupy an entire ship's deck. The residence customers will be able to access other facilities onboard.