Crystal Cruises Hosts Agents, Announces Plans

Crystal Cruises has not yet inked a new deal to build a new ship, although it is still designing the new vessel behind the scenes. Gregg Michel, president of the luxury cruise line, which operates the Serenity and the Symphony, gave the news to his top-producing travel agents on the Crystal Serenity this week. Crystal is hosting its annual top-producers' gala on an itinerary that runs from Athens to Rome.

"We don't have a new ship to announce; we have a real challenge with the euro/dollar exchange rate right now," he told the 91 agents in attendance. "We don't want to make a bad deal. Crystal's owners have spoken to the shipyards and I have spoken to the shipyards. It's a matter of doing the right thing at the right time."

Michel says that Crystal has invested nearly $40 million over 24 months in its existing ships. The Serenity in November will have its Crystal Cove and Plaza lobby area redesigned and a new bar will replace the old. New decor will line the fifth- and sixth-floor walkways that lead to staterooms, and perhaps most importantly, 12 AA category staterooms will be turned into eight Penthouse Suites. These premium accommodations will be able to connect to existing staterooms. This latter piece of news drew applause from the travel agents in attendance, who, as a group, had generated $119 million in reveue for Crystal in 2007. That number is up from $91 million in 2006.

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