Tuesday Briefing: Refunds for Passengers on Modified Carnival Liberty Cruise, Crystal Updates Expansion Plans

carnival libertyA modified Carnival Liberty cruise, new updates on Crystal’s brand expansion and the latest statistics on travel to Germany are the travel industry headlines to watch this morning. 

Carnival Cruise Line Modifies Carnival Liberty Itinerary

Carnival Liberty experienced a technical malfunction that affected its sailing speed Monday, forcing Carnival Cruise Line to modify the ship’s five-night Mexico itinerary, Cruise Critic reports. While the ship will still call at Cozumel on Wednesday as was originally scheduled, Carnival has canceled the ship’s Thursday stop in Progreso

Guests booked on the ship’s October 31 cruise can cancel for a full refund, and each person who chooses to sail will get a $50 onboard credit and a 25 percent discount off a future five-night itinerary. 

Crystal Releases Update on Brand Expansion

Crystal has released a new update on the brand’s expansion across ocean cruises, river cruises and air travel. 

Prompted by the line’s research indicating strong enthusiasm for luxury adventure travel, the company has decided to rebrand its current Crystal Yacht Cruises as Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises. The new banner will encompass three new build expedition mega-yachts, including the previously announced Crystal Endeavor. The purpose-built polar class mega-yachts will navigate “first year ice” and be outfitted with submarines, helicopters, and remote operated vehicles, feature spacious Penthouses and Villas, and other amenities. The expedition ships will offer Arctic cruises and itineraries following the route of migrating whales along the coast of the Americas and Europe to Antarctica during winter. Crystal is scheduled to take delivery of Crystal Endeavor in mid-2019, with the additional two expedition vessels debuting in succession the following years.

In terms of ocean cruises, Crystal has announced it will invest heavily in enhancements to Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity in 2017 and 2018. The highlight of the refresh will be full open seating dining for guests on both ships and more suites. 

Looking further ahead to the first quarter of 2022, Crystal will introduce the first vessel in its Crystal Exclusive Class, which will offer Crystal Residences privately owned apartments and other amenities. 

Crystal’s river cruise line will introduce Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler in summer 2017, with Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel to follow in 2018 and two additional new builds after that. The first four vessels will sail itineraries along the Danube, Rhine and Main Rivers calling in destinations such as Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Amsterdam. To support the day-to-day operations of its expanding river yacht fleet, Crystal will officially open a Crystal River Cruises office in Amsterdam on November 21.

In air travel news, the company is planning to add a second Global Express Jet to its Crystal Luxury Air fleet. On the heels of announcing the maiden journey of Crystal AirCruises Boeing 777 with The Peninsula Hotels, which opens for booking on November 1, Crystal will also release on that day a selection of its 15- to 29-day all-inclusive journeys for 2017 and 2018.

The latest timeline from Crystal is as follows:

2017: Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler launch; Crystal AirCruises takes flight; Crystal Symphony enhancements and Crystal Luxury Air debuts second Global Express Jet.
2018: Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel launch; Crystal Serenity enhancements.
2019: Crystal Endeavor expedition mega-yacht launch.
2020: Second Crystal expedition mega-yacht to launch.
2021: Third Crystal expedition mega-yacht to launch.
2022: Crystal Exclusive Class™ with Crystal Residences debuts

Travel to Germany Up Through August

In Europe, the German National Tourist office has released some positive statistics for the country’s travel industry. Despite what officials describe as challenging global conditions, travel to the country is up by over 4 percent from the U.S. and 1 percent globally year over year for January through August 2016. 

“Since the beginning of this year, the difficult conditions of the world economy, sanctions, the topic of Brexit, plus the general security situation with terrorism, war and migration – have all presented challenges for tourism,” said Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the board of directors of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) in a written release. “In this context, even such a strong brand such as Destination Germany is experiencing declining trends from various source markets. This is why, for the first time after more than six years of continuous growth, the upturn in German incoming tourism has slowed down.” 

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