Crystal Harmony To Move Within The NYK Cruise Division
Crystal Cruises announces that in December 2005, following its scheduled dry-dock, Crystal Harmony will join its parent company's Japanese cruise division. Crystal Cruises, which also operates the ultra-luxury ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, announces it is developing plans to replace Crystal Harmony with a new ship. The luxury line has established a shipbuilding team and is already involved in developing new designs for the future.
"With this transfer, we have an opportunity to provide an excellent and larger ship to our sister company, meet the growing demand, and keep her in the family," says Gregg Michel, Crystal's president. "At the same time, this paves the way for new tonnage for Crystal. We will return to a three-ship operation."
Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), Crystal Cruises' parent company, will replace its cruise ship, Asuka, with Crystal Harmony, in April 2006. The luxury vessel will be renamed Asuka II, operated by its Japanese cruise division, NYK Cruises. The 940-guest, 50,000-ton Crystal Harmony is the award-winning line's first ship and has been in service since 1990.
"By contemporary standards, Crystal Harmony is better suited for the Japanese market and Crystal Cruises' product will be more consistent," adds Michel. "Crystal Harmony represents a significant asset for NYK Cruises and, at the same time, Crystal can move forward with a new generation of luxury ships."
Since Crystal Harmony's launch, the ship has garnered Six-Star ratings, awards for "World's Best Mid-Sized Cruise Ship" and numerous accolades from industry critics. As recently as fall 2002, Crystal Cruises spent millions on major design upgrades including a lavish spa and fitness facilities, to maintain the highest luxury standards. The ship's hardware has been supported by exquisite service and impeccable attention to detail, which include its rich appointments and soft goods of superior quality. Nevertheless, the line's newer ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity boast, among other features, larger bathrooms and more penthouse accommodations.
With 2,020 berths in 2006, Crystal Cruises will remain the industry's largest luxury operator. For 2006, Crystal Serenity will maintain her schedule as released, while Crystal Symphony's January-May schedule has been revised to include an additional winter Panama Canal transit, new Amazon cruises, Cape Horn and East Coast South America cruises, an Atlantic crossing and an additional 10-day May Mediterranean cruise before resuming her previously announced pattern beginning on May 18. In all, in 2006, the Crystal fleet will cruise the Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal, Amazon, South America, Baltic, British Isles, North Cape, Western Europe, Mediterranean, Canary Islands, New England/Canada and Caribbean, as well as an 11th annual World Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity that will call in Western South America, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
NYK, the largest shipping company in the world, operates more than 800 ships, including the cruise division, one of its core businesses. NYK Cruises is currently operating one ship, the 592-passenger Asuka for the Japanese market, a market that has greatly expanded with demand far exceeding supply. By shifting Crystal Harmony and refitting the ship for Japanese guests, NYK can increase capacity to meet the needs of this growing market.
"NYK's investment in the Crystal Cruises' fleet through such recent extensive refurbishments of Crystal Symphony and our plans for new tonnage demonstrates our commitment to our cruise divisions," says Koji Miyahara, president of NYK. "Cruising remains a core business for NYK."
Renowned for its quality, choices, space and service, Crystal Cruises has been a leader in the luxury cruise industry since the company's inception. Its most recent honors include an unprecedented ninth year of "World's Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" awards from the readers of Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
"Crystal Harmony was our first jewel and she made such a strong impact on the luxury travel market when she was launched," comments Michel. "We will always have fond memories of her, as will the travel community and her huge base of Crystal Society fans. I have no doubt that 2005 will be marked by a series of meaningful reunions for the repeat guests who want to enjoy Crystal Harmony's warm ambiance one more time."
For more information on Crystal Cruises, including a preview of revised 2006 itineraries, visit the luxury line's website at www.crystalcruises.com. A more complete day-by-day schedule of 2006 itineraries will be posted on April 4, 2005.
Yes - they haven't announced a new build yet, but they do say they have a team working on design for a new ship, so there will not be another ship in her place right away. It looks like they are revsing the 2006 schedule to give Symphony some of the cruise that were scheduled for Harmony.
It does appear that they will be replacing her at some point, though. Anything can happen.
I am so happy I took my first cruise ever on Harmony last Nov./Dec. Little did I know that would be the last time I would ever have the chance to sail with her. She was a wonderful ship to initiate me to the wonderful world of cruising! Thanks Harmony! We will miss you.
Well ... I think it is well known that the luxury market is a little over-crowded, but that means this is a great time to step up to luxury and experience a Crystal cruise. If they only have so many passengers booked that two ships are required that means they have spare "inventory" and that there are probably some bargains out there.
The problem with the luxury lines is that they really rely on travel agents and do not use the web as much as the mainstream lines - so it is a little harder to find the bargains. You have to call a travel agent.
We do have a "Luxury Cruising" section in CruiseMates Bargains area, I do recall seeing some great Crystal deals: