Why You Will Want To Cruise In The Ultra-Luxury River Cruiser Crystal Debussy

On Tuesday, four cruise agents from the UK, including a representative from Culture Cruises, flew to Amsterdam to inspect the latest Crystal River cruise vessel, Crystal Debussy, and enjoy a leisurely lunch. As you will see from our photos it was a sunny day. Below is the Palm Court, the main lounge of the Crystal Debussy and her three sister ships. The Palm Court, which can accommodate all 106 guests at the same time, is outfitted with skylights on both sides, allowing daylight to brighten the whole room. This lounge also boasts a full-size Steinway grand piano.


    This view shows the Palm Court’s dance floor and the bar at the after end

One way to assess this ship might be to read the email I sent my co-director when asked what it was like: “An excellent product. Full size but only 106 passengers. Best river value about £5,000 per person for 16 days Amsterdam to Budapest on Crystal Mahler. Very well managed kitchen and menus. Had the edamame beans, river trout and Dutch lamb stew. Typical American upmarket customers . The crew are 100% Crystal – no agencies, no franchises, no sub-contracted staff – they had trouble with the last of the ‘hired in’ staff creating the wrong mood.”

  This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cd-pool-and-spa-kevin-griffin-photo-1.jpg               Crystal Debussy has a counter-current swimming pool

Unusual for river craft, the Crystal Debussy and sisters have a swimming pool, as well as spacious spa and gym. The pool is a counter-current swimming pool so you can swim to your heart’s content.

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The midships Bistro has windows both sides for views of the river and its shores, not to mention the ship traffic. As well as a daytime haunt, the Bistro becomes a Tapas bar for informal dinners, reservations required . 

Finally, the accommodations are all large, on a ship with lots of space. Below are the lounge and bedoom of a Category C Suite. Other rooms have convertable balconies with outward-facing beds from which to enjoy the passing river views.

Thus you can wake each day to enchanting panoramic views aboard this elegant all-suite ship with river cruising’s largest standard accommodations. And enjoy award-winning service, farm-to-table cuisine and enriching discovery bridging ship and shore.

With the highest staff-to-guest ratio among all European river lines, and professionals chosen for thire expertise and friendly demeanour, Crystal’s genuine hospitality sets the stage for a journey beyond compare.

This is a place where luxury is comfortable, and where supreme indulgence creates a sense of well-being. Day breaks with new views, and night falls into a dreamy slumber in your beautiful spacious suite.

Cuisine transcends mere excellence and enters the sublime. Menus of Michelin-level envy are sourced with the freshest ingredients and paired with the finest wines. Every meal is a celebration.

We will post some Crystal River offers on the weekend so keep your eye out.

Or if you want to know more in the meantime call either Kevin or Suzy at Culture Cruises on 020 7660 1450. Or email info@culture-cruises.com

The Launch of Culture Cruises … a new approach


Culture Cruises … more than just a cruise

Culture Cruises Limited is pleased to announce the arrival of a new company dealing exclusively with small ship cruising, river cruises and expedition voyages. The new firm will specialise in special interest cruises.

CULTURE CRUISES LIMITED

A new UK-based niche cruise marketing organisation opened last week when Culture Cruises Limited launched its website in London.

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Culture Cruises logo

The new company has been formed by Kevin Griffin and Suzy Cooper, two enthusiastic culture-loving travel entrepreneurs who aim to provide cruises with special interests: the sort of cruises that they would like to go on themselves. Their cruises will be designed for people who prefer to combine the superb relaxation of sea travel with interesting themes, fascinating lectures and superb shore visits.

This sense of purpose, in splendid combination with the unique R&R that a cruise can provide, makes the whole experience more exciting and rewarding for those who want more than just a cruise.”

The new company was formed as a joint venture in September 2018 and is managed by two directors, Kevin Griffin, and Suzy Cooper, its managing director.

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Among others, Culture Cruises is working with Ponant, who are expanding from five ships to a dozen, all newbuildings. Above is Le Lapérouse of 2018 (Photo credit Philip Plisson, Ponant)

Culture Cruises will offer cruises that are equally enjoyable for individuals, couples and groups, and the company will work with only a few carefully-selected cruise operators who provide elegant ships with extremely high standards, and exhilarating itineraries.

Kevin founded The Cruise People Ltd in London in 1992, when the UK cruise market was just beginning to grow (numbering only 229,000 then compared to more than 2 million now).

He was twice chairman of the Leading Cruise Agents of the UK and now holds a minority interest in a US river cruise project, whose vessel is presently operating under charter.

Suzy was a founder member and director of online travel agency Singular Travel, which she formed in 2004. Suzy has worked as an independent tour guide, tour manager for a wine tour operating company, as cabin crew for BOAC/British Airways and is also an Art Historian.

The Singular Travel website campaigned for and provided better deals for single travellers. Still championing that cause, Suzy has now formed Culture Cruises with Kevin in order to help single travellers pay fair prices and also to enjoy the company of like-minded folk … on special interest cruises.

On the river side, Culture Cruises will be working with Ama Waterways, whose AmaKristina is seen here (AmaKristina at Vilshofen on Danube in Germany)
On the river side, Culture Cruises is working with Ama Waterways, whose AmaKristina is seen here at Vilshofen, on the Danube in Germany

Kevin and Suzy describe themselves as “entrepreneurs with a mission.” Their ultimate goal at Culture Cruises is to differentiate themselves from the rest of the cruise market by introducing cruise tours that focus mainly on cultural themes: Art and Architecture and Food and Wine, as examples.

In order to create a reputation for quality and exclusivity, they have developed a small portfolio of selected partners that operate refined ships that carry only between 100 and 540 guests each. They have agreements with Ponant, Ama Waterways and One Ocean Expeditions and are also now working with Crystal River Cruises and Hurtigruten.

Culture cruises first booking was a Northwest Passage transit with One Ocean Expeditions (The 146-berth RCGS Resolute)
Culture Cruises’ first booking was a Northwest Passage transit with One Ocean Expeditions (left, One Ocean’s 146-berth RCGS Resolute)

Culture Cruises has opened as a niche cruise agent, and although its programme has been kept under wraps until now, it has already made its first booking, a transit of the Northwest Passage with One Ocean Expeditions in August.

Now operating as agents for Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) holders, by 2020-21, the new company’s owners intend to turn the it into a fully-fledged tour operator, with its own programmes, lecturers, tour guides, etc. The company is already researching and recruiting suitable lecturers and guides.

Culture Cruises’ new website has just opened and can be found at www.culture-cruises.com while a dedicated blog is being developed at www.culture-cruises.blog.  Or feel free to Email us at info@culture-cruises.com.

For more information please call Kevin Griffin on 020 7660 1450 or 07842 576270

Crystal Accepts Fifth River Cruiser – Queen Elizabeth 2 Hotel Opens In October – Princess To Carry 200,000 From Australia In 2019/20

The Cruise Examiner for 16th April 2018

QE2 Hotel Dubai

The first phase of the former Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth 2‘s conversion into a floating hotel opens on Wednesday in Dubai

Last week saw the delivery of Crystal River Cruises’ fifth ship and fourth newbuilding in eight months, when the 106-berth Crystal Ravel was delivered in Wismar, Germany. Elsewhere, Cunard Line’s former North Atlantic liner Queen Elizabeth 2 is finally advancing towards opening this October as a floating hotel in Dubai. And Princess Cruises, with its Majestic Princess, Golden Princess, Ruby Princess and Sun Princess, prepares for a 200,000-guest season in Australia and New Zealand in 2019-20.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                              (See previous columns)

One Ocean To Acquire Hanseatic – Other Cruise News: MV Werften Delivers First Ship – TUI Discovery To Be Based At Newcastle

The Cruise Examiner for 7th August 2017

RCGS Resolute profile

One Ocean Expeditions has taken a long-term charter on the 146-berth RCGS Resolute, to enter service in November 2018

Last week, Canadian-based One Ocean Expeditions announced the acquisition of a third ship for its expedition fleet, while indicating that it would probably be doing more business in non-polar regions as well as in the Nova Scotia port of Sydney. Meanwhile, the Baltic shipyard MV Werften has delivered the first vessel under its new ownership by Genting Group of Hong Kong. The 106-berth Crystal Bach, which will cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube, will be the second ship in the Crystal River Cruises fleet, following the 154-berth Crystal Mozart on the Danube. Finally, Thomson Cruises has confirmed that it will base its 1,830-berth TUI Discovery at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2018.

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New Ships For Celestyal Cruises? – New Owners For STX? – Amadeus Picks Up Rhone Slack

The Cruise Examiner for 7th November 2016

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Is this design a protoype for two new ships for Celestyal Cruises?

This week, from a study that Knud E Hansen did of mid-size cruise ships powered by LNG (above) versus HFO come two illustrations that might be protoypes for Celestyal Cruises, who admitted a couple of months ago that they were investigating newbuildings. Meanwhile, four bidders have made offers to acquire either the shipbuilders STX or cruise ship builders STX France, or the two together. As two of the bidders are Fincantieri and Damen, speculation is that STX France, the former Chantiers de l’Atlantique, may soon acquire new owners. And on the Rhone, Amadeus looks set to pick up to some of the slack Crystal left behind when they cancelled their French river cruise plans.

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Crystal Cruises Slows Its Tempo – Dream Cruises’ First New Ship – Genting Malaysia Sells Cruise Shares To Golden Hope

The Cruise Examiner for 10th October 2016

Artist’s concept of the first Crystal Exclusive class ship, now due in 2012.

Over the past few weeks has come news that the various arms of Crystal Cruises are incurring delays or postponements in the delivery of new ships from what was originally announced. Now part of cruise operator Genting Hong Kong, Crystal shares quarters with Dream Cruises and Star Cruises in the pantheon of Genting cruise products.  Dream Cruises’ first new ship, the 3,400-berth Genting Dream, delivers in Germany this Wednesday. And out of Malaysia comes news of Golden Hope taking its interest in cruise operator Genting Hong Kong up to 64%.

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Twenty-Five Years Of Cruise Line Branding – Genting’s World – Royal Caribbean Sells 51% Of Pullmantur – Two Orders For Vard

The Cruise Examiner for 16th May 2016

HAL the new

Holland America cleaned up its logo, changed its fonts and updated its tagline

This week we have a look at cruise line brands. Brands are supposed to differentiate products but with so many multiple and sub-brands these days, we wonder if they also serve to confuse. The branding of cruise lines did not really start in earnest until Carnival and Royal Caribbean started acquiring other cruise lines but has nevertheless been rampant now for a quarter century. Meanwhile, Genting Hong Kong last week confirmed an order for two 5,000-berth “Global” class ships (below) for Star Cruises in addition to its orders for Crystal Cruises and Dream Cruises, with the latter set to accept its first ship later this year. In a counter-move to the many acquisitions of recent years, Royal Caribbean last week announced that it was divesting itself of 51% of Pullmantur Cruises in Spain, but remaining as owner of its ships. And Fincantieri’s Italian subsidiary Vard announced orders for two more expedition ships from unidentified owners.

Star Cruises newbuildings

Star Cruises’ 5,000-berth “Global” class ships will echo NCL’s original side-by-side funnel arrangements

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                          (See previous columns)