Personalizing the experience for attendees is key to Crystal Cruises ’ incentives strategy, providing groups with customization options for shore excursions, as well as food and wine pairing events and receptions.
The all-inclusive cruise line takes pride in having redefined the way the world views luxury travel with an offering that has significantly impacted the meetings and incentives market, explains Crystal Cruises ’ Director of Corporate Meetings, Incentives & Strategic Alliances, Jerilyn Giacone.
“Our incentive programs are easily tailored to individual wishes and desires. They tend to be more social in nature to show appreciation toward planners and attendees. Our team delivers the elevated level of personal attention and service that groups recognize and enjoy; a simple goal is always front and center: ensuring every attendee always feels at home.”
As the only river cruise line to include European butler service for every room category, Crystal River Cruises offers attendees a VIP experience start-to-finish. Michelin-inspired dining and nearly 200 complimentary excursions broken down into five themes—building personal connections, gastronomy, culture, adventure and customization—are the main focus.
The “Personal Connections” tour is conducted by local residents, artisans and experts, “Tantalizing Gastronomy” features a variety of dining and hands-on cooking opportunities, “Cultural Discoveries” explores landmarks, museums and architectural marvels, “Exhilarating Adventures” caters to thrill-seeking attendees, and “Design Your Time” includes concierge service that assists attendees in customizing their tours.
Groups can experience an opera performance in a historic cathedral in Belgium, a horse show and carriage ride in Hungary’s Lazar Equestrian Park, owner-hosted tastings at Germany’s Schlagkamp Winery, or a behind-the-scenes tour of Amsterdam’s greenhouses, where the famous tulips are cultivated. Each river itinerary also features Signature Events that offer rare access and musical performances in iconic landmarks such as Austria’s Belvedere Palace and St. Florian Monastery. These excursions are for 15 attendees or less and include expert guides and transportation.
“Signature Events on every voyage is a planner’s dream because we’ve curated beautiful offshore experiences at unique, sought-after venues,” says Giacone. “Outside of cruising, this scale of event would cost thousands of dollars for a planner to create and produce.” Giacone also suggests a full charter buyout that “allows companies to ‘own’ the ship and fully customize it for the company’s needs and branding.”
The Crystal Symphony was redesigned last year and now features expanded specialty dining options, an open-seat dining concept, cutting-edge tech upgrades and additional butler-serviced Penthouse accommodations. The Crystal Serenity will undergo a similar redesign this fall. Crystal River Cruises will also be expanding its fleet with the debut of the Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel this spring.
Crystal has also announced plans for Crystal Endeavor, which will launch in 2020 as the first purpose-built polar class megayacht. The ship will be able to navigate “first year ice” and will cruise the Arctic during the summer before following the route of migrating whales along the coast of America towards Antarctica for the winter. The ship will include submarines, helicopters, fishing boats, snorkel and scuba equipment, as well as penthouses, villas, a full-service spa and specialty dining venues. Two additional expedition mega yachts will follow in 2020 and 2021.