Crystal Cruises Takes On Air Travel & Introduces Crystal Endeavor
When you write about the cruise industry, you tend to see a lot of ship launches. You see keel-laying ceremonies, shipyard tours where the skeleton of the vessel is barely recognizable, and christening events that take place, as they have for hundreds of years, before a vessel sets out on its maiden voyage.
Rarely do we get invited to see the unveiling of an airplane – but that’s exactly what luxury line Crystal Cruises had in store for us this evening on the first day of the 2016 Seatrade Global Cruise Conference in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And ironically enough, the physical airplane became a footnote once Crystal unveiled details of its first ultra-luxury mega-yacht expedition cruise ship, Crystal Endeavor.
First, to the airplane in the hangar: Crystal had previously announced it would begin offering air service with two Boeing aircraft: a Boeing 777 and a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. But the plane sitting in the hangar at the private aviation terminal at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was a small Bombardier Global Express BD-700 Business Jet. And it’s just another prong in Crystal’s aggressive expansion plans.
With the Bombardier Business Jet, Crystal is offering guests the ability to charter their very own business jet to one of Crystal’s ocean or river cruises. Pricing starts at $8,000 USD per hour, but if you’re splitting that amongst the plane’s occupancy of six, that’s just over a thousand dollars per hour, per person – and that could be worth it for couples looking to splurge on airfare to Europe.
And you can fly to Europe. Seating just six guests in an all-luxury layout that includes a dining area and sleeping areas, Crystal’s Bombardier BD-700 Business Jet has a range of 5,200 nautical miles, or 9,360 kilometres – more than enough to reach Europe from most North American hubs. Powered by two Rolls-Royce BD700 Turbofan jet engines, she flies at a speed of 513 knots and has a service ceiling of 51,000 feet. Montreal, Canada-based Bombardier uses the same basic fuselage and wing arrangement for its commercial aircraft, the CRJ-200 and CRJ-700/900.
“The Jet”, as we’ve been referring to it all evening, enters service on April 3, 2016 for Crystal Cruises. To keep things a secret, Crystal shuttled the plane into Fort Lauderdale last night under darkness, landing just after 7:30 p.m.
Of course, in what is becoming typical Crystal fashion, the line didn’t just announce an airplane. No. Crystal President and CEO Edie Rodriguez announced the introduction of Crystal’s first luxury expedition megayacht, the Crystal Endeavor.
Debuting in August 2018, Crystal Endeavor was named after Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavor, which discovered Australia and New Zealand over 250 years ago. It’s an appropriate designation, given that Crystal Endeavor will sail to some of the world’s most remote and unexplored places, including Antarctica and the Far Arctic.
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