Crystal Expedition Announces Inaugural Deployment for Crystal Endeavor. ‘Luxury Iceland Expedition’ Voyages Circumnavigating Iceland and Crossing the Arctic Circle
As the first and only true luxury expedition yacht to restart cruising in the Arctic and Northern Europe, Crystal Endeavor will sail five 10-night immersive voyages circumnavigating Iceland’s most dramatically beautiful and fascinating locales beginning July 17, 2021.
The Luxury Iceland Expedition voyages will sail round-trip from the ship’s homeport of Reykjavík, affording travelers convenient air options, just six hours from New York City, three hours from London and with frequent non-stop flights from many major cities in the U.S. and Europe. Reservations for Crystal Endeavor’s Luxury Iceland Expedition journeys open April 13.
The 20,200-GRT vessel is designed to the highest standards of renowned German engineering, with a focus on the luxurious details that have earned Crystal the travel industry’s highest accolades for more than 30 years. Built at a cost of more than half a billion U.S. dollars, Crystal Endeavor will be the most spacious, fastest and most powerful expedition ship in the industry, with a Polar Class 6 (PC6) classification that enables her to sail in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
Crystal Endeavor is designed to accommodate just 200 guests with a one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio delivering the personal and genuine service for which Crystal is known. Her luxurious design features expansive personal and social spaces, with 100 gross tons per person and 10,000 cubic feet per guest for a passenger space ratio of more than 100, making her the most spacious luxury expedition ship in the industry. This spaciousness will be further enhanced as she embarks on the Luxury Iceland Expedition Iceland voyages with reduced capacity.
“As we prepare to welcome Crystal Endeavor to the Crystal fleet, we share our guests’ great anticipation of this extraordinary new ship and the journeys to come,” said Jack Anderson, Crystal’s interim president and CEO. “We know that travelers have looked forward to this thrilling new way to explore the world with Crystal and, like every Crystal ship that has come before her, Crystal Endeavor will set a new bar for luxury in her market, with onboard accommodations, amenities, spaciousness, experiences and service that are simply unmatched in the industry.”
Anderson added, “We are grateful to Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation of Iceland, and her team for their partnership and collaboration as we begin this new chapter of luxury expedition cruising. The spectacular destinations of Iceland are the ideal beginning for Crystal Endeavor’s adventures, as they embody and inspire a spirit of deep exploration, bold nature and sense of curiosity.”
State-of-the-Art Excellence in German Engineering and Luxury
Crystal Endeavor recently completed her technical sea trial in Germany, where the experts at MV WERFTEN are building the industry-leading luxury expedition ship in Stralsund, part of a family of shipyards known for their passenger ship, icebreaker and private yacht building expertise.
From bow to stern, Crystal Endeavor is designed with power, efficiency, and the environments of the world in mind. The ship’s propulsion system includes two Azipod D units and a diesel electric power plant designed specifically for ice-going vessels to help them operate at optimum efficiency while providing 13,020 kW of installed power, delivering well-balanced power and propulsion installation, giving both speed and comfort.
According to Captain Thomas Larsen, who will helm the ship: “The design and building caliber of Crystal Endeavor is outstanding. Contracted for max speed of 19.7 knots, she delivered an actual max speed of 20.5 knots during the sea trial, exceeding all performance expectations and standards with little to no vibration even during ‘crash stop’ tests. This means a comfortable, enjoyable experience for guests even in unpredictable weather conditions. With her responsive, agile maneuverability, safety and technical capabilities, this vessel is akin to driving a finely tuned German-built elite sports car such as a Porsche. Combined with the programs and features that will bring the journeys to life, Crystal Endeavor represents the pinnacle of luxury expedition cruising and I look forward to exploring the world with her and our valued guests.”
He added, “Every element of Crystal Endeavor’s design emphasizes space. Even her lifeboats and rafts are built to accommodate 600 people – 50 percent more than needed for the approximately 400 total guests and crew on board – to ensure that her safety standards reflect Crystal’s commitment to the highest caliber in the industry.”
Intensive, Enriching Expeditions
Designed to take travelers far off the beaten path of traditional cruise routes, the Luxury Iceland Expedition voyages offer intensive exploration of massive glaciers, breathtaking wildlife and stunning landscapes of the region during the season of endless daylight. Expert-led expeditions may include zodiac landings to rarely explored coastlines and treks to remote hidden locales.
Among the highlights of the itinerary are overnight stays in Reykjavík and Akureyri; a call to Grímsey Island and crossing the Arctic Circle; the unspoiled Arnarfjörður fjord, cascading Dynjandi Waterfall and famous geothermal springs of Vopnafjörđur and Seyđisfjörđur. The itinerary – which sails through peak whale migration in the region July through mid-September – also visits Patreksfjörđur, and pink- and red-sand Rauðasandur Beach; Iceland’s whale-watching capital of Húsavík; and Heimaey, home to a beluga whale sanctuary. Birder havens include “puffin paradise” Hafnarhólmi; Flatey Island, a floating nature preserve that is home to thousands of puffins, Eider ducks, Black Guillemots and Arctic Terns; Vigur and the Látrabjarg Cliffs, where thousands more puffins reside.
Guests will have the rare opportunity to stand on the Bridge Between Two Continents, which spans the Mid-Atlantic rift and connects North America with Eurasia. Two of Iceland’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites are also featured: Þingvellir National Park and sailing around volcanic Surtsey Island.
A pre- and post-cruise luxury hotel program at the Hotel Borg in Reykjavík allows guests to extend their Crystal vacation in the heart of Iceland’s captivating capital city. Located in the beautiful square of Austurvöllu and across from Althing, the Icelandic Parliament, the Hotel Borg is within walking distance from creative hubs of art, design and culture, including the city’s burgeoning music scene. History buffs will relish museums and sites dedicated to Iceland’s rich maritime and Viking past, while foodies will find innovative local fare ranging from fine cuisine to globally influenced fusion restaurants. Guests have the option of one-, two- or three-night stays, with inclusive transfers between Crystal Endeavor, the hotel and the airport and all taxes and resort fees.
Aboard the Luxury Iceland Expedition sailings and Crystal Endeavor itineraries throughout the world, expedition guides and guest experts will be on hand to offer insights into the local environments, landmarks and traditions, fostering deeper connections and appreciation for the various ecosystems and cultures of each destination. Depending on the itinerary, the expedition team onboard will include biologists, marine biologists, naturalists, historians, ornithologists, geologist, ecologists and others. All shoreside adventures are subject to conditions and the discretion of the expert guides.
Enhancing the expedition experience, a SHOTOVER gimbal camera system will be installed on the ship’s mast and operated by ship specialists can be zoomed in for closer views of wildlife and other points of interest in real time. The views will be streamed directly on the HD TVs throughout the ship, in public areas and guest suites and on the large 65-inch screens in Palm Court and 86-inch screens in the Expedition Lounge. The Cove will feature a video wall, with a massive 218-inch-wide center screen and two 145-inch-wide side screens. The camera will shoot 4K video with remote control locations in the Palm Court and in the Expedition Lounge that will offer interactive activity between the camera operator and guests.
Ocean Robotics’ Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) Aegir 50 will roam to depths of nearly 2,000 feet, capturing data and imagery that will also be broadcast across the ship. Drone footage will also be captured, offering birds-eye views of the surrounding regions.
Crystal is enticing travelers with compelling savings, reduced deposits and an extended final payment date to 60 days prior to first date of service, as well as other incentives. Cruise fares for the Luxury Iceland Expeditions start at $13,999 per guest, including up to double Book Now Savings at $3,000 for a limited time only. Guests will receive a $300 per person As You Wish shipboard credit; Crystal Society Savings will double to five percent; new-to-Crystal guests will save 2.5 percent; and solo fares start at just 150 percent. Travelers with Future Cruise Credits and Future Cruise Payments may redeem them on these sailings.