While Crystal has a formidable reputation, and well deserved, in the luxury cruise arena, their challenge may be how to enhance the experience of river cruising for luxury travelers.
As we see it, the main competition will be from Tauck River Cruises, that caters to the more upscale market. Tauck has a loyal clientele that expects the best experience. And, they deliver. In addition to their Jewel Class ships, four new Tauck river cruise ships, the Esprit, Savor , Grace and Joy have captured the luxury, all inclusive arena.
Crystal does have a decided advantage as a newcomer due to their vast mailing list of satisfied luxury travelers.
But, considering that there are limitations on ship size going through the locks in Europe, Crystal may likely enhance the onboard experience and special onshore activities.
While the river cruise market has exploded over the last few years, with the major players like Viking, AMA Waterways, Avalon Waterways and Uniworld adding newer ships, one has to wonder whether there is room for a new player.
Crystal’s new parent company is being very aggressive with new builds; the Crystal Esprit Yacht (read our blog,) coming this year, and two more ocean cruise ships on the drawing board.