One of the big questions travel advisors have about the new Crystal cruise line is what sort of synergies it will have with its sister brand, luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent (A&K).
The answer is that the line, which relaunched this month in Europe after shutting down in early 2022, will eventually offer a variety of exclusive A&K excursions.
Abercrombie & Kent Travel Group had less than a year to hire staff, build itineraries and secure tours after acquiring the assets of the collapsed Crystal Cruises last summer. That left the cruise line scrambling to secure excursions that other lines had booked years ahead of time.
But with the first of the reborn brand's two ships now back in operation and the second launching Sept. 1 from Athens, the seeds are being planted to offer excursions designed by A&K, said Jacqueline Barney, senior vice president of global marketing.
However, it will take until 2025 for those luxury excursions to fully flower. In 2024, some Crystal excursions will be curated by A&K, and in 2025 the company will have excursions designed by A&K specifically for Crystal voyages. For now, Crystal excursions will be typical of what a guest can expect from a luxury line, said Barney.
The eventual goal is to provide exclusive events and experiences that Barney described as "super mind-blowing." The excursions will be aimed at helping people cross experiences off their bucket lists, Barney said, and will be available across the globe. For example, a world cruise could include overland trips that take guests off the ship for several days to climb Machu Picchu or visit the Galapagos, she said.
A goal is also to offer new, one-of-a-kind experiences each year, adding a sense of exclusivity to the Crystal cruise product. While A&K currently provides excursions for other cruise lines, Crystal will offer a range of A&K experiences that will be exclusive to the line, she said.
Crystal also hopes to provide what Barney called "tailor-made" individualized tours driven by the wants of individual guests. Barney said there is no timeline for that product, although the line is aiming for 2025.