Ming with Edie Rodriguez, President & CEO Crystal Cruises
Symphony at Canada Place
Plaza lobby area with waterfall feature and new seating area.
A pleasant place to enjoy a burger or ice cream on the covered
category bath and bedroom
Vancouver last week after a $20 million-plus drydock refit in
September. And Crystal hosted a group of travel agents while in port to connect
and update them on the ship's and the company's changes.
highlighted several newly updated areas, and Edie Rodriguez – now
President & CEO - thanked us for our support and to emphasize
Crystal's continuing partnership with the travel agent community.
I had a
chance to speak to some of the agents in attendance to hear their comments
Symphony, and of Crystal in general.
Crystal has been absent from the Alaska cruise market for several
years, many agents had either not seen the ship, or haven't seen her for a long
time. Everyone I spoke to agreed the ship is stunning. Many like the modern and
sleek furnishings and spaciously designed spaces that flow well. Stand-out
features admired by all are the living wall resembling the world map
on the Lido deck, and the high back chairs in the Palm Court.
asked about their customers, agents told me they sell Crystal with utmost
confidence. Rarely do they receive any complaints from clients and a high
percentage of those clients repeat with Crystal.
interesting fact is that their customers are willing to pay for an
all-inclusive product, despite the fact that many of them may not even imbibe
in the plentiful upscale liquor on offer. Their clients at this level are
looking for an inclusive experience without being nickel and dimed
and enjoy the improved service quality. A valuable reminder to us that
all-inclusive cruising is not all about the booze.
Ben Chan of
Cruise Holidays made a good point in that his clients buy luxury
brands because it is a lifestyle choice. Using an everyday example - you can
drive a Honda or a Mercedes. Both get you everywhere, but each provides a very
all cruise ships offer food, accommodations and transportation. But a luxury
cruise offers a refined experience, higher space ratio and exemplary
service. Price is really not the focal point. I think we should all train ourselves
to think this way and sell luxury with confidence.
agents' working relationship with Crystal, all had positive things to say.
Pennly Lim from Expedia CruiseShipCenters praised Crystal's shoreside team in
Los Angeles and Vancouver-based District Sales Manager Peter
Nowicki, for being easy to work with and very supportive of their
lament is that Crystal, as with almost all cruise lines, does not pay
commission on shore excursions. She has groups that book customized
private tours through Crystal to the tune of $20-30K, and wishes that Crystal
would provide compensation. Her alternate choice is to book with a 3
party that pays commission, but she wants to ensure her clients have
a seamless experience, which she knows will happen with Crystal. Loyalty like
this speaks volumes, and hopefully Crystal will reconsider amending
owner Genting HK, Crystal is poised for growth in the luxury market. Edie's oft
stated vision for Crystal Cruises is 7 continents, 7 ships, 7 seas. We're
looking forward to this expansion.