November 25 2013 at 12:32pm
Johannesburg - For a record 20 years, Condé Nast Traveler magazine readers have voted ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises the industry’s “Best Cruise Line” in the midsize category. As in years past, Crystal significantly outranked its luxury peers in almost all the voting categories. It also bested or tied with its own previous top scores.
The Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are among the most pre-eminent in travel, honouring the best hotels, airlines, cruise lines, cities, rental car companies and islands around the world.
For George Argyropoulos, managing director of Cruises International, the accolade is well deserved. Cruise International is the local representative of 10 of the world’s top luxury cruise lines and of them, Crystal Cruises is his personal preference.
Here he tells us how Crystal Cruises scooped the prestigious Condé Nast Readers’ Choice award and what this means for those who choose to sail with the cruise line.
What does it take to win this award for an unprecedented 20 consecutive years?
This can only happen with constant improvement and innovation. And this is the hardest part – to forget what you know and reinvent yourself constantly. To give discerning vacationers a six-star standard of luxury travel that is unwavering, but always fresh and enhanced. This is the difference – the Crystal difference.
How does an award like this translate into the everyday Crystal Cruise experience?
The effect on the daily experience is significant. It permeates throughout the staff onboard and ashore and gives them a feeling of pride and achievement. This motivates them to ensure that guests enjoy the most unparalleled cruise experience available.
The Crystal Experience has been rated “world’s best” more often than any other cruise line, hotel or resort in history. The Condé Nast Traveler award is just the latest in a string of readers’ choice awards Crystal has won in its size category this year. It has also been voted Travel+Leisure magazine’s World’s Best Cruise Line. It came first in Cruise Critic’s Best Dining, Entertainment and Public Rooms category and the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony were voted Condé Nast Traveler’s #1 and #2 cruise ships.
I’m always excited to start offering Crystal’s groundbreaking enhancements. Redesigns to the value of $120 million are among the latest. These include the extreme makeover of Crystal Symphony’s entertainment venues, passenger boarding area and junior cruisers’ areas, and the installation of the first Living Wall at sea, a diverse selection of indoor plants forming a world map.
Yes, Crystal’s product enhancements over the past year have included exclusive boutique adventures as well as private cars and drivers ashore. The range of onboard activities and entertainment now also incorporates performances by America’s Got Talent’s Team iLuminate, spellbinding magic shows and digital film-making education on every voyage.
Crystal Cruises is in the process of developing allergy-friendly staterooms, a new connoisseur beer menu, shore excursions in Tibet, Thailand and Cambodia, and new theme cruises. I’m also looking forward to seeing the results of the $17 million Extreme Makeover planned for Crystal Serenity.