Having seemed to have finally come through the challenges of the pandemic, the collapse of parent company Genting Hong Kong led, ultimately, to the collapse of Crystal. Past guests, including everyone at Mundy Cruising, will see Crystal as irreplaceable, but in truth there are some excellent rivals to consider, so here is a look at our seven favourite alternatives...
With an expanding fleet growing in number and guest capacity, Silversea offers some of the best dining at sea in a fantastic choice of dining venues. The launch of their S.A.L.T. programme, a wonderful combination of local and onboard culinary experiences, leads the way in cuisine at sea, making them a great choice for foodies. We are particularly excited to have seen the recent launch of the 596-guest Silver Dawn and look forward to their new class of vessel, the slightly larger 728-guest Silver Nova in 2023.
Regent's slightly larger ships offer a host of facilities for those who are looking for a more resort style experience. Dining options are varied and lavish, whilst the Explorer class ships boast a huge spa area with separate spa pool and an impressive Culinary Arts Kitchen offering fantastic cookery lessons. Paddle tennis courts are available on all vessels, apart from the smaller 482-guest Seven Sea Navigator, and extensive facilities will ensure you're never lacking things to do on leisurely sea days.
Explora Journeys is a new ultra-luxury brand that has announced details of the first of four planned ships, and we are eagerly awaiting further information. What we do know is that the 922-guest Explora I will offer spacious, all balcony suites with an abundance of dining choices and facilities. Itineraries begin in May 2023 and offer a balanced mixture of time in port and relaxing days at sea, much like the laid-back voyages operated by Crystal.
Seabourn made a reputation for themselves by ensuring guests are recognised, and called by name, from day one. This highly personal style of service, with staff focused on getting to know each guest individually, encapsulates an incredible kindness that is at the heart of their service and something that any former Crystal guest will recognise immediately. For those of a more adventurous nature, Seabourn's soon to launch purpose-built expedition vessels, Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit, will certainly rival Crystal Endeavor.
Another option for those seeking an expedition without compromising on luxury is the stylish Scenic Eclipse. Scenic raised the bar for expedition vessels when the Eclipse was first introduced back in 2019, so we're very excited about the launch of sister ship Scenic Eclipse II in 2023. Designed to provide an unrivalled level of luxury, they are amongst the most advanced expedition ships in the world and offer excellent polar itineraries and a number of well crafted warm water trips.
On the rivers there are a handful of operators who rival the Crystal river fleet, which had only been operating since 2016. Uniworld's unique vessels, individually designed to reflect the region in which they sail, offer all-inclusive pricing with superb service and excellent dining.
On the Danube the double-width AmaMagna is the only vessel comparable to the space offered by Crystal Mozart, although as a slightly less inclusive brand, the onboard experience differs. This is of course reflected in great value pricing.