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Crystal Cruises: The best staff in the industry


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With so many changes at Crystal Cruises in recent years, it has been a pleasure to join them recently in their Miami offices as a member of their advisory panel, to review their progress and look to the future.

Obsessive Crystal gazers will be aware that the new leader Tom Wolber brings a sober and considered approach, focussing on the build programmes, revenue management, and organised planning for the future.

Over this period of consolidation, we have seen much to give us confidence: a reiteration of what Crystal stands for, the regeneration of the two ocean going ships Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, the bedding down of the full river fleet of five, the release of Endeavor's inaugural season itineraries, and a promise of news in early 2019 about the future build schedule.

Crystal Endeavor - Artist's rendering

Beyond anything, Crystal is known for its outstanding onboard service, with continuous training of the Crystal Basics, a common sense stance underlined by the words: 'All Crystal staff are either someone who serves a Crystal guest, or someone who serves someone who serves a Crystal guest', reminding everyone in the company that the very special Crystal Attitude needs to spread through the company to every single department.

Diners in the Waterside restaurant on board a Crystal Rhine Class river ship

HR confirm they 'Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills', and in the hire process they are looking for a positive can-do attitude, competence, style, accountability and responsibility, people who have patience, respect, civility and emotional intelligence. Anyone who has encountered an issue on board a Crystal ship will know this is not just management speak, but a way of working embraced by every single member of staff.

Diners in the Yacht Club on board Crystal Esprit

In this age of prodigious growth in the industry, good staff are a huge asset. Once crew members buy into the Crystal style, they love it - and it shows. As a result, Crystal has the lowest staff turnover in the cruise industry. Crew members cite the level of respect between team members at all levels, the happy atmosphere, the welcoming of relationships between crew members enhancing the family feel, recruitment from within, and a total belief in the reality of the 'Crystal Family' - there are generations working on board, with a waiting list for family members from the Philippines, and 70 crew members who have been working on board for over 20 years.

On the rivers, word is spreading quickly about the way in which the Crystal team are treated - but it's not for skivers, as standards are high and those who don't buy into the requirements are rooted out speedily. Meanwhile high achievers are very excited that the opportunity for promotion is coming from the growth of the fleet.

Crystal River Cruises staff

All of this bodes well for the future of this exciting company, as they plan the launch of Endeavor in 2020, with more ships to follow hot on her heels, whilst consolidating the whole Crystal style on board the existing ocean and river vessels.

Edwina Lonsdale
Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and, together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising.

More about Edwina

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