Built with too much luxury, Crystal Cruises river ships could be headed for scrap after a short career on Europe’s waterways.
The extraordinary fleet of four, built as part of the now-defunct Dream Cruises brand which bought Crystal as part of a bid to go upmarket, have attracted little interest from buyers with some saying they have too few cabins and too many crew members to make a profit.
Dream Cruises was behind one of the world’s largest ocean cruise liners which, Cruise Passenger revealed last week, will leave a German shipyard straight for scrap without ever carrying a passenger.
Now the Crystal river fleet may have no option but to follow suit.
The fleet consists of four ships built between 2017 and 2018 – Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler and Crystal Ravel, which are all currently docked in Amsterdam.
Its fifth ship, Crystal Mozart was built in 1987 and is currently in Austria. It was refurbished in 2016 as Crystal’s first-ever river ship.
Avalon Waterways has turned down an offer to buy the fleet, with Avalon president Pamela Hoffee telling Travel Weekly: “They are a very specific design that travellers choose over and over again, thanks to two full decks of panorama suites with the industry’s only open-air balconies with beds facing the views. Given this – and our commitment to exclusively offering guests suite ships – we do not have plans to purchase Crystal’s ships.”
Amadeus River Cruises has also turned down the offer, with executive president Marcus Leskovar saying buying and renovating the ships would cost too much money.
He also noted that eventually, the price will have to drop if there is not enough interest.
Riviera River Cruises, Uniworld, AmaWaterways, Scenic and Viking also did not answer Travel Weekly when they asked them if they were interested in acquiring Crystal’s ships.
It can be assumed that Scenic would not purchase the ships as they build their river vessels in-house, Viking has a patented design of its Longships and AmaWaterways custom-designs its vessels.