LOS ANGELES, April 20, 2017 – The most awarded luxury ships in the world are set to undergo their most extensive redesigns in their respective histories, as Crystal unveils the complete plans for Crystal Symphony’s and Crystal Serenity’s dry dock transformations. In what the company is calling the “Evolution of Crystal Luxury,” in 2017 and 2018, Crystal will embark on the multi-million-dollar investment that will see the two ships reimagined to new standards of innovative luxury. The plans for Crystal’s two ocean ships are the latest in its tremendous brand expansion, which will also see new river yachts, new ocean-going vessels and a privately-owned Boeing 777 join the fleet in the next three years. “Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are the foundation of Crystal and continue to embody the cornerstones of the celebrated Crystal Experience,” says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. “These ships have earned us not only acclaim from the world’s most eminent entities and publications for more than two decades, but more importantly, the loyalty of the world’s most discerning travelers and travel partners. We are committed to continuing their reign as the most luxurious ships at sea by investing in changes and updates that will far exceed our guests’ wishes.” While the two ships’ refurbishments are scheduled almost a year apart, plans for both are predominantly streamlined, offering guests a consistently superlative experience on board whichever Crystal ship they choose to sail. As part of the extensive redesign, several staterooms will be converted into brand new luxurious penthouse categories to take the place of smaller staterooms; imaginative new dining options will be revealed; ships will be loaded with high-tech perks; and modern, elegant décor updates will be made in many public spaces. New Penthouses and Penthouse SuitesBoth ships will gain more of the spacious, butler-serviced Penthouses and Penthouse Suites. Crystal Symphony will see two new categories of accommodations altogether: Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah (12 new suites added) and Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah (28 new suites added), both occupying Deck 9, Seabreeze. The new accommodations will boast the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (367 sq. ft. and 491 sq. ft., respectively), while Seabreeze Penthouses will be connected by a shared an entryway recessed from the hall. Aboard Crystal Serenity, the 36 additional Penthouses and 2 additional Penthouse Suites will occupy the current Penthouse Deck 10, and will also offer the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (403 sq. ft. and 538 sq. ft., respectively). Penthouse accommodations offer guests enhanced all-inclusive Crystal amenities, including butler service and in-room specialty dining. Penthouse guests will also now receive unlimited complimentary dining at the onboard specialty restaurants. The conversion of staterooms into the new penthouse accommodations effectively reduces the ships’ guest capacities – Crystal Symphony to 848 and Crystal Serenity to 980 – and increases the per-guest space ratio aboard the ships to 60.2 and 70.3 respectively. Abundant space throughout its luxury ships has long been a cornerstone of Crystal’s platform, and a key distinction between its ships and competitors. Refreshed Dining OptionsThe world-class cuisine served on Crystal ships will also enjoy a revolution, as Crystal mainstays transform into inspired modern venues that still exude the elegant culinary atmosphere for which Crystal is known. Inclusive to the renowned Crystal Experience, the posh eateries feature diverse menus of Michelin-level cuisine inspired by the worldwide destinations Crystal visits. The Crystal Dining Room, the ships’ centrally located main dining venue, will become Waterside, reflecting the chic décor and sophisticated ambiance of the main dining room aboard Crystal River Cruises’ Crystal Mozart. Additional tables for two and four guests offer expanded options for intimate dining in the expansive space, while a new open seating concept invites guests to dine at their leisure between 6 and 9:30 p.m., eliminating Crystal’s previous format of assigned seating and reservations. Waterside will also continue to serve breakfast and lunch during current timeframes. The Lido Café, another hot spot aboard both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, will take on new life as the Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. Both venues will feature an open kitchen concept with dishes made to order. The Marketplace will continue to serve casual buffet style breakfast and lunch options, and will transition to Churrascaria, a stylish casual dinner venue, from 6 to 9 p.m., creating an additional evening option for guests. Churrascaria will feature a Caipirinha as a welcome cocktail and serve a selection of Brazilian-inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled seafood and meats presented by Crystal “gauchos” on sword-like skewers. New to the Crystal menu of onboard restaurants on both ships will be Silk, located in the Trident area of their respective Lido Decks. The contemporary space will offer modern Chinese-inspired fare with family-style dinner plates ideal for sharing, and self-service options for breakfast and lunch that include dumplings, Chinois salad, a soup and noodle bar and other Asian favorites. For the dinner hours between 6 and 9 p.m., reservations will be recommended, although open seating will be accommodated. The Trident Bar & Grill will remain in the adjacent space, serving casual grilled options including burgers and sandwiches. Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, will be rebranded as Umi Uma – reflecting the Japanese word for Crystal’s eponymous seahorses. The authentic venues will still serve the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and will remain the only Nobu restaurants at sea. All specialty dining reservations for Umi Uma and Prego will be complimentary for Penthouse guests, while all other guests will enjoy one complimentary evening of specialty dining, with additional reservations available for a modest charge. Reservations are always required for specialty dining venues. Technological UpgradesUpon completion of Crystal Symphony’s dry dock in November 2017, guests will receive unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi throughout any Crystal voyage aboard all Crystal vessels. Crystal’s investment in technological amenities for guests will include hardware and software enhancements to enable expanded internet connectivity and doubled satellite speed. Additionally, a new guest portal – Crystal Connect – will be launched and featured on the landing page of onboard internet connections. The portal enables guests to easily access the internet, as well as an array of shipboard information including daily menus from each restaurant, daily Reflections, day and evening activities, Crystal Adventures shore excursions and daily port maps. A number of international newspapers will also be available for digital viewing, as well as a library of box office hit movies, Crystal lectures on demand and much more. Crystal Connect will also be available in a mobile application for use on guests’ personal devices. In all rooms throughout the ships – in each stateroom and in all public areas – ultra-thin, 42-inch, interactive flat-panel TVs will enable guests to conveniently access their onboard folios, view the Crystal Spa & Salon, Connoisseur Wine Selection, and dining menus, with the ability to make any onboard reservations, reserve shore excursions and order room service. These new interactive TVs will also showcase the latest Hollywood movies and hit TV series. Crystal’s acclaimed Computer University@Sea classrooms will also undergo updates and makeover, further enhancing the technological experience and enrichment for guests. Reimagined Public SpacesSeveral favorite shipboard spaces will enjoy reimagined designs, while maintaining their inherent function as part of travelers’ onboard experience. The top-deck, forward Palm Court lounge aboard Crystal Serenity will be entirely redesigned to feature more intimate seating, while Crystal Symphony’s mid-ship Starlite Club, a hub for evening dancing and cocktails, will also be refitted, still boasting panoramic sea views. Crystal Symphony’s redesign is set for September 19-October 21, 2017; Crystal Serenity’s for October 14-November 10, 2018. The dry docks and subsequent relaunch of both ships mark additional milestones for the Crystal fleet, as the company increases its luxury presence throughout the world’s oceans, Europe’s rivers and the skies. Adds Rodriguez, “Throughout this tremendous expansion, our commitment to setting an unprecedented standard of luxury travel experiences is unwavering. We will continue to place the quality of our guests’ experience above all other priorities, and our exquisitely designed vessels are integral to that experience.” For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel professional, call 888.799.2437, or visit Crystal’s website, www.crystalcruises.com. As it expands its reach to all luxury travelers across the globe, Crystal evolves to The World’s Most Luxurious Hospitality and Lifestyle Brand Portfolio™. Crystal Cruises is the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line™, having earned “World’s Best Cruise Ship” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards for 23 years; been voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 years; and the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by travel professional organization Virtuoso for three consecutive years (2014, 2015 & 2016). The newest and upcoming extensions of the celebrated Crystal brand include Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, Crystal Luxury Air, Crystal River Cruises – The World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line ™ – AirCruises and Crystal Exclusive Class™ with Crystal Residences.
The Commission has been empowered to adopt delegated acts to amend Annex III to Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 in order to grant GSP+ to a requesting country by adding it to the list of GSP+ beneficiary countries. (Colombo Gazette) The Commission said it has examined the GSP+ request from Sri Lanka in accordance with the provisions of Article 10(1) of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012, and the Commission has established that Sri Lanka meets the conditions. In January this year the European Commission had noted that on 12 July 2016, the Commission received a GSP+ request from Sri Lanka. The decision by the European Commission to grant GSP plus to Sri Lanka has been printed in the official journal of the European Union (EU) and Sri Lanka has access to the EU market under the special scheme from today.The official journal of the EU issued yesterday (Thursday) amends an earlier decision to withdraw the GSP plus scheme granted to Sri Lanka. For that purpose, Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 establishes specific eligibility criteria for the granting of the tariff preferences provided under the GSP+.The country should be considered vulnerable due to a lack of sufficient diversification and insufficient integration with the international trading system.It should have ratified all the conventions listed in Annex VIII to Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 and the most recent available conclusions of the relevant monitoring bodies should not identify a serious failure to effectively implement any of those conventions. In relation to any of the relevant conventions, the country should not have formulated a reservation which is prohibited by the convention or which, for the exclusive purposes of Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012, is considered to be incompatible with the object and purpose of that convention. It should accept without reservation the reporting requirements imposed by each convention and give the binding undertakings referred to in points (d), (e) and (f) of Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012. A GSP beneficiary country wishing to benefit from GSP+ has to submit a request accompanied by comprehensive information concerning ratification of the relevant conventions, its reservations and the objections to those reservations made by other parties to the convention, and its binding undertakings. “Sri Lanka should therefore be granted GSP+ from the date of entry into force of this Regulation. Annex III to Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 should be amended accordingly. Pursuant to Article 13 of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012, the Commission should keep under review the status of ratification of the relevant conventions, the effective implementation of those conventions, as well as the cooperation with the relevant monitoring bodies by the government of Sri Lanka,” the Commission said.A beneficiary country under the Generalised Scheme of Tariff Preferences (‘GSP’) may request to benefit from additional tariff preferences under the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+).