Crystal Looking for Ways to Bring Back Casinos on Cruise Liners

At the start of August, 18 months after its collapse, the Crystal Cruises line was brought back to life with the much-anticipated debut of its first pair of renovated ships. 

Parent company A&K Travel Group, which acquired Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony along with a few assets in 2022, also spoke about their plans to build four additional cruise ships. Two of the ships would be designed for expedition purposes while the other two would be used for ocean exploration.

Now, the line that is mostly popular in the US for the time being, has also expressed its plans to restore the two casinos that were an integral part of two of the largest cruise ships belonging to operator Crystal Cruises by Q3 2024.

Active Talks with a Concessionaire 

A Crystal spokeswoman clarified that the management of the line was currently involved in conversations with a concessionaire regarding the way they could bring back the two casinos that were removed from the two ships during refurbishment.

A&K Travel Group’s chief executive officer, Cristina Levis, spoke about the space occupied by the casinos which was, in their opinion, “too big”. Using a survey of the original line’s past guests, Crystal’s new management tried to establish the best course of action for the massive space left vacant by the removal of the casinos from the two cruise liners that were auctioned off on June 7, 2022. 

According to the results of the survey, only 5% of them would refuse to sail on a cruise ship that does not have a functioning casino. The findings were presented to travel advisors during Serenity’s inaugural lol646 sail that took place on July 31 from Marseille for a Mediterranean cruise.

In response, travel advisors spoke about the importance of a casino on board for many of their guests, thus convincing CEO Levis to rethink the new line’s strategy and start looking for solutions.

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Symphony’s shakedown cruise that sailed on September 1 from Athens via the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Canada, New England, Alaska, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Levis took the opportunity to express her new plans to address the issue of the missing casinos on the two ships while also mentioning the existence of a potential location for the two gambling spaces. The new location would not take up as much space as the previous casinos. 

The Casinos, Currently Replaced with Lounges

At the moment, the original casino spaces on the ships were replaced with lounge spaces, with further management plans of turning them into show kitchens where cooking demonstrations would take place. 

Previously owned by Genting Hong Kong, Crystal Cruises escaped bankruptcy and liquidation last year. Its comeback in 2023 under the new ownership of Heritage Group via A&K Travel Group Ltd. and the management of VShips Leisure is expected to usher in a new era of “Exceptional Suites, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Dining, and Exceptional Experiences.”

In March, Crystal and Signature Travel Network inked an agreement that would turn the latter into the cruise line’s pioneer strategic sales and marketing supplier.